By Jason Van Horn
E3 is a time for game companies to come out, show their stuff, and get some buzz
going for new titles by showing them off to the world. One such company making a
name for itself at E3 was Perfect World Entertainment, who had two games in
particular that they wanted to talk about. We chatted with Product Manager
Andrew Brown to find out all we could about the upcoming Heroes of Three
MPOGD: What can you tell us about the story and setting of Heroes of
Heroes of Three Kingdoms takes place during the Three Kingdoms period of ancient
China. During these violent and formative of years, three warring factions - the
Wei, Shu and Wu - struggle for dominance. Players will be able to experience
firsthand the most well known battle in Chinese historyChi Bi, or Red
Cliffwhere the Wu and Shu kingdoms battle against insurmountable odds to defeat
the Wei kingdom led by the infamous general, Cao Cao. In addition to simply
reliving these historical battles, players will be able to change their outcome,
and leave their own mark on the world, changing history.
MPOGD: The setting of Heroes of Three Kingdoms is one that many gamers
already know about, as it's a time in history that has been used as a game
setting before. How does Heroes of Three Kingdoms approach this setting and tell
a story different than that of other games? If it covers the same material, what
does Heroes of Three Kingdoms do to distinguish itself from other games set in
One of the main distinguishing features of Heroes of Three Kingdoms is the
ability for players to participate in campaignsover 50 recreated battles and
events. These range from races, where players compete against each other on
their mounts. Others involve storming enemy strongholds, or fighting alongside
legendary heroes such as Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Sun Quan. Beyond that, a unique
class system allows players to choose from 18 various weapon typeseach with
their own sets of skills.
MPOGD: How deep is the character creation system? What kind of options
are there going to be so that players can make their character feel distinctly
their own and not see a carbon copy run past them every few minutes when
First and foremost, the choice of weapon plays a significant role in how the
character progresses and develops. Regarding initial creation, there are
hundreds of possible combinations for players to choose from to personalize
their character. In terms of character customization, in addition to a vast
array of weapons and armor, by far one of the most interesting features is the
ability for players to transform their character into one of the well-known
characters, such as Lu Bu or Guan Yu.
MPOGD: Players will choose to be a member of one of three factions:
Wei, Shu, or Wu. What kind of bearing will this choice have on the player? Are
certain factions geared for certain players or are they merely names used to
divide players for PVP purposes?
When selecting a kingdom to swear allegiance to, you will be presented with a
map of ancient China--with over 50 various regions to choose from. The area you
choose to be from dictates what kingdom you fight for. Before deciding on a
faction, a brief history behind each kingdom will provide the player with
insight into their nature--as each has their own unique historical
background--and while you can betray your kingdom to join another, you will be
seen as a traitor, and an enemy to your former allies.
MPOGD: Could you explain about the Kingdom War system and how that
applies to the Wei, Shu, and Wu? We know that these factions fought over
territory, but how does that translate into actual gameplay? What's the ultimate
purpose and rewards for engaging in Kingdom War? Also, it says that you can form
alliances against one another. How does that system work?
Essentially, the Kingdom War system is set up so that payers are able to decide
whether they want to join forces and focus their efforts on a particular enemy,
amass their own forces, build up supplies, or simply observe your enemies as
they battle each other, waiting for the opportunity to strike. This really
embodies the ancient Art of War text saying, "the enemy of my enemy is my
friend" and we look forward to seeing what players will do in the Kingdom War
MPOGD: Unlike many MMOs out there, Heroes of Three Kingdoms takes a bit
of a different approach when it comes to character classes, as it seems to lean
more towards the Final Fantasy Online class system than the standard "pick a
class and stick with it till the end." Could you explain the character class
system and how players ultimately shape their character and play style?
Classes are defined more by what weapon a player chooses--and once any
particular weapon is mastered, an additional weapon can be acquired--so players
can actually choose multiple classes to play with. This is something that we
feel is pretty unique to Heroes of Three Kingdoms, considering that having the
ability to switch between weapons in the middle of a battle means that you are
able to change strategies and tactics without the need to call in addition
MPOGD: There are 18 different weapons/classes in the game. How many of
these weapons are available right from the beginning and how many have to be
unlocked through specializing in others first?
Without giving specific weapon names or numbers, most will be available at the
beginning, while others will become available as you progress through the game.
MPOGD: When it comes to character classes, there are terms and roles
that people are familiar with. For example, there are the tanks that can take a
lot of damage and act as a shield for the rest of the group, and there are the
glass cannon mages who can deal lots of damage and yet can be beaten fairly
easily. While there aren't predetermined roles like that, are certain weapons
geared more towards those play styles and traditional roles. If someone wanted
to be a tank, for example, would there be a weapon more geared for that player?
Yes, there are definitely certain weapons that you would choose if you wanted to
specialize in more of a defensive, offensive, or supporting role--however there
are also many weapons that bridge this gap of defining classes, and offer a
variety of play styles.
