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Interviews: Developer Chat Transcript

By Richard Cox on January 27, 2009

MMORPG_Kunou: Howdy and welcome to's Live Dev Chat on! I'm your host,'s Community Manager Richard "Kunou" Cox. Joining us today are members of the Earthrise dev team!

MMORPG_Kunou: Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to one question in the queue at a time, and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded. Feel free to add another question to the queue once yours is either asked or rejected.

MMORPG_Kunou: To submit your question, please /msg MMORPGBot yourquestionhere. If your question was deleted, it's probably because someone else asked the same thing first.

MMORPG_Kunou: This room will be moderated during the chat; if you want to talk during the chat, feel free to visit #earthrise.

MMORPG_Kunou: Now it's time for introductions! Feel free to start sending your questions to MMORPGBot while our guests introduce themselves!


[MS]Ostiak: hi, everyone, my name is Atanas Atanasov, CEO of Masthead Studios, developers of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi MMORPG Earthrise

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Hi all! My name is Apostol Apostolov and I am the Lead Game Designer of Masthead Studios' Earthrise.

Moll: <- Moll, community manager and all around search button advocate

Question: ekaros asks, "When does beta invites start?"

[MS]Ostiak: We are currently eveluating all beta applications. Our plans are to send the first beta invites soon, everyone who is accepted will receive an e-mail

Question: [Legacy]Aeternum asks, "I know you do not give deadlines or specific dates, so to avoid that, this question is generalized. Is it optimistic to believe that beta invites *could* be out by the end of February or the beginning of March?"

[MS]Ostiak: I would say it is more realistic than optimistic :)

Question: aka-shadows asks, "Will water hold any importance and if so will it be tactical or cosmetic"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Water will have effect on movement speed, but beyond that it would have purely cosmetic feel over gameplay.

Question: Blob asks, "Will it be possible to personalize our weapons ?"

MMORPG_Kunou: Just a reminder, to send in questions, please /msg MMORPGBot yourquestionhere. If your question was deleted, it's probably because someone else asked the same thing first.

[MS]Ostiak: while we are waiting for Rayner to answer, I hope you enjoyed the new screenshots we released yesterday on MMORPG

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Through manufacturing you can personalize your weapons with weapon-oriented designs in the same way you can personalize the properties of many other items. But beyond that players will not be able to change the properties of the items, so crafting will be the important stage.

Question: ZoMBiEXxX asks, "How will time work in Earthrise? Will 1 day in real life be 1 month in game? And will characters have ages?"

[MS]Ostiak: Earthrise will feature day and night cycles, but they will be faster than those in real life. How fast is still under consideration. Characters will not age

Question: Midnitte[1] asks, "How will offline mode work? Something similar to Phantasy Star?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: No, Earthrise will not have single-player game campaign. Offline Professions will be abstract, simple life simulation that covers how your character spends the time he's supposed to be away from adventuring - he has a daily job that brings him income and rewards.

Question: magiix asks, "what's the infrastructure a big game like this is running on?"

[MS]Ostiak: It is not different than those of other MMO titles. We are partnering with one of the best MMO hosting companies, they know how to handle such type of game really well.

Question: KaizerasBG asks, "How is PvP going to be balanced? Are you aiming for group PvP balance or 1 versus 1 PvP balance?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Balancing PvP is a very complex undertaking that's currently ongoing. Earthrise will have be balanced for 1 vs 1, Party vs. Party and ultimately Guild vs Guild combat (Territory Conquests). We can't provide more detail other than we're working on it.

Question: Prince_Ivan_Deamon asks, "How do you feel Earthrise will hold up to competition such as Darkfall and other MMORPGS?"

MMORPG_Kunou: Just a reminder, to send in questions, please /msg MMORPGBot yourquestionhere. If your question was deleted, it's probably because someone else asked the same thing first.

[MS]Ostiak: Earthrise has its unique blend of post-appocalyptic sci-fi setting, skill based system, PvP that matters and crafting being the most important supplier of items. That being said, we are alrady very different than most MMOs on the market. We are making a great game and we will do what players expect from such title. It is the game itself that matters, not its competition.

Question: Mironov asks, "will we have other types of pets, besides robotics, and will they fight with us in batlle, and if yes, then to what extend?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: At launch, pets available to the players will consist of robotic assistants. We wanted to concentrate on the type of pets that would follow the aestetics of the post-human society, but as Enterran population learns more of its environment, one can imagine a lot other possibilities in the future.

Question: Schierhoge asks, "when we will see first ingame videos?"

[MS]Ostiak: This question is the next big question after beta :) I would say sometime after GDC, which is the end of March.

