I like to think MMO’s are entering a golden age. Many would disagree with me and simply say “MMO’s are drying up, there’s just not anything to play.” Though there may be more truth to this statement than we’d like to admit, this hasn’t stopped the number of initiatives in the MMO genre; numerous, exciting MMO’s are getting launched into development. Each of these new MMO’s are taking huge risks in trying to change up the MMO genre. I predict in the next 5 years, the MMO genre will evolve and introduce new features – changing the way we think MMO’s should be. Defend the Night is proudly one such MMO; trailblazing towards a bright new future within the MMO space. Today I’m with a longtime friend and one of the DtN founders Scribble, DtN Level Designer Pyye, and Game Designer Leksur.
Squishy: So tell us about Defend the Night, in your opinion what makes it so unique? What makes it stand out in the MMO Market today? You mentioned a unique leveling and progression system: Can you go more in-depth about that?
Scribbles: Right. So, right off the bat, I can agree with you that in the next 5 years, I also see an evolution of the genre. I am excited for this to come to fruition. I’ve felt MMO’s have been in a sort of holding pattern, as far as innovation.
DtN will host a very dangerous world where you will need to rely on your friends to overtake the opposition or perhaps ally with another city to overcome a tyrannical leader. DtN will feature treacherous player lead cities, player homesteads (which will hold your housing and personal belongings) and a unique religious system that we haven’t seen in any other MMORPG. Defend the Night also has other proprietary mechanics for combat that will surely spread some innovation in the combat area.
We’ll also be going back to our MMO roots to make sure enemies are challenging, fulfilling, and reward players appropriately for their efforts. In addition, we strongly believe that everything we do in the world of Certovia (DtN landmass) should add to your immersion. So, we are working diligently to make sure our systems back this up. You won’t see a bunch of NPC’s shouting for quests with a (!) over their heads, and fetch quests or milk runs won’t be present here either.
TLDR: Treacherous city diplomatic system, player homesteads, unique religion system, invigorating combat systems, bringing back challenging gameplay and getting rid of immersion-breaking systems will all be a focus now and throughout the development of DtN.
Pyye: From a design standpoint, I think DtN will stand out because we are creating a large and challenging world that a player can get lost in and feel they can master, over time, with a little bit of skill and determination. None of our creative zones or dungeons are meant to be bypassed in a 20-minute run, which is a very common dungeon design nowadays. Our dungeons will be quite large, multi-layered, with hidden walls, drop traps, secret areas and are intended to be quite dangerous. I picture players drawing maps and creating map sites for our content someday, which I think is great!
When asked further about the “Religious” system. NinjalootGames has stated that the following information is “proprietary” and that they are unable to go into detail at this current time.
Squishy: As a developer, were you inspired by any other games? Can we find those inspirations prevalent in Defend the Night?
Scribbles: To be real with you all, my first love was Everquest and the world captivated me for a long while. The call to rely on your fellow adventures was a great mechanic and is something I always strive to experience in every MMO game I’ve played since. I have also played many other games that influenced me which are, in no particular order: Warhammer Online, Shadowbane, Ultima Online, and Asheron’s Call. Many of our team also pull from World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online,Star Wars Galaxies and dozens of others. Some of our systems are loosely based on games we’ve played in the past. So while playing DtN you should feel the controls, systems, and format are something you can pick up right away.
Pyye: My ultimate game was Everquest and I am very inspired by all the great concepts that game had. One of the biggest inspirations is the creative dungeons and their scale. Everquest dungeons were large, complex, multi-layered, numerous mobs, and overall just interesting places. They were difficult extensions to the overworld, which is exactly what we are creating in DtN. You will exist and live within our worlds, not bypass them.
Another thing from EQ that DtN will offer is the slower leveling concept, which is important, because in our world the player will have as meaningful of a leveling experience from 5 to 10, as they would from 45 to 50. The focus becomes conquering the world itself and everything it has to throw at you along the way, not repetitive action just for the sake of experience gain. Lots to do, meaningful experiences and rewards for doing so … that’s DtN!
