Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is an MMORPG in development by Visionary Realms and is currently in pre-alpha. It is a spiritual successor to games like Everquest and other classic MMORPGs. Development seems to be picking up steam, and this month’s developer live stream focused on the priorities to complete before Alpha One. Check out our written summary.
This past week Chris “Joppa” Perkins – Creative Director, and Ben “Machail” Dean – Producer were at the helm again to provide a Pantheon update for the community. In this live stream, they went over the team’s priority list of several items to complete before Alpha One begins. Also provided was a look at Monk/Ranger animations and the new map of Kingsreach. This is our Patheon; Rise of the Fallen Developer Update summary for May 13th, 2021.
Getting right into it at the top of the list is having all classes functional. Doing so will allow the team to flesh out NPC encounters as well. Monk is due to be finished up in the next pass, and Ranger development is progressing nicely. Due to the range mechanics, there is some extra development work to be done for Ranger.
Summoners will need some specific development focus as well. This brings in priority number two for the team, pets. Specifically, it sounds like charms will work somewhat similar to Everquest, where pets/enemies have a limited set of abilities when charmed. Unlike Everquest, it sounds like the player will have access to these abilities via a UI. It will be interesting to see how this appears in the game.
NPC awareness is third on the list. The developers want NPCs to identify when players cast specific spells, such as healing, and react with appropriate abilities/tactics.
The team’s other major priority, but not the last, is URP (Unity Universal Render Pipeline) and networking optimization. They realize that this aspect is of importance to create a great experience. Why is this not a higher priority? The other items mentioned previously need to be in place for the rest of the team to avoid bottlenecks in other areas while the URP and networking are optimized.
Beyond the four priorities mentioned above, Chris and Ben ran through several systems that will also be present for players to test in Alpha One. Guilds functionality will be available, with hopefully a few fresh ideas incorporated by the team. The perception system will also be active, and the crafting will be live.
The Acclimation system will also be present, but the team is working to improve the experience as the UI is currently a bit difficult to navigate. They are hoping to implement more climate types for Alpha One, including scorching and wind shear. At the same time, due to confusion from PA (Pre-Alpha) testers and internal team members due to the similarity in naming/concepts, atmospheres have been renamed to fractures. Occurrences like these represent a supernatural/unnatural event vs. naturally occurring climates/atmospheres.
Climbing is essentially in the game now and fully functional. The developers hope to decouple it from player endurance and instead will have a separate resource called grip. Separating grip would allow the skill to be augmented or diminished separately, allowing the team to gamify it through the skill system. With Alpha One, the hope is that the skill system will also have all the specifics in place so a given skill increases during play at the appropriate time. Currently, skills max whenever a player increases in level.
One system that piqued my interest during this live stream was dispositions. Which I remember the developers talking about previously along with the footage of a fleeing spider. Beyond pyrophobic, they are planning to implement several more, including bloodthirsty and mana crazed.
Loadouts will also be in for Alpha One. Currently, your hot bar has room for 14 abilities in combat. As a QoL (Quality of Life) improvement, a player will be able to swap loadouts outside of combat. The example provided was a Wizard who wants to change loadouts between fire and cold abilities to deal with specific challenges.
If you are like me, I have a holdover from older games and still look for two things in any MMORPGs when I start playing for the first time. Can I swim, and is jumping useful/present? The developers confirmed that swimming will be partially present in Alpha One. But will be more of a murky exploration experience compared to what exists in most MMORPGs. Expect that NPCs/encounters will be few and far between.
To be included in Alpha One will be a few other notable items. A new LFG tool with some new ideas that the team has. Factions are fully intact at this time and being built out further. Onboarding new players will be a focus as well.
The final two items Chris and Ben talked about before Q&A were audio and content. Audio is a focus, and Chris emphasized its importance to immersion, onboarding, polish, and especially its role in communicating with players. For content, Kingsreach is the focus for Alpha One, but it is only one of three continents. A new map of Kingsreach, with additional areas for future content, was shown. Players will eventually see Reignfall and Whitethaw, but in Alpha One, the level 1-30 experience will be in Kingsreach with starting areas for the local races and special allowances for races from the other continents. As the testing progresses, players can expect the level limit to expand as well.
The Q&A did address a few items I was personally curious about at well. First, there is no timeline yet for the start of Alpha One, but Ben said that they will share it once one becomes available. A new class/combination matrix should be up on the website soon. Also, confirmed was that all the races are expected to be rigged and ready for Alpha One and that each will have different starting attributes.
Grey boxing was touched on as well. Chris confirmed that it doesn’t slow down development in any way. The data in grey box models feed into Houdini when creating the final product making it easier to update to the final product.
It sounds like development is picking up and progressing smoothly so far in 2021. There was also a PA test this past weekend, and I can’t wait to hear about how it went. Some of the animations look great and a few of the systems being developed further sound good. Even though there is no date currently, I am keeping my fingers crossed that players will see Alpha One before the end of the year.