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Game Mechanics by: Forged Chaos
 

Introduction

by Ildefonse

This book is about game mechanics & concepts as well as the game interface.

FAQ

What can we expect from the interface?

You can expect the interface to be intuitive and minimal. We want you to be immersed in the world around your character, not the hundreds of buttons animating and flashing that is now typical in many of today's MMO's.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

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

Will our skills be displayed as points?

No, you will not see skill points. Instead you will be given different titles as you gain in skill along with a progress bar showing how far you've progressed within the current title.

Source: Official FAQ, 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

How will you prevent griefing from players blocking other players in for example shop entrances?

I'm sure Brax will be along to answer this question fully, but what I can tell you is our shops and structures are going to have atypical entrances, so the idea of someone blocking a doorway will be moot if there are no doorways to block. At best, I imagine a griefer could guesstimate where to stand at the exit location of the structure and cause a potential collision between two entities upon exiting a structure, but I'd be all for moving one party or the other slightly to one side upon exiting so that collision doesn't occur or setting up an algorithm that randomly deposits an exiting character to several locations just outside the structure. The griefer would have to be extremely talented to try and anticipate which drop location for each exiting character. Heh.

And if a group of griefers tries something like this just because they can, let us know. Our Interactive Team will be right along shortly to deal with the people that obviously have far too much time on their hands.

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

Where do you respawn?

For 1 minute after death, you are a spirit. You can move about freely (for the most part) but will not see all things (such as character chat). After the 1 minute is up, you'll be presented with a resurrect button. You can click it at straight away, ressing where you are, or you can remain in spirit form and move to a place where you feel better ressing. Make sense?

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

We're not going to make you res right on top of your corpse. You're looking at a 200-300 meter radius from your corpse in which you can res.

Remember, it's your choice to try a corpse run or to move to a safe distance (in any direction by the way), res, and attempt to make your way back to a safe place.

It comes down to a simple question -- is your gear important enough to risk another life counter?

Source: Forums (Brax), 13-03-2013

Couldn't travelling in spirit form be abused?

You decide. ;)

Seriously, we've thought of that and if testing shows likewise, we'll probably put a maximum time before automatic resurrection.

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

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

Will items be bound on pickup/creation to characters or accounts?

I can most assuredly tell you that binding, especially binding on pickups, will not be in TOA, not if I have anything to say about it. Stupidest development decision ever imo, especially when it comes to crafting the items. Nothing says frustration more than making an item you thought you could use and/or send along to an alt, only to find out that item is soulbound (bopu) to you and worthless to the crafting character due to hard coded armor type restrictions.

Source: Forums (Varl), 28-09-2012

Should the 'end' be a self-determined goal? If players are the ones who facilitate goal-making, are these players 'dependable' enough to have a successful game?

Like Shakespeare stated, that is the question, isn't it? As a developer, you hope if you give players enough latitude from which to grow their characters uniquely, that they will take that initiative and go forth and make quests of their own. But as today's gamers have shown (and have been force-fed), are they truly ready to have the leash of linear progression taken off and given the free reign they claim to desire so badly? I think we are. I know FC staff has been ready. We wouldn't be undertaking this project if we accepted the clones and status quo.

Source: Forums (Varl), 28-09-2012

Will ToA have a first person or third person view, or both?

It will all be in third-person. Lots of extras have to be built to allow for both 1st and 3rd person.

Source: Forums (Brax), 30-09-2012

Grune: "Will characters at least be semitransparent at a certain level of zoom?"

Absolutely. We wouldn't want your own character getting in your way :P

Source: Forums (Brax), 01-10-2012

You'll be able to wheel-scroll your camera from X to Y distances from behind your character. Those distances are not yet determined but, as with the original design, we want to give you the feeling of having peripheral vision without allowing you to actually see someone behind you unless they are right behind you.

Source: Forums (Brax), 02-10-2012

To clarify, you won't be able to wheel into first-person. The cost of creating first-person models (swords, shields, effects, etc), animations, and the coding for it all in addition to third-person are too prohibitive.

