Below are some questions that were sent to us as part of our first AMA. Thank you everyone for all your great questions and we are proud to be able to clear up confusion or re-establish how Defend the Night is aligning its development.
1) “Defend the Night is a dark fantasy MMORPG with a challenging, return to classic, gameplay that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” When you say classic, are there certain games you’re referencing or a certain era of MMOs? In other words, what MMOs have you found inspiration from to create DTN’s core gameplay?
- Scribbles: For the most part our developers and community are Everquest fans, but we have a wide variety of favorites. We have grabbed inspiration from Ultima Online, Shadowbane, DAOC, Asheron’s Call, WOW and Dark Souls. Although we are paying close attention to our player base and their feedback while testing to make sure DTN is smooth, fluid and entertaining to a newer player base, or a veteran audience that just might want things more modern
- Bryan: I’ll also throw in one of my personal favorites, Star Wars Galaxies. But Scribbles is exactly right… most of us grew up playing EQ as our first MMORPG experience and transitioned, several years later, into others like Vanilla WoW.
- Korsic: I’ll avoid being redundant as I have played almost every MMO under the sun. I will say, however, that every game out there is a source of inspiration. Maybe we can put a unique spin on a lesser known mechanic from a bygone title and create something extremely enjoyable for our players. The important thing is to see potential in everything that has come before us, and not be afraid to give things a little DTN twist.
2) “As a result, skill and knowledge will be key to surpassing your opposition” This sounds interesting. A lot of MMOs have fairly simple enemies and, as a result, the combat is mostly basic and almost too easy until you get into the much higher levels. Is the above quote hinting towards a deeper and more challenging level of complexity in enemy AI throughout the game?
- Scribbles: We are going to be evaluating this during testing but we are excited about new innovations in enemy AI systems which will make for an entirely interesting and fulfilling experience while killing enemies.
- Bryan: We want to challenge our players from beginning to end. When we mention incorporating principles of classic MMOs, this is one of the things we’re talking about. It really irritates me when games make leveling and early progression faceroll easy. The world of an MMORPG is meant to feel alive and dangerous, and that’s the feel we’re going for with Defend The Night. Reaching max level should be fun and rewarding, not just a chore to finish before the real game starts.
- Korsic: I remember having friends follow me to other MMO’s and explaining to them “The game doesn’t really start until level X” and every time, I’d think to myself: “Why?”. Your level 1 human warrior fighting for his or her life with a rusty sword against a bear cub should feel just as intense as when that same character hits level 50 and cleaving a path through hordes of undead. Improved AI and creative mechanics can go a long way towards overcoming the “tab, auto attack, repeat” of the low-level blues.
3) What would you say is the most standout way DTN differentiates itself from other MMORPGs? There is a lot of mention of unique progression, something an MMORPG guy like myself loves reading because so many MMOs boil down to the same formula for character growth from start to finish, so I’d love to get an understanding of how my day in DTN might differentiate from a typical day in another MMORPG.
- Bryan: I think it’s a combination of things… The progression options, city building, and return of classical elements into a modern MMO. For vertical progression, we never want our players to feel cornered into any one path. So if you enjoy a typical grinder or dungeon crawler, we’ve got you covered. Prefer PvP? Sure, you can burn through levels that way too. We’ll also have some optional quests that can be paired with grinding or exploration, and I’m particularly excited about the event-driven progression, which will be quick, exciting scenarios that can be played solo or co-op.
- Korsic: Imagine you log into an MMO where you don’t really know what the world is going to throw at you. Maybe you’re the owner of a thriving city and have to deal with all the in’s and out’s that come with governing such a successful hub or even just making your way to a dungeon with friends, something we’ve all done time and time again in MMO’s, only to have an event start. Suddenly, a boring trek or monotonous task of governing has become this intense battle for survival. It’s that unknown factor that is the launchpad for unique experiences that strengthen bonds between players and creates lasting stories.
4) Will all PvP be consensual? And if so, are the siege events that are mentioned in the FAQ the primary way to engage in PVP, or will it come in other forms as well?
- Scribbles: Consensual? Perhaps, there will be open world PVP zones in different areas of Certovia. You will never be forced to play PVP unless you reside in those zones and are of an appropriate level. We’ll also have anti-griefing mechanics in those zones. All other zones will be marked PVE. In DTN, we are developing AI sieges as well as PVP sieges that can be triggered, if terms are agreed to by city leaders.
- Nolwien: What Scribble said, and it has to be “consensual” because there are a lot… LOADS, even, of players who do not like PVP in any form! Remember when EQ started, they could flag guilds to go PVP with each other? They knew, even then (we’re talking 1999/2000), that some don’t care for it, so there had to be safe-guards!
- Bryan: Yea, we want to walk that line of giving PvPers opportunities to flex their muscles while allowing those that are very anti-PvP to still have an enjoyable PvE experience.
- Korsic: I’ve always felt that no game has the right to force you to play in one style or the other and so, there has to be that conscious acceptance when the playstyle changes. Be it a notice that they’ve entered an open pvp area, or have to accept a challenge from a rival player to ensure that those engaged in pvp, wish to be.
