Gaming News

Profane – A True Sandbox MMORPG

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Hey, everyone! I'm Saramantis, Social Community Manager for Profane.

It's a pleasure and an honor to be here to talk about the game we are developing at INSANE Game Studio.

Although we've had a Pre-Alpha in the past, we are still under development and have reworked a lot of what we had back then; just so you know that changes might still happen on some of the things we share here, alright? 🙂

Also, a heads-up apology because this was a lengthy one.

I hope you enjoy it!

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Profane is about player freedom. We are creating a game that allows players to tell their stories with the tools and freedom every role-playing game should provide, just like a tabletop RPG.

We believe that a real MMORPG allows the players' stories to be told through their decisions, interests, and conflicts. This is crucial to creating the feeling of being a part of that world and making it seem real. We want to work with this by truly giving attention to the events happening inside the game as a result of players' actions.

It's the lore of Profane being built.

We like to say that Profane is, in fact, an RPG MMO since player freedom in a rich environment is our top priority. It is what allows the story to unfold. Territorial domination and guild conflict are great, yes. Still, we understand that if that is all there is to a game, it ends up being shallow and repetitive (and not very welcoming to casual players and lone-wolves).

So we are bringing a living and dynamic world to Profane, populated by NPC factions with a robust AI that imbues them with behaviors that helps adding depth to the events of the game. Players will be able to build, destroy, and conquer villages, cities, and empires. NPC behavior will be inspired by RTS games, dynamically spawning and growing in the game's world. Cities created by NPCs can be evolved or destroyed by players' actions, and players can also decide to make their own empire from scratch.

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There will be no classes or levels in Profane. Instead, the game features exciting combat with many possibilities. Players will customize their combat style by collecting Elemental Skills and using weapons. Skill-building will be inspired by Trading Card Games, which means that no matter how many skills a player has, it will only be possible to equip a limited number of them at a time.

There is no right or wrong in Profane, but there are consequences to actions! Player Killers will become outlaws by having negative karma, for instance.

We don't want to take all the boring realism to the game, like pressing the key to jump and waiting for the character to take impulse and then jump; or clicking to equip a piece of gear and having to wait for the character to wear it. We want to make the gameplay as arcade as possible as long as it doesn't hurt the RPG, immersion, and freedom aspects.

We are committed to creating enjoyable and fluid gameplay, and, to get that right, every bit of feedback is significant! And this is where the community comes in since with no community, there's no purpose to what we're creating.

Profane is also about a healthy and positive community, starting with transparent communication from our side.

We are pledged to perpetrating positive practices in our game and player base. We are very well aware that games with this level of freedom frequently lead to toxic behavior, which leads to a community that cannot grow beyond a certain point because it is not welcoming or receptive. So we are changing that, and it starts with us.

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We strongly believe that narrative on Sandbox MMOs shouldn't be the ingredient used to create it, but the byproduct you get from it. For this to happen, it is vital to create a world with as many possibilities of interactions as necessary to allow it to form a narrative by itself.

In Profane, players will be able to choose how to start their journey. Those seeking a more significant challenge will be able to choose to begin in the middle of the woods, having to survive a harsh environment and make crucial decisions. But players will also be able to choose to start in a city protected by guards where they have access to mundane resources and some medium-risk adventures. There will be advantages and disadvantages depending on what you choose.

This won't restrict your future. We merely intend to create a start that fits better with each role-play style.

With player freedom as our focus, we want to provide you with as many options as possible (through proficiencies) to develop the skills and gameplay you see most fit for your character. Want to play as a peaceful farmer and avoid conflict as much as possible? Perhaps by providing a guild of players or an NPC faction with your resources? Go ahead! Want to help an NPC faction conquer territories while fighting for them? Or perhaps a player guild? Sure! Or maybe just have a journey on your own, exploring Semisus? It's up to you to decide.

This also goes for players that seek a more aggressive playstyle. Without freedom, we would be taking pirate and assassin gameplays off the table. And we don't want that. What's important is how we tackle this in-game without breaking the fun for everyone.

