Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:17 am
We've tried to include all of the questions asked, though some have been removed as we had a few double-ups, some were too ambiguous, and some simply cannot be answered at this stage.
I am hopeful that a generous bilingual player will give up some of their time and translate the following interview into German. The second post in this thread will be reserved for such a translation. A big thank you to Djironnyma for helping out with all of the required translations up to this point. And a thank you in advance to whoever takes on this task.
VBU: Q+A with the Developers
"What are the System/Hardware/Connection requirements for the VBU Client?"
The system requirements of the new client will be comparable to the current one. Depending on the resolution you expect the client to run at, the requirements may be higher or lower than the requirements of the current client. The new client should run on low spec netbooks, however, for convenient performance, a graphics driver with dedicated memory and OpenGL support is recommended. A 700MHz CPU will not result in a lot of fun with the client. 1.5GHz are recommended at least.
The new client will require Java 1.6, the older 1.5 version will no longer work. This also kills the support for Windows 98, Windows ME and MacOS X 10.4 Tiger. Solaris is now supported as 32 and 64 bit. 32MB memory is not enough any more due the massive increase of graphic resources. 64MB is a minimum, and it's okay if part of that memory is shared.
"It is common knowledge that it is actually too easy to get money and the most items by the loot of monsters. It is said that it will be harder with the VBU (especially because you can’t beat the monsters with good loot alone anymore, even as a master-powergamer). So far so good, but it was also said that there will be no item-wipe. Wouldn't that be unfair for new players who start playing after the VBU? If it becomes harder with the VBU to get money and good items that would mean older players have an enormous amount of treasure in their depot."
Some items will necessarily be deleted for technical reasons after the VBU, though it is not known precisely which yet. The economy has been modified such that there is always something to spend your money on. While older players will have their treasure still there, they will find new ways of spending it. There will also be ways for newbies to get money without needing other players, so nobody is going to lose. It should not take too long for the economy to balance out.
"Will you start at zero with Illarion? Will old players lose their items and characters and have to make new ones?"
There is no wipe of characters or items planned. Certain items will have to be removed as stated above though.
"Will players still have the ability to mould the world of illarion?"
Absolutely. In fact, in some regards players will have even more ability than before. Post-VBU, the world of Illarion will be significantly more dynamic and responsive to the decisions and actions of its inhabitants. Your choices will actually mean something. First and foremost, Illarion is a roleplaying game. We recognise that the ability for players to influence the gameworld is vital for such a game to be successful.
"Will Illarion be an interactive/living game? Will the world be in constant change concerning monsters, towns etc.?"
We hope so! We've done our best to make the world of Illarion as interesting as possible, and with the GMs returning to the game in a more active capacity post-VBU, we are confident that the game will seem far more lively than it currently does. But at the end of the day it is you, the players, who breathe the life into Illarion. The greatest interactions will always come from your fellow players and the world will never stop changing as long as you are all there to inhabit it.
"Will there be llamas with the VBU?"
Yes, we couldn’t get rid of him...er...you...
Will there be a backgroundstory, that is improved and connected directly to the game?
Yes. Every new dungeon, site and location has its own history which can be discovered in some way inside the game.
"Is there any reasonable solution for the fairy chars (and the other special races) yet?
And I don't mean transferring their skills, I really could not care less about the skills or items of my fairy. This is about the rp. Will they just die, or have to go to the mainland, or is there any chance we might keep them, via a quest or something?"
The amount of players of fairy (and gnome and goblin) characters was deemed far too low to warrant the large amount of effort required to get them graphics. Thus, the only reasonable solution was removing these races from the game. As to the roleplay reason for their disappearance, that is entirely up to each individual player. They may be killed off, or find safety somewhere on the mainland. Considering that it seems there are currently no characters of any of these races active in the game (and have not been for quite some time), we do not predict there will be any noticeable disruption in Illarion’s roleplay.
"Will mules still exist?"
The mule system will most likely not be in place at the time of release.
Llamas have priority. Then mules.
"How does it work when we first go to log in after the VBU? Will we have the option to just choose what our character looks like once we're in?"
We'll implement a convenient solution. The VBU is not completed yet (otherwise, we could release tomorrow!) and this aspect is still a 'work in progress'.
"Concerning items in depots or mules, do we have to do anything to secure our items so we won't lose them during the update, like storing everything at a special place? Or will nothing change in this regard?"
Like the previous question, we simply aren't in a position to answer this one yet. Should anything like this happen, we will be giving everyone enough notice so that you can take the appropriate actions.
“Will all non-GM tool items be accessible to players to some degree (craftable or obtainable by quest or monster drop)?”
