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GB: According to the official website, quests will have random steps of completion so that two characters will most likely have to perform a quest differently (or in a different order) from each other. Will any quest items be located on rare NPCs? If so, even if the steps are in a different order, wouldn't this same NPC be (camped) for a critical piece needed to complete the quest? If not, how does Mythic intend on making quest items available (i.e. randomly found on dungeon floors, etc)?
Matt: Yes, quest items will be located on rare NPCs - but the NPC will drop the item ONLY if the person killing it (or someone else from his group) is on that quest, and has performed all the other necessary steps in the quest. Also, each person may perform a quest only once, so they may only get one of each quest item, no matter how many times they kill the monster. So, if a quest monster is simply killed by a high level guy, the quest item will not drop. This will significantly reduce powerful-item farming.
GB: One problem with previous MMORPGs (in their infancy anyway) has been the implementation of a (money sink). Characters built up so much wealth that equipment was inflated proportionally. How does Mythic plan on maintaining the value of coin in the game? Ideally, once a sufficient amount of money has been made available, every time a gold piece is given out, one should be taken away (by purchasing, etc). Aside from purchasing equipment, where else will coin be needed?
Matt: There's no easy answer for this one, but we're going to try our best to limit access to money in the game. Player's weapons and armor will degrade over time, requiring frequent repairs/sharpening, and will eventually have to be scrapped and new weapons and armor bought or quested for. Most spellcasters will be able to buy (focus) items that make their spellcasting more effective, but these objects also will require maintenance and will need to be upgraded after a certain period of time.
GB: During the EverQuest beta, we were told that the optimal server population for its release would be 1000 players. The game was released, reality hit, and some of the higher traffic servers had as many as 2500 players on during peak hours. Needless to say, overpopulated servers can be extremely frustrating (and ruin the fun) for many reasons. Will DAoC suffer from this same problem? What measures are being taken in order to alleviate server overpopulation? Is Mythic prepared to have as many servers in place as it needs, even if the game is a huge success and goes above and beyond projected sales?
Matt: Our general baseline is less than 1000 players per realm per server, so about 2500-3000 total per shard. However, the world of Camelot is much larger than that of EverQuest (at least before the two expansions). This number, of course, is subject to change based on player input and the results of later-stage testing.
GB: Once the game is released, can we expect to see other areas of the game open up as time goes on? For example, Verant opened up the different Planes of Existence after releasing EverQuest.
Matt: Yes, we're going to have expansions - but first things first! We need to get the original game done before we start working about what comes next.
GB: Currently, the beta allows eight players per group. However, for large scale battles, it becomes a necessity to have communication between as many as 30-40 people (to strategize, etc). Will there be any way (other than a zone broadcast) to communicate within a (network) of groups?
Matt: Camelot will allow high Realm-point Realm leaders to communicate with multiple groups at once, making a sort of linked (uber group). How many groups are allowed to be linked together is dependent on testing.
GB: The social aspect of any MMORPG has been one of the genre's biggest appeals. Are you planning on making this an essential part of the playing experience in DAoC, especially for those (most of us at some point) who wish to take a break from fighting? Will there be shortcut commands such as /reply and an array of animated emotes such as /dance or /laugh?
Matt: Absolutely. We need to have special emoting commands and animations to go along with them - especially for when you meet someone from another realm and want to make your favorite rude gesture at them.
GB: PvP is a serious issue, loved by some and hated by others. Mythic's creative approach to realm-based PvP (by high level players) might be exactly what we've all been waiting for. How is Mythic going to deal with complaints that one realm is more powerful than the other because their classes/skills/spells are overpowered? Will classes/skills/spells be (nerfed) during the course of the game to balance PvP?
Matt: We'll always do what we have to do to make the game balanced. If we slip-up and introduce a bug or imbalance that makes one class too powerful, we'll have to take steps to make sure that the problem is fixed. I'd rather have some disgruntled players whose characters have been nerfed than a completely imbalanced game that is fun for no one. Of course, our job is to make sure that these problems don't happen in the first place.
GB: Aside from Realm Points, is there anything else a character might benefit from by partaking in PvP? Can you loot the opponent's equipment upon his/her death? If so, will it be one item (like EQ), all items (like UO), or coins only? If not, what detriment is there to being killed via PvP?
Matt: We really want players to jump in and experience PvP, and it's been our experience that if you introduce significant looting, then most players won't want to take the chance. So, you won't be able to loot items or equipment, but you will be able to loot their (heads), which will translate into Realm Points, and maybe a cash reward from your Realm. There will be little or no detriment to being killed in PVP, except, of course, for the aggravation of being teleported back to your bind spot.
GB: With the exclusion of PvP, will there be enough to do in Camelot to captivate the high level characters' attention and keep them busy? Once a large portion of the server population becomes high level, how will Mythic handle overcrowding of the high level areas? Do you plan to restructure low-level areas to be viable for the ever-growing high level crowd (such as Verant's manipulation of Splitpaw to a higher level dungeon in EQ)?
Matt: We'll have to keep creating new expansions and high-level dungeons as time goes on. However, the focus of the game at high levels will always be the PvP (capture the flag) aspect of Relic stealing and shrine defense.
GB: Will a player's realm choice make him or her an enemy and (killed on sight) to anyone including merchants and guards in the opposing realms? Or will there be exceptions (such as neutral NPCs and monsters within the enemy realms who are friendly to all or more than one realm)? This could affect long campaigns against an enemy realm if there were no options to repair items or otherwise maintain healthy troops.
Matt: There may be some exceptions (mostly for quest steps that take place in enemy Realms), but for the most part, enemy Realms will be quite dangerous for the player.
GB: With each realm being a large world of its own, bind stones will be an important step for any long-distance traveler, especially for forays into enemy territory. Will the bind stones for each realm be usable by all, or are they realm-specific? If they are realm-specific, will there be any bind stones in the game that are usable by all realm characters?
Matt: This is a question that will have to wait for extensive PvP testing and player comment. We simply don't know yet.
In conclusion, I'd like to issue a sincere thank you to Matt and all the people at Mythic Entertainment for making this interview possible.