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Earthrise: First Impact Interviews: Talking to Atanas Atanasov

By Garrett Fuller on December 07, 2009

MMORPG.com:

Tell us about character customization in Earthrise. What will make players unique?

Atanas Atanasov:

Aside from the initial character customization which lets players choose from a broad list of physical traits, facial expression and haircuts, a character is made unique through customization of his abilities and gear. While advancing in combat skills is straightforward and offers players a steady stream of new and powerful Abilities to experiment with, a broad list of Tactics can be added to an Ability to modify its properties and change its gameplay role and advantages to fit each player's play style. Gear plays no lesser role with each piece of armor or weapon being manufactured by players. Every player has the opportunity to invest time in customizing each piece of gear using Designs that play the role of Tactics for crafted items.

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MMORPG.com:

Players will be working with a skill system. Can you give us a preview of some of the skills in the game?

Atanas Atanasov:

Probably the most important skills are the combat skills which will ensure player survival in the dangerous areas of the game. Players will learn and advance into skills for each type of weapon available in the game with predominantly offensive attacks. An example of this would be the Assault Gun weapon skill that includes different types of burst attacks. Devices that players place in their gear will also provide support, control and defensive Abilities such as energy channeling, recharging, shielding capabilities and more.

Crafting Skills differ from combat skills where instead of Abilities they provide Technologies - recipes for manufacturing certain items. There are skills for each step of manufacturing - recycling resources, building modules and combining modules into final items. An example of a crafting skill would be an Advanced Processor Engineering skill that allows manufacturing of processors used in AI-controlled weaponry and gear, including vehicles.

MMORPG.com:

In an open world environment, players will have a lot to explore, are there systems in place for players to learn and know the terrain?

Atanas Atanasov:

We have delegated motivation for exploring the world to the storyline, reputation system and crafting system. The main linear storyline will make sure that players explore the main area of the island of Enterra, while secondary quests cover the rest of the world map. Players who like to explore will always find interesting things to do no matter where they travel. The Reputation system will tie in with each Organization's territory, and that of their allies and enemies, and will provide incentive for players to look at the world as a political map of interests and intrigue.

Finally, the crafting system is highly dependent on finding the right factory for the items that you wish to manufacture. There will be many factories, each specialized in different types of items, and a crafter who wants to manufacture various goods will have to travel to find the best location for his business.

MMORPG.com:

You spoke about the sci-fi influences of Earthrise, how will they translate into the look and feel of the characters that players create?

Atanas Atanasov:

Yes, we have found inspiration from many books, movies and games; these influences have been rooted into the lore, artwork direction and of course, the mechanics of the game. We draw from the sandbox experience and complex economy of titles such as EVE Online, the flexibility and customization of games such as Guild Wars, and various aspects from many others. Instead of approaching influences as an exact infusion of ideas into strict portions of the game, we take on ideas from our own perspective, fuse them with every other detail of the game and then come up with something that is often strikingly different and original. For example, while combat has been influenced by the flexibility of Guild Wars, we have combined that influence with the dynamics of games such as Planetside to come up with action-based combat from a third-person perspective.

MMORPG.com:

With a player created economy in place, what steps are you taking to control the market? EVE has an economist on staff; will you take a similar approach?

Atanas Atanasov:

At Masthead Studios the design team has taken time to study both real world and game economics before we approached the player-driven economy in Earthrise. Each source of income, spending option or transaction process is being designed with flexibility in mind and can be modified in real time with both automatic and manual intervention. Many economic factors can be modified by collaboration among all players on the server - such as modifying prices of basic resources based on their availability from mines which are constantly under attack by mutants and require large groups of players to defend them - but within an acceptable range. We are already preparing to be very involved in the economy actions and make sure it maintains stable operations.


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MMORPG.com:

How do you see ranged and melee combat balancing out? This has been a challenge for every sci-fi MMO that is land based.

Atanas Atanasov:

It's no less challenging in Earthrise's development as well. When approaching Melee combat it is always important to consider the drawback of approaching a ranged combatant in close range. Abilities that slow down, paralyze, weaken, and allow the melee character to get into the enemy to deliver his attack are essential. Once face to face, the melee character can deliver a sizable amount of damage, but at the same time we make sure the ranged combatant is not at a complete disadvantage. Allowing him to regain distance again is essential, but more situational and requires timing and planning.

MMORPG.com:

Can you give us some insight into the types of weapons players will have access to?

Atanas Atanasov:

There are six distinctive groups of weaponry in the game. While two have already been widely mentioned - melee weaponry and standard ranged arsenal - the rest are still being finalized as artwork. Some of the other weapon groups are based around power gauntlets, suited for both close and short-ranged combat. Cybermentalists have weapons that look similar to ranged guns, but fuse with the body of the wearer and are controlled by his emotions. Psychics have locuses, mental power enhancers that use holographic technology to channel energy around the characters. Nanobotic controllers use nanite devices as weapons, shooting waves of nanoparticles at their enemies. Other weapons are yet to be fully finalized and will be revealed soon.

MMORPG.com:

When players form up into their guilds, what features will they have access to?

Atanas Atanasov:

Many of our guild features will be similar to other MMOs on the market; however, players who are part of a guild will be able to participate in the capturing and control of the siege territories on the island, which will give the best resources and some other guild bonuses.

MMORPG.com:

Will players be able to build their own fortresses in the game?

Atanas Atanasov:

Territory control gameplay is all about conquering and defense. Guilds that claim control over a territory will be able to build different types of buildings for mining rare resources, providing defense and even administrative functions such as local access to market. Building bases will be freeform and guild managers will decide the exact location of each building within the perimeter of the base. Terrain and shape of the perimeter will vary with each territory, so what works for one base will not for another. Guild managers will have to consider not only the space constraints, but how combat would be play out within that perimeter if the enemy breaks through the defenses.

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