Novus AEterno – MMORTS without pay-to-win

Xsolla continues to talk about innovative games. We’ve talked with the developer of Novus AEterno — a new massively multiplayer online real time strategy from Taitale Studios. Nick Talmers Nieuwoudt told us about the funding problems and peculiarities of indie monetization.

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The Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy (MMORTS) genre was established in 1998 with the launch of Mankind from the French Vibes Online Gaming company. MMORTS combines an open virtual world with thousands of players and RTS-mechanics loved by fans of Starcraft and Age of Empires. These products are popular among the gaming crowd, yet there is only a small number of active MMORTS right now.

A recent Kickstarter campaign helped to fund a new MMORTS called Novus AEterno. Developers succeeded only after the second try. The first campaign failed but Taitale Studios got help from an angel investor. They received about $70k but it was still not enough. The scale of the project was huge and developers were working for free most of the time (the whole development dragged for 7 years).

«Novus AEterno is a real-time strategy set in a persistent universe with no loading screens or separate instances. Players will be tasked with constructing units and fighting battles across a nearly countless number of solar systems in an attempt to expand their influence by conquering planets which will house their military and economic infrastructures. With Novus AEterno we wanted to give players the freedom to play the game the way they want to. We give the players the ability to design and construct their units by supplying them with a multitude of different hull types and the individual components that can be mounted to those hulls. We also want different types of gamers to have a place within Novus AEterno. Out team has something for every style of RTS gamer, be it a player that loves to go out and blow everything up or a passive player that enjoys becoming a strong economic superpower», — explains Taitale Studios CEO Nick Talmers Nieuwoudt.

Developers organized a couple of project to gain additional funds. The first step was a successful Kickstarter-campaing which brought $150k. Studio also launched an Infiltrator Program, which is really a hidden alpha test.

«The Infiltrator Program was something we created to slowly allow interested players into the Novus AEterno universe. The job of an infiltrator is not just about playing the game. We were looking for people who were willing to dedicate some of their own time to help us polish and further the development of Novus AEterno. Anyone could sign up for the infiltrator program. At this point in time we have stopped accepting applications due to one of our Kickstarter goals giving backers access», — says Nick.

Novus AEterno is a one time purchase. However players have the option of a premium account status which will give them access to a few systems that will make the management of their space empire easier. The premium account is mainly for players who wish to stay on par with more dedicated players. It’s all about ease of access. Premium account holders will have longer offline build queues and automated trade routes. Their trade routes won’t be less vulnerable to raids. They will simply be easier to manage. There is also an in-app store, but Taitale Studios will sell only various image items.

«We will have an in-game cash shop which will feature custom planet and ship skins along with other cosmetic items. We will never sell anything that will make one player stronger than another. As gamers ourselves, we hate buy-to-win!», — says Nick.

At the moment Novus AEterno is in the alpha stage. It is available only in English. The company is going to make a splash in USA and western Europe. The studio has been contacted by a few Asian and Russian communities and developers will be expanding into other languages in the future. The game will become available in 2014.

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