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Ballardia is a new softco born from Dave Barton, former Chief Game Designer at Jolt Online and designer of the Jolt/Activision Legends of Zork game, and Kulpreet Singh – former CTO of Jolt Online. World of the Living Dead is their first browser based MMO and we told with them about zombie apocalypse, surviving and permanent death ..
MMORGITALIA: Hardcore PVP means that this game is not for casual gamers?
WotLD could be called hardcore because the combat is part of the game and will have a real effect on your chances of survival. It isn’t in an arena where all is forgiven at the end. If another player attacks you, they can kill all your characters and steal items and equipment from the corpses. This might scare some gamers but it also means that your decisions really matter. Attack someone to steal their supplies and you might make an enemy for a very long time…
MMORGITALIA: Could you explain better the “character needs” feature ?
Each character in WotLD needs food and liquids to survive. Food is measured in calories, liquid is measured by volume. If a character gets no food for a day, their Hunger will increase. If they get no liquid, their Thirst will increase. Once either Hunger or Thirst reaches 100%, the character will die. This is based on reality so it only takes a few days to die from Thirst, a few weeks for food. You really need to make sure they get something to eat or drink almost every day.
You have to manage supplies very carefully. If you don’t give a character any liquids for three days, it will take three days of drinking enough for them to get back to zero Thirst. You can’t just give them extra liquids to magically restore them to full hydration. And being hungry or thirsty makes a character more likely to get injured or killed.
Food and liquids can be scavenged at thousands of locations in the game, but once the supplies are gone, they will never be replenished, so you might end up having to trade with another player – if you can find someone to trust!
MMORGITALIA: How does the character’s progression work?
You earn Survival Points by scavenging, rescuing survivors and from other activities in the game. SP can be used to increase the skills your characters need to stay alive. Lose a character and you’ll lose some of the SP invested in them, so it’s a good idea to protect your most developed characters.
There is also player progression, which unlocks features such as different safehouse types, extra squad slots, player titles and other advantages. These persist even when all the characters die or when you’ve lost all your Survival Points.
MMORGITALIA: What kind of combat the game will have?
There are two types of combat in the game. Combat against zombies happens whenever your survivors move through an area of z-density. Z-density was the term used by the in-game National Emergency Control & Relief Agency (NECRA) to indicate how dangerous a city block is, although no one is quite sure whether NECRA still exists. Many factors are taken into account to see how many zeds a squad kills, including their fear, fatigue, hunger, thirst, weapons and skills. Characters can also be injured or killed as they move through dangerous blocks. And remember, when a character dies, they’re really dead. You can’t just press a button and respawn your favourite survivor – although you can be assigned fresh survivors if you lose everyone.
MMORGITALIA: Sandbox features: what kind of skills the player will have?
The player develops in terms of unlocking safehouse types and upgrades to safehouses, so that your strategy can really change over the course of the game. In the first few days it might be a real struggle to find enough to eat and drink for three people, by the time you get to be able to build a Survivalist Compound, you might be in charge of dozens of survivors and be planning raids on other player safehouses or organizing a faction to clear your own area of zeds. With over twelve thousand kilometres of Los Angeles County already available, there are a lot of zombies to kill – over 9 million, in fact!
Some testers have already started organizing trade routes and working out ways to exchange goods in safety. So there’s plenty of potential for many different styles of gameplay.
MMORGITALIA: What kind of differences will there be between smartphones and PC versions?
We want to make the game fully playable on smartphones and the iPhone, so that it’s the same game wherever you play it.
MMORGITALIA: What kind of end game the game will have?
We don’t plan on enforcing an end game, but want to simulate how an apocalypse might develop over a long period in a fully persistent world. Eventually the game will expand to cover more parts of the US and hopefully the world, so players can test out their survival plans in different areas.
In terms of a fully developed player who has reached a very high level and explored most of what the game can offer, we hope to continue providing content in the form of a background story that develops over the course of many months, and have a roadmap of features that should keep the game challenging for everyone.
MMORGITALIA: Could I have a personal party of characters instead of the classic one? Could i play with only one character?
We don’t yet allow personalization of characters, although you do get named characters with their own occupational history, and you can write a bio for them which allows potential for roleplaying.
Playing with one character is certainly possible in the game. It has some advantages in that the zeds are less likely to notice your single survivor, but you don’t have much backup if things go wrong.
MMORGITALIA: Bonus cards in WotLD.
In-game collectible bonus cards are in the form of NECRA infocards. These were distributed by NECRA during the entire crisis and there are well over 100 to collect. Infocards are not lost when a character dies, so you can try to collect them all.
MMORGITALIA: Factions in WotLD
Players can create or join factions in the game and set their own goals or try to be the best in the rankings. We’re got some plans for faction-only missions and features, but we want to keep those back until we expand the beta.
MMORGITALIA: The game will be free to play with item shop?
WotLD will be completely free to play, with useful items available at a very reasonable price. Premium items will be limited so that there is no risk of players feeling that they have to pay to compete.
MMORGITALIA: Could you talk about other features that we forgot to talk in the previous questions?
Fear: this plays a big part in managing your survivors. You have to make sure you don’t order them into a situation too dangerous for them, or you’ll see their levels of Fear shoot up. Developing combat skills and finding better weapons makes it easier for them to cope with being surrounded by the living dead.
Fatigue: your characters gain Fatigue as you move and as you scavenge, so it’s essential to make sure you don’t tire your characters out before you find enough supplies for them. Scavenging in difficult locations can really wear them out.
Achievements: we already have several achievements but we have dozens planned, with rewards for everything from combat to survival, so there will be plenty of challenges for every type of player.
Realism: we use a heavily-modified Google Maps interface to allow SCUGS (the Survival Cell User Guidance System) to plot routes around the zombie-filled streets. Locations and numbers of zeds are based on census data so we have tried to create as authentic an experience as possible for survival horror fans, including real-world weapons, items and lootable buildings.
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