The post-apocalyptic MMO setting has been done multiple times before. How do you aim to separate Grimlands from the pack?
One major thing that Grimlands does is, that it does not only use the post-apocalyptic setting to have (nice) scenery, but also to create and justify game mechanics. For example the system that every item except the very basic ones has to be crafted is a prime example for that. We really thought about what would be the conditions in that scenario and what limitation would that cause for the player.
What influenced you during Grimlands’ development? Did you take cues from other post- apocalyptic games such as Fallout and Fallen Earth? Movies like Mad Max or The Book of Eli? A mix of both?
Yes and no. Obviously movies like Mad Max or The Book of Eli or books like the Deathlands series or other games had a big influence on the game world in Grimlands. But we haven’t selected any of them and copied any particular game world setting. We took some common ingredients here and there and applied common sense and plausibility to it.
It looks like Grimlands is adopting a freeform skill-based type of character progression. What sorts of skills will players be able to learn? Will there be a cap for skills?
In the typical MMO you gather experience until you reach a certain threshold and then miraculously have some talent point to spend and certain abilities, even if you never used any of these abilities before. In Grimlands we are using a more intuitive approach. As in the real world in Grimlands you get better in what you do, plain and simple. If you for example fire a specific weapon, you get better in that weapon category. This also means that there are no classic character levels as one knows from the generic MMO, since every skill level is determined separately based on the usage of that skill. There will be a skill for basically every action your character can do.
To give an idea about the variety there are skills like the weapon skills (obviously), first aid, crafting profession, physical skills like athletics (longer sprint distances) , Stamina (more health, dexterity based skills like focus (higher accuracy), skills that reduce the recoil of weapons, lock picking, and many, many more. So you could say that for every group of similar actions there is a skill category which represents you skill in performing these actions.
There will also skills that are category wide, like for example “semi automatic weapons”. This would mean, that each of these weapons has a unique specific skill like pistols, rifles, etc. but also a more general skill. The idea is that although each weapon has its own skill, the switch towards another skill from the same skill family should be easier, since there is already some general experience in handling these items.
A really interesting aspect of the game is something that comes along with the skill system we use, which is the total absence of character classes. Since every player can level the skills he wants to, there is no need to provide premade skill sets right from the start. This allows the player to make changes to the way his character plays when the need or interest arises, without being forced to create another character from beginning. This offers the player a lot more freedom while playing, since he is not forced into a role by a selection he made the first seconds in the game, most likely without any proper background information
How early on will players have access to vehicles? Will there be a skill associated with their use? Will new players start out with their own vehicle or will they have to be earned?
In Grimlands vehicles are considered as something of a status symbol. Therefore you will not start out with your own vehicle, but you will have to earn in during the game. They are also intended to be somewhat difficult to come by. Not impossible, but most certainly not something that you will get after your fist few hours of playing the game. There will also be a dedicated driving skill, which is going to influence the amount of fuel consumption as well as how fast the durability of the vehicle is wearing down.
What sort of PvP can players expect? Will it be no-holds-barred open-world PvP? Or will it be more segregated?
PvP plays a huge role in the game. Throughout the whole world of Grimlands there will be objectives that can be taken over by a clan. Taking over those objectives provide the clan holding them with a bonus which is active in a large area around the objective. When a clan is able to capture another objective close to the first one the areas of influence will merge and create a new area in which both bonuses will be in effect. This area can be increased even further by taking more objectives close by, to even create a large area of influence for a single clan.
In addition, as a clan there is the option to declare war on another clan. This will cause a certain grace period to start after which there is an all out fighting between the members of the involved clans. This means that players from clanA can shoot players from clanB everywhere in the world (apart from safe zones like towns and questhubs).
The last PvP mode will be battlegrounds. They are what you usually would expect from them. They feature evenly matches teams (player wise) in an instanced area, where you are fighting against the opposing team in an objective based battle.
What is important to mention is, that there will be no non-consensual PvP in Grimlands. So if you wander out in the wild to do some quest, you cannot be simply shot by any other player. To engage in open world PvP you first have to toggle you PvP state to active (except you are in a clan and are engaged in a clanwar).
What kinds of weaponry will players be able to wield? Early videos showed standard firearms such as shotguns and sniper rifles but will there be explosives? Energy weapons? Melee weapons?
