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A Fireside Community Chat with the
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Dev Team


Posted date / 10.14.16

The Pantheon team is among the most accessible in the industry and, if we let them, they would love nothing more than to spend all of their time talking gaming with our equally passionate fans. Balancing that desire with the reality of the sheer number of hours needed to produce a top tier MMORPG has been a fun challenge for us as we have done several Reddit AMAs, live streams and convention appearances. This month we decided to let the crew loose again and sought out questions from the VIP members of our forums to help satiate their desires to discuss all things Pantheon.


Pantz: Is there any desire to create a raid boss in Pantheon with the intention of it going down in history as one of the top extremely difficult MMORPG fights?

Chris Perkins, Creative Director: That would be a blast to create, and a legacy I think everyone on this team would be proud of. We are making a challenging, group-centric game at its core - a relentlessly difficult, history-making raid boss as a part of our legacy makes great sense! (Editor’s note - based on the first few boss encounters we’ve tested, they are well on their way to that goal!
Has anybody here seen our corpse?)

Amsai: Are support roles (buffs, debuffs, and out of combat utility) meant to be shared with other roles? Like CC/Support, DPS/Support, Healing/Support.

Corey LeFever, Senior Game Designer: Most classes will likely end up with some form of support that they provide, as long as it fits the core concepts and premise of the class without encroaching too heavily on another class's role. Some easy examples would be a Dire Lord (or Necromancer -- still projected as post-launch), being able to siphon stats off of enemies to provide a temporary buff to their group, or a Summoner providing a conjured stone to their party that can be consumed to restore a small amount of mana to the user. It's very important that each class retain their identities, so we'll be eyeing overlap carefully.

Bringerz: Who is the comedian/prankster of the team?

John Diasparra, Lead World Builder: I think it would be hard for me to pinpoint one culprit. I must say getting together with Brad, Chris P, Corey, and Justin; it's non-stop comedy between those guys. During playtests and stream warm-ups these guys are relentlessly funny.

Obliquity: What will you do to keep starting cities from becoming ghost towns?

Chris P.: We aren't ready to reveal all of the answers to this question yet, but for now the keywords would be coded alliteratively.

Content - there will be meaningful adventuring content, including dungeons, for a variety of level ranges within the walls of starting/major cities.

Crafting - certain aspects of crafting and trade skill progression will only be possible in starting/major cities.

Character - certain aspects of character development related to the Perception system will only be possible in starting/major cities.

Chance - we intend for events, discoveries and quests to exist dynamically within starting/major cities, in hopes that players will feel a consistent incentive to visit them whenever they are nearby for the chance of stumbling upon something exciting.

Pariah: Will each Class have their own unique "main quest" line to follow?

Corey: There will be class specific content to experience (if you so choose), but Pantheon is largely going to be off-rails. You'll have the opportunity to delve into the history of your class and how it relates to Terminus, but I hesitate to say there will be a "main" quest. Most of the class specific quests are likely to be episodic. The closest we may approach a main class path would be for epic class specific items.

Drac436: Will guilds be able to form alliances for social functions (like alliance chat for coordination)?

Chris: As a challenging, group-centric and socially driven game, Guilds will play a massively iconic role in our player culture and gameplay experience. As such, we will work hard to ensure guilds have robust tools and functionality to form, expand, communicate and cooperate. Guild alliances and Guild warfare will be realities, and we will have the social tools in place to make these two facets of our Guild system enjoyable.

Renfialls: How much weather will be in the game? Can we expect to see passing thunder, snow, rain storms with multiple levels of severity? Can passing druids effect that weather? Can I watch druids conduct weather battles and dances? I like the idea of weather specific spells for druids as well as other classes (Summoners can't summon fiery things in a snowstorm etc), can we expect to see that?

Daniel Krenn, Chief Technical Officer and Lead Programmer: People will experience several weather conditions in Terminus. You can expect to see rain storms with lightning and thunder, as well as snow in some areas. Druids will have a degree of interaction with the weather, but we can't talk specifics right now.

Rezum: Will players be able to add there own stat points each level or will they be designated depending on race/class?

Daniel: This is yet to be determined Rezum, but I believe we may go with a system that allows players to allocate bonus attributes every 5 levels.

Random1: Will Pantheon require linear progression/keying/attunement to access content (i.e., is this in the design plan for today/tomorrow?)

Justin Gearhart, Lead Writer: There's some nuances to keying and attunement that the design team will have final say on, but the short answer is yes. Keying will be necessary to access a place like the Seven Locked Door for instance, or at least progressing through it. The scope and scale of those keys or attunements have yet to be determined, but Pantheon will have them as of today.
 

Dalinsia: How many cups of coffee have you drunk since you started working on Pantheon and has anyone at Team VR literally called it a cup of Burning Sanctum?

Chris Rowan, Chairman: Too many to count. I am up every morning at 5:30 AM at the latest. I start the day with fresh squeezed organic vegetable juice, then move on to coffee. I fine grind medium roast Bolivian beans for five cups of coffee, but heat water for four cups (I like it strong) and create a batch in a large pour over container. Never does that coffee last past 1 PM. On most days, I’ll repeat that and finish the second batch. On top of that, as an avid cyclist who rides 4-5 days a week for 150-200 total miles per week, I end up finishing rides at a café and usually indulge in a cortado. It’s a Spanish espresso drink that is stronger than a cappuccino. So simple math, 50-60 cups of coffee a week. Wow. Is that a problem? (Ed. - Clearly, Chris is our foremost coffee aficionado on the team, although he is hardly alone in this obsession so we simply had to pose this question.)

