Stargate Worlds - Condensed Chat Summary
On Thursday, MMORPG.com hosted a dev chat with the guys from Cheyenne Mountain's Stargate Worlds. Today, Managing Editor Jon Wood picks through the chat and offers this article of summary.
I'll start off this article by saying that if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind sifting through the logs from a Dev Chat to find their information, you can take a look at the original chat, here. If you're like me though, it's always better to have the information condensed down into a more traditional article form, so that's what you're getting here.
Last night, MMORPG.com hosted a great chat with some of the devs from Cheyenne Mountain's Stargate Worlds. I have to say that it's nice to see that this game has progressed to the point where they are able to hold a developer chat and not seem to avoid too many questions.
In for the chat, we had: Dan Elggren, the Studio Head, Story Editor Steve Garvin, Senior Content Designer Brian Heins and Creative Director Chris Klug. It was nice to see such an esteemed crew show up. I'm going to try to present their information in an easier-to-swallow tablet than the chat itself.
It seems as though the story, or as one dev described it the "unfolding fiction", is going to play a large role in Stargate Worlds. Throughout the chat, story was referred to a number of times in response to a number of different kinds of questions.
"We are really focusing on creating an immersive experience," Garvin told us, "from the way we have developed the story, to the types of choices we're making regarding the way we deliver quests/lore/information."
The plot line itself still remains a closely guarded secret, but when a question arose that involved the Goa'Uld and the Humans working together, something that rarely happened on the show, we were told that:
"You can expect to see Goa'uld, Human and Jaffa characters working together on the same side.... Now anyone who knows the show will ask.... exactly how is that possible with the stargate universe.... humans and goa'uld don't normally get along so well... and that is part of the story you will be playing in SGW."
Whatever the story is, it will be evolving and progressing at regular intervals and will play a large part in content updates after launch.
"The story we are planning to deliver in SGW is really epic," Garvin told the crowd. "What we launch with is only the first piece of a massive on-going story and our plans have always included post-launch content pushes."
When they were asked how they planned to get past the "pez dispenser" mode of questing in MMOs, it was once again story to the rescue, "Well, our content is structured around a central storyline that advances as the player advances through level," Heins said. "Each quest advances the overall goal the player has in the game, and each one is focused around making the player feel like a hero. We've focused on taking the time to design our content such that you're not completing kill 5 pigs missions, as we call them. Instead, your actions are directly influencing the fate of the world you're on, as well as the overall universe. Truly, we want to capture the experience of the show and allow players to live it."
Heins went on to talk about quests that will not require NPCs. SGW has apparently devised a system that will allow players to get missions from items that are discovered / constructed in-game. This was welcome news to Stargate fans, as the show tended to unfold in much the same way... a device or tablet, or... something would give the team clues as to what to do next, and they would do it. They didn't wait to speak with a handy quest-giver. This should give players the feeling that they are personally accomplishing something for themselves, and not for some random NPC.
The announcement that Stargate Worlds would make use of puzzles annoyed some in the forums, but the dev team is quick to point out that it's important that the character archetypes all have something to do and in a game where scientists and archaeologists play a large role, you've got to give them something.
"Well, saying there are puzzles is too limiting," Klug said in response to a question about the game's puzzles."So, the games essentially simulate many things: Sam Carter fixing the engines, Daniel translating ancient texts... with that as the starting point, they also expand the game space. They allow gamers who don't like combat to advance. And perform functions that make them valuable to their guildmates. We're looking to do more than provide puzzles. We're looking to deliver an entertaining alternate path to advance, and also allow the game to potentially be played through alternate mediums." The developers have plans to allow archetypes to gain XP through these puzzles / mini-games, thus providing a means of advancement for a non-combat character (they also touched on something about using social elements as well, but didn't elaborate).
Speaking of advancement, this chat also confirmed to players that the game would employ a level-based system of advancement.
PvP / Combat
It wouldn't be an MMORPG.com chat if PvP questions didn't play an important role. In this chat, we learned that their plans do indeed include a Free For All PvP server, but that this wasn't their focus. Instead, they are planning to create instanced battlegrounds. There will be incentives to PvP for players, but anyone who doesn't want to participate is given the choice not to. The incentives are given in the hopes that some non-PvPers might give the system a shot and enjoy it.
We didn't learn anything particularly new on the combat front, but it was interesting to hear Klug refer to their philosophy of "controlling the battlefield". This means that players should be aware of everything and that their position matters. For those who might not be familiar with what has already been announced in terms of combat, the game will employ a ranged combat system that allows for cover, and is based on combining MMO combat elements with FPS elements (though we are assured that the game is in 3rd person view). It will be interesting to see what they have learned, both positive and negative, from a certain recently launched game that uses the same combination.
Space and Instancing
With two galaxies at their disposal through the Stargate lore, it's hard to imagine someone not asking how much of it they will personally be able to explore.
"Well, with Stargate, you literally have the whole universe at your feet," said Garvin, "or at least the Milky Way and Pegasus galaxies. Trying to build an entire universe that you can explore is a big part of what we're doing. We want it to feel like you are roaming the gate network, hopping from planet to planet. here where be places you see that you cannot get to...at least at first, But when you come back to the world...you might find things startlingly different."
Many have speculated that SGW would make use of the Stargate convention to cover the game with instanced areas. When asked directly about the ratio of instanced to non-instanced gameplay, fans were told that it would be ablout 20% instanced, 80% non-instanced.
There you have it folks, the bulk of what was said in last night's Dev Chat. Now, we haven't covered everything, so if you're so inclined I suggest you take a comb over the log itself, you may find something that I've overlooked.