Interview with Nick from 10×10 Room about Conclave, their new, asynchronous web-based RPG

 

The guys over at 10×10 Room ran a successful Kickstarter in September of last year for their game Conclave. The elevator pitch? Trying to put the feel and some of the player agency of a tabletop RPG into an online game. Which sounds pretty sweet. Now, Conclave is available for you to try over at playconclave.com. The first 10 missions are free and the remaining 15 cost $19. Nick from 10×10 Room was gracious enough to answer some questions about Conclave, which you should totally read below. You can also watch the launch trailer, embedded above, natch.

For those that aren’t familiar, what was the idea that sparked you to make Conclave?

Derek and I were discussing how we used to love playing tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS, but hadn’t done much with them since college, lacking both the time to play and friends living nearby with similar interests.  Our gamer friends had scattered throughout the world, gotten jobs, had families, etc.  We knew we were not the only people with this problem, so we looked around for answers, but didn’t find any that fit our situation – limited time, limited tolerance for scheduling, geographically dispersed friends – very well.  So we decided to build a game with all the elements of tabletop RPGs that we missed, but that was highly flexible about when and where you played.

How did the development process go? How much changed about Conclave as you made the game?
It took a long time – much longer than we had originally anticipated.  Computer RPGs are amazingly complicated beasts, and ours was further complicated by the need to develop mechanics and code designed to keep the game time- and space-flexible.  However, there are a lot of elements of Conclave that we fixed upon early which made it through the entire development process.  One was that we would support cooperative, party-based play.  Another was that there would be a mix of combat and of noncombat elements – that Conclave would be more than a tactics game.
One that thing we did not immediately know was what form combat would take.  We contemplated a much simpler combat system, closer to old-school Wizardry or something like Monster’s Den, with minimally spacial combat.  We also contemplated something with much bigger battlemaps and multisquare movement, akin to modern D&D systems.  In the end, we found a happy medium with smaller battlemaps similar in scope to games like Heroes of Might and Magic, offering spacial tactics but limited movement, thereby avoiding the need for scrolling.
Were there ideas you wanted in but you could make work or had to put off for later?
Hundreds?  Thousands?  🙂

Here are a few examples of things we wanted to be in the game, big and small.

– Conclave app:  We’d love for our mobile users to have an app rather than having to go to a web page.  This would let us offer an customized interface, and push out notifications instead of relying on email to let them know when they can take a turn.

– Summoning and allies.

– PvP:  Lots of people have voiced their enjoyment of our tactical combat system, and we’d like to let them square off against each other.

– Content creation and hosting tools:  The most common request we have from people is a way to develop their own adventures, or even worlds, built atop the Conclave engine.

We also simply want to offer more adventures, new archetypes, new abilities, and so on.

The good news is that, because Conclave is browser-based, it’s easy for us to keep updating and adding to.  That’s something we do regularly:  just yesterday, Derek released an upgrade to our chat system faster by an order of magnitude.

What do you think makes Conclave special?

As far as I know, Conclave is unique in offering deep gameplay, a rich world filled with lore, full browser support (without Flash, so iOS users can play too), and a smooth mix of asynchronous and synchronous gameplay.  For those who don’t know, “asynchronous gameplay” refers to games where you take your turn while other players are offline, whereas “synchronous” means that everybody is online playing at the same time.  Conclave works in either situation, and commonly parties will play in a mix of modes.

There are 25 quests in the main campaign. Do you have plans for more quests going forward?

Yes.  We’ve only explored a small fraction of the world of Orn as yet; there are more tales we want to tell, as well as new kinds of decisions and combats we want players to face.

How distinct are the different character archetypes?

Very distinct, but flexible enough to play many roles within a party.  For example, a Vanguard is typically heavily armored, a slow melee heavy-hitter who can absorb a lot of damage, whereas a Beacon would prefer to hang out right behind the Vanguard, supporting him and providing healing for everybody while landing some hits with her polearm.  But you can play a Beacon as a front-line character – something I often do in a party that needs it – and choose abilities and equipment that support that choice.

Explain how the system of voting on story choices works in Conclave?

If you’ve ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you are 90% of the way there.  There are two major additions we make to that tested mechanic.  First, everybody in the party participates.  Plurality rules; if there’s a tie, the first vote cast for a potential winner is the decider.  Second, some options are only available to you if you’ve got a high enough trait, have a certain skill, or have (or lack) a certain distinctions.  Distinctions are things you can earn through your actions; for example, by choosing a specific path I could become a Friend of the Spireguard, which gives me new story options later (and might deny me other ones).

For those interested, where can they get more information about Conclave?

The easiest way to get an overview of Conclave is to watch our gameplay video; there are things that are best shown rather than read about. 

That’s at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JEyq42Kp_8

You can also check out our About page:  http://playconclave.com/about

Or browse the forums:  http://forums.10x10room.com

Finally, we enjoy questions, so just email us.  I’m nick AT 10x10room DOT com.
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About Michael

Michael is an enthusiast about a lot of things, including indie games, roleplaying games, board games, and comic books that wanted to help create a place where he could bring things to the attention of those with similar interests. Futile Position is a true labor of labor, which he hopes continues to grow through the support of the great readers who have come upon this page.

10. June 2013 by Michael
Categories: RPGs, Video Games | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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