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World & Travel by: Forged Chaos
 

Introduction

by Ildefonse

This book contains information regarding aspects of the world of Trials of Ascension (TerVarus) and means of getting around in it.

Navigation

by Forged Chaos

Navigating your way around TerVarus will not be something you should take for granted. First -- and if you're reading this you probably already know -- you won't have a mini-map to auto-pilot you around. Loads of reasons for not having that little bugger but that's beyond the scope of this article. What you will have is a world map with details you would expect to see at the world level: settled regions, mountain ranges, rivers, etc. Furthermore, you will not see a pinpoint showing your exact location in the world. Instead you will be shown a ring of the general area you are in. The size of this ring decreases as your skill in navigation gets better. Some will think "no problem, I'm obviously in the center of the ring" to which we will say "wrong!". You can be anywhere within the ring.

Here's an example to illustrate the ring. With no skill in navigation you would see the following ring on your world map:

And here is what it might look like after you've gained quite a bit of experience in navigation:

These images are for illustrative purposes and do not reflect the final design of the map.

The good news is you can carry navigational instruments such as a sextant with you to help shrink the ring. The bad news is they are not easy instruments to make so they'll probably be rather pricey. The better quality instrument, the better it will serve you in shrinking the ring.

Another factor in navigating is determining your direction. For that you're going to need a compass. Another tool that won't be cheap. Plus, quality will play a part in how far it may deviant from the true compass points.

Good luck out there and if you get lost ... well ... good luck out there!

FAQ

Will we have a mini-map?

No. Like instant travel, we consider mini-maps a convenience that distracts from the challenges ToA is meant to offer. How can you ever get lost when you have a mini-map? Shouldn't the idea of getting/being lost be a possible adventure in itself? Also, without a mini-map, we open up a whole new industry - guides.

Players with deep knowledge of an area could guide others safely.

You will be able to view a world map at any time that shows settlement locations. In order to find your position on the world map, you'll need to carry the right navigation equipment with you such as a sextant or compass.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Can I block someone's movement?

Yes. You will not be able to 'pass through' other characters and NPCs.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will instant travel such as teleporting be available?

Only to the mages that have researched the spell. We believe instant travel, while convenient, destroys the size and danger of a game world. Why make a large world to explore when you can just hop a portal to the next town? Why bother making certain areas dangerous when players can just teleport around them?

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

What are GM spawn markers?

Game master spawn markers is a tool that will enable GMs to place dynamic spawn points anywhere within the world. These spawn points, while invisible to the players, will have a host of parameters that can be set such as what it spawns, how often, the radius in which it can spawn, escalation (once 10 goblins have spawned, spawn an orc), terminators (if orc cheiftain is killed, destroy the spawn marker), lifespan (spawn creatures for 7 days, then destroy the spawn marker) and countless other options.

The result: a spawn layer above the biome spawns that will make the world feel truly dynamic.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will there be settlements when the game is launched?

Yes. There will be four starting cities. In fact, they are up for grabs to anyone who registers on the forums.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Where does my character start?

During character creation, you'll can pick any settlement in the world currently accepting new citizens as your starting location. You'll also be able to pick the monolith as well.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Does my character have any needs that must be met?

Your character will need food and water to survive. Going without either will weaken your character to the point where he won't even have the stamina to move, making him a very easy target.

The conditions under which a character is operating will also affect these needs. A character that's in a hot area will tend to require more water, for example.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will ToA have complex ecosystems and species interaction?

Tanamoril: "It would be amazing if the ecosystem were simulated to such a point where, for example, killing all the wolves would cause the deer and rabbit populations to grow in response, causing the undergrowth of the forest to be overgrazed and thus robbing small animals like rodents and bugs of living space so that the nearby town is overrun with vermin. Or if cutting down an old forest would cause an entirely different kind of tree to take hold in the now-sunny clearings, creating habitat for a whole different group of animals."

I can tell you that we're going to push as hard as we possibly can to have exactly those kinds of ecosystemic ideas you mention, Tanamoril. We want a world that reacts to what all of you do, for the weal or woe of the lands, and to what we do as the interactive team. Of course, we can't code everything, but we're going to endeavor to have as much dynamic species interactions as we can.

Source: Forums (Varl), 15-09-2012

How will world expansion work?

