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Realms of Torment Interview

by Wouter 'Hyrrix' Ryckbosch, 2003-02-04

Since a few years have the people from Quad Software and Maxim Software been working together on their ambitious mmorpg Realms of Torment. Altough the game doesn't get nearly as much attention as some of the other upcoming mmorpg's, it certainly has some very interesting features: aging of characters, permadeath, degrading skills and offspring to name a few. As Realms of Torment approaches its release date rapidly, we sat down for an interview with Dan Antonescu, lead designer of the game.

RPGDot: Where and when does the game take place? What kind of places will we visit while playing the game and what kind of NPC's will we meet?

Dan Antonescu: The game takes place in a medieval world. There is no actual time period. As for locations, there will be dungeons, forests , towns/cities, islands, mountainous areas and so on. NPC types will include the familiar high fantasy beings such as dragons and goblins with other types we invent mixed in.

RPGDot: Is there going to be an evolving storyline with events or do you want such events to come from the player community itself? If so, could you tease our readers' imagination a bit by telling us some more about it? ;)

Dan Antonescu: Unfortunately I can't go into many details in this area. We are planning something exciting in terms of story line and how it ties into gameplay and wish to keep it under our hats for the moment.

However, I can say that there will be an ongoing story line with monthly updates as seen in other titles such as Asheron's Call. There will also be game masters in-game controlling NPC types such as gods.

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RPGDot: Could you explain us how the skill-system works? Can a player be a master and an apprentice (for other skills) at the same time?

Dan Antonescu: Skills will degrade if they are not used. You can become extremely skilled in swords but if you choose to train in more weapon types and neglect your sword skill it will suffer. At a certain point you can seek out a master (which is another player) in your profession to learn even more skill from him or her. Masters will not be plentiful and will only be able to train 2 or 3 individuals during their life time. Once a master chooses to take on pupils he must devote much of his time to them. A master's life is increased to allow him to properly train his students before he dies.

RPGDot: Don't you think that letting trade skills (just as normal skills) degrade over a period of time will make it an even more time-intensive (and possibly boring) activity?

Dan Antonescu: It depends on how you look at it. The most popular trade skills will always be in need (such as blacksmithing and tailoring) so the people who practice these skills on a daily basis will not suffer from degradation and they will be seen as a viable addition to the community because of their high crafting/support skills.

Other skills that are not used often could be thought of more as specialty trade skills. You might one day need to seek out an experienced botanist to identify a plant before you can use it properly. There may not be many people who practice this skill enough to the point of it being useful to you or to the point of keeping it from degrading. This is where challenges come in. The challenge in this instance would be to seek out a player you need with that skill. Isn't this the whole point of mmorpg gaming? Exploring, interacting with others, overcoming challenges etc. Personally I don't think things should be so "dumbed down" as to totally remove challenges from a game.

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RPGDot: Is it viable to play a character with no interest in combat whatsoever? What kind of non-combat related skills, items and activities can we expect?

Dan Antonescu: There will be a wide rang of non-combat related activities from blacksmithing to botany. It will be very viable for someone to be a blacksmith for instance, because weapons and armor will degrade or get damaged in battle and will need to be repaired.

RPGDot: How will the combat system work? Will there be special combat styles? Also, will the spawn points be fixed or random?

Dan Antonescu: Yes we plan on including different styles and attack moves in combat. Different weapons may unlock different styles and moves. The combat system will be the "target type". There will be different locations on the character which you will be able to target and inflict damage to. Example: target left arm , right arm , head, torso and so on. Severing of limbs in battle is also being implemented.

You will be able to bind your character to different locations. (note from editor: actually I meant to ask whether the 'mob' spawn points would be fixed instead of player spawns :-).

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RPGDot: Can players actually craft legendary or unique items? To which extent will crafted items be of a better quality than monster drops?

Dan Antonescu: Most monsters will not drop weapons or even treasure for that matter. A monster may drop a few pieces of gold or trinkets if it is in the category of being bright enough to be carrying such items. Monsters will not be used as "treasure chests". The majority will drop things such as hides, fur and so on which can than be used in crafting etc...
Most items will be player made. Only quest items are the exceptions.

RPGDot: Will children be exact copies of their parents or will they be totally different?

Dan Antonescu: They will appear as children. They will have their own separate models and characteristics.

RPGDot: How will the creation of spells work and which parameters of a spell can be determined by the player? Also, what kind of spells can we expect?

Dan Antonescu: The spell system will be extremely flexible. You will be able to take a base spell and modify it into something different based on your needs. A few perimeters that can be set are strength, time lasting , area of effect and more. There will be literally hundreds of spell combinations that can be created using this system. We will have a particle effect system for spells along with actual items or characters appearing such as great hammers, cages, demons and so on...

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RPGDot: Could you give us some more details on how a player can acquire the position of realm ruler and what his actual power would be in such a position?

Dan Antonescu: A realm ruler would be something like a king or hero. A player can reach this status through taking part in his realms activities such as RvR battles and so on.
There will be a number of factors which will determine if you are worthy of the title. One being your fame points and how your realm looks upon you.
With the title of king or realm ruler may come the ability to control NPC armies and/or PC armies, monitoring the realms supplies, taxing the realm etc...

RPGDot: Is PvP-combat an important part of the game? And will you tolerate "grief player-killing" or mainly focus the game on Realm vs Realm fights?

Dan Antonescu: The game is extremely RvR and PvP oriented. Grief play will be controlled by our fame point system and by the community itself.

RPGDot: Will there be any special features or servers for role-players?

Dan Antonescu: The game design itself opens many areas for great roleplaying opportunities. As for "roleplaying only" servers we have not yet decided on how the final server setup will be. If we go the traditional route of having multiple world servers than it's likely we may put in this type of roleplaying only world server.

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RPGDot: Which part of the game makes Realms of Torment better than other mmorpg's, for you personally, and why?

Dan Antonescu: For me personally? It won't be another level treadmill with the same rehashed gameplay of yesterday. I think it's time that mmorpg's start evolving more in the gameplay area and start offering more than just kill this - level up - kill that - level up - rinse and repeat. This type of system was fine a few years ago but the games need to start evolving into something more.

I'am not saying this title won't have many of the traditonal elements found in past mmorpgs, but it will most definately offer some new gameplay elements that no other title in this genre will have.

RPGDot: Is there anything else you'd want to tell our readers or something you wish to draw their attention to?

Dan Antonescu: We invite everyone to stop by the official site and read up on the title and join in the online discussions at our forums.
It's the mmorpg players that will help us in making this game the best it can be by offering their opinions and comments.
Thanks to rpgdot.com for their time.

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