Posted Tue, Nov 03, 2009 by Ethec
Ten Ton Hammer: Have you been working in the background on the system support you’ll need for the MMO?
Peter Hu, Chief Technology Officer: I’ve been working on the backend of the MMO, I can’t really say too much on what’s been done so far. It’s mostly technology. When we first started Runic, we were really lacking in technology. There’s a lot of bits and pieces that go into making a Massively Multiplayer game. We’ve basically used the single-player to throw out a few ideas and see what the players would react to. We’ve given out a little bit of information but we still have the flexibility to go different ways – playable races, zones, storylines, etc.
Ten Ton Hammer: How will core gameplay change in the MMO? In the single-player, combat is pretty frantic. Will you have to slow it down to allow for group dynamics and that sort of thing?
Travis: The aim is to keep it as fast as possible; as close to what we have in single-player as possible. There will necessarily be some things that have to change. Some skills, for example, might be too brutal for PvP combat, we might have to have PvP specific rules. There will probably be cases where we have to have cooldowns. But the basic gameplay of beating the crud out of a ton of monsters is something we really do want to preserve.
John: We got to experiment with that in Mythos, and it actually seemed to work pretty well. It was chaotic and crazy when you were playing with a group, but it was a lot of fun.
Torchlight's classes may or may not make it into the MMO in playable form.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will we see the Vanquisher, the Destroyer, and the Alchemist in the MMO, or are you leaning towards a whole new set of classes?
Travis: We’ll say maybe – it’d be nice if in the MMO they were fresh and you weren’t coming in saying ‘I’ve played all these skills before in single-player.’ If they do show up, I imagine they’ll have some substantial changes just to make them fresh for players who’ve already experienced them.
Jason: Again, nothing concrete, but one of the things we played around is essentially the roles of these three classes in the larger picture of the world. For example, the Vanquisher is playing a role as the arm of the capital city’s law enforcement. So, whether they’re playable classes or not, they’ll be present in some form. Maybe they’ll become NPCs, but we haven’t ironed all of that out.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you give some idea of the scope of the world you’re planning for the MMO? I’m guessing it’s fair to say that there will be an overworld experience – it’s not just going to be the town of Torchlight and surrounding dungeons?
Travis: Absolutely. Torchlight is just a small place in the world. There will be expansive outdoor areas, multiple cities… it’s certainly not going to be relegated to a single town and dungeon setup. It should be the scale of world that you’re accustomed to finding in an MMO.
Ten Ton Hammer: Ok, rather than me asking a series of MMO questions that you probably aren’t ready to answer in depth, let’s do a lightning round of possible Torchlight MMO features and you can give the thumbs down, thumbs up, or thumbs sideways. That sound ok?
Travis: Sure, let’s do it.
Ten Ton Hammer: Awesome, we’ll start easy.
The Torchlight MMO Lightning Round!
|Customizable avatars||Travis: Yes, definitely.|
|My favorite NPC mission giver, the Trill-Bot 4000||Travis: Yes, I guarantee it.|
Erich: Level-uppable skills and talents, of course.
Jason: We’ll iterate on it and change it like we usually do.
Travis: That was the worst lightning round answer ever. (laughter)
|Pets for every class||
Travis: It’s a maybe that I would like to be a yes.
John: It feels strange to present it in single-player and then yank it away.
Max: Maybe leaning towards a yes.
|Player housing||Travis: Maybe. All the artists say yes, everyone else says maybe. So let’s qualify this, not everything necessarily at launch. I doubt that there will be player housing at launch.|
|Crafting, apart from transmutation and enchantments.||Travis: Yes.|
|Player-generated content from Preditor.||
Travis: I don’t think we’ll be incorporating anyone’s actual mods.
Max: We may be inspired by them.
|Player vs. Player||
Team: Yes, absolutely.
|Emotes||Travis: Yes, definitely.|
|An auctionhouse||Travis: Yes.|
|Integrated voicechat||Max: There’s so many good third party options for that. Maybe Xfire support or something.|
|A Matt Uelman soundtrack||
Matt: Matt’s part of our team, he’s not contract – he’s a full fledged employee.
Travis: We’re tying ropes around him and not letting him leave. (laughter)
Ten Ton Hammer: You guys have been great, and I’m sure we’ll be talking much more as the MMO moves along. But is there anything more about the MMO you wanted to talk about at this time?
Max: The only thing is we can’t wait to get going. One of our things is to get a server up and get people in as soon as possible (if we don’t kill Travis along the way), and get people into the game.
John: I’m definitely looking forward to when we can start playing multiplayer just here in the office. It sure was a lot of fun with the last game.
We'd like to thank the Runic Games team for taking time to discuss post-launch plans and the Torchlight MMO with us during a busy launch week.