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Codemasters belated entrance into MMO's is nearly upon us as TVG sits down to chat through the finer points of RF Online...
RF Online, the forthcoming MMORPG epic has gripped over 1 million players in the Far East we are informed by Codemasters. RF Online certainly looks a stylish game with its great presentation, backdrop story and setting. Derek dela Fuente eagerly presented Michael â??Zzenoâ?? Rowland, Community Liaison Manager, for Codemasters Online Gaming with a long list of questions which resulted in a very detailed insight into the experience on offer.
Please tell our readers about the team creating the game - what has inspired RF Online and what the team have worked on before?
The developer of RF Online is CCR Inc from South Korea. This highly talented development and publishing house is one of the largest in South Korea and have had a number one with RF Online in the MMO market plus a number of hit titles within the online browser space too, such as Fortress 2 which you can read about on the CCR website, of course to read up on CCR you may need a crash course in Korean.
How focused is the team in meeting any needs of UK/European gamers and do you see any real differences between the European and US market and could you offer a reason why MMO titles has still not captured the attention of the UK market yet?
The team based at Codemasters is very experienced in the world of MMOs. During the set up of the Codemasters Online Gaming division we did a lot of research into the MMO market space and got some very valuable feedback from the public. Gaming in general is an ever-changing media with new consoles and gaming platforms circulating in and out of the market place. PC gaming has been at peopleâ??s door since the beginning of time it seems, and has revolutionised the type of games available and also finding its niche in certain genres. MMO titles bring a different gaming experience to players, and are a hugely successful and growing market. Games such as World of Warcraft have been a huge factor in enlightening gamers to this once geeky (even for a gamer) type of game. The freedom of gameplay and depth of gameplay that MMOs provide is a key factor here. The communities formed around the titles are evidence that these types of games appeal and are drawing in more players from around the World, including the UK.
Tell us the basics along with the innovations of RF, what some of the aims are and how you see RF and what it offers against many other MMORPG and especially its appeal for Korean gamers?
RF Online stands out more from the typical MMOs that you will see out in the market. Your typical MMO is often set in a fantasy-based genre with elves, orcs, and magic or follows a strict Sci-Fi theme with intergalactic travel and futuristic weaponry. RF Online brings these genres together for the first time in any MMO, and the mix follows an intriguing history and storyline.
Our aim is to bring this mix to the Western market using the talents of the East, renowned for their quality MMO games, and taking the new and old breed of MMO gamers to the next level of gaming.
The game offers a great PvP system but takes this a step further with Race Vs Race Vs Race system. When you join the game you join a nation, fighting and supporting your race as you progress through the game. What you do can directly reflect back on your race, from altering the economy, to winning battles for control over mining areas, to actually leading your race into battle. Each individual makes the whole!
I guess this aspect of the game stands out in the Korean market where honor is a part of the culture and builds up camaraderie among races. I also think the hulking battle mechs appeal to them too.
Please tell our readers the setting and story for the game and the kind of progression the game offers in both diverse competition and the kind of customisation on offer?
RF Online is an epic mix of traditional fantasy MMOG mixed with unique futuristic sci-fi action to bring an entirely new and original take on the existing MMORPG genre. Set in a deep space galaxy known as Novus, you can take your pick from three all-powerful warring factions, leading your character into the final battle for total control over the entire Novus Sector. Choose from either the Bellato Union, taking control of individual robot battle units like never seen before within any MMOG, Holy Alliance Cora, the mystical and fantasy orientated race utilising the power of magic, and finally, the mighty Accretia Empire, a futuristic alien race intent on spreading destruction across the entire sector with their advanced weaponry systems.
The Novus Sector on the far edges of the galaxy lays home to our warring factions. The center of which, lies the central planet Novus. Once a peaceful place, years of battles and greed now show their toll on this once beautiful planet, a planet that happens to be rich in essential resources. Home to the Holy Alliance Cora, Novus is rich in a particular number of ores which can be used in the creation of special talics that are mounted on weapons, armour and magical staffs. These ores are high in value throughout the galaxy and a key drive for the impending turmoil that will ensue.
The Accretian Empire follows a totalitarian regime where goals are for the Empire, a thought that is embraced by its followers. There is no feeling when it comes to the destruction of other races and for good reason, for the Accretia are a race of mechanised units with a materialistic thinking. The Accretia are proud to be the strongest and most formidable race in the galaxy, and are proud of the huge weapons they have created to kill men, women and all things living. Their need to expand to the further reaches of the universe to become even stronger is paramount and a key driving force to their being. This has inevitably led them to the Planet Novus and the arcane civilisations it plays home to.
The Cora Holy Alliance is a spiritual civilisation with a firm belief in religion and the magical arts. Though the history of the Cora has been built on religious wars, which has created multiple states and nations, the country is strongly unified through its core religious beliefs. The Cora people, united as the Holy Alliance, now battle for their survival using the magical powers drawn from their spiritual beliefs, and traditional weapons blessed by their god, Disem.
The Bellato Union utilise machines and some magic in their culture. Renowned for their great mechanical minds, intelligence and hand-eye coordination, the Bellato can construct huge armoured battle mechs and weapons to use in the war. Though they are physically strong and intelligent, the huge gravitational energies from their home planet have left the Bellato with smaller builds. The Bellato are experienced traders and their financial minds and greed have driven the need to extend out to other planets, to colonize and claim resource. To expand to the rest of the universe, the Bellato have to ensure that the Novus Sector doesnâ??t fall under the supremacy of the Accretia or Cora. This desire to expand and grow will no doubt leave the galaxy engulfed in turmoil and chaos.
