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Dark Vale Games Announces Forge

/ Jun 15th, 2012 No Comments

Assassin

Assassin

If you’ve ever gone into a PvP arena in an MMORPG, chances are you’ve been: A) Murdered horrifically by a hail of fireballs by a wizard who is twenty levels above you, B) Murdered horrifically by a fighter with godly armor who is twenty levels above you, C) Murdered horrifically by a knife in the back by a rogue who is twenty levels above you, D) all of the above. New development studio Dark Vale Games is looking to solve a lot of the problems inherent to the MMORPG PvP scene with a game called Forge. Forge promises to blend the RPG combat aspects with the immediacy of first-person shooters. Think of it as Counter-strike, except instead of terrorists with submachine guns you play as Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftains with bows and swords (okay, maybe not Tauren Chieftains, but you get the idea).

The story of Forge is simple: trapped by an evil being called the Devourer, the gods call upon powerful warriors to duke it out in an no-holds barred battle royale to win their freedom. Details are scant, but it’s probably safe to say that the setting is just a nice setting for players to beat the holy hell out of each other and write it off for charity.

The overarching aim of Forge is to provide a PvP bridge between MMORPGs and online FPSs; the developers are focusing on fixing things like level grinding that often discourage newer players from engaging other, more experienced players that are many levels higher and have +50 Maces of Greater Smiting. Dark Vale claims that “Forge’s focus on skill as a determining factor for success means that individual player ability decides who lives and who dies”; in other words, new players should be able to kill veteran players without having to spend months leveling up and grinding to get better equipment.

Temple Ranger

Ranger

At the same time, Forge will providing a deeper level of combat than the standard “shoot everything that moves” gameplay of online FPS games. Players will have access to a number of abilities based on their class, of which five have been announced. The names are different, but you can clearly see the standard RPG meta in play: a Rogue who slips in and out of the shadows to strike, a Ranger who shoots arrows from a distance, a Barbarian-ish fighter, and two mage types whose details aren’t very clear yet. Each class has the ability to summon a unique animal familiar to fight by his side, which will act partly autonomously.

Concerns about animal cruelty aside, you can look forward to sic’ing your furry (and some not-so-furry) companions on hapless rogues on at least four unique maps. From what we’ve seen, the maps range from dark, damp caves to dark, damp tombs to dark, damp ruins. I think I see a trend here; hopefully the final product will feature maps of slightly greater visual diversity. Speaking of final product, the game is set to be released for the PC sometime later this year. The material we received and that is posted on their website seems to be from a pre-alpha release, so I’m a little bit concerned whether they might be shooting themselves in the foot with such a fast development time. Nevertheless, though they call themselves an indie studio, the team at Dark Vale is composed of veterans hailing from studios like THQ, Epic Games, and SOE, so they’ve definitely got the pedigree; Forge shows a lot of promise, and if you’re at all a fan of PvP RPG action it’s definitely one to keep on your radar.

Stay tuned right here for an exclusive interview with Dark Vale Games CTO/COO Tim Alvis for insider information on Forge – set to publish Monday morning (June 18th)!

Dustin Liaw

Dustin Liaw

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
A polymath in every sense except for that of reality, Dustin Liaw is a historian, critic, writer, musician, poet, dreamer, scientist, programmer, linguist, bureaucrat, and all-around geek who happens to enjoy tabletop RPGs, anime, and video games in his spare time.
Dustin Liaw

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