Massively goes to Dragon*Con: Cryptic Studios Q&A Part 3

Q: Can you talk about movement, travel powers?
A: Travel powers are represented in a few ways in the game. There will be travel powers that you can use in a zone, there will be travel powers that you use in combat, there will be travel powers that you use to move from zone to zone. The main powers that we know we're gonna have in terms of traveling are superspeed, flight, jumping, teleport. Those are certain and for sure. We may launch with others.

Q: Can you use interactable objects to add to your knockback?
A: Yes. In a tactical action game, knockback itself is kind of its own reward. You're putting distance between yourself and the enemies. Knockback is a power just like increased damage is a power. You can have one without the other. You can have a wind power that has amazin knockback, but doesn't necessarily do a lot of damage. You could have a damage that does the knockback and does the damage. In addition to picking up and thrown, objects can be flagged as being explodable. You could use your wind powers to move characters into destructible objects, thus creating a damage effect.

Players can deconstruct items into components and also craft components. There are skills that you can build up. We're trying to use skills in the environment to interact with objects, progress you in missions be utilizing those skills. As you go up in skills, however, you will be able to craft and make items in one of those three intrinsic types: Science, Arms, and Mysticism.

It would be foolish of Cryptic not to include something like the Sidekick system. There will be the ability to not just sidekick to a person, but a team. One person of say, level 40, could sidekick four other people to go with you to an instance or a side quest or something.

Q: Will there be separate rulesets for PvP?
A: The tentative plan is that powers that the players have will affect other players differently. You just saw me send these sending these Viper agents careening through the environment with a massive blast of force. While that will still happen if you use that power on a player, the knockback will likely be less, or some other way not quite as severe. At first, it's cool, but after a while it gets annoying and tedious and you never wanna PvP anymore. Whenever you see a hold effect that the player is using against a critter that's PvE, that critter is much more vulnerable than another player will be. Players will always have the ability to actively do something. Whether it's activating a power, or just mashing your button to try to break free. All the hold mechanics work so that there's some player interaction. We never want somebody to have a controller in their hand and not be able to do anything.

(on character creation imbalance) With a system this open-ended, we're working on the UI now to message the player if you, say, do not have a basic attack. To issue some of the larger attacks, you need to build up endurance. We need to message you if you haven't purchased a power that can build endurance. That's the first instance of it. It is going to be an effort in UI to message the player, even if they have full customization, to make a viable character.

At any time, you will be able to retcon your character and change out your powers. If you find that your latest power purchase has gimped yourself, you can go pay a very minimal amount of resources and redistribute those points so that you are not so gimped.

Q: Death penalty?
A: We will have a death penalty. It will not be as steep as terms of financial or time loss than is standard. It will probably be a lot less than WoW death penalty.

Q: Any interesting challenges going from console to PC with an MMO?
A: Many. Most are overcome. The big design challenge is making sure that some of the particular mechanics work for both. Obviously there are some charge-up mechanics, there's some toggleable mechanics, there's some click mechanics, things that we wanted to be fun if you used them on a keyboard and on a control pad. So most of our challenges are making sure that it feels good for both interfaces.

The tentative plan is cross-platform play. We wanna have xbox players and PC players to be able to play on the same shard. There will be a drop-down in the corner, so that if you don't wanna play with the console people, the PC people, you could just go to a different zone to play.

One of the things you will be able to purchase are these combos that will allow you to interact with other people's powers. It's something we haven't unveiled yet, but being fans of that sort of gameplay, we do want as much player-player interaction as possible.

Phasing we can't commit to at launch. Phasing, growth, shrink. These will most likely be addressed in expansion because we're getting to the point of lock. We do have a design for it; it's been in place for a while. That certainly has made it onto our expansion plans.

Q: Any other powers that are NOT going to be in the game at launch?
A: Shapechange is a new thing that we've gotten in. The previous three are the only things that come to mind.

We do have directional tech. We can determine when an attack is hitting you from behind or from the side, or from an angle not otherwise covered by your shield. The ultimate question is whether or not that's fun. We're still iterating on that, and playing around with it and trying to figure out if it's something worthwhile doing, because ultimately, if it's not fun, we don't wanna put it in the game.

Q: Voice chat built-in?
A: Yes. What exactly we do with it kind of depends on Microsoft. Cross-platform play requires that you use their xbox live malarkey. So we'll see how that goes. If we wind up not doing cross-platform, which we would be very sad at, we've already committed the time and the schedule to putting voice in. There will definitely be Voice-Over-IP in some form or another.

Thank you to the presenters from Cryptic for the presentation!