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All Posts by JC-Smith

All Posts by JC-Smith

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410 posts found

I'm certainly aren't avoiding any questions, but at the same time we've already covered everything that needs to be covered previously with regards to things like pay to win concerns, or how does a cash shop work in a sandbox. Things get busy I just sort of browse through and look for things that need answering. To reitirate though for those who haven't read through previous threads.

We value free players. Pay to Win options which make it hard for free players to compete with other players are something that we feel hurts the game because it drives away free players. We've designed our cash shop system to revolve primarily around things like inventory slots, bank slots, mission slots, ability to create a nation, and cosmetic items. The game was designed with this in mind. Ways we can encourage players to spend money in the shop, without offering them an unfair advantage over other players. If you value free players you can't do things which drive them away. You encourage players to spend money because you need money to run the servers, but you can't make them feel like third class citizens who need to start paying in order to get anywhere in the game. That's important to us.

With regards to drop or no drop. Cosmetic shells, account perks, convenience items would all be NO DROP. That's generally how it's done and that's how we plan on doing it. I can't say that there would never be anything that could be traded, because who knows what kind of ideas that you can come up with later that could make sense and would be non-harmful. But I can just harken back to the point in the last paragraph because it describes here, as well.

With regards to the economy. It's been gone over before. How can you have a cash shop in a sandbox economy? Well it's simple so long as you aren't selling items of power to player. Our items of power are fittings, not shells. Shells are primarily cosmetic, and will come in both cash shop only, and player crafted or adventured only variations. We have no plans to ever sell items of power (fittings, or armor/weapon shells that have special stats, etc) in the cash shop. We don't like them. We feel they take away from the sense of accomplishment.

The cash shop has no impact on the economy, because the things you will be able to purchase from it are things that are outside of the economy. There's no in-game mechanism to unlock account perks. And there will be no mechanism to profit from the cash shop once it's implemented.

Originally posted by Boneserino
The problem with a fair F2P system is that it probably won't make you a lot of money.   Most of us are cheap and if we can play a game for free we probably will.   I like cosmetics but I probably won't spend huge amounts on them.

Early F2P games like Maple Story did well off cosmetics. Over time games got greedier. Many companies care about the financial impact above all else. It may be more financially rewarding to design games under a pay to win mechanic. Keep in mind this game is built by an indie team, and our goals coming into this weren't to get rich. It was to create a style of gameplay that you just don't see any more, as well as to add some new twists to the genre. Monetizing is important, we need to feed our families and keep the servers operational. But we don't have a parent corporation pulling our strings and we have designed our systems so that we require less staffing than other titles. Bear in mind our budget has been under $1M to date. It takes far less for us to be profitable than it does a game which starts off with an $50M+ budget.

Not directly related to this quote, but editing in here to save screen clutter, in response to some of the other questions. I think we've been very clear from the get go about our stance on pay to win games (where the guys who pay the most have a sizable advantage over the ones who don't). It's something we feel is very unhealthy for games. That having been said, a lot of people seem to have it made up in their minds that this is not going to be the case. But if you refuse to believe that for whatever reason, then there's not much we can do to change your mind. Time will tell.

Originally posted by Anireth

No idea about Repop overall, but that crafting map looks ridiculous. Like 5 steps for bandages, and 13 for a standard armor? I played several games with an economy completely provided by players. Crafting was like 3 steps usually. Get raw leather, make leather, make leather armor.  Or take cloth, make canvas, take iron bars and make rod to hold canvas, combine.

I think your reading the craftmap wrong. A Bandage is simple: Cloth + Sterilization. Those are the ingredients.

The sub-ingredients are an ease of use thing to tell you which ingredients can be used to make each. So there are 6 types of Cloth in the game and 4 types of Sterilizing Agents (one of which you can buy from npc vendors). Now the cloth can only be crafted. 

If you try to craft everything on your own, your going to make things difficult on yourself. Instead you should buy some cloth (from players) and sterilizing agents (from players or the vendors). When you view things in the charts they always look more complex.

