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GamingWe are Phoenix Labs, makers of Dauntless. AMA!

Apr 26th 2017 by PhoenixLabs_AMA • 67 Questions • 153 Points

Hello!

We are Phoenix Labs, an independent game developer based out of beautiful Vancouver, BC.

Our game is Dauntless, a co-op, action RPG in which you’ll discover a shattered world, forge powerful weapons, and hunt the ferocious behemoths threatening our survival.

You can see an early version of Dauntless in our Pax East Trailer and check out our debut at the Game Awards.

We’re starting our Tech Alpha soon and will be going into Closed and Open Betas later this year.

We look forward to answering your questions about Dauntless and our studio!

Proof: https://twitter.com/PlayDauntless/status/857338997965602816

Earlier this week, we solicited questions from /r/Dauntless and have answered the top five below.

EDIT: Going to bed for now. Will continue to answer questions in the morning! Thanks everyone!

EDIT 2: Back in the saddle! Keep the questions coming!

Q:

Will Dauntless have in-game events that pop up at a certain time of the day? Thanks for reading/answering!

1. By: SexyAnaconda
Thread | Permalink
A:

yes


Q:

How far into alpha do you plan to invite people from the EU?

2. By: ThoreAK
Thread | Permalink
A:

As soon as the Alpha servers are stable we will widen the net. Until the whole world falls under our shadow MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH...

Ahem.


Q:

Will there be any other creatures on the islands? Fodder to keep you busy on the way to the behemoth? Maybe some materials for crafting can only be collected off the smaller creatures

3. By: JayBo_Vizard
Thread | Permalink
A:

Yes! They don't call it Ramsgate for nothing ;D


Q:

Will there be any kind of robust replay system for hunts? I'd love to be able to move the camera around and record my hunts with my friends with colour/timing/speed effects. This would also be great if I could directly export a reply to social media!

When we slay a behemoth, will we be able to get a screenshot of that moment? Either manually or automatically? Some kill shots are quite entertaining!

A:

This is a feature that we think would be awesome. It's not out of the realm of possibility, but it would be something that we would want to do well if we do it. That means that it would probably need to come later.

Great idea on the screenshots, too.


Q:

Most games of this genre fall short in one aspect when it comes to hunting: Impact and the sense of weight.

What precautions are you taking to make the heavier set weapons feel like they are, indeed, heavy weapons?

A:

100% right.

First, here's a blog that our combat designer speaks about this very thing in: https://playdauntless.com/an-early-look-at-combat-in-dauntless/

Things like hit-stun, sound effects, animation, and the weapons themselves all go into this. And, of course, the secret ingredient is community feedback!


Q:

How important Eggplants will be in the game ? Crucial for founder pack buying :)

A:

Critical.


Q:

How good are the selection of beards going to be in character customisation?

A:

We would say we have a solid beard choice-level. Maybe not best-in-class, but still quite nice.


Q:

Hey guys, really excited to get my hands on the game (Founder reporting in)! Everything I've seen so far has been impressive.

My question is that with obvious inspirations from other famous games like the Monster Hunter franchise, are there certain things that you are hoping to achieve/create/include that are absent from those other popular titles?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

A:

Thank you for being a Founder! We appreciate the support <3

As far as what we want to achieve, here's a quick list:

  • Airships!
  • Vibrant streaming community
  • Adding new content (behemoths, weapons, etc.) over time to keep the game fresh with free new content on a consistent basis.

Q:

Will the Chain Blades be more like the Dual Blades from Monster Hunter or the Kusarigama from Toukiden?

A:

They're a cross between the Dual Blades and that sweet high-flying Ninja Gaiden Flying Ryu goodness.


Q:

Do you see Dauntless' business model clashing with the gameplay ideals of a title like Monster Hunter? Will spending money ever circumvent the necessity to grind for materials? How does the free-to-play model affect the game design for character progression?

A:

First and foremost -- we are against pay to win and against pay for power.

The cornerstone of Dauntless is forging your own legend. If you see someone holding a weapon or wearing armour -- they earned it. They earned that legend.

To this end, we're also very interested in community feedback. The integrity of skill and progression is key. If we ever see or hear that it is being compromised, nothing is off the table (including the removal of any purchasable item) to resolve that issue.


Q:

Wil players be able to stick to one weapon type that they like. Or will they be more encouraged to use different weapon types?

A:

If you want to use one weapon type for the whole game, that's cool by us! It may not always be easy or advantageous, but if you're committed then we're excited.


Q:

you said you boiled the options for the ranged weapon down, so now comes the important question, is the Harpbow one of those options???


Q:

Besides cosmetics what is something that will differentiate me end game from other slayers? In other games you have locked classes and usually some massive time sink levels or specializations that can give you a "place" in a group. With Dauntless having swap I'm and out weapons will there be a risk of end game just being a bunch of people with all the top tier equipment?

A:

You will be able to transmog your gear meaning that you can replace an items looks without replacing its stats. You can mix and match to your heart's content.


