Dungeon Crawler Network Q&A

Dungeon Crawler Network Q&A with Steven
May 4, 2017

One of the questions that a lot of people had was…you mentioned that nodes can be destroyed but the effort needs to be equal to the amount of effort to build up one of these metropolis….
Absolutely, yeah 100%. We don’t want the mechanic that allows for meaningful conflict to catalyze change in the world to be something that's lightly undertaken. If you're going to institute change for a system that involves as much as the node system involves, then you're going to have to commit as much resources as it took to create that node. What this means is you're going to see…at the metropolis stage, you're going to see a battle on the server that's representative of potentially months’ worth of work and it's going to be something that is epic. It’s server defining that's something that we wanted players to have the opportunity to do. What rises can fall but it can also successfully defend itself.

Like how are you seeing the siege mechanics taking place? Will people need to quest in order to earn experience or gather or?

Let me preface everything obviously we say is this is pre alpha discussion, and the reason for alphas and betas is to test these systems, these mechanics. So you know everything I'm going to tell you is subject to that condition. Currently, the way that it is working is as you are a citizen of a node and you're developing that city and advancing the mechanics of that city, there are certain buildings that are available, certain quest lines that are available, there are systems in place to allow you to dedicate resources, time, commitment, questing. Guilds have a role to play, individual players have a role to play in preparing for certain events, and one of those events as you said is a potential siege against another node. So there's a lot of different systems that that build into that culmination of a fight against another node’s citizens. So, yes, a short answer is there's a lot of systems in place that players will go through who are participating and preparing for that siege.

It's something that kind of I don't want to say bothers me but when I see some of these more PvP-oriented players coming in going, “This game is going to be like Dark Age of Camelot” and I’m like those things changed hands every minute and this is going to take forever.

No, no, no, no, this is something…so the concept of PVP in our game galls under a pillar that I refer to as meaningful conflict. And something loses meaning if it is so whimsical, if you're capable of changing a server with the flick of a wrist, that’s something that's not meaningful to people. That’s something that's overly repetitive, it's going to be redundant and not have any actual impact on people in this game. I wanted this type of system to reflect a lot of hard work, so it needs to have a payoff mechanic. There needs to be a time sink reward, delayed satisfaction, because in my opinion that couples well with our philosophy of risk versus reward. You're risking that time, you're risking that that that development and you know without that risk the reward is just not that sweet absolutely.

If I can lose a keep or a castle or a town in a day…I wake up and it's gone, I'm not going to want to invest in this kind of thing.
Absolutely. So to just explain a little bit further on this mechanic: you know different stages of nodes have different declaration periods. So when an individual will complete the necessary prerequisites towards initiating that declaration, they'll go to lay the declaration, a period of time will exist between that declaration and the actual siege. And that period of time is dependent on the advancement of the note. If you are a stage 3 village node, that time period may be one or two days you'll have a one or two day notification - a server wide notification that a siege has been imitated against this node. The citizens have time to prep, they have time to call for allies, and they have time to allocate node funds towards enhancing the defenses of that of that node and prepare for this assault. If it's a metropolis, that time period maybe a week before the siege actually takes place.
So you have this anticipation if you are either an attacker or a citizen and I want people to feel that type of anticipation and it's going to be that week period of time. Now, when the siege is complete, if the defenders were successful, there will be a cooldown period between when a siege can be initiated again, and that cooldown period will likely equal around ten times the declaration time. So a metropolis level node is really only going to be able to experience one siege per eight weeks.

You mentioned that city leadership would have control over taxes in a node zone of influence or ZOI. Have you guys envisioned any kind of controls in place that would prevent…?
Absolutely. Yeah, it’s not like you're an elected official and you can just embezzle from the council; “I’ve taken all the money and am leaving.” Mechanics are in place for nodes to excise taxes on freeholds, on services within the node, and even to collect taxes from services and freeholds that exists within sub nodes that are under the region. If you have a metropolis, that metropolis within its ZOI is going to have villages and towns and potentially cities and they're going to have taxes as well and it's going to flow to the government of the metropolis and so on down the down the stage tree. But, these taxes get held in a node fund and in a city fund that can only then be allocated to certain mechanics within the city.
For example if you want to dedicate defense spending, you can allocate those funds towards guards, towards barracks, towards city walls and defenses. If you wanted to build up your marketplace and increase the funding towards the stock options of the city or trade routes that need to be developed between other nodes. As a city official, you’ve been elected…you have domain over those allocations. You actually cannot take the funds for yourself.

