Battleswarm: Field of Honor is unique not only for its fresh take on MMOs, but just for gaming in general. It’s a cross between an RTS and FPS that takes advantage of the interweb to create something that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Imagine something that’s a cross between Tribes, Command & Conquer, and the Starship Troopers movie – if you’re having trouble, it’s probably because it’s new.
[image1]You can choose to play as either a gun-blasting soldier on the FPS side and take on horde after horde of giant bugs and lava-spewing bull monsters, or take the more tactical approach and be the guiding hand behind all those waves of deadly freak creatures. Most of the time, you’ll probably find yourself defending your generators from the infestation or leading the swarms that will destroy them, but there’s also a Capture the Flag mode that combines both aspects into each team and cool tower defense-like game for the strategists.
Battleswarm functions on a free-to-play platform with optional microtransactions similar to games like Maple Story. Only when I say micro, I mean micro. Most of the upgrades you can purchase costs pennies on the dollar but will only last temporarily.
You can go here to check it out: http://www.battleswarm.net/game/
Mark, from the publisher, Reality Gap, was kind enough to answer some of our questions.
Could you tell us a little bit about what exactly MetaTIX is and how it works?
[image2]MetaTIX(tm) is a microtransaction system that works for many games. Basically what this means is that it allows purchases or trades for very small amounts, as low as $.01. With a typical credit card transaction, there’s a $.30 cent fee per transaction, so obviously 1 cent transactions are not cost effective. MetaTIX can be a payment method for a game, or integrated into a game easily like gold coins, and it allows the player to a get an itemized list of all transactions they have done by logging into www.metatix.com.
How does the system integrate itself with your current game line-up?
In Monato Esprit it is the only currency. It is a totally user driven economy, and in fact we don’t even sell items directly. We have a consignment store in the game to facilitate player trades and sales, and you can earn MetaTIX by owning entrances to dungeons. The MetaTIX can then be spent in Monato Esprit, or Battleswarm: Field of Honor, or you can go to www.MetaTIX.com and find other ways to spend them on other games.
Do you have any plans that you could currently discuss for MetaTIX beyond Monato and Battleswarm?
Absolutely. There are 8-10 games now at www.metatix.com that allow you to purchase their currency with MetaTIX. We also have other developers who are using the api to fully integrate MetaTIX into their game.
Tell us about Battleswarm and why you think it kicks total ass and reigns supreme.
Simply put Battleswarm is unique, and very well done. It’s not a "blend" of FPS and RTS as some have tried…It is two games , who’s players do battle against each other. FPS VS RTS. A team based FPS game that rocks, and a simplified team based RTS game. Your opponents are other gamers, not AI. I have played through the best of the big budget FPS games of late, and I have to say they are amazing, and absolutely worth every penny, but to me, Battleswarm offers a unique FPS experience that no one can match. You can drop into a map and then do whatever you want on the computer while you wait for the map to fill. Moments later you hear the click click click, and alt tab back over to Battleswarm and now see who you are up against and who you have on your side.
[image3]Now you plan your strategy quickly, chatting or voice chatting with team mates to come up with a plan, then 6-10 minutes of total mayhem that is just simply amazingly cool. Capture the flag, offense defense, deathmatch…they are all excellent implementations, and the fact that you are playing in FPS vs real live RTS players makes it like no other game.
Playing RTS has a steeper learning curve, but is equally rewarding, and you control the show. Playing with a team mate against six unknown players is just a totally new experience every time. No stupid AI, no "figuring out the designers plan"…just playing head to head, against people who are there to crush you. Stocking up on extra chips or genes, new eggs for new bug types, new weapons, new consumable items is just a blast.
I can’t help but think of Starship Troopers when I’m shooting up some of the buggier looking aliens, was the film series/novel an influence at all in the game’s making?
I honestly don’t think so. It certainly has that feel, and the drop ships and basic storyline are similar. It was made in Beijing, and the developers didn’t seem to recognize the name.
How do you balance gameplay between two such dynamically different playing styles?
We spent a lot of time in Beta with Battleswarm getting the balance right. The maps, first off, are designed with balance in mind, but some definitely favor one side or the other. First we shoot for an overall balance in the win loss ratio between all of the maps with the weapons, items and armor, HP and MP and bug spawn rate, and then also fine tune maps for specific balance by adding and subtracting hives, having more or less humans on the team, and strengthening or weakening barriers.
[image4]We’ve also found that certain maps change in balance as players get more experience, and so for those maps, there are certain items that are more advanced in nature that we can strengthen or weaken. It’s also important to keep players all fairly close to the same level, so there are different server channels for different levels. You have to be careful with balance and gentle, because just when we think for instance that a certain map has gone totally towards the bugs, humans will decide they’ve had enough and band together and find a tact that works to start winning. Having things sway back and forth naturally in balance is good and keeps things fun and interesting. We also introduce new items very carefully as one simple item added or taken away can have a large effect. For every item on one side there tends to be a counter item on the other side, but the speed that human and bug players learn these counter measures vary, so that also keeps things interesting.
Will you hate me if I never buy a single thing from you and just play your games?
Absolutely not. Please do. The more the merrier. We want more players because more players makes the game more fun. When we have tournaments and matches take 4-5 seconds to fill up it becomes an intense, awesome experience. If you want to just try something that can only be purchased, go make some MetaTIX in Monato Esprit first by farming and selling items, or we even have other ways on MetaTIX.com to earm MetaTIX, and then try that new suit or armor out for a week.