DAoC meets CoD? Support former Asheron’s Call EP and Ultima Online Exec and Reloaded Productions in quest for brand new action-MMORPG!
DAoC meets CoD? Support former Asheron’s Call EP and Ultima Online Exec and Reloaded Productions in quest for brand new action-MMORPG!
First things first
We have just posted Update 3, with a video showcasing the Environment, as well as the Click to Move control system (check out Update 3 for a preview!)
Hailan Rising is produced by Adam Smith, former Producer of Knight Online, and Jess Mulligan, formerly Executive Producer of Asheron's Call and Executive Director of Ultima Online as well as dozens of other games.
Adam and Jess have been working nonstop this year to complete what we feel is the best action-MMO in the market today. With inspiration from games like Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, Borderlands, Ultima and even a little bit of Call of Duty-style instant action, the team brings together the best elements in classic MMOs into an expansive world of islands and forests to be explored, conquered and dominated.
The team has a full vertical slice with a great action-MMO battle system. But now we need your help to expand the game world, complete the territory control system and scale the game to support tens of thousands of simultaneous players. With your support we’ll be able to start the beta in early 2013, and as a supporter you will get unique in-game items only available to Kickstarter backers. As a stretch goal we have also lined up iOS and Android versions of the game.
Target: create the most intense PvP-focused MMO possible, with free-form character builds, territory control and random loot, while letting you jump into the fun right away!
Easy - right? Let's find out what we have been working on...
In most MMOs, there are many hurdles to overcome before you ever get into a PvP battle. Is your character of a high enough level? Are you using the flavor-of-the-month build? Do you have powerful top-tier gear?
As a result many MMO players never bother with PvP because it’s easier to just keep doing PvE quests. We think there is a way to elegantly combine these extremes into one unified action-MMO, while still being a true RPG.
Hailan Rising has a full PvE system (so for those of you who only want to raid and never face an enemy in the field, that’s not a problem). However, a lot of attention has been paid from the start to the PvP system (and in a later update we'll also discuss territory and RvR).
Unlike other MMOs, the power gap between brand new characters and veterans amount to only a small competitive edge for those that have been in the game longer. It’s nothing close to the ridiculous over-the-top power-difference between a level 1 and a level 50 character in most other MMOs.
The real advantage you gain with time and experience is knowledge of how to play your chosen build, and how it stacks up against builds of other players.
You should also be in the game playing and having fun immediately without the need to wait for some arbitrary “endgame." In fact, players themselves will be contributing to the game world simply by showing up and being ready to engage in battle.
We’ll keep this one short and sweet: everything you pick up is randomized, so nobody should ever be running around in exactly the same stuff with exactly the same stats. Even more so, the most powerful items in the game drop as part of mob loot, and those powerful items can never be purchased from the in-game store (we will tackle the store mechanic in a specific update to come).
We are not even sure how many million combinations of armor and weapons exist in the game; it’s simply too many to count! But that also gives you as the player ample opportunity to explore the game and the game world to pick up great new stuff after each battle.
Think of this as a "Class-less" and “Character-level-less” game. In a pure mathematical sense it does have more than 4 billion (!) possible ability combinations (each of which could be called a ‘class’), but due to the sheer number of possible combinations, we tend to think of these as simply “ability sets” or builds.
At the start of the game you pick 5 out of 46 abilities from something we call "The Etherea Tablet." During your first period of in-game progress you will be able to add up to five additional abilities. Kills in both PvE and PvP yield additional Etherea Shards that are used to permanently upgrade abilities. Each of the abilities is rated from +1 to +5, with a very small power increase for each upgrade.
This means that you define your own build in Hailan right from the start. We presume you will pick abilities based on your preferred gameplay style (and of course create an experimental build or two along the way).
If you like heavy armor, take that ability. If you like shooting bows, take that ability. There are 46 abilities in total, some passive, some active, and messing around with the ol’ abacus we realized that there are 4,076,350,421 possible builds waiting to be explored.
Of course there are critical trade-offs for picking your final set of 10 out of 46 – since no game is fun when players become overpowered demigods. Instead much of the challenge comes from defining the character you want to play and what abilities you will give up to become that character. More importantly, who in your party will cover 'the other' abilities during a fight? We expect this will lead to heated 'religious debates' with clan-mates about the best builds. These debates are ones you as an early Kickstarter supporter with early access to this game will surely win :).
And – we think this is really cool – if you come up with a build that has never been used before, you’ll get to give it a name, and others will see that name when they pick that combination in the future!
MMOs provide a great feeling of accomplishment and progression, but the moment-to-moment gameplay is often composed of long stretches of dullness punctuated by brief flashes of awesome (don’t tell us you've never watched Breaking Bad on a second monitor while doing your dailies or waiting for a raid to start).
Because PvP combat in most MMOs means using mechanics that were designed to make you good at, say, killing 10 rats, you’re often not well-equipped to have a thrilling exchange of blows with other players. PvP in Hailan Rising combines the character progression and tactical decision-making of traditional MMOs with the intensity and pick-up-and-play nature of an FPS (of course minus all the machine guns and actual shooting of bullets).
We’ve made individual battles much more active than in other MMOs specifically by adding two additional skill-based mechanics: "Combo" and "Slide."
