PlaneShift Interview With Luca Pancallo-Part Two
KeyWord: PlaneShift Date: 03-28-2006
Summary: PlaneShift is an upcoming MMORPG.Recently, Simon had a chance to chat with Luca Pancallo,the founder and project director of PlaneShift.Here comes the second part of the interview.


PlaneShift is an upcoming MMORPG.Recently, Simon had a chance to chat with Luca Pancallo,the founder and project director of PlaneShift.Here comes the second part of the interview. (click here for the first part of the interview)

MMOSITE:
It is interesting that players start as a peasant in search of fame and become a hero. How can players accomplish their goal?

Luca Pancallo:I have to admit this is a pretty common slogan on mmorpgs, but the highlight on "peasant" and "hero" are quite important to get the flavor of roleplay. Players should always think In Character and strive to become "heroes" or at least famous in their city. This is what usually brings in some roleplay elements, shaping your character and personality for some goals. Playing just to see what‘s out there, or for collecting money or weapons is something we want to reduce as much as possible.

MMOSITE:There are 12 races with unique features in the game, can you tell us the relationship between them and the special abilities of the races?

Luca Pancallo:The races learned to live together along the centuries, but there are still big differences in traditions and habits. We should remember that most races arrived from other "planets" or "regions" and they brought in all their style. The civilization is quite young and this enables us to give strong strokes of paint on the characterization of buildings, tools and items. The pressure from the outside is big enough to distract the races from fighting each other... instead they join forces to keep the known land safe.

MMOSITE:The characters in PlaneShift are unique. Could you tell our readers what were your considerations when designing these characters?

Luca Pancallo:We wanted to add a bit of old and new style, giving space to the nostalgic gamers that love elves or dwarves, while giving many options for something fresh and new. In creating the races we tried to give a broad range of physical properties, from flying to underwater breathing, but also to cover well all possible combinations of stats and skills. You will easily find a race that fits your needs and that you could impersonate with ease. I personally love the Kran, simlar to half-giants completely made of stone, intelligent enough to cast spells and with interests in all forms of nature.

MMOSITE:There are no fixed professions in PlaneShift, players can always do new things and develop new skills to create a unique character. Could you tell us about the skill system and how did you come to the idea of using an open skill system?

Luca Pancallo:Our decision for open skill system is very old, form the beginning of the former 2d project (about 1992), today it‘s no more a news, but at that time it was! We kept most of the rules unchanged during the rebirth of the 3d version, and we are starting now to tweak them a bit. The main reason is that finally players are massively using the game, so we have real feedback on our formulas. I can say that our rules are very detailed even if simple to use on the player side. The calculations made keep track of every location hit, give different results based on which weapons hits which armor (example blunt vs. leather), take into account maluses given by equipment worn and a number of stats/skills. The underlying system is pretty complex and will give an interesting experience to players, that can test different weapons in different situations. There is no "definitive" weapon in PlaneShift.

MMOSITE: Interaction is very important to MMORPGs, so how do you encourage teamwork, and on the other hand, how does the PK system work?

Luca Pancallo:We decided to have no PK, but PvP. I personally dislike any kind of unwanted PK and I consider it the same as harassing or swearing. PK can easily disrupt the fun and the realism of a game, if few troublemakers are around. We want players to have a nice experience in game as much as possible. For this reasons any duel between players should be accepted on both sides. The point is to have the players team up against the monsters present in game. We will allow guild wars anyway in the future, but still the ones that do not want to participate could do it without any problem or side-effect.

MMOSITE:You and your team focus your efforts on creating a real world with economy and politics, how do you make it work?

Luca Pancallo:We debated much the topic of an economy run by players or by NPCs. For now the decision is to provide the basic economy through NPCs, so that players can find tools, food and weapons easily, but then switch some functions to player owned shops as soon as the player base grows. So in this field we will see some changes as the players get control of the cities.

MMOSITE: When did you get started with the project, where does development stand, and what is the target release date?

Luca Pancallo:For the ones that are very curious on our roots, I can suggest to search on our old news, you will find a surprise and some additional infos. We release new updates about once every 2 months on the client side. The server is updated/fixed often, like once a week. The next release will bring crafts and trades finally usable by players, starting from blacksmith and foundry to allow the creation of ingots, weapons and shields.
I invite all the talented people that always wanted to create a mmorpg to join our development team, they will find a lot of "meat" and fun for their creative minds. Dreams can become true if we join forces.

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