Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon0
I got the chance to speak with the good folks at NCSoft about their new Massive MultiPlayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPGMMORPG) Dungeon Runners. I would like to thank Stephen Nichols, the game’s producer-programer, for taking the time to answer my questions.
What is the background and setting for the game?
Stephen: The back story for Dungeon Runners is timeless. You’re new in town and you’ve heard about dungeons where you can gain power and riches. Sadly, there are monsters in the dungeons that stand between you and glory. The result? Kill the monsters and grab the loot! Have you guessed that story isn’t a large part of Dungeon Runners? In all honesty, there isn’t an overarching storyline or fiction for the world of Dungeon Runners. However, many quests that you can undertake do present their own mini stories for you to enjoy.
What are some of the player types and their abilities?
Stephen: Dungeon Runners currently supports playing as a male or female human. There are no special abilities for humans, except looking good! In general, there is one player role that Dungeon Runners supports… monster killer! As a monster killer, you have a wide assortment of abilities at your disposal. Feel free to cut, smash, whack, pummel, burn, freeze, poison, zap or confuse your enemies to death!
What are some of the weapons players will be able to use?
Stephen: Dungeon Runners has a large assortment of weapons to choose from. We have swords, axes, picks, daggers, wands, clubs, wrenches, pizza cutters and two-handed guitars… just to name a few. We add more and more weapons pretty much every month!
How will Player VS Player be handled in the release?
Stephen: The initial release of Dungeon Runners has no PvP support. Our July update will likely have our first pass of PvP implemented. Our first pass of PvP will be arena-based and instanced. Once we nail the balance issues for PvP, we’ll add more mini-games and rewards to enhance the PvP experience.
What game engine are you using for the game and what are some of the features it allows you to include that are new to the genre?
Stephen: Dungeon Runners is made with a custom game engine. It’s based on “synchronized simulation” technology which allows us to support a tremendous number of enemies with very low bandwidth requirements. We fully capitalize on this feature by swarming our players with tons of monsters. This isn’t your daddy’s MMO where you fight one or two enemies at a time. You will literally face 50 monsters at a time! It’s monster-smashing, loot-grabbing madness!!
In MMORPGs, the challenge is often to keep the game fresh for players after the newness of the game has worn off. How do you propose to introduce new content, and keep the game evolving to meet the needs of players?
Stephen: Dungeon Runners will be regularly updated. And I mean regularly! Our aim is to provide monthly content builds with major new features being delivered every two months or so. Each build will contain one or more of the following: quests, monsters, dungeons, weapons, armor, items or skills. As a Dungeon Runners player, you will receive new content regularly… you just can’t beat that!
With so many MMORPGs on the market and more coming, is it a challenge to reach out to new gamers, especially when many can only afford subscription rates to a few games?
Stephen: Of course! Getting the attention of players is a difficult job, to say the least. However, we feel that Dungeon Runners fills a unique place in the market. Dungeon Runners is free to download and free to play. This gives potential players a chance to try the game without spending a dime! Dungeon Runners is also a lighthearted game. We poke fun at ourselves and other games in the MMO space with reckless abandon. I find myself laughing out loud as I play on many occasions. Where else can you find a free to play, fun, lighthearted MMO? You can’t!
Can you explain the new approach to monthly fees this game will have and how it will work?
Stephen: You can always download and play Dungeon Runners for FREE! If a player likes the game, they can subscribe for a paltry $4.99/month… which gives access to more powerful items, login queue priority and the in-game bank! Paying $4.99 for a month of gameplay is a great price that nearly anyone should be able to afford. Heck, you can’t even rent a video game for two weeks for that price.
How is leveling and experience gathering handled?
Stephen: Leveling is pretty straightforward in Dungeon Runners. You gain levels by killing monsters. When you gain a level, you get some attribute points to spend. As you level, you can buy more skills to increase the power of your character.
What are some of the character classes and the strengths and weaknesses of the character classes?
Stephen: Dungeon Runners sports a classless RPG system… which means you can mix and match skills to make your favorite type of monster killer. This classless system determines your title based on what skills you have, your level and your attributes. However, when creating your character, you will be presented with three basic archetypes – Fighter, Mage and Ranger. Fighters are good at smashing monsters to little bits. Mages excel at burning, freezing or zapping monsters to oblivion. Rangers are really good at poisoning and filling monsters with arrows or shotgun shells. Take your pick! Advanced players can easily mix and match skills to create their own custom class. It’s a lot of fun!