June 28th Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid studios shares brand new concept art, in-game models, polished environments, development updates and answers questions from the community.
A Few Updates:
- New Developer diaries on animation is out, can be found here.
- The next Creative Directors letter will be out next month (Dates included!)
- Divine node article is due next in the series.
Engineering Team Updates: Mark Storch (Lead Architect) is brought on Stream to share updates regarding the programming and engineering side of things. As part of the engineering team we have two primary goals, the first is supporting the artistic teams and the second is supporting the playerbase. We took a lot of our systems that were working on windows and leveraged them on the cloud to increase the scale and help manage the player base to help with the backend. Being able to scale capacity to meet our world size and to scale them to meet the player base demands. We need to ensure our distributed systems can scale to accommodate players as they move through the world. We’ve also been working on the weapons for the siege battles, moving them around, placing them and firing them. Building those to ensure they scale across instances is part of that challenge.
Previously Alpha 0 was just in one zone with thousands of players and NPC’s, now we’ve got to scale that for all the different zones and nodes. Probably one of the most fun things we’ve worked on is the destruction mechanics come in to play from an engineering standpoint. The biggest challenge that we’ve had to overcome is the sheer number of possibilities that we can build. Being able to distill down what we could build to a huge array of features is a challenge. Part of what the engineering team does is not visible early on as their job is to provide design with the tools they need to build things. As we get deeper and deeper into testing settings and layer these different systems on top of each other, the later you find out these issues the harder they are to fix. Testing this early has allowed us to identify and fix issues much earlier in the timeline rather than later, which is incredibly beneficial to the end product.
Design Team Updates: Garrett Fern (Senior Game Designer) is brought on Stream to talk about updates on game design. Data analysis is an important task that I work on, for example in regards to PvP in a PvX game, there’s a lot we’ve learned about Action Melee and Action Ranged combat in Apocalypse. We’ve certainly had this problem early on to identify what the characters are doing, which is why combat might feel floaty and through the development we realized if we were going to do this we had to do different things to accomplish that to bring the Hybrid combat to life. Destruction is obviously a big part of both Apocalypse and the MMORPG. We want destruction to be a core element of what you see in the MMO, it’s not something that’s done right and we want to get it right. Going through dungeons and having obstructions that need to be destroyed, it’s going to be a big thing.
Besides this, we’ve been working on a lot of abilities, with 64 classes in game. The design team is in two modes, one portion is finishing up the polish on Apocalypse and the other portion is working on abilities and abilities and abilities as we’re going to need a lot. Newer abilities being shown such as piercing shot to travel through objects, super jump to allow players to jump high depending on how long they hold down the charge. These are all work in progress.
Environment Team Updates: Bacon (Lead Environment Artist) is brought on stream and proceeds to distribute candy. We’ve primarily been working on a lot of polishing. A lot of people of people want to see Alpha 1 progress, we have to be careful of what we show as a lot of people will view it and assume it is the end-product. Besides that we’re on 3 fronts, the MMO, castle siege stuff and the destruction stuff. New Kaelar and Nikua architecture concepts being shown. Part of the reason for sharing these concepts is so that the player base can see where they originate and follow the development. We’re working on polishing design to ensure it is to a high standard. The cool thing about the signs shown below is that they are player customizable and can be edited by guilds etc. to represent themselves.
Character Team Updates: Chris Atkins (Lead Character Artist) is brought on stream. The character team has been primarily focused on MMO stuff, with characters, mounts, marketplace stuff. We’re mainly focused on armor pipeline things right now, we’ve already had the system in place but we’re revamping it right now and fleshing out the modular side of the armor system. If you have an armor set in game, that one set with all its pieces is going to look different across every race. We want it to be different and have it’s own theme and not all look the same. So we’ve got a great understanding of what’s to be done and the others in the team are working on the other races and creatures.
So for example previously the horse you’ve seen in-game was because we needed a horse. But now going through the various passes, things are being polished and being made better. So this is our basic middle tier horse, so when we step it up for a warrior/heavy horse and then step it down for a mule or something smaller. It functions as a baseline. We’re going to be showing the Tidebringer mount next up in the pipeline followed by the Quarrior pet. The next piece is the basic armor sets that’s pretty low level, each of these individual pieces are unique and you can remove or add, in total there’s 8 distinct individual pieces.
Q: Can you share with us some of the biomes that we can find in AoC?
A: All biomes are represented in some way or form.
Q:Can we have basements in our freeholds?
A: Freeholds are going to be a maybe, likely not, but maybe. TBD.
Q: Will there be options to auto-ui hotkey?
A: Not not possible and it isnt in the plan. We will have a UI hotkey.
Q: Do you think only having a single tank archetype will affect the 8-man group compositions?
