January 2008 - Atriarch has evolved over the past couple years since this FAQ was written. We will be updating the FAQ in the coming months to reflect this evolution.
What kind of game is Atriarch?
Atriarch is a strategic role-playing game currently in development. It is massively multiplayer. It is persistent. Examples of other massively-multiplayer games currently available are Everquest, Ultima Online and Asheron's Call.
In Atriarch, your Character can learn skills, go on quests, adventure throughout the world, become a merchant, solve puzzles, build an army, join a faction, construct a city, or strive to become an Atriarch. The possibilities are vast.
This all happens amidst an evolving plot line, an alien world, environmental conditions, politics, and cultural expectations.
What does massively-multiplayer mean in Atriarch?
Massively-multiplayer means that thousands upon thousands of people can play Atriarch at the same time in the same world. Atriarch will have one game world rather than multiple mirrored copies. We plan for everyone's Character will live and thrive in the very same world.
What does persistent mean in Atriarch?
Persistence in Atriarch means that whatever is in the world stays in the world. For example, if you build a fortress, then it will be there whether or not you are logged into the game. Assuming it wasn't captured, it will be there when log back on. Another example is if you kill a Native (npc), then that Native is gone for good. The effects your Character has on the world will remain.
Is Atriarch ready to play? When will it be released?
Atriarch is currently in development. We have made the decision not to release a date at this time.
Will there be an open alpha and beta test?
We are currently accepting applications for public testing at: www.atbeta.com We have already had a brief public testing. However, further public testing is not yet scheduled.
How much will Atriarch cost to play? Will I download it or purchase it in the stores?
Cost for Atriarch will be determined much closer to release. A monthly fee will probably be charged. Whether or not the initial game will be a free download or purchased in the store will be determined closer to release.
I've sent email to World Fusion. How long before I should expect a response?
We receive many emails daily. Currently, we do answer each and every message, but it may take some time before a reply is sent since we are not using an automated response system. (That means a real person at World Fusion will read your email and write back to you personally... although it does take awhile.) Your feedback is important to us, so know that we are doing our best to read everything that comes in. Please note that several emails have been sent back to us as undeliverable for one reason or another. Please double check your return email, especially when typing it into the guestbook.
I'm developing a fan site for Atriarch. May I use images from the Atriarch website?
Yes, but only if you include a World Fusion copyright notice and date with each image and a link to this official site. Images can only be used for Atriarch community sites and must not be used for commercial purposes. World Fusion owns, reserves and retains all rights to everything else on this site. Atriarch is a registered trademark of World Fusion.
How do I sign up to receive the monthly Atriarch Email News?
Send an email to email@example.com and write in the subject: join.
Are there other Atriarch websites or resources?
Yes, there are many Atriarch websites and discussion forums starting to emerge. If you visit our Community Section, there will be a list of the Atriarch community sites.
What is the goal of the game?
The single most important goal of Atriarch is to have fun. For each player, "fun" will be defined slightly differently. Some players will want to fight anything and everything in site in an attempt to conquer the world. Other players won't even consider picking up a weapon opting instead for a peaceful life as a successful shopkeep. Some will want to focus on building beautiful organic structures. There is much to do for most any kind of gamer.
However, if we were forced to narrow it down to only one goal, then the ultimate goal would be to become an Atriarch, leader of a Major Faction and ruler of an empire. There are only a handful of Atriarchs in the game at any one time.
Will loners be able to survive in the game or is it mostly party-based?
Yes, solo players will be able to survive. There are advantages and disadvantages to both solo play and group play. There will be some quests that will require a group. Keep in mind that even solo players will be capable of building up a group of Natives if desired.
Since Atriarch is considered science fiction, how far into the future does Atriarch take place?
Atriarch takes place current day on a planet somewhere in our galaxy. The alien and organic world of Atriana is real and does exist. We just haven't found it yet.
How much influence will the story have on the gameplay and vice versa?
The world of Atriana will have been in existence a long, long time before your Character is born into it. Story, history, and culture are the reason things are the way they are in the world. Every battle, every quest, every item in Atriarch has a basis in Atriana's evolution. The story will continue in the game. Your Character will play an integral part in how the story unfolds for you and for the other players.
Will there be quests?
Yes. Quests will come in all shapes and sizes, and they will all be tied to the story and the economy. For example, if a mapmaker is out of supplies, then he may ask you to go on a quest to mine a certain gem.
Will there be group quests?