Aren’t they already? Yes, they are (and will be). There will also be quite a number of things for sale, and there are obviously new items to create or find.
“Will the ground wiping system change any?”
“Will there be a sort of 'community trash can' where we can drop things we don't want instead of leaving them on the ground to 'blow away'?”
No. Though, as with any ideas, you are welcome to properly detail a proposal and submit it through Mantis.
"Also, will there be an OOC channel, where we will NOT be reprimanded or "kakked on" for talking oocly? We need one.
No, IRC does not count."
No. We don’t see the need for such a feature. People play Illarion because they want to roleplay. An OOC channel would simply distract from this. The current double bracket system is sufficient for the few occasions when OOC talk is needed in Illarion. By all means, make friends amongst the community with the people behind the characters, but do so outside of the game client. Our IRC channel and your own instant-messenger programs are more than adequate for such purposes.
“Will the map be the same?”
No. There will be many new dungeons and areas to explore. We have also attempted to make every piece of land have something interesting in it. There will be no more trekking through the forest looking at nothing but trees.
"Will it be possible for more people to own homes and to furnish them more individually? Like with more variety perhaps?”
The housing 'system' (if you can even call it that) has not received any major attention with the VBU. The most significant changes will most likely be in the form of rule alterations. The availability of housing post-VBU will be similar to its current levels. Unfortunately, there will not be any new advanced IG system with which to customise or furnish buildings; that will remain the domain of our mappers.
"It’s known that the map will change, mostly there come new dungeons but also the island will be changed. Will there be changes to the settlements and if yes, will these changes come in cooperation with the PO of the governments of the settlements? Will private owned houses of chars stay unchanged?"
There will be changes made to the settlements and to private houses. It was deemed most important that our mappers be given the freedom that they required to improve the map. They created many new interesting sites and dungeons and we look forward to presenting you these new features. Any discontinuities will be given roleplaying reasons. Everyone, including the POs of faction leaders, was welcome to join the VBU team to plot the future of Illarion.
"Will “evil villains” be special chars, for which there is an application needed? Will there be special races in general?"
There is nothing like this planned. The players of Illarion will retain their freedom to shape their characters as they wish. The 'special' races have been removed.
"Will religion change / will polytheisms end?"
There is no plan to change the religion with the VBU.
"Will the towns become nicer?"
Very much indeed. Our graphics artists have created a number of beautiful new walls and decorations, and our mappers have worked hard to make the towns even better.
"Will there be changes to the lighting system?"
"Will any magic graphics change?"
"Will male and female lizards still look the same?"
Yes. You'd think you guys would have taken a hint by now.
"will female vampires and the drow matriarch have (as requested) Epic Jumblies? you know so we are dead certain it IS female.. or at least impersonating a female"
We implemented tobacco as an alternative.
“Will there be tobacco?”
Yes. Time to put that meme to rest don't you think?
“Can we see some monster graphics?”
Hopefully. Keep an eye on the forums for a future information release.
“Can we see a few weapons and items graphics?”
Hopefully. Keep an eye on the forums for a future information release.
Skills & Attributes
“What changes will there be to the current systems like druid and crafting and will there be any new items for those?”
The crafting system has been heavily reworked. Druidism has also received some changes. Both will become more intuitive and enjoyable. As they are still receiving alterations, we will not go into specifics. There will be a few new items related to both systems.
“How dramatically will the effects of attributes be changed? Will previously renowned fighters/mages/crafters become obsolete?”
The changes will not be too dramatic, but will be enough to be noticeable. However, a good mage will remain a good mage and a good fighter a good fighter.
“Will there be stat requirements for alchemy?”
Yes, though it is unclear what they will be. Anyone who currently has the alchemy skill will retain it post-VBU, whether or not they meet the alchemy requirements.
“Will basic information about the systems such as attributes required to perform certain roles, remain a hidden aspect from players?”
No. We plan to provide a convenient guide to attributes sometime shortly after release of the VBU.
"Will the crafting system change? Will my smith be able to create magic weapons now?"
Crafting will remain mostly the same, however the materials used will be more logical, skill increase will be more rewarding and it won't take half a mine to create a suit of armour. Yes, magic weapons will be possible to make, however they will require rare materials which you will have to work hard for.
"Will there be changes to the alchemy system?"
Yes. All changes aim at enhancing the convenience of alchemy. Various bugs with the system will also be fixed.
"Will there be more freedom in character creation, such that characters with prior knowledge/skills can be made? This is in addition to a system like the current, where all new characters know nothing and have zero experience doing anything, according to the game engine."
No. Even though the VBU will pose a serious update to the game, we did not abandon the fundamentals of Illarion.
