This is the second part to yesterday Q&A. Again, don’t hesitate to leave your comments or questions for the developpers of Dangerlands.
-Moving on to game play, what would be the main game play features that you are the most proud of and that you think will make Dangerlands truly stand out?
Player created content! Letting the player create and run their own zone(s). I think this will really help put DangerLands on the map in the social gaming sphere, as players will be able to let others play in their lands and under their rules. We will put certain rules in to let the player earn experience or currency or *something* when others come and play in their areas.
I also think that if we can nail it, we will carve out a place in gaming history for our game world and feel. It’s an extremely difficult thing, like its own living creature. We are still trying to figure out what it looks like and what it doesn’t look like, but the main groundwork has been laid. The style so far has given rise to some pretty unique and memorable phrasing which is just plain fun.
Certain other features haven’t been mentioned yet, but they involve the discovery and usage of new technology in the world as the story progresses. This could be new skill trees, inventions, or source functions (aka magic).
-Can you give us a quick rundown of the classic elements of a MMOrpg like classes and player advancement within the game?
You get primary and secondary stats, and then a bunch of skills you can purchase with Skill Points. As you progress you can purchase more skills. Certain types of skills are usable even if you haven’t bought them, as all skills rely on base formulas to derive their values. It is possible to pump up your stats with magic (we call that ‘source’) a skill more than simply usable. As you journey, combat, play, use skills, etc, you earn exp. Player levels are determined by an accumulation of exp, and you can also spend that exp as you go to raise skills and stats.
There aren’t classes persay, but there are optional stat/skill templates we’ve created to help people pick the right mixture to achieve a specific class-like player. We are also looking to create a very fun crafting experience as well.
-How long do you think the average gaming session would last and what would a character be able to accomplish during that time?
Our long term goal is that a player should be able to get ingame within seconds, and play for as little as 5 minutes, or for many hours without ceasing. They should be able to craft, research lore (lots of puzzles and mysteries to decode), do some PvP, maintain their lands, or explore. We will make sure it is easy to find adventure and easy to find Danger quickly!
-How will the game play elements like chat, targeting, fighting and managing inventory will be handled on the iPhone who has limited display space to work with?
We will make judicial use of rollout menus. We’re building the game with two interface structures: one for the mobile device and one for the large display. Chat is something that is particularly difficult, it’s hard to keep text tiny but readable. Our feeling is that there probably won’t be the same urge to chat AND play like you have in a large display, so chat when active will probably be larger.
Inventory will be a full screen affair for the mobile device, and allow putting items into hot slots, which can then be accesses in game via rollout menu.
-Since MMOs are social games, what tools/features/elements do you have to support the more social activies like guilds, groups, events, etc… ?
Similar to that in Asheron’s Call, we have the notion of an ingame clan with sponsors which will allow people to become part of a clan by being sponsored by someone already in the guild. We will support clan gear and allow certain privacy features for clan members. For example, a house or village you own might be usable only by your clan. We will be exposing many of the game information on our website for a metagame experience which lets people see who is in what clan and what the hierarchies are.
We plan to have lots of GM run events. I am building tools as I go along to help give the ability for a super player (GM) to create objects and events in the world at will. The story-arc driven events will revolve around a 4-6 week cycle and will help drive community content as well.
Grouping is planned but not yet supported. These mechanics are intricate and of the ‘can’t please everybody’ variety.
-Talking about groups, will Dangerland will be more of a solo or group game and if you go with groups how will they work? Will they use the classic holy trinity of tank/healer/damage?
The terms may be purely functional but there is something rather unromantic about yelling “Tank LFG”. A good skill-based game will let a single player fill multiple roles in a group and this is a good thing. It also allows for some pretty varied group constructions. I’d be surprised if we see people forming groups in a classic manner, unless it is sheerly out of habit from other games. I am also poised to eat my own words.
-Will Dangerlands have a finite endgame with the classic elements like raids and pvp or will you use
some other kind of model?
Tough question. Progression and achievement are important, especially in a social game. PvP will be a part of the game from day one, and with player-run content and formulaic skill/level progression, it’s going to *not* be the major focus to grind out levels and hit the endgame. We do plan on having a message box pop up which simply says ‘You Won’ if a player does happen to max out in all skills and attributes.
The endgame will very likely involve creating player content which changes the game world in a major way, and becoming part of game world lore.
-I saw on your site the demo of a dungeon. Will your dungeons be the classic MMO experience of acquiring loot and fighting bosses or will you take a more puzzle approach often associated with portable games?
As a long-time Dungeon Master playing D&D, I’ve got more than a few puzzles and traps planned. These are pretty tough to implement! Some will resemble the dungeons found in D&D Online, and some will resemble some simple hack and slash delves with multiple bosses. Our world building team is brilliant and innovative. It will be up to me to implement what they want to accomplish.
There will be many dungeons, and quite possibly an additional generated dungeon experience for casual gameplay.
-Will you need a group to complete the dungeon and how long would a dungeon takes to complete?
Some will need a group. In terms of time, some will take 20 minutes, and some will not be completable. OK, I am planning at least one dungeon which is ridiculously large and will be like a game of Diablo which takes weeks to complete.
-Finally is there any other thing you want to tell the readers here about Dangerlands?
While we do have a strong vision for DangerLands, we are not in an ivory tower. We are a small group of guys just like you who love games and who want to have an incredible gaming experience in our little free time. We want to be able to sit around and have stories of our gaming experiences and laugh and be frustrated and triumphant. We’re not Blizzard and we won’t give you a multimillion dollar AAA title, it’s an Indie title and our budget is measured in blood and passion.
This means that we are quite willing to change course and add features that people want, will listen and respond to feedback and criticism, and are accessible. We’re working hard on this title and are bold enough to put our work out now for people to see.. bugs and all. Thanks for keeping a grain of salt handy, and thanks always for your support!
That’s it for now. I’ll be posting a follow up in the following weeks with my views on this Q&A and the game itself.