World expansion will be, like all other features, done organically. I envision you logging in to the game one day and a small patch is downloaded with no information on what it entailed. Eventually we leak it in game (through the interactive GM team) that there is new lands to be discovered. We've added a new landmass to the west of the current map but we don't tell you that. We let you guys and gals find it on your own.

Source: Forums (Brax), 15-09-2012

Do you intend to put ships back into the game after release?

Yes, ships are something we'll, or rather you the players, will put back in later.

Source: Forums (Varl), 16-09-2012

Will there be a cartography skill available at launch?

It's been removed though we'll be looking at proper ways to introduce it later. For clarity, the world map will be a very generic look of the world. Think of a parchment with a hand drawn image of the world on it. Not many (if any) details of the terrain, points of interest, etc.

Source: Forums (Brax), 16-09-2012

What if I just wanted to build a house in the middle of nowhere and not be part of a settlement. Can I do that?

At launch, no, you won't be able to do that. Post-launch, that may change but in all honesty, it will be *very* hard to survive without the protection of a settlement.

Source: Forums (Brax), 18-09-2012

Yes it changed. You can build a private building anywhere you own a piece of land within settlement borders and/or anywhere out in the wilderness. This is all subject to terrain allowances of course (somewhat level, no trees or boulders, etc.).

Source: Forums (Brax), 12-01-2013

Will creatures always behave in a predictable manner?

Keep in mind that creatures and animals have personalities and different factors that can control their actions. For example a bear might just look at you and walk away because he may have already eaten that morning and be full of berries or fish. As where that moose that looked your way earlier in the day may decide you are a threat to it's young that are hiding nearby and attack you as you turn the next bend in the woods. Even the same 2 bears may act completely different so be cautious out there, TerVarus can be a dangerous world.

Varl adds to that: Aren't you tired of deer that never flee when you approach, or for that matter, aren't you tired of being able to see deer in the first place?

Source: Forums (Loestri), 19-09-2012

Will the world and its creatures keep on living and doing their things, even with no players nearby?

I'm going to add a splash of reality here before perceptions get too carried away.

We have to walk a fine line between server resources and "no player present nature simulations" that are being hinted at. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming of a real world where you could squish your toes in the mud, have plants sway to the side as you walk by, and know those baby bear cubs will some day grow up and maul your neighbor, we have to concern ourselves with the finite resources our servers and bandwidth will allow.

Don't get me wrong! I would love a living breathing world as much as anyone else here, and we have many designs in place to 'fake it' but technology mandates that we can only go so far.

Source: Forums (Brax), 19-09-2012

As I read recently (can't remember where), the illusion often is all you need to achieve what you're after.

Source: Forums (Varl), 19-09-2012

I have to say that is one of the MOST annoying aspects of all MMO's for me. No matter where you go you end up fighting the same stupid mobs over and over, just different color/skin.

Again, it's up to me to make sure our biomes have a wide variety of species for characters to interact with, but as with the playable races, the more and better our Kickstarter does, the more species and playable races you'll get. I have quite the library of creatures at my fingertips that I fully intend to peruse and show the team when the time comes to determine TOA-unique beings. The database for spawning will be very robust, and it can be because each and every creature will have their preferred biomes they will spawn in, and hopefully, give the user the widest possible variation in discovered species we can code.

Source: Forums (Varl), 04-10-2012

Can I find a patch of unclaimed land, start a little settlement there, and build whatever I want?

Yes but you've put yourself on the global stage by doing so and can be warred against by others. So if your thought was finding a wee chunk of land so you can be a settlement of one, you can do it but it's .... you know the rest.

Source: Forums (Brax), 06-10-2012

Exactly how large of an area does a settlement maintain? Does it fluctuate with population size?

No it doesn't fluctuate with population. The area a settlement will maintain can in large part be up to them. I know, that's pretty cryptic. Hang in there and we'll eventually tell you all about it.

Source: Forums (Brax), 08-10-2012

Is the world pre-divided into conquerable chunks, or do you plant a flag wherever and claim everything within a given radius?

Pre-divided chunks. An open-ended system was plan A but the nuts and bolts of putting it together turns out to be more than what our projected budget will account for. That said, the regions you can rule will each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to attacking and defending.

By the way, we're building these regions right now and plan on showcasing some of them in the future.

