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Above and Beyond Technologies | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Development  (est.rel 2014)  | Pub:Above and Beyond Technologies
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The Repopulation Interviews: Learning More About The Game

By Garrett Fuller on June 29, 2012

MMORPG.com:  Will it be possible to play a stealth type character such as a Thief, Assassin, and Bounty Hunter in PvE, PvP, or both?

The Repopulation:  We have a several rogue or ranger like skill lines including: Stealth, Assassination, Acrobatics, Disguise, Survival, Thievery, Tracking, Hacking, and some shady forms of Chemistry. There will also be a good amount of unique missions for Underworld types.

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MMORPG.com: Housing has been mentioned a bit. Can you expand more on that subject? I hear there will be "apartments" as well as houses in Player Cities. Can a lone person "drop" a house in the open world. Will they be Instanced, Phased or Open World? Will houses have a purpose other than just another "bank" or storage? Can you craft in them. Train skills in them. Have a party or event in them. Will they be interactive? Can I sit in a chair, lay in a bed?

The Repopulation:  There are two types of housing: Apartments and Open World. The apartments are instanced housing, you access them from apartment complexes in NPC cities. They will be affordable. Open world housing consists of structures inside of player created cities. Those will be more expensive to create and upkeep, but have an extra layer of coolness since they are true spaces and will be craftable.

You will be able to drop furniture and decorations into your home, including utility items such as crafting stations, etc. You'll be able to set up shops. Players will be able to enter into your homes. You can also sit in chairs.


MMORPG.com:  What will the pet system be like?

The Repopulation:  There are three different types of pets: Robotic, Tamed and Genetically Engineered. Each pet type has its own mechanics and purposes.

Robotic Pets can serve a wide variety of roles, such as Medical, Repair, Combat or Support. These are permanent pets but require some upkeep to keep them in top condition. They can be crafted, purchased, obtained as mission rewards and military perks.

The Animal Handling skill allows you to tame baby animals for use as pets. These can be traded with other characters, though they do require some skill to control. The big advantage of these pets is that they will grow and mature with the player. Different species also have different advantages and roles. The downside of tamed pets is that they require a lot of maintenance. You must feed them and they require veterinary attention (a skill). If you neglect your tamed pets they will be permanently killed.

Genetically Engineered Pets are created by splicing the DNA and Tissue of different species together. This type of pet provides the most variety and allows for hybrid species. These pets are single use though; once they die they are gone.

MMORPG.com:  Since Crafting will be a viable play style, will it be possible to be a "neutral" crafter (i.e.-having no faction affiliation.) in the open world and not be a gank magnet. Could I be an Arms Dealer to whoever has the cash?

The Repopulation:  There are no true neutral factions. Rogue Nations can set their own relationships with OWON, FPR or other Rogue Nations. But it takes both sides to agree to make you friendly to one another. There are no trade restrictions, however.

There are protected areas of the world though where Inactive Military members (the default) will not be subject to attack by other players. This makes up a reasonable percentage of the world. You will be able to harvest and collect resources in those areas, which account for the full range of tiered content. In the unprotected areas though it will be open season if you are not allied with the other nation.

It should be noted that on the hardcore server all players will be forced as Active Military, and there will be no safe areas. The above information is only relevant with the Standard rule set.


MMORPG.com:  Is it possible to play a lone adventurer or "hermit" (solo) type character, having a small shack or something, out hidden away from the chaos. Can I be a Futuristic Mountain man?

The Repopulation:  Much of the content in the game is soloable. We have tried to build a social game, which encourages teamwork and cooperation through our engagement system, however. We want to remove the barriers and encourage players to play together at all times. It is not forced grouping though. We have a mixture of solo, group and raid content.

Player created structures though are only available in areas marked as structure areas, and these areas are owned by whatever nation owns the control center in their region. So you won't be able to create a shack out in the middle of nowhere.

MMORPG.com:   Is a "pure" PvE play style possible. Not joining any faction or involving one in any player conflicts and still being able to explore the entirety of the known world?

The Repopulation:  Pure PvE is possible, but not in the entire world. The world is set up so that you have OWON controlled regions, FPR controlled regions, and then a middle section which is pretty much up for grabs. The OWON and FPR controlled regions are opt in PvP. Meaning, you must be active military to participate in it. There are also some Rogue aligned hubs in the middle areas where players are protected from PvP. You will be subject to attack in the contested areas by any player who is not allied with your nation, however.

We do want to make it clear though that there is a full complement of tiers in the protected areas. To use a level based example, you wouldn't see levels 1-20 are protected and levels 21-50 being contested. You'd have the full range of content in both areas. We hope that players won't just stick to the safe areas, and will experience both, though. They aren't risking much to do so, since there is no PvP looting on the normal servers.

MMORPG.com:  I have heard "instancing" will be used. To what extent will it be seamless or have loading screens. Will there be "green glowing" barriers to instances you can go in and "red glowing" barriers where you can’t?

The Repopulation:  We do support instancing, but it isn't something we use extensively. The tutorial areas are instanced. Apartments are instanced. We may have some sporadic use here and there, but for the most part we've tried to do away with instancing.  What we've attempted to do instead was to take a look at the benefits of instancing, and ask ourselves how we could recreate those benefits in an open world setting. While there is no real solution for overcrowding, all of the other benefits of instancing can be accomplished with dynamic content, without removing players from the world.

Most of our world is seamless, but the instanced areas do have a load screen. Hero Engine does support seamless instancing, but in the cases that we're using instancing in, it wouldn't really make much sense. The tutorial areas for example are separate from the rest of the world and you cannot return to them.

MMORPG.com:  I’m sure many will want to know about this. Can you tell us more about the Silver/Gold/Platinum Memberships and the Cash Shop? What’s in them? How will they work?

