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There was an online chat with the devs and here it is just incase you missed it.
Just in case you've missed the action like I did: Stratics has already posted their log of the very first HoC Chat with some of the guys working on ER. The full transcript is available here and right down here below. It's definitely worth reading through it. Lots of interesting bits in there... Yarrr!
Brannoc - Welcome to today's House of Commons chat with the developers of Earthrise!
Brannoc - To submit a question type /msg Brannoc My question here! - questions sent to the developers will not be answered! We'll be doing a general chat today so any questions on the game are welcome.
Brannoc - We'll begin with a brief introduction from our guests and then jump straight into the questions. The full logs will be available at http://www.stratics.com shortly afterward.
[MS]Ostiak - Hi, everyone I am Atanas Atansov, CEO of Masthead Studios, thanks for joining the chat
Moll - I'm Moll, the Community Manager, I see some familiar faces from our boards.
[MS]Horhe - Hi, I’m George P and I’m responsible for the technology that drives Earthrise. Our team works to create and engine that will realize our vision.
[MS]Ndesign - Hallo everybody, I`m Nikolay Stoyanov, Art Director of Masthead Studios, nice to see you here
[MS]RaynerApe - Hi, all. My name is Apostol Apostolov, Lead Game Designer of Earthrise MMORPG. I am 29 years old, avid fan of roleplaying games, board and screen, card games, and old school wargaming. My job at Masthead Studios involves development of the game mechanics, content and balance as well as managing the game designers, writers and partially the level design at the company.
Brannoc - *[DSotM]Malicious-Wraith* What kind of conquest are we going to expect? Is there any incentive to fight for control of different areas?
[MS]RaynerApe - A massive portion of the Enterra island will be open for conquest from rivaling Guilds and players will be able to build mining facilities, factories and defensive structures, as well as administrative buildings to accomodate their guilds. Control over areas will allow cheap access to raw materials needed by guilds to fuel their economic influence over the global market, and prepare them for the ongoing struggle for dominance betwe
[MS]RaynerApe - ...Control over areas will allow cheap access to raw materials needed by guilds to fuel their economic influence over the global market, and prepare them for the ongoing struggle for dominance between all guilds.
Brannoc - Keep in mind that questions will be answered first come first serve - send them now bytyping /msg Brannoc My question here!
Brannoc - *JaMBo* What social aspects do you have planned for the game?
[MS]Ostiak - Earthrise will not just be a military PvP game. Needless to say, it will offer the opportunity to create guilds with all kinds of management options to them. The offline gameplay, which was widely discussed on our forums will be closely related to some social activities as well. Trading and player run economics will also be part of the social life in the game.
[MS]RaynerApe - The strong economic nature of Earthrise will bring new social aspects that are not always fully developed in other games.
Brannoc - *Svetkka* Q1:will skill gain be exclusively by performing actions , or RPG/assigning points? & is offline skillgain still going to be implemented?
[MS]Ostiak - Skill gain will be online, there will be no offline skill gain. The way players will raise their skills is still being tested internally, and what I can say is that we will offer a very interesting hybrid of online skill gain, which will not be the typical usage based
Brannoc - *Svetkka* Q2:How will the PvE differ in the lower sec areas versus the higher sec areas? (mob strength, loot, etc)
[MS]RaynerApe - Lower areas will provide less challenges and risks to players but also slower rate of advancement and loot compared to more risky locations across the island.
[MS]RaynerApe - The players will have a choice to take risks and venture in the wild, less secure areas where the awards are plenty but much more difficult to keep, given that these zones are much more open for PvP hostile action. It will give players a satisfying sense of danger and risk.
Brannoc - *[DSotM]Malicious-Wraith* Can you explain the item loss from PvP insurance system?