5) Is there an emphasis towards PvE or PvP, or is DTN aiming to achieve a balance between the two? And if a player does choose to focus on one over the other, is there a big difference in the pacing of character progression?
- Scribbles: We will be balancing for both. For me, I always hated being locked into one style of playing or rerolling just to PVP or PVE. There will be different paths for players to choose from, based on their style of play. Some like to grind and level in one or a few different zones. Some like to expand their cities and become a renowned trade route. So it all depends on what the player wants out of Certovia.
- Bryan: Exactly. I’m also one that enjoys both, but under the right circumstances. There should not be a big difference in the progression speeds, and that’s one of the balance issues we’ll be focusing on with early testing. PvP may end up being more volatile, based on player skill, but we’d like for the average PvE player to level at about the same rate as the average PvPer.
- Korsic: While I consider myself a PvE player in MMO’s, PvP can provide a thrill that PvE just cannot match, and believe it to be an insult to players when a developers doesn’t give each form of play the attention they both rightly deserve and knowingly subjugate the players that don’t want to follow what the developers think they should be doing. It’s the player’s journey, the developers should strive to give them enough options to make that journey something to remember.
6) “DTN aims to provide multiple options for unique, replayable, and exciting experiences to level your character” Can you elaborate a bit on what some of the options will be, outside of dungeons and raids? The FAQ mentions there won’t be typical fetch quests, so I’d love to hear what DTN will offer in place of these? PS, very happy to read this, as I’ve been playing MMOs for about 15 years and got sick of fetch questing about 14 years ago 🙂
- Scribbles: DTN is your standard sandbox so you’ll be able to grind for exp but players will have options to participate in tower defense style mini-games with various scenarios. Along with that, you’ll be able to advance your city, if that’s your style of play. In addition, DTN hosts missions to gather resources which help alliances and restore diplomatic strife to war-torn, sieged cities. That’s just to name a few and more in the pipeline.
- Bryan: Grinding, questing, dungeon crawls, PvP, and various game events will all be options for leveling. When a player takes a quest, we want it to feel meaningful, rewarding and fun. We don’t want to force players to complete a bunch of tedious quests to burn through levels, but we do want to offer them as an option when the lore permits and it can promote a fun encounter or adventure.
7) “It will be possible to solo, but DTN will be a challenging game that will require specific character classes and builds to make soloing viable.” While this seems like a neat idea, to what extent would, say, a healer need to rely on other players to help them level? Is there an alternative these classes can use to level on those days where no friends are online but you want to keep progressing?
- Scribbles: Some classes are just better at soloing, but in regards to a healer, “Cleric, for example,” they have mechanics that will allow them to solo slowly in Certovia. However, DtN will have a lot more going on so a player shouldn’t ever feel like they can’t progress because their friends aren’t online.
- Nolwien: Character builds aren’t unique in gaming. But what we don’t want to happen is pigeon-hole players into something they really didn’t want. Some of our classes are going to be more apt to solo than others, but it really depends on YOU, your skill and willingness to really learn your character, as to how you are able to solo! Bryan and Scrib can elaborate.
- Bryan: It will depend in part on a character’s build, but for those that build into more of a pure tank or healing role, they will find solo grinding difficult. On the plus side, those players will be highly sought out by groups. We also will have events that have solo queues and will be balanced for all classes, so a support class or tank should be able to find success there if they’re having trouble finding a group in the open world.
8) A common problem in MMOs is they hold all the goodies for the end-game, and everyone plays for the sake of getting to end-game because that’s where the main fun content is at. Are you guys working to separate DTN from this issue? From what I’ve read, it sounds like the whole experience is meant to be challenging and rewarding, and I’d love to know if you guys are adding as much meat to the content leading up to level 50 as there is in the content after 50.
- Scribbles: There are players that like to speed all the way to the end as fast as they can and we won’t change that. All we really can do is offer lots of horizontally rewarding options and level specific dungeon crawling that keeps it exciting and rewarding for players less than max level. In regards to city building, it really doesn’t matter what level your character is. You’ll be able to see the challenge and rewards from the very beginning.
- Bryan: We absolutely want leveling to be challenging, rewarding, and enjoyable. Sure, some will just try to zoom through it, and that’s fine if that’s your style, but we hope others will find fun, replayable content along the way. There will definitely be a focus on lower level dungeons and events that can be enjoyed from very early on in your progression.
9) Is there a vague estimate for when you guys may release early access?
- Scribbles: Best we can say is that there will be closed testing sessions this summer and, based on the results of that, we’ll have a better understanding of the direction our players take us. We are very big on community-driven development. We need to give lots of room for players to help us mold a very exciting world. Register at: < www.defendthenightgame.com> ** If you wish to sign up to our news updates and automatically be signed up for closed testing **
- Bryan: Yea, we’ll be doing some internal testing once the Wizard class kit is completed and should have a better idea from there. We’re still pretty early in development, and it’s just really hard to say until we get those first few tests under our belt, but we’re pumped to get some players in and get some feedback from our community.
