Faxion online is a upcoming unique MMO that offers combat driven gameplay set against the classic struggle between good and evil or in this case, Heaven and Hell. This free-to-play MMO will offer non-stop action as well as a robust PVP system. Currently, the game is in open beta, so head on over to their website to sign up.
Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with Mike Madden, Creative Director at UTV True Games about Faxion.
So tell us a little bit about Faxion?
Mike Madden: Faxion Online is our first internally developed product. Faxion is a persistent world MMORPG, build for the competitive player. Players will choose to join the armies of Heaven and Hell, and fight over key locations in the world of Limbo. Each Territory players can fight over is represented through the manifestation of one of the seven deadly sins.
How did the idea of this game come about? The theme of Heaven versus Hell is definitely intriguing, what made you want to go with such a storyline?
Mike Madden: Actually it was presented to us as a concept that the company was kicking around. While we did not agree with the initial design, we really liked the idea for the setting. We also knew it was a chance to have some fun and not take religion and death so seriously. So we felt we could take a more “Family Guy” approach and really just take it all over the map in terms of religions, sins and other death related topics.
Faxion will cover the more serious aspects of Heaven and Hell and the Seven Deadly sins, can you tell us more about what that entails?
Mike Madden: If it’s too serious, then we failed! Heh.
While we certainly would love people to be introduced to a new religion in the game, by no means are we trying to educate people on one religion versus another. Giving player a few new jokes to use throughout life for various religions, yes, learning actual useable facts to make educated decisions about religion? Hell no…
We wanted to be sure to have a good time and really find ways of introducing players to the religions we are all familiar with, Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Muslins. At the same time there are some fringe religious groups and cults that offer us just as much if not more material. Scientology, Pastafari and even some cults like the Branch Dividians from our backyard of Waco Tx.
Now the game will focus on PVP and territory control, let’s start with the PVP aspect. What will make the PVP in Faxion stand out from other MMO PVP?
Mike Madden: I think players will find quite a few things that will make the PVP in Faxion stand out compared to other games.
One area we as players really wanted to address was how stale combat can get. We wanted to increase the overall player movement and use of the environment when fighting other players. One thing we do to encourage this movement to our combat, is we use a series of ability cool downs to mitigate how often an ability can be used, and not the traditional casting bar. The majority of our attacks can be cast while on the move. This delivers a natural ebb and flow to the experience.
We also have our multi-classing system which does not dictate what you play as a character. Its freedom of character creation really adds to the mix of PVP, when you just can’t be all too sure what your enemy may decide to use against you.
The other thing we allow is that you can start PvPing as early as you want and you can progress through the entire game solely through PvP. Fighting other players (of the appropriate levels) will not only grant you experience but also item drops.
Can you give us some insight on how the territory control part of the game will function?
Mike Madden: The META game at play is each army is trying to claim and maintain control over the seven deadly sins. With each gained for a faction, they get closer to a total victory, which results in a final server wide event.
We always want players to be able to find a fight so territories will be open for conquest at various points of the day. During this window, players will be fighting back and forth over control points within the zones. We will be offering many familiar capture mechanics to start, with many diverse and exciting new ideas on the way. King of the hill and capture the flag, along with some interesting combinations and new mechanics, will demand teamwork and strategy to deploy a good offensive or defensive strike on any given control point.
Can you give us some info on the three worlds, heaven, hell and limbo?
Mike Madden: As much as Heaven and Hell are present in the game, the adventuring begins in Limbo, which is offering a very diverse set of locations and challenges. Each location of Limbo is representing one of the seven deadly sins. This really gave our artists and designers a much wider palette of both color and locations to work with. Forest and Canyons, Mountains and swamps, each location is going to offer the player visual differences that we find compelling and fun to play in.
Our Heaven and Hell are bringing classic views to life, but we have a few things up our sleeves as we move forward. This is an area we are already planning to expand into and really playing around with the various thoughts and visions different cultures and views of life bring to both Heaven and Hell.
The concept of death, heaven and hell, and even limbo all reside within Faxion Online. To us, Limbo actually exists in no particular band of time, but rather through them all simultaneously. Each religion, each period of history all eventually end up in Limbo, which is what makes up the bulk of the world players will initially explore. Each war represents the struggle for the living on a single planet or plane of existence. With each victory, the fate for that planet/plane is decided, and the endless battle continues on with the endless worlds of souls to fight over. Each player upon arriving from their own mortal demise is able to reach glory in ways they could not have dreamed.
What classes will players get to choose from?
Mike Madden: The class system in Faxion does not limit nor define what you are or do. Your first class choice simply starts the journey. Players will make choices limited to their initial class selection to start, but soon find the shackles are thrown off and they are free to take on a second class type of their choosing. We use a point system, where players receive ability points with each level earned. As it stands now in Open Beta, once 30 points are spent you can choose a second, and at 60 points, choose a third.
It allows you to craft your character the way you want to. A good example of this is say you want to play a “traditional” cleric. You can go two routes in Faxion; either start as a Crusader and multi-class by also buying Guardian abilities or do the reverse. Since the cost to train abilities is different based on what is your starting class, the individual who starts as a Crusader will probably be more melee-based while the other will be more of a healer… but both will be capable in melee combat and skilled in the use of magic. Even then, two players who start as a Guardian and take Crusader abilities may be vastly different because they have purchased different abilities.