"Combo-ing" means simply picking the right moves and counter moves and stringing them together. What's unusual about Hailan's combo system is just how central it is to winning a match. The longer the combo, the more special bonuses you’ll fire off. Of course, doing this effectively requires you to get very familiar with your chosen build, your enemies, and the context of your current engagement.
The "Sliding" mechanic is very different from the classic "sit-and-click" attack system in most MMOs. Sliding allows Hailan to be a dynamic action game, and it feels a little like a quirky "loophole" in the targeting and movement system, but is in fact a core mechanic. The goal is to match the frequency of your attacks and weave in and out of the enemy’s attack radius using what looks like a 'sliding' motion while they try to do the same to you. It's an incredibly unusual mechanic, hard to describe and best experienced by playing the game. This mechanic arose organically during play testing. Watching the best players and guilds square-off against one another with this mechanic will truly be a sight to behold.
These form the basis for a truly tactical game where the individual skills of players, as well as the coordination of entire groups and clans, will matter in every single battle.
What we really want out of PvP is a reason to do it for the long-haul; some ultimate purpose to make each battle more thrilling. Sure, it is fun to wail on each other for a while, and it is fun to brag about being at the top of the leaderboards, but then what?
Our answer to that is strategic territory control. Anyone, be it an individual or guild, can capture one or more of the many ancient fortresses that dot the countryside, and doing so grants strategic benefits such as a minor bonus stats AND in some cases the ability to tax anyone else in the territory. Own two of them and get two bonuses, own three… you get the idea.
There’s a real reason to capture and defend a fortress and to start building alliances with other players. In fact recruiting players to your side is another critical aspect of the game, and will lead to a long running RvR-style mechanic.
You may own it now, but others want it… and they’ll be coming to take it. The more you’re 'worth' the bigger target you are for everyone else, meaning there’s never an end to the conflict.
If we hit our stated target, then we will use the money to complete the PC and Mac versions of the game.
If we exceed our target and are able to reach $500,000 or more, then we will have a team specifically port the game to tablets, something that's technically pretty straight forward as the game uses the Unity3D engine. We have already tested the game’s portability, and with down-sampled graphics it will work on a tablet. If we reach the stretch goal, we will also be providing free tablet versions of the game to all Kickstarter supporters at the $20 level and above.
As a side-note, we plan to keep separate realms per 'input-type'. If you’ve ever played a game where console players and PC players can compete directly, you know that input type separation between realms is critical.
However - Adam's 'secret-ultra-stretch-goal' is strategic participation by other devices. That means designing a whole new race (a flying race or an aquatic race for example) that can participate in the SAME battles on the same servers (which works technically) but using a completely different strategically complementary rule-set, geared to the tablet input type. However, this 'secret-ultra-stretch-goal' is only attainable if we reach a backing level several times higher than the core game requirement itself.
Who are we again?
Production and Development: Hailan Rising is Produced by Adam Smith, formerly Producer of Knight Online, with contributing Executive Producer Jess Mulligan. Jess was Executive Producer of Asheron's Call, contributor to Anarchy Online and Executive Director of Ultima Online.
Jess started working with Reloaded Productions a year ago, and has spent the past decade advising several Indie Game Studios in the throes of end-stage-production and delivery. The rest of the team crucial to Hailan Rising's design and development previously worked in a wide range of game and media companies including Gas Powered Games, Blizzard, Pitch Black Studios, Realtime Worlds, Icarus Studios, Warner Brothers, EA, Oberon, MGM, Disney Online and FUN Technologies.
Corporate: We are a small game studio called Reloaded Productions (http://www.ReloadedProductions.net) founded in 2010, and we create content that gets published on the GamersFirst.com portal (and this content is also distributed through many other outlets, like Steam). We’re not a monolithic mega-corporation (like EA, Activision etc.) and in fact we are highly dependent on volatile funding sources to complete new projects.
Kickstarter Funding: Instead of using traditional financial backers or simply borrowing money from banks (those volatile sources noted above), we felt our game, as inspiring as it was to us, would be just as inspiring to others that share our sentiments on PvP MMOs, as well as sharing our excitement with cross-device MMO games. Given how far along in the development we have already taken this prototype, our path to completing the game with sufficient funding is very straight forward, and we hope to start delivering the first Kickstarter backer-awards in just a few months (!).
Thank you for your time reading and watching this. We sincerely appreciate all the help and the assistance we have received from the community so far, and are hoping you will join us in supporting our quest!
Risks and challenges
The risk with any game project is simply that the game does not get completed for one of many reasons. While the risk in this project should be smaller than in some other game projects by the team already having built a fully functioning "vertical-slice" as it's called in game project lingo, and full client-server prototype, and having already a rather complete initial game system, there is still significant work remaining to complete the full territory control system, add the additional art, complete the full combat system and expand the terrain.
On top of these issues we all of course also face general business risks, economic risks and other untold factors that could stop the project from completing. But, given the progress to date, to the best of our knowledge today, if this Kickstarter project funds with your help, then the game will in fact complete and go live in mid 2013.
PRODUCT NAMES, COMPANY NAMES, LOGOS, BRANDS, AND OTHER TRADEMARKS FEATURED OR REFERRED TO IN THIS CAMPAIGN ARE THE PROPERTY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE TRADEMARK HOLDERS. THESE TRADEMARK HOLDERS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH, NOR DO THEY SPONSOR OR ENDORSE RELOADED PRODUCTIONS, OUR PRODUCTS, OR THIS CAMPAIGN.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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