We noticed that a never-ending search for better equipment, familiar in so many MMORPGs, limited the fun in the game and players' freedom. Freedom is limited when you are worried about losing your equipment all the time, isn't it? So we are taking the focus out of that and creating a culture of understanding that equipment is a disposable thing, just like your clothing in real life. You can just get a new one. Of course, we'll have different tiers of equipment that are better, and some unique even, but we will dive into this later. The point is that we are shifting players' mindset, so they feel encouraged to take risks. Risk walks hand-in-hand with freedom, and that is part of the beauty.

It all comes down to deciding what you are risking and for what.

Are you going to a dangerous place to collect wood? You don't need more than an axe and maybe some improvised armor that you can very easily craft with your bare hands, using materials from the forest itself. You shouldn't be wearing that special gear you got with so much effort to go collect wood on the frontier of an enemy player territory. Save that gear for when you're fighting for a cause where there is a real chance of bringing the change you want!

We want players to understand that epic equipment, in a sandbox world, needs to be epic! There is no "epicness" previously made to be on your path. You will have to put yourself on a path to find epic gear with the chance of not succeeding.

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We understand that there's a certain kind of humility people need when seeking an immersive experience. There is no way everyone on a sandbox experience will be the greatest hero of all time, all the time.

That's precisely the definition of linearity on theme-park MMOs. Everyone is walking around with epic gear. Everyone is the hero. Despite having super cool graphics, nothing is immersive. We beliebe that's exactly what makes the world dull. It's precisely because of it that you can't do anything you want in those kinds of worlds. You would end up ruining someone else's greatness.

As long as the game has enough systems to create incentives for all kinds of experiences, there will be places where the order is being maintained and where it's not. It will be part of the player's learning about that world to analyze the best spot for building a house, for instance, or how to avoid conflict.

Safe places can stop being safe eventually, but that's part of a living world and should happen as the story unfolds. Land that was once ruled by a democratic guild can shift powers to an empire. How will you react to these events? How do you see yourself taking part in that? Engaging in a player-driven movement or moving deeper into the woods by yourself?

We are creating something genuinely new and unique here. It is much deeper in RPG content than a gankbox (which is mainly called that way because PvP is 80%+ of its "content").

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Profane has a dynamic world and not a static one. The land you control today may be hit by a drought that forces you to react fast, or, who knows, a dragon could be drawn by all that gold your empire controls. NPC Factions also change and grow in size so that even players who are not into PvP or GvG can influence realm control by helping their home factions.

There won't be any static cities in Profane. Cities (or even empires) will rise and fall all the time. This is part of our Dynamic World, and many systems are tied together to make this happen. Players can influence this (city destruction and building) and other NPCs, factions, and mobs too.

The systems that compose our Dynamic World are:

  • Climate
  • Factions
  • Dynamic Villages
  • Points of Interest
  • Contracts
  • Reputation
  • Encounter
  • AI

I will cover some of these that I believe to be essential to grasp the essence of what we're doing.

FACTIONS

Factions are NPC groups that belong to the same culture and share mutual interests. Through Artificial Intelligence, this group will list priorities to reach their goals and define friends and foes.

Factions will be able to expand their territories, evolving from small villages to great cities and so on. Still, for that to happen, they will need resources to reinforce their bases, which can generate conflict with cities nearby, whether they belong to players or NPCs.

Players will have a decisive role in this process because they will be able to help or harm the plans of these groups, developing a reputation with them.

The Factions system is strongly connected to the Reputation and Contracts Systems.

What if a group of players tries to destroy the Faction I live with and have a reputation?

Defend it! This is one of the most fantastic things about Profane! Any Faction can be attacked and destroyed by players, but whoever feels somehow harmed by this will have to take action.

That's why it's always essential to ensure that the Faction you invested time and resources is well protected. Of course, it's not going to be easy to destroy a Faction; there will be players and NPCs there to defend it. To sum up, the longer the Faction has to evolve, the harder it will be to destroy it.

Will all Factions have similar behavior patterns, like creating a village and trying to expand it?

No. The term Faction is used to define groups belonging to the same Culture/Race with shared interests.

