Mark Marrow
11 Oct, 2006

Massive Assault Network 2 Interview

PC Interview | Wargaming.net gives us an insight into their upcoming online-oriented strategy game, Massive Assault Network 2.
Wargaming.net has a long road of strategy games, with most of their games receiving quite a bit of fanfare. Despite being a relatively small development studio, Wargaming.net manages to provide gamers with quality strategy games that match most of the big wigs on the market. Their latest title, Massive Assault Network 2, is soon approaching and gamers can expect an even better experience than before in this turn-based strategy game where you’ll fight for global domination. To get an idea of what gamers can expect in Massive Assault Network 2, PALGN recently chatted to Mike Belton of Wargaming.net.

PALGN: Can you please tell us a bit about your development team and the concept behind Massive Assault Network 2?

Mike Belton: The work on Massive Assault Network 2 (MAN 2) has been fulfilled by a moderate team of 8 expert developers, each with a lot of experience and professionalism under his belt. Victor Kislyi, the CEO of Wargaming.net, Inc. was at the helm of this project. He tended to bring new and brainstorm ideas to the game and MAN 2, to tell the truth, is his deserving creation.

It is interesting, that the game is based on extremely simple concept of Secret Allies, with Guerrilla, Revenue and Indemnity in addition. The idea is rather easy for understanding and has proved its incredible replayability. Here is the way how average game-battle happens: at the beginning both players have the equal number of countries as Secret Allies randomly distributed on the planet. These countries are not "visible" or known to the opponent, until disclosure phase. And the players begin to disclose them, deploying their Secret Armies. The remaining countries on the planet are neutral and the players are supposed to invade and conquer them. Each invaded country fields a small but mobile group of units against the invaders. Moreover, a neutral country can happen to be enemy Secret Ally, and he can disclose it, raising the regular army also. Thus political system of MAN 2 preserves the intrigue throughout the battle and random distribution of Secret Allies makes any new battle on the same planet unlike others.

PALGN: What was the decision behind creating the graphic engine that is present in MAN 2? What are you trying to provide to gamers in terms of feel and style with this approach?

MB: The constant aspiration for a high degree of perfection arrived us to the idea that right exactly this type of graphic engine should be presented in the game. In such a way MAN 2 proves itself like attractive turn-based strategy game with modern and bewitching 3D graphics. It is very notable fact, that Massive Assault Network 2 has free camera, which can be moving and rotating in any direction, even seeing the horizon. Everything is in full 3-Dimension: terrain, units, explosions, and effects.

PALGN: What can gamers expect in this game that wasn't available in your previous games?

MB: The core gameplay did not undergo crucial changes; it proved to be well-balanced and entertaining, so we decided to stick to it. Instead, we concentrated on perfecting gaming process itself: brand new Online Play Mode offers yet unseen turn-based online gaming experience as opponents will both stay in the game, watching each other actions in real-time. Thus online battles can be finished within 20-30 minutes, unlike days and weeks with the previous version.

As for new content, we’re to offer 3 all-new maps as well as maps from the original MAN and Domination, totaling the number of available planets to 24! Moreover, our team of developers designed 6 brand-new units. Those new are Megabot, Warship, Air Transport, Shark, Lillypad and Vulture.
Besides, our brand-new Online AI Opponents – Kate and Emily – are always ready for online battle with players on any of 24 planets. So players now may experiment their strategies, learn planets and get ready for death-matches with other live opponents. Since all battles against AI happen in Online Play Mode, player may see as other gamers connect to game server, chat to them, schedule new game or just start instant online battle.

Yes, that's my ugly mug playing the game.

Yes, that's my ugly mug playing the game.

PALGN: There are two different sides to select from, what kind of differences can gamers expect between the two?

MB: In MAN 2 glaring contradiction occurs between two highly developed sides “Free Nations Union” and “Phantom League”. Our players can take the belligerent side of one of them. Each civilization possesses its own unique set of military units. The right to choose the most attractive side is the prerogative of gamers.

PALGN: Where is the game set? Is there a story for why the two sides are in conflict with one another?

MB: The storyline of the game is quite thrilling and exciting. It's few hundred years from nowadays and the new surge of anger is just to hit the universe… Two extremely developed armies of “Free Nations Union” and “Phantom League” are about to clash in fight for the interplanetary supremacy of newly-explored planets. Scientific society of “P.L.” covertly worked out new deadly units to withstand the forces of “F.N.U”. In its turn “Free Nations Union” sent the spies to pump up the latest engineering of “Phantom League”. Spies managed to steal secret technologies and “F.N.U.” created analogue set of units to get advantage over the rival.

