I just got around to watching this Dev Hangout from April 15 and it’s filled with all sorts of interesting tidbits about the game.There is now debate over whether they want to keep the “fog of war” or go with another method of revealing the map. Will the cloth map actually be needed for navigation throughout the game? You might actually have to consult the charts to figure out where you are and which way to go next. For the alpha builds it may be possible to switch between the two methods to see which you like better. I’m sure this will be one of the topics in the soon to be open Private Developers Forum. I kind of liked the fog of war, but I’m happy to see what else they have in mind.

Lord British also talked about “The Lunar Rift” which completely took me by surprise. It sounds similar to the Moongates of previous Ultimas. They will appear under certain moon phases and allow you to teleport. In fact, it sounds like we’ll need to understand how the Rift works in order to get to certain islands in the game. We’ll have to learn how to read the runes to learn how it works and how to control it.

Darkness, Astronomy and Weather will play a big part in the game. Since Richard has mentioned it before, I fully expect that we will need to be in the swamp, under a full moon, while it’s raining to pick Nightshade. It’s also pretty clear that the world will become very dangerous once the sun goes down. Similar to Minecraft, the monsters come out at night and ravage the land. If you stray too far from the lighted path you will find yourself in danger. And speaking of danger, the monsters that roam the wilderness won’t be bound by levels like in Diablo and other RPGs, so you will very likely get in over your head with monsters that can pulverize you. Just because you’re a “level 1” doesn’t mean everything you run into will be. Expect to perfect your hasty retreat maneuver.

I like the idea of not everything being at the same level. It’s pretty typical to wander through the dungeon and only meet things of the same strength. You trade blows, maybe make a bit of retreat or duck into a side room, take a potion and go back for the final kill. Then you meet the Boss, run in circles quaffing potions like a fool while everyone else in the room shoots it in the hiney. It’ll keep you on your toes to came face to face with something you have no chance at killing. Is it worth the risk to jump into the fray to show Valor and hope for the best or is it best to keep your distance and let others do the work for you. Is that Humility or Cowardice? Hmm… I sense some of Virtues peeking through.

There is so no word on what death will feel like… Let’s just hope Tracy doesn’t get his way. He’s hardcore!!

Another aspect of the game that sound intriguing, is even though you may be in a group or party, you can receive quests that only pertain to you. And you can get quests that you have to complete alone. Richard was saying that many elements of the game will be tailored just to your character. Puzzles, quests and other game play ideas to be revealed later will be based on your Virtues and how you’ve been playing the game. I’m curious to see what he means by that and how it will play out. If you’re running amok, how will the game respond to you?

Richard and Chris both reiterated their commitment to monthly builds. They’re using the “Agile” project management method with two week “Sprints” so we should in fact see a lot of change very quickly in the game. Crafting should be the first item we get to see because they want to make sure people like it and use it.

By the way, the SotA store should be open soon with actual items to purchase. Not only do you get the item, but the “overhead” will count towards the stretch goals. That will be pretty cool. I just want some shot glasses. And a t-shirt. And a poster. Ok, and maybe a box cover. Is there a soundtrack? Can I buy some Shroud of the Avatar shoes? Shroud of the Avatar cycling jersey? Anyone?

Anyway, the Dev Talk did go into some technical information on shaders, hexes and effects, but I heard a lot of new information about the game. You’re going to need to plan ahead if you want to go out at night. And based on that, that’s where you’ll find the good stuff. I like the idea of crafting and house building and the other social elements, but I’m just as anxious to hear about the actual RPG gameplay. I don’t want all the “grind” elements of Diablo, but I’m all for quests and treasure and making with the stabby stabby on the monsters.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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