That is just part of the fun, customizing your character to fit your play-style and wants.
Can you tell us about the character customizations and abilities?
Mike Madden: We have a solid customization system now, where at creation the traditional choices apply for face, hair, skin tones and such. We are constantly looking to expand in this area, as we feel people always like to try and match to something in their minds eye. The more options and choices we can offer, the closer we allow them to get.
With abilities, we actually take things quite a bit further. We have over 150 abilities in the game across all of our classes. Each ability also offers a total of 10 ranks that can be achieved. Ranking abilities is an online or offline advancement track and is really the crux of our investment in the character.
Each rank is offering an advancement to the ability it is tied to. As an example a rank 1 fireball is pretty straight forward, but at rank 4 it may get a Damage Over Time (DOT) component added to it, increasing the effective use of the ability. So, it’s not just a statistical change in that it costs less spirit or can be cast quicker, its more about adding new function that may alter the way it’s used at all.
Experimentation is fun and something we want to encourage players to do. Happily we are seeing this get confirmed in our BETA testing.
Everyone hates the grind in MMO’s how is Faxion eliminating that aspect of MMORPG’s?
Mike Madden: Master the game not the grind is a mantra we had when we first spoke about character progression, and it became a constant for us throughout development. When we sit down to play any game, we are doing so to get entertainment, not a second job or a list of chores. If we look at other game genres and platforms, the grind feeling is not nearly as prevalent. But, for some reason, MMOs consistently deliver this feeling of work in order to have fun.
We wanted to shift this mindset, and allow players to enjoy the game experience when they sit down to actually play. Crazy concept, I know, but from our internal testing it’s working.
We are doing this in a series of changes to some areas of the game, like offering offline advancement. In addition we are really not putting the time sink into the actual levels, since so much of it is based on the ranks themselves. We really want to get players leveled quickly so they can get into the action and have lots of toys to play with.
Was there a specific MMO or perhaps aspects of different MMO’s that inspired the creative and development process behind Faxion?
Mike Madden: One of the bigger things that bothers most of us is how a single MMO demands players to not play any other MMO at the time. So it was not so much a single mechanic as it was creating a game that you can compete, at a high level and still continue to play other games and MMOs alongside Faxion.
While I can easily say every MMO has something to learn, be it from its mistakes or from its victories, it would be unfair to them all to say only one inspired this game over any other.
What aspects of MMORPG’s did you want to focus on with Faxion the most and which did you want to avoid at all costs?
Mike Madden: One goal the team has maintained and held true, is not allowing any player to “buy a victory” due to any RMT model. We adapted a “Time versus Money” concept early and look to apply it at all layers of the game. In a competitive PVP game, having the guy with the biggest wallet, automatically win just sucks. Hell he already has a bigger wallet and is winning in life with more cash! The rest of us want a shot to kick his ass too.
So basically, if you have the time Faxion is a true free to play experience with no blocked content. However if you do not have all the time, a few purchases here and there will allow a part time player to compete at the highest levels.
How will loot and progression work in Faxion?
Mike Madden: We like giving away treasures! Players can get loot from questing, PvP kills, PVE kills, Epic Encounters (non instanced of course), Territory Control and a number of alternative ways. We have a complete equipment system allowing players to adventure for or purchase varying styles of armor to best reflect their vision for a character.
In addition, we offer wings as an equipment slot, allowing players to find and or purchase some of the more defining pieces to an equipment set.
Tying this system back into our ability ranks, players will need to rank their armor ability, which unlocks the function to equip the varying grades of armor, from uncommon all the way up to artifacts. All in all it’s a system players should be familiar with, but still find some fun things to tinker around to create a look they are happy with.
Can you tell us about the guild and social aspects of Faxion?
Mike Madden: Guilds are critical to us as gamers and as developers. While we have basic levels of support for guilds to form and communicate, we are ever expanding not only the management tools of guilds, but also the meaning of guilds within Faxion.
A guild is so much more than a label that floats 6 inches above your characters head. Guilds are a source of pride, a family in this world that you can rely on, and most importantly they provide just as many fun and funny moments in any MMO that a designer could never implement.
We want to embrace the above, by giving them things to call their own, to build and grow, and ultimately defend from others trying to take it or destroy it. This is a part of the game we are looking at expanding now as we sit in Open Beta, working with the players and asking them directly what they require and want from a guild in Faxion.
Everyone always asks so we will as well, whats the endgame and raid content going to look like in Faxion?
Mike Madden: It’s going to look a lot like a big ass war.
Without instancing, even our epic boss encounters can turn into large factional wars. While the endgame is not entirely in play as of yet, part of that is due to us wanting to be sure to build it for what the players want from it.
Any endgame content, whether it’s a crafting system, a raiding system or some other game function, it’s important to us that it always feed back into creating and expanding the conflict in Faxion. Even dungeons can and should have elements of competition with guilds of the same faction, alongside the faction war that is always present.
Guild versus Guild or Faction versus Faction, players will find a break from the war, but never fully escape it…
What is the testing and beta process going to look like and when can fans get a test run of the game?
Mike Madden: We are now in open beta and invite everyone to come in and check out the game at www.faxiononline.com
We are actively working with our Beta Testers to highlight what they would like to see us focus on, while we continue to improve on what exists.