PvP and Strongholds: The world of Dawn of Fantasy

29 Sep 2011  by   Paul Younger
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This week IncGamers caught up with Reverie World Studios  Konstantin Fomenko, CEO, Game Producer & Director, behind the PC strategy title Dawn of Fantasy which offers a mix of city building and strategy gameplay both on and offline.
Our chat with the Konstantin Fomenko, CEO, game producer and director at Reverie, covers the inclusion of single player and MMO elements in the world of Dawn of Fantasy, the history of the studio and the extent modders can go in crafting their own world.
Dawn of Fantasy was released this week on PC.
IncGamers: Tell us a bit about Reverie and the team behind Dawn of fantasy?
Konstantin Fomenko: Reverie World Studios is a new PC game developer based out of Toronto, Canada. With a mix of talent and developers who have worked on past AAA RTS titles including Empire Earth, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, and Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War, Reverie World is extremely proud and excited to enter the genre with one of the first ever MMORTS titles.

IG: How long has the game been in development?
Dawn of Fantasy has been in development for roughly five years. Some of the concept was based on an earlier game started at the studio, but the bulk of the design work was done over the last three-four years.
IG: Dawn of Fantasy is being described as an MMORTS so how does that actually work and how persistent is the game?
KF: Dawn of Fantasy will feature a single server for all players with opportunities for Player vs. Player field combat, stronghold battles, and alliance-building at every turn as players seek to dominate the game world of Mythador. As for persistency, your kingdom will remain virtually as you left it the last time you changed. Your units will still be spaced how you had them, any techs you researched will carry over, and your customized stronghold will be just as you left it, awaiting your command.
However – your economy and resource will continue to grow, as will anything you tasked before signing out. Even when a player is offline, their homeland will still be in development with the worker units still gathering resources and finishing constructing any buildings tasked shortly before logging off.
IG: As far as the game world of Mythador goes, it appears to be pretty large so how will control of the world map work in the MMO elements of the game?
KF: The World Map serves to link together each of Dawn of Fantasy’s instanced maps. Given the size of the world, there was no away around instancing, but the World Map gives players a second view mode from where they can move their armies from place to place to complete quests, explore new regions, and trade with other strongholds.
Armies in the World Map have a number of multiplayer capabilities not featured in the Homeland views, including being able to scout the nearby terrain to find other player armies, trade armies, and homelands to siege. Another cool feature is the ability to designate a World Map army as an “Army for Hire,” which allows that army to be called upon to help a nearby army under attack that requests an ally – a great way to meet new friends in the game!

IG: As well as the MMO game features, Dawn of Fantasy also includes a single player mode called Kingdom Wars so how does that differ from the online features?
KF: Kingdom Wars takes the epic siege warfare, continuous army progress, army construction, and World Map from the massively multiplayer ‘Online Kingdom’ mode and pairs it with an intelligent AI, while leaving out city construction, economic micromanagement, and story-driven quests to promote fast-paced action at every turn.
Kingdom Wars may feel similar to the Online Kingdom as AI armies will attack your strongholds and seek to wipe you from the map just as you plan your own attacks, but it plays more like a sandbox (albeit a very difficult sandbox) as armies can consist of units from all three playable races and units keep the strongholds they siege rather than just looting them.
Apart from PvP and questing, players will find pretty much everything the Online Kingdom has to offer in the Kingdom Wars mode, but it will likely be simplified – for example, instead of individually tasking units to gather resources, players can macro-manage worker units straight from the World Map. I personally find Kingdom Wars to be a great training ground for Online Kingdom-style combat without the high stakes.

