Posted Wed, Jul 27, 2011 by Sardu
Ten Ton Hammer: Will there be NPCs outside of story mode that you’ll encounter within the dungeons? I suppose one of the closest things that springs to mind might be some of the quests you can do within Sorrow’s Furnace that can only be obtained within that zone.
Colin: Yes, definitely. It varies very greatly from dungeon to dungeon. For example in the Ascalon Catacombs one I was talking about, the whole first part of it is fighting your way up to a Durmand Priory camp and when you get there you’re presented with three plans of how to catch the graveling patriarch.
There’s an asura who presents a plan, a charr who presents a plan, and a human who presents a plan. They tell you you’ll need to make a decision to vote which way you want to go and you pick whose plan you want to pick. Whichever one you pick, that character comes with you for the rest of the dungeon and is actually an active combat part of the dungeon for you. They’re going to be telling you lore and talking about stuff that you experience as you go through it.
But there will definitely be some of that kind of thing you mentioned from Sorrow’s Furnace. A lot of that is actually going to come through the dynamic events that occur within the dungeons.
So you may, for example, have one where you’re walking down a hallway you’ve never been down before, and at the end of the hall there’s a guy stumbling towards you and he’s being chased by a horde of creatures. If you manage to save him, potentially he unlocks another dynamic event somewhere in the dungeon you couldn’t get otherwise.
There are going to be characters like that persist through all of the explorable dungeons. Sometimes they’ll be there, and sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they’ll be in areas you would never think to go. Maybe you pull a torch on the wall, and that opens a secret door and you go into a room and there’s a guy who has been hiding in there for 30 years because he’s too scared to get out of the dungeon. Those kinds of characters are going to be mixed in there too.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will there be anything that’s maybe the equivalent of the PvE only skills like Light of Deldrimor in GW1 that will ping hidden things on the map to help you discover some of the event content?
Colin: Right now we don’t have plans to do anything like that. Instead, we want them to be world interactions. So you’re doing things like pushing on a wall in a fireplace and you find a secret exit in it. We want it so that everyone can discover that stuff, so you don’t need to bring any one specific thing to do it. Everybody can do it, and they’re doing it based on their own ingenuity and sense of discovery.
There might be some bundle items scattered around the dungeons you can pick up. Like you might find half of a stick, and when you get half of a stick you could stick it into the wall and try to pry something open. But it won’t be something that you need to build ahead of time and need to bring with you.
Ten Ton Hammer: So maybe we’ll be able to find more jars of bees!
Colin: Yeah, that’s a great example. Maybe you’ll throw a jar of bees at a creature, and he runs away and smashes through a wall and opens up a new portion of the dungeon you’ve never seen.
Ten Ton Hammer: That would be awesome.
Colin: That would be cool. In fact, I’m going to go back and talk to somebody about that real quick…
Ten Ton Hammer: With the underwater combat, you’ve taken things in a much different direction than other MMOs that have utilized underwater zones. Weapon skills will be totally different, or even things like the necromancer’s death shroud skills will be totally different.
Given how extensively you’ve approached core combat with the unique skills, how much underwater content can players expect to be able to experience in the game?
Colin: We looked at games that have done underwater in the past, and we argued for a long time about whether we should do underwater in this game or not. It was like a six month discussion before we ever even started building it. And through that time we kept looking at other games that have done underwater.
Over and over and over again, everything that we saw was slapped in. It wasn’t a feature, it was just something you could do, and the gamplay wasn’t very fun when you were underwater. Usually when you were there you wanted to get out of it as fast as you could. Or you had some breath health meter where it’s like you’re down there and have to get right back out again.
So we were like, alright, if we’re going to do this we either do it completely or we don’t do it at all. There are maps in the game that are primarily underwater. Entire maps as big as this one here [Referring to the Cornucopian Fields map showcased in the current demo build for level 28 characters] and they’re completely filled with dynamic events that chain across an area, and they’re all underwater.
Underwater is just as important as everything that you do on land. We have entire personal story chains that take you down under the ocean. So we did all of that with skills to take into account the fact that we really wanted to make that a core feature and part of the game.
We had to invent races to help fill those areas up. There’s the quaggan and the krait. The Krait were actually from GW1, but they are a huge presence of our underwater stuff. And then the undead from Orr are spreading out from under the ocean, so that’s a big part of that narrative underwater. Undead have control of a lot of the oceans.