A: It’s not that only the tank archetype can tank. But they’re better at it than others. So there’ll be plenty of tanking types available – such as evasion tanks, aggro tanks, damage mitigation tanks, etc. So you adjust them via your secondary class. Most viable will vary from the type of content such as raids.
Q: Can you share the number of crew required to sail different types of ships
A: 1-3 for small, group size (8) for medium and raid size for large. Battle at seas are going to be massive to be indicative of
Q: Are you considering using Nvidia’s RTX?
A: We’ll leave that question for the future.
Q: Will world changing events like dragons that bring about winter be open world events and how will rewards be distributed?
A: Yes they will be open world. We want to ensure drops are given to everyone so there will be some RNG involved in that, there will be quests involved with them. While everyone will have a reason to be there, the legendary gear etc. will be finite and will depend on participation.
Q: Can you give an example of what the team has learnt from other games and how you’ve incorporated it?
A: It’s primarily to do with maintaining the Risk vs Reward relationship. Its important for players to feel that their risk is some degree of variation to the reward. Also MMO’s only get one chance at launch from past experiences. We are releasing something to keep to our player base’s standards. It’s a process.
Q: Who will command troops during a node siege/war. If anyone can, will a raid leading comms be available to all citizens?
A: There are administrative functions that will be available, including VOIP functions and raid delegation, including on screen commands and target designation.
Q: Can we expect updates on apocalypse/sieges such as content and balance updates?
A: Yes. We’ll be implementing them in apocalypse and then the MMORPG, so you’ll be seeing them in both.
Q: Will you consider adding in-game voting for updates and features.
A: We already have a voting system in game for the mayor system and I imagine we could use that code for other features.
Q: You mentioned using agile development method and sprinting, could you explain it in-depth?
A: Sprints take 1-2 hours to take off and across the various departments it could take 7-8 hours. If we tried to explain it all it would take a long time.
Q: What are the chances there will be a mechanic that allows us to choose our stance or how we hold our weapon?
A: Very high chance on stances. We’ll see how it goes.
Q: Will the Vek be able to recieve a prophecy when they stargaze and what do they have to do with astrology?
A: Probably not in that way, but they will have class based abilities. It’s not like they are the only ones who can do it.
Q: How will we capture animals, will there be a menu that pops up or will there be traps?
A: It could be a nice humane trap that massages the animal. But seriously, TBD.
Q: Can we get an example on how bard music will work, instruments or traditional spellcaster?
A: Bards will have a wide range of techniques such as spellweaving, acting, singing, just like tanks they will also have the ability to customize their toolkit.
Q: Can you give us an update on the parkour system shown back in Alpha 0?
A: We’re still doing a lot of prototyping as it requires a universal solution. There’s definitely certain places/quests that allow interactions for parkour. However whether or not it will be relevant across the open world, we’re not at that point yet.
Q: Will we have adjustable UI and window scaling in Alpha 1?
A: We should have it for Alpha 1, yes.
Q: Can you share a bit more about trophies, can we turn loot parts from bosses into trophies/furniture?
Q: Banking between characters is being discussed, any new info on this?
A: In a game like ours where regionality matters from a gatherable standpoint. You will not be able to bank those items, but you will be able to bank furniture and completed items. You’re going to have settings/permissions to let different players access storage on your freehold/home.
Q: Can you elaborate on how combat pets will work? Will they limit your abilities in some way?
A: We dont want combat pets to be vertical progression. If you have a combat pet present it will incorporate some of your own power to keep power progression more normal. It will offer different options, you’ll be making some sacrifices.
Q: You said that a guild that chooses max size over skill is 300, what about the max cap if you maxxed out skills?
A: 30-50 for now, still requires fine tuning.
Q: Will we be encountering more like the Macaw in-game besides shop items?
Q: Mayors are in power for a month. Can you elaborate on how it might work to remove the mayor prior?
A: We’re currently not planning on doing that. We dont want to have no counter play, but then again the fallout of electing a bad mayor to begin with is something we like. Currently the only way to remove a bad mayor is to destroy the node. We want consequences to matter.
Q: How many guilds will there be in one node, does it depend on one level?
A: Any number of guilds can be in a node. However patron guilds will be max 3 in a node. One starting at town, 2 at the city and 3 at metropolis.
Q: Will there be combos in your combat system?
Q: How diverse and time investing will end-game content be? How many hours do I need to put in approximately?
A: Depends on the player’s goals. If it’s best in slot gear, you gotta experience a lot of end game content. If you want to be a crafter and take advantage of the economy, you might not need to participate in much but you’re going to need friends. There’s a lot of avenue in various different areas of the game, not just end-game. The node system changes a lot of things that players have grown accustomed to in prior MMOs.