Broken Ranks Developer Interview

Broken Ranks Developer Interview

By  Andrew Duncan - 17th Jun 2024

We had a chance to speak with Whitemoon Games to talk about the future of Broken Ranks, and how some new updates work.

Broken Ranks Developer Interview

What can you tell us about yourself, and Broken Ranks?

We’re a close-knit group of people, all hooked on videogames, joined by passion and a common project. Every member of our team is unique in their own way and brings something unique to the table… And we’re not talking just about their abilities but also perspective and experiences. These are the elements which made it so that the majority of our team are or were very dedicated players. Thanks to their knowledge of the ongoing situation on the servers, we can deliver content that meets the expectations of our community and allows us to expand it.

How did it all start? We need to mention that Broken Ranks is the successor of The Pride of Taern, a browser game that is very popular in Poland. This project started with a passion of one person in his university years who, in the initial phase (which lasted several years, haha), was joined by two more people. The game was met with a warm welcome in Poland and, with time, our team had more than a dozen members while the game took its well-earned place among MMORPGs with tens of thousands of players regularly exploring the world of Broken Ranks

New game developers frequently say that their first project was supposed to be an MMORPG, but they abandoned this idea, because they were told it’s the stupidest of all. Luckily, when we started 17 years ago, there was no one to tell us that. And thus, our first project was an MMORPG (the downside being that we only have one so far, haha).

A screenshot of Broken Ranks

What sort of new approach is the team taking when it comes to new sidequests and daily activities/quests?

Our team enjoys a great deal of creative freedom. This had the downside of some ideas growing too much. However, our first priority is regularly delivering new content, as can be seen in this year’s update plan. Unfortunately, this bears the unromantic necessity of biting only as much as we can chew. At the moment, we try to design new tasks so that their implementation would fit in the previously established timeframe. This, in turn, often means having to compromise, because sadly, perfect is the enemy of good.

For some time now, we wanted to give something to do for more casual players that don’t have a hardcore team for boss raids or those that have trouble finding interesting activities for themselves using the world map. The recently introduced system of daily challenges provides something nice for players to strive for on a daily basis, so you don’t have to waste too much time thinking about what you actually want to do 😉 This will be especially helpful for new players. The system also rewards staying active in the game, which provides additional benefits for everyone, such as gold, experience or psychoexperience for gear

Is there anything that the veteran fans and players who haven't played since The Pride of Taern can look forward to in this latest update?

In one of the latest updates, we delivered something that will be of special interests to the veterans. Legends are a new type of upgrade for the most powerful weapons in the game (epics) that allows them to do something completely crazy 😉. However, we’re sure that they’ll find something for themselves in the latest update that introduced daily and weekly challenges. It introduced a lot of diversity to everyday gameplay and completing the highest tier of weekly challenges lets players unlock new unique and powerful buffs.

A screenshot of Broken Ranks

It's becoming more commonplace for developers to interact with their community through Discord servers. What can you tell us about the upsides and downsides of this new trend?

Yes, Discord seems to have become hugely popular both among players and developers, it’s practically the standard way to communicate nowadays. Around the time of Broken Ranks’ release, we also decided to lean heavily on Discord as far as communication goes. 

We’ve always tried to keep in touch with our community and be in constant contact with them, so it was basically another tool to help us achieve this goal. 

Some upsides from our perspective:

  • It certainly came in handy by letting us interact with players more directly and be closer to the community.
  • When launching a game update, it helps that you can get instant feedback, especially on new features or bug reports. You know, it’s very easy to just write a quick message on Discord, so a lot more people actually share their opinions with us.
  • It offers a wide range of communication tools - there's something for everyone.

 As far as downsides go:

  • Sometimes it’s more difficult to keep up with the amount of content our players produce. If you check Discord two days after an update, you will have kilometers of scrolling to do 😊 When we were using a classic forum, it was easier to read everything and answer most of the questions.
  • It can be a double-edged sword. The more accessible the communication channel and the greater the range of options offered, the greater the risk of toxic behavior in various forms. This, however, is a challenge that every developer faces as the community grows.