I was worried about what I heard. Is this just going into one giant bank that at the end of my term I'm like, “Well, I'm getting elected and then I’m out of here so I'm taking everything and run?
You should have more faith in us from a design aspect. I know that the industry has led you to believe otherwise but again I am NOT an industry background I'm a gamer so I have the same thought you would have and I've made sure to account for that.

Can you tell us a little bit more about what kind of day-to-day content within a node will players have access to help the node’s overall effort?
Well that's a good question. This is an MMORPG obviously and there's a lot of things that go into an MMORPG. There’s character advancement, there's community advancement, there's tasks, there's events; you know there's narrative play and as nodes advance …anything you can think of in regards to adventuring and class development, there is a religious class you can advance, there's an artisan class that you can advance, there's resources that you need to be able to collect, there's freeholds and housing that you need to be able to develop, there's processing plants for industry, there's trade between nodes, there's monsters to kill, there's storylines to explore, there's narratives that relate to you and the overarching world, there's dungeons and raids, there's…I mean there's a whole bunch of stuff that falls into what makes an MMORPG great that's going to be in this world.

Is there a chance for an island node and with that, will these nodes be themed around zones, races, people that show up…will players have a choice either via vote or a GUI system determine the aesthetic of their city or the types of quests/tasks that they can do?
First part of that…will there be nodes on islands? There are islands that exist in the game and nodes cover the entirety of the map, so it is fully possible for a node to appear on an island given that there is enough activity there from the player base to warrant that no development. In regards to the flavor of the architecture and a node the way the node system works is…if you’re a character who's collecting experience, you have markers that denote your race. When you give experience to the node by just doing your normal activities, that experience is tagged with your racial marker, and when the node develops it will represent in its architecture what the predominant racial marker was in contribution to its development. So to answer your question short yes, nodes will reflect the predominant race in its development.

How will the type of node be determined? Will these be predetermined by the node or will they be determine later as the node progresses based on the players and what they're deciding to do?
As it stands now, types are predetermined based on certain location factors. As I said, nodes exist all throughout the world and the location of said node will determine its type. But this type will be will be noticeable. It will be seen at the first stage of development when a node propagates real-time assets into the world. Basically these NPCs, these merchants that come into an area, they offer services and stores or whatever the deal may be. You will see the flavor of the node from those merchants. If it’s a military node, you’ll see military people, if it’s an economic node you’ll see merchants, scientific nodes will have scholars, divine nodes will have priests and clerics. Players will have a very firm understanding of which node is which type in order to know how they want to progress.

Can we swap main class?
I don’t have an answer for that one yet. That's still a discussion that we're we are looking into so I know that there’s going to be versatility on the players. As for changing subclasses, I don’t kow if that’s going to be a function available for the primary class. It’s very likely that it will through potentially you know some kind of quest system that allows you to basically subclass your primary class and get a different subclass on the on the main character.

When you’re adding a secondary class, what benefit will you see by using your primary as your secondary (e.g. mage/mage)?
You're basically doubling down on your role, you're doubling down on what your archetype represents, so you’re going to experience augments that will enhance a primary skill’s purpose and it really just lets you specialize in your build. The flavor that a secondary class offers is to customize your primary class’ archetype in a way you want it to perform. If you’re going with the same archtype class, you’re just doubling down on your role.

Mechanic-wise, will different classes have a different feel and playstyle or aimed in a very niche role? Like a rogue that picks traps and does some CC…will classes be more specific in their roles and then you can augment?
I think we are doing that. I think that that it may not be as niche as you said, but it there will be a degree of focus within a certain role and your customization of the character and choice and skills and augments will play within that degree. But yes, I think that’s a good description of how our classes will play and in that role.

Being more of a hybrid combat system between tab and action, how will classes function differently? Such as tab-target working well for a mage and melee, but how will this hybrid system work between melee and range?
Our hybrid system uses elements of tab targeting and of positioning and movement. It also includes keystroke time frames as well as dodge and move mechanics. It’s kind of difficult to explain. I wanted to reach an appropriate between skill oriented combat as well as functionality of targeting with certain abilities and using strategy. Combat is skill and strategy and sometimes when you rely too heavily on action, you lose strategy.