Dalinsia: We all know Aradune has a legendary Fiery Sword!.....and it has been suggested that by John Diasparra that he would like to be chased around by Aradune with that sword any day. How would a raid team of VR Devs fight an epic raid mob Aradune with the legendary Fiery Sword! that had a proc ability named "This is gonna rock" along with a shield bash that Procs gravity flux, immune to fire, with a full plate of Cold dark Steel, and he guards the only entrance to the Burning Sanctum in Terminus?

Ben Walters, Community and Web Manager: Alright, this is an easy one! First I would start off by sending in Ben D and Joppa (Chris P) as a tank/healer combo to distract "Big Bad Boss Mob Brad" and hopefully force his proc to prematurely fire (haha) then I would use Monty (John D) and Ceythos (Corey) to start throwing mezzes and debuffs on him, then I would send in Jason B (Medawky) to dance around in front of him and do his best drunken dwarf dance (minus his pants, of course...) to confuse him while I slip away into the shadows and stealth behind him, leaping into the air and striking him with my magical water enchanted daggers (named Dream Crusher MH & Bean Keeper OH) disabling his procs, rusting his armour and weakening him to a manageable state, then as a team we would just grind him down with melee and magic until he succumbed to the awesomeness that is VR teamwork! :D


And our final question that we posed to the entire team comes from Evoras;

What character races/classes will you be playing? (though we all know Kilsin will be an uber trainer rogue).... and will we see you in-game?

Jeanna Ruschell, Operations & Human Resources Manager: I'm Kilsin's counterpart, female Rogue. Will either play Elf or Dark Myr (definitely intrigues me) and yes, the "Queen of Terminus" will be ingame.

Benjamin de la Durantaye, Director of Communications: Dwarf Paladin!

Jason Bolton, Associate Community Manager: Ogre Dire Lord and Dwarf Cleric. You might not see me, but I will see you!

Som Pourfarzaneh, Associate Community Manager: I usually delude myself into thinking that I'll try my hand at something different from my preferred character archetype - but who am I kidding, I'm going rogue. And while I'm super interested in the Dark Myr, I'm fairly certain I'll have an Elven Monk alt.

Lynn Ashworth, Producer: I will be a female elf ranger. Lupa cannot wait to join her guild!

Tod Curtis, Game Designer: You'd better see me in game! Hopefully I can sneak a character or two in there without the Pantheon gods suspecting anything…

I traditionally start with a human warrior, and always name him Todathus Trollsbane. This was always my character name in D&D growing up. I play a few levels, get a feel for the game, and then usually retire him.

Zippyzee Doodah then enters the picture. Zippyzee always plays a caster or utility class. In Everquest, he was a druid, which I liked, but always felt like I was a jack-of-all-trades rather than someone to be feared. Since then, Zippyzee has been a summoner, both a conjurer and a necromancer. He likes having the dynamic of tanking with a pet and firing away from safe range. Since I often play at odd times, I like having the possibility of soloing a bit when I have no other plans. I usually pick an exotic race for these characters.

There are so many exciting races and classes in Pantheon that I am sure I will have to try them all out.

Pierre Cadieux, Information Technology Security: Three main types of characters that I am looking forward to playing: Dwarven Cleric, Halfling Rogue, and Elvish Wizard. Yes I'll be in the game, as time allows.

Chris P.: You will definitely see me in-game, most likely as a Cleric or Monk!

Chris R.: Most definitely Ranger. Race TBD based on how our race design mechanics and visuals turn out. Archai looks pretty interesting at this point.

Corey: Dire Lord for sure, I haven't made up my mind yet about which race just yet. You'll likely see me in-game as Ceythos, but my developer character will be separate from my play account. Also worth noting, and Kilsin will never admit it, but he learned how to train people by watching me. ;)

Daniel: I'll be playing a Human Shaman and Elven Druid primarily, but as we develop the game I'm getting to like other classes, so my preference may change over time. I'll definitely be spending a good amount of time in-game.

John: I plan on having two characters, one "Montreseur", and one secret alt I can run around and blend in on.

Mont will probably be a Gnome Summoner, the other is still a toss up. I definitely plan on being active and helping out on my main!

Justin: Yes of course you'll see me in game! Hopefully in the company of a certain Rogue.

When I started with Visionary Realms two years ago, most aspects of the races were quite undefined. My very first project was taking the loose concept of an elemental-based race and I ended up crafting the Archai. The racial description on the website is a version of one of the very first things I ever wrote for Pantheon. Because of the unique relationship I have with them I think the very first char I'll be is an Archai, likely a monk. But in some form or fashion I'd like to explore each race. There's something special in them all. A Gnome Wizard and Dark Myr of some sort will also be high on my list.

We would like to thank both our fantastic VIPs for their questions and our team for taking a moment out of their busy days to answer and we hope you enjoyed a little extra insight into Pantheon and it’s continued development.

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