May 29th Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid studios announces bonus Gameplay Stream, talks alpha 1 update and announces freebies for all registered users.
- Bonus 1 Hour Gameplay Stream | Saturday, May 30th 2020
- We had our first external playtest with the Phoenix Initiative testers yesterday which lasted around 8 hours, it went incredibly well.
- We’ve had even more new hires join the team. The team has enjoyed listening to the feedback from both the testers and the community.
- We’ll be giving all registered users an in-game statue for what we’ve all gone through in this pandemic together. A small figurine that symbolizes people helping each other out, a theme shared by AoC’s lore.
Design Team Updates: We lifted the text/voice NDA for Phoenix Initiative testers with the visual NDA still in place. It was great to see the feedback from the testers, we had some exploits and bugs like infinite money and a few more fun ones that are all being addressed. Shoutout on the record to Shaze for the writeup he did on the PI test which is shared on reddit. Players will be able to place animals or creatures that they breed through the husbandry tree on their little stable area within their freehold. Crops are intended to be a rotational system dependent on the appropriate seedlings, necessary tools and more. Obviously you can devote more land to farming if you choose to. You’ll also have small ponds for a fishery, a lot of the contents of the freehold system are intended to be processing areas for various raw materials. Additionally there will be a furnisher type profession as well where certain higher tiers of furniture will offer additional bonuses that you can rotate based on what buffs you might want.
The idea behind husbandry, to give you an idea from the backend perspective, each of these animals have a unique ID. Players will explore the genetic system to determine what is possible, there’s going to be RNG involved as a factor, so you may end up with a dominant genome coming through or a specific breed or species that you can discover by becoming an expert in the husbandry system. So you could increase the chances of obtaining a unique or special mount, which you can then sell on auction to other players. There will ofcourse be restrictions to prevent any crazy outputs. It’s important to keep in mind that we’ve still got a long way to go. This is not Alpha 1, this is on the way to reaching Alpha 1. All of this so far is a very important first step though.
Character & Environment Team Updates: Regarding armor, a fine line has to be drawn, we don’t want armor to be wrapped tight around different body parts to look unrealistic. We’ve also been tweaking the lighting so you can see how each asset looks in the lighting to ensure things don’t end up looking unrealistic or popping out of your screen unnecessarily. We’re considering giving players the option to augment visual textures on items in the future, but that will come later. To answer someone in chat, we have plenty of cloth simulated physics, but we have to be careful to ensure things don’t start affecting performance too much. For example, earlier iterations of our waterfall particles were incredibly resource heavy, but the newer iterations we have now look much better and are also less taxing resource-wise.
Engineering Team Updates: I do want to mention that a lot of things we show on the livestream are all on the visual side, but there’s a ton of work that goes into the backend side of things, the code. You don’t get to see the lines of code and the nitty-gritty that makes all of these things possible through the engineering team. Customer service tools, communication between the player clients and the server, on the UI front as well, there’s a ton of programming that goes into all of it. There’s also the QA (Quality Assurance) team that has to put in so much work to ensure everything is up to par.
Q: Will you be switching to Unreal Engine 5?
A: Obviously as a project in development, we are consistently keeping up to date with engine updates and more. With regards to UE5, it’s obviously something we’re taking a look at and evaluating. When we have an answer in the future regarding migrating to UE5, we’ll let you guys know. But for now we cannot say much. I will say that UE5 pretty promising so far, we’re keeping our eyes on it.
Q: How will you handle one-shotting in AoC?
A: We factor in all the roles, the TTK (Time to kill) for every role, baseline attack powers vs skill usage and so much more that all factors into TTK. There’s plenty of iteration that happens on that front, ranging from the spreadsheet to actually putting it into the engine to ensure the numbers match the spreadsheets. You are not going to see balancing in these early tests, it’s definitely part of Alpha 1, but it’s something that will keep being iterated on. But we will say that because of the freedom players will have in this game, due to the extreme flexibility and customization, they could spec into a full glass cannon build to potentially one-shot, but it will have drawbacks.
Q: What is a feature you’re excited by that no one has asked about yet?
A: We’ve answered so many questions over the past few years, we’d have to think about it. There’s specifics that we haven’t touched on yet. But something we’re excited to work on is probably the naval system, it’s particularly exciting where in other games I’ve had fun naval experiences that add a new dynamic to the game. Additionally the crafting/gathering system which will go back to a different period in the crafting genre similar to older MMORPGs. Also the variety of classes, races and the experience of raiding.
Q: How do you craft in a node (defensive items, siege engines) when a siege has been declared if all your gatherables are locked in storage?