But where are our manners… We’d like to invite you all to the Broken Ranks Discord server: 😊

Concept art for cape skin

What can you tell us about the process that goes into creating skins in a live service title? What unexpected difficulties has the team encountered?

Creating skins is a complex process that starts in the game during regular gameplay. We analyze our characters of various classes during combat and try to find ways of taking their visuals to the next level while also taking into consideration their role in the game.

For example, the Barbarian is a damage dealing class with mostly melee attacks — they roar, pummel their foes, and can often go berserk, so they need big weapons that leave a trail after a swing to visually add power to their actions. In addition to that, their armor should match their physical presence and toughness by exposing their muscular body in a few places, because they don't really care if they take damage unlike a knight in full-plate armour.

The next step is a good concept that encompasses all of the above and makes the character more dynamic. After that, we create the model and add textures to it.

Our biggest enemy? Definitely time. There is always a limit in terms of resources and, of course, we would like to add as many great skins as we can in the shortest time possible. Besides, we are constantly coming up with new and interesting ideas, and sometimes we find ourselves in a spiral of improving, improving, and then improving some more. The most important thing then is to recognize this pattern and be able to break out of it. And the biggest challenge? Meeting the expectations of players, and they sure have varied tastes. This is not an easy task, because everyone has their own opinions, but as the old saying goes “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes” 😉 .

I believe that we are constantly improving and this process is as exciting for us as it is limitless. We want to push ourselves with every new skin we make.

For those who haven't considered trying Broken Ranks on mobile, what incentives are there to pick it up on both platforms?

Apart from the fact that player controls in an isometric view game have proven to be very comfortable on both platforms... Our combat system may be of special interest to fans of mobile gaming! It may even seem specifically designed for smaller screens, although it was designed long before the mobile revolution. In our opinion, combat in Broken Ranks will be more dynamic and fun for many mobile players. 

We think that playing on a PC is better for longer sessions — raids, questing, or simply chatting with friends while playing. However, using your phone or a tablet is great if you play less in a single session but more frequently.

Besides, having your favorite game always in your pocket must be a plus, right? 😊

A screenshot of Broken Ranks

Where can players find a way to sign up for the closed tests of the mobile version?

The closed tests will be available to a very narrow group of players, because we want to focus testing on certain elements of the game. At the moment, signups aren’t open, BUT… when we decide to increase the number of testers, we’ll surely let everyone know! We also can’t wait to finally make the mobile version of Broken Ranks available for public testing. Stay tuned!

Many players really enjoy spending money on their favourite titles, so what does the team have planned to offer through the premium currency?

Apart from the proven options that are well-known to our players, we plan to mostly focus on cosmetics. Our players can expect fresh, atmospheric gear skins. Some of them will be enriched with the recently added visual effects (flashes, flames, etc.). There will also be new skins for combat pets, something that our community truly loves.

And, of course, if we implement something completely new, we’ll make sure the readers of Fanatical know about it!

Concept art for the new area

What little sneak peaks can you give us about the new area that might be arriving in Q3/Q4?

You better stay cool 🙂because the area we’re going to add will be fire/volcano-themed. It’ll be a high level area meant to fill the content gaps for levels 80-100. It will also feature a big city map in its second part.

Although the roadmap doesn't touch on them, what teases can you give us about the events throughout the year?

Yes, our update plan focuses mostly on new features that we would like to implement this year. However, players also need something to break their everyday routine, don’t they?

Every year, they can take part in the Bunny Marathon, Valentine's Day Party, Forefathers’ Eve, and the Winter Event. These events provide some variety, an opportunity to join in on the celebration, and, of course, get some rewards, including rare cosmetics that are exclusive to these events.

From time to time, we also organize minor events that are a great opportunity to gain a lot of experience, psychoexperience for gear, boss entry tickets, and plenty of other utility items.

Thank you for your time, and we can’t wait to get stuck into Broken Ranks!

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