... Posted by Kaimuki in the Gen Disc board on the SotA site, copying here: 4-10-2013 Developer Hangouts - The developers plan to host Hangout chats on a weekly basis. - There will be private developer chats with the fans beginning around the end of April or May. - Portalarium has already hired new people due to the Kickstarter funds. Aspirational Elements in SotA - Aspirational elements – “things that players look forward to”. Examples: achievements, rewards. - Aspirational items will be used as a way for players to differentiate themselves. Players pursuing the same class archetype path should be able to uniquely differentiate themselves. These are also important for role-playing. - Achievements and related rewards are important aspirational elements included in the game. - Aspirational elements and rewards will not be sellable or tradable. - Example of achievement rewards: switchable player titles, cloaks, housing decorations, cosmetic wearable items. - In-game cinematics can be extended or have elements added to it when a player accomplish certain achievement levels. - Achievements most likely cannot be lost once they are received. - There will be achievements that are not initially revealed and have to be discovered by the player. - Almost sure there will not be power related achievement rewards. Achievement rewards will be mostly cosmetic. - A potential achievement award could be shortcut access to an area or event once the player has already completed it a number of times. Statistics Tracking - There will be a statistic tracking system in the game which will keep track of things such as: trolls killed, donations to the guild, PvP kills, event completions. - The statistics will be used as one way of getting achievements and rewards. - There will be online leaderboards for certain statistics. - The game may track the number of people that visit your house or use your vendor and award related achievements. - Potential guild-specific achievements such as who donates the most to the guild bank. - Rewards that require grinding will be avoided. Crafting - There will be crafting achievements. - There may be an option to “refine” blacksmithing crafted items. Refining will have a chance to improve the item but also a chance to break it. Refining can be done multiple times on an item unless it breaks. - Developers will try to provide enough tools that players can host their own crafting competitions. - The crafting player’s name (and potentially other information on the player) will be permanently included on crafted items. Story - The story will be kept mostly secret throughout the entire development process. This includes story sensitive art assets. - Some of the single-player story elements will be uniquely specific to your character. - Some puzzles will be unique to your game. The solution will not be able to simply be “looked up online”. - NPCs will treat you differently based on if your character is “good” or “bad”. Miscellaneous - Items that are out of place in the design of the game will not be added. (Sunglasses, cars, etc.) - The dual scale map allows the developers to more easily create dynamic world events. - No decision has been made on how to handle in-game GM interaction. - There have been discussions on allowing player elected positions such as town mayors. This feature will not be in Episode 1 but is a potential feature for the future. - Books or ballot box type items may be added that can be left outside of a player’s house. They would allow other players to stop by and leave messages or ballots. - Discussions have taken place about offering a “karma” system to reward helpful or good behavior by players when interacting with other players. 4-11-2013 Crowd Funding - Stretch goals will be re-tuned this coming Monday. - Over $100k has been raised since the close of Kickstarter. - The SotA online store may go live before Monday. - Richard Garriott wants to sell SotA shot glasses! - Player names will be unique. Kickstarter pledgers will be able to reserve their names. - Denis Loubet has already started work on the game’s cover art. In addition to the physical box art it will be included as an in-game item that can be hung in your house. There will potential merchandise with the art work sold such as t-shirts. - Kickstarter rewards will never be lost when the game is data wiped during alpha/beta testing. - During alpha/beta testing the developers will try to keep periods between data wipes as long as possible and provide ample notice ahead of time. - Alpha/beta testers will be rewarded. - There will most likely be end-game alpha/beta testing. Game - There are no mounts or transportation in the game yet. Gypsy wagons are a high possibility to be added to the game. - RG is planning to develop at least 3 types of written language for the game. Runic, pictographic (as in Tabula Rasa), and phonetic (similar to the gargoyle language). - Starting this month there will be monthly builds of the game to be used for demos. - Treasure hunting may be added to the game. They will also allow player/guilds to bury their own treasures and host hunts. - A website may be provided for players to lookup their achievement progress. - In-game games (such as darts) may be added to the game. The