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Karofin-
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re: JUNE Newsletter

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http://www.pantheonmmo.com/newsletter/2017_june_intro/

June's Pantheon Newsletter

 

Posted date / 06.14.17

Woah, can you believe it's already June? It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and just like that we're already halfway through 2017!

The first half of the year has been quite eventful for us here at Visionary Realms - we've completed series A funding, made awesome new additions to our team and have hosted a couple of live stream events with our buddy CohhCarnage that exceeded even our lofty expectations.

We're not resting on our laurels though, (aren't antiquated analogies awesome? We really love alliteration around here in case you haven't noticed), we've got some fun things in the works for our community and lots of game improvements and additions to share with you as we steamroll through the coming months.

We kick off the second half of 2017 with a quick ICYMI of what's happened since our last newsletter, a peek into what our team has been working on recently in a new Developer's Diary and as always, another exciting Community Spotlight.

ICYMI

 

Posted date / 06.14.17

The Team continues to grow! We added two new members to the VR team in the past few weeks, and with the completion of our Series A funding, the list of new faces will continue to grow.

David Schlow

David Schlow joins the team as the Producer of Promotional Content. David is the former Creative Director of Men's Journal magazine where he oversaw both the Art and Photo departments. Before that, he was Deputy Design Director at both Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine.

A closet D&D fan, David let his geek flag fly after he received a demo disc for EverQuest Online Adventures with his Playstation 2 network adapter. From there he was hooked. Leading guilds in many MMOs from EQ to EQOA to EQ2 to Vanguard to Rift. His most memorable MMO moment was in EQOA when his dog jumped on his lap, accidentally sending an arrow that pulled Lord Nagafen and trained his entire guild. (Noob!)

In his (not so) spare time David writes TV scripts. His pilot for a sci-fi adventure series, named Jackrabbit, recently placed second in Scriptapalooza and he's also a big ice hockey fan.

Kim Morrison

Kim "Zoeii" Morrison joins the team as a Senior Tester. Kim has been gaming since her father bought the family a Commodore 64 back in the 80's. She experienced her first MMO when a friend convinced her to play EverQuest Online Adventures (EQOA), in 2003. From that moment, she was hooked and has since played other MMO titles, such as EQ, EQ2, FFXI, AoC and WoW. Kim loves playing hybrid classes, so you will likely see her running around Terminus on a Druid, Dire Lord or Paladin. She is also looking forward to tanking and healing for you sometime soon.

Kim brings with her years of technical QA, data analytic and gaming experience. She has embraced her role as Senior Tester for the project and we look forward to finding and squashing more bugs with Kim.

Screenshots

We've also unleashed a fantastic new batch of screenshots recently, and it's easy to see the vast improvements being made to the game on a near daily basis.

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Karofin-
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Developer's Diary

 

Posted date / 06.14.17

 

We caught up with several members of the Development Team to find out what they've been up to over the past few weeks and asked them to jot down a paragraph or so of notes on their endeavors.

 

Justin Gerhart takes us through his latest work in the lore department, John Diasparra gives us some insight on his ongoing quest to make the world of Terminus come alive (with screenshots!), Tim Wathen ignores our request for brevity and unleashes an awesome look at what goes into populating our world, Corey LeFever follows suit with an in depth reveal on the work being done on the crafting front and Chris Perkins closes us out with several juicy tidbits of information on his recent undertakings.

 

We hope you enjoy a quick peek at what our team has been focusing on since the last stream.

 

Justin Gerhart (Istuulamae), Lead Writer

 

Hey everyone,
I am in the midst of several Lore 3 treatments in Halnir Cave, Avendyr's Pass, and the Forelyn, which is the area immediately outside of the walls of the city of Thronefast. Lore 3 consists of developing further the PoIs and factions that have been documented in Lore 2, down to the name conventions, roles and behaviors of the mobs that occupy said PoI or area. It's one of my favorite parts of the zone creation process, because it integrates in real time with what the world builders and designers are doing on a daily basis. The work in Lore 3 is often implemented and testable in the client faster than Lore 1 or 2. It's also a lot of fun to calibrate an area in tandem with other designers, working gameplay and immersion like gears, looking for the perfect blend. So a Lore 3 treatment means I have to work closely with Tim Wathen, and usually I'm ok with that. Nobody's perfect.

 

Back to the lab!