We also apply the Faction concept to mobs, but their objectives and behaviors are less complex than those of the NPC Cultures. For example, let's say the "White Spider" Faction evolves faster and is more aggressive towards both mobs/NPCs and players; on the other hand, the "Red Spiders" only attack those who try to invade their space.

NPC Factions may have different ambitions; some will work only to maintain themselves, while others expand and gain more territories.

We are still going to test and define more details on NPC Factions, but the general idea is:

  • Factions spawn where there's room for them to spawn.
  • They can be permanently destroyed.
  • The more time a faction has to grow, the harder it is to destroy it.
  • It's easier to destroy a significant Faction by reducing its overall control zone/resources than going straight to its "heart" and attacking it.

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DYNAMIC VILLAGES

Dynamic Villages are settlements built by NPC Factions.

Imagine an adventurer who lives in a city controlled by NPCs, embarking on a journey. When he returns, he finds the town destroyed since another faction dominated it. And, in response, the adventurer decides to ally with the new conquerors, rebuilding the base according to their culture. The story seems simple, but considering it happens in a sandbox MMORPG, it requires much work! To achieve this result, we created a system that breathes life into the world. This system involves a series of other sub-systems that, through artificial intelligence, can trigger unexpected and surprising events between players, mobs, and NPCs.

Instead of having static cities that are not affected by changes in the game, cities created by NPCs will work on the concept of "Dynamic Villages." These settlements can grow on their own or be evolved/destroyed by the action of players. Everything will depend on the interests of those around them. If your goal is to destroy a big city, the task will not be easy! It may even motivate other players to prevent this endeavor, considering that it would be economically interesting to maintain the city safe for them.

The mechanics behind the Dynamic Villages consist of a series of predefined possibilities chosen by the NPCs through artificial intelligence. They decide their priorities, their level of ambition, their enemies, and their friends. Over time, the interests of this Faction may change as they complete or fail their goals.

Once repaired, the city might change its appearance. This happens because the culture of the town changed with the domination of another NPC faction.


CONTRACTS

The Contracts Mechanic is a dynamic and immersive way to do quests created by NPC Factions, who require help to reach specific goals. The Contracts will be made according to the needs of the NPCs, providing varied demands.

Here's an example:

A Faction of Gnolls initiates their construction of a watchtower, but they don't have all the necessary resources yet. So they create a contract requesting 10 thousand rocks. Players can participate simultaneously in this Contract and receive a reward proportional to what they deliver.

When in possession of all the rocks, the Faction ends the Contract, finishes the construction, and moves forward to the next objective, generating new demands. By collaborating with Contracts, players gain rewards and reputation with NPC Factions, which may be very interesting and strategic!

We intend that NPCs can create all kinds of Contracts. Here's a list of other possibilities:

  • To build a new structure
  • To clean a den of monsters
  • To conquer a point of interest
  • To inspect a region
  • To escort one or more NPCs

We also want to implement Contracts between players in the future, making Profane even more immersive and dynamic.


DUNGEONS

We are also going to see different ways in which dungeons manifest in the game.

In Profane, clearing a dungeon won't just mean visiting a place with a pre-determined narrative in linear content. Being part of the open world means that, when clearing a dungeon, players will have changed the course of history in that place.

We will have open-world dungeons, accessible by everyone, and ones that can be accessed by a rare drop that, when used, would open a portal to another world or space related to the creature that dropped the item. This portal would allow only a few players to go through it before closing and could be commercialized.

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We are creating a world where all game servers (regardless of where they are hosted) are accessible by all players, forming a single-shard world map. With that, players will be free to travel from one region to another, meeting any other player in the world!

We don't want to have duplicated or parallel instances that run the same game. So each region will have its history, and together they will all be part of one single story of Profane!

The number of regions will be dictated by the number of active players, changing dynamically over time. Our goal is to provide maximum freedom and the natural feeling of exploration.

We will try our best to make it look seamless, as the zones will all represent regions next to each other on the same world map, and eventually, we can get rid of the loading delay on transition.

We will be using our own netcode, developed through a LOT of research using new technology and tailored specifically for Profane. So first, of course, we will need to test and find out what it is capable of, stress testing and such.