IG: The game is obviously a mix of city building, resource management and strategy so how much of a part do each of these play in the overall experience?
KF: Obviously you won’t get far without a strong homeland and a thriving economy, but both of these elements are designed to be more in the background. A lot of your time in the early game will be spent on construction and tasking your worker units, but after that, they can be left more on their own.
Workers will continue to build and gather resources even if you log-out, so the main thing to check up on is to make sure you have no idle workers and no resources have been depleted. After that, these elements are pretty easy to manage while you shift your time to combat and quest completion, although you will still need to check back periodically to ensure that your homeland isn’t gathering more resources than it can hold.
IG: The game features three races, Humans, Orcs and Elves, which are all stereotypical fantasy races. Did you play around with other race ideas when developing the game and why did you settle on these three?
KF: We originally had a number of races including dragons, amphibious creatures, and minotaurs. But these races never got beyond concept. As a new studio, we wanted to start small and work our way up, so we picked the easiest three races to start with and plan to add more later on, but wanted a strong foundation to work with. All the same, we tried to branch beyond the stereotypes with these three races. Each has their own culture and traditions, as well as very diverse playstyles. The Orcs and the Elves also have their own languages, sprinkled into the quest dialog.
Reverie recently announced the Dawn of Fantasy editor (which is available now to beta testers), what can players expect from that when it’s released? We are guessing that  anything created with the editor will be available only in the Kingdom Wars mode… or will creations work in the Skirmish mode also?
KF: Custom scenarios have their own mode from the main menu. At release, only single-player scenarios will be supported, but we hope to support multiplayer scenarios soon after. DOF features an extremely powerful editor, and players will get to use all the tools that were used to create every Dawn of Fantasy scenario, including the 3D World Map. So I’d say anything is possible, and I am personally really looking forward to seeing what the new designers make with it.
I can foresee a lot of really epic stronghold and map designs for the first month before designers get comfortable with scripting triggers. And after that, I’d say the editor caters to skirmish and RPG scenarios, but I could see anything from platform-type games to feature length movies. We hope to ease this learning curve with plenty of documentation and tutorials, and have plans underway for some early scenario design contests.

IG: With the editor the game is obviously highly modable but how far will creative gamers be able to go with the editor?
KF: Creative gamers can do just about anything with modding, but the clever designer can get just as far without modding. While I’d love to see an army of robot unicorns battling our dragons, non-modders will still find an unlimited sense of sheer creation power in the Editor. For example, designers can change unit stats, blend terrains to create something entirely new, edit effect objects to create realistic volcanoes or waterfalls, and even create custom towers, bridges, and staircases that are entirely usable yet designed with seemingly random objects such as stacked crates or bricks. And all of this can be done with absolutely no modding and no triggers.
I’m on Reverie’s Marketing Department, so I have little to do with design, but I still find myself being constantly pulled in by the editor to create Minecraft-style creations and new fantasy worlds.
IG: Visually the game is pretty stunning with rolling landscapes and amazing looking strongholds. What has been the inspiration behind the design of the game world?
KF: While it’s tough to single out any individuals in a small team, I’d say the state of our level design today is a testament to our fantastic team of writers. We really didn’t have any limitations on creativity when designing environments and strongholds due to the enormity of the game’s lore. The level designers and writers worked together every step of the way to ensure a certain smoothness to the game world.
For example, the level designers had an awesome idea for a stronghold built high atop a precipice standing over a large body of water with rapids rushing into the mouth of the town and spilling into a seventy-foot waterfall. It was a nice concept, but alone, it had no place in the game world. So the mappers met with the writers who immediately referenced the legendary king Akkanar and were able to tie in the new stronghold by elaborating on an existing chapter of lore.
IG: With the game being only a week away from release now, is there anything you would have liked to add into the game that just didn’t quite make it?
KF: As Dawn of Fantasy was Reverie World’s first project, we did naturally start off with a super ambitious concept, so not everything made its way into the release. Two features that were cut along the design process were naval combat and magic. But I am happy to announce that both of these will be making their way into the game soon enough, combined with other goodies such as new homeland regions and quests, in the form of modestly-priced DLC packs.

IG: What are your thoughts on the current state of PC gaming?
KF: I think PC gaming is shifting in its direction, which personally I welcome whole-heartedly.  We are seeing less of the big-budget games with emphases on graphics over gameplay and more of indie games and other extremely creative and original titles that leave you with more than just a pretty picture. The market for PC gaming is becoming increasingly diverse with ambitious new studios all challenging themselves to create something that has never been seen before.
IG: What’s makes Dawn of fantasy stand out from the crowd? What is the one feature you think gamers are going to love about Dawn of fantasy?
KF: Instead of any single feature, I think Dawn of Fantasy’s most appealing feature is simply its myriad of features. With four game modes as well as custom scenarios, three complex quest-based campaigns, 13 fully explorable regions, a DLC shop for a continuous supply of new content that can be purchased with in-game resources, and a million ways to play, Dawn of Fantasy truly has something for everyone.

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