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

Will you still have the naming system where you don't see another character's actual name, but instead can name them whatever you want to call them?

Yes

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

Could fear be implemented in the game?

Character fear is easy to code. It's conditional. If the fearful condition is met, the character doesn't perform as well as it otherwise would. It could also be possible to show an icon of a fearful face or whatever whenever your character is afraid, letting you the player know when those penalties are in effect. An Arrwic encountering canines, for example, could show the emoticon for as long as the Arrwic character is engaging the dogs, showing that he's deathly afraid of these things, yet can still act, fight back and defend himself. I highly doubt it'll ever be paralyzing fear. That's too restrictive.

Source: Forums (Varl), 22-10-2012

It would still suck if you're down to your last LC and then your internet dies and you PD....

I'm sure we'll get a few of those as well, but there's not much we can do about that. We just have to hope players playing our game are well-informed and know and accept the risks fully that come with ToA and technology. And even after all that, we'll still get the screamers bemoaning the loss of their character due to lag, lightning or some other effect they know we should have had control over. ;)

Source: Forums (Varl), 03-11-2012

If an individual with an innovation hasn't given it to anybody or taken if from anybody when he perma dies, is the innovation lost forever?

Lost forever...well, sort of. It is lost for the length of time equal to the computer and the players use of their skills deem it necessary for it to return to the world. So yes, it is conceivable that you could gain an innovation, permadie, and no one would ever know (except for those closest to you that you shouted to that you just got one). Propagation and termination of innovations has an almost infinitesimal chance to be mutually exclusive. One will most likely happen before the other, unless one is phenomenally unlucky on levels I don't wish to ponder.

And yes, the acquisition of an innovation via skill use will stay off for as long as the character is alive, but propagation will nullify the impact of losing an innovation "forever" when a character permadies, because it'll still be in the game. So, the window of true permanent innovation loss to the entire player base is as I said: infinitesimally small.

Source: Forums (Varl), 03-11-2012

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

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

Won't restrictions in the game force players to play the game a certain way?

We hear what you're saying and are not naive to the ways of an MMO player. Even we co-founders have dramatically different play styles and don't plan on pigeon-holing people into playing ToA a certain way. That would be a fool's errand at best.

We continuously walk a fine line between allowing the freedoms our designs push for and injecting hard-coded restrictions to keep things from getting out of control. At the end of it all ToA may or may not be your cup of tea and that is perfectly ok with us either way. All were asking you to do is read everything you can about our design and make up your own mind if you believe in it enough to back us. If not, that's cool too.

Source: Forums (Brax), 30-11-2012

Wouldn't you prefer a single realm over multiple realms?

We would love a single realm universe but unless the tech changes dramatically between now and our launch, we won't be able to support everyone on one realm. Not to be a thread killer but it really is as simple as that. And to anyone that brings up the "EVE is doing it so why can't you?" argument, you'll be countered with "Joe just pledged $10,000, so why can't you?" ;)

Source: Forums (Brax), 01-12-2012

About policing Player Killers

There will be players that live for policing other players, and without adding to the code via artificial-type flags or markers. I personally plan on having a Raknar, that while it will still be the wild creature it is, doesn't prevent me one bit from traveling to a particular region where my peaceful human tradesman has been murdered several times by the same person/people, and exacting some revenge. Unlike other games, PKs will not necessarily be at the top of the food chain unless they've REALLY worked at it and earned it, but even those lucky souls will still have to look over their shoulders.

Source: Forums (Varl), 05-12-2012

Will there be a lot of numbers displayed in ToA?

ToA won't be for the min/maxer because we're planning on showing as few numbers as possible.

Down with the "zomg I need that sword cause it does 0.00003% more DPS!"

Source: Forums (Brax), 14-12-2012

At some point, you have to use your main character, or it is not your main.

That pretty much sums it up right there.
Makes you wonder if perma-death will kill the idea of a "main"?

Source: Forums (Brax), 22-12-2012

Will there be a one life counter server?