Each region will have unique geography that will be procedurally generated, following a set of rules.

It won't be fully relying on a good outcome, of course, since we are fully committed to adding true RPG elements to our MMO. We are developing tools that have a mix of both: small details refinement and procedural generation based on data input. This will allow us to create regions and content that will spawn and behave on the world by itself.

We won't create an NPC city by placing each house, bridge, wall, and tower on the spot. Instead, they will make it by themselves, respecting a set of rules.

It can sound complex, but we've been working on this, testing, and checking the outcome for a while now. We've had good progress, and we will show the result to you as soon as it's presentable.

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Crafting will be an essential part of Profane since players will be able to craft everything they need to settle in remote areas and raise villages and even cities. They will be able to craft workstations, ships, weapons, tools, several different types of equipment, vehicles, potions, furniture, trinkets, and, well, the list goes on!

We intend it to be reasonably easy for a player to craft at least improvised gear to have a proper adventure, but they will also have the opportunity to create unique, rare items that will hurt a little bit more if lost.

As for the action in crafting, we are going for the simple approach of adding a button you press, and your character will craft it. But that is just the conclusion of a process the player will go through, which will require combining related proficiencies to achieve the final result, for example:

Combat and Work Proficiencies can be learned and practiced through interactions with the world, whether by collecting resources, crafting, building, or using different weapons and spells.

Besides Combat, Profane will have many activities for those who like to evolve in multiple professions such as trade, fishing, cooking, and more.

In Profane, players will see their progression through proficiencies instead of levels. The more you practice something, the better you will get at it. Skills will not be tied to a weapon. They will belong to you and your progress.

This means there will be no classes. You will build your "class" by collecting and equipping special skills. To develop your combat style, you will need to earn your special abilities! For example, players will have to venture into the world to find Elemental Skills (which we will talk about below).

Your progress on proficiencies will not be reset in case you start chasing a new one. You'll always be able to change your mind, any time you want, without losing any progress on the proficiencies you've already leveled.

We won't be adding a level cap to the proficiencies either since there will be a build system.

You also get passive skills from proficiencies. We don't see a problem when dedicated players can get them from any number of proficiencies, as it will still require gear, workstations, time, and sometimes even active skills to have a good performance at the role you are trying to perform.

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  1. Profane's combat style is action, using WASD for movement.
  2. To hit a target, players have to aim without any assistance.
  3. Profane has friendly fire: it's possible to buff and heal enemies if hit by mistake.
  4. Player's will be able to swap between two active weapons during combat.
  5. Different weapons and Proficiencies will influence the attack speed.
  6. Players will be able to collect several skills, but the slots to equip them in their build will be limited, and they will have a cooldown between build changes.

But what does ACTION combat mean?

It means that the game's combat and other actions the player can do are dynamic and do not depend on fixed targets. Therefore, if a player accidentally crosses the path of your arrow, it will hit him.

This aspect of the game was made this way because we believe that action gameplay promotes a much more fluid gaming experience, where the player can follow his instincts when attacking, defending, and avoiding; therefore, reacting quickly to combat situations and moments of danger.

Combined with the friendly fire system, these elements open possibilities for situations like a 3v1 combat to have unexpected results. Combat becomes less deterministic when it's possible to miss the target or even hit the wrong one.

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Basic attacks won't prevent or hinder the player's movement to make the gameplay even more fluid. They will slow the movement a little, but players can attack while moving in all directions; therefore, basic attacks are more straightforward attacks that do not depend on a significant commitment from the player when performed. This will be different when it comes to some active skills.

We want combat to be easy to learn, but hard to master!

A skill's commitment level will depend on their hit area and functionality.

Block and roll and other kinds of defense and escape actions will be available as active skills! Our take will be to put those skills with several different varieties as active skills that need to be part of your build if you want them. If someone doesn't care about blocking, we want it to be ok for them to use that build slot for something else.

Oh! And we'll also have mounted combat. We've tested it during Pre-Alpha, and we were pretty happy with the results. You can see some of it on our YouTube channel (link at the bottom.)

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Elemental skills are manifestations of the elements present in Semisus, the world of the profane. These elements are Light, Shadow, Life, Instinct, and Mind.

