Lovely weather here
27th September 2006
Firstly shouldn't this section be renamed to Stargate SG-1: Stargate Worlds Discussion since The Alliance has been canceled.
Anyway for all those interested in Stargate Worlds here is an interview with Stargate Worlds Fans! Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment’s Studio Head & Exec. Producer, Dan Elggren Two years have gone by and closed beta registrations are in full swing, how does it feel around the office to be hitting the home stretch in the development phase? I think anytime you see real progress on a project as complex as an MMORPG that you sense of accomplishment and pride. We’re getting there in terms of our internal playtests and the few limited external tests that we’ve done. It doesn’t feel like the home stretch yet, but we know it’s coming. It’s obvious that the Stargate franchise has a large fan base considering the SG-1 series is the longest consecutive running science fiction series of all time. What do you think will be the most attractive aspects of the game for fans of the Stargate series? For me, as a huge fan of Stargate, the idea of playing the Goa’uld is very compelling. The show makes them out to be these ancient, evil menaces with no redeeming value, but I’m sure that if we really got to know them we would find out that they aren’t all that bad. Plus they get the best outfits.
I do think that new perspective is very appealing to fans, but there’s also the chance to inhabit the worlds that so many have come to love since the movie debuted in 1994. Walking the halls of the SGC for the first time or talking a stroll through Tollana’s parks are things many fans have dreamed of doing, and Stargate Worlds will let them. What is being done to entice gamers new to the canon? Stargate makes an excellent game background. We’ve got the alien Goa’uld and Jaffa with high-tech blasters and mind control devices being taken on by today’s U.S. Air Force and Marines with automatic weapons and grenades. In addition to that, we’ve got scientists and archeologists with their non-combat specialties and little grey aliens, the Asgard, with their incredible spaceships and drones.
There’s a depth and immediacy to the property that feels real in a way that no fantasy game ever could because it takes place right now. But beyond that, I believe our game play will be compelling and fun. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think that’s what most gamers want. As a crafting nut, I’m really interested in the role that crafting will have in the game. Can you describe the overall vision on the life of a crafter in game? If you watch the series, you know that the basic kit the Stargate teams, Jaffa warbands or individual Asgard receive comes from a central authority. But when something special is needed, they turn to their crafters, like Rodney McKay and Sam Carter, to cook up an answer. How will the crafters’ creations compare to what players might find in the game world? Crafters have a vital role to play in the game economy that we see developing. As seen on the show, most of the crafting won’t be used to create base items. Soldiers get their P-90s from the government, after all, but those items that are created by players will be high demand, powerful equipment. The mission (questing) system being designed for the game has been described as more storyline and character-driven than in other MMOs - a claim many developers have made - how does SGW deliver on that promise? Well, for one thing, our content is episodic. That means that like a television series, we’ll have series arcs and an overall story arc. From the time characters enter the game through level cap and beyond, they are part of a galaxy-spanning story that features mystery, action and adventure. In addition to what we refer to as the A-story, there also are B-story lines, archetype and profession stories and multiple side quests. What sets our usage of the term “story” apart from everyone else is that everyone within each faction is working together to accomplish the big goal.
Most games present the story through text, and we’re avoiding that as much as possible. The quests drive the characters through the game without the need to read a lot of boring exposition. The point is to hook the players with a quick hit, like “Teal’c has been ambushed and needs back up!” The story is revealed through the character’s actions; the detailed mission descriptions are available, but they aren’t necessary unless the player wants more background information. What is the planned scope of single vs. group vs. raid? For example, will smaller groups have access to larger/epic scale encounters in their missions? The core unit of the Stargate program is the team, a group of four to six members with diverse skills. Stargate SG-1 had a commando/soldier (Jack O’Neill/Cameron Mitchell), an archeologist (Daniel Jackson/Jonas Quinn), a scientist (Samantha Carter) and a Jaffa (Teal’c). That team was able to handle pretty much anything the show creators could throw at them, and that’s the heart of our game play as well. There will be some content for larger groups, but the majority of our content is created for the this level of game play.
One new feature we’ll be offering is the ability to register your team – you and three or four friends – as a permanent game unit, like a guild but more personal. These teams get bonuses for working together in addition to the benefit that comes from working as a team on a regular basis. How much of an impact will skill specialization have on character customization and overall play style? Can you give an example with one of the archetypes? The easiest example of this is the New Mind Goa’uld. The Goa’uld archetype has three specializations to choose from, the Battle Lord, Servant Lord and Ashrak.
The Battle Lord focuses on combat skills and abilities that have a direct effect on the battlefield. Of the three Goa’uld paths, the Battle Lord has the widest access to weapons. The Battle Lord is the New Mind Goa’uld’s ultimate soldier, as intelligent and insightful in combat as he is powerful and shrewd.
The Servant Lord is the pet master Goa’uld. He is never seen without an entourage. This can range from his Lotar personal servant up to, at high levels, Kull warriors called on to take out the Goa’uld’s enemies. The Servant Lord’s abilities focus on controlling and enhancing the Goa’uld’s pets.
The Ashrak is a master assassin. He is a trained killer who over time masters stealth, devastating melee attacks and deadly poisons. He is not as versatile in combat as the Battle Lord nor does he have the minions commanded by the Servant Lord, but when you need someone dead right now, no one gets the job done as efficiently as the Ashrak. That’s an overview of one archetype, but each of them will have similar ability trees to follow that are tailored to specific play styles. It’s my understanding that mini-games (puzzles) will play a role in missions, especially for the archaeologist and scientist archetypes. How dependent will the solutions of these puzzles be on previous missions? Honestly that depends on the mission and the particular minigame. Generally, the minigames stand alone in terms of the way they play, but we’re not ruling out chained or linked games at this time. What level of knowledge in the Stargate canon will such puzzles require? We can’t make knowledge of Stargate canon necessary to solve any of the puzzles. If we did that, we would limit the play options of gamers who want the modern combat vs. science fiction weapons but may not be as interested in watching 10 plus years of Stargate. It’s not fair to non-fans. I will say that fans of the series will see details that others will miss, but they won’t have an advantage when it comes to solving the minigames. How interdependent do you plan the archetypes to be? Would a soldier or commando require an archaeologist, etc to complete certain missions more frequently than not? In general, there will be multiple ways to achieve objectives. The idea is that 80 percent of Stargate Worlds is playable solo, regardless of archetype. That’s difficult to achieve if players are running into problems that can’t be solved by their archetype. There may be occasional circumstances where they need help, which they will be able to ask for online through something like a “call back to base for assistance” interface, but in most circumstances, soldiers will be able to shoot their way out, commandos can sneak out, Jaffa can beat their way out, Asgard will be able to think their way out, and so forth. Inquiring fans want to know…is the “date Sam Carter” mini-game truth or fiction? A gentleman never tells. Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the fans? Yeah, I would encourage everyone reading this to visit www.StargateWorlds.com to sign up for our closed beta test coming up this summer. While you’re there, take the time to join our forums where many knowledgeable Stargate and MMORPG fans are already hanging out and talking about Stargate Worlds. Other than that, we’ll have our community folks hanging out on the forums here to answer any questions you may have.
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