12/17/19 Livestream Transcript

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December 17th Livestream Transcription

– Intrepid studios shares Castle Siege progress and updates on the MMORPG.

Quick Updates:

  • The Creative Director’s letter will be finalized around holiday break.
  • We’ll be showing a video on Christmas Day.
  • We’ve got a Castle Siege PI (Phoenix Initiative) test this Thursday.
  • Got some announcements for Q1 2020 which we’ll share later.


Design Team Update: We are currently working on the balance side of Castle Sieges. The vehicles (Siege weapons) are being worked on and our engineering team will talk on that more. The lessons we learned building the siege weapons contributes to the caravan mechanic. We want to ensure that each role (Class) has a niche that it fits into. Thus ensuring a balanced party/raid is important. We had an early test phase where the tank was overpowered and unkillable, mages were a bit too squishy, so we’ve been balancing things out. The healer is a fun class which can both heal + DPS. The healer also has a mass AOE revive. On the MMORPG side of things, engineering has completed a lot of tools for us that helps speed up development (For example the building tool which we showcased in the past). This will contribute to the big content push before Alpha 1.

Character Team Updates: Chris Atkins (Lead Character Artist) is brought on stream. On the low end, developing an NPC takes 12-15 days. It usually starts with a concept which then leads to sculpting. After the sculpting is done, it’s viewed in low mesh, rigged, skeletoned and much more. As we complete more pieces, we can utilize meshes/animations/skeletons and more of completed models to speed up creation on future pieces that share similar traits. Currently we’re filling in the aquatic lifeforms. 


Engineering Team Updates: Kevin McPherson (Lead Programmer) is brought on stream. We usually work in a glorified text editor and compile it, which runs the game. A big part of what we do is to be a force multiplier for design to write tools so they can build content quickly in the shortest amount of time. We’re finalizing the implementation of the Leaderboards, it just needs to be enabled to track data. This is important for tracking guild statistics, crafting leaderboards and more – This is the first implementation of it for the MMORPG. The progress on siege has been going well, we’re now in the polish phase and require some additional play testing. The capture points are being tweaked to support the design, some bugs when exiting siege vehicles, notifications for Points of Interests during the match. We’re going to be looking at optimizing things during the PI playtests. We’ve been running 5000 player simulations to tweak things for our planned large scale battles. One of the features we plan to have for large battles is a ‘default player appearance’ to reduce the rendering load on your computers. Dont worry, your potato will be able to play the game.

Initially we were bruteforcing ability creation, but now we’re building our own tool to quickly create skills/abilities. As mentioned prior, we do not intend to provide our augment system for Alpha 1, it will just be the base archetypes. However the new system Engineering is building will help with rapid development of these abilities and include the broader augment system for those types of skills. Allowing drag and drop qualities/ability effects onto a parent ability. We’ve also begun working on the status effects system. Statuses such as poisoned/stuns/dizzy are being categorized, ensuring lower effects dont stack on higher effects, certain statuses wont stack but will refresh the stack. Including diminishing returns, where the first snare will slow you by 100% but subsequent ones wont be as effective. Players also need to be able to proc effects based on hit chance and more which is also part of this system.

Over 2 years ago during Alpha 0 we had the node system templates and how the node would level based on contribution. However this isnt sustainable to do manually for the total world size. There’s over a 100 nodes that have to be unique and look different. They cannot be cookie cutter designs at each stage. So our team came up with a system that has random placeholder spots for how buildings pop up which we showcased within our building tool video. But now we’ll be showing you a video in some time later that showcases a wide variety of nodes and buildings over different nodes. We’ve also been working on the quest branching system. The guild system is a big part of the game. The guilds are living/breathing systems that require a ton of base functionality which we are preparing for Alpha. Housing is an extremely large system with a host of functions like crafting and storage. The voting process is also key for node growth and needs some polish, same as the caravan system. The whole system is what we want ready for Alpha 1, including signing up as an attacker/defender for Caravans. Later on the caravan system will be on water for ships. The event systems are also key, attacking and defending nodes during sieges/hordes. We had a question in the PI meeting regarding whether nodes would develop as port cities. So as nodes develop there are points of interest hooks outside the node that develop with it. So as the node developers near the sea, the harbor hook would be generated and a kraken could attack the harbor and players would have to defend it. Back in Alpha 0 the event system was constrained to within the node, but now it will be tied to the areas around the node.


Community Team Updates: Lt. Toast (Community Manager) is brought on stream for the QnA.


QnA Session

Q: Will the main story quests treat us as the ‘one hero’?
A: We want the players to feel like they are the movers and shakers. We wont be treating it as a single player online RPG, we will be treating it as though you are part of the bigger picture.

Q: How is the move going, All settled in at the new studio?
A: Not yet.

Q: With the new back end infrastructure, does internal testing show that 10,000 player servers can still be achieved or will you need to dial that number back a bit?
A: We have not dialed that back yet. Based on internal stress testing, we have actually considered increasing it. Player movement positioning is 85% of the network traffic, spell effects all over the place are not that big of a deal. 

Q: Is it 64 classes or 8 basic classes with 8 subclasses each? Meaning that in the 2. case, that all those subclasses will have the same base abilities
A: The grouping is the same, but the active skills are from primary archetype. So the a Tank-Mage will have different skills from a Mage-Tank.

