Recently, the fine folks at Aeria Games invited us out to a demonstration of their upcoming action MMORPG, Scarlet Blade. At the event, Aeria Games’ Lead Producer was kind enough to answer our questions and give a little more insight into their exciting new title.
GC: What type of PvP modes will be available?
AG: So there are a number of different PVP modes. There are of course the 1v1 duels. We also have arena based PvP which can range anywhere from 3v3 to 160v160, so they get really big in scale. In addition to that, there is one area that’s kind of like the disputed zone, if you will, similar to other games you may have played in the past, where it’s just an open world PvP map. And players can go in and come out at any time. So there are mobs there and there are also roaming world boss mobs that have really nice loot drops. And there’s also kind of a big town castle siege kind of a system built into that where the faction that completes the castle siege and wins that battle is able to control that area and set tax rates and that sort of stuff.
GC: Will we be seeing a PvPvE system like in Aion where the Free Knights, Royal Guards, and Narak are all clashing with one another at the same time?
AG: Yes, that’s exactly the type of thing you’ll be seeing. In the arena based modes, it’s a little different. There are NPCs there that you’ll have to contend with but it’s one of those things that you’re trying to push towards the enemy faction’s base and there are NPCs designed to look like members of that faction that stand around and guard these treasure chests. So they’re big loot chests that you have to kill the other players to get to, then knock off the NPCs to loot it. In the open world PvP zone, the “third faction” kind of becomes apparent. This is the Narak, which is the overarching enemy from the game’s lore. They’re very present in the open world PvP zone and there a bunch of mobs and world bosses that walk around. There’s also a huge spaceship of theirs that is in the sky and has a beam coming down, so it’s pretty well done and very cool.
GC: So would you say the game is geared more towards PvP or PvE?
AG: PvP is a big focus. The PvP in the game is very engaging, it’s very solid. But one thing I’ve been really impressed by is the dungeon and level design of the game. The graphics are very good, but not so much in the graphics but in the way that the dungeons guide you through or there are different maze paths to take. The art direction in general is something I think you’ll find very impressive and because of that level of engagement, you find that the PvE content is very engaging as well. So is it more one or the other? I suppose it’s a little more geared to PvP, but the PvE content is exciting and it’s quite good.
GC: How large of a role are the mechs going to play in the PvP/PvE systems? Are they going to be more of an emergency use only or will the CP gauge refill quickly enough for liberal use?
AG: It’s not super liberal. Because the mechs are very powerful, your CP goes down quickly and you’ll want to use the mech not necessarily in emergencies, but that is a great way to use it. It’s a matter of strategy. You can use it right in the beginning and start blasting people or you can wait until someone uses theirs and then use yours to combat that. But your CP gauge does go down fairly quickly, so you’ll only have a short period of time, maybe 30-60 seconds depending on your character, to use your mech. If you die in PvP then your CP is filled to some degree so you can come back in from the portal and use it again. It helps the PvP stay balanced because if you’re on the losing side and dying more often, that means you’ll get your CP refilled quicker. You can then push back and forth and this creates waves in the PvP.
GC: What kind of a role will we see pets play?
AG: Pets are non-combat, they don’t directly fight. But they do allow you to slot in pet data chips that allow them to perform different functions. Fighting’s not one of the functions, but picking up loot for you quickly is a function. Because if you kill a monster and that monster drops loot on the ground, that loot belongs to you, but only for a short period of time before anyone can take it. They can also give you passive permanent buffs, like 10% to your evasion or various stats like that.
GC: I saw in the forums that players were curious about the status of their characters throughout the betas. It’s common for characters to be wiped at the end of closed beta and then stay through open beta. What’s the plan for Scarlet Blade?
AG: That’s a good question. I’ll need to check with my executive producer before I can commit to something. But it’s been standard practice at Aeria in the past to wipe after closed beta. I can’t say for sure that this happens with Scarlet Blade at this time, but that is standard practice at Aeria games.
GC: As far as the lore of the game is concerned, we have the Arkana and their handlers. Is it just assumed that players will be acting as the handlers for the Arkana?
AG: While in the process of localizing the game for the Western market, we’ve gone with the term “Commander” because we felt like that is more of a teamwork based name. That’s how the game is. You are the commander as the player and your Arkana is separate from you. You’re the commander, she’s the “avatar” if you will. And so she speaks with you, and maybe kind of flirts with you and jokes with you via dialogue in the game. While dialogue isn’t necessarily the most important thing in an MMO, I think many people can agree on that, the dialogue for this game was really well written. It’s fun, it’s funny, and sometimes kind of like WOAH! It can be kind of edgy because of the game’s mature nature.
GC: What kind of options are we going to have as far as character customization is concerned?
