Shards Online AMA covers permadeath, community servers, and the Steam launch

Citadel Studios’ Derek Brinkmann hopped on Reddit yesterday for an AMA revolving around Shards Online. Among the highlights:

  • The game does have hunger, but no one’s going to starve to death on the core server (permadeath servers are another story). In fact, the permadeath ruleset is what Brinkmann says he’s most excited about. “I think MMOs are afraid of permadeath because people get too attached to their characters. But I think Shards Online is a perfect place for a ruleset like this. The key to designing it is to make death much less common than in the regular rules.” There’s an incap system too.
  • He’d “love to open a pure PvE official server,” but “the community would have to grow quite a bit before we could support one.” Apparently in the early access, ganking is minimal, curbed presumably by the faction system. A karma system to discourage ganking is on the way too.
  • The game is built around skills and skill caps a bit like Ultima Online, but crafting skills and harvesting skills don’t apply toward the combat cap — just the total cap. “I love how crafting often brings people together,” he says. “As we speak there is someone on the alpha server asking for a woodsmith. I’d love to keep that sort of thing going.”

  • Don’t think of the game as a stock isometric world, he cautions. “One thing to keep in mind is that most top-down games do not allow zooming and camera rotation. We have both. It makes it feel much more dynamic and 3d than your traditional top-down.”
  • Kickstarter stretch goals that weren’t met aren’t going in. “We’ve ended up implementing a ton more features than we planned based on player feedback instead” — including character customization, dyed gear with a tmog system, and merchant hirelings. The next stretch goal is mounts.
  • Roleplaying will be supported even on regular servers, right down to sitting in chairs and locking your doors, but “more advanced RP features you might find on a community server with a strong RP focus.” Brinkmann says he expects there will be loads of such community servers hosted by players and doesn’t see that as dividing the community, but if players “want a more ‘MMO’ experience they will come to the official servers.”
  • Alpha 1 is still on track for the end of this summer, with a final wipe and Steam launch by the end of 2016, at which point the game will be considered “released.”
Source: Reddit AMA
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