[Quest at GDC] Wakfu ecology system and ScreenshotsBy: Mandifesto posted at Mar 15, 2011 4:38 pm
Wakfu is one of those games that has been on my radar for months, but that I haven’t had the time to actually sit down and play. I love tactics games, just ask my husband and his purloined save game from Disgaea 3, so I figured a tactics-MMO crossover would be just my cup of tea. Once I got a chance to see the game in action at GDC a while back, I realized it is so much more than what I thought.
At its core Wakfu is a tactics-MMO crossover, like I said before. It’s a persistent world game with turned based tactics combat, and while that is nifty enough on its own, it’s really the persistent world part that shines in this game. You see, Wakfu not only has a novel combat system, it also has a living, breathing ecology and political faction system, both of which lend themselves to a powerful blend of traditional MMO and player-based universal gameplay.
During my meeting with Square Enix at GDC they explained that there are 16 jobs in Wakfu, and each requires resources that come from the plants and animals throughout the game world. Any of those resources can be overharvested, just like in the real world, to the point of extinction. This would mean that if I needed poplar wood to create furniture, for instance, and the poplar trees were all killed off, I could no longer make that recipe. The players have the power to keep an area thriving and in balance, or kill of a certain population in order to profit for their own benefit. What might that benefit be? In a word: politics.
Balancing ecosystems and trading resources becomes a huge part of the gameplay in Wakfu, and that is only improved by their political system. There are multiple factions in Wakfu, each led by a player-elected governor. That governor has the opportunity to parley with NPC chieftains, people that have a virtual stake in keeping their particular ecosystems thriving. If the chieftains are appeased, then they will help the current faction protect against invaders, give them special quests, and generally life will be happy. If your faction is looking to undermine the strength of another with a particular chieftain, you can start by hacking away at the ecosystem’s balance, thereby weakening the chieftain’s support and giving yourself an easier time when you attack. Complex, isn’t it?
That’s the exciting thing about Wakfu. It’s like living in a brightly colored version of the real world, where your choices matter and you have the opportunity to really make a difference. Any player will be able to lobby to become a faction leader, and I imagine those campaign promises will be pretty hilarious. “I promise to make sure there is a She-Tofu in every pot.” I know I said I didn’t have time for playing Wakfu, but once I start, I’m not sure I’ll have time to play much else.
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