Yes, there will be quests available to groups. Some quests will be epic. For example, an elder in your species may ask you and anyone who will listen to protect his home town from being invaded by Marmu Swarms. On the other hand, an enemy of the elder may have an opposing quest to capture the village and wipe it out.
How many species will the player have to choose from? Are there classes?
There are five species from which a player can choose: Cavolon, Eshlar, Lokai, Tyrusin, and Unarra. An image and brief description of each character species can be found in the World of Atriana Section. More information about the species will be added over time.
Will my Character be customizable?
Yes, absolutely. Players can customize a character both when creating the character and throughout the course of play. Character size, skins, color, physical features, certain attributes will be customizable. Each species will have very different physical appearances. Hence, their customization will vary as well. For example, the shells on Lokai will be customizable as will the organic cloaks worn by the Cavolon.
Customization will change the physical capabilities of your Character as well as the Character's appearance. For example, the taller you make your Eshlar, the longer his legs will be and the faster he will run. However, it will also make him larger which may prevent him from riding on certain transport creatures.
When will more information about the story and species be released?
Information about the story and species will be revealed over time rather than all at once. We would prefer that most of the story information was actually learned while exploring in the game.
How does your Character advance in the game? Skills? Levels and Experience?
Atriarch will be a skills based game. Your character will advance through practice, use, apprenticeship, and quests. You will receive rankings, titles, badges and honors to show you relative mastery at various skills, including combat and trade skills.
Can my character advance and flourish without resorting to killing?
Yes, there will be ways to advance and create wealth for your character through skills that will not require repetitive killing. For example, building up your architectural skills will have nothing to do with how well you fight.
Combat and hunting will relate specifically to their appropriate skills and uses. For example, there will be an entire set of skills geared toward the art of war. Although, hunting and combat will offer one way to acquire resources, it will not be the only way.
What skills will a character be able to learn and develop?
Characters will be able to develop skills relating to trades such as architecture, map making, taming, breeding, combat, and more. Detailed information about skills will be revealed at a later date.
Will species have special innate abilities or skills?
Yes. Species will have built-in defensive means. Species will also be predisposed to a certain vocation, for example, the Cavolon and breeding plants or the Unarra and taming creatures.
A recent example is the Tyrusin's ability to form ice shields and direct electrostatic energy.
I hear my character can spawn offspring? Is this true?
Yes, it is true. Each species will be capable of asexual reproduction to create one or more spawn. Your Character's spawn will be born in one of two forms. Either your spawn will be a new Character coming into the game (yes, that means another player), or you will be reborn as your spawn should your Character die.
What happens to your character when it dies?
If you took the time to spawn, then you will be reborn as your offspring. You will inherit your parent's belongings, land, armies, and power. This will be tested and tuned for balance.
Is it possible for another player to be related to me, like a family?
Yes. A new player will have the choice of entering the game as another player's spawn. We call it the Lineage System.
What happens to my character when I log off from the game?
Your character remains in the game.
Can my Character die while I'm offline?
Your Character does not have to die while offline. You can choose for your Character to be safe if you want.
There will be a lot of effective ways to protect your Character while you are offline. You can have personal bodyguards. You can set traps. You can log off in a safe city location. It is unlikely that your Character will die while you are offline unless you direct it to do some risky behavior in which case, yes, it could die.
You will be able to set the behavior for your Character, and how it will act in certain scenarios. Your Character will not just be frozen in place. You will be able to set activities for your Character to do while you are offline, for example, build a structure or practice a skill.
How hard or easy will it be for my Character to die?
Not as easy as it is in other games. Each of the species have innate defensive means available to them which make it difficult for them to be killed, particularly while offline. This is not a game of "learning by dying." Meaning that death should not be a suprise, instead it is a choice. Creatures should not come out of nowhere and kill you. The goal is to make it so that a player knows the risks of a situation before a decision is made. On the other hand, just because you don't die, doesn't mean you won't get maimed.
What are Followers, and do I want them?
In Atriarch, all non-player species are called, Natives. Your Character will be able to inspire, bribe, cajole, hire, and breed Natives to work for you. We call these sorts of Natives, Followers. Currently, the only type of Followers we have are military (e.g., guards) and transports (e.g., mounts). We will add more types of Followers, but it is undetermined whether that will happen before or after the initial release.
What kind of creatures and plants will there be in Atriarch?
There is a thin line between creatures, plants and raw materials. You will see everything from the ordinary to the truly bizarre. Since Atriarch is an organic world, most everything will be done using creatures or plants. For example, imagine growing your own personal bodyguard, a vine that wraps itself around your body and reaches out to choke anyone who attacks you. Information about creatures and plants will be revealed in time.