10) You mention how we can make our own homesteads which can grow from there; will this be instanced or will it be part of the world? And are these homesteads going to be what PvP sieges revolve around?
- Scribbles: Right now they are instanced. But a city leader will be able to trigger ” Storms of the Dark”. That’s what is being displayed in our promo trailer. That is a small PVE Siege for a homestead. This is one way for a homestead to progress. It’s a pretty neat mechanic as it turns Certovia to night “the darkness” and the whole region becomes very very dangerous.
- Bryan: We want to make the cities accessible and give each player the opportunity to own and advance their own, so the player cities will be instanced. Instanced does not mean to say that they are locked off, though. Players will be able to travel to each others’ cities or even become a citizen of other cities if they choose citizenship over ruling or building their own. Each player has the opportunity to start with a very basic homestead or village, and these can be advanced as a horizontal progression option. City progression can take various forms, like becoming a renowned trading post or market, living quarters for your guild, or a formidable defense structure against the Dark or sieging players. Yes, PvP sieges will heavily revolve around the player cities, and players that want to participate in sieges will need to focus on fortifying their own city, as attacking others will leave them open to be attacked.
11) You mention player created and modified environments. Essentially the same question, will players be able to literally shape the open world land such as terraforming, or is this more referencing player created dungeon instances or something of the sort?
- Bryan: We love the idea of player created content. While it’s too early to say exactly what form this will take, one idea is to allow players to set parameters for procedural generation or spawning of objects inside of certain event scenarios and possibly even shape areas of the open world through the outcomes of game events. One example of this could be dungeons, like you mentioned. Say a group clears a dungeon held by Orcs and decides to hold the dungeon with warriors of a certain deity or race of their own. They also choose some parameters for spawning, placement, pathing, etc. to mix it up for the next group in. Again, just a rough example, but player created content in MMOs is fairly unexplored and we think holds a lot of promise.
12) How is the spell/skill system gonna work ie. will there be synergies? will there be points? Will skills even level at all or will they be based on character level, skill tree?
- Bryan: The spell and ability system makes use of ranks and talent points. To give an example of that, let’s say the Wizard is able to learn ‘Searing Bolt (Rank 1)’ at level 8. There will be base parameters for that spell rank, but the Wizard’s level, as well as talent points and gear, can modify the base damage and effects of that spell. The Wizard may then be able to acquire higher ranks of that spell as they level up. Some spells will synergize with others. On skill trees, yes, the talent system will be comprised of multiple progression trees per class.
13) How much will cost the game?
- Bryan: Multiple pricing tier options are currently being explored, including: Free to Play (ftp), Subscription, and a Demo mode that would preview the subscription tier up to a certain level. The subscription tier will provide many additional customization and horizontal progression features, and the expected cost will be somewhere in the range of a typical MMO, or video streaming, monthly subscription. Additional details will be provided as they become available.
14) Are there a plans translate the game into other languages?
- Bryan: We have not begun to look into localization yet, but that we be evaluated as we get closer to an English release.
15) How can I get the earliest access to the game and give feedback?
- Bryan: The best way to get early access to the game is to Register (https://www.defendthenightgame.com/register/) and participate in Discord/Forum discussions. We don’t have a timeline for testing just yet, but we’re hoping to start bringing in closed testers for the Wizard class once that class kit is completed.
17) Will there be some “elite areas” outside of dungeons where parties are needed to xp or access chests, etc?
- Bryan: “Elite” areas and mobs is something that we’ll have to evaluate more in our testing. For now, I would say that our normal mobs will be difficult enough as is, but we’ll know more once we get into some more in depth testing. And just because a mob isn’t tagged as “Elite”, doesn’t mean it can’t be considerably more difficult than other mobs at the same level.
18) What sort of auction house will be in game?
- Bryan: We don’t plan to have a global auction house at this point. We would like to see the economy ran by local marketplaces, both in open world hubs and player cities.
19) What is planned for high level content?
- Bryan: High level content will have your typical dungeon/raid experiences, but we’ll also be offering other means of horizontal progression and gear acquisition, such as city building and sieges, diplomacy, and other competitive solo and co-op event scenarios.
20) When will we have all the answers?
- Bryan: When will you have all the answers, you ask? Well, to quote Ver Statera himself, “There is no beginning. There is no end. There is only now and of that, we can’t be certain.”
21) How is character creation going to be handled? Is it going to more standard ‘pick a class’ or is it going to be more like Baldur’s Gate?
- Bryan: A very early preview of the character creation can be seen in Devblog 5 (https://www.defendthenightgame.com/devblog-5/). You will choose from 1 of 4 races and 1 of 11 classes, and various aspects of the character’s appearance will be customizable. After making a class selection, players will also have an initial pool of stat points to spend to further customize their starting build. A player’s choice of Alignment, or Deity, will likely not come until a player has achieved a high level and is presented the option to follow certain god(s).
22) How often should we expect GM events to occur?
- Scribbles: This will be entirely up to the players willingness to find the clues, quest and overtake obstacles. I could see it on the extreme end of once a week to at least once every 2 months.