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New MMORPG Throne and Liberty is a PvP game first, but don’t be scared

New Amazon MMORPG Throne and Liberty offers PvP battles at an immense scale, but AGS says you can treat it as a pure PvE game if you prefer.

With FF14 Dawntrail and WoW The War Within both set for launch soon, kickstarting a new MMORPG is a scary prospect. Yet Amazon’s newcomer Throne and Liberty makes some big promises, offering a free-to-play MMO that truly embraces both the massive and multiplayer aspects of the genre with battles that can feature thousands of players at once. At Summer Game Fest, PCGamesN spoke to globalization design manager Daniel Lafuente about what makes it stand out, and whether its PvP focus could scare players away.

With no entry fee and full cross-play support, Lafuente hopes Throne and Liberty will provide a perfect jumping on point for new players. As a free game, he says, there’s no risk to trying it out even if you’re already married to another MMORPG, and that combined with the cross-platform ease of access means it’s a great game to encourage your friends to join you on, even if they’ve never tried an MMO before.

Perhaps the strongest selling point here is the sheer scale. “Think thousands of players participating in a Castle Siege, or hundreds of players in these guild versus guild battles,” Lafuente tells us alongside our Throne and Liberty preview. “And the game really, from day one, was built for that, so the underlying tech is actually able to support it. We’ve already seen, in the Korean live version, a 1,700 player Castle Siege. So we have the proof now that it’s really, really able to handle that.”

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In particular, there’s a real focus on player-versus-player encounters – Throne and Liberty, he says, is a PvP game “at its core.” A lot of the systems revolve around that, including player collision and the game’s dual-weapon system where your abilities are determined by your currently equipped weapon rather than by traditional classes. “A lot of the combat is geared towards also being very strategic in nature. When’s the right time to try to push the enemy? When’s the right time to flank?”

So does that focus worry Lafuente, given how many MMO players are resistant to the idea of PvP based activities? “It doesn’t scare me,” he responds, “I think we should be upfront about what the game is with players. We don’t want people coming in and feeling like [it’s] a bait and switch. But I don’t think that the fact that it is a PvP game at its core should be a detractor for PvE players. There is a really strong PvE experience.

“The other thing I would call out is that Throne and Liberty has PvP at its core, but there is no required PvP. So PvE players can fully opt out of PvP if they want. PvP takes place, typically, on schedules or in certain areas or zones and PvE players can be fully aware of that. And if they don’t like PvP, you know, there’s no requirement to do that. And they will be able to fully progress their character with or without doing PvP.”

Throne and Liberty interview at Summer Game Fest - A player carrying a bow and a greatsword looks up at a glowing obelisk.

The sheer scale is far from the only ace up Throne and Liberty’s sleeve. Another major feature is its morphing system. Rather than riding a mount, you transform into an animal, with land, sea, and air morphs. “We utilize them for traversal in the world, but also for completing interesting mechanics in different fights,” Lafuente explains. It’s a system we see in action during our preview where we have to grapple to certain points mid-fight. “We’re going to look to keep expanding on that as much as we can, because we’re getting really positive feedback from players on that particular system.”

Another unique design choice (for what is largely a traditional tab-targeting MMORPG in the style of games like WoW and FF14) is the parry system. This recurring mechanic is indicated by a specific symbol, demanding that you respond with careful timing to deflect incoming danger. “You will see [this] incorporated into a lot of mechanics, especially PvE mechanics, frequently, but how you execute it and when you need to execute it, that will vary.”

Of course, MMORPGs are inherently about socializing, and there Throne and Liberty plans to deliver with a robust guild system. Expect plenty of guild features, the ability to earn shared rewards among guild members, and numerous activities that you can accomplish together as a guild on both a casual and more challenging level.

Throne and Liberty interview - Three adventurers stand in a corridor.

There are plenty of reasons to give Throne and Liberty a chance. And as Lafuerte remarks, as a free PC game there’s no real risk to trying it out. For now, you can wishlist it on Steam to stay up to date with any future beta tests in the run up to release.

If you’re always on the lookout for the next potential hit, here are the best new MMOs to try right now. Alternatively, if you’re more focused on a solo experience, the best story games are a great place to start.

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Additional reporting for PCGamesN at Summer Game Fest by Lauren Bergin.