 

John Diasparra (Montreseur), Lead World Builder

 

Hey All,
I've been working on some really exciting stuff lately on my end. I have been moving forward production on terrains for a number of zones on the King's Reach Continent; checking gameplay space/feel, as well as the overall visual feel of the terrain geometry as you look out into the zone. Generating new textures, and natural assets (foliage, rocks, trees) for these as well.

 

I gave a short look on some of the shader work being done on our assets some time back. In the time between then we have made some adjustments, added some additional functionality and variations to some of our custom built shaders that allow us to make some nice optimizations on draw calls, while providing a lot of control and variation in the assets. Can't wait to show you guys more!

 

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image This is a series of pillars as seen in the last stream in the South Saol Peninsula. Here we show off some material changes in our current invocation of our Architecture Shader. This allows for changing of materials on an object.

 

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image Here we see the pillars from above laid out in a test scene showing different materials and showing the power of the "Overlay Materials" that can provide moss, sands, muds, snow and other textures on top of objects automatically.

 

Tim Wathen (Convo), Lead Tester & Associate Designer

 

Hello, Everyone!
Tim "Convo" Wathen here. I just wanted to stop by and shed some light on some of the work I've been doing as we prepare for Pre-Alpha. One of my main responsibilities working on Pantheon is placing the NPCs in the world. I tend to find inspiration and ideas for filling out an area as I work through our zones, so today I want to talk about the "little things" which in actuality add up to the big things that are so impactful in our world. What I mean by the "little things" is the importance of smaller details that exist in our points of interest and the game world as a whole. It is important that the world resonates with you, the player, and we believe a handcrafted approach to content is key in making that happen.

 

I want to share an example of how my work ties together this idea of the "little things" in our zone development and giving players opportunities to interact with the environment. It's a minor example, but imagine a bowl of fruit that is left on a table at a Ratkin camp, filled with fruit that a player can actually pick up. Instead of having the fruit respawn on its own, it will be dependent on a Ratkin trader to replenish it. The Ratkin trader would leave its camp periodically and walk to the nearest village to restock and sell its own goods before returning. Upon returning, one of its actions would be to refill the empty bowl with fresh fruit. If for some reason the Ratkin trader is killed before completing their routine, the bowl will remain empty and there will be no fruit for you!

In general, we want you to come across a faction in our world and identify all the unique things about their culture. The areas they inhabit should truly feel lived in. What do they eat? What do they make? What type of resources are around them that would support those questions and how do we make sure we tie it all together? What about the folklore? Do Fuzzy Trolls exist?! These are just a few of many questions that we ask.

Lately I've been having a lot of creative sessions with our Lead Writer, Justin "Istuulamae" Gerhart, who is super passionate about this topic. It has been awesome sharing thoughts and ideas with him and then presenting those ideas to our Creative Director, Chris "Joppa" Perkins. Chris has this amazing ability to take all these ideas, add his own touches and then implement them into the world. We're working hard to make sure your experience in Pantheon is an enjoyable one. It's my hope this example and overall message makes you a little more excited for our game.

 

Corey LeFever (Ceythos), Senior Game Designer

 

I've primarily been focused on Crafting and Harvesting design. Along with the Programming side of the team and the assistance of my fellow creatives, we have gotten quite a bit done this month.

We spec'd out the Crafting user interface and its functionality. This includes a recipe book that has search and filter capabilities, visual display of the required materials for a selected recipe, and a few other features with the user experience in mind. We're finishing the groundwork now, and should have something show worthy Soon™.

 

We also began implementing the first trade Profession, the Outfitter, with some basic starting recipes to start refining/polishing the general Crafting experience. Once it feels mostly appropriate, we'll begin adding in the other professions with their starting recipes, so we can be working them up in tandem.

 

We created the Harvesting nodes and components necessary to support the Outfitter profession. The rest will be layered in along with the additional professions as we go.

 

And finally, we started the groundwork for the Crafting process itself. We originally had a quick "put the items in a container and press combine" approach. Our research with those players that have expressed an interest in Crafting in Pantheon points to a desire to see something "more", though. I think we've arrived at a good balance at providing a gameplay experience that's on more equal footing with the Adventuring content, without being terribly bogged down in needing to know a ton of esoteric information. The short explanation though for the action itself when it comes to Crafting is that we're moving towards a turn-based session, with your own Crafting abilities to aid you.

 

Chris Perkins (Joppa), Creative Director, Audio Director & Lead Game Designer

 

Hey everyone!
After the last round of Twitch streams, I immediately turned my attention to high-detail planning for our next major internal client release. We approach our development cycle in "sprints", which are basically one-month periods of focused production that move us further along the overall development timeline. This way, we are able to define clear and deliverable goals for ourselves while measuring these short bursts of progress along our overall launch timeline. Getting these sprints planned across the Creative team (2D/3D art, game design, writing, audio) and syncing with the Programming team in these areas is a major part of my role, and something I keep a steady eye on.

