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Q&A With Reclamation Developers

Richard Cox Posted:
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MMORPG.COM: Are there any solid ideas of how Reclamation will be distributed yet? Bought in stores, downloaded from the site? Maybe a combination of the two? Some companies are starting to experiment with peer-to-peer downloading for distribution, is that a possibility for Reclamation?
Mike Fisher: We're certainly looking to distribute Reclamation in as many ways as possible to as many people as possible. If we can find a realistic way to pull off distribution in all three ways mentioned and keep all parties with an interest in the game satisfied, we'll do them all :)
MMORPG.COM: Any idea on what the monthly subscription costs will be? And what type of payment options there will be?
Mike Fisher: There are no firm numbers as yet and probably won't be until closer to release when we see where the market is at. I think it'd be fair to suggest though that our subscription costs will be relatively in line with what most games are charging these days.
MMORPG.COM: The game is said to have FPS combat. Will this be a "twitchy" game?
Mike Fisher: Yes and no. The combat mechanics could certainly be compared to that of first-person shooter games, but there are a lot of other factors that come into play. Advancement is heavily influenced by player-to-player interaction so it's not a situation where someone with great Quake skills can walk in and dominate - they're going to have to play a real character to advance. At the same time, combat itself is definitely very dependent on player actions. It's not a point and click, hit a button and your character will attack kind of game. Much like an FPS game, you're in control of all of your own movements and with that some "twitch" factor is involved.
MMORPG.COM: In my experience the new generation of mmorpg players prefers just to play and not role-play. Are you worried this might drive that market away from Reclamation? Do you care?
Mike Fisher: Gaming preferences are pretty varied. If you ask ten people why they play MMORPGs, some will say for social reasons, some will say they love exploring, others will say because they enjoy status and achievement...we're betting that enough will say they love roleplaying along with our unique gameplay features. We aren't trying to remake EverQuest or Star Wars Galaxies or anything along those lines. We don't need several hundred thousand players to make our game successful. We can't compete on volume the way many standard next generation games do by throwing huge worlds full of abundant amounts of players and tons of canned quests at you. Where we're looking to be successful is really at the ground level by creating tight knit communities with core gameplay that inspires fun and creativity. I think that's where our games become cool really - we're working from a very different background and from very different experiences than any other game company. We aren't trying to redo EverQuest better or Ultima Online better like most everyone else seems to be. We're trying to do roleplaying better by taking gameplay to a new level, instead of taking what's out there and adding a different theme, more items and new areas of combat. As soon as you step into Reclamation you'll be able to tell it's different and we're hoping that people are looking for something new.
MMORPG.COM: How do you plan to bring new players to your world of RP-centric gaming? Reclamation appears to be a niche product, and the success of any mmorpg comes down to number of subscribers; how do you plan to draw subscribers from the other big names?
Mike Fisher: Well, as I've somewhat touched upon the first thing to point out is we don't need hundreds of thousands of players to be successful. A lot of developers seem to be shooting for very high numbers as far as subscribers and their estimates are usually pretty unrealistic. Our level of success is measured by a more realistic number of subscribers. We aren't trying to put anyone out of business by beating them in a subscriber race, we're trying to set ourselves apart and be the best roleplaying option out there. In that category, there really isn't a whole lot of competition among graphical MMORPGs.
MMORPG.COM: Obviously, there will be a need for teachers when Reclamation goes live. How does Lyra plan on ordaining the first teachers in Reclamation?
Jason Kramer: Teachers are characters that have the ability to Train other players in new Arts. We have a plan for this situation, and will reveal it when the time is right. But you can be sure we will be watching for creative role-player that goes out of their way to interact with other characters in interesting ways.
MMORPG.COM: Are there any specific features that you guys would be able to tell us that you might be planning to implement to enhance the Roleplaying experience?
Mike Fisher: Firstly, most servers will require that players remain in character other than the odd private whisper. This ensures that everyone can really get into the feel of their character and the world without being distracted by people talking about computers or football games or whatever the case. Further, our community roleplaying servers will have a high level of GM support staff ready and able to lend a hand in supporting players in their roleplays.

Secondly, we're going to have direct rewards systems in place for good roleplaying. One of those is our personality points system. Personality points are rewarded to players by other players specifically displays of excellent roleplaying. As points are accumulated, they can be turned in for all sorts of purposes in game.

