Saga of Lucimia Interview with Executive Producer Tim Anderson

Saga of Lucimia is a game attempting to bring back the old school nature of MMORPG’s, complete with mandatory group testing and massive story arcs that will take weeks to complete. We sit down with the developer and discuss their plans and goals for the game that almost seems too good to be true. We sat down to talk about the future of Saga of Lucimia with Executive Producer Tim Anderson.

 

So you’re looking to create an old school game, what are your influences? Will there be elements from games like Everquest or Ultima Online?

Dungeons and Dragons takes the topmost spot on the list of games that influenced our development. The game started out as a D&D campaign back in the late 90s, and evolved over the years since then. When we started looking at developing the books and stories into a game, that’s when we started looking at the games that most heavily formed our concepts of MMORPGs, and that’s when we get into EverQuest, Ultima Online, Vanguard, and the Elder Scrolls series, just to name a few.

Folks who are familiar with the original golden era EverQuest will be familiar with the sandbox environment with no mini maps, no glowing trails leading you from point A to point B, optional quests, and no glowing icons over NPC heads, while players who remember Ultima will find the skill-based character development familiar.

Epic questlines make a return, and we’ve got an internal mandate to make no quest that is of less involvement than the Shawl and Ring quests in the Velious expansion of EQ. No single-serving, rinse-and-repeat questlines here. It’s all about The Epic Journey That Cannot Be Done Without Friends And Allies.

The long-term campaign setting is the core of our game: The Fellowship of the Ring on their journey to Mordor; Jason and the Argonauts on their voyage to get the Golden Fleece; Captain Reynolds and the crew of the Serenity on numerous adventures; Zeus going up against the Titans with his fellow Olympians. Ours is a game where alliances and friendships with a core group of adventurers who are your family and friends are the most important aspects of gameplay, where community and getting along with your fellow players to achieve common goals IS the only objective of the game.

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One of the problems with games that try to bring back ‘hardcore’ has always been player retention, how do you plan to keep the player’s attention?

It’s impossible to retain someone’s attention with single-serving questlines and content that you can burn through in 3-4 weeks and suddenly find yourself max level. There’s zero immersion, zero need to rely on others and build relationships and friendships, and zero investment on the behalf of the player. Thus, there is never any attachment to the character, never any bonds formed between players, and nothing to keep them playing past that initial burn of 3-4 weeks.

I don’t know where the misconception started that our game was “hardcore”. We hear it a lot from people. It’s not. Group-based gameplay does not = hardcore gameplay.

My wife isn’t a gamer. Most of the development team have children. We’re in the “casual” bracket of folks who play 15 – 20 hours a week. So we get it: people don’t necessarily have 40+ hours of time to dedicate to a game. We certainly don’t, despite coming from raiding backgrounds during our teens and early 20s when playing 60 hours a week was a given.

But just because a game has group-based content doesn’t make it hardcore.

I played EverQuest for seven years. EQ2 for around the same before it became a single-player, free to play mess. The community and the group-based gameplay and challenge is what kept me involved for all those years. Now? I can’t play a game for more than 2-3 months before I’m ready for the next thing, because they are designed to be single-player games where you can burn through the available content as quickly as possible to appease the instant gratification generation, and then a few months later it’s time to go play the release.

Community will be the first reason people want to play our game. Beyond that, there’s the lore of the world, and a chance to build yourself up from scratch. You aren’t The Chosen One in our game. You aren’t the precious flower. You’re a nobody. A nothing. A Worm under the boot-heel of Fate. You want to become a hero? Get out there and EARN the right to wear that badge of honor. Join a guild, create a guild, be the lone wolf who is known as the best tracker/hunter/animal tamer/crafter that groups HAVE to have in their party when they go out on adventures, or just roleplay.

BECOME the hero. Just remember: it’s earned, not given.

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What is your definition of ‘old school’ for this game? What kind of mechanics can we expect to see?

No mini maps. Zero quest hubs. No glowing icons over the heads of NPCs telling you who to talk to. No glowing reticles on maps showing you where to run. No glowing reticle on the ground telling you where to jump when a mob is doing an AoE; you’ll have to figure it out through trial and error. You’ll have to hail NPCs and talk to them, and read the text rather than spacebar-spam your way through, because hints to locations and quest objectives are written in the dialogue, not automatically updated into a quest tracker.

No ability to tell if a mob is too tough for you. The only way you’ll know is to hit it and see how hard it hits back. Can’t do it with 3-4 players? Come back with 5-6. Still not enough? Get a few more skill points under your belt. Come back and try again with 6-8 people. Still can’t do it? Start a raid.

