Shards Online: FAQ

I’ve seen gameplay footage. It looks like you have a fully playable game. Why are you on Kickstarter?

We have a solid foundation but there is still so much left to build! We need to make maps, add skills, build cluster technology, add awesome features like housing, animal taming, resource gathering, and crafting. The stated Kickstarter goal is what we have decided we would need to get to alpha with the features listed on the page.

Is this a high fantasy game?

It hints at a fantasy setting but there’s much, much more. Shards is a multiverse of competing mythologies, cultures and technologies. Adventurers might step through a gateway and indeed find themselves in a medieval world of elemental magic, but then enter another gateway to be bewildered by clanking gears and gushing steam-engines in a Victorian setting.

Players will not only travel from world to world in Shards, they’ll create their own. A shard can be added to its own private cluster and ruled as its creator sees fit, or connected to the public and shared with all.

How will player housing be different in Shards?

Most games that claim to have housing are very restrictive. In Shards, you build your house in the actual game world. Also every item that exists can be placed in the world and also used as decoration in your house. To top it all off, we are working on giving you control of the surrounding land as well. Build a farm, or a garden, or a hedge maze right in your back yard!

Open ended character development you say?

Yes! No more levels and classes and quest grinds! As you explore the world you learn new skills and perfect them.

There is a limit to how much skill one mortal can possess which forces you to specialize. Upon reaching your skill cap, you will need to deactivate certain skills in order to gain in others. Skill points in inactive skills are never lost, and players will be able to adjust their character’s specializations periodically.

Ok, what about crafting? I want to make stuff!

Crafting is a huge focus in Shards. Resources will spawn in the world dynamically and the crafting skills you can learn depend on the shards you travel to. Imagine learning to craft ancient alien technology in our terminus shard and bringing those items with you to the fantasy world! It’s going to be awesome!

What sort of group and guild systems will you have?

Grouping and guilds is an important part of any online game. At release we will have fully fleshed out systems for both of these. Groups will be tracked across ‘shards’ and guilds will have ranks and the ability to build a guild hall right on their home ‘shard’!

Is Shards an Action RPG like Diablo?

The controls in Shards Online will feel familiar to players of Diablo III, but that’s about where the similarities end. Shards’ combat is much more tactical and skill-based. Character development and the world itself are much more open ended. And there is much much more to the game than just combat.

Will this game be supported on Mac and Linux?

We’re targeting a standalone client running Shards on PC/Windows at launch. We are also investigating officially supporting the Mac and Linux platforms.

What is the maximum number of players per ‘shard’?

We want to be sure that ‘shards’ are easy enough for anyone to run and small enough for them to be run on almost any computer. The 64 player limit mentioned in previous interviews is only the number we are sure we will be able to support at this early stage in development and will likely increase between now and alpha. Clusters, on the other hand, will support much larger numbers by connecting ‘shards’ together. This is what separates Shards Online from other player-run games by allowing thousands of players to play in the same player-run universe simultaneously.

How does communicating work? how do emotes work? Can you interact with objects like chairs? (things other mmos miss like neverwinter online.)

We really want to embrace the roleplaying community. In the final game, we are planning for both in-character and out of character channels of communication.

In-character examples:

- Speaking to nearby people (overhead chat)
- Whispering (smaller range)
- Shouting (larger range)
- Magical means of communication (skill based telepathy)

Out of character examples:

- Shard (zone) wide chat
- Admin broadcasts
- Direct player to player messages

Emotes will work similar to other games, an in-game window will allow you to select from a list of emotes. Some skills may provide access to additional emotes.

Yes of course in the final product we expect to allow you to interact with as many objects in the world as possible including chairs and beds.

Do you have any sort of timeframe for alpha/beta testing?

Our plan is to have something ready for full scale alpha testing before the end of the year.

Do I need a subscription to play Shards Online?

Nope! Buy it once and it’s free to play on any community servers, AND you can run one of your own.

There is an optional subscription which is only needed if you’d like to play on the official Citadel servers with live customer support and events. All $20+ Backers get more than 3 months of access for free!

What is the planned pricing for premium subscriptions?

There is a subscription for playing on the official Citadel servers and while we have not decided on a specific cost yet, we have committed to making it less than the standard $15/month MMO subscription.

How customizable are community run servers?

Yes, customizing your cluster will happen on many levels. At the lowest level, you’ll be able to write custom scripts that add to or replace any piece of gameplay you want. You can completely change the way melee combat works, or create entirely new spells and abilities. You can even write completely new and exciting monster AI. Truly, we are putting all the power in the hands of those who dare.

It’s important to make something clear — Shards is not Minecraft in the sense that you dig holes and build walls brick by brick while the game is running. Instead, behind the scenes, the gods (devs and server admins) will shape the world and the content surrounding it. The players will make their home in these worlds, explore them, fight enemies and each other for fame and glory.

Lot’s of people haven’t played UO, so I try to explain it like this: Take an open ended moddable virtual world like Skyrim, make it fully multiplayer (don’t forget to add PvP), let players run their own servers like Minecraft, and THEN connect those servers together so you can travel between them. This paints a clearer picture of the beauty that is Shards Online.

What is the difference between a ‘shard’ and a cluster? Do we have to host our ‘shards’ through Citadel?

The current plan is to have ‘shards’ hosted in the way other games like Minecraft host their servers. You get the binary when you purchase the game and can run the server out of your house or rent space from a game server hosting company. If you are tech-savvy enough, you can run them up in the cloud yourself!

You can run a single ‘shard’ for people to directly connect to (just like Minecraft) without the use of our cluster technology. However, if you want to connect multiple ‘shards’ together, you will sign up with Citadel Studios for a hosted cluster. Among other things, this provides you with a web interface that allows you to specify which ‘shards’ can connect into the cluster, and what players have admin (god) access.

How much will it cost to run a cluster? Do I need a premium subscription?

The optional premium subscription is only required to connect as a player on Official Citadel Clusters. To run your own cluster, you will sign up for a cluster and pay a monthly cluster hosting subscription. We have not yet decided on a specific fee for this, but it should be less than $10 a month. We don’t intend to use this as a way to make a profit, just to cover our costs.

Will clusters or player-run servers be cloud-based? Or will private machinery be required/possible?

The cluster hosting does not include any connected ‘shards’. The current plan is to have ‘shards’ hosted in the way other games like Minecraft host their servers. You get the binary when you purchase the game and can run the server out of your house or rent space from a game server hosting company. If you are tech-savvy enough, you can run them up in the cloud yourself!

When running a cluster, is it possible to have the same base ruleset, but different skill sets by Shard?

The Cluster ruleset is the sum of *all* agreed upon gameplay that is accessible in the connected Shards. The ruleset can have rules that are specific to certain maps or shards in the cluster.

Will it be necessary for modders to have Unity? 

At release, all of the layers of customization shown in the diagram on the KS page will be modified either through the in-game UI or a text editor (I use sublime).  During the early phases, we may ask some of “The Early Modders” if they are interested in working with us in Unity before the in-game Modding UI is complete.

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