MPOGD: The official Heroes of Three Kingdoms site currently has a video
up detailing many of the weapons. One of the most impressive things about the
video is how fluid and majestic the moves are, which weren't animated by hand
like most games, but instead actually motion-captured using martial arts
specialist Dion Lam. Could you share a little info on how he came to be a part
of the project and ultimately how his movements and weapon handling made it into
We definitely wanted to make the character movement and combat as realistic as
possible, which is why we chose to go the motion capture route. With these
movements incorporated into the game, the amount of immersion and realism is
greatly increased, to the point where players feel as though they are actually
in the middle of an epic battle.
MPOGD: While we're on the subject of weapons, players can also craft
their own weapons. The system doesn't sound as traditional as it is in other
games, where you grab a recipe, the items, and then bang out a product. What can
you tell us about the weapon crafting process? Will handcrafted weapons
ultimately be the best weapons in the game? Can players craft things other than
There are a total of 8 different crafting skills in Heroes of Three Kingdoms,
and players are free to learn as many, or as few of these as they wish--there is
no restriction on the number of professions they can acquire. Crafting is
heavily dependent on the quality of materials the player possesses, for
example--while a master blacksmith with poor components could forge what would
be considered a much higher tier weapon, an apprentice with higher grade
materials could forge a weapon equally as powerful. Acquiring such rare items
will require braving battlefields and scouring isolated areas of the world.
MPOGD: There are several gameplay systems in Heroes of Three Kingdoms
that are somewhat familiar and used in other games, but yet seem to be ratcheted
up a notch when it comes to this game. For instance, the title system: I'm sure
most people are familiar with earning a title for doing something within the
game. It's not exactly a new idea. However, in Heroes of Three Kingdoms, titles
aren't just some extra wording attached to your name, but rather come with
special benefits such as new skills, outfits, etc. Could you explain a little
about the system and give an example as to a title a player could obtain and how
that would affect their character?
Titles are not simply labels as they are in other games, and serve a crucial
purpose in Heroes of Three Kingdoms. In addition to further customizing your
character, they also provide bonuses to certain attributes--increasing your
health, attack, speed, etc. Titles can be obtained many different ways--by
completing certain quests, exploring a particular region of the world, crafting
MPOGD: There's also an achievement system to track the deeds and
advancement of a player's character. What kind of achievements will the game
include and what type of rewards will players get for completing them?
The achievement system, known as the Codex, serves as an archive of information
for the world of Heroes of Three Kingdoms, containing volumes of lore and
history. Accomplishing tasks, discovering areas, and defeating certain
characters are just a few of the ways to unlock an entry. Acquiring a new Codex
chapter also typically means that a title will be bestowed upon the player.
MPOGD: Finally there's the reputation system, which opens up new areas,
abilities, and weaponry based on your standing with the various groups. Is the
reputation system tied exclusively to the Wei, Shu, and Wu factions? How does
one go about either raising or lowering one's standing within a group? Also,
ultimately why should someone want to focus their efforts on improving their
relationship with these factions? Is some of the best content attached to
pleasing these groups and getting access to those exclusives?
There are several different means for players to increase their reputation
throughout the world. First off is simply by performing Entrusted quests--these
tasks are distributed by particular characters in each region of the game. For
completing these tasks, in addition to numerous other rewards, they also grant
reputation for that particular area. Increasing your reputation beyond a certain
threshold implies that the citizens of that realm now trust you, and will offer
you discounts, better equipment, and other goods. A similar system exists for
factions as well.
MPOGD: Looking through screenshots, it seems that mounts play an
important role in the game. What types of/how many mounts are there in the game
and how do players go about obtaining them and at what level? Are mounts
strictly for movement only or do they factor into combat as well?
While mounts begin simply as a form of transportation, they soon become a vital
gameplay element--allowing the player to train a variety of mount specific
combat skills. The types of skills available vary significantly depending on the
combination of mount, and weapon type. Mounts can also be equipped with
items--such as those that increased movement speed, or provide greater armor.
MPOGD: For those who like PVP combat, we already know about the Kingdom
Wars, but what other kinds of PVP options/game modes will be available? Is PVP
confined to certain areas and actions, or can players choose to engage in PVP
fights wherever they wish?
Kingdom Wars is certainly the focal point of PvP, however--beyond a certain
level, players are also free to engage in PvP throughout most all areas of the
world. In addition, numerous battlegrounds are also available. Participating in
such activities can only benefit the player, as they receive experience, items
MPOGD: Looking at Perfect World Entertainment's previous games, there's
certainly some similarities and ideas that are shared between the various games.
In what ways is Heroes of Three Kingdoms alike and dislike the other games in
Some may draw comparisons because most of our games run on our proprietary
Angelica 3D graphics engine, and that the robustness of features are similar
across games. Heroes of Three Kingdoms, however, is the first game from Perfect
World Entertainment to be based on an actual historical event, and is especially
important since it gets us back to the roots of this being a Chinese company.
MPOGD: Are there any final words you'd like to say or features to talk
about that we perhaps haven't covered yet in this interview?
Thank you so much for your time, and for your interest in Heroes of Three
Kingdoms. We hope that your readers get a chance to sign up for the closed beta
and check out the game!