Friday 29 July 2005/... Recently, several members of the Auto Assault team were asked questions about their forthcoming game in the first of a series of IRC sessions dubbed "Rush Hour". What follows is a transcript of the questions and their answers.
Billed as the fastest, most destructive MMO ever, Auto Assault will roll out of stores in Europe later this year.
The Auto Assault Rush Hour #1
Torque: Welcome to the Auto Assault Rush Hour! Joining us today we have Scott Brown - President of NetDevil, the awesome developers of Auto Assault. Also from NCsoft North America we have Auto Assault producer Steve Snow and Assistant Producer Todd Keister.
From NCsoft Europe we have myself, AutobahnParker and Aegirson, community coordinators for the UK, Germany and France.
Each Rush Hour over the next few weeks will focus on a different feature of Auto Assault. Today we will have an introduction to Auto Assault, look at character creation, and how players level up and progress through the game. Over to you, Scott!
Scott Brown: First off, thank you so much for taking some time to join us here today. Hopefully we can give you some insight into the world of Auto Assault to help you understand why we are so excited about what we are creating.
A huge part of any MMO is character development - Auto Assault is not just about driving around and blowing stuff up - although that's a huge and fantastic part of the game!
Question: How many character classes are there in AA? How much do they differ from one another? And how can they work together in a convoy?
Scott Brown: There are four different classes in Auto Assault, with the same types of classes found in each of our three races (Human, Biomek and Mutant). Each class has supporting abilities, and all of them are also capable of surviving the Wasteland on their own.
First there's the commando class, the heavy hitters, driving the military vehicles like HUM-Vs and tanks.
Next there's a ranger class, these guys have stealth abilities and typically drive the light vehicles like buggies and motorcycles.
Third, we have the officer class. These guys do the group buffs and summons, they all drive faster sport car type vehicles.
Finally there is the Engineer class. These guys can field scavenge, drop turrets and traps, and tend to drive the bigger trucks and semis in the game.
While the four classes are similar across the three races, how they use their skills is quite different.
Question: Can you give an example of how two classes might work together?
Scott Brown: Sure, one example would be having an engineer nearby to an officer. The officer could provide all kinds of attribute buffs while the engineer could keep everyone fully repaired and in the fight.
Officers tend to have lower hit points, as they lean on their reinforcements that they have summoned to the fight to help them. With an engineer nearby the officer becomes decidedly more powerful as they can stay right in the heat of battle.
Question: What will the character and vehicle customization be like? Will it be as extensive as City of Heroes for example, where each player had a unique and different avatar?
Scott Brown: We have car customization options in Auto Assault called Tricks and Trims. Tricks are objects you attach to your vehicle, like pipes, carbon fiber, bones, armor plates, etc. Trims are different styles of paint jobs.
You can also find paint cans in the world that you can use to change your primary or secondary colors in the body shops in towns.
Also your guns, wheels, hood ornaments, and melee kits (spikes for example) all make your vehicle look very different than other players.
Question: How will the levelling system work? How deeply will we be able to customize our character through level up?
Steve Snow: You level up by gaining experience, through killing enemies or completing missions. It's important to note that missions in Auto Assault give the bulk of experience, so you'll want to keep working on any uncompleted missions.
Creating a character unique to the world of Auto Assault is done through the skills and stats.
There are two basic types of skills: faction skills, which everyone in your race can train in, and class skills, which only your character class gets access to. Given the sheer amount of skills it will be impossible for a player to master all of them.
There are four statistics - Combat, Tech, Perception and Theory - and you will gain points at each level that you will get to spend on these stats. We will go into more detail about skills and stats in another Rush Hour!
Question: Will there be a quest system? Will it involve forming parties with other players?
Steve Snow Yes, but we call it the mission system. It's quite detailed in terms of what we can offer players for a real gameplay experience - everything from just driving and blowing stuff up, to setting off massive Ion Strikes on enemy bases - plus we have a fantastic waypoint system that never leaves you unsure of where to go.
Ultimately Auto Assault is an action MMO, so there are missions that might recommend you form a convoy (our word for parties, or teams) with other players.
Question: After you have created your character, how will players gain money in the game?
Scott Brown: You can earn money through missions, destroying AI enemies, selling loot to stores and through trading with other players. Money in the world of Auto Assault is broken into four types.
First is clink, basically any old world coin of any amount. Second is Script, these are all old world bills. Third is bars, these are gold bars found from old bank vaults. And finally there are globes, strange alien balls of an unknown nature.
Question: Are the missions in Auto Assault instanced?
