Continuing our series of Q&A’s with the guys at Perfect World Entertainment, we discuss their action RPG ‘Battle of the Immortals’.
To find out a little more about this interesting title, the ever inebriated DrunkenGamer talks to Product Manager, Jon Belliss about what makes this game different to any other Perfect World Entertainment title released to date. From its unique isometric view to its mount levelling system; it has certainly caught our attention, read on to find out more tantalising tid-bits about a game that promises to be just a little bit different.
For those readers who will only just be hearing about Battle of the Immortals, Could you give them a quick overview of the game and its back story?
An MMO with an action RPG at heart, Battle of the Immortals has a heavy emphasis on dungeon raiding and amazing gear called Soul Gear. The world of BoI is set 300 years after Ragnorak, and pieces of this war—Soul Gear—are scattered around the globe. Players must collect these ancient relics of power in order to be able to stand against the threat of the evil Dragon Emperor.
The first thing I want to ask about was the last-minute delay to the beta, was this a hard choice to make and was the result worth it?
It was a hard choice in the sense that we had a lot of anxious people waiting for Battle of the Immortals. And we know they were unhappy when we delayed the game. But at the same time, it was the right choice—a late game is only late once, a bad game is a bad game forever. The changes we implemented during the delay were primarily to cater to Western gamers and the response so far has been great, so I have no doubt we made the right choice.
Battle of the Immortals is the first title from our Shanghai studio, and they really wanted to give BoI a distinct different feel from other titles. Additionally, many Action RPG games use this perspective, and we wanted to replicate the same feel that an Action RPG does, but in the form of an MMORPG.
Both Pets and Mounts have seen changes and enhancements from what has been seen in your other games, can you tell the readers a little about those changes?
The pet system in BoI is amazing. Players will be able to tame nearly every monster they encounter in the game. Upon taming a monster, the amount of customization in terms of progression is nuts. You can build your pet to be a damage machine, you can build your pet as a tank, you can assign each individual stat as it levels up. There are 16 unique stats for any given pet, and all of them can be customized or built to your liking.
Now regarding mounts, traditionally mounts are just methods of transportation. They are a means to an end. In BoI we’ve changed things up a little. First and foremost is the fact that you can level up your mount. As your mount levels up, it not only gets faster, but it changes visually. Your mount could start as say a giant bird, to a giant bird that has a saddle, to a giant bird that is fully armored, to a giant bird wearing armor that’s glowing. On top of that, mounts in their higher levels have the ability to learn new skills such as sprint or teleport.
Now lastly with the mount system, each mount has a buff associated with it. Whenever you dismount, you’ll receive a 30 minute version of that buff. As you level up your mount, the buff will be upgraded in terms of its effectiveness. Now if all of that isn’t enough, the final touch is that there are some mounts that are what we call “multiplayer mounts”. So if you have a mount that has an awesome buff, you can give your friend a ride and give them the buff as well.
How big a part of the game is group play? Is it possible to play through the game solo if you were so inclined?
It is possible to solo through Battle of the Immortals, but the game is way more fun if you join a group. For example, the Knight’s Jail instance is way more fun if you go with a group than the solo version.
In another interview I read you mentioned that some instances support multiple parties, where you will be competing against them as well as the NPC’s. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Yes, there are some instances where you will not be the only party racing to fight the boss. In these cases, it’s imperative to get through mobs as quickly as possible and even if you’re the first one at the boss, other parties might try to PK you for the loot!
How big a difference are there between the various instance levels, and the rewards they offer as a result?
Obviously the instances scale and loot increases based on your level. In fact, the dungeons will take the average level of the players in the group and scale out the difficulty that way. This is where having a mixed group with both high and lower level characters can really make an instance easier.
As this game pulls in several mythologies as source, of the all the gods from those sources, which would you most like to be?
I would have to say Hephaestus, god of technology and crafting. I’m a big techie and I myself have spent a lot of time crafting Battle of the Immortals into a more “Western-friendly” game. I’m constantly driven by people’s responses to BoI and hope to continue to evolve it as time goes by.