Source: Forums (Brax), 17-10-2012

Will there be "zones" in ToA?

It depends on how you define "zone".

If you mean seeing a loading screen while traveling from one region (Murgulmuck) of TerVarus to another (Brackenverge), then no, there are no zones.

Source: Forums (Brax), 18-10-2012

Will all extant land be available for settling or are there certain areas that are set aside for settling and others that will always be "pristine"?

All lands can be settled. If you're worried about TerVarus becoming one giant metropolis, we have designs in place to counter such a thing from happening.

Source: Forums (Brax), 18-10-2012

Will we have truly dark, black nights when the moon isn't out?

Yes

Source: Forums (Varl), 18-10-2012

About hunting & survival

Ever since we started on this project, I've always envisioned that if, for whatever crazy reasons, we couldn't get the majority of the game coded the way we want it to be, we could always go for a "Deer Hunter Online" styled game. Heh. You know, just hunting and surviving, and avoiding being eaten yourself by bears, etc. Of course, having this subsystem a part of everything else that will be in TOA is just awesome, I think. You don't like PvP? Try being a survivalist then, on your own out in BFE, which includes fending off brigand players.

Source: Forums (Varl), 27-10-2012

Will the lore be the same as in the old design?

The lore will be different this time around. TerVarus will still be in a post apocalyptic setting but it won't be due to dragons but my spider senses tell me you'll like it just the same if not more.

Source: Forums (Brax), 05-11-2012

Some definitions

We've thrown a lot out there in the way of settlements. To help keep things straight, here are some definitions regarding settlements...

Region:
A region is an area of land that can be claimed by a player to build their settlement. Examples would be Kithacore and Glacier Peaks. Regions range in size from one-half to one kilometer squared. The name of a region is hard-coded as are its non-resizeable borders.

Lord:
The character who rules over one or more regions.

Citizen:
A character that has sworn citizenship to a kingdom.

Kingdom:
The name a lord has created for his rule. Examples might be 'Alagore' or 'Seven Sins'. We will strictly enforce game-immersive kingdom names. Naming your kingdom 'F1ufFy BuNn13s' or something equally non-immersive could result in anything ranging from us renaming your kingdom to something we determine to flagging your account for staff approval of any submitted names.

Wilderness:
Land that can not be claimed by players. There is currently a 2:1 ratio of wilderness to regions. You should expect anywhere from one-half to several kilometers of wilderness to exist between each region.

Private Plot:
One of three pre-defined sizes of land that a lord can place anywhere within his kingdom to be bought and used by his citizens. A lord cannot place a private plot in the wilderness.

Private Structure:
A structure, residence or commercial, that can be placed on a private plot within a kingdom or anywhere in the wilderness.

Civic Structure:
A kingdom-owned structure that can be placed anywhere within a kingdom except on a private plot. Civic structures cannot be placed in the wilderness. Example civic structures would be walls, gate houses, a treasury, and barracks.

Source: Forums (Brax), 20-11-2012

What type of environments can we expect to see in TerVarus?

You can expect to see just about every type of environment from hot sweaty jungle to freezing cold arctic for both regions and wilderness.

Source: Forums (Brax), 20-11-2012

What size is the initial world going to be?

TerVarus is shaping up to be ±34 square kilometers in size (34 km2).

Source: Forums (Brax), 20-11-2012

There is a very fine line between offering too little and too much land. That line becomes thinner when you have designed a game like ToA where there is no instant travel, no mini-map or detailed global map, no roads, truly dark nights, and terrain that is being hand-sculpted to both work with and against you. Plus there is always the ever-looming threat of perma-death.

Trust me when I say the world seems massive when you're in character. How many times have we said we have gotten lost while building an area? Varl, the guys sculpting most of the world, got lost more times than not when we did trial runs between settlement areas and that was with no flora at the time!

You have to start somewhere and it was my decision to start small and grow the world organically in-line with the game's success.

Source: Forums (Brax), 02-02-2013

Imagine waking up one morning with amnesia on the North Island of New Zealand and wondering how big this world is? You don't remember that the rest of the globe is much, much larger and that you will have to explore the entire island to find it's boundaries and features. Eventually you find a way to travel the oceans and discover the rest of the continents....this is the way we have chosen to work you into TerVarus.

