Recently we were given the opportunity to conduct an interview with Citadel Studios Co-Founders, Derek “Supreem” Brinkmann and Tim “Draconi” Cotten and discuss their upcoming title Shards Online currently featured on Kickstarter.

Citadel Studios was founded by a group of long time Ultima Online Developers including not only Brinkmann and Cotten, but also Bruce “Logrus” Bonnick, and Micheal “Vexx/Pheonix” Moore, as well as Austin Fain who serves as an intern with the team.  Shards Online, their flagship product will contain many elements familiar to individuals who have played titles they have worked on in the past, but will have a fundamental difference which is best summed up by the Studio’s motto, “Play by Your Rules.”  With each copy of the game will come the ability for players to not only play on official servers, but host, maintain, and completely modify a server of their own.


From Left to Right:  Derek “Supreem” Brinkmann, Tim “Draconi” Cotten, Bruce “Logrus” Bonnick, Austin Fain, and Micheal “Vexx/Pheonix” Moore

In the recorded interview below you will find out more about what makes this title unique, and directly below it we’ll have summary of each of the questions, their answers and a link to the full answer in the video.

Question:  We began our interview, with a question about Derek and Tim’s past, specifically about Ultima Online and how it effected their views on how they are developing Shards Online?

Answer: The Depth and adaptability of Ultima Online created an environment where developers had the ability to do almost anything.  From destroying a city to finding creative and unique ways of dealing with troublesome players very little was outside the realm of possibility, and these traits will be carried over to Shards Online.

Question:  How will Shards be Unique as a Sandbox game and as a MMO in today’s market?

Answer:  The customization by not only developers, but players will create a unique experience where dynamic interactions with game world objects will create a living world where actions continue even when players are not online.

Question:  How do you define a Sandbox Game?

Answer: Having the ability to fully interact in the game world with the maximum amount of freedom is given to the player to choose how they progress and interact with the game world.

Question: How do you view the challenges of managing a game economy and what plans do you have in place to help keep Shards Online’s economy under control?

Answer:  Economies are hard, currently planned is a series of meaningful gold sinks being put into place as well as other means to encourage players cycling currency out of the game economy.

Question:  How will rule sets such as PvP/PvE/RP etc. be implemented into Shards Online, and how will the Shard/Cluster(Server) nature of Shards Online effect this?

Answer:  Various rule sets will be implemented, based on the Server rule set which will trickle down to each shard connected to that server.  Shards themselves act in a similar manner to zones in other titles, while a cluster of connected shards make up an entire server.  This is to prevent players from creating a character and developing them on easier shards and then moving to more difficult shards with an unfair advantage in resources and character development.

Question:  How will hosting for community run shards and servers be handled?

Answer:  Citadel’s servers will handle all the character data and communications between shards on a cluster.  Players may host their shards anywhere for development purposes or for limited access, and for a small fee they may be hosted by Citadel itself.

Question:  What will be the features of the Shards Online mobile application?

Answer:  NPC Hirelings will be a big part of Shards Online. One of the key goals is to have the mobile app allow players to manage and direct their NPC hirelings from anywhere at anytime.

Question:  How will housing be handled in Shards Online?

Answer:  Houses will begin with players purchasing blueprints.  After acquiring a blueprint they will have to gather the resources and either use hirelings or friends and guild-mates to construct the house.

Question:  Will Shards make Thieves with the ability to do more than acquire a back-stab bonus?

Answer:  Absolutely, they will have the ability to steal from other players, but there will be consequences for their actions if caught.

Question:  What type of limitations will community admins have on their own shards?

Answer:  Under the default rules player admins, called Gods on the shard, will have nearly unlimited power.  Various rule sets will limit their abilities, and varying degrees of access can be granted for individual shards.

Question:  Why LUA as a scripting language for Shards Online?

Answer:  LUA is a powerful yet forgiving language that should be easy for community developers to learn and adapt to their own uses.

Everyone interested in further investigating Shards Online should check out their Kickstarter page and get involved with helping Shards Online expand it’s stretch goals.  Among those stretch goals are additional emote animations, fishing and cooking, perma-death rules, and a story editor toolkit.  If you have already backed or do back, you will also be eligible to give additional funding for add-on items which include extra alpha keys, a T-shirt, a book containing concept art, or a cloth map signed by the studio founders.

You can also browse their official site where you can find links to additional game play screenshots, and video from recent pre-alpha play tests, as well as developer blogs, and behind the scenes looks at how players will interact with Shards Online.

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