Insights into the gameplay, mechanics and vision underpinning the upcoming immersive MMORPG.
Exciting Takeaways From Our VIP Fractured Online Preview
Ahead of the Fractured Online closed beta, we were given an inside scoop into what players can expect from the dynamic upcoming MMORPG Fractured Online. We were fortunate enough to get a VIP guided tour from Jacopo Gallelli, Dynamight Studios’ co-founder and CEO, as well as Wes Connor and Ashton Thorsen, gamigo’s Executive Producer and Associate Producer, respectively.
Overshadowed by some other major releases such as the sensation that is Lost Ark, Fractured Online hasn’t had all the media attention it deserves. Having spoken to the minds behind it and been granted a sneak peak ahead of the closed beta, we’re now of the mindset that the title has a lot of fascinating original ideas and a great deal of potential.
Nobody has ever done the depth of city management in an MMO that we’re doing.
What is Fractured Online?
Fractured Online is being developed by the Italian, independent Dynamight Studios and will be published by stalwart of free-to-play MMOs, gamigo. Originally a kickstarted title, Fractured Online launched its alpha back in 2019. Three years of hard work later, and they are ready for their closed beta to begin.
Fractured Online will be one of only a few isometric sandbox MMORPGs on the market. And when we say sandbox, we mean, sandbox. Almost everything will be player run, player made, and/or player managed.
It is being built on the cloud-based world-building platform, SpatialOS. The developers argue that through SpatialOS, they will not only be able to create a gigantic seamless world, but they will be able to grant players unprecedented control over it.
Unlike gamigo’s other titles, Fractured Online is taking a decidedly darker approach. During their surprise reveal, gamigo released a thrilling range of trailers that wouldn’t have been out of place in a horror game.
What makes Fractured Online so Exciting?
Marketed as the dynamic MMORPG, the Fractured Online team has the vision to take their unique concepts to another level. While the following plans have now been delayed, they one day hope to achieve the technically challenging feat of creating environmental elements that are fully manipulatable by player actions. For a taste of how this could develop, imagine controlling the winds to knock down buildings or redirecting rivers with water magic to drown your foes.
The developers argue that through SpatialOS, they will not only be able to create a gigantic seamless world but they will be able to grant players unprecedented control over it. And environmental manipulation to the side, the MMORPG still has bold ambitions for its USP of dynamism. Combat, economic systems, character progression, trade, supply, and the very civilisations of Fractured Online will be determined by player actions.
So what are Fractured Online’s Key Features?
Three Races, Three Planets
One of the ideas that intrigues us most about the title is how Fractured Online divides its races. Whereas in other games, your race is largely a superficial factor (with maybe a few unique quests or dialog options), your race in Fractured Online fundamentally affects your gameplay experience. Really.
Each race starts on a different planet with its own terrains, resources, and skills. Getting between these worlds is no simple or inexpensive feat. Most races will spend the vast majority of their time on their own worlds. But here’s where it gets really interesting, each race’s world has its own PvP rules.
The race of beast-like wildfolk live harmoniously and will only have consensual PvP. The world of demons will be the most hardcore, with full loot and full PvP (à la Mortal Online 2). Humans, by contrast, will be masters of their own destiny – will they pray to an evil god and become criminals? If so, they will likely end up paying the price in one of the player-constructed prisons.
What makes this dynamic particularly interesting is that players will have to abide by the rules of the planet they are on. If a peace-loving beastman visits the demon world, he will have to be prepared to live as a demon does.
Asteroids will be small, temporary, procedurally generated maps featuring open PvP. Members from each guild, race, and nation will flood to these asteroids hoping to capture their control points and rare resources.
A Progressive Progression System
MMOs can handle progression in a multitude of different ways. Fractured Online opts for a knowledge-based progression system built largely around skills and abilities rather than traditional classes. Should a player wish to be a hyper-specialised competitive class who can explore endgame content, they could achieve that in a number of weeks. But if they dedicated serious amounts of time to the game, it’s possible that they could unlock all skills and abilities in the entire skill tree – making them a jack-of-no-trades, master-of-all.
Equally interesting is how players unlock these skills, i.e. from the world and foes around them. For example, should they kill enough bears, they might unlock a sweeping “bear strike” skill.
Cities are run almost entirely by players, led by the cities’ chosen governor. They in turn will be part of broader nations. These governors will have a lot of control over how the cities are run, much more than in games like New World, where the city management system feels all too preordained and linear.
In Fractured Online’s city management, governors will dictate a city's direction, the resources it will specialise in, the buildings that are constructed, decisions on defences, and of course, taxation. Governors might choose to tax residents, citizens, and visitors at different rates.
Should tensions rise or greed overcome the leaders of these cities, there are a number of hostile actions that they can take against other player-led cities. As well as raids, the most exciting of these is a siege. Think of sieges as Shadowbane-style city to city conquests, complete with trebuchets and catapults that must be painstakingly built and transported.
Aside from some pretty epic sounding 30v30 PvP warfare, the preparations for war will also be fraught with tension and strategy. Should the trebuchets be taken through the main paved roads or the slower safer back roads? Will the enemy try to cut off our supply lines or steal our materials to weaken us in combat? Perhaps they will steal the very catapults themselves and use them against us.
There are plenty of lesser Fractured Online concepts that excite us too:
- Having to rest to memorise new abilities like attuning to an item in D&D
- A sophisticated trading system
- A knowledge points system that incentivises the exploration of the landmass
- Adverse weather events with impactful consequences
- Hybrid combat that fuses the styles of Diablo and League of Legends
The team still has a lot of work to do, including the construction of the additional planets and subterranean dungeons. But rest assured we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Fractured Online closed beta to see how things develop.