Revelation Online Developers Talk Design Concepts

Revelation Online‘s English Community Manager, Kaeden, brought us the first part of a two-part series intended to give us insight into the developers’ thought process yesterday. Kaeden starts out by saying that the developers designed Revelation Online with ‘players’ needs in mind’, and then goes on to ask, “What is an MMO?”

“Each MMO is like a rebirth. It is a world, a life, where you encounter a different version of yourself and others. Extraordinary MMOs must create a complete world waiting to be explored; in this world, the enjoyment comes not just from excitement or having your senses stimulated or even having fun battling with others. What’s important is that this world is a utopia that we long for, one that surpasses reality.”

Games in general offer us an escape from reality, whether that be physical sports, family board games, tabletop RPGs, or video games. MMOs offer us more than an escape, though. They bring us the opportunity to create ideal versions of ourselves based on their heroic archetypes and form friendships, animosities, grudges, and sometimes even lifelong partnerships with complete strangers from all around the world.

Creating a new, virtual paradise has more than its fair share of challenges. With Revelation Online, the developers aim to give us not just a social network to play a game with, but rich lore to draw from and a massive, beautiful world to place our heroes in. Stunning vistas are found almost everywhere, even in the most mundane of locations. The scale of the world is large, and makes us feel small – Something that was intended.

“When you’re in this world you can’t help but feel small, and thus you have a desire to explore it more. … On the small scale there is every NPC you meet, the various maps, quests, races, organizations, monsters, adventures and different styles of gameplay.”

NPCs in Revelation Online are like those found in other MMOs. You’ll be given fetch quests, kill quests, and in general be given the run-around all over the world, sent from tiny raccoons to clockwork scarecrows to elf-like fish people. But what sets Revelation Online apart from other MMOs is that we’re also given completely optional cutscenes and dialogues that give insight into who these NPCs are and why we should care about them beyond the juicy, delicious experience and items that they provide.

Scattered around the world, (available once reaching level 49) are NPCs with cameras or clouds over their heads, and each one has a story to tell. NPCs serve as a direct link to the world; They’re often the first things players encounter in a game, and they’re the ones that educate us about their universe. In addition to the richness of Revelation Online’s NPCs, the amount of quests that we’re offered by them is staggering.

Some players may find the amount of content daunting, but for others, it will deepen our connection with the world we’re playing in, and shows just how much care and love went into the development of our interaction with the people and places of Nuanor. Adding on to that, the developers relay their thinking when it comes to making us feel like larger-than-life heroes:

“For example, you can fly over walls and run gracefully across the water; you can be an unstoppable hero or you can live a more peaceful life by selling two-for-one skewers on the street. An inn on a turtle’s back, a floating palace, or a comfortable ride on an airship as you fly around Ausgyth.”

It’s more than the ability to fly, or run on water, or become an economic magnate, or take a scenic trip (The scenic trips are well, well worth it), though. Combat itself is very dynamic; Being able to pull and kill ten, fifteen, or even twenty monsters at a time helps foster the impression that our abilities are well beyond the average citizen of Nuanor. We’re given the ability to transform into larger, even more powerful versions of ourselves – Or into chubbily adorable raccoon people.

While many of these elements are present in other MMOs, what Revelation Online does well is to remind players that while they are powerful, they are also not invincible. From dungeons that require parties, to PvP-style five-on-five matches with NPC teams scattered in the open world, to guild-on-guild wars, teamwork is a key element to players’ success. A mentoring program is in place which allows higher-level players to take lower-level players under their wings and help them. That help can even come in the form of relaxing next to the waterfall in the spa and chatting while soaking up experience from daily items.

“We invited a fantastic master game composer to create the background music in Revelation Online. Whether it’s the sound of flowing water, cicadas, a weeping willow blowing in the breeze or rain falling on lily pads, every sound effect has been carefully chosen[.]”

Not only have the developers given players a visually stunning and socially robust game, they’ve gone out of their way to make the auditory experience a memorable one. By bringing Neal Acree on board, who some may recognize from his earlier projects (World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, Overwatch, Stargate SG-1), players are given a rich soundscape to quest and explore with. The addition of minor things like happily buzzing insects and babbling brooks create a living world for players to enjoy.

Part Two of this series will discuss the developers’ creative process regarding characters. Part One in its entirety can be found here:  Revelation Online’s Basic Design Concept – Part 1

  • Tahmoh

    Awesome! thanks for writing this up, you did a better job at explaining what an mmorpg is than the official rep does 🙂