MMORPG: Crafting, and housing, are two features everyone wants in their MMO, but few developers seem to really pay it the attention it deserves. Both rarely serve a real purpose beyond checking off a box in a feature list. Will AoC’s crafting, economy, and housing be different? Few crafting systems are truly fun to “play”, you know?
SS: Let's hit housing first. Housing means more in our game than just, "Look! I have a house" It is integrated, like many of our systems, into many aspects of our game. It relates to the economy, PvE, PvP... It represents your stake in the world. Your house grows with you essentially, and with the world. Players will have vast customization when it comes to defining their space, beyond merely cosmetic.
On crafting, we have seen what other MMO's have made from crafting, and we are not impressed. We want to make crafting desirable, and a rewarding labor. It will be a central pillar of our economy. This is a huge system that we will be touching on a great deal, in our blogs. We want to make that player, who devotes his time to crafting, become legendary in his community.
Check out the Caravan System here, for how the economy will be moving, literally.
MMORPG: The Node system (FAQ description here) sounds really intriguing. With worlds that are always different, always changing, how do you even begin to program something like that? Do you have an idea of where the worlds are headed once you launch, where the story goes, or is it all player-driven?
SS: Of all our systems, this is the most defining, and one we have the most clarity on. Again, our systems are all connected in some way or another. The node system is both player driven and story driven. Simply put, there is an overarching storyline, but how players navigate that story, is completely in their own hands.
MMORPG: But if they make choices, and one server goes one route, and others go another direction - how does the team deal with those divergent stories?
SS: Did you ever read those books as a kid, that allowed you to "choose your own adventure"? Without getting into content that will be best defined in a developer's blog, our servers will determine their path based on the actions of the community. Because we are focused on an overarching singular narrative, it gives us space to explore those divergent storylines, from a developer’s pipeline standpoint.
And we want our players to have different experiences from server to server.
MMORPG: How does character progression work in AoC? Does the game and character growth “end” at the level cap?
SS: Part of our focus, on this ever-changing world we are creating, is to give our players new content that becomes available as a reaction to the community’s progression and choices. Progression in AoC is both traditional and unique, in the sense that there is the staple leveling and RPG elements in the world but also, player driven content that is deeply intertwined with curated designer content. The "end-game" notion is really one we are trying to redefine... We don't want there to be an end to our game.
MMORPG: Let’s talk lore – can you share any details about the story, and tell us how the player fits into the world?
SS: I don't want to reveal too much, because the story is really near and dear to our hearts. I can say the players are heroes just for stepping through the portal. This world they are entering has been void of civilization for millennia, and it is up to the player to uncover the many secrets of this unfamiliar place. Because we are making a MASSIVELY multiplayer game we focus a lot on motivating the community to work together. We are spending a lot of time on both the micro and macro experience.
MMORPG: Just so long as we’re not all Emperor or Special Snowflakes that save the world by ourselves. Finally, a multi-part one: When can we expect to learn more, and play the game ourselves? Will the game still be made regardless of KS success?
SS: We will be releasing content blogs regularly, and will explore many systems that our game includes. We are dedicated to making this game, and we really want to answer to our community, rather than shadowy corporate overlords. That being said, if for some reason our crowdsourcing misses the mark, we will not shy away from pursuing other avenues of support to help us realize our vision.
You will always be a special snowflake to me, though.
MMORPG: Thanks a ton for your time, Steven. We really appreciate it, and we can’t wait to see what you and Intrepid have to offer. We’re really hoping you pull it off.
SS: Thank you, and have a great day!