- On Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4: “It’s a lot easier to port a game to Xbox than PS4. This is because the APIs and tools for PC and Xbox One are the same.”
- On Xbox trade chat: “Unfortunately a controller isn’t really great method for text input, so we don’t really see an easy way to do something like that.”
- On adaptation difficulties: “One of the really hard parts was actually gem management. And I think we still haven’t found a perfect solution for this as well. Moving gems around to different items is a bit of a pain.”
- On Xbox One X: “We fully support the Xbox One X and Path of Exile will be playable at 4k/60fps on launch day. We’re going to investigate other enhancements like HDR also.”
“AMA” stands for “ask me anything,” a type of mass-interview popular on Reddit and other online forums where the interviewee offers to answer any questions thrown at him or her by the audience.
With the release of Conan Exiles on Xbox One’s game preview program, there are plenty of questions from this new audience about the rollout of the survival sandbox. Funcom’s team was on hand yesterday for an AMA that ranged from crafting to crashes (“our number one priority”) to camel punching.
Funcom revealed that it is working on creating voice chat (in a similar fashion to ARK: Survival Evolved). It also hinted that PC and Xbox players may one day be able to share the same servers: “That is something we are still considering. Crossplay is complicated.”
The team also addressed the controversial omission of nudity on the console: “There is a nudity DLC for European territories (it’s free), but this DLC is currently unavailable due to a last minute issue with the Xbox Store. Microsoft is currently investigating a solution to this issue. In the meantime, all territories will be limited to partial nudity.”
It’s a big week for the zombie survival title Fortnite, what with it coming out on Steam early access and all, and the developers are taking advantage of the increased attention to talk up their game to interested parties.
On Reddit yesterday, the devs hosted an ask-me-anything session that covered the making of the game, how the team acted on feedback, heroes, crafting, outposts, and future plans. The team stressed that everything is in “early iteration” right now, so expect things to change over the course of the year.
So what was the hardest part of making the game? “The biggest challenge we had was how do we make a robust building system that was usable in high fidelity third person combat. So controls and complexity become a real challenge. If you wonder why we don’t have crouch… this is why.”
The team said that it plans to release Fortnite later this year after testing, polish, and content additions. Past that, there are plans in the works for different modes, like iron man and an open world, so you might see this small title getting a lot bigger over the coming years.
Hearthstone’s game director fields questions about the expansion, ladder experimentation, and new heroes
Among the topics covered were minion placement, the collection manager, the expense of the game, and confirmation that the team is experimenting with a new ladder format.
Possibly the most exciting news is that the team is working on both a Druid and Warlock hero, although Brode indicated that we shouldn’t be expecting a new class anytime soon. “I think we are already having trouble carving out awesome space for nine classes,” he said. “I want us to find more unique things for Warlock to do, for example. I think adding a 10th class makes this problem much more difficult, as we could be using that space to make our core nine classes more fun.”
Asked how much work an average player will need to put in before being of any use in PvP, the team responded, “A general principle of Albion Online — as a game with a strong PvP focus — is that the combat power curves for gear and character progress are very flat […] When you start out a new character, you could expect at least 10 to 20 hours of gameplay before you could be considered competitive in PvP.”
What about super-experienced and -geared players taking over the game’s landscape and making it miserable for everyone else? “Of course, well-organized guilds will always have an advantage over more casual players – it would be weird if that was not the case. However, it is extremely unlikely — and has never happened in any of our tests, two of which lasted around six months — that a single faction will dominate the world.”
Transparency is vital to smaller, indie MMO projects, especially ones driven by a volunteer team. The crew over at Darkfall: Rise of Agon have no problem being as open as possible with the community, as evidenced by the team’s recent AMA on Reddit.
Much of the AMA tackled what the team was doing to different features and how Rise of Agon would differ from classic Darkfall: “We are also in the process of making enhancements to the in-game textures to make them look more modern as well as enhancing the capabilities of the engine itself. With all that said though, as a team we believe it is more important to make a great game than a pretty-looking game, although we understand the importance of the latter to many modern gamers.”
You can check out an overview of all of the closed beta progress and get ready for the upcoming early access launch with the developer video below!
New H1Z1: Just Survive General Manager Landon Montgomery is attempting to show that his leadership will see a more open and forthcoming Daybreak with the survival game’s fanbase. In last week’s AMA, Montgomery took on a wide range of questions on everything including base building, weather, and storytelling.
“Base building is our #1 priority for next year. I can’t give you a timeframe, but modularity is massively important for us,” Montgomery said, going on to clarify: “We’re still in ‘fix now, cool later’ mode but that’s top of the list for ‘cool later.'”
