In this week's update, we answer questions from the community. There are several we haven't answered on purpose, hoping to be able to demonstrate instead. Many of you are asking for a video. We hear you, and we're on it as soon as we can. There were also many questions on the public beta and release dates. To this I can say now, that during a planning meeting we determined that our launch date will be inside 2008, with the public beta preceding it by a few weeks. This is official and internally we're a lot more specific, but pending an announcement, we cannot say more at this time.
On with the questions:
1. How many people can now bind to a clanstone?
The number will depend on your buildings and upgrades. There's a base number which isn't finalized but it probably won't exceed 50. This number goes up with new buildings and upgrades to buildings.
2. On "all race clans". There are several questions on this.
The only change we made to our original plans is that we took out the clan city NPC reaction to the owners of the city regardless of race. This means that NPC guards won't attack racial enemies if they belong to the clan, and NPC vendors will trade with them. It makes sense that it would work this way, but the main reason we did this is in the spirit of player freedom, and not wanting to overly restrict player socialization for reason of race. This is not a game with factions as seen in other games. You don't have races with limited interaction or limited ability to interact. There will be one character race per world, so again this makes sense to us. Having said that:
All race clans cannot go everywhere as a clan. Certain members are always at risk of being attacked by racial enemies, and present an alignment problem to defend (see question 3 below).
There's concern by the community that mega-clans will form and own cities in all areas of the world. Size presents serious management problems, but also in Darkfall, the more you own, the more you have to lose. All things considered equal, a compatible race clan can have an advantage over an all race clan.
3. Imagine if a Mahirim and Mirdain player are grouped and are playing in (For example) Mercia. They bump into a human who wants to kill the Mahirim for extra alignment. If the grouped Mirdain attacks the human to help his Mahirim friend, will the Mirdain get an alignment penalty?
Yes, he will take an alignment penalty and this is a limitation for all race clans and groups.
4. What are you working on right now?
As far as Darkfall development: polishing the game in every way imaginable, and working on quality assurance of the beta version, updating it several times a day. Even if it's a short description, it's a huge job but it's going well.
5. Have any steps been taken to ease the meat grinder effect on new players as they enter the Darkfall world?
Let's assume for the sake of argument that there's an area in Darkfall where "lowbie hunters" like to camp for newbs. Most of the time, these individuals or groups will end up fighting each other. In Darkfall you're never sure how advanced or new a player is since we have no levels.
Furthermore, in Darkfall, starting players are not helpless and can defend themselves well enough, and in groups they can discourage people from preying on them. There are guards in starting areas providing protection. There are guards in clan cities if the new players are in a clan. There's an invulnerability period of several minutes after death as long as the player doesn't perform an action. The world is truly huge so it's very easy to avoid people, especially with the lack of radar.
6. Magic vs. Melee combat.
Pound for pound melee has more power but this is not a pound for pound game. Darkfall is a real-time game requiring player skill, and the attacks are aimed. It is not a reaction game, it is not a turn based game, it's not a game where you sit there button-mashing and trading blows with someone. Nor is this a game where you're pigeonholed into being a magician, or a tank etc.
The spell user could switch at any point to a two handed axe and the melee fighter might switch to a bow or to a staff and cut down the fleeing opponent. The Darkfall answer to this question is that it depends on the circumstance, the player position, player skill, readiness, tactics etc.
7. Will armor protect from spell damage?
Yes it can.
8. Is magic going to be primarily for damage, or primarily for support?
Both and depending on the situation, a spell could devastate a group of players. Personally I would use magic in a specialized, rather than saying a support role. I'd use it for range, for area of effect use, to blow people away and off of things- and to finish them off.. whether I was playing solo or in a group.
9. Will close combat be primarily for damage, or primarily for protecting the mages and archers?
10. Will magic require players to carry around a wand/staff to use spells?
Yes players need to carry a wand or a staff, and the components to cast their spells. Very few spells don't require components.
11. Can you give us some more details on the blocking system? Parrying, is it in? If so does it work like blocking?
Blocking works by choosing to block, during which you cannot attack. You will often still take damage, usually reduced. You have to be facing your opponent to block. Parrying works the same way.
12. How is the naming going to work and what characters are permitted in names?
Right now we allow only letters of the English alphabet, the underscore, and limited use of numbers. You select a first and a last name and this combination has to be unique.
13. Is there underwater combat? Are there any restrictions?
Yes there is. Spells and ranged weapons can't be used in underwater combat.
14. How is the "deleting loot" issue going to be addressed?
You can delete only one item at a time, and there's a timer between items. You won't have time to delete much at all, even if you train yourself to do it. You have a better chance at fleeing than dropping your guard in order to delete stuff which you could possibly salvage should you get away.
15. How does incapacitation work?
When your hitpoints go to zero, (unless you're killed outright through decapitation or scull crushing) then you're incapacitated. You're on your back and there's a timer running. In the time it takes the timer to run out you can be revived, you can tap out, or you can be finished off. When the timer runs out you're dead.
16. Do spells travel at different velocities?
Yes they do, they can also have different physics and different ranges.
17. What is the status on in-game message boards?
They're in the game, you can look at your player journal and interact with it, you have your clan controls there, a variety of message boards and a lot more which we prefer not to mention at this time.
18. More info on the development on universal banks please.
I'll give you some insight as far as our decision goes to include them. We decided on universal banks for practical gameplay reasons: This is a full loot game. You'll have to re-equip yourself often and it's convenient. It allows you to explore without having to always go back to where you came from. It promotes socialization between players; you can go to a clan city and use their bank perhaps if they allow you to. We also use universal banks in our game mechanics: they're tied in with city building and conquest but I cannot elaborate on that yet.
Thank you for reading.