Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Repopulation Q&A and Alpha Key Giveaway!

Today we have a Q&A for the upcoming MMO, The Repopulation.  The questions are based on my early experiences in alpha, and provide a glimpse of what the game is like, and many of the possibilities.  It's a game that I keep getting more excited about the more I learn about it.  Hope you enjoy the read!

We are also having a giveaway!  The developers were kind enough to supply an alpha key as a prize.  These are normally only available to crowdfunding backers, but now you can get one too.  To enter the giveaway, use the Social Questing widget on the right sidebar.  Sign-in, do some quests, and get your lottery tickets.  The drawing will happen on November 26th at 9am EST. Note:  By just signing in you can get enough points to enter the giveaway :)

Need help?  I made a quick video showing how to enter the giveaway:

Now on to the Q&A!

Q: After finishing the tutorial, one of the first things I noticed was receiving missions through the mail system.  How do these Dynamic Missions work?  What makes them special?

A:  In a theme park MMO your quests/missions are generally there to help your character advance and provide purpose. As a sandbox we don't have that directed experience. You never need to go to the next hub and quest to advance. Advancement is not tied at all to missions. That having been said, missions are something that provides players with purpose. Enter the generated mission system. The goals of this system is to allow players to use missions to drive their experience, and to have a neverending supply of missions if they really want to do them. Another goal though was to ensure that missions are not a required aspect of gameplay. If you just hate missions, you don't have to do them. Another key aspect was to allow players to be able to filter the type of job offers they want to take.

Rather than wandering around looking for NPCs with markers on top of their head, you'll instead receive notifications of job offers via the in-game email system. These offers come in relatively quickly, and they are tailor made for your character. You can accept or deny the offers. Early on you'll be getting the same missions as all other newbies, simple missions that anyone can do. As you complete missions, the choices you make are used to determine which missions you quality for. So if your character does shadier activities, they'll receive shadier missions. If your character is a crafter they will receive crafting missions. If you show yourself to be Greedy, you may get missions that take advantage of that. etc.

The missions themselves can be simple or complex. We use a branching dialog system on missions, but pretty much every feature you've seen in other games can be done through our generated mission system. The difference is that instead of the NPCs being static NPCs, they are generated within a set of criteria. So rather than doing a turn in to Bob the Armor Guy, a generated mission might have a filter for RandomNPC1 to be profession = Armorcrafter. There are a number of filters which can be used for things like profession, personality, mood, gender, dilemma, or cause of that dilemma. Some of those settings are static, others can change based on other players completing missions and altering an NPCs mood, dilemma or cause. So this means that performing actions in missions can not only affect the missions you receive, but can also affect the missions other people receive or who they receive them from. 

A good example is Chip at the Hole on the Hill. His bar has issues with Lesoo raiding the facility and Numbskulls causing issues in the bar. Those are engagements (similar to public quests) that players can participate in to help Chip out. Depending on how those engagements proceed Chip's cause and dilemma will change, which allows him to offer missions that he would not otherwise offer. We're still just scratching the surface on some of the things we can do with this system as far as designing enough missions to really take advantage of all these features. But the features are all in place. 

Q: Besides taking Dynamic Missions, there appears to be a guided mission chain which I could venture down.  How much of The Repopulation is based around Missions? Conversely, can I just ignore missions and go out on my own?  Will I be gimping myself if I skip the missions?  I don't want to miss out on any unique rewards.

A: There are a large number of missions in the game. But it's an optional activity. Missions are designed so that there can be mission styles for the various skill lines. So there are taming missions, underworld (thievery/assassination/smuggling) missions, crafting and harvesting missions, etc. But since you can receive your missions through your PDA from anywhere in the world, it's perfectly acceptable to just go out and do whatever you want to do, take a look at the incoming job offers and pick and choose the ones that you can finish while doing your chosen activities. Most players will spend a lot of time running missions. But there are alternate ways to gain abilities, skill imprints, etc. It's really up to the player how they want to play the game.

For players who despise missions though you don't have to do them. Your skills increase through use. If you want to go out and just grind mobs like in an old school game, you can. Though even doing that I'd recommend combing through for missions that are targeting the mobs your killing anyway since that's just a bonus reward. If you are a harvester or crafter and don't care about running missions, you can just go out and do your thing. Same goes for any line really. There are also a growing number of engagements (similar to public quests) which some players prefer.

Q: I've always enjoyed crafting and running my own shop in games, which I can now do in The Repopulation.  Is it possible to just focus on non-violent endeavors?  Is there plenty to do if I go down that path?

A: Our game and it's economy are heavily trade skill oriented. Our crafting system is very complex and has a high degree of customization. Moreover crafted equipment is the top of the line. If you never wanted to pick up a gun, it's completely possible for you to just go out and harvest, or buy resources from other players and then do your crafting. I think most players will also do a little fighting, if for no other reason than mobs will jump you while your out harvesting. 

But crafting advancement is not coupled in any way with combat advancement. There are other non-combat skills, as well. Things like the entertainment line which provides long-term buffs for players. Taming mobs to be trained as mounts and sold to other players. Diplomatic skills. Different players enjoy doing different types of things. And we've tried to cater to many playing styles, rather than forcing players down a combat oriented path.

Q: One of the first creatures I fought was a Setlang.  This resulted in me gaining species knowledge.  How does that factor into the gameplay?

A: The species mastery system reflects your knowledge of each species in the game. As you kill Setlangs (or any other species) and as you harvest their corpses for resources your mastery level increases. This grants a very small passive bonus to your damage against that species, and after you have slain a very high number of a species you also gain a title reflecting your mastery of that species.

Q: From its corpse, I was able to loot DNA.  This can be used by a Genetic Engineer.  What is that skill line all about?

A: Each species can drop DNA and tissue. A genetic engineering is a crafting line which uses those components to create pets that can be traded to other players. These are single use pets, but they are easy to produce. But genetic engineering's biggest benefit is that you can splice the DNA of different species to create hybrids. Each hybrid has unique special abilities.

Q: I'd like to get myself a house where I can put some vendors.  What is involved with doing that?

A: You'll need to claim an open world plot if you wish to have vendors. Currently in alpha we allow players to buy them easily for testing, but soon we'll be moving them to the release variation of this which requires a tough to produce crafted item. There are different sized plots. 

Once you have a housing plot you can place it down when inside of any area that is marked as housing capable. We don't allow players to build everywhere. Instead we set aside certain grids of land to be able housing capable. You'll know when you are in one of these areas because a GUI will appear denoting it which allows you to drop your plot to claim a section of land, and later to add furniture. When you drop the plot you will receive a visual indication of where the plot will go, which you can move around until you find the perfect location. Once this is placed a base is formed underneath your plot. You can build on top of that base.

There are hundreds of different structures and furniture items which you can place on your plot. This includes simple things like decorations, to interactive props such as crafting stations, banking terminals and skill imprinting stations. You can also place robot vendors on your property which can sell goods to other players. Players can see your robots goods through the Trading/Auction window, but if they purchase directly from your vendor they can bypass the auction fee. 

Q: For anyone that is interested in playing, how and when can they get their hands on the game?

A: You can currently gain instant alpha access and a lifetime gold membership post launch for $50. There is also a $25 package which includes a lifetime silver membership post-launch which will be gaining alpha access on November 21st. Membership packages give you a number of perks post launch such as increased inventory/vault space, etc which free players would have to purchase piece by piece. So basically all pre-orders will be able to access testing from now until launch starting the 21st, and all $50+ pre-orders gain access instantly. Those who prefer a wait and see approach can wait for launch. The game will be free to play with optional membership options.