By Jim Rossignol on April 24th, 2009 at 10:24 am.
Having raised a collective eyebrow at the few glimpses of space MMO Black Prophecy that have emerged over the past few months, we thought it might be time to have a quick chat with Reakktor Media’s community manager Chris Schuett. Beyond the jump Schuett discusses the real-time combat nature of the game, and claims that player starships in the game could have “millions” of possible configurations.
RPS: What sort of experience will Black Prophecy hold for players? Can you describe what a player might be doing in the first couple of hours within the game world?
Schuett: Black Prophecy is meant to push up your adrenaline level with fast-paced real-time combat action, be it PvE or PvP wise. While your character skills give you access to better versions of items like ship parts and weapons, it is up to your personal skill whether you succeed in a battle or become just another piece of debris in the depths of space.
Within the first hours the player will be introduced to the game through the epic story missions, but can also play regular missions, get used to the ship and its functions and of course socialise with other players for further common activities. While the first epic missions serve as an introductory, further missions will involve the player more and more into the blazing conflict between the opposing parties.
RPS: How does the “MMO” aspect of the game manifest itself? Is there a level-based structure as in World Of Warcraft? Are you expecting huge many-player raids or PvP battles? And what about the economic side of the game? Will there be trade, crafting and so on?
Schuett: We are definitely aiming for large scaled PvP battles between players and clans. Especially as PvP will play a big role in Black Prophecy’s endgame. On top of the regular PvP, players will be offered special PvP missions where mission objectives can be assigned to single or multiple team members in order to accomplish the mission. Within specific boundaries, we will also make it possible for low level players to take part in PvP missions with higher level players.
The economic part of the game will be limited to player to player trading and modification of items such as ship parts, weapons, station modules, etc. Even though we see a complex economy as an important aspect, we are setting the focus on action related content and features for the release version. Despite that, an extension of the game’s economy features with a future game update is definitely envisaged.
RPS: Can you explain how the modular ship system works and how it related to play progression? Do you “level up” to create better ship types?
Schuett: Unlike other MMOs, your ship represents your player character. This means that you can assemble your ship with numerous different ship parts (wings, engines, cockpits, etc.), like you would equip your character in an MMO using 3D avatars as player character. With increasing experience level you gain access to better versions of equipment and can assemble your ship as the situation requires. Overall, we are speaking of millions of possible ship configurations.
Next to the ship, the player will also have a fully customisable 3D Avatar of the pilot which is being shown in dialogues with NPCs or in conversations with other players.
RPS: How is the game structured? Is it a room/jumpgate model of space? Or something different? And will it be sharded? Are there limits on PvP?
Schuett: While important sectors like mission hubs or any other gathering places will be persistent, the major part of the game will play in instances to allow players to enjoy the story and missions alone or with their friends, without interference from other players. Nonetheless fans of open world PvE and PvP also won’t miss out.
The final decision about the server configuration being single or multiple sharded has not been made yet.
RPS: What aspect of the game are you currently most excited about? What is it about Black Prophecy that players should be excited about?
Schuett: First of all our team is extremely excited to see the game shaping up piece by piece and everyone is keen to continue the work on Black Prophecy. It happens quite often that members of the development team are surprisingly impressed when they see the quality and atmosphere of the game in one of our regular company wide play tests, even though they play the game on daily a basis.
The main aspect our players can be excited about is definitely the breath-taking real-time combat that will bring back good old Wing Commander memories. Other aspects are the flexible modular system for ships and stations, the clan system and of course the unique and dense atmosphere within the vibrant and complex universe created by our sci-fi author Michael Marrak.
RPS: Thanks Chris! [I note that there's also a fansite wiki recently gone up here.]
And that splendidly shouty trailer again: