RPG fans, rejoice! A Kickstarter project is coming to a close that could bring you a quick fix with your friends, that does not require huge time investments. I interviewed 10×10 Room co-founders Nick Branstator and Derek Bruneau about their game Conclave, and their vision for it post-Kickstarter.
Want to learn more about Conclave? We have our first part of the interview posted here!
P2R: Are there any aspects of Conclave that fall short of your aspirations? How would Kickstarter funding help bring them up to your goals?
Nick: There are many parts of the game we look forward to improving, as well as new features we’d like to add. The Kickstarter addresses all of most important of these. They include:
- Combat animations. Playing Conclave is a fairly static experience right now. We know it will be considerably more immersive once you see your Vanguard charge, arrows fly across the battlefield, and the earth erupt as you wield your Runecaster’s magic.
- Better performance, and particularly faster updates. We want the game to be as responsive as possible, particularly when a group of players are adventuring in realtime: you should see other players’ actions animate on the battlefield the moment they are submitted.
- Deeper group decisions. We want players to be uncertain of the success of any path they choose to take, weighing risk against reward – and we want their choices to have long term impacts on the story and their characters.
- Discoverable items. We like our current item system, with characters acquiring items from the Conclave’s Vault of Arms based on the Renown they’ve built up, but we want to supplement it with the fun of finding items on their adventures – items the Conclave does not own and may never even have heard of.
- Deep character customization. Today, every 4th level Trow Beacon is the same as every other Trow Beacon, except in name, portrait, and equipment. In the future, you’ll have some control of how your traits and skills improve, but most importantly you’ll decide which abilities your character gains as you level. We have considerably more detail on this topic in a recent blog entry.
- Music and sound effects. Sam Hulick’s going to take the fantastic “Turn of the Age” main track he has already composed for us, and build a complete sound track to the game. You’ll also hear Flame Blasts and swinging swords, and probably also some environmental sounds (falling rain, whispering gibberlings, etc.)
- Perhaps most importantly for many players, we’ll be doubling the number of quests available in the game. That means more gameplay, more character advancement, and the chance for us to flesh out and complete the first story we want to tell through Conclave.
P2R: Conclave’s visuals are reminiscent of actual tabletop RPG play. Is this done purposely, or are the visuals something you’re looking at upgrading at a later time?
Nick: Yes, but we would also like to make upgrades. Using tokens on a square-based battlemap makes the game that much more instantly recognizable to tabletop RPGers. However, there’s no reason those tokens couldn’t be animated, for example, or that the battlemaps couldn’t contain special effects like lighting and their own animations, other than that we haven’t yet had the time and resources to tackle these things. Just because the tabletop is visually static doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the digital medium to provide a richer visual experience.
P2R: Players may enjoy different aspects of the RPG experience. Besides combat, what other kinds of challenges or gameplay might appear in the world of Conclave?
Nick: When you are on quests, your party will repeatedly be confronted with group decisions: situations where the group must make an important decision which has nothing to do with combat. Perhaps you must find a way across a raging river, placate an enraged warlord, or infiltrate a guarded stronghold. Do you attempt to sneak past the guards? Fast talk your way in? Disguise yourselves? This is an aspect of the game we will be expanding a great deal after the Kickstarter, adding a much greater variety of possible outcomes – some with long-term effects on the story – and presenting players with difficult decisions where they must weigh risk versus reward.
Today, you also make decisions about the quests you wish to undertake, and how to spend the Renown you’ve accumulated within the Vault of Arms, outfitting your character for the next adventure. After the Kickstarter, we’ll also be adding discoverable items to quests, so you’ll have decisions to make about what to do with those as well.
P2R: Tell us a bit about the story structure of Conclave. Does it play out with a set course? Can I have a drastically different experience from someone else who plays?
Nick: Today, you can decide which of many quests to undertake at any given time. However, if you complete all the quests, your story experience will not be all that different from that of another player who has done the same: yes, you may have experienced some things in a different order, and you may have handled some quests differently, but the fundamental outcomes will be the same.
After the Kickstarter, we will be working to make it so the decisions you make, and your successes and failures, lead to substantial changes in the overall story you experience.
P2R: How can one support Conclave if they can’t back the project financially?
Nick: The most important thing to do right now is to spread the word about the Kickstarter. Tell your friends about us through your favorite social medium, blog, or forum. We’ve had a lot of great pledges come in from posts to popular gaming forums, and from people spreading the word via Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. You can also join our Facebook and Google+ groups from the front page of the Conclave site; that will keep you up to date on everything happening in Conclave, and it’s very easy to share those stories with friends.
You can also play, then give us feedback! We really listen to what our players have to say, and shape the game accordingly. Almost every feature associated with the Kickstarter comes from feedback given to us by players.
Get in on the fun yourself by visiting the Conclave beta. Look for further updates on Conclave soon!