Just remember that we have scaled down EVERY aspect of the game in order to keep it small enough to get it to market. Once there then we will have an income from the player subscriptions that we can continue development of the game and everything in it, including adding more land masses.

Source: Forums (Loestri), 02-02-2013

A few points to hopefully put this to rest...

1) Our world has grown since my last post regarding world size and is now roughly 42 square km.

2) The 42 square km is the playable area that is spread over a world that is roughly 80 square km. This means there are certain areas that you can't pass over and other areas that you must go a certain route to get to. In other words - and this is just an example - Kithacore could be 1 km from it's closest neighbor by the way the crow flies but the distance on foot would be more like 2km.

3) The way the world is built will allow us to easily expand it. For example, you have two areas next to each other. We'll call them areas 132 and 133. We can unbind them from one anther and put in three new areas between them, ending up with areas 132, 147, 148, 149, and 133. Furthermore, we could bind other areas to those new areas. So area 148 could have a new area (area 150) branching off it. We did this exact thing with Blisterfoot. Getting to the settlement area within the desert was way too easy so we added a good number of areas in-between and now you're as surely to get lost as I have been.

4) See those mountains off in the distance in the attached screenshot? Not the ones on the left, but the ones beyond the tree? That's the border of the Kithacore settlement area. And here's the kick in the pants -- the screenshot was taken from the middle of the area so the distance you're seeing is only half the width of the settlement area. Getting a little perspective of scale now?

5) Go play another MMO and shut off the mini-map, compass and any other navigation aids. When it's night time in the game, turn down the gamma settings on your monitor to where you can can't see anything beyond 5 meters. When you die, leave your stuff on the ground for others to take. When you die 100 times, delete your character. This should give you some appreciation for how tough it will be to get around in TerVarus.

6) Come to terms with the world size. We're damn happy with it so far and don't plan on changing it until testing shows otherwise.

Source: Forums (Brax), 02-02-2013

What's the current ratio of wilderness to settleable regions?

DOH! It's a 2:1 ratio, not 3:1. Our land size tripled when we added the wilderness areas and my flu-infested simple mind was thinking in those terms, not in ratios. There is roughly 12 km2 of named regions and 22 km2 of wilderness, give or take as we adjust things.

Source: Forums (Brax), 21-11-2012

How many regions are there going to be at launch?

I'll just spill it now - there are 22 named regions slotted for the initial launch with more appearing soon after ... if you can find them.

Source: Forums (Brax), 21-11-2012

Is there enough world area for a diverse terrain?

The regions have already been sculpted and textured so I can assure you with 100% confidence there is a wide diversity of terrain.

Source: Forums (Brax), 21-11-2012

So out of those 22 regions, there are going to be 3 or 4 initial towns/settlements, correct?

Correct.

Source: Forums (Brax), 21-11-2012

About world size and navigation

Give yourself some perspective and go play a current MMO and shut off your mini-map and compass. Seriously, go do it. The world gets larger very quickly. Case in point - we were just running around a steppe-like environment area Varl built yesterday that has zero foliage and, yep, I got lost.

Remember, this is a trimmed down version of the original design and the world size/design has been impacted just like the rest of the features. If you absolutely can't live with that, please make out a blank check to Forged Chaos LLC.

Source: Forums (Brax), 22-11-2012

Don't you think the planned world size is a bit too small?

There are also a lot of other factors to consider when judging a world based on its mathematical size. Environmental effects, weather effects, no minimaps, no initial directional devices, and oh ya, creatures that want you over for dinner. If all these factors still make you think the world is too small, we'll expand, but I promise you that chances are great that you'll be so busy doing the myriad of things in TerVarus that the LAST thing you'll be thinking about is whether the size of the planet is sufficient.

Source: Forums (Varl), 22-11-2012

Will jumping in rivers have any consequences on your character?

Rivers will push your character based on its size and speed. Every race will have a natural bouyancy, even negative for some races. Your character's weight will impact bouyancy so, the heavier you are, the faster you will sink. Your character's temperature will be tracked and jumping into an icy sea will definitely result in consequences to your character!

Source: MMORPG.com (Brax), 23-11-2012

Will environment temperature have an effect on characters?

We'll be tracking your character's body temperature and he/she will be impacted when exposed to temperatures outside his/her comfort zone.

