2008 is here and the Fallen Earth team is back into the thick of it! Moonshadow delivered the development progress update, a set of answers for the community's much asked questions, including the Beta announcement process and more:
I could not make all the info fit in the subject line! Though I guess all I had to write was the part about how beta would be announced huh?
Question of the Week: 01-03-08
Happy New Year! Sorry for the Question of the Week running a bit late; getting back in the swing of work has taken a bit longer than expected. After a few days off we're all back in the thick of things and working hard on Kaibab Forest. The sound guys are working on music for Northfields while the art staff is ahead in the Grainway laying out towns and encounter areas. This week we're working on Monkeytown, Fender Gate, Waste Farm, Brekshire, and Banker's Hole.
1. Is there a skill for running faster or tricks like a roll forward or to the side?
The Athletics skill has been something of the forgotten middle child of our skills, since it doesn't directly help you kill or heal people. It allows you the use of abilities that increase your movement and other physical attributes. Athletics is a valuable skill for just about anyone because running faster is always useful, but it's especially useful for Melee characters. A few weeks ago we were testing PvP functionality. The other content folks found out just how useful Athletics is, thanks to my dual-wielding Melee/Athletics/Armor Use character. Sure, they could shoot me down if I came right at them, but with some zig-zagging and cover, I was fast enough to run down most characters before I got killed.
Speaking of which, if you would find it interesting, we could post a PvP play-by-play when we test a town to tell you about the builds we use and how they work.
2. Will there be some sort of SWG-esque storyteller feature?
We've talked about doing player created missions, but the complexity of doing so is massive and it certainly won't be something available for release. We'd certainly like to do something like that, but it is a huge undertaking with everything else we have on our plate.
3. How will you guys tell us about beta? Will we get told in advance when it begins, or will we log on one day and be surprised that there is a big "Hurry up and download now!" button on the front page?
Beta is going to be a slow, creeping process. First we bring in a few people, then a few more, and then a few more, until we have all the testers we want. Open Beta will be more of a "Hey everyone, Beta!" but there are a lot of stages before then. For the earlier stages of Beta we'll primarily contact folks through email based on beta applications through the site and our personal interactions with them. For example, Andreeon and DarkTreader I have met personally, haven't felt an overwhelming urge to punch in the face, and they've done a lot to support the game, so they'll likely get in the early stages of the Beta assuming they don't prove themselves unworthy by then. (Note: the first person who posts "Well I've done a lot too," gets nothing. NOTHING.)
In the earlier stages of Beta everything is very quiet, with NDA's all around. The early stages are not "come try this fully functional game;" it's more "come try this mostly functioning vaguely game-like thing." Early stages of Beta are not always fun.
4. Will the NPCs in instances be "elite" and much harder than regular mobs?
No. We do have tougher mobs in some areas, but they are simply higher level. Instead of having elite mobs, we have more creatures in the encounter. We have very few "everyone dogpile on one creature" encounters, and those are only with big mutant critters. If you're fighting humanoids, they're always scaled to a level of toughness attainable by a similarly leveled PC. You'll never run into a humanoid in the game that has attribute or skills you cannot match, though they may have some special attacks due to mutations that you can't get, but those are rare.
5. [i]Are there any possibilities to run the game as a role player also? to have fun without focusing on fights, more on support skills?
Yes, it is easily possible to play the game as a non-combatant and advance. Experience points can be earned by crafting, exploration, and our large number of non-combat missions in addition to defeating enemies and combat missions. We have a huge number of missions that can be solved without violence, so players will have plenty to do if they don't feel like getting in a scrape. We also have a number of support skills and mutation paths, such as Group Tactics, First Aid, Nanomanipulation, and Empathic Healing, that allow players to fill support roles from a number of angles.