Being a hybrid system with hit boxes, are dodges more a cooldown, an invincibility frame? When you hit dodge, there might be a character animation, but you’re just invincible? Like in Guild Wars 2?
That’s a good question. My lead designer is an expert in our blueprints would have a good answer for that, but I know that our dodge and movement mechanics are going to include templated skills in positioning and if you’re not under that template as it progresses then you’re not going to be hit. Dodge will allow your character to move from that template.

We know the game uses a standard leveling system 1-50. What other kind of progression will there be? Do skills receive experience? Do skills level up? Are there alternate advancement in the future? Horizontal progression?
There is. Our game breaks down from a progression standpoint into your adventuring class, your artisan class, and then there are different components in regards to what religion you focus on, how your race advances, what your guild may progress, as what you may have individual achievements as a solo player for your story narrative and all of those can offer different augment abilities and they're not all vertical; some are horizontal. And there are racial structures in place. There’s a hierarchy. In the church, there’s a lot of different options based on the religion you’ve chosen that allow you to augment that primary archetype you’ve chosen based and they reflect different progression types, not just your secondary class.

For a PVP-focused player, what kind of PVP progression is there going to be? Will there be ranks to advance through – the more you PVP, or is it more karma based like Ultima Online?
There’s a bunch of types of PVP in the game: castle sieges, node sieges, caravans, guild wars, battlegrounds, arenas, ranking and ladders associated with our arena system. As players progress in the arena system, they’re going to accumulate a sort of legacy. These legacy points relate to how you can progress with in-game PVP items that might be accessible with PVP related potion and advancements. It’s just stuff that relates to the arena system and might expand outside also into battlegrounds. We’ll see.

What PVE progression will be available for players? Dungeons, raids? Group limit?
We’re thinking that the group limit’s going to be 8 to reflect the 8 archetypes. We’re thinking raid size is around 40. We’re looking at dungeons that are soloable or even can be applicable to the group, raid dungeons, epic bosses… For me, there’s a ying and yang in MMORPGs between PVP and PVE. If one is stronger than the other, then the game suffers. Our PVE is going to be our bread and butter of what makes that PVP meaningful. We’re gonna build the heck outta these raids and dungeons and it’s gonna be so much content there that’s available that’s chosen by the players and how they develop the world.

Is there PVP and PVE gear?
No. There’s only one type of gear. Gear is is epic just in and of itself it will not be epic PvP or PvE gear. It’s just going to be you know what gear you have.

What about pets and looting? Do they pick things up for your or are self-looting?
We were talking about that a few months ago about having pets that pick things up. Picking stuff up can be a bit monotonous and you know, obviously that's a functionality that a lot of players like and it's something we're considering right now.

The epic dragon from your node video you said would probably be a world boss, how do you guys plan to manage the zerg mentality where people rush in and negate all the mechanics?
For those raids, they should involve very specific mechanics that are problem-solving mechanics for raids to overcome. I mean that's half the fun is a challenge. Not a challenge that you can just zerg and complete because that's not a challenge, that's just getting the people together. The raid should have specific mechanics that players will have ot learn and test in order to complete.

What are the main sources of experience? Quests? Dungeons? Grinding? Will there be a group aspect that encourages you to group with other players?
I think community being such a central pole right you know we want to incentivize players to group. I think that the game is being built for that group perspective while at the same time keeping in mind solo players. But I think the short answer to that would be tentatively, yes.

How do you intend to structure the gear economy so that both PVE dropped and crafted gear remain relevant?
Our gear is a blend between boss gear and crafting gear. I think that the mechanic we’re moving towards with the Artisan Class and crafting is that you can deconstruct this boss gear and potentially craft it as a Master Crafter. Obviously there’s a give and take there, using what you've achieved to gather an ability, to prefer to produce more of those things, but I think there needs to be a comfortable blend between what you can achieve as a server with these epic bosses and then also rewarding people who master their craft in class with the ability to produce top-tier gear.

Is the crafting class separate from your main class or is it something you dedicate to?
The Artisan Class falls into three categories. You can progress as a gatherer, a processor, or a crafter/item creator. The comfortable aspect between those three kinda resembles the trinity class system, but for crafters. There's an inner dependency between the roles of a gatherer processor and an item creator that creates reliance on all three categories of the artisan class.