There are some upcoming ease of use features which will make things a bit easier without sacrificing complexity. The biggest problem right now for new crafters is generally there are components and they don't know how to make them. Combine that with peoples natural instinct to try to do everything on their own, which is an uphill battle in a game like this (by design).

I'd recommend this site for anyone still finding their way in crafting:


Originally posted by Alumicard

One question I'd have at the Repop devs, someone said in chat yesterday that backers would keep their stuff even after launch. Personally I call bs but since I just joined and coudnt find anything on the website Im curious if that is true.

Whoever wrote that in chat was incorrect. There will be a wipe just before launch. Backers will keep their membership perks etc, but their characters will be wiped.

Originally posted by d_20
Originally posted by GeezerGamer ... We also don’t plan on adding items of power... That having been said, we do have to generate revenue in some way.

This part right here. This gives me a reason to pause. I will wait for a couple of months after launch to see how this goes.

I suppose if you put anyones use of words under a microscrope you can always find a lot of reasons to scare yourself. We've made it clear from the beginning this will not be a pay to win game. Can't make it any more clearly than that.

Short answer: There are some limited cosmetic clothing items but not enough and the female models can't yet wear it all. There will be a lot more prior to launch though.

Long answer: I think at the moment there are 15ish different sets of looks. They can be mixed and matched but we generally design clothing or armor in sets. There will be quite a few more, they are very good for cosmetic shop items (very important for F2P), and for variety in crafted items.

Currently it's mostly armor. There are some clothing options but they are limited. You can expect that to change though. Armor is useful for everyone, clothing is very important but not so much from a mechanics standpoint. It's more from a role playing and social standpoint. It's primarily because of how we've handled development and budgeting. We haven't had a large budget at any point, it has steadily increased over the past couple years, and Steam will help continue to grow. So our artists can only get so much done at a time. Our focus on features and art has been to get things we need in first, and then focus on things that we want.

A very important hurdle for us was  to prove to people that we can make the very ambitious title we set out to make. Anyone can contract out artwork, but it has a price tag associated with it. Anyone can come up with a list of features, but you have to actually build the game. So our focus has been primarily on getting the features into the game, and making it all functional. And then in the recent months we've turned more towards polishing and refining what we have in place. Cosmetics are something that has taken a back seat in some cases. We needed the functionality first. I think at this point we've shown we can pull off the features, there's really no substantial hurdle feature left.

It's now time to start polishing what we have. Making it easier for new players to grasp. Giving more weapon abilities FX, doing UI work, animation work, optimization, bug fixes, and getting more content into all of the areas. That's primarily what remains. But that of course means bringing on additional people, and increasing our budget. That's a big part of what Steam is about. Steam exposes the game to new players, and gets more players in game which is something we really needed. And at the same time it also generates a lot more revenue than we could generate without it. And we can use that revenue to start beefing up those other areas.

In the Early Access section on the steam store it does state something similar: “The game is currently in Alpha 4, which is the final stage of alpha testing. We do not currently have any additional wipes planned prior to launch, but that is subject to change if necessary."

But to clarify: No additional wipes are planned for testing, but there will absolutely be a wipe before the start of launch. If we found some catastrophic issue that really needed a wipe at some point from now until launch it is possible that there could be a wipe. There is no plans for one though, and we don't anticipate this happening.

Originally posted by syntax42
In Tabula Rasa, the targeting was only done for the gameplay feel of it.  There was no actual calculation of projectile vectors, unlike traditional shooter games.  Does The Repopulation use projectile vector calculations, or are all of the abilities fired at the target and always hit as long as the player is "targeting" them?

It works something like Tabula Rasa. Here's how it works:

- Line of Sight is required for most abilities, in both modes.

- All actions are using RPG abilities, cooldowns, under the hood it's pure RPG.

