One of the independent MMOs in the works that interests Massively is Earthrise, being developed by Masthead Studios in Bulgaria. We came across an Earthrise interview at OnlineWelten by Anja Gellesch, originally in German but translated into English. Masthead's Lead Game Designer Apostol Apostolov gives a well-worded introduction to the premise of the game and its "post-post-apocalyptic" setting, but there's plenty of details to be found in the interview as well.
He discusses player choice in the game, how some will opt to join a faction while other players remain neutral in the struggle between the technocratic elite Continoma, and the shadowy resistance movement Noir. Apostolov also mentions that there are 20 different zones spread across the game's island setting of Enterra.
Apostolov says, "Visually the landscape will change from one landscape to a different one without extreme changes that don't make sense. Enterra is a tropical island and players may expect to see different variations - from peaceful jungles to mutated wastelands - that fit the geographic location."
The interview gives us more info on Earthrise's skill system, the pace of combat, and the game's player-run economy where items degrade over time and crafters are needed to supply player demand. All worth reading up on if you're interested in this title, but he also provides some more details about offline advancement through "Social Experience" in Earthrise (combat and crafting are the other two experience pools in the game).
He says, "Social Experience is a pool of points received when the character is employed at an offline profession. In order to provide our players with a way to recover from unfortunate partial or full looting without nerfing the mechanics our hardcore audience expects from us, we provide players with a chance to earn a small but constant amount of money by choosing to dedicate their everyday life to benefitting the society on Enterra."
On the topic of that hardcore audience, he drops more details on the Concession Grounds -- a large territory that has some of the most vital resources in the game. As such, he says, "this land is being turned into a battlefield of economic, political and military interests and players will group into guilds and try to take control of one or several of these territories to mine resources needed to gain a share of the world market."
This will mean guilds need to build up an infrastructure to both exploit resources and provide defense. But those defenses will have weaknesses. Apostolov says, "While territories will allow players to develop their own headquarters, building up defenses and mining facilities of their own, and guard it well against attacks most of the time, there will be guild-scheduled, forced maintenance periods that require the whole guild to protect the base against possible attacks from other guilds."
If you're hoping to hear more about Earthrise, look no further than the OnlineWelten interview with Lead Game Designer Apostol Apostolov.