So introduce Dawntide to us and our readers. What's your main goal with creating this game?
We want that "real world" feeling that Ultima Online had back. The great thing about UO was all the different kinds of players playing in the same game, but in practice playing widely different games. Who wants to become a master blacksmith in a single player game? Some people probably, but it won't keep their attention very long. On the other hand, killing virtual avatars is quite fun, but if there's nothing at risk for the target (for instance: if they aren't a person), it also won't keep anyone's attention for that long.
But being a master blacksmith in a world where real people were dependent on the goods you made? That was somehow a game worth playing. And by creating a fun game where people interested in creating more than they were in killing could have fun, the game was made infinitely playable for the people who did like killing - and the killing in turn fed the crafters' game by creating demand for equipment and real risk.
That doesn't happen anymore, and we want it back while keeping the good developments in the genre from the years since. We completely understand that combat needs to be fun and engaging – but if all there is to the game is combat and combat-minded people, even the best game mechanics get stale eventually.
We've heard that Dawntide will be a skill-based progression game, a la Ultima Online. How many skills will be available to players? Will there be any system in place to prevent someone from learning all of the skills at once, or can a character excel at everything?
There are currently 50 skills planned, each of which has its own tree of Perks, which may take the form of bonuses to skill-related activities, attack types, passive bonuses, etc. A character will theoretically be able to learn all skills and Perks, but will face diminishing returns in skill gain rate as his total skill points increase. In practice, it will be ridiculously time-consuming to train every skill to the maximum possible on a single character.
Dawntide is low-fantasy, but will magic be available to the players, or only technology?
Christian: Dawntide will have magic. There's also a nifty skill called Ritualism that allows characters with very high Sorcery skills and the prerequisites to do so to join with other Ritualists and cast very powerful spells. They'll take a good amount of time to channel and will probably end up with material requirements, but you get the picture – they'll be cool.
When we say low fantasy, we simply mean we're not going with the standard Tolkien races, and that magic and technology coexist. Magic is involved in some technology, and technological devices can be focus objects, for instance.
How will skills be raised? Through use of the skill, or though something like an experience tree?
Skills improve through use. Dawntide doesn't have experience points.
Regarding the world -- how brutal is Dawntide? Is it like Darkfall, where everything can be looted from a player's corpse, or something else?
While we do have full loot, I'm not sure full loot is what caused Darkfall's brutal atmosphere so much as Darkfall's large emphasis on combat. Dawntide will be a pretty brutal place in some areas, but I think players will succeed in creating some orderly places as well – at least for a while. ;)
You have mentioned on your website that players will be able to create cities and form territories in Dawntide. How much creative power do the players have regarding that? Also, can they take over already existing parts of the map, like NPC factions?
We will be aiming to give players as much creative freedom as we can, but we have no plans for customizable graphics at this point. We think the idea is noble, but frankly, a surprising amount of people will put penises (can I say that here?) (Yes, you can say that here. - Eds.) on anything, if given the chance– so it never really works out in practice. As the game grows, we will add new types of buildings and variations on old ones so players can better customize their city.
Players won't be able to "take over" NPC cities, but will eventually be able to raze monster settlements in order to build their own.