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Exclusive Interview, Part One

Darin Sorrentino Posted:
Interviews 0

Barry Hoffman of Spellborn International Discusses His Game in Part One of Two

In the first of a two part interview with Barry Hoffman of "The Chronicles of Spellborn", we delve into the game and get to know one of the newest titles on the block. Check back soon for the second half.

MMORPG.com: Many references have been made to "puzzles" which "unlock" doors in the game. Are you talking about puzzles along the lines of the Myst series? Could you elaborate on what we can expect of these "puzzles"?
Barry Hoffman:

Our subtitle already says it all: ‘What lies hidden must be found’. It is not so much about physical puzzles, but exploring mysteries, lore and background. Solving the riddle what has happened in the past and you will see the present world in a different manner as parts of the world get more meaning for the player. And by knowing history the player understands what to do next or gets access to new parts of the world.

We envision our world not as the biggest world to explore in miles of walking, but more in what is to be found out about the world.

There will be much interlinking in the game through time and space for both individual and groups.

MMORPG.com: Will the world of Spellborn be a seemless environment or will it consist of a series of zones? If the world does consist of zones, what, if any, things will be done to keep people from fighting near the zoning areas and using them as a "safe escape" route? Lastly, will the game consist of a single world or will it be "shard" based with multiple worlds?
Barry Hoffman:

I will start with the last. Ingame the game will be shard based. This is an after effect of the world explosion that finished the reign of the Empire of the Eight Demons and began the reign of the Enclave of the Five sacrifices. People can move from shard to shard via shardships and occasionally the Oracle grants a House the route to a new shard. Living in a world with scarce resources being the first to find out about a new shard can be the key to survival for an individual and/or a House.

When players immerse themselves via the Oracle into the Ancestral quests they sometimes get a peek at what the world looked like before the known world was ripped apart.

Technically there will be more than one world to play in. Players decide on which server to log on to. Currently we are discussing on the numbers per server and also whether to allow multiple languages on 1 server or to split language by server. Next to this we are discussing the ratio of PvP vs PvE servers.

Yes, TCOS will have PvP components in the game. In the city of Quarterstone PvP will be in a closed structure when you enter the Arena to compete for grand prizes or glory for your avatar, your guild, or your house. The so called Ancestral quests will be single player or multiplayer PvE events that range in difficulty depending on the amount of players that simultaneously take the quest. The more people take these quests the more area’s in the real world allow for PvP as well as the Oracle will guide Houses to new shards.

Outside Quarterstone you can expect PvP. The balance between open and closed PvP area’s is currently under discussion and testing. This will be further refined during the beta periods.

MMORPG.com: Matthew has made mention in one of his posts in regards to character builds (http://www.khaeon.nl/sbforum/viewtopic.php?t=31): "If the game however ends up favoring just a perfect few combinations, not only does it slam you in the face (your personalization is no good) it then forces you to take that one path everyone is taking". How will Spellborn, being a game based on skills, keep people from creating the "perfect, do everything" character and promote grouping and relying on others?
Barry Hoffman:

At first we believe that every person must have the possibility to create a cool avatar. By combining body parts, clothes, armor, body decorations and weapons everyone can look cool as a character from level 1 to … .

Next to this we will have a skill system that is action based and not weapon based.

These design principles already create diversity in player characters as weapons and armor are independent of skills. A real hero does not worry about clothes, armor or weapons, except when caring about appearance.

Of course we do have our classes and in between classes there will be skills that appeal to a larger group of players. We are testing on balance between our different classes, subclasses and skill levels and of course in beta we will balance this even more with the future players.

MMORPG.com: It's been stated many times that the "power" of a character will be dictated by the characters skill and not by the sword they wield. However small, the weapons must make some difference in combat. Could you explain the fallout of weapon rankings when comparing crafted weapons, rare weapon drops, common weapon drops and NPC merchant inventory? (i.e. a crafted weapon will be better than a common drop but not as powerful as a rare drop, etc)
Barry Hoffman:

Skills define how well you can wield a weapons. These skills are action based and not object, or weapon based. This means that you can kill just as easily with a knife as with a battlehammer as long as your PC has the skill to do so.

MMORPG.com: Last month it was mentioned on The Chronicles of Spellborn forum's that you will be handling the death penalty "from a different angle". Could you elaborate more on this?
Barry Hoffman:

We do not feel the need to hand out a penalty when your character dies. We’d rather give a bonus to a playercharacter for not dying for an extensive amount of time while playing the game. Of course a player standing around idle will not be granted such a bonus.

MMORPG.com: All of the screenshots to date seem to have the Player UI omitted. What are the current plans with the UI in relation to how it looks? I.E, will each user be able to customize the UI to just show the aspects they want, etc?
Barry Hoffman:

The UI is under development and is being tested as we speak. We will keep you up to date on the progress.

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Darin Sorrentino