You probably just sang the classic pop song, and for that I apologize. But this week we spoke to Blair Fraser from Ironclad Games about the new ideas being implemented into Sins of a Dark Age. Ironclad is launching a Founders program to get players into beta faster and also is providing a few perks on the way. Blair also talks about the philosophy behind the Realm Quests system and how they are using it to expand the MOBA genre and combine elements from RPGs. There are some interesting design mechanics going into the game now and Blair outlined what steps Ironclad is taking to get them right. Read on to learn all about them.
We started the interview going over what makes RTS and MOBAs so fun to play, but divergent from each other. Blair defined the roles of Commander in the RTS verison and Heroes in the MOBA style games. These two player based systems have very different qualities. Blair said that with Sins of a Dark Age they wanted to push the hero aspect of MOBAS but combine it with the character growth of RPGs. He said that most RTS games work by gaining assets, managing assets, and risking the loss of those assets. While this play style is fun, Blair wanted Sins to have more permanence. So they started experimenting with adding in RPG elements. Blair wanted rewards and growth to stay with the player no matter the outcome of games.
The Realm Quest system, something brand new to the genre, became the result of testing and adding in the randomness of RPGs. They wanted parts of the game to open up to drive players to the fight. They really embraced the RPG dynamics so that games would change during their course and players would gain rewards throughout. The Realm Quests really do just that. Get players into situations where they are fighting over objectives that matter and will reap rewards because of it.
Many players love the moments when there is a high tension fight that comes in after the learning curve. They wanted to find ways to get players into these epic moments faster. Therefore the system hosts a pool of quests, which can open up at any time. This quest feed will change how the game is played. Blair stressed that the system is not random and will not give one player a clear advantage in the middle of the game. The AI, which Blair referred to as the Quest Director, is designed to keep the game close as it cycles through quests. It is not just going to hand a player the win. Blair also explained that the roster of quests is fixed. So it builds upon an "I know what my opponent knows" and which moves to make: kind of like chess. Dynamic gameplay was at the core of the Realm Quest system and Blair believes that fusing it with RPG rewards will make players take a whole new look at MOBAs.
The Founders Program for Sins of a Dark Age brings players into the game early to get their voices heard. Blair said that the Founders system is very much a win win for both developers and players. The program gives options for customization and also to provide valuable feedback. Blair holds true that for Ironclad a beta is very much a test. Blair pointed out several changes that have happened based on player feedback. The Founder system allows exclusive access to Heroes as well. They are offering exclusive assets which will never been seen again with the program. They are also looking for feedback on which are the most popular heroes. They also wanted to make sure that the in game currency was very generous and gives players a good starting point. Every level of the Founders program has something to offer players but getting into the beta early is really the gem in the goodie bag.
Sins of a Dark Age is brining a lot to the table for players, combining a host of gameplay aspects to really stretch the genre in new directions. It will be very interesting to see how the Realm Quests will work and how much games change because of them. Blair and his team have some good solid ideas. Check out the website for details on the Founders system and get ready to fight in the Dark Age.
Here’s a list of the Founders perks, which can also be viewed at the official site.
Rare Founder Tier ($25)
Epic Founder Tier ($55)
Legendary Founder Tier ($125)