Atlantica Online launches later today but not before Producer Kim Tae Gon get's in one more Developer Journal entry at Allakhazam. In his final journal he talks about the 'mercenary system' that just so happens to be a major part of your adventuring within Atlantica. You can start to hire mercenaries shortly after you create your character so pay attention!
You’ve Got Friends in Atlantica
In Atlantica Online, you'll always have friends. No matter what the rest of life is like, at least in Atlantica you can travel with your buddies around the world to places like Egypt, and very soon to California. If you like to kick some butt while seeing the sights, then the friends found in Atlantica that we call mercenaries will make for perfect travel companions. They've got some great travel gear swords, guns and some wicked spells.
When we created Atlantica, we wanted the mercenary system to really heighten the excitement and fun of the turn-based combat that we had envisioned and worked hard to realize. These two features together would make the game different from the normal single-character, real-time action found in most MMORPGs today. But it’s not different just to be different. We believe the combination of the two systems offers an exciting and fast-paced form of gameplay that will hopefully have players coming back for more. With multiple characters to control, each with numerous moves and magic to take advantage of, there are countless possibilities in how a player can fight a battle. We hope players will experiment and tinker with the many different options available to them.
In Atlantica, a player can recruit up to 18 mercenaries for their crew. Come across a mercenary in the world and you can hire him or her with the right amount of money. Others can only be acquired by completing a particular quest, like the Beast Trainer mercenary, which is the first C-class mercenary available in the game. C-class mercenaries are the next step up from the D-class, which is the first level of mercenaries you can start using when you begin playing Atlantica. Getting the Beast Trainer requires a trip to India and striking up a conversation with the NPC Bao Sanniang.
When it comes time to battle, you can bring only a maximum of eight mercenaries into the fight with you. If your squad of mercenaries numbers more than eight, you must choose beforehand which mercenaries to take into battle with your main character, for a total of nine characters fighting on your behalf. Here is where strategy plays a large part, since you must decide which mercenaries -- each of which have his or her strengths and weaknesses, as well as magic skills -- would be best suited to fight a particular battle. Do you load up on the tanks for defense, or maybe you need magic mercenaries to keep reviving you, if it’s a particularly difficult opponent you're facing. The game presents yet more possibilities if you have a Mercenary Room License, as you can rotate extra mercenaries in and out from your Mercenary Room during a battle.
In tandem with the mercenaries you determine to take into battle, the other issue to consider is what formation to position your mercenaries in, using the three-by-three grid system of Atlantica. These two factors will have a great impact on how you fare in your battles.
For instance, if you're up against a nasty monster in a shadow dungeon you need to beat to get that special armor found nowhere else. But you've already tried a few times, and each time you've been left licking your wounds in the nearby town, since the monster’s magic is especially effective against you. Maybe for your next siege against this opponent, you can line up your physically potent Swordsmen and Vikings in the front row to deal heavy blows to your opponent’s front line. In the middle row you can place your Artillerymen and Archers to target the enemies farther back. Then in the back row, your main character will be shielded with the Monk nearby, whose Holy Guard spell will protect an entire row against the magic that has done you in before.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring all that you can do with mercenaries. Maybe, as you go up in levels, you will need more defensive strength with the increasingly difficult monsters you’ll face. Mercenaries like the Princess have magic skills that will weaken the enemies’ attack, or the Exorcist, with his ability to silence magic users in large numbers and speed up the actions of his allies. The Witch can offer a decent combination of buff and debuff magic with a heavy offensive spell, Meteor Strike. As you go up higher in level, the more specialized the mercenaries will become.
Another area that will enrich your Atlantica experience is when you discover the power of mercenaries working together. For example the Lady Knight’s Light Slash attack can combine with the Oracle’s Vortex spell to create Divine Slash, a truly dangerous spell. Or if you party with another player and you both combine Break Down and Chaos Wind, you will cast Destructive Wind, which will ravage the opponent’s team for multiple turns. There are other combo spells to uncover during your journey to Atlantis.
Soon, you’ll be able to learn more about your mercenaries as you embark on new adventures, when new content will be added to further expand the lore of Atlantica. One of the new, highly anticipated areas that will be opening up in about one month is North America. This new area will introduce a number of quests, NPCs and dungeons centered on American history. A few of the places we can mention include Alcatraz, the prison island near San Francisco, and the Blood Dust Bar, an area based off of the Old West with saloons and bar maidens using their feminine wiles.
So keep coming on back, y'all, y' hear?
Kim Tae Gon
Producer - Atlantica Online