Group-based gameplay and player interdependence. Crowd control and utility. There won’t be any bum-rushing camps of mobs and AOE DPSing them down into the dust with every player configured for max DPS burn. Here, if you over-pull, you die. Especially in the earliest stages of Volume I before players start earning Relic gear with healing or casting abilities on the items, and can only heal outside of combat with bandages and poultices.

You’ll have to plan your pulls, and every single member of the 8-man group has a role to play when it comes to locking down mobs, snaring mobs, mezzing mobs, stunning mobs, and funneling them down to the party tank(s). From there, it’s all about the group working together to whittle things down until the enemies are destroyed.

There won’t be any leashing in our game, and mobs can and will run and bring others to the fray. It’s kill or be killed. Either you kill it, or you make it to the zoneline, or you die.

Hunters & Seekers. These are packs of mobs and large individual mobs meant for multiple groups that will roam the zones seeking out players. They won’t have set paths; they will wander all over the place. Plan on going AFK for 15 minutes while out in the wild? I suggest you watch The Revenant and watch what happens when a pissed off bear gets ahold of you.

You cannot and will not win every battle. The odds are never in your favor. Strategic retreats and running for your life are absolutely a part of the game.

Camps & Caravans. Your backpack is only large enough to hold a handful of things. You get one of them. You have a weight limit. You can’t stuff 15 halberds into your 10 different 50 slot bags. That’s what a wagon (or multiple wagons) is for. You’ll need crafters to build the wagons, and keep them repaired. And mounts. And pack mules. And horses to pull the wagons. Those need to be tamed. They can die. And can’t be rezzed. When Hunters & Seekers are on your tail and you’ve got a wagon-load of loot from a 6 week adventure, do you turn tail and run, or stand your ground and defend you prize?

Corpse runs. If you die, your gear stays on your corpse. Don’t worry, though. We’ll be letting players pick your corpse up and move it with them back to outposts. And you better hope someone in the party has a Relic piece of gear that allows for rezzing!

Darkness: it means something in our game. You can’t see what you can’t hit. Literally. Players will have to worry about light sources at night, in the depths of forests, and in dungeons. You also won’t be able to see mobs outside of your character’s range of sight, regardless of your clip plane. In the darkness of a dungeon? There may be something creeping just out of the edge of your torch, lantern, or magical staff…but you won’t know until it attacks.

 

Something I’ve noticed in modern MMOs is people saying they don’t feel like they matter anymore, do you feel as if you can remedy this in Saga of Lucimia? Will players be able to make a difference in the world?

To some degree, players will be able to change the landscape of the game. Live events are planned, and participation in these events will have a direct impact on the game world and the players around you.

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The page for the game states that there will be no solo quests, does that mean you won’t even be able to leave town on your own?

Players can always head out into the immediate wilds with a small group of three or four players (or maybe even a duo in the case of those players who are well-geared and are working on slightly-lower-than-them content) and accomplish small tasks with micro sessions of 30 minutes to an hour of gameplay. Things like gathering mats for crafting, or working on the small-group components of questlines.

This is a group-based game that centers around community. That means being an active part in said community. There are multiple ways to find groups. There’s the forums, of course. And local chat. But also the in-game bulletin board system in the taverns within cities and outposts. Players can post job-wanted ads, or looking-for-more adds, as well as guild recruitment posters. The former won’t be server-wide, but local only, while the latter are planned to allow for server-wide placement.

We’re also looking at having some form of a Volunteer Mentor system in the game, with players who actively help others who are either new, or maybe just aren’t as outgoing as others. Think the Mentor system in FFXIV, but more like the old-school Guides in EverQuest.

But no, there are no plans for any type of content designed with the single player in mind, apart from crafting and roleplaying.

 

Will the different races be able to communicate with one another? Will there be any kind of a language barrier?

At launch, everyone is human. So they all speak the common language of the realm.

That being said, as you adventure into the wilds you will absolutely come across languages that you need to learn in order to progress through the lore of the game and, should you decide to pursue quest lines apart from simple adventuring, you will need to pick up languages in order to complete quests and unlock flagged content.

As other races are added into the game over subsequent volumes, their individual languages will be added in the same way that EverQuest implemented languages.

 

See more of our interview with Saga of Lucimia Executive Producer Tim Anderson on page 2.

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About Rissa Trent

Rissa grew up on a farm, playing shareware games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Operation Comat, Solar Winds, and Kingdom of Kroz. Later she would dabble in Real Time Strategy games, and eventually left home to go on a cross country adventure of self discovery where she found out absolutely nothing. Today she works as a copywriter and games journalist.