Q:

Isn't that still cosmetic though? If I was with a party and we were all end game, what could I offer the party that someone else couldn't just equip or buy(like potions)?

Even in other MMOs there isn't a lot to differentiate yourself as people could just go level that craft too or have start another character of the same class but there is such a time investment to both those things you are unique because you have sunk enough time to be able to do what maybe a majority can't. Is there going to be a similar things sink for end game equipment in Dauntless? Like if i reeealy like the axe say, would me getting some of the top tier axes be a huge investment and one that has been built up for a while? Something that the only people who really love axes are willing to grind for because of just how long it takes and how hard it is?

A:

what is the ranged weapon? -- /u/HowDenKing

For those unacquainted with Dauntless, we’ve announced the sword, axe, chain blades, and hammer (that has a blunderbuss built in!). We’ve also announced that we will have a ranged weapon at launch.

We’re still working on what the weapon is, although we have it boiled down to a few possibilities. But, we’re not quite ready to talk about what they are yet. What we can say is that the ranged weapon will be a really active, exciting option for slayers. We never want slayers to sit on the periphery of a fight or just stand by and avoid danger; every fight should be a visceral experience. To this end, the Ranged Weapon will have distanced attacks, but also require slayers to get up-close and personal for maximum effect.


Q:

Hey, guys! thanks for making this AmA!

I was wondering if you could give us any more detail on the ranged weapon you guys have been working on? I'd love to hear about what you guys are considering and came up with.

A:

Great question! So great, in fact, that the /r/Dauntless community already asked, too <3

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/67r17j/we_are_phoenix_labs_makers_of_dauntless_ama/dgsjhjv/


Q:
  1. Can you give us the expected month of the release of closed beta.
  2. What are some current plans for the crafting system
  3. Co-op Tourneys? A possibility?
  4. Is the game going to be grindy? For example, clear this behemoth 3+ times to get a scale which forges an armor which helps you clear the next behemoth etc.
  5. Elemental armor. Is it happening? Can I Embody a lightning dragon if im wearing its armor, with lightning coursing through my sword?
  6. Is their one late game armor that stands above the rest, or are you going to be able to choose the best type of armor for the situation at hand?
  7. Can you share some experiences and challenges that stemmed from leaving studios like Riot and Blizzard, and things you learned from them? And Lastly, thank you for doing this AMA.
A:

Can you give us the expected month of the release of closed beta.

The Closed Beta will be in Q3 of 2017. We cannot specify a month yet because it is contingent upon the build being stable which will be proved out during Alpha.

What are some current plans for the crafting system

You can read our first post on this topic here. Above and beyond that, what we can say is that we know that crafting is going to be a core part of the game and very important to both the longevity and vibrancy of gameplay. We will be releasing details as they become available!

Co-op Tourneys? A possibility?

Cool! Yes!

Is the game going to be grindy? For example, clear this behemoth 3+ times to get a scale which forges an armor which helps you clear the next behemoth etc.

There will be some grind to the game, but a good grind. Like, the kind that we love in games like Monster Hunter, Diablo, WoW, etc. We will be working closely with the community to ensure the grind is enjoyable and not a chore.

Elemental armor. Is it happening? Can I Embody a lightning dragon if im wearing its armor, with lightning coursing through my sword?

We are currently prototyping and working on armour abilities. We want you to feel like you are the embodiment of the behemoth!

Is their one late game armor that stands above the rest, or are you going to be able to choose the best type of armor for the situation at hand?

You know what's great? Racing games. You know what's not great? When there's only one viable car for competitive play :( We also don't want that to be the case for Dauntless. There will be many viable ways to be awesome.

Can you share some experiences and challenges that stemmed from leaving studios like Riot and Blizzard, and things you learned from them? And Lastly, thank you for doing this AMA.

Wow. That's a tough one. There are so many lessons that we have learned. What we do know is that community is key -- which is why we are here today!


Q:
  1. Something key to Monster Hunter has been the combo/crafting systems. Making poison steaks, paintballs, heat and cold drinks, Pre-game food for buffs. Do you have any plans for things like this in Dauntless? If so could you give some examples?

  2. Another thing I am interested in is do you have plans for things like traps and bombs? It’s always a great feeling to trap a difficult monster right before it dies or lure a monster towards a trap of bombs. Is this something we might see as well?

A:

1 - Yes! You will be able to craft items that will help you on your journeys, both durable and consumable. E.g., health potions, attack buff potions, defense rings, etc.

2 - Traps and bombs confirmed. We are tweaking them to ensure that they are fun and not OP.


Q:

Will you be able to trade consumables with one another? I know that trading is something you guys want to avoid (at least in regards to equipment), but it could be really helpful if someone willing to craft consumables for their party could distribute them.

Alternatives would include things like being able to craft a group-wide consumable distributor ala World of Warcraft where the crafter puts something down for the rest of the party to use (like with food buffs).

A:

There will be no trading in Dauntless. This is mostly to enforce the idea that if you see someone wearing something -- they earned it.