Source: MMORPG.com (Brax), 23-11-2012

Will movement speed and falling distances be realistic?

We will limit movement speeds based on how encumbered you are and possibly what terrain you're on. I say possibly because it can get tricky to implement right without it eating up precious resource cycles. As for falling - our aim is to make falling distances a bit more realistic. With the risk of perma-death though, I think (and hope) people will be far more cautious when it comes to jumping off things.

Source: MMORPG.com (Brax), 23-11-2012

Is there going to be a big difference between night and day lighting conditions?

Day will be bright, night will be dark. Simple as that. If you want to see at night, bring a torch.

Source: MMORPG.com (Brax), 23-11-2012

On realism in MMO's

The icy water effects, the falling over certain distances, the movement penalties via weight (and possibly terrain) and the lighting are really just basic, common sense conclusions we're surprised some MMOs have ignored (I can't say all, because I don't know if some have, but if they have, well done!). Hasn't any other MMO developer in the world ever went into a thick forest late at night without a flashlight or moon in the sky to see by to see what dark really is?

Source: Forums (Varl), 24-11-2012

About testing navigation without compass or map

Last night, Brax and I ran some test scenarios where I couldn't use a world map we have for navigation. I had to turn off the automatic compass our engine gives us, so I couldn't tell which direction was which. Then, he would tell me to pop to a specific area and he would follow along with me following me with a compass, map and all the bells and whistles GM mode gives us. Once there, he would tell me the direction I was facing and where I had to try and get to.

It sounds easier than it was, and we both know the world layout very well because we're both making it! So, we ran 3 experiments last night and let me tell you all that these experiments were in their simplest forms, basically, run from X to Y in 15 minutes without compass directions and without referencing our map. I have to say that, even with some of our areas are in their most basic undeveloped form (which you'd think would make it easier to find a location, but it's actually very much harder), I still got lost. Badly. All three times, I'd make a wrong turn one direction and that was all it took for me to get lost and completely turned around. And you guys think our world is possibly too small?  My longest test run lasted 38 minutes at run speed for the character, and the distance I had to travel wasn't even close to the longest possible run in the game. Also, I didn't have delays or hazards messing with me along the way (other than brief stops trying to get my bearings based on what I could see).

Let me tell you something. If I can get lost trying to traverse even our most simplest of scenarios, you guys seriously have your work cut out for you because, there's going to be SO much more conditionals you will have to deal with that I didn't have to deal with last night, it'll almost be unfair! *evil grin*

Now, that said, let me be equally fair; being properly equipped and prepared for those long expeditions across Tervarus, you'll be improving your chances of getting there dramatically imo. The days of striking out on your own to explore the world definitely are NOT over (I plan on doing that myself!), but they won't be the pedestrian walks through the forest to grandma's house like so many other games embrace. Good luck. You definitely will need it.  *another bigger, evil grin*

Source: Forums (Varl), 27-12-2012

My favorite parts were:

Brax: Do you want a compass heading?
Varl: Sure.
Brax: You're going West.
Varl: West?? I thought I was going South-East!

I gave Varl 15 minutes to get from just outside the jungle areas to deep within the jungle to an area called Thornvine. It took him 38 minutes, 1 life counter (watch your step!) and two separate assists: one to help him find his bearings and the other to let him know he passed a needed entrance even though he was within 50 meters of it.

Varl didn't go that far at all for 38 minutes of non-stop running. He moved through about eight areas. There are about 120 areas in the world. Also, there was no stamina fatigue to worry about, no vegetation, no monsters or PKs, etc. Just some nicely sculpted and painted terrain.

Source: Forums (Brax), 27-12-2012

Will characters get tired?

Yes, there will be fatigue.

Source: Forums (Brax), 27-12-2012

Is the wilderness going to be dangerous?

Trust me when I say that we are making the wilds as dangerous and as unforgiving as we've touted. Just don't whine when you experience it firsthand. ;)

Source: Forums (Brax), 27-12-2012

Is movement speed affected by how much you carry?

Your encumbrance will affect your movement speed. The different types of armor will affect your encumbrance accordingly. There are other factors that will impact your stamina drain and recovery but that's for another time.

Source: Forums (Brax), 28-12-2012

Does walking/running drain stamina? Will there be a sprint option?

