Welcome to Project: Gorgon!

Project: Gorgon is a 3D fantasy MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game) that features an immersive experience that allows the player to forge their own path through exploration and discovery. We won't be guiding you through a world on rails, and as a result there are many hidden secrets awaiting discovery. Project: Gorgon also features an ambitious skill based leveling system that bucks the current trend of pre-determined classes, thus allowing the player to combine skills in order to create a truly unique playing experience.

The Project: Gorgon development team is led by industry veteran Eric Heimburg. Eric has over a decade of experience working as a Senior and Lead Engineer, Developer, Designer and Producer on successful games such as Asheron’s Call 1 and 2, Star Trek Online and other successful Massively Multiplayer Online Games.


Town Hall Q&A #3, Part 1

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
Here’s the first batch of answers for the latest Q&A. There were a lot more high-ranking questions this time, in part because there are a lot more people voting, so thanks! Rather than waiting until all the answers are ready, I figured I should just break them into parts.

Most of these answers are from me, although the first answer is from Sandra.

Qaelis: How is Srand?

[from Srand] Thanks for asking! I'm doing well, all things considered. Chemotherapy is a bitch, but I expected that. What I didn't expect was how much time cancer takes. Chemo is two full days every three weeks, plus several days of recovery. Then I have doctor's appointments -- so *many* doctor's appointments! And right now I need multiple naps a day. So I'm spending a third of my normal work time asleep and another third sitting in waiting rooms, which is really frustrating. I have shit to do, you know! But overall I'm doing okay. And weirdly, now that we know what's going on and a bunch of my symptoms are finally being treated appropriately, I'm feeling better than I have for a while. So there's that!

Tekkra: Breeding has now been in game for a bit of time, how do you feel this initial test has gone. Do you anticipate needing any significant changes? Also, are you happy with the time it takes to breed? What are the overall thoughts on where that is going as we move into mounts.

Things haven't changed on this front since the last blog post -- unfortunately breeding was put on the back-burner for a bit, and still hasn't come to the forefront. But let me give a quick brain-dump of where we're at:
  1. Bee appearance-related genes are pretty much working as intended, with no major changes currently planned.
  2. Bee stat-related genes are completely borked due to some spreadsheet issues. We plan to re-distribute all stats across existing genes, retroactively affecting your pets' stats. That will suck for some players whose pets' stats get worse... I'm sorry about that. But I expect the gameplay ramifications to be pretty mild.
  3. Some planned stable-items haven't yet made it into the game; these will add some interesting new tools to players' toolboxes.
  4. The current XP-generation algorithm for Animal Husbandry is just a stub. We'll enhance this in the future (perhaps through the use of new stable-items).

Kefchat: With elite enemies becoming stronger over the last year, the game has seen the emergence of full tank builds. Is this something you think is desirable for PG (heading toward classic MMO tank/healer/dps)? Would you prefer people at end game running more hybrid builds? If you think the full tank approach is desirable, do you plan to balance out those "tanking combos" between each other with the goal of creating a healthy "tanking meta"?

Given that the game lets you combine multiple tanking skills together, it makes sense that there would be a purpose for doing so. At very high level, I expect there will be some bosses that are very hard to defeat without a "double tank" who uses two tanking skills (or perhaps a tank skill plus a support skill). But that would be the exception to the norm -- I expect most high-level group encounters will need somebody to take the hits, but the intent is that a "tanky DPS" or a "tanky healer" can usually fill that role, if they have the right support.

And yeah, we'll be addressing how the skills combine together. Some skills synergize too well, and some not enough. There's a lot of balancing work left to do!

Niqesse: Will the starter races also get race specific skills or is it only the advanced races that get those?

Yes, eventually the starter races will have additional racial benefits and drawbacks. However, unlike the advanced races, you'll "opt in" to these changes. The plan is to have a few tiers of racial buy-in. For simplicity you can think of them as racial skills. When you first make your elf, they are Level 1 in Elf, and the only effect is +1% earned XP if you're clean, and -1% earned XP if you're dirty. But if you choose to level up your elven heritage (by completing special quests), you will unlock more effects. For instance, at level 2 maybe you earn +5% XP for being clean... but the drawback is that you'll now notice how dirty everyone else is. Filthy players will be shown as having buzzing flies and dirt-particles coming off of them. If you level up again, you start to learn the secrets of elven meditation, but now if you don't meditate with nature all the time, you become physically sick.

You'll be able to choose how many levels of your racial benefits you want. And I expect that there'll be a way to "forget" your racial heritage and return to level 1 in your race. But all of this is subject to change. It's also a lower priority feature, one that may not happen until after the game leaves beta. But I plan to implement it eventually.

RuinedMaddy: Will there be options for certain skill combos? For example being capable of using fire magic with a flame sword, or ice magic with an ice element sword.

It's possible, but not soon. Those restrictions were added intentionally to avoid overpowered combinations, ones that I feared would be hard to balance around. Eventually maybe we realize that some of those combinations are fine and don't need to be restricted... but that's not something I'd do until beta balancing is more complete.

