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  •  » Earthrise Interview with Atanas Atanasov, CEO of Masthead Studios
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#1 2/20/09 3:59 PM

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Website #1: One of the biggest features that seems to be left out of shooting based MMOs (Planetside, Tabula Rasa) would have to be actual aiming / hit boxes – how do you guys plan on implementing combat; will you merely select an enemy then begin fighting (causing a frenzy of circular movement ala Auto Assault), or will aiming have a specific purpose in combat?

For a dynamic and exciting combat system which Earthrise tries to provide to its players, aiming is an important factor. Players will have to maintain proper aiming towards their opponents in a fashion similar to shooters. However, once a successfully aimed attack is scored on an opponent, futuristic weaponry provides broader aiming scope, allowing players to keep a steady shot at distant, small or fast-moving targets without having to be pixel-perfect in their aiming.

Question #2: I understand that you guys are planning on extensively using dynamic weather effects – will these effects have any effect on game play; i.e. stormy weather reducing visibility, etc.?

Such ideas were considered but would complicate the gameplay. We wanted to make the world of Earthrise easily approachable and fair to all players wherever they decide to play in its environment. Weather effects changing gameplay, on the contrary, could render certain locations difficult to play in and certain advantages to player or non-player opponents that would complicate gameplay and take control out of the player’s hands and into the random nature of the weather system. That is not to say that there aren’t environment effects, but they will be static and specific to certain locations in the world.

Question #3: One thing that Auto Assault did absolutely right (and Tabula Rasa completely failed at) was crafting. Will crafting skills advance offline just as other skills, or will you need to work your way up the “crafting ladder” to create bigger and better things? Also, when creating an item can you add various random features and enhancements to create something unique (i.e. adding an upgraded chip on a rifle or including a longer barrel)?

We opted for a “crafting ladder” type of crafting skill advancement, but with enough leeway to give players freedom to decide what skills to advance in from experience learned from designing and manufacturing items. All skills will be advanced online, with no time requirements. Enhancements play a major role in the crafting process, with players capable of infusing Designs into items – special bonuses and enhancements, or totally separate effects that allow the crafter to customize an item to the needs of his or her customers. Use of Designs can make the difference between a stock item that everyone can create and unique, very powerful and specialized items that could make a crafter powerful and influential for coming up with such build.

Question #4: Can an individual make unique crafting “blueprints” and save them for later or exchange them with players?

A crafting “blueprint” in Earthrise would be a build of Technology template and set of Designs that enhance the item in a unique way. Players are free to experiment, discover and share such builds with each other. A system to share such builds is considered but we prefer to give players freedom to share their builds in any preferred way. #5: Will crafting of Mechanoids be as unique as crafting other items, or will guilds/players simply choose between a couple “blueprints” that specify features? In addition to Mechanoid crafting, will there ever be a multi-player transport capable Mechanoid?

Mecha are simply another item in-game, and as such can be crafted and customized by players. Players will be able to choose what parts to use to build their own Mecha tailored to their needs, choosing from a civil harvester/carrier model and combat model and equipping them with different weaponry. Mechanoids will be a single-pilot vehicle and will not offer multi-player transport at release, but such options are being considered post-launch.

Question #6: Is there any benefit to faction/guild control of territory – how will increased group power affect the individual?

Players who group together in a guild and take over a territory have incredible influence over the world economy as conquered territories are the sole source of rare resources used for the crafting of powerful items in the game. If one guild decides not to sell or to share its resources within certain alliances that would shift the price of that resource on the whole server and could spike conflicts among players. Such influential roles of territory conquest are currently matched in very few MMORPGs on the market.

Question #7: I notice that Enterra has a lot of unique locales, such as “The Old Town”. In most games, exploration and usage of areas is pretty limited and linear. Will players be able to fully explore these locations, loot them, and use them tactically – can an individual go through abandoned apartments, etc.?

Players will have lots of reasons to explore every territory completely. The world economy will always be hungry for more resources to meet the demands of the player base and every opponent in the game is a valuable source of resources. Also, many territories will be a home of monstrosities that require a group of well geared players to take on and share the spoils. Players will go through the territories once to discover new content and play through the quest scenario of the game if they wish, but will keep returning to retrieve needed resources for their own or their guild’s crafting purposes.

Question #8: Without sniper rifles within Earthrise, how do you plan on implementing large-scale and varied combat? Is there an advantage from being at a distance from your opponent, or is there no penalty for being a foot away from your foe and firing into him?

Earthrise won’t allow the user use of sniper weapons and aims towards ranged combat within viewing range allowing players the opportunity to reach their opponents or maintain distance from them. However, we will have Mechanoid Exoskeletons that have the role of artillery in siege combat. Their distance firing capabilities will be far better, but their combat capabilities will be tailored not to overshadow ranged weapon between players.

Question #9: I have heard that there will be no in-combat weapon switching – how do you guys plan on making this fair? Wouldn’t the winner of a fight already be determined?

Earthrise’ combat system is very dependent on player’s choice of gear and abilities to come up with a viable build in combat and small changes in equipment allow the player to make major changes in what abilities and advantages they have in combat, so changing gear in-battle would allow players to break the system. At the same time, Earthrise is a game about choices, about action and consequence – players have to make a smart choice and be able to show player skill and tactical game-play in order to survive in the wilderness or the battlefield. Even if gear-wise one player has advantage over the other, using devices and consumable items every player stands a chance to survive and overcome their opponent. #10: Finally, with plans for no instances (thank you for that) and the possibility of just one server, just how large is Enterra and besides the major locations what can be found?

Simply said, the world of Enterra is HUGE. The persistent nature of the world allows players to traverse the world from one point to another if they desire, without loading or separation of the player base. Players will have many square kilometers of area to explore within the civilized world torn by warring factions and organizations vying for their personal goals. From the peaceful tranquility of the Eastern Gardens to the cold rocky cliffs surrounding the bare grounds of The Nest or the technologically imposing factories of the Industrial Zone and the grandeur of Sal Vitas, the cradle of humanity – there’s a lot for players to experience in the game.

Outside the civilized territories lies a land ripe for the taking by guilds who build militaristic bases full of defensive arsenal and industrial mining complexes that mine rare resources. It will be a land ravaged by constant war between powerful player-run guilds, and a dangerous land to cross. But many who dare will be able to reach the most distant and wildest places of the world, where newfound radioactive material is being mined for power source, and where humans cannot survive without piloting a massive mechanoid capable of harvesting or protecting harvesters from enemy attacks or the mutated fauna.


2/20/09 3:59 PM

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#2 5/26/13 8:54 PM

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