Will player to player trading be available to help different artisan classes?
Yes player trading exists. 100% of the economy is dependent on what Jonathan can do over in region 1 and how Steven and region 2 can benefit from Jonathan's time.

Will resource gathering be a manual aspect (players hit a node) or automated generation?
Right now, we have discussion about harvesters and if you’re a citizen of a node that has a ZOI and in that ZOI is some vein of mithril or iron or a forest or whatever, if you own a freehold, you have the ability to place down a harvester for those things which will give you a return over time until that vein is depleted. There will be limited spots and veins pop up around the region randomly. And then there’s also a manual thing as well if you come across something that’s either one time harvest and it’s not even a vein and then also harvest it manually by going to that vein yourself. We wanted to add bonuses to the gathering class that reflect your citizenship of an area as well.

Will crafting be able to take an epic dragon boss drop and holy sandals and take it to a crafter to craft or augment current gear to make it more powerful (by players and not NPCs)?
Yes, there’s going to be functionality for that.

Will there be specializations for the three Artisan Classes? I’m the best lumberjack, miner, swordsmith?
Yes, you can double down on your focus by progressing some of those professions.

When you have that epic piece of crafted or dropped gear, will items be bound?
We’re leaning heavily towards a very unbound system in the game.

Will gear degrade and break?
Yes. And not the kind of meaningless degradation in other MMOs. If you have a system primarily of unbound gear, you need a sink to counterbalance the creation aspect of items. We’re going to see gear degredation and potentially even breakage that would then require a portion of the materials and a crafter capable of crafting that item in order to repair it.

What kind of extensive lore, emotes, and world-building is in game to support roleplaying?
Before I got a team to help build this, lore was in my mind like…how, what happened to this world, where did its people go, what brought them back? Story is very important to immersion and I’ve been very careful not to reveal much about the lore and the story. I know people are hungry for it because I love lore. Sometimes I feel if you reveal that aspect of the game, it’s like watching a trailer for a move that tells you the entire move upfront. “Here’s the end of the movie” so don’t bother watching. I want players to experience this storyline, this lore, and I'll elaborate a little bit more on the setting as time develops. It will become a franchise. It is expanding beyond an MMORPG.

Given there’s a karma system in the game, attacking a non-combatant player not in a PVP arena, you’re a baddie. Will this extend into a stealing system?
Well, are you talking about killing a player or walk up next to you and take something? There is no theft mechanic to steal from players. Our flagging mechanic revolves around death penalties in general. While you cannot delevel from dying, you can accrue negative experience and that debt reflects certain combat effectiveness in both PVP and PVE: lower health and mana, lower stats, less gear proficiency. The more you accrue, the worse your performance. Through death, you recover that negative experience. Adventure, quest…to recover that xp. If you die as a non-combatant, you experience a normal death penalty. If you die as a combatant, a person who's involved in PvP, you will experience less of a penalty. If you die as a corrupted player, a person who has murdered a noncombatant - someone that was not participating in PvP with you, then you're going to experience three or four times the death penalties. We want to obviously give players the opportunity to exercise some agency in the open world, but at the same time there has to be a risk versus reward and if you're going to go around murdering someone you're going to be become completely ineffective over time if you just continue to do it. Furthermore, if you are a corrupt player and you are killing other players, people who track you down that have bounty hunter status (a toggleable skill that will have a cooldown associated with it so you can’t just go back and forth to try to find them so you’re not susceptible to attacks on them), those bounty hunters can track down these murderers and kill them and in addition to the death penalty while corrupt, you have the ability to drop your actual gear. Again, there’s risk versus reward. We want to deter people from making the game a gankbox. It’s not going to be a murderbox just from the stringent deterrent of our corruption and flagging system. We want players to have meaningful conflict.

You’re not doing a multi-guild option, but are guilds attached to the character or the account?
Just on your character you joined with. If you have alts, those alts could join another guild. If you’re having an open world non-faction based game, intrigue, espionage is very important role. Intelligence gathering. That’s an aspect that maybe us who are a part of a guild may not enjoy, but it’s a legitimate aspect of the game and people who create alt characters could join you inconspicuously on an enemy guild and gather intelligence. I wouldn’t restrict your guild association with your account because each character are their own person.