"How will the skill system be changed?"
The fundamentals will not change. However, the mental capacity system won't be annoying you any more and skill gain will be much more fair and enjoyable for everyone. Time spent online will matter more than the pure number of (mindless) clicks.
Combat & Magic
"Will the VBU include any changes to the Magic System or at least to the system of teaching magic?"
While this was the intention, we didn't have the sufficient time or support necessary to perform these changes. In a post-VBU update we will see modifications to the system. On the other hand, Druid Magic has received some attention.
"Will any priest magic or bard magic systems come with the VBU?"
No. Priest Magic was put on hold for the VBU and Bard Magic is, at this time, still unplanned.
"Will there be different kinds/classes of mages/magic? Will all classes have different kinds? (like Warrior -> Barbarian, Swordfighter,... ; Druid-> Witch, alchemist,...)"
A better magic system is planned after the VBU. But until then there won't be any such changes.
Despite the major changes that are coming, Illarion will not be stepping away from its defining traits. One of these is Illarion's lack of classes. We will never pigeonhole characters into specific groups in such a manner. Any notion of labelling a character, say, a druid, witch, or an alchemist is done purely from a roleplay perspective.
“Will there be any new NPC monsters?”
How do Bone Dragons sound? They'll bring some friends, too. The current ones have also been made more interesting too...
“Will the bow damage and actions be updated with the paper dolling?”
Yes. Projectile weaponry will receive a much-needed revamp. In fact, the entire fighting system was reworked and will offer you many more tactical and strategic options, leading to a more enjoyable experience overall.
“Will monster drops and drop rates finally become equivalent in their Risk vs Reward?”
Yes. As NPC monsters and the fighting system received changes, consequently, the monster drops were redone as well. However, keep in mind that "risk vs. reward" means that, in future, an awesome reward will require you to take a serious risk. For the largest rewards, don't expect to be able to go alone and camp the spawn site. Working with a party of characters will be much more necessary and more rewarding than it is at the moment.
"Will the balance between different character-classes improve?"
Yes. The balance between different fighting styles has been improved. Illarion will, of course, remain a "class free" game.
"Will the fighting system become more realistic? I.e. A group of weaker characters can defeat a single much more powerful character. Fighter wise at least."
More realistic, no. But it will be more enjoyable. Certain weapons will be more effective against certain armours however, so it will be possible to defeat a more powerful character by employing proper planning and good tactics.
“Is there any time left that the players can help with the VBU, if so how?”
Definitely. If you want to help out, simply contact a developer. NPC scripting and book writing are two very easy ways to benefit the game. Both can be picked up in about ten minutes. Book writing requires no programming skill whatsoever. We're also always looking for talented scripters (Lua), Developers (Java/C++) and people with an aptitude for creating graphics.
“Will there be an active part used towards promotion and advertisement of Illarion as a game as currently there is very little ways to draw new players in.”
Do it. There is nothing stopping anyone from getting out there, promoting and spreading word of Illarion. Is there anything currently planned from our end? No. We simply don’t have the resources to be spreading our focus so broadly.
"Currently there are almost no quests IG. It is said this is because all GMs are working for the VBU. But if they work for the VBU they are DEVs and if they are DEVs, don’t we need new GMs? Is there a lack of proper candidates or what is the reason we are getting none? Especially if we get more players after the VBU, I think we need more GMs, even if those who are currently working for the VBU then work as a GM again."
There will be automated quests involving NPCs (including some very interesting ones which you can redo...) with the VBU, so there will always be something to do IG. Post-VBU, the number of GM-organised quests, events and interactions will increase significantly. The current GMs who are assisting with the development of the VBU have certainly not abandoned nor lost their posts as gamemasters, and will be resuming their duties with the release of the update. New GMs will be recruited if and when needed, as has always been our policy.
“Will there be active balancing and bug of imbalanced or overpowering aspects of the game? (i.e. no more glitch serinjah sword items left to sit for years though the fix is very simple to make)”
Yes. Small, incremental updates will be used to solve issues of imbalance and to fix bugs.
“How will updates be handled for future content?”
Future updates will take the form of both significant content packages, and incremental bugfixes and improvements.
And of course...
"When will be the release of the VBU?"
When it’s done (R). Soon (R). Help out and it'll be done faster (TM)
Thank you all once again. Hopefully we will be able to provide some further updates on the progress of the VBU soon. Stay tuned.
As always, the VBU team would certainly welcome a fresh set of hands (yours). Helping out is as easy as writing a story or coming up with a few lines of dialogue. Everyone does that each time they log into Illarion, so you can't say that it's too difficult. Contact a developer if you want to help out.