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Trials of Ascension looks truly ground-breaking and I am praying it makes it to live. That said, since the game seems to be really striving for an immersive environment, I had a few questions on how it will handle terrain, weather and game physics:
RIVERS AND BODIES OF WATER
Typically in an MMO, these are treated graphically and nothing more. In the least immersive, you can dive into the ocean in full plate armor and not sink; you can swim UP waterfalls; you can dive naked into icy arctic waters with no impact from temperatures that IRL would kill someone in minutes; you can dive to great depths with no impact from crush pressure; you can breath underwater for indefinite time; you can fight underwater using the same spells and at the same speed. Some games like GW2 take things a bit farther by having breathing apparatus and different underwater combat mechanics. But most MMO treat water as just a pretty change of color palette. Rarely, if ever, do you see bridges, for example, being meaningful ways to cross rivers - it is faster to just dive in wherever and swim across (full armored and clothed of course). Some MMO handle the river issue by the usual theme park on rails method - just make it impossible to cross anywhere BUT at the bridge.
How will TOA handle these issues?
WEATHER AND TEMPERATURE
Most MMO have varied climate zones, which allow for visually pleasing changes of scenery for players from snowy valleys to verdant forests to arid deserts. However few, if any, MMO have an impact on the player from being in a different climate. Want to run around naked on the arctic tundra? Go right ahead - no one freezes in our game! Want to travel through a forbidding waterless wasteland for days under baking midday heat in full plate armor - go right ahead, that blinding sun above you is only eye candy. Want to push that fully-loaded wagon up hill through mud under torrential rains? No problem! Mud in our game just means a slushing sound when you run through it at speeds that would make Usain Bolt blush.
Any different approaches by TOA to this?
REAL WORLD PHYSICS
Nearly all MMO allow you to move uphill and downhill at the same speed. You also move at the same pace through dense brush, swamps, mud, deep snow, etc. as you would on a well-paved highway. Almost every MMO has the beloved Jump key, which you can use regardless of the fact you are carrying 171 looted broadswords in your backpack. Planning to jump off that cliff? MMO tend to be a bit better here, with many games having some falling consequences and even death if the height is great enough. But usually you can still drop fifty feet or so with little/no consequences.
Thoughts on how TOA will address these areas?
Lighting is always subject to necessary compromise, since IRL gamers with sight disabilities won't be able to play if they can't see or it will be hard on the eyes of anyone to look at realistically dim candle-lit interiors or pitch black dungeon caverns. However, most MMO go way, way too far the other way - even the most dire dungeons conveniently have ever-lasting torches placed along the walls which light the place up like a suburban mall. Most MMO also make little distinction for day/night cycle. Old UO seemed to strike a decent balance - you really needed to be carrying torches around at night or in dungeons if you wanted to see anything and it only showed you a certain radius.
How would TOA think about lighting and day/night?
I want to emphasize I am NOT looking for some sort of real-life simulation. I realize a computer game world needs to compromise in order to be fun and playable. But it has bothered me for years that MMO seem to go too far to the other extreme, where the player really has no reason to take into account their surroundings at all. It would be nice if TOA explored making its environments and physics a bit more consequential. Players, for example, who ventured into arctic regions would need to dress warm (Gemstone MUD is an example of this, players would need to wear cold-weather gear or take slow but steady damage from icy winds). Players in hot deserts or jungles would flag when they were not in the shade or where they didn't have periodic access to water (either carried with them or a spring or oasis). A bridge over a raging river would be meaningful for anyone wanting to cross that river.
Thanks and appreciate any thoughts. Again, I am not looking for the moon, just wondering if TOA plans any different approaches.