Exclusive Interview with the producer of Shards of War
QUESTION: First of all, thank you for giving us the chance to interview you about Shards of War. Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to our readers?
Answer: Hi everyone! My name is Linda Doan and I’m the Producer on Shards of War.
Growing up in a house with 2 brothers, I started gaming at the age of about 4 with my Atari before moving on to the NES and every console after that!
I started in the industry in 2005 and my entire gaming career has been focused on the online gaming space. I’ve been lucky enough to have the privilege of working on a range of games varying from MMOs to DLC to of course, MOBAs.
QUESTION: How would you describe Shards of War to somebody who hasn’t heard of the game yet?
Answer: Shards of War takes the classic strategic depth and elements of a traditional MOBA such as lanes, jungle, minions and an enemy headquarters and combines them with top-down shooter, WASD controls to make it truly unlike any other MOBA out there right now.
With WASD controls, you have even more control over your Sentinel, being able to accurately control movement and direction as well as being able to fire or utilize your skills while moving.
Shards of War also takes you away from your runthe-mill fantasy MOBA and instead features a sci-fi dystopian universe and hard, intense and fast-paced 15-20 minute matches.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about the story of Shards of War?
Answer: Shards of War definitely has a very interesting story -it is set in the future, where Earth has shattered into multiverses, called Shards. There will be three Shards at launch, with many more to come in the future.
The first is the Prime Shard, a high-tech, futuristic world in which there are advances in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and more.
Then we have the Lockdown Shard where 99% of the population is locked away in city slums, forced to fight for survival.
Lastly, there is the Black Sun Shard which is a post-apocalyptic world fighting for survival after the sun has nearly gone out.
Portals have opened up amongst the Shards, linking one to another. The Sentinels are divided amongst those who want to close the portals and restore balance to the world as well as those who wish to conquer each of the other Shards, after conquering their own.
The futuristic setting really allows us a lot of creativity and fun in creating new Sentinels for Shards of War and figuring out what Shard they fit in as well as their backstory.
QUESTION: There are a lot of new MOBA around these days, how is Shards of War going to stand out in the genre?
Answer: Just from taking a look at Shards of War, it is really apparent that there is a different look and feel to it that makes it stand out against a lot of the traditional fantasy-based MOBAs out there. You won’t see elves and wizards casting magic but tough Sentinels coming from unique Shards, all packing a unique punch to them.
However, one of the most unique strategic decisions that set it apart is to take the elements that you know and love from your favorite MOBA but with the addition of WASD controls. WASD controls add in another layer of depth to the game and many new opportunities in terms of how you position your Sentinel or engage in team fights. Imagine being a tank, being able to quickly react with WASD and running in to body block shots for your carry. These are the types of opportunities we want players to be able to experience.
The game is also very fast-paced. We are targeting 15-20 minute matches and team fights are possible from Level 1. We really want to encourage players to get in on the action right away and to give you twice the action you would find in a MOBA in less than half the time.
With these unique combinations, we also think Shards of War has a lot of potential to resonate with shooter fans so we’re really excited to see how that community takes to this game as well.
QUESTION: We know that there is a crafting and an item upgrade system in the game. Can you tell us something more about it?
Answer: Sure! After every match, players will receive a war chest containing materials. There are five types of materials that can then be used to craft items that you can take into the battlefield with you. Alternatively, you can upgrade existing items into higher level items. We definitely want to stress that items can only be crafted and not bought to ensure that we keep things balanced and fair. Items, whether new or upgraded can then be taken into battle via your Loadout.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about the Loadout system?
Answer: The Loadout system is essentially a backpack of items that you can take with you into the match. Everyone will have a recommended Loadout to start but as you craft items, you can equip them into your Loadout to take into the battlefield.
There are 6 levels of items that you can unlock with up to 3 choices per item level. So for example, if I were a player, I might make a loadout set with 3 different focuses: offensive, defensive or utility. Depending on how the match goes, I can adapt my player strategies with the different variety of items I’ve brought in my Loadout.
With the fast-paced action in the games, we wanted to make sure we provide players with enough flexibility to customize their Loadout while not adding in too much complexity so you can focus on the combat.
QUESTION: Will the map have the form of a traditional three-lane battlefield?
Answer: Yes, the map will indeed have a three-lane battlefield as seen in traditional MOBAs as well as a jungle, with the most dangerous jungle minion being our version of the Dragon! Tame our most dangerous minion, along with help from your team, and see it roll down the middle lane from your headquarters, heading straight for the enemy’s headquarters to wreak major havoc there!
QUESTION: Tell us something about the available characters. Can you give us some examples about the different roles and the skills mechanics?
Answer: Shards of War starts with 10 Sentinels at launch with more to come. We have 3 archetypes that our Sentinels fit into: Attack, Support and Tank.
The characters are all unique in their own way and have very different play styles to suit whatever you like best.
To highlight a couple of my favorites, there is Striker who is our basic, well-rounded attack character. He has a roll that can be used both offensively to chase someone down or defensively as an escape to get away.
I’m also really proud to say we already have a couple of really different but equally strong female Sentinels.
There is Valkyrie who is a sort of female general. She commands a helicopter that rains aerial strikes on your enemies, which is pretty cool.
On the other side, we also have Gemini for those who prefer to play Support. Her specialty is two drones that always have her back whether it comes to crowd control, dealing damage or helping out with a heal.
QUESTION: Will you implement a cash shop into the game? If so, what will you do to keep it balanced and fair? What can players expect to find inside?
Answer: We will have a cash shop in the game that is available for those that would like to spend money - however, that is completely optional and a personal decision that we leave up to the player.
I really want to emphasize that our number one goal is to create a game that is fun and fair to all players, regardless of whether you choose to spend money. It’s important to us that we create a good experience for everyone and that core gameplay will not be affected whether or not you are a monetized paying player.
A few highlights of what you can find in the store are, of course, the ability to purchase Skins which give your Sentinel a more distinguished look on the battlefield. These, of course, don’t affect gameplay in any way.
We also offer Premium Accounts that give you an XP boost or the chance to exchange one material for another; additionally with the Premium Account, you can collect Skin vouchers – collect enough vouchers and trade them in for any skin at no additional cost.
Last but not least, if you would like more war chests in addition to the ones you gain simply by playing the game, you will be able to purchase some in the store. These are the exact same as the ones you receive in-game, making sure that we have a fair balance there.
As you can see, with the exception of Skins which is not necessary for gameplay, things like XP boosts or chests to unlock materials can also be gained simply by playing the game.
QUESTION: Would you describe Shards of War more as targeting casual players of a hardcore crowd?
Answer: When we created Shards of War, the goal was to make a fun and accessible MOBA that anyone can enjoy. We never had the intention or said to ourselves that we only want to make this game for this specific niche or that specific niche.
There are definitely a lot of attractive elements in there that we think will appeal across a wide variety of players.
QUESTION: Are you already thinking to jump into the e-Sports scene? Are there plans for tournaments and competitions?
Answer: There is definitely potential for e-Sports in the future but our main goal right now is to build a fun and stable game, build up a community, see what the feedback and interest is from the players and then that will help shape the future of the game.
QUESTION: When can we expect to see the closed and open beta phases? Do you already have a release date?
Answer: Players will be able to play the game starting in mid-October!
QUESTION: Thank you for all your answers. Would you like to add anything?
Answer: Thanks for everyone’s time in reading this! We have been hard at work on Shards of War and we hope you will find the game as special and fun as we do. Look out for us on our Forums, Facebook, YouTube and more and can’t wait to see you on the battlefield! BP_MsSassyClassy at your service! Over and out!