[MS]Ostiak - Item loss will happen if the killed player has not insured his items or if he doesn’t want to pay a very high fee to get them back. If this happens, his items will stay on the ground and everyone can loot them
Brannoc - *noone* Can a character level up and develop without killing monsters/enemies
[MS]Ostiak - There are no levels in Earthrise, and it will be possible for a character to develop withought fighting, but he will develop only his crafting and social skills
Brannoc - *JaMBo* Do you have plans for flight or space, possibly in future expansions? Would the current engine support these?
[MS]Ostiak - no, we have no plans for space flight, even in future expansions, the main storyline will develop on Earth
[MS]Horhe - The engine is designed to be expandable and technically can handle very large world. Server system dynamically allocates game world space to available hardware, so expanding universe can be handled just by adding more servers.
Brannoc - *Svetkka* Are missions going to be instanced?
[MS]Ostiak - no, missions will not be instanced, we don't want to break the immersion of the players
[MS]Ostiak - keep in mind that in Earthrise players will not have to spend days and nights waiting for the items of their dreams to drop from the instance boss, instances in the game will be mostly for fun and quests
[MS]Ostiak - not instances, but special zones in the game, sorry my mistake
Brannoc - *Bobo* How will the Erratic, that can be seen in the concept art, relate to the main factions Continoma and Noir?
[MS]RaynerApe - Erratic are a renegade organization that will be distanced from both Continoma and Noir, but they will have connections with both factions in one way or another.
Brannoc - *Firehawk* How would you sort this by priority : Quests / PvP / Crafting / Economy / Gameplay
[MS]Ostiak - I would put it like this: 1. Gameplay 2. PvP 3. Crafting 4. Economy 5. Quests but this is very general, some players in Earthrise might put different priority to them
Brannoc - *Orvago* Will Earthrise offer casual gamers who often like to play solo the ability to successfully do so?
[MS]RaynerApe - Earthrise will provide casual solo gamers with enough content and opportunities in high-sec and mid-sec zones, but should they venture onwards they will have to be extra cautious. But definitely, even in no security zones, the solo player gameplay will be viable.
Brannoc - *Foot* obviously graphics are important, but playability is the most important thing, i play eve and though the graphics are great they have huge problems with their archtecture which causes any sort of decent sized battle lag to the point where sometimes you can be waiting 45 mins for a command to be processed, are systems being put in place to ensure earthrise is scalable, i would hate to get into a game again to find its unplayab
[MS]Horhe - We have had in mind all the design decisions and constraints that current MMOs have while designing the backend. The world is dynamically allocated to servers based on the number of things one of which is the number of players and interactions. So if an epic battle forms somewhere mode server power will be allocated to the zone.
Brannoc - *Svetkka* I understand the skill system is still in the works, but can you give a small example of skill tree /overall depth of the skill system?
[MS]Ostiak - You may be surprised by my answer, but players in Earthrise will not have the usual template limitations like those in most skill-based games. Once you see the finalized system you will notice that your question has been irrelevant
Brannoc - Remember questions are answered first come first serve! Type /msg Brannoc My Question Here! to submit one.
Brannoc - *[DSotM]Malicious-Wraith* How does Earthrise intend to appeal to the hardcore PvP demographic?
[MS]RaynerApe - Full loot as a frequent possibility. No hardcoded no-PvP zones. Laws that can be abided or broken, with consequences for the latter. Low power creep curve that values player skill and tactics, not accumulated loot and statistics.
Brannoc - *TechnoMag* 1. when beta will be opened? 2. how we can join to beta version?
[MS]Ostiak - We plan to start betta testing in Summer-Autumn 2008, details will be posted on the official site
Brannoc - *Firehawk* PvP seems to be very important to you. I'm glad of this. Will conquests, politics will be based on guilds/alliances, predifined factions or a mix of both ? Will politics be driven by players, as we can see in Eve Online for example ?
[MS]RaynerApe - Politics will be player driven, and be tightly woven with the game economics. Factions will play their role in politics with the open conflict between Continoma and Noir and the struggle between smaller organizaitons, but eventually the individual capitalist spirit will prevail.
Brannoc - *Vehementi* What kind of stories will I be able to tell my friends when I play this game? I want something other than, "I won an epic item from a random number generator", to quote someone else...
