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NetDevil
MMORPG | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 04/11/06)  | Pub:NCSoft
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Auto Assault Interviews: Co-Project Lead Matt Shaffer on Update 3

By Martin Ressier on December 05, 2006

Martin Ressier sits down with NetDevil Co-Project Lead Matt Shaffer to discuss the Auto Assault's Update 3.

Auto Assault, which is published by NCsoft, released earlier this year to mixed reviews. Update 3, which will be released in the near future, aims to change that.

MMORPG.com: What will players see in update 3? Can we get a quick rundown?
Shaffer:

We've included a number of high-level and intermediate-level mission instances, as well a couple of extremely tough bosses in Ground Zero. We've also revised the Outpost Token system, which is now oriented more towards PvP play than just capturing Outposts, and have integrated a new set of weapons and items to buy with the Tokens. We've also instituted the start of our skill system pass, which will help balance out skills across the classes quite a bit while eliminating the repetitive or little-used ones.

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MMORPG.com: Most players on the boards think pets are too weak. Will the issue be approached?
Shaffer:

Yes. This is very high on the priority for the next phase of our skill pass. We are looking at moving from a system where one player controls many pets of relatively low power to a system where the same player will control fewer pets of greater power. The goal is to keep the relative difficulty of PVE the same, but make the pet classes in Auto Assault more viable in PVP.

MMORPG.com: Are there going to be updates about the guild systems?
Shaffer:

We are currently looking into possible changes and enhancements to the clan system to see what we can improve. One thing we are looking at adding sooner rather than later, is the ability for players to change the ownership of a clan in case the current leader is no longer playing the game.

MMORPG.com: Will new recipes for the crafters be added and how do you believe your crafting system has done since launch?
Shaffer:

There will definitely be more recipes coming in future. Now that we have item sets, like the Warmonger, Battlemaster, Momma Bite and Tower sets, we will be adding a crafting set so that the players who enjoy that aspect of the game can contribute as well as being rewarded for their time and effort.

I believe that the crafting system has done well since launch. It is a complex, challenging and fun system that goes in directions that haven't been tried before. Our players are able to experiment on items with randomly generated stats through our dynamic loot generator to really create something different from what anyone else is using. That being said, I of course believe that every system in every game can be improved. So more work can be done on the crafting system to make it even more enjoyable and rewarding to our players, and we have some enhancements in mind that will be coming in a future update.

MMORPG.com: There are rumours about new bosses. Can you tell us about them and what they will drop?
Shaffer:

We've definitely added some new bosses, the bulk of which can be found in the Ground Zero area in some form or fashion. One of them is Momma Bite, who may come around if players kill off too many of her children. The other is the incredibly tough Justice boss, The Tower. Both of these bosses have a chance to drop items that are very nice. In fact, they are comparable to what players receive for token rewards through our outpost token system.

MMORPG.com: What kind of new missions are planned for U3? Many players are looking for something more in-depth than the majority there. Will they be satisfied?
Shaffer:

The three new intermediate level instances (one per race) offer fairly different missions from the others, but are still uniquely interesting and continue Auto Assault's story and background. The Tower instance in Ground Zero is a multi-mission extravaganza that should prove both difficult and challenging for top level players, with equally good rewards for their effort.

MMORPG.com: How is the general feedback from the PTS about update 3?
Shaffer:

I really can't say enough about our playerbase. They have shown time and time again that they care about this game. The discussions on the board are generally very constructive and the amount of time they have spent on the test server helping hammer through this build was really amazing. Without their help and effort, I don't believe that Update 3 would be anywhere near where it is today. While there were criticisms about parts of the update (as will always be the case with changes) the feedback really has been positive. There were numerous times when I would log onto the test server and players would tell me that they no longer enjoy playing on live because the new content and skills are more fun. With a few exceptions, most all of the feedback has really been positive and constructive.

MMORPG.com: What new zones were added? and why target around level 18?
Shaffer:

The new instances are: The Tower (Ground Zero), Scav Uprising (Human), La Leche Madre (Mutant) and Malachite Detention Center (Biomek). The Level 18 missions were added to help intermediate-level players who may have completed all of their available missions but still need an extra push to move on to the next region - and we just don't want to be adding Ground Zero content only. We also wanted to give the players an area where they could convoy and still enjoy the game to a high degree. In these zones they will experience new AI that are more challenging as well as running into puzzles that they have to work through.

MMORPG.com: Are there going to be any graphical updates?
Shaffer:

We expect to be able to share some related news in the near future, but for now that's all I can say.

MMORPG.com: Will there be new content to encourage grouping and playing in convoys, since right now, there is a lot of soloing in the game?
Shaffer:

The mid-level instances we added are definitely oriented towards convoys. While a well twinked out alt character might be able to do them solo, there are puzzles and things to work through in these zones that the players will want to group up for. The creatures in these zones are also more difficult than those players will find on the normal highway maps.

With the skill changes in this update, grouping is definitely encouraged when engaging in PVP. Players on the test server have definitely been working as a coordinated unit, instead of the old run-and-gun way of playing.

Also, the new Tower instance is a convoy oriented zone. Players will definitely need friends to get past the final encounter in here. The best thing about this zone is that it truly is a lot of fun, players have been running it multiple times not just because they want the new items, but because they are truly enjoying the encounter.

Momma Bite is another creature that people won't want to tackle alone. She is a few tons of pure arachnid terror that has a penchant for wrecking vehicles. She is located in the crater of Ground Zero and will occasionally show herself to seek retribution for the killing of Dark Bite.

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