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Fury: E3 2007 Preview

Dana Massey | 23 Jul 2007 20:07
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Fury is a fast-paced PvP MMO from Australian developer Auran and upstart publisher Gamecock. It's due out on October 9th, but we got a chance to take a peek at the recent EIEIO event in Santa Monica, during E3. Find out what we thought:



E3 2007 Preview: Fury
Gamecock (publisher) / Auran (developer)
Article by Dana Massey

Fury once again let the game speak for itself when we saw the Auran team at EIEIO, their gate crashing E3 event at the Hotel California beside the Santa Monica Peer. This is the beauty of Fury, they just boot it up, shove you in a chair and say go. It had been a few months since I played and the latest incarnation is similar, but refined. In short, Fury is a load of fun.

Fury is all about arena-based MMO PvP. Everything about Fury is about PvP. There are no quests, no monster bashing, no whack-a-mole. It's head to head action.

The game has four unique "sports". Vortex is a 16 vs. 16 capture the flag game, Elimination is a four v. four, best two out of three game where each player is eliminated after a single death and whoever lasts the longest wins it for their side. Fortress is their epic 32 vs. 32 game, not entirely unlike FPS titles like Battlefield 1942, where players must capture and hold control points on route to the other's home fort. It's tug-o-war.

At EIEIO, we played Bloodbath, the scalable free-for-all game. It can hold anywhere from eight to 32 players and puts them in a map appropriate to the number who show up.

When I last played Fury, it was at PAX last fall and while I had a lot of fun, there was quite a learning curve. This time, I was able to jump right in and with only a few hints on how to use my character, get my licks in. In fact, I actually won my first game, albeit against a group of fellow newbies.

The gameplay is fast. We were playing with only four people - which is less than the game is intended for - but still there was little downtime between deaths. The game truly feels like an action FPS, but is completely an RPG. Like most MMOs, I had a wide selection of feats and used them. There are buffs, melee attacks, long range spells, firewalls, etc. For many, the recharge times are minimal and it makes for a button-mashing extravaganza.

One problem I typically have with hot-bar based combat is that it encourages players to look at their hotbar more than their character. In Fury, there are no such worries. It's more important to memorize what you want to do and pay attention. It moves too fast to tear your eyes away.

And don't worry, Auran promises integrated VOIP support to help, which is a must for the breakneck, finger-mashing pace of this game.

My favorite trick was to run up to a group of enemies engaged in melee combat and drop a firewall on them. I hadn't had that feeling from a spell since old Ultima Online, when the firewall, which works identically, also got me quite excited. It's a deadly spell - maybe too deadly? - and many of my foes crumpled to the ground among its flames.

The game has eight archetypes in four schools. Each school has a mage and warrior variant and is based off an natural line: fire, water, nature or air. However, players are not any of those classes. Instead, they allocate their points as they like and buy new skills. My character was primarily a "Warden", which is to say a natural warrior (although my incarnation had primarily ranged skills), but he also had a host of fire skills (note my firewall). This mix and match freedom makes every character unique. Plus, in this game, players are not married to any combination. They unlock new skills through PvP, but the combinations they can equip for battle are endless. You just save your template and load it before you enter battle, based on how you want to play or the needs of your group.

After each game, players are taken to an "achievement" screen. There, there are prizes for a range of things and players get bonus "essence" if they win. Most the essence, which is the points players spend for new abilities, comes from simply winning or losing, but even if a player shines on a terrible, losing side, they can get some extra points with these individual performance bonuses. Plus, there is also always bragging rights!

Not that you can brag. Auran took a page from Dark Age of Camelot and made sure that the opponents are always from other servers. There is no talking, no bragging and - for Auran - no customer service nightmares. You can, though, jump up and down on their bodies in an age old sign of contempt.

Fury, published by upstart Gamecock, goes to market on October 9th. The company plans to announce their unique business model very soon and is holding a series of Open Beta Weekends to get every detail right.



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