Forget the in-game means to die; those will be prevalent enough. I'm still not sold on the idea of a one LC server due to technicalities that will kill you that's out of your control. That's the major reason why we're going with 100, because you can just never anticipate when some technical issue will kill you. I don't know about the rest of you, but to lose a character I've been working to keep alive for months due to a glitch, lag or some other technicality, is too hardcore for me. Like Dewru said, S&M. Bigtime. I've played Diablo hardcore too, and while I did enjoy them while they were alive, those deaths were not cause by technicalities.

Source: Forums (Varl), 24-12-2012

Will deaths due to lag etc. be corrected by GM staff?

That will not be the case. This is why you're given an ample amount of counters (100).

Source: Forums (Brax), 25-12-2012

Is there any chance you will scrap Perma Death?

Perma-death being the end of your character, in all regards, has been and always will be our stance. If that ever changes, it will be because I've been removed from the role as lead designer.

I'm not singling anyone out and I also know the thought of PD scares the crap out of some of you. All I can say is don't think of the game as an investment in your characters. Think of it as an investment in YOUR entertainment and the fun you'll have as your characters stories are unfolded with each play session.

Source: Forums (Brax), 25-12-2012

Do you expect to see a lot of random player killing happening in ToA?

With the systems we'll have in place, I could easily see people hesitant about attacking strangers they can't con, no levels to be seen, and no evaluate monster tool to bleed all the challenge, unknown and danger out it. Of course, the creatures won't be as accommodating, as the carnivores will see you as food only, but will still flee if seriously pressed, which is how it should be, right?

I can also see the reckless player that doesn't care attacking whatever they feel like, i.e. murderers and barbarians, but such a play style comes with an automatic grief throttle called permadeath.

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

Will there be any visual clues as to the strength of creatures roaming about?

We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, but suffice it to say that since there is no conning the difficulty of an opponent or a creature in TOA, we've discussed several possible cues the races will have available to them that could alert them to possible danger. Raknar might even have their spidey senses tingle! :D

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

On the value of items

I'm liking the direction this thread is going! People that want to not know every single value to an item?! What have we done to you guys?! :P

Source: Forums (Brax), 29-12-2012

How will you prevent griefing and too much player killing?

I think Psi Kahn said it best:

"Interestingly, even though the game is open PvP, I would say most of the game's mechanics incentivize cooperation over ruthless player killing."

We also have a very clear understanding of the difference in playing a bad guy and being a bad guy and have many countermeasures in place to combat the latter. Basically, the life of a criminal will be tough, the life of a griefer will be short.

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

About a tactics & military command interface

We don't currently have a mechanical method on the feature list for launch but I always thought it could be as simple as someone having the ability to click somewhere and those that have chosen to follow this person would see a ring on the ground. You could have one indicator for all following the person, an indicator per person, group, whatever.

Um, I don't think that explains it too well. Let me try an example...

Captain Cork is in charge of 9 other PCs. He tells them (no mechanics here) that 1/3 will be the blue team (B), 1/3 will be the red team (R), 1/3 will be the green team (G). The captain wants them to position in a spear formation, like so:

--B--
R---G

All he needs to do is, using the interface, click where he wants the blue indicator to be, and the same with the red and green. His soldiers just look for their color indicator on the ground and get to it. If he wants to reposition, he just clicks the new spot for the given indicator. The soldiers have to pay attention to the indicator and of course the Captain should be shouting orders as such anyway and/or to "red defend, blue attack!".

Those not under Captain Cork's command wouldn't see any indicators.

This could even scale up, where Cork, along with 4 other captains, is under General Guy's command, allowing the general to command his captains who are in turn commanding their soldiers, without MAKING them do anything they don't want (like staying and fighting when a soldier would rather run away trying to save a life counter).

Anyway, that's the idea....

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-01-2013

How will the inventory function?

The inventory is going to be pretty straightforward, the typical one square per item sort of thing. But we will only give you so many squares and everyting will have a weight, so you will basically be dealing with volume and weight at the same time.