Walking doesn't drain stamina, although it will slow down or prevent the recovery of it. Running will tax stamina. Depending on how things work out, there might be a sprint which would only be useful for very short distances (say 100 meters or less) and would be extremely taxing on stamina.

Source: Forums (Brax), 28-12-2012

Are you already working on the game world?

I worked 6 hours yesterday in the engine sculpting 13 areas, and before I realized it, it was 12:30 AM. I got several composite transition areas done, and I have to say I surprised myself how well they turned out. I love this new technique I'm using, and no, I won't tell you what it is. ;)

Source: Forums (Varl), 06-01-2013

Are terrain altering GM events a possibility?

Terrain deformation real time is a big unknown at the moment, but I'm doubting it. Why? I don't think terrain can be set up to behave like that, but hopefully our programmers may prove me wrong.

BTW, thank you all for making this thread. Your ideas will help a lot and go into MY personal GM vault, and even if some never get used, they will be useful for inspiration and imagination.

Source: Forums (Varl), 07-01-2013

Do you plan to make forests with a truly high density of vegetation?

We're wanting that level of density but don't hold your breath. It tends to convert FPS to SPF. :)

Source: Forums (Brax), 12-01-2013

Where do you draw the line with enforcing immersive kingdom names?

"The Evil City Of Evilness" would not be allowed and would get renamed to something like "Mind Plague" to keep with your theme or something more generic like "Darkmoor".

Source: Forums (Brax), 13-01-2013

Will your inventory influence your ability to sneak, run or jump?

Yes, through encumberance. Your encumberance will impact a lot of your actionable abilities.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Is there day and night in TerVarus?

Absolutely, the day is going to be very bright and the nights are going to be very dark. We've actually been testing the light levels of the night and all I can say is, don't forget to bring a bunch of torches.

Varl: You know all those games you always wanted to play where it was dark? You thought it was going to be dark and you'd grab a torch, but then you'd say "I don't really need these…", well you're gonna need them in ToA.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Where will people be able to spawn the first time the servers come up?

You'll be able to spawn in one of the four starting settlements or the Monolith. The Monolith will always be an option for people to spawn, but the rulers of the settlements can shut of the new player spawn option at any time if they don't want any new citizens or anyone spawning there as a new character. But again, the Monolith will always be an option.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

What if all four starting settlement owners shut off the ability to spawn in their settlements?

Then everybody spawns at the Monolith.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

How do you plan on implementing swimming? Will it be a skill you have to learn? And how would you go about learning how to swim?

You'll learn how to swim by swimming, just like all of our other skills. You'll jump in the water and stay really close to where you can at least touch bottom if you get in trouble. So yes, swimming will be a skill. And this goes back to the "less is more" philosophy. Other games, everybody can swim. It's a given. Think of the opportunities that they're missing with that. You're running from bandits, and you come across a river. And you jump right into the river and swim across, because you have swimming. The bandits, half of them don't. So all of a sudden you lose half of the people that are chasing you, because they can't swim. And either they drown, or they know it and they stop. So you get to use the terrain as your friend or your foe. But when you have everybody that can swim automatically, you lose that. And I think that's sad.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Will you be able to place markers on the map for places of interest?

That is another great idea, but right now no. The map is static at this point. I'm sure we're going to put that on the post-launch list though.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

If someone walked without stopping, how long would it take them to reach the city closest to them?

Depends on where they're at, if they're already in the city then they don't have to go anywhere ;)
But it depends on how far away from the settlement they are. To give you an example (we talked a little bit about this on the forums), Varl and I did some test runs to check the world size. I gave him about 5 minutes to get from one settlement to the next, and in about 38 minutes he called it quits and asked me for help. He got lost a number of times, he lost a life counter. It's rough to say. I think you guys are in for a treat, I think it's going to be a shock at first, because of what the industry has really drilled into you: "here's a minimal, here's a map of the world, here's exactly where you are at any given time", basically GPS. We're the total opposite. You aren't going to get a minimal, you're only going to get directional headings if you have a compass on you. You won't know exactly where in the world you are. And this test by the way was done with almost no flora involved. It was just the terrain.