As far as gameplay, it inherently rewards good roleplayers who are fun to play with as well. Character advancement heavily involves player interaction with the vast majority of quests and missions being written by other players. We have Quest boards, House missions boards, Teachers and the art of Bequeath, all of which allows characters to reward each other with experience or new skills for their role-playing activities.
MMORPG.COM: What exactly is meant by player written quests?
Mike Fisher: As hinted at above, there are many ways in which quests will be dynamically written for players by other players.

First, there is the teaching system. Through the teaching system, experience characters who have earned the status of "teacher" will be able to send "student" characters on quests in exchange for the right to learn a new skill. In this way, learning new skills is kept very dynamic as the requirements to acquiring the skill are left up to the teacher and their student. It really provides for a dynamic system where the imagination of players can be really stretched.

Another important means of player-directed questing is the house mission board system. Guilds that have been able to take control of a house will be given access to mission boards where higher ranking members will be able to send their initiates on house-related missions. Upon completion of each mission, initiates will be given an experience reward. Sample missions may include, but are far from limited to; acquiring needed supplies for members, spying on another house for needed information, tracking down enemies and teaching lessons to other members.

Newer characters also have access to the city quest board, where more experienced characters can post simple quests that can completed for more moderate rewards of experience. These boards can definitely be a lot of fun for experienced players looking to setup their own quests and new players who are looking to learn more of what Reclamation is all about.
MMORPG.COM: Exactly how do you plan to get rid of or deal with non-roleplayers in Reclamation?
Mike Fisher: Our first goal would be to ease them into roleplaying by showing them how fun it is. We want them to be roleplayers and will make every attempt to show how fun that can be. We will do our best to help people out and show them roleplaying is fun but we certainly won't let those who diminish the environment by not staying in character and participating properly remain in our roleplaying dedicated worlds. Depending upon interest, we may allow for separate worlds for non-roleplayers to play but right now our heart and soul is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of our roleplaying environment. Reclamation does have many features that we hope will appeal to players who don't normally consider themselves roleplayers. If we can bring them in and show them what roleplaying is all about, all the better.
MMORPG.COM: Is there any economy, tradeskills, loot, etc?
Mike Fisher: There is certainly some natural economy as well as loot, but these are not at the heart of the game. Tradeskills are important but not in the generic way that they are used in most MMORPGs. Any trade you can take on in Reclamation, such as the role of teacher, is one of significant gameplay importance.
MMORPG.COM: How do you intend on making people feel more in-tune with their characters or are you relying on role-playing solely to do this?
Jason Kramer: We offer a creative environment that provides many opportunities for players to fashion a character that they like within the universe we've provided. The activity of the game happens in and through these unique characters in such a way that a player will identify with the interactions of the character they control and the other characters they come in contact with them.
MMORPG.COM: Are you going to allow us to customize the individual stats on each character and modify every strength and weakness? And are there going to be role-play stats such as how much you can drink and skills at arm-wrestling as well as extra more important skills?
Mike Fisher: Customization of individual stats is definitely very important part of Reclamation. It's important to note that there is no class or stat selection of any sort when you create your character. Our goal is to present a system where all characters start out equally and develop naturally over time. That way, players are not forced to make game impacting decisions before they are prepared and everyone has the enjoyment of watching characters learn and grow into the personalities they will become with time. As your character increases in level, you will be presented with options for increasing stats; they are very customizable and totally up to you as a player. As to the last question, unlike what normally may be thought of, everything in Reclamation is a role-playing tool. Players are provided nearly unlimited freedom in role-playing the character they control.
MMORPG.COM: Can you please put clothes on the female avatars this time? Not all of us are EQ fans. A nicer variation would be avatar choices, and then those who want to portray every man's dream girl can do so, while the rest of us can show a tad more dignity.
Mike Fisher: We're definitely interested in allowing for as many variations as we can. As far as the base female character, we've listening to a lot of feedback we've received and feel the models we have now are quite appropriate. When it comes to games, we're learning quickly that women's different tastes and demands for clothing and general attire are as hard to meet as they are in real life :)
MMORPG.COM: Is this game skill-based, level based, a hybrid, or is there no character advancement at all?
Jason Kramer: The game system is role-playing based. Anchored within that base are a hybrid of player skills, character skills, and levels of skills.

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Richard Cox