As part of TechRaptor's PAX Australia 2015 coverage, I was lucky enough to sit down and have a chat with Randall King and Max Chuvalov of Wargaming.net to talk to them about their recently released World of Warships, as well as their upcoming reboot Master Of Orion.
NOTE: One of the caveats going into this interview is that I was not allowed to record any of the game on the screen in the background, so the interview attached below cuts off somewhat abruptly, and the camera angle is a bit weird. That said, I was able to take some audio recording, which I will talk about below.
So after the cameras are turned off, I had the great pleasure to spend a little bit of time talking about the Master Of Orion reboot. Below are some snippets of things we ended up talking about, and things that I was most interested in. These are just summaries of many different conversation I had with Randall and Max, so do not take them as law.
Much like any good rogue-like game these days, Master Of Orion will have a seed system, where you can share a string of characters that will reproduce the game you have just played. This is a great way to challenge friends, or even just find a new strategy or tactic that might work better than the last.
TechRaptor: So its got that rogue-like element to it where you can play the same game over and over again if you wanted to.
Randall King: Yes, and you could actually play it and try to win a different way, and that's what I like. If I find a make-up that's really cool, [describing state of game] unfortunately I have cheated because I know where Orion is, but if you choose different races they will start in different locations.
Randomly Generated Planets:
Part of the seed system is the randomisation of the planets you can travel to, much like the original. The features of these planets include size, from small to very large; different eco-systems including volcanic, radiated, and desert planets; differing resource availability; and different gravity. In addition to this, when planets are colonized, a small vignette will play that will be generated on-the-fly depending on the planets features, as well as what race you are.
The game will feature an extensive tech tree with up to 75 different techs to discover across 4 branches. The conversation I had with Randall was super interesting, at least to me, so I will include it below
Randall King: This is the initial tech tree and these are the four branches, and these are the first entities on those branches. There are four branches: Government & Diplomacy, Physics & Science, Biology & Population Promotion, Engineering & Military Development. There are 75 different tech groups, all of them culminating into a single group, and I will show you the reason in a little bit.
TechRaptor: So with this tech tree, when you have two lines going into one, does that mean you need both of them to acquire the next one?
Randall King: Yes. So, for example, this one needs these two branches to get to that one, and it's taken a long time to build this tech tree. And if you need to find a particular tag, let's say terraforming, you come up here and type terraforming, click on it, and that's the one I need. I click on it, and the system knows I need to complete these first, so it will start with those one's first, and move on, so it will complete them for you.
The micromanagement system has been buffed in a way that should be super friendly to new players, as well as giving old players the control they desire. If you wish, you can play old-school and manage all of your resources manually by putting resources into research, production, or food, but if you do not wish to go into such a high level of detail, you don't have to. The new game adds in an autobuild function, which can be used to set an emphasis on whatever you need at that particular time. And if that is too fine for you as well, you can go to the new empire screen and manage it on a global level, but its functionality doesn't stop there. It also gives you information on how many resources are working on research, production, and food; information on morale and striking population; and taxation.
On top of the empire screen, a new planet screen has been added that has in depth information on every planet that you have investigated that has not been colonized. You can flag planets for later colonization, as well as view the planet on a galaxy map.
The morale system is influenced by a lot of factors, including, but not limited to, taxation and the planet you have colonized. The main effect of low morale is that resources will strike, and while resources are on strike, they will not produce anything for you. If enough resources on a planet go on strike, the planet will revolt, and the only way to get the planet back is to take it over again with a transport/military ship. Unfortunately, there is no option to throw the striking individuals into space, or put them into the brig, but maybe there will be a mod for that in the future? There are ways to increase morale as well, including building spiritual, entertainment, or pleasure buildings. Randall shared an interesting story about his experience with the morale system:
Randall King: I went to war with three races at the same time, and because I could not afford to reduce my tax rate, I pumped it all the way up to 50%. After several turns, I lost one planet, after a couple more, I lost another. Eventually I lost every one of my planets and I got destroyed because I didn't prepare. So morale is dangerous, because I could not afford to build a troop transport to take [the planets] back because I was fighting the other races.
The new game has a revamped victory system. There are five ways that you can achieve victory:
Conquest: This one is pretty self explanatory, wipe out everyone and you win.
Technology: At the end of the massive tech tree, there is a final piece of tech. Researching this tech requires you to have researched all other tech, and upon its completion, you win the game.
Economic: You have the option to research the interstellar stock exchange, and if you become the leading economic power through it, you win the game
Diplomatic: After meeting all the races, a galactic council is formed, and a leader is periodically voted on. If you win the vote, you win the game.
Excellence: Finally is the new Excellence victory mode. This is an option that will need to be set before the game starts, as it requires a turn limit, but it is optional. If you set a turn limit, at the end of the limit, the person with the greatest average score from the other four categories will win. This is a great way to make sure the game doesn't last for literally forever.
Unfortunately, that was all the time I had with Wargaming, and I must say, they were really awesome. They were fantastic to me and Stephen, and answered all my questions with great detail and humor, and I can not thank them enough.
The new Master Of Orion title looks absolutely fantastic, and I will most definitely be picking it up when its available. If you are interested, you can check out the website for pre-order information, which also has a digital collector's edition that includes the original trilogy as well as early access for the new title.
Will you be picking up Master Of Orion? Do you play the World of X games and think you could have interviewed Max better? Let me know below!