They are more complex than they seem. For example, light represents protection and order. It is the belief in an idea, whether it is an entity, religious or not. It is faith in one's own abilities and capabilities. It is order in chaos.

Shadow represents knowledge and the past. It is the reflection of what was.

All of the elements have their own spectrum and can have both beneficial or malevolent uses. They aren't necessarily opposites of each other.

It is up to the player to explore the world and find the places where these elements manifest themselves to be absorbed. Perhaps an old tablet, infused by one of these elements, describes how to use the energy within it in a specific way? Maybe a unique tree that fades after eating its particular fruit? Or defeating a powerful and ancient opponent? There are many different ways this can happen, but they all involve going out into the world to unravel these secrets.

The more Elemental Skills you find, the more chances you will have to build different combat strategies. But remember, no matter how many skills you collect, you can only equip a limited number at a time. We are thinking of something between 4 and 6 skills slots total that can be filled with active and/or passive skills.

Equippable passive skills must be just as interesting as active ones, meaning they must "manifest" in satisfying ways and make the player feel that they complement their chosen build. An example of this would be a passive skill where on every 6th attack (THIS IS AN EXAMPLE!!!!), a projectile is shot in the direction of the player's attacks, or their next attack is buffed. And then you ask, "Oh, what about the passives acquired through combat proficiency? Are they going to take up slots too?" No! Those would be active the whole time.

However, it won't be of much use to have access to a vast arsenal if you don't know how and when to use them properly.

An example we like to use around here is TCG: you might have every card at your disposal, but that counts for nothing if you don't know how to build a good deck adapted to suit your needs. You need to anticipate which cards you are going to need and the best moment to use them.

We will treat our Elemental Skills as "MOBA heroes." We will be releasing many different skills to be found in the world during the early stages, and then with content updates, we will add more. There will be all sorts of skills, physical, magical, and of different combat specialties.

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Artifacts are unique items that can grant incredible power to their bearer. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find them since their existence doesn't follow a known pattern. Nevertheless, these rare items have such power that they can turn a mere adventurer into a powerful warlord.

But everything comes at a price! Besides being chased by a horde of greedy players, its owner will face other challenges, like indulging the mysterious wishes of the Artifact in their possession! What if they don't? The Artifact will abandon them! Perhaps to be found by somebody else around the world.

These Artifacts will be hidden throughout the world and will vary in what they bring to the player and the price they will charge.

For instance, a player can find a vest that increases swim speed but requires the player to pray in an underwater altar every day at a particular time, thus exposing the player to others that will know where and when to find them. Or it could be a sword that gives you a strong life steal but requires an X amount of kills per day to keep it satiated.

These are all just ideas of Artifacts, but you can expect to see stuff like this in Profane.

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Player building will be non-modular because we don't want the environment to turn into eye-burning chaos of foundations with nothing on them.

We want to give players the freedom to build anywhere without losing immersion and only implementing a few rules, like minimal gap distance between one house and another, not building too close to dungeon entrances, and some other minor limitations.

We're keeping it premade-like and see what needs improving later on, including the possibility of larger modular parts (like adding whole rooms or a blacksmith shed annex, etc.).

Houses will be attackable, but they will have shields. Every time you attack a player house and take out its total HP, you will remove one of its shields, and then it will be temporarily immune. When all shields are destroyed, the house goes down, and you can loot everything inside. Of course, players will be able to repair their shields to prevent that.

For the Pre-Alpha, houses had six shields, and each of them gave 6 hours of immunity to the house when destroyed. So, for a constantly attacked house, it would last 36 hours minimum before it could be destroyed. But, of course, if you had your house on a hidden spot or a spot where it's not a typical passage for other players, it could last much more.

But during Pre-Alpha, there were no different kinds of protections like village walls or the domination/protection system that the temples will provide in the next version.

Players would gather their houses, forming villages where they repaired each other's shields. Also, some players charged a fee to keep your shields always up when you're offline. So you can get creative and find ways to have more protection.

