Project V.I.L.E. is the working title of an MMOG in development at Australia's VILE Studios. They hope to launch this PC (Xbox 360 may follow later) title later this year and promise a skill based system with unrestricted PvP, among other things.
Answers by Ashley Hodgetts (Creative Director, Vile Studios)
Questions by JR Sutich
WarCry: What does the acronym V.I.L.E. stand for?
Ashley Hodgetts: Project V.I.L.E stands for nothing; the title is just a working title which we have decided to go with until a more appropriate name can be picked.
WarCry: Is the PvP free-for-all or is it zone restricted?
Ashley Hodgetts: There will be absolutely unrestricted PVP against the other factions. For the first time the ability for players to be able to "switch teams" and backstab their team mates in certain PvP Arenas. Yes, you will most definitely be able to run a raid on the lowbies in their beginner areas but you're going to have to watch out for that faction's NPC and player driven defense networks. So many games say that they are PvP driven, but they seem to forget what Player-Versus-Player is all about, the mass slaughter and conquering all.
There is going to be Player-Vs-Player, vehicles, Mechs, fighter-craft as well as money to be made from the whole thing.
WarCry: Will there be full looting of defeated players?
Ashley Hodgetts: We have decided to reward PvP'rs with a three tier looting system, where by a player who kills another in a general questing/leveling area, will be able to take a small share of the opponent's experience points as well as honor points for the first few kills - then they will become only honor kills. The PvP looting system in an arena environment is different, kill an opponent and you will be rewarded credits and reputation from particular factions, while the opponent will be deducted reputation points. Also for major arenas, we will be looking at a payment system, where by all players who enter pay a cover charge (lets say 1,000 credits) and the winner of the event receives the total credit pool.
In the case of a Call To Arms, its all out! Players who attend these world events will have the right to full loot the opposite faction and will also be rewarded by their government for successfully removing the heads of their kills. (Removing the heads of other players would see them out of the action for a small cool down period.)
We are working on ways to reward the victors of PvP that would be fairer to them, as the opponents could leave their gear in their storage facilities and there would be no cool loot.
WarCry: Why was a skill-based system chosen over a class-based?
Ashley Hodgetts: Let's say you're a soldier in your group ready to battle in a squad-based instance but your group already has heaps of soldiers and you need a medic to help support the group - in most MMORPGs you would have to drop a player and pick up the healer or just not run the instance. Well the idea behind our skill system is to allow anyone the chance to become any "class" or profession they want and still give them the flexibility to retrain in another area if they decide that profession isn't for them. Players would also be able to keep some of their existing training and mix and match to suit their needs - like in real life. With special PVP arenas/Squad-based raids , some skills (i.e. Gunnery & Piloting) would allow players the ability to pair up into one Mech/vehicle to get better results - with the pilot adding +bonuses to the mech/vehicle and the gunner getting +bonuses to damage, accuracy etc.
WarCry: You do realize that a skill-based system is a complete nightmare to balance?
Ashley Hodgetts: In the past a traditional skill-based system is awful to manage in-game. Without giving away too much of the inner workings of our system, its more a hybrid of the two. If a player wishes to drill down into a "class-specific" character, then there is an appropriate path they can take in the skill sets. If a player wants to be more PVP or an all-rounder, they can do that too. The objective behind this system is to give more flexibility to players and let them interact more with one another and not wait around for the right class to come along before they can play the game. Also, unlike most MMORPGs who leave you in the dark as to what paths they should best take, we will have an integrated skill manager, which will help players (if they need the help) choose which path is right for them.