Last night my radio show, Grenade, had a great opportunity to interview a developer from AoC live. At first Jason was a bit late getting into vent which scared us at the show. However, after things got rolling it became real clear we had something special going on. For starters, the interview was supposed to be 30 minutes long but turned into an hour and a half of nice hard questioning. We were able to even get a substantial amount of live commentary on the air for him to respond to, from vent and IRC. Enough BS though...
We covered a variety of subjects with him, ranging from how they are going to handle creating stable, large-scale battles at release to how are resources gathered for crafting. Obviously there were alot of questions in 1 1/2 hours of talking but the big points for me were how they are handling the pvp mechanics, lag, and 3rd party programs. They are taking an interesting approach to large-scale pvp by creating a "fog of war" which is essentially turning down your characters range of awareness around him so you are not overloading the servers or your own connection. I think this an interesting approach to the problem and might be the only technological solution that will allow large battles to occur in real time. How it turns out is up to them though.
The next big question I had had to do with 3rd party programs, He told us they were well aware of the abuses and had on staff players who have been involved with creating these programs. Their solution was to put much more of the gameplay on the server side than client, compared to other MMORPGs.
I am going to borrow something from the f13.net forums about the interview, a post by CharlieMopps:
"What are you doing to make sure the client doesn't lag out in large battles - fog of war
What are you doing about 3rd party progs - blah blah blah, securing the client
How long will pvp last - We don't know - arbitrary number... we don't know
How is the pace - slightly slower than wow
are stats gear based? - Primarily "Feat" based. Gear is for defense.
Crowd control - Immunity timer system (ala DAOC) not diminishing returns. No specific class is crowd control specific. All have some ability.
Crafting - He doesn't know much about it. Based off crafting quests that result in patterns. A lot yet to be determined.
Is PVP required? - He was wishy washy... but yes. There's a WOW type area, and a "shadowbane" type area. Sounds like the shadowbane area is the endgame.
DPS PVP questions - Potions of varying quality are important for mitigating dps for all classes. All healing is Heal over time. So you are trying to beat your opponents DPS with your healing potions. There are different types of potions, you can stack different types but not 2 of the same types.
Blood money - you get it for killing players that have been going around taking out other players. The money is a bonus for stuff like that. You keep up your endgame items with it. Housing, mounts, etc...
Sieging - There is no war declarations. You can change rotation time that you are vulnerable, you get more rewards for shorter rotations. You can construct objectives like gatehouses, etc... the person that controls this the longest will probably win. The ticketing system is complex. The damage remains after the siege. No max players for sieges. If you still have control of your castle/fort/etc... you can spawn there after death. If you lose control, you spawn at your next closest control point. Planning spawn points is important prior to battle. There are build timers, but they are relatively short. You can upgrade structures to provide more cover and make them stronger. Open PVP unless they are in your group/raid/guild. There are PVP raid groups. You can't kill your own guildmembers unless you get a contract from another guild. The PVP zones are level restricted to level 40+
buffing in raids - most buffs are team propagated. Cast buff, it goes to the whole group but not the raid.
Guilds - Not sure if there is a size cap but probably large guild sizes. Smaller guilds can participate in pvp via the mercenary system. They put a lot of hooks in the code so they can track lots of data on guilds and what-not. Not sure how much will be available yet, they are still weighing cost effectiveness.
Mercenaries - contract based. You get paid if you show up... but if you do a bad job the guild hiring you may not do so again. Mercenaries are temp guild members.
Role-playing - RP servers will be PVP to start. They may add PVE, not sure yet. Its all based on demand (start bitching now if you want it)
Lich class- Magic is defined by range. Liches use closed ranged magic classes.
Mature rating - Europe and USA game are identical. They are ignoring Germany"
This is not a complete recap and I highly urge you guys to check out the full interview at www.uberguildsradio.com. Grenade is on every Sunday at 7 pst/ 9 cst/ 10 est. We cover MMORPG mechanics as a whole but generally lean towards pvp.