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[DEV] Oblivious

Developer's Blog 4/10/2012

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Developer Q&A

Do you have any new and exciting ideas for the game that will help retain player interest?

Face of Mankind is meant to be a game revolving around the players and their interactions within the game world. As such, it is hard to grab a players interest without restricting freedom, or adding mechanics that don't necessarily fit with the game. Still though, most of the satisfaction comes from those player interactions. One of the biggest shortcomings of the game is the current lack of players and if we can reach a reasonable number of people, the game will be fun again.

Do you prefer the typical fast paced shooter combat, or the current FoMbat incarnation?

I have always preferred the faster paced combat of most shooters over the combat that currently exists in Face of Mankind. They both provide similar satisfaction but, there is an obvious ease to balancing faster paced combat. The longer a fight goes on, the more each individual damage point will matter. when you tie this damage model into the player skill system of FoM, you create the repetitive world that we live in today. Another side effect of this is that target calling becomes key, allowing five people to kill twenty if they are good enough. If you combine these factors, it creates a system where the most benefit comes from looking the same as everyone else, and anyone that is different becomes an instant target in the battlefield. That said, faster combat would not work well in FoM because of the cloning process. Instantly dying in a battle and waiting several minutes to get back into the combat would be very discouraging. The worlds just aren't designed for fast paced shooter combat.

What is your opinion of the current economy and where do you think it should go from here?

The economy of Face of Mankind is a very interesting thing. With the introduction of dynamic resources, we have taken another step towards a more dynamic economy that fluctuates with player actions. The possibility for resource depletion is also very real. Long term, we would like to add more player control on top of this, with the ability to adjust taxes of each faction stance on all of their owned worlds.

Should the economy become less combat-oriented?

The game itself is very combat oriented, and so combat related items will always be the center of the economy. There are plans to add other non-combat items as time goes on, but these are subject to our resources.

Is there any chance of returning to the old system of stamina being needed to run?

This is a feature that I don't think adds very much to the game. On one hand, it does add some character to the game when you have to walk everywhere, but on the other, players will just use boosters or food to avoid it. It would create the requirement for a stamina booster in combat, along with the already required strength booster. As for the direct impact on combat itself, with the implementation of stamina damage, this becomes even more damaging. Players would have to carry stamina weapons and combat would change to favor this. Most scenarios would involve players first draining the stamina of the enemies, and then killing them when they lose their speed.

When and what colonies are planned for implementation?

As we have stated before, we plan to add colonies as dictated by necessity. The more players we have,the more colonies we will open up. As for which colonies in what order, we may try a public poll, or something else that gives players some say in the matter.

Will X be added?

The nature of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game is one of change. As such, things will always be added. We do take all of the suggestions you give very seriously, and we try our best to use them for ideas to help mold the game experience. This in mind, we also have limited resources and this prevents us from adding a lot of the things we would like to. we have to prioritize ideas and mechanics based on how much fun they will add and how they will change the game-play. There are a lot of mechanics and ideas that would add to factional management, colonial management, and role-play, but a lot of these would yield a very small benefit, as opposed to the development time that would be involved. As we complete more of the large mechanics and features, we will slowly start to move towards some of the smaller ones that add to the atmosphere and organization, subject to available development resources.

Will vortex tickets return?

This is a question that has been asked for a very long time. I've separated it from the other "Will X be added" questions because it deserves special attention. The short answer, is no. For those that do not know what it was, vortex tickets were used to facilitate vortex gate movement between worlds. You would go to a terminal and purchase a ticket for a small fee, being transported to this location when you entered the vortex gate. The technical explanation is that when the game was relaunched, the entire server/client architecture of the game was redeveloped from the ground up in this current star map form. This functionality is so tightly woven into the game that removing it would mean weeks of work to add a feature that frankly, doesn't add that much to the fun of the experience. Although it does help create a role-play environment, the fact is that it is more of an inconvenience than anything. The amount of time that would have to be spent is just unreasonable when there are far more fun and interesting things that we would like to add.

Are there any plans to expand upon the Xenomorph?

In my eyes, the Xenomorph provide a lot of possibility for an expansion of PvE combat within FoM. There are several interesting features that could work together to create a species actually worth fighting. Ultimately, I would like to have aliens that are able to grow and reproduce. That are able to invade a colony and slowly take it over if left unchecked. These aliens could be used to prevent stagnation or create conflict on otherwise empty worlds. As with what has been said before though, these kinds of developments take time, and we will prioritize things based on how fun they would be.

Will the three node per colony system return?

Originally, there were only three nodes per colonies. These nodes provided predictable entry points to the world, but they also severely limited the ability for a faction to attack a colony. Three scouts could effectively watch the nodes, and considering the design of the worlds, this was found to be too predictable and difficult to balance. The system was converted to use eight nodes because of this, giving each a designated "faction node." Brooklyn and Ground Zero are not capture-able, and this is why we have left it at three. All capture-able worlds that we add will have a minimum of eight nodes.

Will LED ever be able to spawn inside of LED Security again?

The changes that were made to DeMorgan's Castle allow the Law Enforcement Department members to freely patrol other places, without feeling the constant threat of raid to their prison. A side effect of these changes, is that DeMorgan's Castle is almost impenetrable with proper staffing. If the ability to vort in behind these turrets were added back, the difficulty would be raised exponentially. As allowed by additional players, we will remove turrets and scale back the security so that players can defend it themselves. If it can be done and still be balanced, we will also allow all LED to enter through the LED Security node.

Will stuns return to being universal?

As we saw on April fools, there are several negatives to having stuns available to all factions, the obvious being the stun ganking. Stun were created for one reason and one reason alone, to allow for the arresting of other players. Without the ability to arrest, there is no reason to stun other than to grief other players. Due to this, stuns will not ever be made universal.

