Return of the MMORPG Q&A Highlights
If you haven’t heard the news, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen pre-alpha test is returning to its MMORPG format immediately. This has been important news for our test community and for the greater Pantheon community after the concern regarding the extraction gameplay mode. To address questions and share details on the news, we held a public Q&A session with Creative Director, Chris “Joppa” Perkins and Director of Communications, Ben Dean. You may find the full recording of that session on YouTube.
In this article, we will share the highlights of the Q&A and the quick and easy version of the answers. Please join us on the official Discord server or on the PantheonMMO.com forums for more discussion on the switch over.
The biggest concerns regarding the move back to the MMORPG format, as shared by the community, have been the development progress that was being facilitated by the game test mode, the financial aspect of why Pantheon was considering the monetization of the game test mode, and the time and resources that were used to launch the game mode to test and to make the switch back. We address these topics and more in this Q&A.
First up, How does VR plan to accelerate funding with the MMORPG game?
We are considering different options such as a lower barrier of entry to testing or potentially an early access subscription down the road. We are exploring ideas and imagine new ones will come up. We also have supportive investors. It is important to note that Pantheon isn’t out of money, but we want to accelerate development to finish the game sooner.
How does the development team plan to increase engagement with limited content now that we are back to the MMORPG?
We intend to bring back focus testing and would like to utilize smaller content chunks while additional zones are being built. Example: Before a new zone is fully available, testers may be asked to test portions of the zone, like a camp or dungeon within that unfinished zone.
Will VR still be able to gather the data they need?
The extraction test mode did serve the game in the way that was intended and we received some great info and progress from it. The MMORPG form won’t provide this as well, but we do have some plans to get as close as possible to that ideal situation, in a way that also works for our testers.
When will the PvE MMORPG be back?
The extraction test mode will go offline on Friday, November 17th at 10PM PT. The MMORPG will come back up on Saturday, November 18th at 10AM PT.
What are the specific changes happening to the client for the switch back to the MMORPG?
- Zones will no longer be instanced.
- You can test as long as you want without the need to extract or being interrupted by a timer.
- We will retain the Tower as the hub for all players. This is temporary for the purpose of streamlining the test environment. The extraction portals will be set to always on for all players, and will serve as access points to the Tower.
- The Tower hub will be used for banking, crafting, class training and accessing the eventual Auction House.
- We will retain the 11 quest givers in the Tower and handle overall quest progression through these 11 NPCs. This is temporary for the purpose of streamlining the test environment and maximizing tester interaction with the quest system.
- We will change the maximum group size back to 6.
- With Mission instances removed, groups can now be formed anywhere at any time.
- We will return to the MMO death penalty. When you die, you will respawn at your bind point with your equipped gear. All of your coin and general inventory will remain on your corpse. Corpse runs are back!
- Resurrection spells will be re-introduced for the Classes that can use them.
- You will not be able to loot other player corpses, only your own.
- You will respawn with your equipment, but all coin and inventory items will remain on your corpse until you retrieve them.
- Outside of the Tower hub, you will be able to explore the open world of Pantheon, accessing new zones seamlessly as they come online.
- PvP will be disabled for now as we focus on the PvE experience.
Is the Extraction mode gone for good?
It may become the future format of Pantheon PvP.
Will returning to the MMORPG format slow development and updates? What are we doing to offset this potential problem?
It won’t slow the updates, but it will require some shifts in timing/priority of various tasks. Which for many of you will be good news, in cases where Classes, for example, become higher priority items to finish more quickly.
What will happen with the tasks, the Eleven, the tower, and other extraction testing mode-specific content? Will we see these things in the MMO?
As previously mentioned, We are keeping the Eleven for now as the primary quest givers. They have been moved from the Tower to various places around Availia, so players will need to familiarize themselves with these new locations. The eventual plan is to transpose all of these tasks to in-world NPCs in the various zones, but for now this is one of the ways we can keep our testing loop as tight as possible. The tower will also be available as a hub and will be accessible in Availia.
What can the alpha pledges expect as far as PA access? VR stated “test sessions”, will they be monthly?
We don’t know yet. We need to see how the first session in December goes before we can commit to anything.
Will alpha tests also be able to talk about their test experience?
Will alpha players be on the same server as PA testers?
Is the NDA lift retroactive? May testers talk about past testing experiences? May testers share in-game data?
Yes, but not screenshots or video that haven’t been approved.
Will the in-game content be able to support the larger population of the incoming alpha testers?
There will be a shorter shelf life on content, but it isn’t dire.
Thank you for the Paladin! What’s next and when can we hope to see the other classes?
Warrior is next and will be online either by Saturday, or first patch after MMO transition. Then we are beginning work on the pet system, to support Summoners and Enchanter Charm. After that is the ranged combat system.
Will thirst and hunger still have dire consequences?
Hunger and thirst are still in. You will no longer die to these effects. Instead, they will stop your natural ability to regen Health and Mana, and slowly reduce your attributes.
One of the benefits of the extraction testing mode has been that testers have had a bit more direction from the dev team regarding how and what to test. Will that continue? Will we have focus testing? Combat logs? /bug?
Quest progression through the Eleven (the NPCs available in Availia) will still be designed to send players to the areas where we want them to test, and will have them doing the specific actions we need data on, etc. So that stays the same as it was in the extraction testing mode. As mentioned previously, we are bringing back focus testing which we believe will be a big help. We do not have an ETA on combat logs and an in-game bug reporting feature, but we are aware that these need attention.
How and when will content creators be able to share Pantheon content?
This is currently under evaluation. We would like to get streamers in soon and we are looking to have a way to streamline that process to get content creators in when they want to.
Will we be able to utilize instancing and phasing to handle zone population?
Yes, if the need arises we can use these.
How will alpha pledges be notified of the test session.
Announcement and directions will go out via email. Announcements will also go up on the official forums and Discord server.