Summary: JCal gets in touch with Oz to discuss the upcoming MMORPG Fury, by Australian developers Auran.
FiringSquad: First, how did the idea for Fury come about?
Paul Whipp: For some time I had been wishing that I could play a game where I would customize my role play characters more freely and prove them in an FPS style arena combat. When I met the guys at Auran games who were already talking about making a sword oriented multiplayer combat game, I knew we could work together to build a great MMO game that would fulfill my dream.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the fictional backstory for the game?
Paul Whipp: In Fury you play as one of the Chosen. You are a reborn hero and have little memory of your past lives. The world you are born into is a shattered universe that has been almost destroyed. The Artisans who clothe you and help you recover your memories need you to go out into the remains of the universe. There you must fight chosen from other sanctuaries and bring back Fury, which is the elemental essence, that they are using to try to rebuild the universe or at least save the sanctuary in which you reside.
FiringSquad: This game seems to put the emphasis on action and combat against players. Why did Auran want to move in this direction?
Paul Whipp: Because it’s fun and exciting. We wanted to create a game where we remove the intimidation of competing against other players but retain and increase the excitement of knowing you are fighting against other human players.
FiringSquad: What sort of player races and classes can people expect in the game?
Paul Whipp: All players play as human characters in the game. There are no restrictions on the way in which you can develop and customize your character.
Likewise there are no class restrictions. Players will naturally specialize their advancement to suit their playing style and they can choose to learn any ability or wear any equipment that they like so long as they have the points to equip it.
The potential complexity of having so few limitations is avoided by the use of incarnations and archetypes.
Incarnations allow players to set up a configuration of abilities and equipment for a particular game type or role and to instantly load or customize that configuration between battles. Thus I could have a rogue incarnation that I use when playing with my guild mates and a more rounded paladin type character that I use when playing with pick up groups.
My selection of abilities and equipment is effectively constrained by the combat system. I need to take in abilities and equipment that will work well together. Of course if I get it wrong I can immediately change it. I never need to start another character because I’ve made bad decisions early in my character’s advancement.
There is an archetype or derived class associated with each incarnation a player chooses. This is a label determined by the abilities equipped that helps other players identify what sort of abilities the player is using. This is further complemented by the fact that particular types of armor offer the best bonuses for particular schools so, for example, the top healers can be identified by their leather armor… unless they go in disguise in which case they pay a small penalty in terms of their healing bonuses.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the weapons and magical combat system in Fury?
Paul Whipp: Fury balances magic and melee combat with melee generally focused on taking a lot of damage and dealing damage to single targets and magic generally focused on dealing damage to multiple targets.
We have an incredible range of weapons and equipment in the game with randomly generated items creating an almost endless variety.
When players kill people in battle, the system will generate loot drops based on the archetype and rank of the corpse (note that no one actually loses equipment - loot is created by the kills).
The combat system itself will be instantly familiar to players of MMORPG games but it has added depth that becomes more important as you increase in rank. In Fury there are four elemental forces: fire, water, air and nature. All abilities are aligned with one of these elements. Some abilities will charge the player up in their aligned element and others will consume charges. Thus I would have to have four fire charges on me to use my fireball ability. Decisions about whether to consume charges or not are interesting because while you are charged in an element, all abilities of that alignment become more effective.
As you advance in the game you will discover that the elemental forces are opposed. For example a basic heal charges in water and if you have fire charges on you, not only will the heal be relatively less powerful but it will also negate one of the fire charges – you can’t be charged in fire and water at the same time.
Paul Whipp: Firstly, you can only take 24 abilities (or weapon changes or potions) into combat and must choose an appropriate set. Furthermore the charge mechanism ensures that not all abilities are available all the time. This avoids you having to choose from a bewildering number of options.
Secondly, there is no mana to worry about. This means you only have to worry about the cool-downs. There is no backing off and sitting down to eat a banana in Fury!
Third, and perhaps most important of all, we still use traditional MMO targeting so that you are not involved in twitch style aiming. You can start out and do fairly well spamming your abilities as they become available but you soon learn that there is time to think because you are not constantly trying to aim and maneuver so you can choose the right ability while still having fun in a fast paced game.
FiringSquad: What other unique gameplay elements will Fury have?
Paul Whipp: The elemental charge system and incarnations are the biggest features that players will notice in terms of the game play.
We are also providing great team oriented game types and a unique match making system that ensures every contest is as evenly matched as possible because we believe that close fights are the most fun.
The character advancement uses trials that players undertake in the contests. The loot also comes from killing players in the contests. This way we provide full featured character advancement entirely within the competitive environment. It means that players will often ‘win’ even if they are on the losing side because they’ll win some really cool loot or achieve their trials and advance their characters.
Our realm architecture is also unique. Players who share the same realm are all on the same side. All the people you encounter in the sanctuary areas such as the schools, the markets or the preparation areas are on your side. The opposing teams are drawn from other realms. With as many as 5,000 concurrent players in a realm you’ll never be short of potential team mates and with as many as 39 opposing realms you will certainly never be short of well matched opponents.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the graphical features in the game's engine?
Paul Whipp: We are using Unreal Engine 3.0 to the full. In addition to this we are adding our own rendering technology so that players with lower specification PCs can also enjoy playing the game.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about plans for a beta test for the game?
Paul Whipp: We hope to start closed beta testing before the end of this year. Check out www.unleashthefury.com regularly for details concerning entry.
FiringSquad: At the moment what can you tell us about the plans for officially launching the game and how much will it cost to play?
Paul Whipp: We expect to complete Fury in 2007. We are in negotiation with several potential partners at the moment and a business model is yet to be finalized.
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Fury at this time?
Paul Whipp: We set out to build a game that would be incredible fun to play and that would avoid a lot of the parts of traditional MMO games that we find dull. Even at pre-alpha, Fury is already so much fun that one of our biggest problems now is stopping playing long enough to finish building it!
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