HimiTosi: Will there ever be the possibility to change race, be it a once and done on launch, a paid service in councils, or a $paid "cosmetic chance" service. ... The reason I ask is fairy has a race limited skill, it has been mentioned that Orc may have 2h weapons that are race limited and when asked about axes (for dwarfs) the response from the interview was borderline that it could be a dwarf only weapon but it also might not be.

We're not going to let you change from a standard race to an advanced race, or vice versa. And I should find a different name than "advanced" for those races, because people are getting the wrong idea!

The three unlockable races (Fairy, and eventually Orc and Dwarf) are designed to appeal to players who want to re-roll. We all know how it works with an MMO: eventually you burn out, and then even more eventually you have the urge to play some more. And when that time comes, why not start a new character on hard mode? So these races are "advanced" in the sense that they're harder -- not that they're better.

Each of the advanced races will have its own new player experience that teaches them about the drawbacks and benefits of being that race. Each race has some new game mechanics to learn, and a new combat sub-skill or two to explore. They're intended to be a different way to play. But not inherently better -- look at the Fairy race right now: its unique sub-skill allows for some fun and powerful new builds. But there are other builds that outdamage them numerically. It's more about the experience.

Switching races also creates a lot of balance issues that are hard to fix. For instance, orcs are reviled by most NPCs in the game and suffer severe Favor penalties. If you start as a human, become high level, and then switch to orc, you'd have skipped one of the biggest hurdles of newbie orc players. Sure, we could reset your NPC favor levels, but that's still unfair. You leveled up your human more easily because they had free access to all those NPCs. Resetting the NPCs wouldn't undo all the benefits they already gave you -- such as letting you shop in their store.

And finally, race switching would be hard to code, because a lot of scripted NPCs would need extensive changing and testing.

While there won't be a universal race change, we might allow a subset of changes: switching between humans, elves, and rakshasa. That feature would still require some work (and NPC script-fixing) and presents some balance problems, but it seems a little more straightforward, so it's something we might tackle eventually.

Also, note that we WILL be letting you switch sex and appearance. Just not your race.

McKringleberry: Current group size is limited to just 6 players. This works really well for group play and dungeons but for events like the Povus Bonus, this can feel exclusionary at times when there are 7, 8, or more players that would like to participate but there isn't enough room and so they have trouble tagging mobs or receiving heals. Are there any plans to offer larger Raid groups for events like the Povus Bonus, World Bosses, or for the proposed events that will take place in Statehelm?

Sorry, there are no plans for groups larger than 6. Most monster encounters are balanced around a max 6-person group, and several skills are balanced around this max as well. We played with some other sizes earlier in alpha, and eventually settled on this group size. There are upsides and downsides to any number, but this one fit the best.

And we do have mechanics that help in situations like world bosses or the top tiers of Povus: those epic-level bosses give out loot to everyone, regardless of which group did the most damage.

There's a lot of white abilities on gear/weapons that stop at lv 50/60, any plans to see it in lv 80+?

For some yes, for some no. Many of the effects players want high-level versions of aren't intended to be used at high level -- they were designed for that item's specific level range. For instance, some newbie armor has potent percentage-based vulnerability reduction. It's decent gear at its intended level, but if it was scaled up, it would be overpowered.

But there are other types of gear that *will* eventually be available on higher-level items. A good example is damage-type changers. Weapons that change the damage-type of your abilities, such as a flaming sword that turns your slashing attacks to fire damage, will eventually be available on higher-level gear.

Zavos: Dark Geology and Weather Witching are off the table apparently, so what is planned for future magic and mystical skills, as well as other explorations of Alharth's magic system?

I think we have all the basics covered now, so when it comes to adding another skill, I'm looking for inspiration! That's why Weather Witching died: my inspiration for the skill was dynamic weather. But it's too graphics-intensive. We can't even have dynamic rain without tanking performance for our lowest-tier players. And adding really localized weather phenomena hasn't panned out. Some features just don't make it, and Weather Witching suffered that fate.

For Dark Geology, I basically stole the good ideas and used them in Ice Magic. So while I could still see that skill happening, I'm not sure why it would be fun, and how it would be fundamentally different from Ice Magic.

There might be another mage skill, but I'm content to wait for a new inspiration. The existing skills don't have any obvious "holes" that need to be filled.

In terms of related content, there'll eventually be the Vampire skill -- it's not really a "mage" skill, but it's magical. It's the third skill that requires you to make a major life decision to unlock it. (The other two are Lycanthropy and Druid.)

Vasiliy: Are we going to get Orcs or Statehelm first? I get the impression that the first iteration of Statehelm is well underway but I haven't heard much of anything about the Orc's development or the Kur Mountains rework (that's still a thing right?)

At this point I'm not completely sure. There’s actually a prerequisite step for both orcs and Statehelm. For orcs, we can’t start until after the Kur Mountains art revamp, which is underway. For Statehelm, we need to add a “crossroads” area first – this is the path that leads to the capital. So we’re creating a “stub” version of this area, basically a place for important NPCs to live while we work on their nemeses in Statehelm. Then we can connect the new area to Statehelm, which is also in development.

My expectation is we’ll have the Kur revamp first, then the prototype of the crossroads area, then Statehelm part 1, then the first version of orcs. But that’s too many steps ahead to have a very reliable prediction.

I’ll be back with more soon!
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Project: Gorgon