- When you go into Action Mode your controls go into mouselook mode like in a shooter. Left Mouse Button is used to perform a standard action (heal or attack depending on relationship to player), Right Mouse Button is used to perform a Momentum based attack or heal (momentum builds up slowly as positive things happen). Holding control with either mouse button modifies that ability performs a defensive action. It is similar to Tabula Rasa in that it is performing a raycast when you click on your target and then performing RPG calculations underneath the hood.

- You can still use action bar hotkeys when in action mode, if you do so it will use your last target. This makes it easier for action mode players to select specific actions without a gaming mouse or controller.

- You can toggle out of action mode using the middle mouse or whatever you bind it to at any time to go back to RPG mode. Any time a window that requires interaction is opened it places you into RPG Mode and then when the window is closed you go back into Action Mode.


The 53/47 number is given to show that there is no way to appeal to both sides completely, and while each side generally feels their side in that matter is the preference of most players, it's really very split.

This game was designed as an RPG though. Action Mode is something that was added later. I personally play in Action Mode. I prefer it. But I also feel that for a complex RPG that the RPG Mode is better for longevity. Action is exciting, but many MMO players have families they can't give their full concentration at all times. If there was a choice of one or the other it would have been RPG Mode, that's what was functional at the time.

That having been said after we first took the game to GDC we had quite a few players volleying for action combat. Knowing the numbers and the split, and the fact that pure action combat is harder on the server and more susceptible to cheating, we never seriously considered a full move. We discussed it quite a bit and decided it would not be a good decision. That having been said, since several among our staff, and quite a few players do prefer it we looked for a way that we could make the game more enjoyable to more action oriented players. And Action Mode was what we came up with.

If players can't enjoy a game if it isn't a full shooter, well there's not much we can do about that. That's their choice. But we feel pretty strongly that if you look at the two player types the solutions we have put in place will appeal to more players than if we had went to one or the other. That's because RPG Mode is at least half of the potential players, and what we have is full RPG Mode. The Action Mode on top of that will appeal to a good number of action oriented players. Certainly not all, but overall the combination of the two is the better choice, because RPG Mode fans generally aren't as accepting of FPS combat as the other way around. Primarily becuse of the concentration and twitch requirement.

There's still quite a bit of work to do cosmetic wise. One thing to note though is that you don't get a full selection of armor options at character selection. There are additional armor sets, and clothing options which are only crafted or obtained through adventuring.
I just watched through the top two videos. Useful information.

I think there's two main reasons players don't stick around as long as they used to.

The first is that there are so many other options, most of them free to play. In the early days if a player got burnt out they often lingered around, complained, but didn't leave because there was nothing else to fill that MMO void. Now there's hundreds of games to choose from, and the barrier of entry is often either just downloading the game or making a purchase and then downloading. That caters a lot more to impulse buys after a night of frustration.

The second though is that MMOs seem to have forgotten about what was commonly accepted as true in the earlier years. Early games forced grouping, and encouraged large guilds. Part of that was because of hardware concerns (it is less demanding for example to have one tough mob than 10 easy ones). Part of it was because that was what they felt was the most fun for players (to work together) and what made MMOs unique. But another big part of it was that social bonds in games make it more difficult for you to leave the game. It's very easy to get tired of a game or burnt out. In single player games you simply just move on, and in today's free to play era, you can often do the same thing. But the more friends you would leave behind, the more difficult it becomes to leave. After a bad night you may be frustrated, but log in the next day to chat, and then start having fun again. Or if you do move on to another game you may keep coming back from time to time to see how everyone is doing, which always has a chance of sucking you back in and making the game enjoyable.

When WoW and to a lesser extent EQ 2 came out they changed the way MMOs were designed. Most content became soloable, and most group or raid content became things you did for the guild interaction, but they had 24 player caps. Games afterwards reduced that even further in a lot of cases. But many players don't enjoy the game, or don't have time for it and their entire experience is of the leveling grind to max level, and once they get there they get bored and move on quickly because they don't have someone to drag them off to do something challenging, or to log in to say hello to. That makes it a lot easier for them to look for a new game where they can achieve again.