Q: In Apocalypse we saw the use of AWS (Amazon) servers to dynamically spin up game server instances based on player count. Moving forward with the MMO will you continue to use AWS or eventually invest in your own server racks?
A: We will be using AWS as of this moment until the plan changes. 

Q: You have told us before that gathering resources exist more as cluster such as mining from a vain of ore instead of a small rock. Could you give us another example of this; like how is that facilitated with woodcutting ?
A: It depends on the resource type. Some will have a pool that depletes over time until nothing exists until it respawns somewhere else. Obviously wood will respawn at a later time. There’s moving resources as well like wool (interactable animal herd).

Q: Have you considered or planing to add Treasure Hunting Events created by players?
A: No.

Q: Could we get and end of the year progress report stating the accomplishments of this year?
A: We will in our Creative Director’s letter.

Q: What is the plan to make questing immersive? It is hard to have an immersive questing experience if for instance you go into a tomb that hasn’t been opened in a millennium and there are ten people running around in there
A: We have some tech to do things to see what is relevant to you and only to you. 

Q: Will animations change depending on the race or subclass of the player?
A: Some animations will change. Race yes, subclass no.

Q: Will Intrepid begin to let us know what tier structures the skins they sell will replace?
A: Yes an article will go out soonTM. It’s being prepared and will go out eventually.

Q: If one adds an elemental affect to their weapon, either through a spell or permanent buff from enchanting, will affects be applied to the weapon to show this? Ex: I add fire damage to my sword and now my sword is on fire.
A: It’s something we can do and in certain circumstances. It may be a hit-effect and not a constantly glowy effect. Weapons with a glow are good for both aesthetics and from a threat assessment standpoint.

Q: Will mounts be auto dismounted or unsummoned on entering a closed area; like a cave or building, or will they be mountable in such places?
A: More than likely, they will be mountable. But generally in open world environment, you can take them  in. But for instances we might turn off mounts there. We have the system in place already. 

Q: As I recall there will be announcement once world boss or world event(or something pretty important) is appearing, how fast will the announcement appear after event?
A: It depends on the event. Some events we want to sneak up on you. Others we want you to plan ahead for. There’s the risk vs reward factor where you get a notice beforehand.

Q: UE4 4.24 has been released and there is one feature which is Hair and Fur Rendering and Simulation.Will AOC take advantage of this for hair rendering for character for more realistic look?
A: Our artists will be looking into it if our current solution should be replaced with it. Sometimes new features are not the best option to use, especially for a game like ours. They would fit for a singleplayer game but not for an MMORPG.

Q: Will Intrepid consider an incentivized bug bounty system after release for exploits / vulnerabilities, maybe with unique in-game cosmetics or titles as the rewards?
A: Absolutely. We have talked about this in the past, we want players to bring to light exploits in the game. 

Q: You’ve said the season will impact the gameplay for example: you need warm clothes in the winter and ice spells are stronger. Now Sieges will be at every 4th week. Does this mean, that sieges will always be in a fixed season of the (ingame) year? If so, are there plans to let sieges happen in different seasons to add a little more variety?
A: We have not thought about it yet. There’s 5 castles in game in different regions with different climates. What may be winter in the south may be summer elsewhere so they might have fixed climates.

Q: Mobs are going to change at every level of nodes, higher nodes lvl attract higher mod lvl. But how the change will occur? Will they just disappear and than the new one appear or you go for something else?
A: The existing mob base will live on until they are killed. As that population is removed, the new population will come in. 

Q: When leaderboards go up, are we able to see our season 1 stats like games played/wins?
A: No, the leaderboards have begun collecting data as of yesterday. They are not retroactive.

Q: What happens if a freehold is placed too near a village. When the village expands, the area of the metropolis might cover where the freehold was placed. Will the freehold be moved, or will it be that you cannot put a freehold in a place that is part of a later level?
A: It wont let you place the freehold within the blueprint of potential maximum growth of the node.

Q: Another off soul question. In a raid or party situation 40 man all the way down, if your main tank lets say is a tank/tank, gets sent to bed by his mother, could a mage / tank A. hold aggro and B. have the ability to live as tank for the group, by changing the ability’s they are using.
A: You will be able to do some tanking on some bosses for some time, but there’s a lot of variables that go into it.

Q: Will different timed/triggered events within a node be able to occur at the same time, such as siege, node-level change, mayoral caravan, mayoral change, or PvE attack; if so, how will that look?
A: A siege locks down a lot of features. The siege declaration window provides you available times, which will be different from the mayor election etc. So things would happen outside of the window.

Q: Are you going to implement a sandbox mod where the players could test out different skills and classes?
A: You’re playing it (Apocalypse). We have talked about Alpha 2 for player classes and mechanics. 

Q: Have their been any further iterations to combat since the last update on Apoc, if so what changes have you decided to make?
A: For the BR? No. But for Siege, yes. Mana and managing abilities is a lot more important in sieges, its a lot closer to the MMO. 

Q: Will summoners have the ability to equip their pets with items?
A: Summoners will not. But battle pets and mounts will be able to. Summoned pets will rely on Summoner skills, whereas pets and mounts will rely on items.

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