developers see this as a way to help role playing. World Design - The world map currently just ends abruptly. There is no transportation in the game so the end areas cannot be accessed. - Due to the fog of war, new areas can be developed right outside the current playable zone and activated when it is ready to go live. - Dungeon groups will be dynamic. Players will not need to form a party beforehand. The developers will design criteria controlling how crowded a single instance of a dungeon can get and whether friends and foes are more likely to spawn in the same instance as the player. - Cities may have catacombs which allow players an alternate path into a city when it is under siege. - The overworld map can be visually affected by players. Examples include: causing volcanos to erupt, making a river run dry, and stopping the siege of a city. - The original SotA cloth map had only one starting zone. The new plan is to have multiple starting zones. Most likely player will not be able to simply select their starting zone. The selection will be “gypsy style”. - Because the areas are instanced the world does not require multiple starting zones simply to spread players out. - There will be areas that are always designated for PvP, areas that are safe zones, and missions that will flag you for PvP. - The underworld is still in the very early design phase. 4-12-2013 Community - Everyone that entered the video contest will receive the in-game title “Royal Crier”. - All 5 video finalists will receive the hand-signed cloth map and village house deed. - Space Bards is the contest winner and receives a city house deed. - A set time has not been determined for the weekly dev hangouts. These hangouts will focus on Q&A. - The forums will soon be moved to a new system or updated to allow for private forums. The update is targeted for the end of the month. - Potential creation of FireLotus Tavern concept art. - Tracy Hickman indicated that the KS stretch goal novel will be a prequel to the game’s story. - A future e-mail will be sent out to all Developer+ level backers with details on the private developer chats. These developer chats will send out agendas beforehand and usually have a focused topic. - The SotA online store is targeted to open on Sunday, Monday at the latest. Game Design - An option to form formal parties will most likely be included in the game. However the developers hope that the automated system will properly match you the appropriate players. - The game is being designed with a uniform, non-punishing difficulty level. Players with more skill will potentially need to burn through less consumables. - No decision has been made on how to handle guild recruitment. Character Design - The possibility of races other than humans are still in discussion. - The game is being designed around players having one character. The developer hope to learn more about the reasons why players want multiple characters and design solutions for these around the single character model. - Player characters will be “class-less” but not “role-less”. Characters will still have specific roles but will be able to migrate to different roles. - There will be character levels in the game. Levels will focus on granting more options rather than power. There will not be exponential power differences between characters as there are in most RPGs. Housing - Villages will have more space allocated to housing. Cities will have less space for housing but provide all NPC vendors/activities. - NPC vendors can run out of inventory. Players will need to wait until it is restocked, visit another town, or gather their own. - Players will most likely be allowed to own multiple housing deeds. How multiple deeds will be managed is still under discussion. - There will not be any vendor focused houses offered initially. - All player inhabited areas will have a good reason to visit them. - Players will potentially be able to provide a whole suite of services/industry within a village dramatically advancing the village. This advancement may be visually represented in the overworld map. - There is a high possibility of player village/towns in the catacombs. World Design - Most of the game’s discovery will not take place on the overworld level. - Scene areas are mapped 1:1 on a hex in the overworld but may not remain constant. Areas can be changed dynamically or have a variety of different scenes (even up to 10 or more) that the player will be randomly taken to when they visit the area. - If an area is changed its visual representation on the overworld will reacquire the fog of war. - “Catacombs” is the official name of the underworld area. It will be a series of interconnected dungeons. Most towns/cities will be connected via the catacombs. New dungeons can be added to the catacombs and the connection paths may change over time. Crafting - Some crafting reagents will only be available through gathering and may be limited by things such as the moon cycle, time of day, and location. - The importance of food within the game is still being discussed. Food won’t be punishing by allowing you to starve to death but will still be important for health and replenishment. The hunting/gathering/cooking professions will be integral with the food design.