Originally posted by PaRoXiTiC
Looking at Steam Stats it doesn't look like it was a very good first day for the Devs, unless people are buying it and not playing it that is, which I highly doubt.

The majority of players aren't using the Steam client. It is currently #1 on the Top Selling Massively Multiplayer list though including Early Access and Released titles.

I wanted to address the tab target vs. action topic quickly.

Why is it there? Well the main problem with one mode or the other is that the community is very much split on the subject. We've ran a series of polls, and metrics on the matter and viewed a lot of external data on the topic and in general RPG Mode is slightly more favored by players than shooter modes. It's very close but its generally like 53/47. Unfortunately, RPG style of play is also considered rather boring by a lot of players. So we wanted to develop a system that could play a bit more like a shooter, while keeping the complexity of mechanics of RPG Mode, and that's what Action Mode is. It's not a shooter. The underlying principles are all the exact same as in RPG Mode. It's just a different way of controlling your character.

There are hit zones, however. But you will need the appropriate ability type to take advantage of them. For example, if you have a head shot available and shoot someone in the Head, the Head Shot ability will be at the top of the selection list so it should get selected assuming it is off cooldown. If you don't have the ability or it's on cooldown though then it falls back to the next most relevant ability. We also didn't want to put Action Mode at a disadvantage to RPG Mode so there is aim assistance (you get some leeway) and if you shoot a standard body shot it has a chance to select a targeted shot (head, leg, arm) instead. 

The Action vs. RPG mechanics are a tricky one for developers to solve. If you go pure Action, you lose half your potential audience. If you go pure RPG you lose half your potential audience. We've tried to dance around it and find a happy medium. For RPG fans it should feel fairly normal to play in RPG Mode, shooter fans will likely notice that it isn't a true shooter. But a percentage of them who simply wouldn't play a pure RPG game will be able to play in Action Mode. Others will wish it was pure action and move on. We'll continue to refine the two modes and gameplay in general. But the game will always be an RPG under the hood.

I can somewhat relate to what the OP is saying here. Modern MMOs are technically superior in a lot of ways to the older games. They have better interfaces. Far better graphics. Many refinements and evolution of features that the old games didn't. But in other ways they are a step backwards. Linear paths, less options, less social interaction. Ridiculously easy gameplay which generally is not much different than reading a book, following a linear and easy path by moving to the new marker on your map and doing a menial task over and over until you've consumed all of the content.

The biggest loss to me is in the community. In the older MMOs you had a strong sense of community. And that wasn't just because the games had less players, servers often had similar numbers to what you have in the modern MMO, but players relied on one another more, and were generally more social.

While the genre has evolved in a lot of ways (if you don't believe go back and try to install one of those older games), it has also taken steps backwards in others. I do think that is improving. While a lot of people aren't fans of crowd funding or early access titles, the truth is that they have led to some innovative new titles that may not have seen the light of day otherwise. But even the larger studios are realizing that you can't just repackage WoW with a new setting and get WoW numbers. We're seeing games stretch outside of that box. It doesn't always work out but whether it does or does not, it's good for the industry as a whole.

I don't think the MMORPG is dead by a long shot. If anything the market is larger than ever. It's just a very different market than it was 10-15 years ago. Players have changed. Games have changed to try to appeal to them. There is still a niche for those old school mechanics, and a larger audience than was previously the case to tap into. There's room for developers to take advantage of those niches and have good success. It may not be 10 million player success, but how many games actually get there? Those niches are still larger than the numbers that would have been monstrous 10-15 years ago.  And I do think we'll see a lot more of this as some of the crowd funded games start hitting market. There's going to be some duds and horror stories mixed in, of course. But between indie studios with budgets (in some cases massive ones), and larger studios who are now willing to commit to new ideas (love it or hate it, EQ: Next is certainly thinking outside of the box), I think there's some good times ahead. This may be a rough stretch for players, because these games generally take 3-7 years to build. But I do think we're seeing the end of the WoW clone era and we may begin to see a faster stage of evolution.