Will I be able to destroy or take over Native cities?
What happens to a Native when it dies?
Same thing that happens to a Player Character, it dies and comes back as its spawn.
How do creatures respawn? How real is the ecosystem?
They will reproduce and create spawn much the same way the Character species do, however at a much faster rate. The goal is to design the creature's behavior in a way that is natural to the environment, but not static. The creatures will have personalities, migration habits, and quirks of their own.
Will there be magic?
In fantasy games there is magic. In Atriarch there is science. Although it may not yet be understood by the inhabitants of Atriana, everything has a basis in the science and physics of the world. In other words, it may seem like magic and have all the cool special effects of magic, but it is really science *grin*
What level of technology should we expect in Atriarch?
Atriarch's technology is evolved from living organisms and materials. It is highly advanced technology, but not "high tech" as we know it. There is no human "era" equivalent to the technology in Atriarch. There are no metals and no space flight... well, at least not yet. Species are telepathic. They breed and grow most of their resources. Most of the technology is focused on controlling or directing the organic resources to achieve the desired results. Breeding plants is a big technology.
How is breeding used in Atriarch?
You can breed new species by combining the appropriate materials and meeting the necessary environmental conditions. For example, perhaps your Character is skilled at breeding a particular defensive plant. However, you want a more aggressive version of that plant. So you crossbreed it with a more aggressive plant to create a new species. Of course, creating new species has its downfalls as well, namely, mutations. To clarify, you will be able to breed plants, but not creatures until a later release.
What kinds of things will I be able to breed? Will I be able to concoct poisons and healing herbs?
Most plants have special attributes or characteristics. Plants can be used as raw building materials, elixirs, nutrients, poisons, reinforcements, etc. There is a lot you can do with plants.
How will combat work?
There are two basic ways to fight. You can choose to micromanage your combat and define each and every move you make. Alternatively, you can hit auto-fight and let the computer do the work, perhaps throwing in a new move every now and then.
There are different Fighting Disciplines a Character can study. Within each Discipline, there are Techniques. A Technique is made up of a set of Maneuvers. Each Maneuver is performed within a different attack zone.
There are nine attack zones: upper (left, center, right) and mid (left, center, right) and lower (left, center, right). It is similar to a number keypad configuration. The attack zone is relative to your character, not to your opponent. So if you choose to do a lower left maneuver, then whatever is in your lower left quadrant will be attacked.
Will there be forms of non-lethal combat? Will I be able to maim?
Yes, all combat in Atriarch has the option to be non-lethal. It will be hard to kill someone who is prepared, so the non-lethal options will most likely be the attack of choice anyway. There will be traps, weapons, poisons, etc. that do harm, but don't necessarily kill. Your Character will be able to knockout, disable, or maim creatures or other Characters without killing them.
How do war campaigns or large-scale battles work?
You coordinate a campaign through the use of leaders and maps. You will give orders to each of your of your Leaders who will lead his assigned troops into battle following the instructions and battle goals that you gave him. The A.I. will take over from there. Of course, you can always recall your army.
What kinds of weapons and armor will be available?
There are items specifically designed for use in combat, for example, traps, projectiles, melee, bashing, burrowing, etc.
Creatures and plants can be bred to provide various forms of armor and clothing.
How do I build an empire?
Although character development is skill-based, empire-building is level-based. There are various stages through which a town will pass before reaching empire status. Levels range from the basic single residence to a booming empire spanning several continents. Each stage has minimum building and population requirements that must be maintained before it moves to the next level.
Note that empire-building is not a level that a Character achieves. Rather, it is a stage through which a city passes while evolving into an empire. An individual Character or Faction may own any level of city.
Will there be player housing?
Can I build customized structures in the game?
Will I be able to own land?
Will I be able to take over another player's land?
Will I be able to defend my land from another player?
Will there be player run cities?
Will there be currency and an economy?
Yes. Each species has its own form of currency. The economy will be mostly player-driven.
Will I be able to build underground?
How will you prevent overcrowding?
The world is over 1 million square kilometers. There is plenty of room for all of the gamers out there. That being said, there is bound to be the natural over-development of urban areas in the game regardless of the open space available.
What if I don't want a house, then where will I sleep and keep my belongings?
There will be hostels and inns for a Character to reside that will be safe... basically organic apartments.
How big is the world?
