ZMR Interview with Developer Matthew Denomme on Game of Drones

Zombies Monsters Robots, perhaps better known as ZMR has never been known for being super serious. In fact they seem to inject just the right amount of humor into everything they do, usually expressed through promotional material and the names of their updates. The upcoming update which will introduce drones to the game is no exception. Game of Drones is set to introduce drones, five new maps, and a whole lot of other updates and changes. We sat down with Matthew Denomme aka Denommenator, the Producer of ZMR to get the details on what we can look forward to in Game of Drones.

 

Hello! Thank you so much for taking time to answer these questions. Please tell us your name, what you do on ZMR and your favorite game mode.

My name is Matthew Denomme (or “Denommenator” in-game), and I am the Producer for Zombies Monsters Robots (ZMR) at En Masse Entertainment. My favorite competitive/PvP game mode is King of the Hill (two teams fight over a moving capture point) and my favorite co-operative mode is Threshold Defense (prevent oncoming enemies from reaching a portal on the map by fighting back and setting up various defences).

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With this new update you’re adding a drone system, which will obviously change the way people play the game. I’m going to ask the most obvious question: can I turn it off, or play on a server where it’s disabled?

Drones are AI companions that follow the player to provide support and backup. While they are helpful in a bind and might help you push through a tough wave, they alone aren’t powerful enough to guarantee a win at higher difficulties. You can think of them like a mobile version of the deployable turrets already in the game (but with a little more character).

Drones must be equipped manually like weapons and gear. If a player doesn’t want to play with a drone, they can simply not equip them. Players can still be matched with players that have drones equipped, however. If a player does not want to play in a group with drones enabled, they can play on a solo channel or create a password-protected room to organize a game with other players who do not want to play with drones equipped.

A drone-restricted channel or room option is a great idea though, and something I’ll look into. This could be great for players seeking an increased challenge.

 

There are four drone types and four attack types, can you tell me a little bit about the attack types?

Four drones will be added in the “Game of Drones” update: Gatling Gundrone, Thunderdrone, Lazerdrone, and Dragondrone. Each drone differs in both appearance and primary attack type. The Gatling Gundrone does low damage per hit, but has a high fire rate, making it ideal for dealing with crowds…and it’s especially effective against airborne enemies. The Thunderdrone fires grenades in intermittent, high-impact bursts that can damage multiple enemies at once. This make it effective against larger, slow-moving mobs. The Lazerdrone fires, well, lasers, and targets a single enemy for high-damage. It’s a great all-purpose companion. Finally, the Dragondrone fires electric bursts that can deal damage over time. It sits somewhere between Thunderdrone and the Lazerdrone in terms of damage and fire rate. It also looks damn cool.

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What modes will the drones be available in?

Drones can only be equipped in co-operative/PvE modes. This includes: Assault Ops, Paranormal Ops, Extinction Ops, Threshold Defense, Kill Everything, Assault and Massive Assault modes.

Drones cannot be equipped in competitive/PvP modes, to maintain game balance.

 

Drones can earn experience, so if a drone kills an enemy for me, do I get a portion of the exp, or does the drone get all the glory?

Both players and drones will earn experience upon successful completion of any co-op map.

 

How do you keep some players from having an advantage by earning drones faster than others?

Players will unlock basic Mark I drones at the same rate. The Gatling Gundrone Mk.I is unlocked at level 1, the Thunderdrone Mk.I at level 10, the Lazerdrone Mk. I at level 20, and the Dragondrone at level 50.

 

Players can unlock drones, but are there premium drones available for paying players?

There are also Mk.II, Mk.III, and Epic class drones that are different colors and have higher base stats, and you players can earn those through various means.

Mk.II drones can be purchased from the store directly, but they are also a prize in the silver Shooting Gallery. Mk.III drones are unlocked at levels 67, 68, and 69, but can also be acquired through the Gold and Platinum Shooting Galleries. Epic drones drop only from the platinum Shooting Gallery.* Drones Mk.II and above can also be obtained from a paid item called a “Drone Case.”

*Silver, gold, and platinum bullets can be earned by completing maps at varying difficulties. These bullets can be used in the Shooting Gallery to receive a random prize.

 

You say that we can customize our drones. Does that extend to the loadout, and can we give our drones custom paint jobs? Actually, can we name them?

