Belgian indie studio Abrakam has donated some quality time to the fans by doing an interview at Red Skies. Abrakam are the busy bunch bringing us Faeria, a digital TCG that offers a much more dynamic gameplay experience than the competition. In traditional TCGs, players move their units around the board. In Faeria, the board moves you! (OK so technically players actually create their own board.) The game is currently in closed beta and they’re running, so far, a successful Kickstarter campaign! You can check out the game over at faeria.net.
The core team is currently 5 members strong, but there have been many good hands on the project. On the core team we have are Jen Berger (illustrator) and Martin Pierlotto thank for the beautiful art work of the game. Jean-Michel Vilain (coder) and Olivier Griffet (team leader) develop on the core team as well and T-Rex, resident rooster and eternal inspiration, rounds it all out. There’s a long list of contributors here which fans have to thank for making this game a reality and who also deserve praise for their work so far. Together, they are Abrakam, an indie studio bringing us another promising game to the TCG genre.
Without further ado, I give you the developers own words about the development of Faeria.
Faeria Interview with Abrakam
Foremost, I would like to personally thank [the Abrakam team] and give thanks on behalf of the readers of my blog for giving us some of your very precious time for an interview.
Q: How long has Faeria been officially in development?
A: 4 years would be the most exact average – but the roots of Faëria go back 8 years ago now!
Q: How did you come up with the concept of allowing players to alter the map instead of merely moving pieces upon a predefined map? TCGs traditionally don’t go offer this as a core component of gameplay and it’s refreshing to see this innovation.
A: The board was a part of Faëria for a long time, at some point creating lands was some kind of puzzle as you can see in board games. When we added cards we started to have all kind of crazy ideas. While Faëria can be seen as a board game with millions of variants, it can also be seen as the most refreshing TCG!
Q: When designing the four current factions, how did you come up with their unique traits?
A: The relation between lore and gameplay is organic, there were so many iterations! I think we were mostly influenced by the universal symbols of the elements we can find in a lot of popular art (mythologies, fantasy novels and games). The core mechanics of Faëria involve many elements – the lands, the 3 resources, the clock, the orbs – we could play with them to give each color a strong flavor, which is very important in a card game. The concept of ‘Tribes’ (which are sets of cards sharing a same theme) improved the global coherence between the gameplay and the lore. As the game grows, this base has become more and more solid.
Q: How do you decide what kinds of cards to add to the game while taking balance into account? Is there some ultimate goal you guys have for each deck/race which influences development of new cards?
A: While we often work on specific cards for balance, we do a complete overview of all colors and of the factions, themes within them when we add a new card. It allows us to fill the gaps, offer more interactions (as counters or synergies).We don’t have an ultimate goal for decks – players make them. We would just like every color to look insane and keep a very dynamic meta-game.
Q: Game timers (not turn timers, but game timers). Why have them? I personally think they’re a clever solution to *that* player who milks the clock, but isn’t it also open to abuse?
A: We’ve added this feature to the beta to prevent games to stall, but we want to improve the game timer. There will be a temporary fix soon to prevent abusing the current system, while we work on a dynamic timer.
Q: What tools do your artists use? The game and website looks simply amazing and very original. I think you guys nailed it. Fans want to know how they too can create amazing works for Faeria.
A: We mainly use digital tools (pen & photoshop), love and imagination…The process is hard to describe
Q: Who’s responsible for the awesome music and sound for the game? It’s perfect with the art and really makes you *feel* the world. It’s really got me excited for the stories that Faeria will tell in the future!
A: François Colinet is designing the sounds and atmosphere of Faëria for several years now. Some tracks were also created by Tristan de Liège.
They are both players, love the game and are talented musicians, it is no surprise if their work totally fits with the rest of the art. François has a lot of passion and imagination for the sounds of Faëria, and works on them as a sound engineer – focusing on the spatial coherence to immerse players in the game.
GAME RELEASE INFO
Q: On the day of release, what features do you hope to have in Faeria 1.0? Like how many cards for each deck type, game modes, the player lobby, events and such.
A: Ok here’s a list of what we dream of! (non exhaustive)
- – Story mode with solo quests, with animations and original score
- – Solo and multiplayer quests and challenges with many various maps and unique cards! Expect a lot of fun.
- – Daily tournaments with many variants
- – 2v2 mode
- – Observer [and] replay mode
- – Achievements and unique avatars (unlockable through quests, multiplayer games, tournaments, etc)
- – More options to buy and sell card
- – Complete deck editor : allowing to save as many decks as you want and share them with other players in-game!
- – Card maker : create your card and play with it!
- – Complete ladder with leagues, season championship and tournaments and other unique, specific events with prizes!
- – Complete social system (standard chat and message system, friend list, guild support)
- – Illustrations for all cards
- – Average of 60 cards by color (300 total), 4-5 card type
- – New client with tablet support
Q: What’s your design philosophy on rare, exceptional, and legendary cards? What are your goals when designing them?
A: Rarity affects the complexity and singularity of cards. Most commons and uncommons should allow to create good decks with complete synergies, so that players can learn the different colors and how they interact. Even at that level there are a lot of strategies to explore, within colors or by combining them!
Beginners can also focus on the core mechanics, while Rares and Legendaries could really break them.
Q: I’m one of those players who enjoys story and AI campaigns as much as PvP because it’s a nice break from the high stakes competition between players. It also offers me the time to explore cards, experiment, and hone skills. What is your teams stance on development of a full-featured PvE portion of the game for players who prefer PvE? And will the rewards for the campaign be comparable to those in PvP, or will it offer less?
A: The rewards of campaign will allow players to explore the main synergies/abilities of each color. Quests should introduce them and learn how to play with them. There will also be other solo quests, but the game’s replayability value is more in the multiplayer mode! However we plan on adding good options for players who dislike competitive play (and want to experiment the game with friends).
Q: What are the teams favorite races/decks to play and why?
A: Martin : I love playing full aquatic deck because it offers a lot of interactions with the board, and feels like playing tetris. Morning decks are also a favorite because of how brain-intensive it is.
Q: How will you challenge competitors like Hearthstone and Scrolls? How is Faeria different and what will make fans flock to it?
A: Digital CCG’s are good because they are usually intelligent and fun games. Nothing is wrong with playing Scrolls and Faëria at the same time – the more CCG players, the best!
The strength of Faëria is its replayability value (= fun!). As a player, you want to explore how your cards are going to interact with the board so it is fun to experiment different decks. But once you are in the game you create a unique setting with your opponent and get ‘attached’ to it.
Our business model will allow players to constantly explore new strategies, and we want to care about the requests of the community, update the game frequently so it doesn’t get boring.
Q: Red pill or blue pill?
Q: Can you confirm or deny rumors of Tritons being cleverly disguised murlocs plotting steal all the Yaks?
A: Tritons are usually peaceful creatures but they really love food
Q: Any final thoughts you want to leave your fans with?
A: We love you!
Well you heard it here first folks! THE TRITONS ARE PLANNING TO EAT THE YAKS!!!
Thanks again to the team at Abrakam for entertaining us with their beautiful game and for giving the fans a closer look at the game’s development!
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