PALGN: Typically, most turn-based games tend to get bogged down with slow and long matches. What are the ways your team is trying to counter these issues?

MB: When we’ve just contemplated to make Massive Assault Network 2, we came to conclusion that the game would not be dilatory one, as it could make MAN 2 the clone of the other similar games. To make the game really fast became one of our goals of priority. Thus now players have opportunity to adapt the game for themselves, considering that online opportunities allow to do it. Time limitation, chess clock system and planet dimension are not the whole set of possibilities, available to reduce the in-game term.

PALGN: Can you please describe some of the game's units?

MB: I’ll tell you about my favorite and brand-new unites. Let’s take the battleship. It is the most powerful naval unit, except for a fully loaded Carrier and Leviathan. However, successful admirals tend to combine Battleships with Destroyers in major naval battles. If you back up a pack of Battleships with even one Carrier, you will get a devastating naval war machine - nothing will stand its firepower. Battleships can also provide fire support during naval landing operations, sweeping enemy ground units from coastal areas.

One of the most stunning units is the Bullfrog. It is the League's unique super unit developed in secret labs. Its firepower cannot be rivaled by any of the Union's ground units. The Bullfrog can fire two different weapons during the same turn either at different targets or concentrating both weapons at one target. In addition, it has a tremendous number of hit- points, making it the best ground shock unit. A single Bullfrog can invade and capture a small Neutral country, destroying all Guerrillas. The only disadvantage of Bullfrogs is that UPSs or Transport Copters can't transport them.

Vultures are absolutely new units in MAN 2. They have the highest mobility. They may move to and stay in any passable spot on the ground or at sea. They can be used as shock troops attacking slow enemy units at a distance as well as perform saboteur operations. They can easily jump over enemy lines to their rear, hunt enemy transports and capture capitals. Vultures can fly over mountains and other types of impassible terrain, and rough terrain or forests do not slow them down. However, Vultures are very vulnerable - they have only three hit-points. They are useless for long-lasting frontal battles and can be easily shot down by enemy Rocket Launchers, Heavybots, Megabots and Warships. This unit is the P.L. substitute for the unique F.N.U Attack Copter and can be employed only when playing with Extended Unit Set.

Environments are usually full of life.

Environments are usually full of life.

PALGN: There will be 24 planets in the game, what kind of diversity between each of these will be offered? And can gamers expect to find some environment effects that'll change the way you play?

MB: All the battles will take place on divergent planets: you can easily bog down on the Swamp, rush in a trice from lava-stream on Inferno, freeze in the icy snowdrifts of Antarcticus and ramble through atypical surroundings of other planets. Totally new planets of the game are V6, San Fernando and Lion’s Eye. I’ll attempt to mention briefly.

V6 is a tiny planet putting forward impetuous and distinctly furious ground action. There is a rich and always-neutral island lying off the coast. Lion’s Eye is surrounded by five islands. Players have to expect a myriad of naval actions. However, the war won't last long - the one who occupies the central continent will control the whole planet. And finally, San Fernando. It's a minuscule continent with a series of bottlenecks favoring positional warfare and defense tactics.

Gamers should be ready that they are obliged to draw up the tactical turns depending on terrain peculiarities. Deserts, rivers, roads and forests will influence upon the force distribution and the military campaign conducting.

PALGN: How will gamers be able to customise their online matches and their player profile?

MB: Players will have a variety of adjustments to be customised. The necessary sections of interface will permit to refine the game, in other words to establish allies density, time limitation, revenue number and so on. Besides, all the information about the player profile is renewed in real time, and gamers can be always informed of the number of games they won, lost or finished as a draw.
One more good innovation of MAN 2 is the possibility to upload your own avatar and in that way to express yourself in the game.

PALGN: Will there be any sort of achievements or rewards as an incentive for gamers to strive for top position or ranking?

MB: In our game award system rewards each player once they reach 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 victories over other live opponents, thus gamers will get signs and medals of victory of different classes. And the achievement of the highest rank is the incontestable incentive to bend every effort to.

PALGN: How close is the game from being finalized?

MB: Massive Assault Network 2 release is set to be at the end of October, 2006.

PALGN: Any additional comments for our readers?

MB: On behalf of our company, I’d like to thank more than 7000 beta-testers, who took part in the process of game testing. Due to their pains taking, we could make the game, which will stand out against a background of mediocre games.

For those, who do not imagine their lives without ability to think logically, without fun and entertainment, I just want to advise the next link:

In conclusion, I’d like to thank PAL Gaming Network Australia for arranging this interview.

PALGN would like to extend its thanks to Mike Belton and the Wargaming.net team.

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