Progression from the game comes from the players own gameplay approach and the unique way each player attacks the story laid before him / herself. Players choose which skill paths they wish to follow and are able to concentrate on 1 area or multi-skill in a number of talents and abilities.
Please tell us a little more about how the factions differ in terms of gameplay actions - their skills and abilities?
The three distinct races have very unique skills and abilities from one another, The Accretia Empire is a mechanised race of robots with advanced technology at their disposal and this can be seen in the weapons and armour that they use in the game. Unlike the other races, the Accretia donâ??t use magic as they are a mechanised race and hence not very spiritual, believing that all magic is unlawful.
The Cora are very different. A spiritual and religious race, the Cora embraces the power of their god, Disem, and have disciplined themselves in using the power of magic to defend themselves from the invading armies. With different branches of magic at their disposal, the Cora has a number of abilities that can be focussed through targeted training.
The Bellato use their engineering skills and belief in magic to create equipment, weapons and armour to use in the war for resource. Their ability to adapt and resolve problems allows them to create unique weapons, merge skills and fight on a level playing field against the other three races.
Could you Expand please on the gameâ??s advanced combat system/s?
The gameâ??s high-end combat is a key feature and driving force for many players. Without giving too much away the high-end weapons that each race has is unique to that race, though not necessarily a necessity for all players following a different career path.
Each race has its own unique weapon and this is a brief explanation of each of them. For more detailed info you will have to wait and see. The Cora using their ability to draw power from their spiritual teachings can summon up powerful entities that have unique skills in combat.
The Accretia use their advanced technology and manufactured mechanical bodies to create a launcher weapon, using their own bodies as platforms for these weapons.
The Bellato using their engineering skills have manufactured huge battle units or mechs to you and me, which can be upgraded with different classes of weapons.
More details on these units will followâ?¦
How technology focused is the team creating the game? Graphically the game looks impressive. What 3D engine are you using and can you also discuss some of the technical features of the game?
The engine is actually developed in house over in South Korea by CCR. Being a Korean title means that the design of the game has to take into account the low level systems that are used in various LAN Cafes and households, so minimum specs will be pretty low. But as you can see from the screenshots, the engine also allows for high-end systems to shine and has a full range of graphical loveliness you would expect from a modern game. The shots that you have seen were taken on my PC, which is a P4 2.4 GHz processor, 1, Gig RAM, and an ATI X800 XT Platinum Edition Gfx card.
Can you tell us the starting scenario for the game and a couple of the first few objectives for the player and the kind of early rewards for success?
As with all MMOs, you will log in and set up your own account and presented with a launch station. Here you will have the option of selecting your very own character, selecting the race that interests you most. Select the class and characteristics you want and enter the game.
To begin with you will be presented with a short tutorial on functions, keys and more to help you start your career with your particular race choice. You will be informed of quests that need completing to progress your character level with tips on locations and rewards for successful completion of quests. You will of course start close to the starting area but you can travel anywhere to explore. Be warned though that the local residents may not take too kindly to you.
With each kill you will find loot from weapons to armour to other useful items. You can keep these or exchange them for credits with traders. You will get random updates from the race leader on your progression and on global events. It is up to you how you progress with these.
Beyond this, there opens up many more quests and opportunities. To find out more about the path ahead, take a step further into the RF Online world.
How big is the world and can you explore easily and how are you encouraged to constantly battle?
The world covers a number of large continents from the starting areas to the areas surrounding them. With updates we will open new areas to explore and adventure in with an eventual plan to expand to other parts of the solar system.
Travelling from city to city, outpost to outpost and continent to continent is very simple. You can run if you like to explore, but if you are in a hurry there are teleporters in all the major hubs that you can use for free. If you wish to travel in style, you can also use the regular shuttles that fly from the major cities.
The PvP system is a major aspect of the game and a core element to how the games economy and gameplay function. Every 8 hours there is a major battle in the central mining area where all 3 races meet, all in a bid to win control over the mine area. The victors can then mine as much ore as they can in the remaining time, which can then be refined and crafted into weapons, armour and magic talics, these can be added to improve stats on items or sold for large profits. The mine wars have a knock on effect to the game economy, which uses trading figures from NPCs, numbers of players in the race and other factors to create a stock market system. Again this is another aspect of the game for players to experiment with and use.
Can you tell us about the gameâ??s interface and how interaction works in the game and the kind of views on offer?
The interface uses a very familiar system used in a lot of MMO titles. RF does have the added extra features from a top down zoom out feature that allows you to zoom out, and observe the battlefield from an RTS game point of view. There are maps, bags and skill trees to follow, as well as trading windows, party grouping and guild features. If there are specific questions your readers would like to ask then please feel free to pop on over to the RF Online forums over at Codemasters and post up any questions.
What will be the fee for playing the game? Will it be a one off purchase or game or monthly fee?
There will be a box product to buy and a monthly fee will apply after the first month, which will be free. The subscription wonâ??t be any greater than the current charges out on the market.
TVG would like to thank Michael Rowland for providing an insight into RF Online. Codemasters foray into the world of online gaming after a lengthy attempt with the cancelled Dragon Empires is due for a UK release in Q1 2006; weâ??ll have further information soonâ?¦
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