Leksur: It’s fairly safe to assume that most, if not all, modern games are inspired by their predecessors in some way. Everquest was inspired by MUD’s, WoW by EQ, and so on. Taking inspiration from our past loves is our way to pay respect to the teams that have brought us all countless hours of enjoyment, and an opportunity to try and bring features we’ve enjoyed so much, into the 21st century.
Squishy: In your opinion would you say Defend the Night is more focused on PvP or PvE? Almost every MMO states that there is equal content in both, but is that really going to be the case for Defend the Night?
Scribbles: We are balancing for both but we will be concentrating on PVE early on to make sure core systems are working first. Once the PVE is fleshed out, we’ll make sure everyone’s PVP experience is great! A lot of us here on the staff want the PVP to shine and get those systems out as soon as we are able. We could always just flip on a switch to make everyone attackable, but we really want everything balanced and satisfying as much as we can get them.
Pyye: A lot of this is not fully ironed out yet, but from the feeling I get, it will have a good mix of both. Personally, I would rather get lost in a challenging world of PvE with close friends. Occasionally, I do like to mix it up with some PvP action. With the concept of this game and what it will offer, I can see an exciting path to integrate PvP in creative ways, yet not losing sight on the PvE portion. And if you prefer just PvP, it will be expansive enough to do just that through max level. Should have a lot of creative options to get excited about!
Leksur: The wonderful thing about the team working on Defend the Night, is that everyone is exceedingly passionate about their own style of gameplay and have been open-minded enough to look at other styles as “What would entice me to try this?” No one believes DtN needs to be only PvE or only PvP and it’s been a refreshing and rewarding experience to listen to teammates consider both play styles when discussing an aspect of DtN.
Squishy: As you may be aware, modern gamers today are shifting towards a solo-playstyle. Will Defend the Night be friendly to that notion, or would you heavily incentivize the classic MMO Group-play mindset?
Scribbles: DtN will be concentrating on group-oriented gameplay. A player will be able to solo if their friends are not online, but they’ll just need to be more careful and their skill will have to increase to meet the challenges that come with a solo playstyle. In DtN you will want to consider a group first while adventuring, but you could get by as a solo player if you are willing to develop your skills.
Pyye: From a design standpoint, I feel there will be pockets of opportunity to solo throughout our entire world. But, those solo minded players will have to be willing to explore, die a lot, and figure out where those spots are. I can see a player benefiting greatly by having friends along, with different class abilities available to help them progress and survive and creating memories that will outlast DtN.
Leksur: As Scribbles said, DtN will focus on bringing people together. To help create shared experiences that are rare to come by as a solo player. However, that’s not to say you’ll be out of luck if your friends aren’t around or just feel like being a lone wolf from time-to-time.
Squishy: What’s your favorite aspect of MMOs?
Scribbles: Overcoming opposition with a group or guild of friends is probably about the best game memory I have. Whether it be forming up for a raid to race to a giant dragon, or to avenge your fallen friend on the PVP battle field. All these are something that gets me pumped and raises my blood pressure just thinking about it!
Pyye: They feel alive… plain and simple – and they should. That, to me, is why MMO’s are so exciting! You tap into the world and just see the real people surviving in it. That offers so many dynamics that a solo game just can’t. The interaction, aggravation, laughter, and ability to either lead others or follow someone’s lead, make MMO’s really stand out in the crowded gaming industry.
Leksur: The ability to team up with a few friends, and maybe a stranger or two, and take on a dungeon, has always left me with memories that I still visit on a daily basis. In fact, the vast majority of the people I care about today I’ve met while grouping or raiding in past MMO’s. Those people are not just friends, they’re my family. No other genre has been able to provide anything close to that.
Squishy: I know it might be too early to answer this, but what kind of payment model is Defend the Night gearing towards?
Scribbles: We would really like to gauge the market before we commit to a specific model at this time. We feel it’s simply too early to hard line towards one model or the other just yet. Best we can say is that we are discussing and evaluating the pros and cons of F2P (with a hard stance against P2W), a subscription model (similar to Netflix), or choose your own payment method (F2P with benefits to thank players for their sub).
Thanks again to NinjaLootGames for joining us and introducing us to the world of Defend the Night. We will continue to follow Defend the Night’s development. So stay tuned for more news!
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