Drones have their own loadout, similar to the loadout that players use to equip weapons and gear to their character and mechs. From this loadout, players can slot skill mods into their drone (unlocked through play or purchased from the store), that grant their drone passive perks like the ability to drop an ammo pack while in battle, or the chance to deploy a protective force field on the player character when they take damage.

Unfortunately, drones cannot be directly painted at this time, though different colors  are available. Drones also cannot be named, but that is a feature I really enjoy and am pushing for it with the developers.

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Will players have direct control over their drones?

Players do not have direct control over their drones while in battle. Drones stay close to the player in battle and provide support automatically. Players can control how their drone behaves in battle, though, by improving their abilities and collecting skill mods.

 

Moving past the drones, can you tell us about the new maps?

“Game of Drones” introduces five new maps in total. One map is co-operative only, two are PvP only, and two support both co-op and competitive modes.

“Occupied Earth” is a lengthy and challenging Assault Ops campaign that has players battling through the streets of a city completely overtaken by the Dominion (the extra-dimensional invaders).

“Guillotine” is an expansive map with multiple levels, functional elevators, and trap doors that supports both co-op and competitive modes. I anticipate it will be a popular PvP map due to its size and complexity.

“Chopping Mall,” as the name suggests, takes place in a shopping mall overrun with Dominion forces. It features multiple levels and long sightlines, as well as many small rooms to hide in. This map also supports PvP.

“Rundown” is a medium-sized PvP map that takes place on a city street, complete with a moving street car that can mow players down if they’re not paying attention.

And last, but certainly not least, is “Charnel Halls”—the second map to debut in ZMR’s exclusive Mercs vs. Monsters mode. This map spans two floors and will challenge players to adopt new strategies using the more than 20 playable classes available in this mode.

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You mention an overhaul of the reward system, how will the rewards will be more meaningful for players?

We’re really proud of the work we’ve done on the leveling rewards and player progression in this update. Up to this point, the rewards unlocked by players for reaching new levels were largely throwaway and not very impactful or meaningful. Players earned new permanent weapons every ten levels, but apart from that levelling wasn’t very rewarding.

This update changes all that by offering meaningful rewards at every single level from 2 to 70. (Players get a base loadout of weapons and gear at level 1.) Players will now earn more than twice as many weapons through levelling, they’ll unlock drones, and (this is a big change that you’re getting the exclusive scoop on), permanent weapon modifications.

This is a big deal because, prior to this update, weapon mods could only be purchased and unlocked in temporary durations. Now, in this new update, players will unlock permanent weapon modifications at just about every level that will incrementally improve their weapons, contributing to a real sense of progression and player empowerment.

 

Why the decision to finally add a CTF mode so late in the game?

Player demand contributed to this decision. Capture the Flag mode was available in versions of ZMR published in other territories. We chose not to launch with CTF because we already had a ton of different modes available—and we worried that it might fracture the competitive player base too much. Players became aware of CTF mode and demanded it be added to our version, so it was an easy decision. We’re always happy when we can support something our players are passionate about. CTF mode is available on thirteen maps in total, including the new Chopping Mall map.

 

Can you tell us what other changes have been made that we should keep an eye out for?

We’ve added a selection of Assault and ZK weapons that deal additional damage in co-operative modes to the Gold store (gold is ZMR’s earned currency) and the silver Shooting Gallery. This will make these weapons much more accessible to new and more casual players. We also made items like Revive Tokens (which allow you to respawn in co-op) and support turrets (that regenerate ammo or slowdown enemies) available in the Gold Store as well. Finally, we’ve also improved the rewards in the gold and platinum Shooting Galleries so that players will earn better prizes overall.

“Game of Drones” is ZMR’s biggest update yet and will put forth a much-improved gameplay experience for players of all levels. If you want to jump into ZMR, now is the absolute best time!

I’d like to thank you and your readers very much for taking the time to learn more about ZMR’s “Game of Drones” update. We encourage everyone to head to www.playzmr.com to download and play the game for free. Also, please check out our official subreddit at www.reddit.com/r/ZMR! The En Masse Community Team and I browse the subreddit on a daily basis and interact directly with players there, so we are always excited to welcome new members!

Our thanks to Matthew and the ZMR team for taking the time to answer our questions. Game of Drones will launch on April 14th.

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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.