Question of the Day #2

GB: It has been previously stated that one's alignment won't have much effect on the game. Are there *any* situations or encounters in the game where one's alignment matters?

Garrett: No. This is a wilderness adventure, where the party is interacting with a few friendly NPCs and a slew of monsters. There aren't a lot of moral decisions to be made. Also, keep in mind that WOTC prefers that campaigns be heroic. This doesn't mean that alignment can't have an effect on the game, but it does make it more difficult.


GB: It has been mentioned that the Mythal, that is part of Myth Drannor, will have some influence on the game. Can you shed any light on what rol the Mythal will play in the game?

Garrett: The Mythal will mostly be a background force that drives a lot of the game storyline. However, the Mythal's affect on spells has caused some to not be allowed in game, as well as produced certain effects, like blueglow moss, which the player can take advantage of.

GB: Has this extra time (delay until May) offered you any opportunities to add anything new or improve the game in certain aspects?

Garrett: Yep. We've added in some new monsters (including the Lich), and really filled out the story. A big chunk of our extra time has been used to really bring Myth Drannor to life.


GB: One of the reasons why the game is postponed until May is the fact that the company has just been bought. What influence has this had on the production schedule? Was there a period where no work could be done? How did you and the team experience this "take-over"?

Garrett: The work was always getting done, it just slowed down for a while. Getting bought always causes a lot uncertainty and eats up a lot of time. For Jon (the previous producer) and myself, this was our fourth time, so it wasn't so bad. And Chuck is always...upbeat. Its scary.


GB: How easy will it be for the party to find places to rest? Are there sections in the game, where one carefully has to consider whether or not to cast a spell or to save it until later?

Garrett: We're still balancing this - what we're shooting for is to have a few spots in each area to rest. The party shouldn't be able to just rest anywhere, but we also don't want to make the player march all the way across a map to rest (that would be annoying ;-) There are plenty of combats in Pool, so spellcasters will always need to consider whether or not to cast a spell.


GB: Do non-magical weapons break during the course of the game (on a critical miss for example)? Are there any enemies such as rust monsters that can destroy equipment?

Garrett: No, we don't have weapons that break. Weapons breaking is realistic, but annoying.

GB: Does this mean that a game should not have any annoying features even if they are realistic?

Garrett: Well. There's a can of worms waiting to be opened. I'm generally against annoying features (of course), since the point of playing a game is to have fun. We do have to balance this against realism and the fact that we're using someone else's rules. Some rules which are easy to implement in the PnP game, like attacking a weapon, are quite difficult to program in a CRPG. This isn't to say that it can't be done, just that we have to make trade-offs on what we put in a game. So, to answer your question, this is something we have to handle on a case by case basis.

GB: Why has the decision been made to not feature the wizard, druid, and bard class in the game? What elements played a roll in this decision? Was it hard to make this decision? What are the problems of adding a new class to the game? People fear that the absense of these classes will have a negative impact on the game. Do you have anything to say on this?

Garrett: "Why aren't Wizards, Bards, Druids or Gnomes in the game?" This has actully been addressed many times on this board over the last year and a half. To recap: adding in those classes would have cost a lot of money and made the game ship later. I've noticed that a lot of people seem skeptical of this, but really, first and foremost, we are a business and we don't have unlimited funds. Originally, the game didn't have Paladins, Monks or Halfling (models) either. When we made the decision to add them, it came with a hefty price tag and pushed back the release date. I can assure all of you, we are not deliberately trying to piss anyone off. We are simply trying to make the best game that we can, with a finite budget and timeline. With this in mind, Wizards were dropped because they are only minimally different than Sorcerers and we were trying to highlight the new 3E rules. Bards are are very similar to rogues, with some magical abilities and lots of people based skills (which don't get used much in a wilderness based adventure). A druid's specialities are summoning animals and shapechanging, both of which are very art intensive (art = $$$). We left these out because putting them in would have meant dropping something else from the game. None of these were easy decisions for the team and they knew at the time that there would be some negative reactions, but again, that was the reality they had to deal with. If Pool of Radiance does well, then we'll have lots more cash for any future titles that we do *cough* *hint* *hint*.