As I already mentioned in the opening question, we tried to be a close to reality as it is possible in most parts. Therefore we also feature only weapons that would be found or crafted in this specific place and time.
In Grimlands you will be able to use firearms ranging from a pistol up to a sniper rifle, of course with various stages in between. There will be automatic rifles, bolt action rifles, sub-machineguns, shotguns, etc. We are evaluating the use of explosives as a weapon at the moment, but they will certainly be a part of objective base combat (“bomb the gate” or something similar).
There will also be melee weapons, which in combination with the sneak and stealth ability will become viable especially in PvP.
How expansive are you hoping to make the crafting system? I assume players will be able to craft their own weapons and armor but will they eventually get to make their own vehicles and strongholds?
Almost every piece of gear, apart from some very basic items, will be the result of crafting done by the players. This means, that we have a fully player driven economy in Grimlands. This also means that crafting itself is of a higher importance as in many other games, since the best items are crafted as well instead of being dungeon drops.
To be able to craft, first of all the player need to scavenge the required materials. These materials can be found throughout the world, but they are generally placed in a “logical” way, meaning that for example when you go to a mining area, you will most likely find ore, stone and the likes, while going to an old factory would yield for example chemicals, oil or rubber. So there is a huge incentive for the player to travel around and explore different areas of the gameworld.
These raw materials then have to be recycled to extract the final crafting materials. Depending on the players recycling skill the amount of crafting materials you receive vary and with higher skill levels you even have the chance to receive rare crafting materials.
The crafting of an item is divided into the crafting of subcomponents and the final item itself. Subcomponents would be for example a barrel or a trigger, while the final item would be a rifle. Depending on the quality of the subcomponents and the crafting skill of the player crafting the final item, he gets a certain amount of crafting points at his disposal. With these crafting points he can further modify the item to his likings and needs. Taking the aforementioned rifle as an example he could spend the crafting points to increase the range of the weapon, the amount of bullets per magazine, the minimum damage, the maximum damage and so on.
The second way of customizing gear is by adding so called “mods” to them. Each item that gets crafted comes with a certain amount of slots which can be used for modding.
In these slots the player can now add a wide assortment of different modifications. When we talk about weapons for example, the player can add things like a silencer, a flash suppressor or even a scope. These mods add additional stats to the weapon, lower the detection chance or even, in the case of the scope, allow the player to perform additional action with the weapon, in this case zooming through the scope. These mechanics apply not only for weapons of course, but also for every other piece of gear, the player can use and even for vehicles.
In this way the player is able to create items that are specifically tailored towards the individual needs.
The crafting of vehicles (at least basic ones), will be possible as well. More important there will be lots and lots of modifications for the vehicles, which will all be crafted by the players as well. These modification will range from some additional armor plates, to headlight to the all so important mounted gun, which another player can use while driving around!
Strongholds in Grimlands are represented in form of the player controlled towns. Since they are part of the endgame (PvP wise) I am going to describe them in the next paraghraph.
One last question, what sort of endgame can players expect in Grimlands?
Since we are not a pure PvP game, a part of the endgame will be of course PvE orientated. Here you will find your dungeons (with different difficulty settings) and even raids for all your dungeon crawling needs.
As already mentioned above, the PvP endgame mainly consists of capturing, holding and upgrading your player controlled town (if you managed to get one in the first place).
Unlike the smaller world objectives these will not only provide a single bonus, but a multitude of different bonuses. Also these towns will not only provide the bonuses in a certain area around the town, but the bonuses provided by the towns will be globally. The next important part to know about the player controlled town is, that they are upgradeable. When you first capture a town, all the facilities will be in their initial state, which means they will only provide minor bonuses. After the clan collects a certain amount of resources throughout the world, they will be able to upgrade buildings. Depending on the building the clan chooses to upgrade, the bonus associated to the building increases. For example if the medical facilities lvl1 would provide 5% HP increase, on level 2 they would provide 7,5% for example. This way the clan can decide which buildings to upgrade first, depending on what they deem to be most important.
The amount of these player controlled towns will be limited, so there should be a constant struggle to either get hold of a town, or to defend the owned by your clan.
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