That having been said, I also think players tend to be too harsh at times with existing titles, because they personally have already grown tired of those mechanics. The Elder Scrolls Online for example, is a game that is often criticized, in part because of the comparisons to the single player games, and in part because players don't feel it offered enough new. Similar feelings were cast upon SWToR, with a lot of people having huge anticipation of a Bioware MMO, and then being disappointed that it wasn't innovative enough. But the truth is, if you take WoW out of the equation and you put those games in a time machine and launched them in 2003 (downgrading the graphics for what was normal at the time) players would have thought they were revolutionary titles. If you had never played an MMO in your life and they were your first game, you'd probably love them. It's tough to innovate, and publishers are typically wary of games that are too far outside of the box. While some players are quick to write off those games as flops, they are still making money. I think the biggest problem is that we, as players, have been there and done that. Veteran MMO players have been through the ringer, and they can see the strings. It makes it tough for us to be content with games, because we are generally harsher critics.

This is only true if quests are your primary form of advancement. Players will take whatever path to advancement which is quickest. The problem with theme parks is that they follow a linear path where the quests are just a means to an end, and all players are experiencing the same game. Players don't want to break off the linear path because it slows them down.

You can still have quests, but they need to be generated, or they need to need to not be your primary form of advancement.

I like personalized loot because it takes human greed out of the equation. As an old raid leader, I can think of numerous times where players held a grudge against me because loot didn't go their way. Even if there are reasons to that, it's always subjective. It also allows raid loot or group loot to be a little more common and a little lower quality. You can get loot more often though it doesn't necessarily have to be out of this world all of the time. I think it's a win/win for players.

@DarkCrystal: To give everyone else an idea of what your referring to and how silly that claim is. Your referring to a post you made about the GUI where he said there needs to be more Transitions, not a universal term and something that can be interpreted in different ways (we'd personally refer to them as GUI Animations). You made a post talking about this, and we asked him to be specific on what he was talking about. Your referring to a polish feature on the GUI which is slated for future revamp before launch to move it to an XML interface, which you are well aware of. That isn't the reason for your rant though.

Your personal vendetta is a result of you feeling that your guild should have gotten a guild invite. We've already explained that to you both in PMs and then again over here when you tried to accuse us of guild favoritism because your guild didn't get in. The reality is that we had very limited slots for PAX's Siege Demo, and cancelled future invites shortly after it because backers were complaining. I'm sorry that you feel slighted because of this all, or that we didn't give you more personal attention, but we are a small team and simply don't always have the time to do so. It had nothing to do with you or your guild, and it is unfortunate that  you took that personally.

This project has gotten to this stage of development with basically three programmers, and the vast majority of the coding being done by the two founding members. With a small number of coders everyone wears a lot of hats, generally working on everything from graphics, to systems, AI, networking, in addition to doing all of the GUI work. So to suggest something like that is pretty outlandish.

I think it's a bit easier for an indie to take the "when it's ready" approach as opposed to a game with a large publisher. Games do generally ship before they are ready. But the development team is often fighting for more time, and the publisher runs out of it. And there are good reasons for that. As we've all seen, MMOs (and games in general) seldom meet projection dates. They tend to be optimistic, if everything went right this would be the time. Even when developers try to give themselves leeway, they often find they didn't give enough.

Publishers meanwhile have release slots, they expect to ship one game in Q4, another in Q2, etc. They market a game based on those dates. They need to reserve shelf space. If a game is delayed the publisher eats a lot of costs. So eventually when a final date is set, the publisher forces the game to ship. It's not because the publisher is evil, it's because they have invested a lot of money towards that time frame already.

Self-published games don't have that problem. When they ship it's generally because they ran out of money and need to ship to start seeing some returns and continuing development. I don't really see us having either of those problems. We've been conservative with our budget to help ensure that doesn't happen. Not to mention things like the Early Adopter program are more accepted these days, as opposed to several years ago, and that certainly helps.

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