Interview: Population Zero explains its combat, training, raiding, and more

    
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Population Zero, the survival MMO from Enplex Games, is currently in the midst of closed beta test weekends, with its third CBT live now and running through this weekend. Today, the studio has released a brand-new dev blog all about combat, ahead of which the devs kindly answered a few of our questions about it. You can check out the blog on the official site, then read on as we pick Enplex’s collective brain on newbie training, combat skills, and whether we can jump-to-win. (Spoiler: We cannot.)

MassivelyOP: Presumably, you’re not expecting newbies to leap into the game knowing how to juggle all the combat moves. How are you planning to work newbies up to the top of their game? What kinds of combat training are on offer?

Enplex Games: On release we plan to have a single-player instance at the beginning of the game, that will teach players how to survive in the world of Population Zero. That includes fighting mechanics. Mastering the mechanics will be up to the player though! Like many creators before us, we don’t want to give all the possible answers to our players. Learning combat is part of the exploration process.

It sounds like the goal here is a combination of character-based stuff – perks and character skills – but also player skill like action combat. Do you think that’s going to appeal to a broad range of players, or will it alienate one group or the other in a survival game?

Any battle system will alienate one type of player or the other. We want to make a system that we are having fun to play. Like-minded players will enjoy what we make.

We also aim to create a souls-like battle system where your skills has the deciding factor in a fight. Skill-based combat is usually deeper than a simple button mashing or click-on-cooldown kind of system.

How possible is it to move between combat styles? Let’s say you figure out that you are super bad at blocking timing – can you switch away from a block-oriented playstyle into something more ranged on the fly? Or at all?

First of all, different weapons offer different styles all by themselves. You can use a large weapon, that is slow but hits like a truck, a glaive that hits far but letting an enemy close is dangerous, or a fast-type weapon like a sword. Switching between weapons mid-combat is also an option. When it comes to blocking, you can of course, neglect the mechanic and use dodging instead. You could also use speed-based and hp perks, to rely on speed and health pool rather than blocking.

When your enemy is far, switching to one of the few ranged weapons currently present might be a good strategic idea. Ranged attacks are there to support your teammates and weaken your enemy.

Raid bosses are going to require at least five people, making it sound a bit like the way Destiny uses the word raid. What about content for duos or trios, or even significantly larger groups that MMORPG players might be more familiar with when raiding?

Duos and trios are able to try their hand at raiding. We do not plan on making raids a 5-member only entry kind of thing. Raids are not instanced and thus they don’t necessarily press players into forming specific parties. It’s all about strategy and preparation. Two people will need to think a raid through a lot more than five due to obvious reasons.

You mention maintaining your health bar – how does healing work in combat?

At the moment we are balancing things like medkits and mid-battle healing. We are also adding a popular near-death state, where you can be revived by a teammate.

Finally, we gotta ask: Can we just spam jump to victory? :D

Nope! Stamina won’t allow you to spam anything. Sorry! =D

Aww, but jumping is the best defense – we learned it from MMOs! We’d like to thank the devs at Enplex for answering our questions; you can learn more over on the official website.

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