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

Your inventory will account for weight and volume. How it's displayed is still up in the air. It'll either be a grid where every item takes up a square (WoW) or a sortable list (Oblivion).

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-02-2013

There will be both a weight and volume limit, probably represented by two bars within the inventory UI somewhere.

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-02-2013

Will your inventory be visible to the outdoor world or exposed to other players in any way?

If you mean that when you equip a backpack it will be shown to the world, the answer right now to that is no. But if you mean can other people see into your inventory, then yes, via skill.

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

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

Will all characters in game have their name above their heads? What are your plans regarding character identity?

I don't want to get into the user interface of it, but we're not going to have floating names. For the most part you're going to have to mouse over someone to see who they are, unless they're very close to you. It is kind of implied that if someone is close to you and you've already named them, that their name will potentially come up. Obviously, that's limited by line of sight, so if somebody is behind a tree, you're not going to see their name.

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

Will the death counter be viewable somewhere?

Absolutely. We're not going to make you guess. We understand permanent death is going to be challenging enough for some people, so we don't want you to be on the edge of your seat every time you die, wondering if you're going to come back or not.

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

Are players required to name their characters when they create them?

Yes.

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

Are names going to be unique?

Unique naming is not in the system, because everybody names each other, so there is no real need for a unique name. We won't be locking (used) names.

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

What mechanics do you have planned for bows and crossbows?

Pretty simply - point and shoot. You have a radical, the radical is going to be very simple in design. It won't be this big flamboyant thing, because we don't want the interface to get in the way of the world, so to speak. But you do need to know where you're aiming. With that said, your accuracy is not going to be perfect. In fact, it's going to suck at low levels. We're going to have a cone of accuracy, that's invisible to you guys, but when you shoot an arrow it's basically going to land within that cone. And that cone of accuracy is going to get smaller as you advance in skill, therefore making your arrows much more precise at where you're trying to aim them.

Even when you're an extreme master with the bow, there's always going to be some margin of error.

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

As you fire bolts or arrows, will they be retrievable?

No, we can't track that number of objects in the game. Those just go away, at this point.

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

Will there be mini games? Especially if a pub is created, like darts of arm wrestling?

As much as I love the idea, we have to say no at the time being. Our plate is full. Trust me, as soon as we can, I'd love to have pub games like darts and cards. A lot of people like that.

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

Can you move into a house, and if that is so, can you choose to live with a friend or a partner?

Yes, you can move into a house that isn't yours, so long as you have the permission to do it. We're going to have a permission system on housing, pretty much anything that is large and ownable, like a house, buildings, wagons (when they come into the game), mine shafts that you place, ships. We have, what I'm seeing as a very robust permissions system. In other words "this person can live here", or "this person can have access to this door", without breaking the law.

But just because you don't have permission to enter a house, that doesn't mean that you can't break into a house. Same with ship, or anything like that. Steal a wagon, steal a horse, steal a ship. All those possibilities are definitely in the game.

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

How will characters whose players have gone offline be handled? Will they stay in the world and wait? Or will they vanish?

The logout method is very simple actually. When you hit logout, you'll sit down and you won't be able to take any actions for a certain amount of time, say 15 to 30 seconds. If you do take any action or damage during that time, it will reset your timer.

You will not be able to initiate the logout sequence if you've been in combat within the last X number of minutes. So you can't run away from bandits, run around a tree and just log out. Or you can't just hit ALT-F4 and escape.

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

How do you plan to handle different time zones with respect to settlement warfare?

What we used to call the 3AM ninja raids. Pretty brave statement, but I think we've pretty much eliminated that, in the way of being able to go in one fell swoop and take over a settlement at 3AM. The way you conquer a settlement, it's going to take a minimum of days, if not weeks, of back and forths. So the idea of running in there and wreaking havoc, you could try, but we're giving defenders just about every advantage. Even something as simple as a wall, that you can't go over. And NPC guards, which will be pretty powerful. They'll be able to hold their own, and they don't sleep ;)

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

Could there be laws denying access to inns, or to settlements altogether to non-citizens?

