Thanks to all our friends on Facebook, Twitter, and the forums for the great questions! We’ll definitely do more of these, so if there’s something dear to your heart that we skipped, please click on the comment tape below. On to the Qs:
Q: Brian mentioned in one of the articles that some Solari have multiple affinities. How do you know which one to choose?
A: No single Solari has multiple affinities. In certain rare cases, a Solari might have two different evolution paths, one of which changes that Solari’s affinity. Sleeslugg, for example, can evolve into A: Sleespark, another Solari with a water affinity, or into B: Blastropod, a Solari with a Fire affinity.
Q: Other than traits how do your solari differ from mine if we have the same?
A: Applying Essences to Solari increases their XP, which in turn, raises their level, raising all of their stats. When you upgrade a Solari, the types of essences consumed award bonus points based on the type of essence used. Different wild Solari of the same type will have different distributions of these bonus points when you first recruit them.
In addition, Solari have a wide range of skills that they learn naturally. You and I probably picked different skills as our Solari grew, leading to a potentially very different set of skills that Solari can use. Each Solari can also be taught skills it doesn’t learn naturally, though the set of skills it can be taught is still limited.
Finally, in rare and special circumstances, one can recruit Solari with skills that they can’t normally learn or be taught. These are precious indeed!
Q: Can we trade Solari with our friends?
A: Not at launch.
Q: Pokemon had IV breeding/training, is this gameplay that players should expect?
A: We had a lot of discussion about that particular system, and what it offered players – basically, a set of choices or optimizations to be made about what that character would be best at, and in turn, what skills and abilities would be the most useful to it. We like the inherent strategy that comes with this kind of customization, but wanted to avoid creating a particularly frustrating, grindy, or time consuming experience as the player earns the required resources and makes their optimizations.
Our answer to the desire for this gameplay is in how our upgrade system works. Every level your Solari gains carries both “fixed” stat growth, from gaining XP and leveling up, and “custom” or “bonus” stat growth, gained from using different types of essence. Each essence represents 1 of our 6 different stat types, increasing both the specified stat, and your overall XP towards the next level. These essences are gained by curing enemy Lunari; the essences yielded reflect the highest stats of the defeated Lunari.
A concrete example: You want to build a Solari with as much speed as possible, so you might cure a lot of wild Kitzapp in a location you know has a lot of them, to acquire a lot of Speed Essences, which you would then use to upgrade your Solari, ensuring that the bonus stats points gained on the way to the next level are all allocated to speed. In this way, you acquire the tools you need to customize your characters through normal gameplay, and changes are made in a deliberate and clear way.
Q: What do the in-app purchases look like?
A: We’re not making a pay-to-win game. Our intent is to make things available to people who want to spend time instead of money. That said, we also want to make sure people who choose to spend money get something of value out of it. We don’t want in-app purchases to be a waste.
We’ve also built modes like draft PvP to reward pure skill (with a touch of chance to keep things interesting). Grinding and spending have no impact on success here… it’s all about what you get, and what you make of it.
You can also use in-app purchases to acquire cosmetic items for your Warden (in addition to finding such items in dungeons).
The exact balance depends largely on the feedback we get during the limited release, and even afterwards. The Lab has a track record of making changes based on feedback.
Q: Could I spend time instead of money to get the same stuff? Or are there some things you can only get in the store?
A: Most of the time. There are ways of earning store currency (gems) by playing the game that you can use to buy many store items, but we may have items in the store that are only available for cash.
Q: Will there be a player marketplace for us to trade items between ourselves?
A: There are no plans for a marketplace at this time.
Q: How do we talk with each other when we are in the game world?
A: There is an in-game chat system that you can use to send whispers to specific friends as well as open and custom (private) chat channels.
Q: Will matchmaking be skill-based or random?
A: It depends on the game mode. Most modes use some kind of algorithm to determine a fun matchup as opposed to being completely random. Ranked game modes are going to use skill-based algorithms for matchups, probably based on some sort of MMR (Match Making Ranking).
Q: What kind of rewards could players expect from end-game PvP, aside from thrills?
A: We’re still working out the detail for the rewards, but we’re talking about ultra-rare (even one of a kind) cosmetic items and possibly even rare skins for your Solari. Gems. We’ve also talked about things to make sure you can show off your ranking when playing both PvE and PvP.
Q: Will there ever be any co-op gameplay, where a friend and I and our teams can take on other creatures?
A: Co-op is definitely on our list, but it’s a ways out, and we’re still thinking about what exactly it would look like.
Q: What happens if my internet connection sputters a little without totally disconnecting? Like if my bus goes under a bridge or something.
A: You should be fine.
Q: What happens if I get disconnected in the middle of a battle?
A: It depends on if you are playing PvP or not.
For single-player content we have tech in place to resume a battle you were in while you disconnected.
For PvP game modes, it is going to depend on the specific mode. We understand that disconnects can be incredibly frustrating when they count as a loss to ranked game modes, but we have no way of detecting if a disconnect is legit or intentional. Allowing players to purposely turn off wifi to avoid a loss would be exploited to the point where the game mode became unplayable.
Q: Is it going to be all touch or will there be keyboard support?
A: The releases on iOS, Kindle Fire and Android will be touch only. Any additional platforms will be supported with input devices that make sense.
Q: Will multiplayer perform across platforms (iOS to Droid)?
A: Yes! It does already and it’s awesome.
Q: What percentage of the game is pure exploration as opposed to quests and battles?
A:The game has an exploration component, but we’ve definitely streamlined things in favor of getting places quickly and focusing on (many different types of) battle. There are definitely rewards (such as side missions and hidden lore) for players who spend some time poking around.
Q: I’m a big Twitch streamer. Will you have embedded tools for us?
A: We want this too, and we’re looking into it.
Q: Are you guys going to do any Twitch broadcasts with the designers like you did with State of Decay?
A: Absolutely! Right now, we’re focusing on finishing the game, but we intend to free up some time for this in the coming months.
Q: When does this come out? Can you be more specific than “early next year”?
A: It’ll be a Wednesday.
Thank you, Foge, Ian, Brian, and Andy for the answers!