Questions by Cody
“Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor

style="font-style: italic;">
Answers by Atanas
Atanasov, CEO of Masthead Studios

The science-fiction genre seems to be on the rise in the massively
multiplayer gaming marketplace. With the release of style="font-style: italic;">Tabula Rasa, the
continuing success of
EVE Online
, and the ongoing development of style="font-style: italic;">Jumpgate Evolution,
it seems only logical that the next round of MMOG unveilings should
include a good helping of sci-fi. Recently, the Bulgaria-based Masthead
Studios announced that they were hard at work developing a PvP-oriented
science fiction game called Earthrise.
The Ten Ton Hammer staff tracked down Atanas Atanasov, CEO of Masthead
Studios, to answer a few of our questions about the game.  

Ten Ton Hammer: First
off, how will characters advance in style="font-style: italic;">Earthrise
? Will it
be based on your standard combat-based system, where you kill monsters
to get enough XP to advance? Or is it some sort of alternative method,
perhaps an advancement system based around time or general activity in
the game?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas Atanasov: We
are currently testing an alternative method of character advancement,
which we plan to implement if it works out well. One thing is certain,
that characters in Earthrise will not gain levels, but improve in
skills and statistics. Skill values will range from 1 to 100. The
higher the value the more options will open for the player. I can give
you an update on our final decision later this year.

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Atanas Atanasov, CEO
of Masthead Studios

Ten Ton Hammer:
You’ve mentioned that PvP plays an important part in style="font-style: italic;">Earthrise
? How are
you integrating this feature into the game? Will you be able to kill
players anywhere? Or is it limited to certain areas in the game?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: If I must
describe PvP in Earthrise
with one word – it is “freedom”. In most
popular MMORPG titles you are limited to attacking players from the
opposite faction or players from a guild that you are at war with.
Earthrise will give freedom to the players to attack anyone they want
to in most areas, not without consequences however.

There will be some high
security areas in Earthrise,
where guards will attack on sight everyone else who tries to attack
another player. People, who don’t want to engage in PvP will
feel secure in these zones. At the same time, the most dangerous parts
of the island will feature free for all PvP.

Ten Ton Hammer: How will
combat work in Earthrise?
You’ve mentioned that there will be dynamic targeting and
advanced AI systems; so will it be closer to an FPS in the terms of how
you target your enemies? Once you have them targeted, do you need to
keep them in your sights?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: Combat in style="font-style: italic;">Earthrise will be
as close to FPS/TPS as possible, though we are still working on the
fine details of the implementation. The game will require a certain
level of player skill in movement and targeting that is becoming
increasingly popular trend in current wave of MMOs. Still, not every
action will have the same requirements. Some actions will require
proper targeting of the opponent, while others will require only having
it in sight and then there will be actions that can be executed even if
the player doesn’t have its target in sight but within range.

Ten Ton Hammer:
It’s been stated that you’ll have over 100
different skills in the game that players can advance. Are all of these
skills combat based? Can you give us an example of how one of these
skills will function in the game?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: The number
100 indicates total skills, abilities and tactics available at launch.
While many of them are combat oriented, a sizable amount will cover
crafting and social aspects for each character. The three types of game
elements – skills, abilities and tactics, are closely related
to each other and will allow for numerous possibilities for
customization of the character.

Tactics are the key to
customization – these meta-enhancements will be compatible
with wide variety of abilities and will change their effects to suit
player’s style of play.

Players with similar
skills may have a completely different style of fighting thanks to
enhancing them with tactics. For example when two players have the
skill to shoot with laser pistol, the first may add additional damage
to it, while the second - faster reloading time or more accuracy. This
brings an element of surprise to the game. You never know what your
opponent has prepared for you.

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Combat in Earthrise,
according to Atanas, will be as close to an FPS/TPS as possible.

Ten Ton Hammer: The key
geographic region of the game seems to be Enterra Island. Is this
correct? How big is the island and how long will it take players to
cross the entire thing?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: In terms of
landmass, Enterra island stands somewhere in the middle if you compare
it to all MMOs on the market. It is large enough to fit lots of
different zones, but not as large as to feel empty. The time it takes
to cross the island depends on the means of transportation of the
player with various vehicles available to him.

Ten Ton Hammer: According
to the information revealed about Earthrise,
there will be mechanized exosuits in the game. Do you mean the
forty-foot tall vehicles that we see in popular cartoons and TV shows?
Or is this a smaller sort of exosuit?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: The
mechanized exoskeletons in Earthrise
will be the smaller brethren of the anime-inspired mecha, about 10 feet
in size. Exoskeletons will be similar to vehicles in many ways, but
will allow for limited, specialized combat abilities. We will publish
concept art of the exosuits very soon on our official web site.

Ten Ton Hammer: How
difficult is it to balance a game that is skill-based? What sort of
techniques are you using to insure that the game remains fun and fair
for every player?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: Skill-based
games are one of the most difficult to balance and we realize that. We
are using both analytical and gameplay methods for balancing the game
on its many levels. One thing we hope to accomplish is limiting the
typical to the genre “power creep”, where each next
tier of abilities or equipment overshadows the previous in raw power
and statistics and creates an artificial rift between players, and then
providing high-level characters with wider variety of abilities,
effects and conditions they can put to use in various situations.
Player skill will become an important factor because equipment will not
render it meaningless. The swift David would take the sleeping Goliath

Ten Ton Hammer: One of
your key points in the Earthrise
game FAQ is that item creation and customization will be
“unlike any other MMO to date”. What do you mean?
How can players customize their items beyond providing some basic

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: First and
foremost, the biggest change from other MMOs is the shift of most item
customization authority from the player who owns it to the designer and
manufacturer who creates it. This small but important change transforms
crafters from nameless laborers who are rarely rewarded to truly,
powerful, influential and sought after designers as long as they can
provide truly unique items with the exact combination of qualities and
enhancements that would help players in certain situations. To further
make designers unique, item designs will provide only temporary market
advantage, so designers will always have to compete among each other,
find new enhancements and experiment with new combinations to support
their product lines. No matter how far fetched a direct comparison
might be, we want to create a virtual market that rewards and motivates
crafters in the same way such as creation-centric virtual worlds like style="font-style: italic;">Second Life and style="font-style: italic;">There.

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The Earthrise
developers hope to restrict the "power creep" that is common in other

Ten Ton Hammer: How long
has Masthead Studios been working on the style="font-style: italic;">Earthrise
What sort of impact will Earthrise
have on the general MMOG marketplace?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: The style="font-style: italic;">Earthrise project
has been in development for 2 years. We think the game will bring some
fresh air to the MMO community as a whole. Players will find a lot of
features that have been missing in the mainstream MMO titles for the
past six or seven years. At the same time style="font-style: italic;">Earthrise will
offer some innovative gameplay that we believe is the future in MMO

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything else you’d like to tell the Ten Ton Hammer readers?

style="font-weight: bold;">Atanas: I would like
to thank you for the interview and wish fast leveling and lots of
exceptional items to the readers.

Does a ground-based,
mech-filled, science-fiction game sound right up your alley? Are you
interested in Earthrise's
take on PvP? href="">Let
us know on the forums!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Earthrise Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016