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Dark Vale Games' Tim Alvis answers my questions about Forge

Discussion on Dark Vale Games' Tim Alvis answers my questions about Forge within the Gaming News - EN forum part of the Gaming News category.

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Dark Vale Games' Tim Alvis answers my questions about Forge

I reached out to devs of upcoming online title Forge with a few questions, because I wasn't quite satisfied with the information given in the press release. It was a little hazy, driving uncertainty into the hearts of people like me who wanted to be interested. All questions were answered by Tim Alvis, CTO/COO of Dark Vale Games. You can see the result below.

Q: Is there going to be any progression in the game? I'm given the impression
that there's drop-in, drop-out gameplay, with no real reward outside of

A: Definitely going to have progression, it’s just not the kind of progression
that results in increased power over another player. It is drop-in, and
drop-out, but so long as you’ve performed well enough during your stay to
earn a few medals, you’ll have some significant progress to walk away with.
We’re using experience points as a streamlined currency. Let’s say you’re at
level 1, and your class has 1 new ability you can unlock at level 1. At
level 2, you have another ability and also a new skin or armor for your
companion. As you earn experience playing, you can opt to either spend those
experience points on that level 1 ability you want, or to just let them
build up until you reach level 2. At level 2, any points you earn can go
towards buying either the level 1 ability you skipped, or the new level 2
abilities, skins or armor. That said, an ability being unlocked at level 2
doesn’t make it a better ability than those you were given to start or the
ability available at level 1. It’s just a new ability you can make use of.
Because we only allow 9 abilities to be brought to combat at one time, and
every player starts with 9 that give them a full toolset to work with, no
one is at a disadvantage at level 1, even if they’re going up against a
level 15 or higher player. Progression without any sense of grind, you’re
under no time pressure to get to ‘the end’, if that’s even a phrase you
could use to describe having everything unlocked you want at the time.

Q: I'm also a little hazy on the gameplay, it's definitely a first
person shooter game, but has MMORPG PvP elements, but what kind of MMORPG

A: At launch, it’s not something I would call an MMO in any traditional sense
of the word. That is where the game is headed, having a persistent world to
meet up with other players outside of combat scenarios and other
functionality you would expect, but our launch feature set is focused on
core gameplay. It shares a lot in common with a battleground style
experience you’ve had in other MMOs. Your ability set is definitely inspired
by MMOs (interrupts, stuns, debuffs, buffs), but from a lobby and
matchmaking perspective it has much more in common with a game like Team
Fortress 2. There are no queues, no NPCs.

In the game environments, you move and have the camera controls that are
reminiscent of a game like Gears of War. You have an ability set that offers
you a variety of decisions to make that we feel are meaningful, rather than
having a collection of abilities that are in principal identical outside of
number adjustments to their damage, resource cost or cooldowns. You’ll have
stuns, slows, interrupts, knockbacks, buffs and debuffs. The speed of combat
is also much more similar to an MMO than a FPS or TPS. Our time to kill is
between 10-20 seconds depending on classes facing off against one another.
The way we’ve approached the classes are also very familiar to anyone
playing an MMO. While the Heavy in TF2 is a very high health, slow moving
offensive character for instance, a tank for us would have a tanking toolset
to use instead.

Q: Can we expect a unique variety of gameplay modes, or at least a
standard variety?

A: Being Indie, this is another answer we have to give in two parts. At launch,
it’s a standard variety. We’ll have a slightly tuned version of Team
Deathmatch so that it’s not just “join in and kill until bored”. There is a
victory condition attached. We also have Capture the Relic (flag). These are
familiar to everyone from both genres we’re highlighting.

We do have a unique gameplay mode we haven’t announced the details for
called Labyrinth that really blurs the lines between an MMO and FPS/TPS.
We’re very excited about it, but it’s just not something we believed we
could get to the quality level we expect of ourselves at launch. We have
other more familiar modes in the works as well that we’ll be announcing as
time progresses. Labyrinth is the one we’re most excited about. Really
looking forward to announcing more information about that when we can.

Q: What kind of weapons will we have? I assume it's not guns, given
the classes shown on the website.

A: Some classes aren’t even carrying a stick. We’ve opted out of the idea of
weapons defining combat, and instead are focused on combat on a class by
class basis. The Assassin for instance uses two daggers, but you’ll never
swap out two daggers for a sword and buckler. Customizing combat will
involve customizing the Assassin’s abilities and which abilities you bring
with you, but they’ll always be based on what we consider her core weapon
set. Same is true of the Pathfinder. Bows and traps. Any change to weapons
will be purely cosmetic in nature.

Q: How will the companions fit into it? Will they just be like pets
that follow you around, or even mounts?

A: For some reason, the guy that usually demands I stay silent on things is
absent today. I’ll just go ahead and answer this. Companions are, for now*,
like pets that follow you around and fight alongside you. Each has one
ability you can bring with you that doesn’t require your resources to use
and is extremely useful to your class role. We’ll announce more details, as
well as the reasoning behind giving one to each class, a little later.

Q: What kind of payment scheme can we expect for the game? We were
told we can expect it at an indie price, but is that a once-off payment, or
will there be a subscription? And will there be additional payment bonuses,
with certain pay-to-win elements?

A: We are launching at an indie price point as a one-time payment. There aren’t
any subscriptions or other fees to continue playing. We will be releasing
free and paid DLC after launch, but these will be content expansions. No
micro-transactions or anything like that for us for now. It’s expensive to
do a Free-to-Play game ‘right’ in our eyes, and we weren’t willing to
sacrifice the quality of any of our game assets at launch to create enough
additional assets to make going free-to-play financially viable. Where
things go in the far off future is harder to predict. The market is
changing, our players will come to have certain expectations and wants.
We’ll reevaluate then. For now, we feel great about going out at a price
point we believe is a tremendous value with no strings attached.

From these answers, I get the impression that these guys know what they're doing. They know what they want, and they're going for it in the right way. Of course we won't know how well they did with it until at least a few weeks into service of the game, but I for one am looking forward to it.

What do you guys think? Did this answer your questions regarding Forge?
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