Black Prophecy Q&A written by Sylvester "Annex" Rozylo, Executive Editor, GameSNAFU
Interview partner at Reakktor Media - Kirk Lenke, CEO
Q: Is the game going to be in cockpit or third person view and will users be able to switch views?
A: In Black Prophecy you will be able to select either a first person view with or without cockpit and a third person view. In all views you will still have the regular HUD elements to receive all important information.
Q: Are you designing the game to have twitch based combat requiring aiming/reflexes or will the action be more in lines of WoW where you lock onto a target and combat is fought based on skill and weapon refreshes?
A: In Black Prophecy skill will certainly make a difference as you don't just click and wait, instead you control your ship directly. So it's very much up to your maneuvering and shooting skills as to whether you succeed in turning your enemy into piece of space junk. Building on this real-time control and combat ethos, Black Prophecy will also offer special tactics which, for example, allow your ship to make special evasive maneuvers to confuse your enemy. To allay the concerns of some players who don't want to lose control of their ship, these tactics only take over the controls for a few milliseconds until the special tactic is finished.
Q: Will the games story be a driving force for future events or does it serve to just familiarize players with their immediate surroundings and purpose? Will players have any impact on the outcome of the story at any point?
A: Whilst the first story missions act as an introduction to the game, further missions will draw the player more and more into the blazing conflicts between the rival factions. How deep this involvement will go in the end, and whether or not players will have an impact on the outcome of the story is a design question that is still to be investigated.
Q: How much of the game will be tailored towards the non-PvP crowd? Will PvP at any time be forced on them?
A: Black Prophecy will of course offer solid PvP content as it is a major aspect of the character's advancement. However, while you will receive experience points for accomplishing PvP missions, players will gain most of their experience levels by playing the PvE content.
Q: What is the planned size for the explorable universe upon launch? Will it be densely packed or will there be large voids of space to traverse? Will it take a long time to move from one end to the other?
A: We are unable to elaborate on that topic at this point as the open world content is still work in progress and several design aspects are still to be decided.
Q: You mention that you can customize ships with weapons and modules. Assuming that bigger guns = deadlier ships, just how powerful will players be able to make these ships? Will there be a stark difference between a new player and someone who has been in the game say, three months?
A: In Black Prophecy the ship types are divided into light, medium and heavy fighters, and these types are linked to the particular level ranges of the player. Within these ranges you can fully customize your ship as the combat situation requires, e.g. fully load up on shield-reducing weapons to weaken the enemy's shields while your teammate finishes the enemy with a full load of missiles. So, at first glance it appears that low level players won't be able to deal with a high level player but if you team up your chances are still good to send the high level player to the happy hunting grounds.
Q: Will the game be designed such that after a few short weeks or months players reach the often dreaded endgame like in Warhammer Online or do you plan to make the journey a much longer and more involved affair? How long do you think the average player will take to exhaust the games regular content and reach endgame?
A: Black Prophecy is designed to allow players to achieve major goals in character development without investing excessive amounts of time. So basically it will be possible to reach the endgame content within a few weeks, but you shouldn't be afraid that the fun will run out once you reach the endgame. We will pay very close attention to creating a lasting experience that's as attractive as possible wherein the focus will be on intense PvP action for solo, team and clan players.
Q: How much of the endgame will be dedicated to PvP? Will it occur just in private battlegrounds or will there be open areas for it like in EVE Online or Warhammer Online?
A: We plan to offer both types of game worlds, the instanced environment where you compete privately with your chosen team members and open world areas where you can just jump in and take part in the action with anyone. In addition both world types will be supported by offering special PvP missions to enrich the game play.
Q: Will PvP affect the rest of the universe in any way or just affect and serve those that participated? What kind of rewards do you envision for PvP participants and will defeated players suffer any actual loses such as ships or equipment?
A: The outcome of faction PvP battles very much depends on the amount of resources the faction members, and in particular the faction's clans, gather by conquering resource stations. So every battle, large or small, can have far reaching consequences. For smaller PvP battles, like clan vs. clan or free-for-alls, players receive item and money rewards either from successfully completing a mission or by simply looting others.
Q: You mention PvP fighting over resource stations. Will these be instanced areas like in Age of Conan or part of the open world? How will smaller guilds that cannot compete against larger opponents obtain resources?
A: Resource stations will be an important part of the endgame content. By capturing a resource station a clan receives a specific amount of resources. Part of these resources are deducted as a tax for the faction and used for the large faction PvP battles. The rest of the resources are at the clan's disposal for clan vs. clan battles and/or modification of ship parts. In both cases (faction and clan PvP) the resource level will determine combat strength by way of limiting how many times the participating players are allowed to re-spawn. The final rules for capturing resource stations are still a design question but we will of course make sure that smaller clans will also be able to get a piece of the cake.
Clan vs. Clan battles will be definitely instanced in order to prevent any non-clan related players from disturbing the battle. Also it would not make any sense to allow outside players to take part as each clan has to bring in its own resources and utilize them carefully in order to win the battle.
We have not finally decided if faction PvP battles will be instanced or played in open world areas. Though we want to have large epic battles, we also see the necessity of a maximum player limit for each battle. Fighting with 50 players in one sector is already very difficult; having more than 100 players in a sector makes it nearly impossible to act tactically as it simply results in a great bustle where you don't know where to shoot first. Restricting faction PvP battles to instances would therefore be an option to provide a satisfying experience for every participating player.
Thank you Kirk for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions! We will be watching the development of BP closely and will be bringing more information about this highly anticipated game as it becomes available.
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