Varl: I'm telling you guys, I was turned around. I thought that I knew my world that I was making. It was amazing to experience actually, because I thought I was heading south-east and Brax is following me and I'm like, are you sure I'm going south-east? Got all turned around, and he told me I was heading West or something. What?! There's no way, I thought I was heading south-east, I know it! ;)

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Will players be able to create paths or roads between settlements over time?

No, not right now. We'll certainly look into allowing you guys to lay down special models that essentially resemble roads, but that's in the future.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

How will navigating the environment be like in terms of hotboxes for debris, rocks, trees?

Probably just how you think. You'll collide with trees, boulders, houses, just about every object in the game, including other players and NPC's and creatures as well.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Would you be able to climb up higher slopes, or will you simple keep walking in place like in other games?

Loestri: Well, we're going to have terrain that's too steep to climb. We had a choice to make with the Hero engine. To make a completely seamless world, where you can go in any direction at any time, or to, well… let's take a couple of steps back. Seamless means different things to different people. I define it as, no loading screens. It doesn't mean you can go in any direction at any time, it simply means when you move into another area you're not hit by a loading screen. Things are loading in the background as you move into the area. Any kind of load screens, we're going to keep them to an absolute minimum. But that said, we have to build the world in a way where you can't go in any direction for as long as you want. We have to design the world in such a way that it keeps you within the area that we've built. And that's where a lot of the terrain comes from that's impassable, to keep you within the world. Technically, the Hero engine allows us to create a planet the size of Earth. But I don't think you'll like the subscription rate to support such a thing ;)

Varl: And the time it takes for us to get it out ;)

Brax: Now that said, since we're talking about areas, the world is turning out to be much larger than you realize. We talk about this a lot here. When you don't have a map, and you don't have a compass, the world gets very large, very quickly. But that's a good thing, you get to know your local area. That opens up a whole industry of guides and local knowledge, I think that's great.

Actually just the night before the podcast I was showing the guys a new place that I've been sculpting, and I got lost. And I've been sculpting it for the last day or two. So I guess to sum it up, don't worry about the world feeling boxed in. It doesn't have that feel, it truly doesn't. We've got volcanoes, we've got high mountains, we've got valleys and swamps, lots of forest, jungle, plains, deserts, scrublands, you name it. We've got arctic, and we've got a number of easter eggs in there for you already. The point being, don't get hung up so much on the fact that you come up against impassable terrain. It's there by design.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Will there be an option to build a tree house? Will climbing a tree and hiding up there be possible?

No, not at this time.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

When do we get to learn more about the world, as far as weather, location, geography goes?

We'll release a lot of that in time. We've got weather planned, we've got weather specced out. We'll deliver that as soon as we can.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Will caravans be an option in ToA?

Me thinks caravans will be more important than most people think.

Source: Forums (Brax), 16-01-2013

Will night time in the desert be cold? And how long will it take to cross them?

Desert nights will get pretty darn cold. I'm not sure exactly how long it will take to cross at this point. I just added the additional areas to the region last night. I will say that you'll have no landmarks (or next to none) to guide you and turning your reticule too fast will get you quickly disoriented. It happened to me as I was sculpting, lol. I had to switch to camera/fly mode and zoom out to get my bearings.

Source: Forums (Brax), 01-02-2013

About generating land masses and oceans

We were trying all kinds of ways to generate land masses back then but I suspect you are thinking of what we had planned for the oceans. Since open ocean areas (once beyond the sight of land) can be the same, we were planning on putting you into a grid of these areas and just tracking the number of times you crossed it and in what direction. Assuming you met a certain distance on a given direction, we would start to load the approriate land areas and you'd see land in the distance that you could land on.

That was just one of many approaches we were trying. As for land, I've always leaned more towards the hand-crafted approach.

I would still like oceans to be vast and that's still possible given the above idea (with some tweaks). This way land masses might seem small (even though they aren't), travelling from one continent to another would be a big decision for a player to make.

It's easy for us to add land. Varl has become very good and fast at building up areas. It will simply come down to time because post launch we'll be busy entertaining you via the GM Live Team, creating new innovations, introducing new races, etc.

Source: Forums (Brax), 02-02-2013

Don't you think the world is too small?

I think the definition of a huge world is a purely in the eye of the beholder and involves a LOT more considerations than simply the size of sheer land masses. Seeing what I've seen, knowing what I know and the tests we've ran within the game makes me think this is the most optimal and realistic world size we should go with for initial launch.