Will there be guild wars?
Yes. You can wage war and it won’t be 30 minutes or an hour. They’ll be as long as it takes to complete the guild war (possibly days) objectives. There are mechanics for surrendering and winning as well.

Can you go into more depth on guilds, guild halls, everything related to guilds?
I’ve run a large guild for 14 years and I wanted to make sure that the aspect of guild play in AoC is very in-depth including leveling, skills, and achievements. Guilds can have their Guildhalls and their functionality, castle systems. There’s going to be a lot of things you can do as a guild, not to say that a player who doesn’t want to be part of a guild can’t have a lot of things to do as well, it’s just going to be specifically in regards to guilds.

Cash shop cosmetics are recolors of existing items. Is this true? Will there be a balance between what’s in cash shop and what you can gain in-game?
There are cosmetics that are achievable in the game and they will be on par with cosmetics that are achievable through the cash shop. We’re going a very hard no pay2win stance on the game and that means that our cash shop is going to reflect cosmetic items. Will we gut the game’s cosmetics to incentivize the cash shop? No. I’m against that. There’s going to be a great degree of customization and cosmetics that are going to be available in the game and some unique ones that are also available in the cash shop. The cash ship items may be limited, holiday specific, that kind of thing. Not to say that there’s not that in the game.

How many characters will a person be able to have per server/account?
I don’t really know the answer to that right now. It won’t be an obscene small amount. It will be a comfortable amount because we are a subscription model game.

Why would a guild want to complete for a castle?
Castles exert control to a degree over the economies of nodes under its influence. As it stands now, there are five castles in the game and those castles have a domain that they control to a degree. Owning a castle, the guild may be able to allocate some of those taxes for increased defense spending in nodes, separate of the nodes taxation policies and coffers and they may activate certain events and abilities that can progress citizens of certain nodes. They may unlock certain types of buildings. Castles have dedicated nodes around the them that exists outside of the nodes system that are buildable to a certain stage by the guild that owns the castle and the guilds that are in an alliance with that castle there's a lot of different mechanics that that relate to our castle system.

What would happen to a siege if they back out of a commitment without really attacking?
They would lose all of the time and effort they spent in attacking, but I’m not sure if that’s a reference to castles or a reference to nodes. But if it’s in reference to nodes, what stops the node to initiate their own siege to go on the cooldown timer? If you’re spending that amount of effort and time, the siege becomes an open siege for anyone who's not a citizen or a registered ally or defender for the node, so you would be doing the work of the attacker just to give them an open door and say come on in and try your best. It’s such a degree of effort involved with sieging either castles or nodes that I don't see that being an issue.

With the weight system, do you store your money in a bank or node? Do you lose your money if the node is destroyed?
Weight doesn’t relate to currency. It relates to materials, goods, gatherables, items, that kind of thing. Not currency.

Integrated Discord for the game? Proximity voice chat?
It’s one of my early systems that I wanted to ensure was included in AoC. A VOIP relates to parties and raiding as well as integrated into the guild system. We’re working with Discord to achieve that and the codex should be good. We have achieved that in the industry now. You can mute people or choose not to participate in that. There will be abilities in raids for commanders to appoint talkers and stuff like that. I want to have a good functionality in the UI for players to really capitalize on these systems.

Will Intrepid support APIs for community web tools or even in-game UI enhancements?
I think on the web tools question the answer to that is tentatively yes. In regards to the to the in-game systems, I don’t have an answer at this time.

Do you have details about the larger pledge packages in the Kickstarter?
Phoenix Initiative and monthly Q&As? The monthly Q&A is an interaction between those pledges and get their topics discussed and interact with us as the devs. The Phoenix initiative is a very unique system that's going to involve certain convenience - not pay2win at all in any way shape or form - but certain convenience aspects and elite status in the game that you'll be able to access an instance at the city hall of any node and be with other Phoenix initiative people. It’s a private area that's going to include some pretty cool cosmetic access, like specific cosmetic trees that you could achieve potentially as being a part of that Phoenix initiative based on your advancement in the game, and then what type of resources you can come across, but they'll have and that will always get updated and so it's a pretty cool I think system that that makes your player kind of stand out.

How will name reservation work?
It’s going to go from the top down. The different pledge packages above the name reservations will have first dibs and cascade all the way down to the entry for a name reservation.

Transcript Source: Organic's Notes Google Docs


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