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Interview With Brad McQuaid

Tarthus Posted:
Interviews 0

MMORPG.com: It's been said that Vanguard will use the Unreal engine. How much of the engine will be altered for Vanguard? There are a lot of fans worrying about high jumping and first-person shooter run speed.
Brad McQuaid: We chose the Unreal engine because we wanted to get up and into development as soon as possible - Sigil wants to make games, not technology or engines. The Unreal engine is very fast, comes with a great set of tools, and the Epic guys are great to work with. All that said, we knew very well that we were getting an FPS engine and what we would eventually need is an MMOG engine. To that end we have been altering the engine and adding to it from day one, including adding:
  • Per pixel lighting
  • Seamless world technology
  • Specular and Bump Mapping
  • New Sky & Weather Code
  • New Terrain engine
  • Network code modifications
And much more. It's also worth noting that Lineage 2 began with the Unreal code base and also successfully modified it into an MMOG engine.
MMORPG.com: Zone-wide chat: Immersive, or not? Will it be in Vanguard?
Brad McQuaid: There will be 'tells' and also 'says' and 'shouts' and the other typically seen chat systems in MMOGs and MUDs. Shouting will be limited on distance, but not by zone because our world is seamless (e.g. no zones). There will also be support for chat channels, like guildchat, but restricted to some degree so as we don't get worldwide auction channels which would disrupt our desire that regional economies occur naturally in the game world.
MMORPG.com: Will player/guild houses actually have a purpose?
Brad McQuaid: Absolutely. First, they will be places where you can store goods (keep in mind that Vanguard is very item acquisition centric and that inventory management will be an important aspect of gameplay). There will also be places where you can set up vendors to sell your wares, both online and offline. Finally, guilds and other groups of people will actually be able to participate in a larger city building aspect of the game, but we're not ready to release a lot of information about this aspect of gameplay quite yet.
MMORPG.com: How solo-friendly will Vanguard be? Will people be forced to group?
Brad McQuaid: They won't be forced to group per se, but grouping is definitely encouraged. Our designers are populating the world by dividing areas into three groups: casual, group, and raid. The majority of content will be group oriented, because the 'core' gamer (note I didn't say 'hard core' necessarily) is our primary target audience. We also want people to be able to participate in raids, but then also in shorter play sessions in our 'casual' areas. These areas will be soloable to some degree, but will likely yield the best results with small groups.

We still feel very strongly that classes and player interdependence is necessary for community building.
MMORPG.com: Sigil's stance on selling items/money outside the game has been made very clear. What steps will be taken to discourage these actions?
Brad McQuaid: Aside from what has been done in the past (warning, banning, etc.) we also have some ideas that we want to pursue with other MMOG developers in the legal arena.
MMORPG.com: What is Sigil's stance on "twinking" newbie characters?
Brad McQuaid: Overall, we feel it's a good thing, especially when the 'twinking' is done by an individual who has played through the game, built up a character, and now wants to outfit his second or third character with better than newbie gear. That said, we can't have low level characters running around soloing NPCs significantly above their level or tearing through areas without risk. So Vanguard will incorporate what we call 'soft level limits', which means that a twinked character will be slightly more powerful than a regularly equipped character, but not overly so. Then, as that twinked character climbs in levels, he or she will get more and more out of his higher end gear.
MMORPG.com: Will new skills be trained by putting points into them or by repeatedly using them?
Brad McQuaid: A combination of both, actually, but it's too early for me to go into details about our skill system.
MMORPG.com: Will Vanguard feature any classes or races that are totally different from other MMORPG's out there?
Brad McQuaid: We hope to, yes. We have some neat ideas for a few classes that haven't yet been really explored in MMORPGs, but will be familiar to the paper & pencil RPG fan.
MMORPG.com: How large will the world be in Vanguard when compared to other MMORPG's?
Brad McQuaid: So far, a lot larger, but we're not done populating, nor are we in beta yet, so there may be some adjustments made to the sizes of various continents. That said, I have a feeling the world of Telon will still be the largest or at least one of largest worlds to-date. We have placed a big emphasis on travel and making it fun. Characters will be owning mounts and ships fairly early and their use will be integral to traversing the world's large land masses and oceans.
MMORPG.com: Is Sigil planning on having an open beta period after the closed beta comes and goes?
Brad McQuaid: Yes, although it will still be limited in the sense that we will only be able to allow a certain number of people into that final phase of beta.
MMORPG.com: Certain older MMORPG's are seeing problems with people being able to get groups. Will there be functions in Vanguard that will help with finding groups?
Brad McQuaid: Absolutely - we have some fairly innovative ideas both in terms of keeping friends together and helping them find each other and stay together, as well as helping players find new friends by forming pick-up groups easily.