AG: Character customization once you’re in the game is very robust. Character creation in the beginning is very robust from the neck up. There’s a lot you can do with the colors like the lips, eyes, hair styles, and face. There’s lots of cool things you can do. Additionally, there’s six classes you can choose from at the beginning of the game that all look a bit different. So from the neck up, it’s very nice. From the neck down, not so much customization wise. However, each class does have its own look and feel to it in terms of body type so that may play a role in someone’s choice to play a class. Once you get into the game, there are a ton of cool gear sets that you can get from the various in-game system like drops. There are also costumes, some of which are available via the cash shop and some of which are available via boss drops or the battle points system, the dog tag system. Those can be available in-game in a number of different ways. In addition, there is also an underwear system. Outside of gear and costumes, your character also wears underwear beneath their gear and costume which can actually add stats to your character. Costumes are treated the same as underwear in that some of them will be available in the cash shop and some of them will be available via in-game drops as cool incentives for the PvP zones and things like that.
GC: In the latest preview trailer, there were several vehicles. How are we going to see those implemented?
AG: So every player gets a free vehicle as part of their progression in the game and that helps increase their movement speed. I don’t know that I have specific details on the rest of the vehicles because it’s still a consideration. We’re just in beta, so when it comes to the micro-transaction model, which is Aeria’s model, there are specific details that aren’t quite hammered out. We’re working with LivePlex, the game’s developers, to make sure the game maintains balance. We’re working out the details on that. Some items in the cash shop will be available in-game through the vending machines and systems like that.
GC: What kind of issues have you guys faced as far as censorship? I know you’re working with the ESRB and have received a mature rating, but in other games like TERA with their Elin race which has a younger appearance, they had to modify their character models for release in the Western markets. I see that your Sentinel class also has a very youthful appearance. Are you facing similar issues?
AG: We are proud to say that the ESRB rating for MMORPGs is a brand new thing. I mean, they just came out with this in November of last year. We’re proud to say that we want to be more responsible with the fact that the game is more mature, so we’re following those guidelines as strictly as possible which is great. And we were given an M rating, so the game certainly has its mature content.
For the Sentinel class in particular, this is one where the consideration of the Western market and the Western culture is part of it. Community feedback is also part of it. We want to make sure the players are very happy with what we’re doing as well. We’re finding the balance there and the Sentinel’s youthful appearance was a challenge. But I think, based on community feedback during the alpha and since, we’re making strides in the right direction.
GC: What are your current plans for endgame content?
AG: So a lot of the endgame content, at this point is PvP. There’s a lot of other cool content coming in the future. Obviously the game is very young and we’re just going into closed beta now. But PvP is a very big part of it. But in addition to that, there are many other systems to engage in where it can be kind of fun random stuff, repeatable quests, and dungeons. There’s cool stuff at the end of the game if you’re not much of a PvPer, you can kind of contribute to the game’s overall population and the game’s economy. Kind of how that all works is by doing dungeons and daily quests and other kinds of cool things. There’s other content coming a little later that I’m not really sure I’m able to talk about just yet.
GC: Will there be guilds for players to join and housing along with that?
AG: The guild system is pretty cool. There’s a lot to do with it that plays into a number of the different PvP systems in the game as well.
GC: As far as PvE is concerned, are we going to see the “holy trinity” as far as tank, DPS, and heals?
AG: The game did pretty well in PvP balance and I think that part of it is that you can realistically solo in PvE content with any of the classes. I mean, I know it’s kind of an outdated stigma of MMOs where if you’re a healer, you’re going to have a very challenging time soloing. Or maybe vice versa if you’re a tank, you’re going to have a really hard time soloing because you don’t have as much attack. There’s some balance mechanics built into each class that let you solo pretty well and that kind of ties back to the PvP thing where the perfect party or “holy trinity” as you’re calling it is going to be probably preferable to players, but play style is going to be a big part of it. It depends on if you want ranged or melee or stealth type of gameplay. Having a healer is important in PvP, I’d say, but it’s not the end-all, be-all because the developers have carefully considered balance while putting these systems in the game. We’re pretty impressed with it.
GC: So it falls more to the players and their abilities and if they complement a group rather needing a specific class?
AG: I’d say that’s kind of a more dogmatic/old school type of way of going at it. That’s not really the case. As this market ages and games grow larger and have higher quality, you’ve got to consider that maybe some of the old rules don’t necessarily need to apply anymore. I think that kind of flexibility is present in this game.
GC: Are there going to be different weapon types for the individual classes themselves? Based on your site, each character is going to have a unique primary weapon. Are we going to see any variations in those?
AG: I think that would be another, kind of deeper content question that I don’t have a specific answer for.
GC: Last question. What’s your favorite class so far?
AG: Whipper. I like Whipper. Whipper is cool. She’s agile, she’s fast, and she does pretty decent DPS plus she’s cute and giggly and kind of cool like that. Plus her mech design is my favorite. And while visuals and graphics aren’t everything, the mechs sure do look cool and the Whipper’s mech is especially cool. I’d have to say that I’m a little partial to Whipper, but when I was playing the game, I’ve also played the Punisher and Defender and enjoyed those classes quite a bit as well.
GC: Fantastic. Thanks for answering all of our questions. Scarlet Blade is set to enter closed beta very soon. You can sign up for it here. Otherwise, GamingClimax will bring you all the salacious Scarlet Blade news you need as it becomes available.