This actually hits on a much bigger topic of "lord-griefing", settlement rulers that grief other people based off their power of owning a settlement. We have taken a lot of precautions when it comes to protecting citizens and even non-citizens from the lords of the settlements. But, there are mechanics in place (the settlement reputation system) where if you do enough bad things to the citizens of a particular settlement, then you will automatically be put on kill on sight. But as far as a lord specifically denying access to a particular player that doesn't have a negative reputation with the settlement, he can't really do that. A lord cannot target specific citizens or non citizens to essentially grief. Be it through taxing, or kill on sight, those sort of things.

We walk a fine line there and we realise that, but if you haven't done any harm to the settlement, they can't really do any harm to you without them answering to their own guards and their own laws.

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

Will stealing also lower your reputation automatically?

Overt actions such as attacking someone will automatically affect your reputation while covert actions like stealing will only affect your reputation if you're noticed by a PC or NPC.

Source: Forums (Brax), 17-01-2013

How come someone's reputation will automatically go down after a kill/attack? What about kills in the wIlderness?

The idea is, if the victim of an attack is able to resurrect, that he or she would then be able to inform the authorities of the assault/murder, thus the nick against your rep with the settlement to which the victim belongs. Obviously, if it's a permakill murder, the character won't be coming back to report anything, so I would think those would be crimes an attacker will be able to get away with, but they'll also be quite rare. Personally, I'd be okay with permadeaths being unreportable too.

Brax: When you kill someone, your reputation with the settlement your victim is a citizen of will be affected, regardless of where you kill them. If you killed the person within the borders of a settlement -- his, yours, anyones -- your rep with that settlement will also be affected.

Varl is talking about not affecting rep if your kill was the victim's last death (perma-death). This hasn't been decided yet.

Source: Forums (Varl), 18-01-2013

Will there be much difference in hitpoints between new characters and veterans?

Your character will rarely gain hitpoints as it progresses (we've never mentioned this have we?) so, no, there will not be such a large difference in HP between a new and veteran character.

Source: Forums (Brax), 22-01-2013

I don't die much in other games. Isn't 100 life counters too many?

Something to consider when using the "I don't die ... much" train of thought. ToA is not like those other games.

You get to keep your gear upon death in other games. You get the luxury of a 'conning' system in other games so you can selectively pick targets that you have a good chance of beating. You don't receive permanent wounds that last until another player heals it or until death in other games. You can chug 1,437 healing potions in other games to keep you alive during a fight. In other games you have almost zero chance of being hurt by someone even just a few levels below you. You don't die from heat, cold or lack of food or water in other games. You get to go to areas that are specifically built for your level in other games.

Source: Forums (Brax), 08-02-2013

Due to portaling, would there be a way to know if anything big is going on outside your house?

Yes, you'll know if something is going on outside your house. The details are still sketchy but I consider this a must. On a similar note, people on the outside of the house will probably be able to tell if the owner of friends of the owner is home by showing lit windows or some other visual cue.

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

What are some of the game mechanics you have in mind for players? Is there something you feel is very strongly needed in Trials that is lacking in other MMOs?

The list is long and varied but here are some of the big ones:

Innovations.

Anytime you're using a skill (ToA is skill based - no classes) there is a chance that you could have a moment of discovery and learn a new way of doing or making something that only you will be able to know how to do or make.  Imagine being the only one on the server that can craft a particular item!

Combat.

Combat in ToA will be non-consensual, meaning you will be able to attack anyone without them needing to be flagged for PvP. Be careful though because we are taking away the ability to 'con' a target.  Is that lady in the tattered robes an easy kill or a trained killer?  We’ve also got a death system that will make you think twice about picking fights all willy-nilly.

Magic.

While ToA is a low-magic game, those who conquer the arcane will have incredible power at their fingertips.  The drawback is the journey.  Most who will try their hand at the arcane arts will never see their first spell cast.  It's a tough life. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Crafting.

