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Q&A #9

Jeremy Star Posted:
Interviews 0

Melissa Meyer once again fields our questions

Today as a bonus to our usual two screenshots and five question Q&A we also have an exclusive piece of concept art of a "nahgel", which is discussed in the article.

MMORPG.com: What kind of weather effects are planned for Hero’s Journey and can we expect to see different seasons come and go in-game?
Melissa Meyer:

While the world and environments of Hero’s Journey are very dynamic and provide numerous opportunities for interaction, the lighting of Hero’s Journey is quite static. This was a compromise that we had to reach for the sake of the beauty and detail we like to add into our areas.

There are elements of weather in various areas of the world: some areas are rainy, some are foggy, etc. But this weather doesn’t change a great deal.

The world’s history accounts for the lack of change to time and weather. In the past the world was broken in every way: the planet is shattered, the prior god is destroyed, the harmony of body/mind/spirit is no longer in place. This broken state extends all the way to the natural life cycles of the planet: time, weather, food chains, etc.

MMORPG.com: It has been mentioned before that four races seems a bit slim for a fantasy MMORPG. I know you have mentioned that a tremendous amount of work goes into making each race, allowing it to be fully customizable, and finally animating it, but you have also mentioned there are plans to eventually create more races. Aside from the previously referenced Construct race, what other types of races can we expect in the future?
Melissa Meyer:

Four races may be a bit misleading. There are four races, with two subraces each, for a total of eight. Each subrace has a unique trait that affects gameplay, and most have some appearance options not available to the other sub-race. The traits planned for each sub-race were designed to be as unrestrictive as possible. We want to keep all race/class combinations available, and not encourage or discourage specific pairings.

We are primarily focused on those races we’ll have at launch, of course. However, we do have some ideas for expansion, but nothing is set in stone. The race that we’re the most interested in seeing are the Constructs.

Constructs are golems and automatons that have come to sentient life. They are taller than a Human, and made of either metal (as per an automaton made of gears, rods, plates of metal) or stone (carved into a blocky human shape). They are childlike and contemplative by nature. Steel Constructs were originally made by Gearsmiths, and thus favor Gear. Stone Constructs were originally Arcanum servants and favor magic.

In addition to the Constructs, we’ve kicked around the ideas that you see below. I can’t guarantee that they’ll ever see the light of day, however.

  • Shaihoul - Ilvari halfbreeds with either a Rakshaal father or Nahgel mother. (Think half-demons and half-angels). Distinguishing features are horns, feathers, bone protrusions, claws, and fangs. They tend to be outcasts, misfits, or hiding their true nature. One branch (Eldritch/Rakshaal) favors Magic, while the other (Ethereal/Nahgel) favors Gear.
  • Faelin - Fae who have "fallen" into Elanthia since the Sundering. They look like faeries from classical literature: slight frame, about the height of a ten-year-old child, with vestigial wings and elongated features. They may have antennae, or solid-colored eyes. One branch (Pixies) favors Magic, and the other (Sylphs) favors Nature.
  • Elementals - Human halfbreeds with elemental parents. They have solid glowing eyes, colorful skin with spectral effects, and distinguishing tribal marks on their face, arms, torso, and legs. They predate the arrival of the Ilvari, but have kept to themselves. The two branches are Fire (favors Nature) and Aether (favors Magic).
  • Wolfen - Wolf-headed people; basically humans with a canid head. Wolfen are a voluntary race-change; the Wolfen are born human but become Wolfen at some point in their life. The two branches are Wolf (favors Nature) and Coyote (favors Magic).

MMORPG.com: Recently, Everquest 2 has introduced the ability to scale vertical surfaces to the genre. Can we expect Hero’s Quest to follow suit and allow our heroes to scale mighty cliffs in search of adventure?
Melissa Meyer:

We talk a great deal about environments that you can interact with, but perhaps it’s not clear that we’re taking this beyond the ability to pull down rockslides, fell trees and destroy bridges. The technology we’re developing already enables a Hero to scale a giant cliff, or climb up on a short wall. Beyond that, they’ll be able to sit on tree stumps, balance precariously across rope bridges, or leap mighty chasms. These are things that Heroes should be able to do on adventures … and they will be able to do them in Hero’s Journey.

MMORPG.com: All too frequently, MMORPGs allow us to call ourselves rogues, but not act the part. What kind of roguish activities will Hero’s Journey allow us to partake in? Are there plans to allow us to pickpocket townspeople or break in to the manor of a noble to ‘liberate’ his fortune?
Melissa Meyer:

The roguish Hero will not be neglected in Hero’s Journey. In fact, roguish abilities are essential to our design to provide alternate solutions to challenges in Quests. We are developing Quests where, for example, the Hero may choose to kill all the Ukar and break down the door of their stronghold, or he may instead sneak past the Ukar, stealthily scale the wall of their stronghold, and then open the door himself.

While pickpocketing other players is not currently a part of our design; sneaking, subterfuge, breaking and entering, lockpicking, and trap setting/disarming (both on a large/environmental scale and on a small/chest scale) are all things the players will be able to look forward to.

MMORPG.com: It has been said elsewhere that items will decay or suffer damage during the course of their use. Will players be allowed to gain a skill to repair weapons and armor, or will that be an exclusive NPC function?
Melissa Meyer:

Players and NPCs alike will be available to repair weapons and armor. Players are likely to be more skilled at it, and NPCs may be a bit more expensive. However, the NPCs will be available to assist should it be difficult to find player assistance at any time.

Player-to-player services are an essential part of community building in any game, and they’re a great way for players to earn game and renown among other players in the game. For this reason, we’ve provided every class with services that they may choose to offer other players. This is not a requirement for advancement, of course, but it’s a fun way to interact with the rest of the world, should you desire to do so.

Thanks again for taking the time to do this.

As usual, please feel free to let us know what you think of this title in the comment thread.


Jeremy Star