Atriana is a globe that has approximately one million square kilometers of surface area (assuming flat terrain, which it isn't). It is about 40% land and 60% water.
Will I be able change and alter the terrain?
Yes, you will be able to dig ditches and move mountains one shovel at a time. The final form of this feature is highly subject to balancing and testing issues.
What modes of transportation will be available?
There will be ground and air transport creatures. Cross-continental travel will be most efficient using the wind tunnels. Your Character will be able to swim, however we are not certain yet whether water travel, such as ships, may be added after the initial release.
Will I be able to ride on flying creatures?
Yes, but only the Unarra species will be able to tame and navigate them.
Is there a player-killer switch?
Are there penalties or deterrents for a player killing another player?
Yes. The highest penalty would be against players who kill newly born Character Species. The higher status you achieve, the less the penalty is for killing your Character.
For example, if you are an Atriarch, then it is assumed you are willing to take the risks that inevitably accompany anyone with such power. By then you should have ample protection. Therefore, there would be little penalty for your death.
On the other hand, if you have been playing for a long time, but chose a simple life as a mapmaker, then the game will recognize your choice as low risk and the penalty for killing you would be high. In other words, ultimate power comes with ultimate risk.
Of course, this system is subject to changes after testing.
How can you have penalties for player-killing and still have war campaigns as a part of the gameplay?
You can mutually declare enemies which will clear all penalties, for example, warring factions. You can take over Native (npc) towns without penalty. There are scenarios which would make killing reasonable, for example, if you were avenging your parent's death.
Will Atriarch support player guilds?
Yes, in Atriarch, player-formed groups are called, Factions. There are both minor and major factions.
What is the difference between a minor faction and a major faction?
Minor Factions are any group of players that formally unite for a common purpose or belief. A Major Faction is one of the ruling factions and is led by an Atriarch. There are only a handful of Atriarch's in the game at any one time. Currently, there are five Major Factions with two Minor Factions close on their heels vying for power.
Will players be able to temporarily group? Will there be group skills?
Yes, you will be able to form groups for any number of purposes, for example, exploration, hunting, questing, etc. We have not determined yet if there will be skills specific to groups.
Is there a player communication system built into the game? Will there be global chat?
Yes, communication in an online game is important. There will be private, local, and global chat. Since the species are telepathic, global chat almost anywhere in the world would be feasible. However, sending a global message exerts a lot of the Character's energy which is limited.
Once Atriarch is completed will there be continual updates?
Absolutely. The world will continue to evolve as long as there are enough players to support it.
Will the development team be in the game once it is released or vanish into another project?
We are building this game so we can play it. So, yes, we will definitely be in there.
What perspective or point of view will the player see when playing Atriarch?
You can play Atriarch in 1st or 3rd person. The 3rd person camera is fully customizable.
Will I be able to customize the keyboard and mouse controls?
Will Atriarch have zones or transition areas?
No. Atriarch is seamless with no zones and no transitions anywhere in the world. You do not need to zone to fly in the air. You do not need to zone to go inside nor underground nor into cities. Absolutely no zones or "transition areas".
How many servers will Atriarch have?
Currently, there is one instance of Atriarch to be located in the following real world continents: Asia, Europe, and North America. Each will have a localized server and language support. A single instance of Atriarch is designed to handle as many players as wants to play. That means we can scale to potentially millions in a single world. (Whether a publisher actually lets us have everyone in a single world is another issue which is not yet resolved.)
How are you dealing with latency?
We cannot rid the entire Internet of latency, but we can work around it. Atriarch addresses the issue on two fronts: gameplay and technology. On the gameplay front, we minimize the use of elements that require any sort of precise timing or synchronization. On the technology front, Atriarch's server architecture is designed for optimal efficiency and scalability. There are also other applicable methods for reducing lag and latency that we will employ.
What platforms will Atriarch support?
Atriarch is planning its initial release with support for Windows and Linux. We are also looking into the viability and demand of building a console version.
What are Atriarch's expected hardware requirements? Will Atriarch require a 3D accelerator?
We are not releasing requirements yet. They will most likely change over the course of development. It is certain that you will need a 3D accelerator with good OpenGL support.
Thank you to everyone who submitted questions for the FAQ. If you would like to submit more questions to be added for the next version of the FAQ, then email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
All comments here are subject to the standard World Fusion disclaimer.
Last Updated: January 16, 2008
All Content © 1998-2006 World Fusion®
Atriarch is a registered trademark of World Fusion®