TG: Along those lines.. another thing that helps keep the player interested in hunting for hours at a time, is the hopes of finding awesome loot. Can you tell us what the loot system will be like?
ND: This is one of the biggest features of Auto Assault. All of the loot has several statistics randomly generated each time an item is dropped. Also, there is always a chance that an item will have the capacity for adding one or more enhancements, improving it even more. There should never be a best item in the game that all players are working towards. Instead players will have to weigh the pros and cons to determine what is the right set of positives for the particular vehicle they are putting together at the time. A great additional feature of this system is that, through research and development, crafted loot will also be unique, giving players a way to really differentiate themselves from other players in the game.
TG: What will the questing system be like in the game? Will there be quests that will play a big part in the game, such as one that will decide how the game takes a turn?
ND: All of the missions in Auto Assault are hand-crafted and reveal the world to the player through our master story writers. Some story arcs even end in instanced mission maps that retain the state of the map, giving players something they have wanted for a long time in MMOs, a real opportunity to change and impact their game world. For example, a mission might be given where you have to lay waste to an enemy outpost. You drive in there and literally smash it to the ground, leaving nothing but a pile of smoking rubble. The follow-up mission might be to go and rebuild that outpost for your own faction. The cool thing is when you get there, it’s just as you left it. That kind of thing happens a lot in Auto Assault.
TG: Personally, even in MMO games, I *love* to solo. Will the game support the solo’er, or will you really need to stick to a group?
ND: We have designed the game to allow the player to play most of the missions in the game either solo or in a group. We know that there are many players, like you, who,just want to be able to play on their own from time to time and we fully support that. However, we have added many features to make finding and joining a group easier than it has ever been before. Hopefully this will empower players who typically enjoy solo-play to have an opportunity to give grouping a try. Additionally, the speed and ease with which you can form a group will be a great experience for those players who really want to be in a group as often as possible.
TG: As for the actual game world.. can you give us an idea of how large it is? Also, will exploring the world be something that a player will *want* to do?
ND: We have kept the world to a size that we think is fun and challenging without being overwhelming or difficult to navigate and explore. We think that if you take the time to explore that there should be rewards for that more than just seeing some new place. There are hidden missions and other benefits for the player who likes to make sure they have covered every inch of the world.
TG: Will there be a magic system in the game, and what types of weapons can we expect to see?
ND: There is not a magic system in Auto Assault, but there are plenty of fantastic-looking abilities in the game. There are many different types of weapons, from modern military-type weaponry to futuristic, high-tech gadgets and gizmos. Some examples include machine guns, cannons, missile launchers and flamethrowers. Each race has its own special Hazard Mode, too, that can be used when the going gets tough and they need a little boost to even out the fight. Biomeks, for example, have the ability to transform their vehicles into meks, robot-like machines that can stomp opponents. A concept sketch of this can be found to the right.
TG: Will the game have Gamepad or Wheel support, or will players be confined to using the Keyboard/Mouse?
ND: Yes, we are supporting gamepads, steering wheels and joysticks as alternatives to the default mouse and keyboard controls. Re-mapping is also available to customize your controls to suit your preferences. We want the players to drive in whatever way is the most fun and comfortable for them.
TG: NCsoft has an amazing track record with MMO games.. are there any special steps you are taking to guarantee the success of the game?
ND: We’re pleased to have such a well-rounded and knowledgeable team assembled and working together on Auto Assault. Building on past experience, having a good idea of what’s worked in the past and what to avoid in the future, we are confident that the dedication and combined efforts of both NetDevil and NCsoft to offer something exciting and new to the genre will give gamers something they can really sink their teeth into and introduce MMOs to an even wider audience.
TG: When will this great game be released?!
ND: We are shooting for a release in the second half of 2005, but a pre-order package will start popping up in stores sometime during May. Presently, we’re gearing up to start our beta. Registrations are still being accepted and people can sign up here.
I want to give a huge thanks to NetDevil for answering these questions, as well as the rockin Valerie ‘Pann’ Massey. Once Auto Assault is released, you can expect to see an in-depth review on the site. To find out more now, check the sites below, as well as the Official Site’s download page. Auto Assault looks like it’s going to be worth waiting for!