He said that he turned down a position at Blizzard in favor of fixing this MMO: “I think Just Survive has so much potential. True, it hasn’t received the love it needs this past year, but do believe I can help turn that around with this team. We have an amazing, dedicated team whereas we didn’t really have that before. There was some split between KotK and JS, but we don’t have that now. We have a full team 100% focused on nothing but JS now.”
With Conan Exiles’ early access launch just around the corner, you can better believe that the community has a mountain of questions about the survival sandbox. Funcom’s Joel Bylos stepped into the Xbox One Reddit yesterday to tackle many of these, although some, like queries about pricing, he declined to answer (Conan Exiles won’t have microtransactions or a sub, however).
Bylos said that the primary inspiration for the game comes straight from Robert E. Howard’s books. “Conan Exiles has a tighter focus on melee combat, a world that can be explored to find lore and stories, a religion system that allows access to magic and god avatars, a thrall system that allows you to enslave and turn your enemies into allies,” Bylos said. “Oh and no flying mounts, because those tend to make the world too small.”
Players will have a wide range of rulesets from which to choose, with each server hosting up to 70 players apiece during the early access period.
Boenigk explained that past a certain point, the game really cannot financially support itself solely on costumes and cosmetics, but the goal is always to ensure that players have a positive experience whether or not money is spent. He stressed that it’s something the game’s team takes very seriously and is always happy to discuss constructively with players.
Questions also covered improved rewards for directives (which are coming) and the localization process of the game (which suffers slightly for speed, as the team wants to get updates from the Russian version into the Western version as quickly as possible). If you want a peek behind the scenes of the game or just want to learn more about adapting a foreign game for Western localization, it’s a worthwhile read.
Crowfall fans are in for a long, tall drink of information this weekend, poured straight from the minds of creators J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton. The pair sat down for a lengthy Reddit AMA on Friday, tackling dozens of questions from the community.
Coleman said that the team is currently working on the core of Crowfall: “Our next milestone is focused on making the foundation of the MMO work: large scale world(s), persistence across days (…then weeks, then months), scalability of the game service. There are some new systems coming online (harvesting and crafting, revised chat, revised skills), but MOST of the next milestone revolves around the theme of ‘laying the foundation for the real game.'”
Funcom knows that its fans have one overriding concern when it comes to the upcoming Conan Exiles: whether or not players will be able to punch camels in the game. It turns out that yes, yes you can. You can punch anything, Mr. or Mrs. Barbarian.
This shattering revelation is part of yesterday’s AMA. Funcom posted a summary of some of the important details revealed, listing systems such as religion, thralls, and purges as what will set Conan Exiles apart from other sandbox survival titles. “Keep in mind we will have a roadmap for early access and not all of these things are planned for launch,” the studio said.
One highlight is that Funcom revealed that once early access starts, it’s not planning on wiping the game after that: “We would like to avoid resetting player progress. Unless we find something major that we are forced to wipe for, we won’t do it.”
The Chronicles of Elyria team submitted itself to the wilds of an AMA on Reddit earlier this afternoon, allowing players to bombard the developers with questions about the soon-to-be-Kickstarted MMORPG. Here are some of the highlights so far:
- Pre-alpha/alpha 1 testing will begin “as early as possible,” potentially “as early as Q1 2017, with beta beginning in the summer.”
- CEO Jeromy Walsh previously worked at Microsoft developing automated test infrastructure; Elyria’s will be similar.
- How will the studio pull off something so ambitious? Experience, partly, but also middleware. “We’re leveraging as much middleware as we possibly can,” Walsh says. “We don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, and where others have made progress and have license-able technology available, we’ll be looking to leverage that.”
One of the topics Kim addressed was the specific relationship between En Masse and BlueHole, a topic that’s been big in our own TERA comments lately.
“At the super high level, BlueHole is the developer of TERA and En Masse is the North American publisher for TERA. There are variations to the model but, at its base-core, the roles and responsibilities break down as such: The developer is responsible for the game, content update, balance, in-game features, event tools, web, monetization systems, and backend integration pieces. The publisher is responsible for account integration, billing, community engagement, player support, marketing, web development, event planning, monetization feedback (as it pertains to their market), gameplay feedback (as it pertains to their market), and testing (market testing, possibly some QA).
The extra thing with En Masse and BlueHole is that we’re part of the same company (En Masse is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueHole). And because of that, we’ve been able to work more closely with BlueHole on a lot of things. We had more access to in-game mechanics than a publisher typically would with games. And while things haven’t been perfect ALL of the time, we’ve seen impact that we wouldn’t have seen in a super-traditional partnership.”