Will the effectiveness of grenades increase?

One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that everything must be balanced for large scale combat, rather than small ones. If grenades were as effective as they were in other games, having a single person run into a large room and throwing a grenade could have incredibly damaging effects. We increased the range to allow players to throw them from greater distances, opening up several new tactical possibilities.

Will the scrolling problems with mails/notes be fixed?

This is the first time I have ever heard about this. Most of the bugs that are in the game are still there either because they cannot be fixed, or because they have not been reported. If you discover a bug in the game, report it HERE. Having it reported in this clean and organized way allows me to keep track of all of the bugs and fix them.

Will drugs continue to be balanced so they are not useless, but still have reason to be illegal?

With the latest patch we have finally begun tackling the issues that plague our combat system today. Our end goal is a faster paced system, while still having obvious roots in the original concept of FoMbat. Boosters and food are a big part of this and will be balanced accordingly. The ultimate goal will be for boosters to provide a slight advantage, while carrying that risk of getting caught. The negative effects of certain drugs will also be examined, to prevent them from becoming useless.

What are your thoughts on player-made factions?

I have always thought that the concept of Face of Mankind would work best if players had the ability to create their own factions, subject to a few restrictions. Ideally, I would prefer a system where players could create their own factions and earn the perks and bonuses for their faction, based on the activities that they do most. The goal would be for a system to exist where players can work together to further their own factions goals, while still having the option to create their own. That said, I am not sure if player-made factions are something that will be implemented anytime soon, if at all. It is a MASSIVE undertaking that would involve redesigning and developing every single system in the game. The eight factions are core to the balance and if a faction is added or removed, several of the games systems cease to function. Obviously this cannot be done, but we can dream right?

What was your favorite moment in FoM as a player (not as a developer), and why?

As anyone who has played this game for a long time will be able to tell you, it is very hard to decide upon a single moment that stands above all. Having spent so much time playing this game, the best way to answer this question would probably be on a year to year basis.

2005: This was the year that I first began my adventure into Face of Mankind. I was a young BoS recruit, fresh out of the character creation screen. I wandered around Pax Prime for ten minutes, eventually finding my way to the public entrance of DeMorgan's Castle. Having no idea what I was doing, I asked to speak to whoever was in charge and was faced with Lucy Trent. I told her that I wanted to be an undercover agent for the LED, a spy within the Brotherhood. After realizing how absurd this was, I switch to LED and began my Face of Mankind career.

1st Half 2006: As an LED, I enjoyed being rogue. It was always exciting and the conflict was a lot of fun. It was nice how despite all that happened, we could always laugh and have fun at the end of the day. It made things interesting.

2nd Half 2006: After several of my friends left the LED, I went with them to VI to start a new life. I remember all of our ridiculous military tactics such as the "ping tactic" that involved running into walls to pretend to have disconnected. It was always a lot of fun.

2007: I would have to say my best memory from 2007 was the day Rebel Law stopped being Commissioner.

2009: It was a time of new hope, the start of Closed Beta. As part of every wave, it was very exciting to watch as the game grew and gained more players. I would spend most of my time here guarding the ramp at Level 3. This is probably the reason the first thing I ever did was add the airlock barriers.

Ultimately, this is just a small taste of the experiences that have defined my existence within the Face of Mankind universe. As all of you who enjoy the game know, everything that makes this game fun comes as a result of the players. It is a game entirely driven by their interactions, and this creates a kind of game-play that cannot be found in any other game. This personal connection allows players to be more immersed in this game than any other, triggering emotional responses not possible anywhere else. I have never hated in a video game as much as I have hated some of my adversaries in FoM, just as I have never had as much fun. These experiences that define our game, are only possible with players. Anyway, I think that I've probably written enough for today.

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  1. skylord8's Avatar
    Nice, alot of information
  2. Link the Hobo's Avatar
    Sounds like you never played FoM before 2007.
  3. Will Troll's Avatar
    Dread, hate to see that VG Tickets aren't coming back, but I do appreciate the active dev blogs. It's nice to know where this game is heading.
  4. y2kyay101's Avatar
    Man, makes me sad to log on and remember all my fond memories of this game. I really do hope it eventually gets more players.

    -Tom Clancy
  5. Silver Star's Avatar
    Q/A was very satisfying, do something like thing every 6 months.
  6. clutter's Avatar
    I imagine air locks on pegasi, andro and necras if you ware ec.
  7. Grim Reaper XI's Avatar
    The one thing that gets me is the not advertisement. I understand this game is preparing for it but it prepaired for over a year now. I have been with FoM since long time back. I come online to see AT MOST in MoTB 10 people on average. Advertising would benefit this game in both changes and in population.
  8. Justin Viggers's Avatar
    2007: I would have to say my best memory from 2007 was the day Rebel Law stopped being Commissioner.


    Sorry i'm a tad late, but the honey is still sweet.
  9. thesaboteurtr's Avatar
    we cant make anytinh with xenemorph proteins. i think we should make them with drugs
  10. Reapers AAA's Avatar
    well i feel there alot of potencial here in this game. i played first when it first came too, but due to life had to do other things. What i am really interested is the Intel run by players. There should be a system where each faction could have their intel branch example: FDC Intel agency/black ops, LED undercover cops/Narcotics, Mercs information brokers and so on, this would keep events roling in game, i play as a FDC and most time is spent standing on the mall, and geting credits, also the ability to plant boms by terrorist going along with intel idea, the civis who doesnt like the way things are going could hijack something, some may say unbalanced, but i say oportunity to make things alot more interesting. Honestly i came back recently and it feels too dull.