[MS]Ostiak - You can never tell such story out of Earthrise
[MS]RaynerApe - You found a new item design that allowed you to create the best weapons to defeat a certain mutant breed, and hundreds of soldiers and hunters queued your door for it.
[MS]RaynerApe - You were hired to kill a hardened killer and asked to do it stealthly and you traveled long before you could find him and stealthily dispose of him before alarming the totalitarian law police.
[MS]RaynerApe - You fought against the system and for months had the whole SVS guard force tracing each of your steps in the civilized lands.
Brannoc - *Svetkka* After some years of developments, have you felt using your proprietary game engine has paid off, rather than choosing pre-packaged solution from start?
[MS]Horhe - We have evaluated several engines when we started the development of the game, and we are constantly looking for best engines and games that are on the market. We wanted our game to be unique and wanted engine that will have features to closely support the gameplay we are envisioning. Currently most engines have some kind of limitation in graphics or networking and scalability, we want the best of all worlds.
Brannoc - *[DSotM]Malicious-Wraith* What is your ideal day in the life of a PvPer in Earthrise?
[MS]RaynerApe - You killed a clueless Clarlie Brown Cristmas Tree player who dropped a boatload of cool items. He ressurects at a nearby revival station and runs to you, crying for his powerful gun to be returned to him, for whatever services and payments he promises you.
[MS]RaynerApe - Meanwhile you dismantle the gun, refine it's components down to processed materials and return to him a block of shiny new metal. Some things have price, the look on his face you couldn't see - priceless.
[MS]Ostiak - This is a tough question, but needs answering. A player may become PvPer from his first day on and he will enjoy his stay in Enterra almost anywhere he goes – be it by challenging other players in the arena or organizing his guild to attack and conquer the next territory or do some actions that raise his standing in his own faction, it is all up to him
Brannoc - *JaMBo* What type of vehicles do you have planned?
[MS]Ndesign - We`re going to have a couple of types of vehicles, For the first “level” there will be kind of hovercraft skateboards, and for the bigger ones will be hovercraft motorcycles. Our biggest 'vehicle' which will be a Mech,
[MS]Ndesign - which you can mount
Brannoc - *Vehementi* How's the game in terms of world size, openness, and explorability? Other games have pretty small zones enclosed by mountains at all sides with quest lines that railroad you through the content like a tourbus, with no real reason to explore, or even possibility (due to getting swarmed by stuff that is N levels above you and thus unkillable).
[MS]RaynerApe - The island of Enterra is massive, and while some railroading will be available to ensure that players don't lose themselves in its scope, players will be able to travel hundreds of square miles of terrain.
[MS]RaynerApe - What we will try to avoid is railroading players through a set tour of areas that appear artifically created to accomodate fluid power leveling. We want Enterra to feel like a real world, not just a game.
[MS]Horhe - One important point is that the most of the world of Earthrise is continuous, unlike many other worlds consisting of hubs with roads between them constrained by terrain and other obstacles. Player basically can reach almost any location.
[MS]Ostiak - Players will not have to jump from zone to zone, everyone will be on the same map
Brannoc - *Orvago* How much with the monthly fee be?
[MS]Ostiak - It is not decided yet, we will post information just before release, but you should expect pricing relative to the other subscribtion based MMOs on the market
Brannoc - *[DSotM]Malicious-Wraith* How do you plan on publishing Earthrise?
[MS]Ostiak - Our plans are to self-publish and we have the resources to do it, but if there is a good offer from a publisher, we will consider it
Brannoc - Ok folks that's it for today! The logs will be posted shortly on http://www.stratics.com - thanks for joining us here on Stratics IRC with the folks from Masthead!
Brannoc - Also, be sure to join us in #Earthrise for some open chat!
[MS]Ostiak - I would like to thank everyone for coming today and hope to see you in the future as well
[MS]Ndesign - We`re going to be in channel #Earthrise for a while