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Interview with the leading game designer of Forge of Glory
— 6 april 2017

A little while ago one very important for us event took place  - the world release of the mobile card battler Forge of Glory. The game is being talked about in different parts of the planet and in different languages. Now our studio is ready to share more secrets and talk about this project openly. The portal interviewed our leading game designer and we cannot but share it here.

Alexander Semenov, managing editor at Forge of Glory is a non-standard project for you. This is a 3d battler with Match-3 mechanics, originally created for mobile platforms. And this game is also your debut on the mobile market. Why did you start creating your first mobile game from scratch, instead of porting projects that have already proved themselves on social platforms?

Yuri Lyashenko, lead game designer of Forge of Glory: Previous games of our studio were focused on the Russian market. But with this new project, we were targeting the whole world. Plus, our team always strives to create something new. Therefore, we compiled a list of requirements and then developed the concept of Forge of Glory.

In Forge of Glory, its scale is eye-striking. The game has a lot of content and functionality. How did you create the project and how long did it take you?

Having the experience of supporting our projects in social networks, we realized that the new game had to become a powerful foundation for constant updates. Therefore, the content was created with a reserve. Forge of Glory was created in a year and a half, there was quite a long period of soft-launch in Canada and Australia, about 15-20 people were working on the project at different times.

What figures did you aim at at the stage of the soft launch?

The team approached the soft launch with full responsibility and a clear view of the purpose: to determine whether the game can cover the costs of attracting traffic. If we talk specifically about metrics, for example, we aimed at the following retention figures: 1st day - 40%, 7th day - 20% and 30th - 10%.

As it seems after first hours of playing, there is literally everything in the game (building, upgrading, single and PvP, etc.). Why did you decide to put in so much at once? It is commonly supposed that it is better to start with some basic functionality, and then polish and add new entities, isn’t it?

Yes, we intentionally put in a lot of interesting stuff because we initially knew what the future direction of the game will be. As it was said before, we were creating a solid basis for implementing new functionality after the release. Moreover, such a rich number of possibilities in the game will only be a bonus for fans of this genre.

How do you balance so many mechanics in the game?

In order not to trouble readers with complex calculations, let me talk about the calculations of the battle system. We convert everything into one universal index, which allows us to compare the effectiveness of game elements. As a result, it takes us less time and it becomes much easier to work with the balance and to find errors.

The core mechanics of Forge of Glory is Match-3. The battle system is built on it. And it’s not just a usual match-3. We deal with a tracing system (chains) and six-sided pieces (instead of the classic four-sided). Why did you go for these changes and what did they bring to the game (compared to the classic match-3)?

Of course, we considered many options.But the current implementation helped us to decrease (but not to exclude) the probability of chance. Players got more control in battles and understanding of what’s going to happen after their turns.

In battlers player’s skill usually isn’t that important in battles (the first violin is played by the deck building skill and its level). Is that right with your game?

Our game isn’t an exception. At the same time the influence of RPG-elements doesn’t get stronger at once. At first the Match-3 mechanics is focused. In percent ratio, 100% of success depends on the ability to match pieces. But the higher the progress of a player is, the more battles depend on heroes and monsters’ stats. Thus, the impact of the Match-3 element is decreased approximately by 40%. To facilitate grinding we added an auto mode which is just as good as players at solving puzzles.

Our favourite question on Match-3: how are stones distributed on the field?

How are we going to face people? Everything is fair: 4 colors, the probability of each is 25%. Actually there’s no point in controlling the number of stones of certain colors. The level difficulty depends on monster stats rather than on match-3 difficulty.

There are a lot of features from classical battlers, however there are differences as well. For example I couldn’t find the ability to unite some cards with each other to get one more powerful card. Probably you discussed this issue on some stage of the project development. Why did you decide not to add the functionality?

Of course we had this issue. In spite of the game scope, we tried to maximally simplify the management of creatures at start. In future users will get this kind of functionality, but it will be quite different as compared to the classical version.

One more surprising point. You divided game characters in two types - heroes and guards. Why did you do that? Because otherwise players could form their army from both heroes and guards.

Dividing creatures enabled us to implement the unified battle system both in PvE and PvP. Its key feature is seals which move from one stage of the battle to another. They add an element of chance and generate a lot of exciting game situations.

Could you tell us more about seals? What are they and how does the mechanics work?

At the beginning of each battle stage, a monster creates a seal on the game field. This seal, depending on its type, makes the battle more difficult. It can be destroyed only by a special element on the field or a special hero’s skill. If the seal isn’t destroyed during the stage, it moves to the next one and is activated again. Let’s suppose that the player hasn’t destroyed seals in battle. Then their total impact can destroy their heroes even before the first move on the field.

The store in the game is very impressive - 9 types of goods (the number of such goods is even larger). How difficult is it to play without donation, is the game slower without it?

In fact, the game is friendly enough for non-paying players and it encourages frequent return to the game. We tried to give players an opportunity to achieve their goals in many ways. So, if one option doesn’t work, then there is always another one.

If I get you right, it’s not necessary to pay in the game. And you can enjoy playing, without any donation?

We have no impassable paywalls. You can overcome any difficulty in several ways: hero management, grind, changing of battle strategies. If a player wants to overcome all the obstacles more quickly, the store will help them, of course.



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