November 22nd Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid studios provides a development update on the MMORPG and Castle Sieges.
- Moving to the new studio soon.
- Getting closer to the playable castle siege mode.
- On the road to Alpha 1, lot of work to be done, but we’re making good progress.
- Creative Director’s letter at December end. Will be Q3+Q4 letter.
Castle Siege Update: We’ve got the final piece of the puzzle from the destruction side of things not too long ago. We were waiting on Unreal’s Chaos system, have decided to go with our old system for now – which is as expected. Destructability decides when people are able to get past walls that are being destroyed. Aesthetics and performance are key in destruction. Even if we were to go with our lowest setting, it still looks incredibly aesthetic by current standards. Currently testing is a numbers game with excel documents, how we picture fights panning out, TTK (Time to Kill other players), but individually they dont help us gauge actual playthroughs, hence why internal testing is so important.
TTK (Time to Kill) is higher than the BR. The TTK is intended to be similar to the MMORPG, but will be tweaked through testing. It will be more relevant to pick a tank class for higher health pool and damage mitigation. The trinity of Tank/Dps/Healer will exist. We’re also working on the lore side of things to ensure where everything is going to go. Engineering is building a tool on how the questing system will work – How quests branch out and each decision has different outcomes. Questing is different has many variables depending on race, starting gateway, players participating and more that decide how the quest system adapts.
Programming Team Updates: Alex Khudoliy (Programmer) is brought on stream. We’ve been working on authentication and its performance/flow. We’ve been working on the siege wall destruction systems. We had an existing system for Apocalypse for blowing up individual pieces, but for sieges it works differently. Damaging a wall makes it go through different phases, starting with a small gap and opening up to a larger gap in the wall. Structures need to go through variable destruction stages for freeholds and more. So if attackers fail at sieging a node, they can still destroy buildings to affect the node’s progress and more. Let’s say a rival node stage 5 wants to progress, but you want to prevent their religion system from progressing, you can siege a node with a targetted objective of taking down a specific building without taking over the node or destroying it completely. If a building is not fully destroyed, the node has to gather the resources to rebuild the affected buildings.
We’ve also been working on the vehicles for sieges, how you mount/dismount the siege weapons, how enemy players can destroy siege weapons or target just the players on a trebuchet and more. Trebuchet’s might require a box system where you pick it up and deliver it to the trebuchet to deliver ammo. Or picking up the box lets you deploy the trebuchet at a specific spot with a cast time. Carrying the boxes/supplies will hinder your movement speed but is vital to your supply line for the siege.
Another challenge we had was having fast travel between the various respawn points, especially if the map is large. We dont want you walking for 5 mins and dying immediately to lose interest. So the base functionality and UI elements for it are almost done. This also plays into control points around the map for buffs and mobility on the map. Leaderboards are also in the works, we’re pretty much done with it and we’re expecting it to roll out soon. The aggregates will be based on the mode, region and more.
Character + Environment Team Updates: Chris Atkins (Lead Character Artist) is brought on stream. We’ve been working on the creatures for the MMORPG. Treants, War Rhinos, Elder Dragons and the first Aquatic Mount. Additionally we’ve been working on the Dunir node concept art, where the objective is to showcase their technological base. Of the 5 castles in the MMORPG, one of them is the original Dunzenkell Castle (Dunir) which are remnants from the previous age. The 3 nodes around the castle that feed its defences are set apart from the regular nodes out in the world.
Q: May it be possible for a mayor to organize city festivals, where residents will also have to collect and provide goods and resources to make the city more interesting. Make careers more meaningful, promote the cohesion of a city and bring players together to achieve common goals.
A: We want to create those opportunities, they might be in the form of festivals, but part of the job of mayors is to keep citizens happy and events similar to that to make it happen.
Q: Are Tulnar a result of corruption or inter-breeding?
A: Tulnar are not a result of corruption in any way.
Q: How will destruction work with the Building tool you showcased?
A: The dynamic tool is the answer for larger scale content so that nodes are not similar/same looking across the world. We want our environment artists to have powerful tools available for these. We will still need one-off and curated buildings, but the tool answers our needs for general things. The destruction system is also built into this and we are testing both right now to see if individual piece destruction or full building destruction is the way to go. Apocalypse was the basic level of this, incredibly un-optimized.
Q: Is there friendly fire in castle sieges?
A: There will not be friendly fire from teams, however there could be occurrences where a siege projectile hits a wall, and the wall debris affects all players from both teams.
Q: Will you migrate to the Chaos system of UE when you are ready?
A: The biggest problem is that Chaos is a physics based system which isnt good for an MMORPG. There’s a lot of polygons in the chaos system, we’ll obviously keep looking at it as its still in its baby stages. Even if it doesnt fit our needs later on, we could use small parts of it.
Q: What abilities (or early versions of abilities) will be usable for the classes in castle siege? Or are they just going to be the BR abilities tied to the weapons those classes can use? For example, the Weaponmaster having Lifestealing from the Halberd.
A: You’ll see some of the abilities from the BR that will be altered a bit. By the large most abilities for the siege are new. They are tailored specifically to classes and not weapons.
Q: Will we have to go through specific quests just to be able to progress/unlock something as it is the only way to obtain that specific thing (i.e content or ability to progress that is locked behind quests) or will we have that ‘sandbox’ freedom in which case we can do as we please and don’t miss much without doing quests?
A: Yes, certain things will be locked behind quest chains. It will also rely on world development and progress or nodes/dungeons and more.
