Friday, March 1, 2013

Community Questions - Part 1

We're not exactly how we've managed it - well, actually, I guess we do - we started posting stuff and talking to people, and you kept telling people about what we were trying to do, joined in the conversations, sent us stuff, told people about us and generally didn't think we were too terrible - and somehow, this week, we hit 1,000 Facebook friends.

Actually, we sort of blasted through it, like a fire/fire blaster taking on Skulls.

We were pretty much astounded when we hit 500 Facebook friends and even more amazed when the numbers kept going. But somehow it never, ever really occurred to us that 1,000 people would support what we're trying to achieve here.

When we hit the 950-ish mark, we tentatively started planning what we'd do to celebrate. I've promised you great things, and you'll have them. Gavin Romeo Wilkins, one of our community members suggested that
one of the things we could do would be to have our team answer questions from our Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

The questions came flooding in, and we'll be answering ALL of the ones we received. Because we managed to hit 1,000 people a little quicker than we'd expected, and because you sent in so many, we'll be answering them in stages, so if you don't see your question here, it'll be up soon, promise.

By coincidence, we also hit 400 Twitter followers on the same day. It's just incredible to think that 1,400 people actually like us. When you're working voluntarily, you can't know what it means to have that amount of people behind you cheering you on. It means everything to us.

Anyway. Before I get all misty-eyed again, here's the first lot of answers to your questions - keep your eyes peeled this week, because we've got something VERY cool to show you.

-Lauren 'Rae' O'Neill
Press and PR Lead, and general chatty chick on Facebook/Twitter

The Phoenix Project

1. Will you be having any easter eggs or nods to City of Heroes ingame? And if so, care to share one with us as a teaser?

Jim Bishop, Creative Director: "Absolutely on the 'Easter eggs'. We think they add a nice game within a game development. As far as nods to CoH, without going into IP considerations, we do have some homages in some of the outlay of the game both in certain areas that might feel familiar and a few story nods."

Kaylan Lyndell-Lees, Lore Lead: "We have several nods to the Paragon Studios developers planned for the game. For example, Titan City's premier baseball field is named Lawrence Field. It was built in 1910, financed by a wealthy baseball aficionado, as one of the largest baseball stadiums of the day. Some of you might remember HitStreak, AKA Jesse Lawrence, being a huge baseball fan and he's given us permission to use his name for it. I shan't spoil the Easter eggs for you - it's far more fun to hunt for them - but we will definitely have some. Not all of them will be City of Heroes related."

2. Any teaser info on system/builds/AT powers? Or it still being planned?

Nathaniel Downes, Technical Director: "The AT system is a two tier system. The first tier is Classification, or Role. This is based on your primary power category. The second tier is Specialization, based on your secondary power category. Every Role has three specializations in our current plan. Specific powers are still being mapped out, but the final goal is for 6 Classifications, each with three Specializations."

3. Will the game have aliens like the Rikti?

Cameron Johnson, Studio Director: "Interestingly, the very first model that was imported into a client engine was a rigid 3D mannequin of an alien. It was just a test of our importing capabilities, but it was still 'the first.'"

Kaylan Lyndell-Lees, Lore Lead: Well, we aren't going to have mutated telepathic humans from an alternate dimension invading the world, but we will certainly have aliens! There are several off-world races already written, and players will have the opportunity to fight them, bargain with them, or even ally with them.

4. Coh had hero 1 and statesman as main heros Who is the main heros in this game?'

Kaylan Lyndell-Lees, Lore Lead: "One of our more recognizable heroes is American Star, the second to bear the name. She took up her mentor's mantle after he was killed protecting the city from a massive hurricane summoned by the supervillain Morpheus Rex. She's more of an exemplar hero than a main hero, featuring as part of the story without being the leading lady. Of course, we haven't forgotten the villains - While Morpheus Rex is safely confined in prison, the cunning, evil, and possibly immortal Antares leads a coalition of villainy known as XII. This is a loose coalition of twelve different organizations...and that's all I'm going to tell you about them right now. :) You'll see many heroes and villains in similar roles, characters who are supporting cast for the players but not the "Main Character" of the bulk of our stories."

5. I’m gonna try to ask one to make you think hard: What is going to make this game different than the WoW/SWTOR/GW/LoL/etc. games out there – why should people drop those games and come to this game, or start this game if it’s their first MMO?'

Jim Bishop, Creative Director: "Wow. That is a tough question for anyone. I guess I'd have to approach this from two directions. First, and most important, we want the player's choices to truly drive the game, the game should always align to the vision of the player as much as we can provide. To do that, we need to avoid the model of creating characters and powers and items that are must have models that can't be easily acquired, and I do mean easily, by anyone. To that effect we'd like to see game system where in the components that make your hero or villain better than the next guy are entirely based on what you think is important in your build.

"Second, in that thinking, we need to avoid being cast as a game that is simply WoW in spandex or carrying a light saber. The word 'gear' becomes this scary word where most MMOs use dedicated constructs/items crafted or not that modify states based on body locations. In those games they become redundant as you level far too quickly, expensive, and ultimately become too singularly the focus of the game. This game is about you!

"To undo that Gordian knot, we envision a game that like CoH, is power based with slots available to beef up a power in the way a player would dedicate. But to avoid the pitfalls of 'must-have gear', we have to implement a system where what you make has lasting value from the get go and has a value thereafter to anyone in any form.

"We cannot give you specifics at this time, but suffice to say that we would avoid *devaluing* anything that a player has invested in and give the player utility to deconstruct and modify on those investments and even sell off pieces that no longer apply, rather than the usual MMO way of destroying something outdated if it becomes 'bound'. CoH toward the end did have enhancement tools where you could lift the enhancement, so the question becomes how to make that most beneficial?

"So, why should people choose this game? Because it is being built for you. And because sometimes a cape is just plain cool."

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