A: The gatherables and materials utilized in specific siege equipment, which are crafted at crafting stations, those crafting stations are within the node. When you access the crafting bench, you access from the crafting station repository within the node.
Q: Will we be able to use text emotes like /me to roleplay and more?
Q: Will the NPC’s befriend you and give you stuff like Animal Crossing?
A: Not in the way that you’re thinking but there’s various rewards that you can obtain by achieving levels of reputation with different factions in the game.
Q: We saw spells that used ground visuals to represent the cast time of that particular spell. Is this a standard with all cast time spells and abilities? Or will we eventually see traditional cast bars?
A: You will see casting bars implemented a little later, we know it’s an important visual indicator for timing and more. Keep in mind that a lot of things you are seeing are for a low level character. At higher levels you will be able to augment various skills and their cast times, you will also see much faster paced skills. Base cast times and supporting cast times are different.
Q: Who is the most skilled developer in the development team?
A: Probably QA team because they have to go over every aspect when touching things. While other developers are fine tuned to specific fields of work, QA has to touch on everything.
Q: Is there a plan to include the weapon in every skill and cast animation instead of the character only using it in the basic attack /combo?
A: It depends on the skill in question. There’s some skills such as the tank abilities that utilize certain skills. The difficulty is that we cannot always predict what weapon the player is going to use. Especially on the magical cast animation stuff for mages and clerics, spells often have a cinematic component to them, from a lore/story perspective, the caster is trying to focus on manifesting what they are focused on. But from a technical standpoint, it’s hard as players will all be using different weapons, because any class can use any weapon. If we add a new weapon type down the road, then we’d have to redo all the animations as well. At the end of the day, using a spear is different from using a staff. It’s not feasible to do so across all abilities, all classes and all racetypes.
Q: Weight or volume (meaning stack limits) for inventory management?
A: It depends on what types of stacks we’re talking about. If it’s materials/gatherables, there’s a quantity limit that is not based on weight before the player needs to use a mule/caravan. But a general item like potions, a single stack would have a quantity limit. So potions would be like 100, but food might be 999 etc.
Q: Can naval caravans only be summoned at a port/harbour like other ships or is it an exception to the rule?
A: At the moment your character model interacts with an ocean it will spawn a conversion structure that will require a period of time depending on the capacity of the caravan that will convert your caravan from a land caravan to a naval caravan, then the process repeats to switch back. Yes you can attack a structure while its transitioning, it’s the risk vs reward. You won’t be having your added damage mitigation and bonus hit points when you are transitioning.
Q: What was (is?) the most challenging or annoying part about working from home during this time?
A: For me, I like to walk around and chat with all the different teams. Not being able to do that is difficult.
Q: Will there be any best in slot weapon or armor for a specific type of monster?
A: There will be best in slot items, yes. But what determines if they are best in slot, is based on the customization and role that you want your class to achieve. There is some autonomy between your skill tree choices and augment choices which lets you change what your role might have traditionally been. So certain items would be best in slot for various roles. Monster types will have specific strengths and weaknesses. So there will be specific areas that are better for you to hunt certain areas. A cleric might be better suited to kill monsters in an undead area due to the holy damage bonus.
Q: Seeing all of the leaks in the past month, and seeing the overall reaction from people, how does it feel for you guys and gals to see your soon to be players excited?
A: It definitely feels amazing. I’ve said this before but, our motivation is not only our personal desire but really the driving force behind our drive to get things done and ship this game is that your excitement fuels our excitement. There’s a fine line to what we can show because it’s a competitive market. We want to share just enough to get you excited and get feedback, but other people in the market are watching as well. Obviously it’s a bit demoralizing when we get negative feedback, but we take it with a grain of salt. But we know if we put out a good product, people will be happy.
Q: For the Demonic, Angelic, Fire Elemental, and Ice Elemental Racial skins. Will these looks be based off of the race the character is, or will they have their own unique look separate from the playable races.
A: From a visual perspective, you’ll just be changing your race to that. Full change.
Q: Can you modify your base stats.
A: You can modify stats with gear. You can directly change the base stat with potions/tattoos. Stat progression on races and classes is static. You’ll be able to augment it in a give and take, so if you boost a particular stat, you will face drawbacks on another stat. You cannot manually allocate stat points to your character.
Q: Will you use geodata to calculate damage, like pushing someone from a cliff?
A: Will there be fall damage? Yes. Some of our testers wandered to close to an ancient head, and there was some corrupt water around it that instantly killed them because they did not have the correct resistances.