Steve Snow: Some missions are instanced; for example the larger story advancing missions send you into an instance. You can do these by yourself or with friends, but either way once you've accomplished a goal in that instance, the change remains that way for your character.
So for example, if you destroy artillery guns then when you go back to that map the guns remain destroyed.
Question: What happens if I team up with someone who hasn't destroyed those guns yet, but I have?
Steve Snow: The layer for the instance is defined by the convoy, and whoever enters the instance first. So, if you entered first, the guns would be destroyed; if your friend entered first the guns would be there. But if a player has already completed the mission they cannot do it again.
Question: So it all depends on the team leader - kind of like in Diablo 2 when someone generates a game? :)
Scott Brown: Exactly. With instances we always take the least common denominator, in essence you can always go back and replay a mission with someone who has not played it before, but they can not skip ahead to your version. We wanted this system to let friends always be able to play together. Since character classes also support each other, even though you can play solo, it is helpful to go in as a group.
Question: What will Auto Assault offer to the players who don't like PvP?
Scott Brown: Quite a lot actually!! The majority of the early to mid level game world is PvE only. All the missions are hand crafted to reveal the deep history of the world.
Also, since Auto Assault is an RPG, the game is all about loot statistics and we have TONS of loot. Not only that, but loot statistics are dynamic so that each piece of loot is unique statistically.
Question: Will it be possible for guilds to make alliances?
Scott Brown: Guilds are called clans in Auto Assault.... :)
Steve Snow: No, not at launch. Auto Assault has a strong focus on Arena combat and even though clans might be of the same faction they will still compete in the Arena, so alliances don't make as much sense in Auto Assault.
Question: When the player dies what kind of penalty will they suffer?
Steve Snow: None. First, you never die in Auto Assault, your vehicle is rendered non-functional. Second, Auto Assault is built around getting players into action gameplay, so we have no experience penalties, no 'corpse runs'. Whatever happens to your vehicle, however beaten up it gets - when you're busted up by the side of the road, INC, a neutral party in-game, will give you a ride back to the nearest repair station where you can fix yourself up and then head back out.
Question: Will there be a limit to the number of persons allowed in a clan?
Scott Brown: As of now there is no limit to the number of players in a clan, but as we continue the Beta if there becomes a technical reason to have a limit we may impose one.
Question: Is it possible for the player to move freely without their vehicle? If so, what kind of things will they be able to do?
Steve Snow: Yes, but only in towns, where you can't drive your car. You have to leave it at the entrance and head in on foot. Almost all of your NPC interactions are done in town, as well as a lot of your merchant interaction.
Question: Is it possible for a team member to repair, or "heal" others in the midst of battle?
Steve Snow: Yes. While Auto Assault is very fast paced a well timed heal/repair, especially in Arena combat, can make all the difference between winning and losing.
The best class for repairs is the Engineer but you can also get area of effect repair kits that can heal, but these are not that common and slightly expensive.
Question: What kind of points of view will be available for the players? Will there be a cockpit view?
Todd Keister: In Auto Assault, the camera can be switched to varied positions around the player to provide for different perspective views. For rapid combat and quick action, the camera can be zoomed out and panned in any direction to allow for area view, and in towns, the camera can be zoomed close for detailed observation and interface.
Torque: That's all for this session folks, thanks for your time.
Scott Brown: Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to the next Rush Hour!!
For more information on Auto Assault please direct your browser to the official web site:
- e n d s -
About NCsoft Europe
NCsoft Europe (NC-E) is headquartered in Brighton, England and is part of Korea-based NCsoft Corporation, the world's leading developer and publisher of online games. NCsoft has already successfully established itself in North America, Japan, Taiwan, China and Thailand. NC-E began operations on 1st September 2004 and serves as a central hub for all NCsoft sales, marketing and distribution operations in Europe, via its European distribution network. NC-E launched Lineage® II in November 2004, City of HeroesTM on 4th February 2005 and Guild Wars® on 28th April 2005. More information about NCsoft Europe can be found at http://www.plaync.com.
NetDevil was founded in 1997 under the inspiration of JumpgateTM, the world's first massively multiplayer space simulator universe. NetDevil is an independent game development company dedicated to the construction of massively multiplayer universes. NetDevil is committed to creating immersive, interactive virtual worlds in unique settings outside the typical fantasy genre. For more information, please visit http://www.netdevil.com.
NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, Auto Assault, NetDevil, and all associated NCsoft logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. City of Heroes is a trademark of Cryptic Studios, Inc. and NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.