The Repopulation:  The Repopulation will be released as a Free to Play title. While we are trying to put as few limitations as we can on free players in terms of content, there are a number of restrictions on convenience features such as Bank Slots, Inventory Slots, Character Slots, Mission Slots, Idle Disconnect Times, Ability to Create a Nation, etc. These features can be unlocked individually through the store. Memberships are package deals containing all of the commonly used features, at a discounted rate. They are one-time fees.

MMORPG.com:  Can you expand on the Decay system and the Death system. How will items (armor/weapons/vehicles) decay. If there is item decay, how does Repair work? Is there a "salvage" skill for unneeded, old, or used up items. How will Death work? Is decay tied to death? Are characters re-cloned? Are there "in-the-field" Rezs and/or Heals? Is there any type of "battle damage" or "fatigue"? Do players need to rest? Does Food/Water play a part?

 

The Repopulation:  When you die you have the choice of waiting to be revived by another player, or being recloned at a nearby cloning center.

You can use food and drink items to increase your regeneration rate and reduce downtime, but downtime is pretty low in general. You can also set up camps in the wilderness to regenerate and buff players nearby them. There is no fatigue system. While we loved the social things that the fatigue system did in Star Wars Galaxies, we also didn't want players feeling like they were forced to sit in a place and wait for someone to restore their fatigue or battle wounds or be ineffective in combat.

Fittings will lose condition over time, as well as when you die. They can be repaired to restore them, but each time they are repaired there is a chance of them being damaged. This damage is permanent, and will reduce an items Grade, making it less effective. The better the NPC, Kit or Player who repairs your item's repair skill, the less chance there will be of them damaging your items.

There is not currently a salvage skill. It has been discussed but we're not sure if it fits well with the decay system. The vast majority of our items are tradable.

MMORPG.com:  I know this is a Sci-Fi game, but since it’s an Alien World is there any type of "ancient, unknown, mystical or magical" element, skill or abilities?

The Repopulation:  There is no magic. There are some mutations and psychic phenomenon in some cases, as well as some advanced skill lines that we have made a decision to not discuss in order to keep their mystique. There is also an indigenous species that has delves into this. But for the most part you will be dealing with scientific explanations for the games features.

MMORPG.com:  If I see a "bandit" NPC and he has a cool looking weapon and/or armor. If I kill him does he drop what he is carrying? Basically, are NPC's "Loot what you see"?

The Repopulation:  No. Humanoid NPCs will often drop items, but you won't be able to kill them and loot all of their clothes and weapons.

MMORPG.com:  Ok, last question. I promise. You have mentioned Day/Night cycles. What is the in-game clock synced to. Are nights dark, do you need a light source? Is there weather? Does it affect gameplay?  Are there seasons?

The Repopulation:  Keep in mind we are still in development and much of this is subject to change. But at the moment one game day is 90 minutes. We're still hammering out the games calendar but it will not be a 365 day cycle. We're balancing it so that it will not be offset or tied into even numbers, so it won't always be night at 4pm PST, and it won't always change seasons on a Monday, etc. There will likely be some seasonal differences in terms of content, but it's unlikely that we'll be able to make areas snowy during winter, at least not at launch. We'd love to do it, but this requires a ton of additional artwork. It may be something we see post-launch at some point.

We make a lot of use of the day and night system. Some NPCs and monsters only spawn at different times of day. Lights, neon signs and particle effects can also switch on or off based on the time of day. Nights are darker, but not so dark that they will require a light source to see anything. Originally we experimented with this. The problem though is that with gamma settings, many players will just turn up the gamma and deal with everything being over-bright to compensate which punishes those who don't want to deal with it. Another issue is that light sources are a source of video lag for players, particularly those on older systems.

There are also a variety weather effects.

MMORPG.com:  Are there plans or already implemented player bounties like in SWG? I found that sort of play style to be the most unique and enjoyable in almost any MMO. (Sorry to beat the SWG horse)

The Repopulation:  We have a rather large thread on our forums discussing bounty hunting at the moment. But at the moment we're undecided on how to handle it, or if it will make it into the game. There are concerns over exploitation and griefing through the system. It's possible there would be different rules on Standard and Hardcore servers. There are a lot of things to consider with Bounty Hunting. That decision is not a high priority at the moment though. We'll continue to discuss it and make a decision when the time comes.

MMORPG.com:  Since this is based on a sci-fi, will it be possible that players are able to move around nearby planetary mass, such as a natural satellite or will it only be based on the one planet?

The Repopulation:  At launch there will only be a single planet. We already have a loose storyline in place for expansion into other planets post-launch. We also have plans to expand into a full space flight in a future expansion.

MMORPG.com:  How large is the Open World (playable landmass). Approx. size in Km/Miles? Any comparison to a real world place (Hawaii size, Rhode Island size, Texas size). Is the "world" round or flat? Can I run from one place in one direction and come back around to that same place or are there barriers (mountains/water/invisible wall) preventing futher forward movement?

The Repopulation:  The world won't be round, but it's really impossible to give an actual size at this point. The world is still very much under construction, and we don't want to provide any false information or sizes and then be held to that number in the future. It won't be small, by any means, but we also don't want to create a massive area of repetitive content either.

MMORPG.com:  1 more I swear. Will there be any type of in-game Voice chat or local player communication or Private, Party or Guild/City/Nation chat or is a 3rd party App (Ventrilo/TeamSpeak) the only option for this?

The Repopulation:  We'd love to be able to do it. But integrated MMO solutions for it are out of the price range of an indie developer. That could be something we see as a post-launch feature requiring an unlock. It would depend on if there is enough demand for it.

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