I do think if a world is built too small, the politics, trade and economies feel far too neighborly, almost to the point they might not even bother to exist because they're so close in proximity to one another. Conversely, if the world is so massive, you'll start to wonder if there are any other players in this hypothetical game, making the idea of incorporating politics, trade and economy quite moot. TOA is in the sweet spot in between both of these.

We could literally forestall progress on the construction of TOA for years in order to make TerVarus so large, you'll be shocked when you actually see another player, but I don't think that would be very fun for anyone, you the players or us at FC. That said, there nothing that says world expansion won't happen post-launch. Popularity of TOA is yet another one of those factors that impacts world size. New continents can always been added post-production; besides, when someone eventually innovates ships, where are you going to sail to? :P

Source: Forums (Varl), 02-02-2013

Will there be temporary structures, like small shelters you might need to build to avoid freezing to death?

There are no temporary shelters like tents and lean-tos currently planned. The best thing to do to stay warm is to build a camp fire and stay close to it.

Source: Forums (Brax), 26-02-2013

TerVarus is a unique world. Give us some information on the lore surrounding the game?

A big part of ToA is the idea that players will be making their own history through their actions in the game, but the world of TerVarus has a rich backstory and players will be discovering tidbits about it as they explore and interact. At the time players enter the game, the world of TerVarus has just entered into the Age of Ascension.  This new age was marked by the defeat of the raknar – a race of very large, spider-like creatures that erupted seemingly out of nowhere and attempted the complete annihilation of mankind. The war with the raknar has cost the humans nearly everything, forcing them to rebuild their lives, from the ground up.

Source: MMORPG.com (Brax), 27-02-2013

How long will days/nights be?

Always subject to change but as it stands now 24 hours in ToA should last 3.5 real hours, with day lasting 2.34 hours and night lasting 1.16 hours.

Source: Forums (Brax), 10-03-2013

Will there be load screens when you move from one area to the next in the world?

Let me be clear. The world itself is seamless. When you move from a wilderness area into a settled area there will be no load screens, nor will there be no load screens when you move from one wilderness area to another. There will be load screens when you go into a structure or dungeon.

Source: Forums (Brax), 11-03-2013

Will creatures cross over area boundaries?

Creatures can move across boundaries.

Source: Forums (Brax), 11-03-2013

On flying

Flying has always been designed to drain your stamina, with extra drain on take off and other maneuvers where it makes sense. We've also always maintained that if you are damaged while in flight, it will do one of two things (or maybe both); drop your speed and/or raise your rate of stamina drain. Riders would of course cause even more drain on the mount.

I don't see us deviating from this plan but it's more of a matter of finding that sweet-spot between allowing flyers to fly and not making it feel like they are land-based.

As for riders - they will require a specific skill - air-based riding (or some fancypants name). The only way to gain in the skill is - just like all the other skills - by using it. As I stated in the other thread - if you fail a skill check, you fall off and .....

*SPLAT!*

Oh, another thing since I'm throwing it all out here anyway. The idea is to have two forms of flight. We call them airplane and helicopter. Helicopter flight will allow for hover while airplane flight means you have to maintain a minimum speed or lose altitude. Pixies would be our helicopters, and gryphons and dragons would be our airplanes.

Source: Forums (Brax), 03-04-2013

About getting lost in TerVarus

I hope that you guys are finding it amusing that this happens because we will find the same amusement when you get into the the world of TerVarus. Brax, Varl and I did a similar run from Tranquility to Kithacore, which isn't all that distant, without the aid of compass heading and in full daylight. I ended up getting separated from those two and I ended up (about 20 minutes later) in Grizzleback, while they made it to Kithacore. Even so, they still managed to get turned around a few times. My point is that the way the world is built, even though it may not be extremely large in terms of sqkm, it seems very expansive and the terrain makes you travel in directions that you may not have intended to go. Even though you may know the general direction you need to go, there is no way to head in that general direction directly. The terrain features are constantly making you head in different directions. I am telling you, it just isn't as easy as you might think it would be. Now throw in the flora and fauna and you have a real adventure on your hands if you try to travel any real distance. You guys are really going to love the world of TerVarus when we launch ToA.

Source: Forums (Loestri), 11-08-2013

The End