Question: [JOL]Yuhblah asks, "Will it be possible to personalize the robots who were create by ourselves ? Will can they serve for protecting a sector or other things ?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Customization of robots will be limited at launch given the complex role we want to represent for them. Instead, we will provide you with a wide variety of robots you can craft yourself, and some Designs will influence their properties. They will be useful for personal assistance.

Question: tfwarlord asks, "you have talked about the bounty hunter system before but i have 1 quetion to it. Will the hunted know that he was a reward on his head?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: No. We think this is a very important consequence from the action of player killing. Because every death by player will result in death report, every player killer must assume he has a bounty on his head. Whether it is a small one or a huge one, will make a difference when bounty hunters prioritize their kills.

Question: Soenks asks, "Will there be some sort of capital for each faction ?"

[MS]Ostiak: There is one capital city on the island of Enterra, called Sal Vitas. The mega corporation Continoma rules there. The rest of the factions will have their smaller encampments, towns, bases. Noir for example will have a huge camp located somewhere on the island, only rebels will know where that place is.

Question: Xyleya asks, "regarding the last QoTW: with no friendly fire, how are you going to work against zerg-combat, where everyone is spamming AoE-damage?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: We are currently testing internally the combat system and we are aware of this situation. Careful balancing and finetuning of the system should cover such situations well.

[MS]Ostiak: we don't want Earthrise to become a FPS game, it is MMORPG after all, however, we will test the currently implemented combat system carefuly just like Raner said

Question: [NERF]Samo asks, "Recently the topic of friendly fire has been discussed and vastly criticized. The majority seemed to oppose having no friendly fire because this removes the battle strategies and leads to it being a "zerg fest". I'd like to know your response to our feedback."

[MS]Ostiak: similar question to the one above. Decisions are not final, beta testing has just started.

Question: koss asks, "Can you list the classes of weapons available and tell us a bit about them?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Each of the different styles of play will have their own class of weaponry suited for their destructive needs. Close combat players will have access to variety of energy weaponry, ranged players will have access to assortment of pistols, rifles and launchers.

[MS]RaynerTheApe: While some very specific skills will allow access to holographic weapons that focus mental power, nanobotic swarms capable of disrupting the enemy armor and weapons that shape thermal energies.

Question: [RED]Hooters asks, "To what extent will i be able to develop my character ontop of skills abilities and gear? As a former AO player i am thinkinng of customized implants NCU's and other utility slots to further enhance my character."

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Players will also be able to customize their character with a wide choice of appearance options, tactics that customize their abilities, and devices that unlock and aid the execution of the best and most powerful abilities in the game. Change of armor will also allow characters to customize their current access to abilities and will allow for flexible customization anytime.

Question: Xeniph asks, "The Beta Applications ask whether the applicant is a game designer or a member of the press. What are these questions for? Is it because you're afraid of leaks, or the opposite: you're hoping for better media coverage?"

Moll: Please note that we aren't ready for previews or reviews yet. To arrange that sort of thing, or other press information, contact our fantastic PR Coordinator. Those questions are really so we know who you are, just like the other information we ask. :)

Question: Kuhal asks, "Are characters able to equip more than one weapon and switch between them? If so, is it instantaneous or timed?"

[MS]Ostiak: Not at the same time. Switching of weapons will be possible out of combat and will not be timed. While you are fighting you can fight only with the last equipped weapon

Question: shinobido asks, "how many people will participate in the first wave"

[MS]Ostiak: You should undertand that beta is made for testing purposes, not for game demos or free play. The firs waive of beta testers will be limited, based on the testing needs of Earthrise at the moment.

Question: [NERF]Swel asks, "About the shield-healing system: Will it be skill based, tool based ( let's say by using some kind of battery ) or even both ?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Every suit of armor has energy generator which uses battery capacity integrated in every piece of protection that the suit consists of. Depending on what choice of armor the player has come up with, he can have low regeneration but higher values in other properties, and vice versa - high regeneration with disadvantages in other properites.

Question: MrCoder asks, "Will player crafted items be better then looted items, will items decay?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Player items will be similar to looted items at equal tiers of power, but looted items will have limited selection that will make player-made items vastly more flexible and powerful. Both types of items will decay, with the exception of quest items of course.

Question: mrroboto40 asks, "Can we expect to see multi-passenger vehicles? And if so will there be any flying vehicles?"

[MS]Ostiak: There will be no multi-passenger vehicles upon release, but there are plans for such in the future. There will be no flying vehicles either, but there will be many different types of customizable land vehicles, so people won't get bored :)

Question: amunds asks, "You mentioned a potential Player API last dev chat, is this something that is being currently worked on and can we expect one for launch?"