We want to bring more complexity for the Alpha, so this flag system will probably change, as will player behavior. Players might decide to join NPC Factions for protection, as Reputation and Karma will make a difference. We want players to be able to build solid defenses for their homes and villages. Maybe hire NPC guards, place traps, build walls… Who knows?

The flag system itself may end up as something with a different effect. Say, having a Monument in the center of your village that gives shields to all houses in its area of effect, and cities (both player- and NPC-made), being able to grow to add more features, like markets, banks, warehouses, etc.

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Guilds will be one of the backbones of the world in Profane. We see that guild and faction conflicts are the main driving forces in a region, which have a massive impact on the land, its resources, and the factions that will inhabit it, along with the cities and settlements founded by players or NPCs. But we are building this a little differently than other PvP-only focused MMOs.

We won't put a strict limit on the number of players who can join a guild, as that would go against our principle of freedom. Instead, we want to handle this indirectly: the bigger the guild, the more resources it will need. The more resources you need, the greater the area of control you will need to maintain. The greater the area of control you have, the more exposed you are to conflicts and weaknesses. We are creating a world where it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain dominance as you get bigger. The demand for resources, organization, and strategy increases profoundly when a guild or alliance takes control of a large part of the map.

NPC factions will also increase in power, and it will be more challenging to fight them, so players will also have to worry about that or use it in their favor, as players will be able to join forces with NPC factions and help them evolve to expand as well.

Territorial domination is one of the major events of "late game" content. This will be sustained by almost everything "below" this stage of the game: either PvP or PvE. Even a small farmer or collector will be part of the network that makes up an economic flow of the region that ends up turning the wheel of the domain of the territory. Weaving between all this, we will have explorers looking for the secrets of each region to try to discover the lore of the game and add new Elemental Skills to their collection.

Every action the player takes, whether PvP when looking for direct conflict with other players or a PvE-driven player looking to help a village of an NPC Faction grow, will compose the stories and elements that make up a Region.

Players will have to be organized enough and find a way to dominate or join a larger group. If we try to bring all possible outcomes to a balance between the guilds, then the game will become obsolete, as the rules make it impossible to be bigger than X. We want to see players pursue their goals no matter what. Remember: conflicts are what build history.

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Profane will have different moments for territorial domination. One massive war won't resolve region domination, but several minor conflicts will.

The fight for expanding territory control will be a fight for resources and reputation with NPC factions.

You can't destroy a player city to the ground in one big war, but you can fight for control points, win several small fights for resources spots, destroy the town of an NPC Faction allied to your enemies, etc. This way, you slowly shrink the area dominated by the enemy guild until you finally destroy what's behind the walls. It will take time.

We hope to promote constant player battles at different times of the day instead of gigantic massive wars that can crash the server and not deliver a smooth gameplay experience.

There will be both kinds of player-built content: those that can be destroyed like outposts, big workstations, refineries that players will build close to rich resource areas.; and those that won't change by the day, but with several minor conflicts and wars, like a capital city of players, where they have their temple, houses, and more critical constructions that need preservation. Those will be inside the protected territory, inside the walls. Remember: the bigger it gets, the more resources to maintain it.

In Profane, guilds will also be able to charge people harvesting resources inside their territory (an area a little bigger than their protected area).

Suppose the dominating guild has an interest in getting profit with those taxes. In that case, they will probably help and defend people who live around the outside of their city walls, as well as build supporting constructions for them, like a lumber mill that can increase the outcome of lumberjacking, or watchtowers that can give some advantage on sight and high ground against invading people (just a few examples). Remember, things get very different when you can build stuff where you want. So it's not unlikely that a guild will have a somewhat safe environment for nomads/mercenaries to build a camp around their walls if it's in their best interest.

Of course, we want it to always come down to the size and skill of those invading or defending a camp.

And that's it for our Spotlight, everyone!

If you made it this far: yay! Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about our game. We hope you had a great time getting to know more about our plans for Profane, and feel free to drop any questions down below, as I'll be answering them as well!

You can check some more videos and stuff from the Pre Alpha on our YouTube channel.

You can also find us on our website and other social media:

A huge thanks to Marnick and all the r/MMORPG staff for giving us this opportunity <3

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