WarCry: After playing the new game for a bit and looking around, I noticed the commodities and equipment market were updated as well. Do you plan for this to be a player-driven economy?
Hermann: My preference would be that during the early part of the game, you would get most of your stuff from the store or through mission rewards, but very quickly that should fall off and most of your things should come from other people or even yourself making them. To me the player economy is user generated content in itself, and you can't compete with that. It's all about dependencies. I love mining in games, no matter the game I always find myself mining. In MMO's I already take the resource gathering route and I want mining to be like an Easter egg hunt where you're flying through asteroid fields looking for stuff. You collect it and sell it to somebody else who turns it into a commodity or component of some kind, and in turn someone else buys that and creates a piece of equipment. Creating those dependencies intentionally gives games a lot of length and depth.
It also helps fight inflation, which is something you can't get away from in MMO's. The more people play, the more money goes into the economy and the cheaper things get and without players being able to set prices, you would be battling that forever. I really want to put as much of that in the hands of the players as possible.
WarCry: How about allowing players to generate missions?
Hermann: It's a bit tricky, because how do you prevent it from being exploited? I'll give you a specific example that we may or may not implement but I'll go ahead and say it anyway. We want to have deliveries, for example, you may be a manufacturer who makes guns. In order to make guns you need a great deal of resources, but you don't want to go and get them. You could find that there are 400 units on one station, 500 on another and you buy them. That might generate a delivery mission for another player who could be a hauler and then would pick up those packages and bring them to you. You could say how much you're willing to pay but you wouldn't set XP reward. To protect from griefing where a person could accept and just never bring it to you, a deposit may be required or after a certain time the mission would cancel and the items would be available again.
WarCry: The game seemed to have a bit of an opening cinematic. Is there a story arc for your character that continues as you advance?
Hermann: The first few missions are a story, but we're going to have to start attaching pieces to it. I have a few ideas on how to do that and will see how they test. So the answer is yes, and we want to inject it at key points. Think of something like Grand Theft Auto, where there is an over-aching story but you can choose to not deal with it and run around and do your own thing. A lot of ours will involve Amananth and Hyperial; they've always been mysterious so they are great for attaching our story arc.
WarCry: How do you plan on mixing PvP and PvE play styles?
Hermann: There are two different strategies we have for that. My view is that the PvP/PvE debate is religious and you can never win it. People who are hardcore PvP will never like PvE and vice versa. What's important is that you don't punish one group or the other and you reward both types of play. We can separate space into PvP and PvE areas and build a progression path at some point and support both roles, possibly with a battleground type system. I think a large part of players do both. I like to do both, but I like to control which one I'm doing. We are going to treat both types of play very seriously.
I want to thank Codemasters for having me across the pond to attend Connect 08 and see Jumpgate and I also want to thank the Hermann and the rest of the NetDevil team for taking time to show me the game and talk freely about what they want to do with it.