[MS]Ostiak: yes, we have plans for such interface API, but we are not working on that at the moment, our priorities are those mentioned on the first page of the Earthrise site - the game features.

Question: Shuichi asks, "Are you prepairing to address Sci-fi fans that may not be aware of the MMORPG world?"

[MS]Ostiak: Certanly. Everyone who likes the post-apocalyptic sci-fi setting of Earthrise is welcome to come and try the game. We are writing a lot of lore and making certain that the game looks pretty, so it is not just the gameplay we are working on, so I think people who have not tried MMOs before, but like such settings will find their new virtual home in Earthrise.

Question: Cabbage asks, "Will snipers be featured in earthrise?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Snipers will not be featured among the weaponry arsenal in Earthrise for various reasons - we didn't want to turn a dynamic combat system into a Delta Force "hide and seek" game. Instead we opted to make combat within visual range as exciting and brutal as possible and weapons will concentrate on outsmarting your opponent without taking unfair advantage on him.

Question: MangoStar asks, "Will there be any kind of PvP Features? and if so what kind of PvP Features?"

[MS]Ostiak: I would say that the whole game is a PvP feature, but here is a list of more specific ones that come to my mind - the territory conquest, the possibility to loot your enemy, the possiblity to attack anyone even those who are from your own factiona and many others

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Players will be able to involve in three different types of PvP combat - consensual (duels) with no item loss but a great chance to test your character built against others; non-consensual player killing for loot and glory; and Territorial Conquest where guilds will wage wars for control over rare resources.

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Instead providing PvP levels and artifical rewards, we have integrated the reward deep into the economic system of the game.

Question: WWWepdesign asks, "ops new in this. Is it possible to buy a reset skill token to make up skills u didnt want?"

[MS]Ostiak: there is no need for such tokens. Players can learn all skills in Earthrise and don't need to reset or "forget" some skills

Question: Seggallion asks, "will weather affect gameplay?"

[MS]Ostiak: there will be some weather effects like fog for example, which will affect visibility. We will try to make the weather as realistic as possible.

Question: [RED]Minova asks, "what sort of ranks and structuring systems will be in place for guilds?"

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Guild Leader will be able to break their members into number of different ranks, each with different privileges and rights for access to the guild bases at conquered Territories, bank accounts and warehouses, lead diplomatic moves towards other guilds, inviting/advertising the Guild among the server population and more.

Question: AlexRacer asks, "So, is leveling going to be instance grind and linear quest based? /sadpanda"

[MS]Ostiak: there is no leveling in Earthrise, it is a skill based game. Players will not advance skills in instances because there are no instances in the game. Quests will have their role in the gameplay, but you will not have to do quests if you don't want to. Other forms of skill advancement will also be possible.

Question: [ANI]Indelible asks, "Have you decided on the server structure yet? Are we going to see a single game server, much like Eve Online, or multiple servers, spread across different territories, such as EU, US and Asia?"

[MS]Ostiak: We have not decided yet. An announcement will be made when we have a decision.

MMORPG_Kunou: Ok folks, down to the last 3 questions!

Question: Lunasick asks, "Since its a post apocalyptic world will Radiation be a problem (like fallout3)."

[MS]RaynerTheApe: Yes. A vast portion of the island is under the biohazardous radiation of a a dangerous nano-byproduct called Xelyte as a remnant from the old wars. It will be highly sought but also very dangerous to extract resource and will require massive mechanoid harvesters to extract and transfer across Enterra.

Question: [ANI]Joker asks, "You have stated before that there will be pvp "safe zones". Exactly how safe are these zones? I.E. will we be able to fight in these zones or not?"

[MS]Ostiak: Players will not be able to fight in those safe zones.

[MS]Ostiak: but those zones will not be much, think of them as social gathering places

Question: Midrak asks, "Will work already most of the features such as base building, or the most features until after the release added?"

[MS]Ostiak: We are working on all features that are mentioned on the Earthrise website:

[MS]Ostiak: That means you should see them on release date :)

MMORPG_Kunou: This concludes the Earthrise Dev Chat! A huge thanks to all the fine folks behind Earthrise for your wonderful time and expertise! Thank you Coldfront for hosting us! And thank you everyone for joining us! Logs will be posted on asap.

[MS]Ostiak: Thank you everyone for coming and asking those great questions we'll see you next time :)

Moll: Remember, if you didn't see your question - there were plenty we didn't have time for. is a great place for these.

Moll: Who knows, you may see it as an upcoming question of the week :)

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