WP: Who has the honor to talk to us? State your name, rank and occupation!
I'm Matt Firor, the Executive Producer at Mythic Entertainment. I've produced most of Mythic's titles from the company's first published title in 1996.
WP: How much will I be able to customize my character, and am I locked into that decision, or can I change it later?
We're still working on the specifics of this, but some decisions have been made. First, everyone will have the chance to reconfigure their existing characters – they must keep the same race and sex, as these are hard coded – to make them look exactly the way they want under the new Catacombs system. Second, we're putting in an NPC into the game that will grant the users additional appearance changes as desired.
WP: What sort of changes can we expect with the building retiling?
We've put that addition on hold for Catacombs. For those that don't know, back in the spring we had planned on upgrading the starting town/village buildings and objects to make them high-polygon and better-textured. We decided instead to focus on the new content for Catacombs, and to make the starting town overhaul available sometime afterwards.
WP: Will Catacombs bring about any changes to game's physics engine, i.e. rag-doll physics?
No, we're not updating in-game physics with Catacombs. We're focusing on player model/texture changes, as well as facial morph features.
WP: How's the new dye system coming along? Earlier, you posted that to take full advantage of the system you'll need a DirectX 9 hardware compliant card – one of the new GeForce FX or Radeon 9000 cards or better. What will those of us that only have DX 8.1 compliant cards miss out on?
No, Catacombs will fully run on any DX 8.1 card. There are some features that will require the newest DX 9-compliant cards to look the best, but you will see plenty of goodies on the older generation of cards.
WP: In addition to that new underground city, how many new dungeons will be included per realm?
That's kind of a hard question to answer, as the entire expansion takes place underground. Each Realm gets a friendly city, plus at about six underground zones to adventure in, not counting instanced adventuring wings.
WP: How will instances work in a game play standpoint with Catacombs? i.e., What will trigger an instance, and are you planning on the instancing being done on a solo, group or raid level?
Instancing is being focused on small-group levels. You'll know you're going into an instance, because we have a special door that looks different from all the other doors in the game, one that signifies "instance."
WP: Recently, you've made a change in how the ToA artifacts level, by now having them level in specific areas as opposed to specific monsters. Will this be updated so Artifacts can level in Catacombs?
We're still working on that design element. We want to make it a bit of a challenge to level TOA artifacts, but not ridiculously so.
WP: Trials of Atlantis had a rocky launch and reception by some of your customers. What lessons did you take away from that launch to make Catacomb's launch smoother?
Catacombs will have more standard encounters than TOA, where we really tried to push the envelope in terms of complexity and size of encounters. Catacombs will be focused on an extremely wide level range (basically 5-50) and on single-group style encounters.
WP: How about the trade skills? Any new trade skills or enhancements to current trade skills in Catacombs?
No, but we do plan on having additions to the Tradeskill/spellcrafting system at some point after Catacombs launches.
WP: Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us about the new expansion. Any final words about Catacombs you'd like to get in?
Watch the Camelot Herald for updates!
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