Q: As a Healer, will I have quests that involve me healing hurt NPCs, stopping an epidemic from spreading, and other Healer type things or will I be just another damage dealer when I am not in a group?
A: There’s a concept of class quest lines which will be explored, there will be organizations that play into it and we’ll have optional objectives and various types of quests.
Q: Will Castle Siege be integrated into the BR or will it be a separate downloadable game?
A: It will be integrated into Apocalypse.
Q: It was mentioned before, that you plan to provide API access for game information. Will it be a REST API covering common public stuff like items, region information, auction house, etc. as well as protected to manage character and account settings?
A: We dont want you to be grabbing quest data and node information out beforehand, so no answer on that right now.
Q: Which type of “gold sinks” have you planned for the game to keep the economy in check?
A: We have this idea of a dynamic economy where quest rewards, NPC’s and shop keepers change their prices on the buying/selling side based on the economy. Crafting of all types will have both resource costs and gold costs as well, including being tied into the religious systems and more.
Q: We’ve seen the early iterations of the ping system in Apocalypse with the ability to place markers using the middle mouse button. Are there any plans to expand on this system to add additional functionality such as a ping wheel or raid leader pings and more?
A: Absolutely. Any time you see implementation of gameplay systems in Apoc or Alpha 1/Alpha 2, you will see them from the core feature set where they will be expanded on as we move through development. We want grouping to be easy and leaders to be able to organize and communicate quickly with their party.
Q: Will secondary classes still influence your stat growth, and what happens if you change your secondary class?
A: Secondary class will not influence your stat growth. But it will be about how augments integrate with passives. We moved away from the stat influence when we built the waterfall stat system for Alpha 1. Keep in mind that alpha is intended to test things so it might change.
Q: Will there be dangerous flora such as cactus that could be planted and used as a strategic advantage in battles?
A: We have not planned for it in that sort of way. There’s control and command skills like you’ve seen in Apoc with the walls and more. Probably not plants though.
Q: Will we be able to toggle off cosmetics? So we could see only original gear and other items players have achieved?
A: Yes. Part of the default player appearance is to increase performance in large battles and reducing players to base poly sets.
Q: Other than augments and stats, how does secondary archetype affect a player character? if a Guardian and a Warden use the exact same religious augments instead of sub-class augments, would they be functionally the same?
A: In that specific example, they would be. But it depends on your skill choice in your master class. As you assign points, if you followed the same paths in your skill tree, yes they would be the same. But there are other ways your secondary class affects your character besides just augments.
Q: It has been sayd before that animation canceling will not be a thing in combat but what about canceling channeling; Like if you cast a high value skill and know it is not going to hit, will you be able to cancel the channel before the actual cast starts ? And what effect would this have on the cooldown ?
A: Currently you can cancel channelling.
Q: Are there going to be secret vendors in the MMO? ( Vendors that spawn ever so often for a small amount of time or they are hidden in secret spot) If so, what kind of items might we expect to buy from them?
A: There will be limited vendors. As for the types of items, will be specific to organizations that you are part of.
Q: Will there be an over the top RTS style spectator mode for Castle Sieges?
A: No. We discussed spectator ability in the past, but it wont be a top down thing. We want to make sure players dont have that kind of information advantage. Battle maps however will provide a top down strategic view – not of real time info, but for squad/raid leaders to place down markers/objectives.
Q: When deciding what/how to balance a feature (e.g. skill), how much does community opinion come into play, than just raw data?
A: Its a tough decision as data might tell you one thing and players might say another. Its the balance between subjective and objective. Data doesnt come with an opinion, its just hard numbers that we use as a touchpoint. But the benefit of giving the community the mouthpiece is we can analyze it from a feeling/enjoyment standpoint and not just a raw metric.
Q: Will we be able to give NPC’s orders in a castle / city siege or will we only fight as players?
A: Yes, there are mercenary NPC’s that can be assigned by players.
Q: Will Dwarves have a resistance to magic ?
A: No they do not have an innate resistance to it. They might have racial passives/skills that they can spec into, but not out of the gate.
Q: To what extent can players hide in plain sight for the MMO? Stuff like nameplates being always visible make it nigh impossible to.
A: Outside of stealth skills/abilities, no other mechanics.
Q: Will vertical combat in APOC (e.g slicing someone midair when he/she might be more vulnerable) be a thing in the MMORPG?
A: If someone is jumping and you whack them on the feet, no they wont take more damage. But with action combat we do get to play around with things more. Might have accuracy penalties or lifted states, but we’ll have to see.
Q: Will there be levels of bonding between the rider and the mount? E.g. riding a mount for longer will increase it’s stamina, health etc.
A: There’s definitely progression for mounts. We’ll try to avoid leaving your computer on and having the horse run around in circles.
Q: We see many games that require months of grind just to be remotely competitive in PvP. In Ashes, will one have to play ‘hardcore’ in order to be effective/competitive in PvP or will casual players have a chance at it as well?
A: The balance is – You want to make sure your game design takes into consideration the casual players but also reward the more hardcore players that put in the time. We’ve addressed it by not having a single adventuring class, but to have a multitude of progressions to participate in. So freeholds, commerce, nodes, guild structures, castle sieges, ensuring relevant positions for all these objective based systems.
Q: Do do have in mind use Unreal Engine 4.24 or the next stable version of it?
A: We always use the latest version.
Q: Will we see other races in apocalypse?
Q: Will the quests for siege be the same as the BR or different?
A: Same adventure path. But some quests that are for siege, some for BR, some are both.