 

That's more the management side of what I've been up to. As far as hands-on, since Amberfaet I haven't focused on building an area from scratch. I did spend a lot of time populating the detail in South Saol Peninsula and the Tower of the Reckless Magician leading up to the stream. Since then, I have thrown most of my hands-on time into Thronefast, doing several detail passes to fill out the rest of that zone and get it ready for players to thoroughly explore. Once finished with Thronefast, I will be doing the same passes on Avendyr's Pass and Halnir Cave - my goal for our next internal milestone is to bring these three zones to 90-95% launch ready.

 

Finally, I am working directly on our Class and Ability designs, the Combat system (including formulas and balancing), itemization and several of our differentiating game systems (Climate/Atmospheres, Acclimation and Perception to name a few).

 

I'll wrap it up here since I am already over my paragraph allotment! Looking forward to seeing everyone in Terminus!

 

Community Spotlight: Iksar

 

Posted date / 06.14.17

1) What is your main character's in-game name and how did you come up with it?

I’ll more than likely be going with Ouros. The name comes from the ancient symbol “Ouroboros” which many know as the serpent or dragon that is eating its own tail while forming a circle (most notably used in alchemy). I’ve always been fascinated with the symbolism behind it; eternal return or the sense of something constantly recreating itself. Fitting especially in this case (see question 3) for the infinite cycle of nature’s endless creation and destruction, life and death.


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2) What interests you the most about Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen?

What initially caught my eye and drew interest was the team at Visionary Realms. Brad and everyone else seem to be pouring their experience and love into this title without giving in to urge to rush often prevalent in the industry, which can only end up a treat for us all. The passion and dedication is palpable! That said: Now that a more of the game is being shown and talked about, I am most interested in the shift back to group-centric social gameplay/content being the focus and the dedication to that goal that is ever more apparent in each new update + stream. I've long been a fan of needing to work together with others to tackle content with the social bonds that come from it. I feel it is a quality that has been suffering in the past decade so it's a joy to see being focused on here.


3) What will your main race and class be and why?

I’m flying a little blind here with mostly just EQ as a base to build from, but I believe I will be playing a Druid as I’ve come to greatly enjoy playing the healer/support role over the years but like having more utility than what is traditionally included with being a Cleric. I was always quite envious of the fun spells Druids had in EQ like teleportation, spells for increased movement speed, and group wolf forms but I never got into one back then since they felt a bit “lost” overall as a class. I have faith in the VR team's visions for the classes based on the reveals thus far and am very excited to see what they have in store for their version of the Druid, especially with the hint that they are about the cycles of nature and the dance between predator and prey instead of being paragons of peace + nature like most games. Race is hard for me as I need to know the banes/boons of each before choosing, however I am currently leaning toward Halfling.


4) What is your favourite system, mechanic or feature so far in Pantheon?

Even though we don’t really have any details about it, I am most excited about Progeny. I feel like there are so many opportunities to do something really special with it, even if it offers no/next to no additional combat power. Perhaps more open/relaxed race options for classes upon first/second progeny *wink wink, nudge nudge*? I’ve always been a fan of systems that allow you to re-start your character for some kind of bonus or new feature/options and honestly hadn’t considered it in a MMO setting until now so I am excited to see what VR has in store for us.


5) If you could enter the game and visit anywhere in Terminus for an hour, where would you go and why?

Tasrin’s Gaze. That tower is intriguing and I really want to see the view out of that ornate window as well as find out what that antenna up top is for. Who is Tasrin? Why does he/she have a massive druid or ritual circle out front? What is the gaze set upon?


6) Finally, if you had to choose between being a prisoner of the Reckless Magician or being a scavenger looting corpses at the bottom of the tower, what would you choose and why?

Knowing that the “Reckless Magician” is both a brilliant and pioneering wizard but also feared for his experimental use of ancient magic, it sounds like a bad idea to be a prisoner of Soo-Jha Tahl as I feel there is a very good chance I would be experimented on in a way that I don’t believe would end in me having super powers. I would go for being a scavenger of corpses at the bottom since I imagine it wouldn't take long to become the richest man in Terminus/Nhystyrrok with all the bodies of adventures landing down there from desperately trying to escape the Gurkha or otherwise being pushed by Kilsin. ;)

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