Crafting items will not use the tired old 'combine, click, create' method. Nearly every item will require a multi-step process, each of which may offer the crafter options to enhance the item based on the techniques he has learned.  Collaboration between skilled specialists will be key to creating items of the highest quality.  We just did a podcast that goes into detail about this.

Perma-Death.

This isn't the "one kill and that's it!" type of perma-death.  In ToA you will get 100 lives. Perma-death is a cornerstone of our design and it's not being implemented because we have some sort of twisted pleasure in seeing you lose a character.  Its benefits are truly incredible once you can move beyond the initial 'no thanks!' reaction some people have. It forces players to think about the consequences of their actions in-game, and adds a level of intensity and meaning to things like siege and exploration. It also creates an ever-changing flow of powerful characters meaning nobody can stay on top forever.
We wrote an entire article on the benefits of perma-death.  I highly encourage everyone to read it, whether you think you agree with the concept of perma-death or not.

Housing and Settlements.

Houses and settlements will be built by you.  When we say built, we mean it.  You will have to build each house and section of your keep's wall by having the resources and crafters with the right skills.  There are no NPCs to help you build.

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

Can we drag bodies?

No, dragging bodies is not an option at this time.

Source: Forums (Brax), 22-03-2013

Are you going for single character servers or multiple character servers? And what about account restrictions?

The decision at this time (always subject to change):

- We are going to strive for a minimum of two servers. One will allow multiple characters (in the ballpark of 3-4) and the other will be a single character server.

- As we grow and add new races, the multiple characters server(s) (MCS) will be given more character slots. The single character server(s) (SCS) will not.

- We will allow purchasing of multiple accounts per credit card.

- We will allow multiple connections from the same IP to account for family/friends playing together from one location.

- We are still undecided if we will allow multiple simultaneous logins from the same computer. We are currently leaning heavily towards not allowing it.

Source: Forums (Brax), 05-04-2013

About gender specific character attributes

This one has been a firestorm of a topic and as promised we discussed the concerns. While we've made small concessions to accommodate as many different views as possible, we're sticking with our original design that starts the genders of a race with different amounts of attributes. Let me describe the details of the system before you fire off that strongly-worded PM to me.

As we've already announced, your character will have the six attributes of strength (STR), fortitude (FOR), agility (AGI), intelligence (INT), vitality (VIT), and perception (PER). Since humans are our baseline race, each of those six attributes will start at, say, 50. With a small variance for each gender, we would be looking at something like:

NOTE: these are all hypothetical numbers.

Male Human
STR: 55
FOR: 50
AGI: 50
INT: 50
VIT: 50
PER: 50

Female Human
STR: 50
FOR: 50
AGI: 50
INT: 50
VIT: 55
PER: 50

You will be able to customize your character's attributes by taking from one stat and giving to another on an increasing take:give ratio. In other words, if you want to increase your agility by one point it will cost you one point of another attribute, to increase it by two will cost you three points in another attribute(s) and so on.

There will also be a limit for how high or low you can take an attribute during character creation. These caps will be identical for both genders. Humans for example might have a strength minimum of 25 and a maximum of 75.

Beyond character creation, you can expect your character to gain points in an attribute as they use associated skills. These gains will be few and far between and you should expect it to cap at roughly 10% of your starting attribute with a few exceptions here and there. Gender will have nothing to do with those exceptions by the way!

Source: Forums (Brax), 16-05-2013

Remember the numbers I presented are examples. You'll be allowed to make a decent amount of adjustments before you get penalized (a higher than 1:1 take:give ratio). Humans could inflate their strength by 10 points before the ratio would go beyond a 1:1. For example, this is possible:

STR: 65
FOR: 48
AGI: 48
INT: 44
VIT: 50
PER: 50

But if you wanted to bump strength to 66 it would cost you a total of 2 points from any of your other attribute(s). I.E.:

STR: 66

FOR: 46
AGI: 48
INT: 44
VIT: 50
PER: 50

Again, just sample numbers here.

Yes, the cap for each stat will be the same for both genders. I.E. human strength would cap at 75 for both males and females.

Source: Forums (Brax), 16-05-2013

The End