We recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Nival Games, the development team behind the upcoming MOBA/DotA-like Prime World. While the Russian market has been able to play in the open beta for some time now, US gamers will have to wait until it hits our shores later this year. Perhaps the most interesting scenario this title presents are the cross-platform capabilities, as mobile iterations are currently in development as well. Let’s see what they had to say:
A mobile game is in the works as well. How does this play into your strategy for the PC version of the game? Does your time and effort in the mobile version carry over into the PC iteration in some form or another?
We are building a new Prime World universe, which includes not only a PC game. We are going to launch several mobile titles, we have two books already published in Russia, and many other ideas how to make Prime World more exciting. This strategy means that we have to create different gameplay options for various devices. To make this universe consistent, we are working on integrating all the projects – tablet versions of Prime World will provide bonuses in the desktop version, and vice versa. At the same time, we do not want to lock out people, who do not like gameplay – all mobile games are completely playable standalone. This is especially important to engage casual gamers.
Castles seem to be an interesting feature to include in a MOBA arena. Players can build their own to create new talents and equip heroes for the upcoming battles, but do others ever get to see yours castles as well?
We are making a social game: a place where people will communicate with old friends and find new ones. We are discussing this feature from the very beginning, and it will definitely be included at some point. Unfortunately, we are not ready to give any ETA for it. However, we have many exciting ideas that will make playing Prime World with friends more fun.
The focus behind Prime World is on PVP combat, but it obviously encourages cooperation between others, as victory relies on a team winning, and not individuals. Aside from this, what else do you have in place to encourage cooperation and communication between players?
It really matters who you are playing with. This idea was behind all the game features we introduced – we wanted to make playing with friends as easy as possible. We are now using Facebook Connect to reach people that are already in Prime World, team them up and go into the battle together.
Our castle is not just a lobby and starting point for the battle – it is a full featured economic strategy, where friends can help to improve castle efficiency.
We are also reaching out to casual gamers with our mobile titles, making them are integrated with our main desktop game – there are game bonuses available from friends playing on tablets and smartphones.
You are taking a very innovative approach by actively encouraging females to play by offering perks such a defensive buff that is only activated when a woman playing a female character is a member of your team. I see that this is done through Facebook verification – the first time I’ve seen this in anything other than a browser based game. It seems to have sparked some debate on various forums, but I only see it as a positive thing, encouraging and supporting women who play games. How did you make the decision to take this approach?
Gender-based benefits were in Prime World from the very beginning – we wanted to make Prime World accessible and exciting for every player, regardless of the skill, age or, in this case, gender. Relatively inexperienced players will find these abilities very helpful while they learn to play, and more developed gamers will use them to their strategic advantage. We wanted to encourage female gamers to engage in rather hardcore game – we really miss them out there.
MOBA types tend to be a bit daunting for newcomers, as it has a rabid fan base of experienced players, in addition to detailed skill trees and confusing mechanics. What do you have in place which will make novices more welcome?
We have an elaborate matchmaking system, which puts together teams of roughly the same skill and level. We want to be sure that hardcore players will never play with new gamers. Earlier this year we announced a tutorial mode to allow newcomers to learn basic game mechanics and strategies, we also have training sessions with NPC’s – fast battles to try out a new hero or set of talents. The castle also makes learning easier by providing a safe and calm place to understand how different talents work. Our mobile games are also an easy way to engage in Prime World, I we firmly believe that many casual gamers will want to try our desktop game after they play it on their tablets and smartphones.
There is a beautiful terrain altering mechanic in place that I’ve noticed in many videos. How does this work and what is its purpose?
This is one of the basic mechanics of the game, which is essential to win the battle; we call it Terramorphing. It really matters in Prime World who controls the terrain – it could be native, neutral and hostile. These types of terrain can augment heroes’ abilities – they will be more powerful on the native terrain. There are certain strategic points on the map – flags guarded by turrets – that should be captured to secure team’s control and convert the terrain to native and proceed deeper to the enemy territory to destroy the main base.