Krisgard, by French startup Qozmo.com, will be launching early next week on Facebook. It is a full MMORPG, based in the archipelago world of Krisgard, and it comes with all the elements of the genre. It includes avatar and inventory management, a quests system, player versus player fighting, and a whole lot of pets. Its cartoony graphical style announces clearly that it’s geared towards younger players, and it seems very girl-friendly – which, while far from unique, can’t be said of all MMOs (check out Krisgard’s teaser to get a sense of this).
Qozmo itself is a team of 7, with 300k€ of seed funding raised in Nov 2011 to make the development happen, and a casual games site, Buzzville. Now, they’re taking a huge leap, as self-publishing successfully a free-to-play MMORPG on Facebook would be no small feat for any indie studio.
Roots of the game
Let’s try to understand a bit what makes this game tick. The Krisgard story is fairly standard fare, your avatar goes around doing quests and capturing monsters, which then become their owner’s fighting pets. Since these pets can evolve in many different ways, this gives the player-collector a long way to fulfilling his hoarding needs, and an efficient monetization avenue for the game. This collecting compulsion is lizard brain stuff: it works in game design as well as story design. A good proof of this is the huge success of Pokemons, from games to movies, and it’s no surprise that Krisgard draws from the fundamental notion of collecting fighting pets for its design.
The world has the expected level of originality, no big differentiation there. But beyond story or environment, the character and monster art is full of life and energy, and it creates a warm atmosphere for a first play. These cute characters further reinforce the impression that the game is geared towards a younger and more female public than a usual MMO. Within 2 minutes, the player discovers also that there will be fighting, and real-time fighting, and this is where it gets a lot more interesting.
Decent tactical fighting on Facebook – Finally
This game is a whole lot of combat. It’s good news because one thing of particular interest in Krisgard is its combat system, which is a classic in the RPG genre but still hasn’t be seen much on Facebook. Even titles like Facebook RPG Marvel Avengers, which use tactical fighting as their core game loop, have given this tactical fighting a turn-by-turn rhythm, which truth be told, often make for a tedious experience. Instead of this, Krisgard made its tactical combat system real-time.This means that players can play continuously, yet the UX remains very accessible though there’s room for improvement (see screen below). What matters here is that it’s very unlikely even casual players will get lost or overwhelmed, as a couple battles are enough to get the hang of it, while providing them with a much more intense experience, and just more fun.