Q:

After the game release, are you planning to add events with rare monsters and weapons? And special events like xmas, halloween...? TY

A:

Definitely. We will be looking to really nail down the core of the game and make sure that's smooth. As soon as we're solid, you'd better believe we'll have some fun and creative events!


Q:

Will Dauntless get Destructible environments?

A:

This is not currently being planned, but never say never!

The most important thing for us is nailing down what makes the game fun and solid for slayers. Once that's perfect we'll look into it ;)

This is definitely something that we would love to do!


Q:

I hope it makes it one day. And on that day, trees won't save us from Pangar rolls.

A:

Everyone loves pancake day


Q:

Can you send a video of you typing like a madman during this AMA?

A:

http://imgur.com/a/dJ2xD

(love u stern)


Q:

Will there be a Ping Communication system? Seen in games such as Portal 2, Dota 2, League of Legends and the such. Pings like "Danger!/Run Away" or "Look Here" and "On my way"? I think it would be good addition for quick communication among players.

A:

This is something that we are experimenting with. Teamwork makes the dream work.


Q:

Phoenix Labs, which gaming magazines do you read?

A:

Game Informer


Q:

Will Dauntless be on steam? :o would be great and easy to see which friends actually play it.

A:

Not currently planned, but never say never.


Q:

Can I invite my friends to the closed beta if I bought a founder's pack?

A:

That's not currently planned, but we can think about it.


Q:

Will your character customization have beards?

I neeeeeeeed it.

A:

Beards confirmed


Q:

One thing that's always seem to fall short (or is completely missing) in games that have clear Monster Hunter inspirations are the interactions with Environments, whether that be the way that players interact (climbing, gathering, fishing, shortcuts, etc.) or the way monsters interact (leaving zones in surprising ways, using the environment for advantages/new moves, breaking parts of the map that provide support, create new areas by smashing through obstacles, etc.) with it.

Will Dauntless feature systems that allow the characters to interact with the environment beyond combat or have monsters that use the environment in ways that may even surprise players that have hunted it before?

A:

As we move into Beta, the most important thing for us is to nail combat and make sure that it's fun. At the same time, we need to make sure that the islands that we're making are fun to hunt on.

Once we've got that nailed down we will begin exploring different ways that slayers and behemoths can interact with their environment.


Q:

Will there be end game content such as raids?

A:

There won't be raids per se but we will have content for "end-level" slayers


Q:

How will armor be split up? Are we talking just Helmets/tops/bottoms as constructables. Perhaps, gloves, boots, overcoats, pauldrons? Are there any negatives associated with the armor; be that in a give & take fashion or otherwise?

A:

Currently:

Helm, Body, Arms, Legs.

Currently no negatives with armour, and we will allow for transmog


Q:

Is Ramsgate also a floating island? Or are these islands in an odd orbit centralized around some kind of planet? Ultimately what I'm getting at is, if a slayer were to be knocked off an island would they go splat or drift into nothingness?

A:

Ramsgate is on its own little set of floating islands.

The Shattered Isles is a collection of islands with different cities and peoples. Ramsgate is at the edge of the frontier -- a bulwark against everything that goes bump in the sky.


Q:

Do you have any social features in place that will encourage Slayers to hunt with new people/make new friends?

Will there be any kind of mentoring system in place or benefits for veteran players to help newer players out?

A:

Definitely! Slayers that play together stay together!

We're toying with things to incentivize teamplay (without punishing anyone that wants to go solo). Also, we're working to make guilds a great way to play together!

We will also be looking for ways to help experienced players looking to "sherpa" other players find a way to connect.


Q:

is there going to be a voice chat system for parties?

i would also like to know if you will need to build an entirely new set of armour if you want to try a ranged weapon (like in monster hunter)?

A:

We are working on voice chat! It really makes the game that much more fun.

You will not have to rebuild armour to accommodate weapons


Q:

Hello! I wanted to ask if it was possible to gift founders packs? I would love to pick one up for my brothers birthday in a week!

A:

It is not possible at this time. We're looking into it -- but it will not be ready in a week. You can give your brother a gift card and the do your brotherly duty and tell him that he will get a wedgie if he does't use it for Dauntless.


Q:

What makes this game unique to set it apart from other games?

A:

Great question! So great, in fact, that someone from /r/Dauntless asked earlier this week <3

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/67r17j/we_are_phoenix_labs_makers_of_dauntless_ama/dgsji77/

Let us know if you have any other questions!


Q:
  • Have you thought about a tutorial for the game yet to help new players? Will it be more to the style of Dark Souls or will there be more hand holding?

  • Will we be able to use the enviroment or lay traps to help us fight Behemoths?

  • With gear progression are you looking at a linear progression with clear best in slot gear or will it be balanced to allow players to use the gear they like the most?

  • Looking at endgame, will the player be done after aquiring 'their' best in slot items or are you planning on an enhancement system allowing the player to give more stats to an item, similar to Dark Souls or Diablo 3?

  • Once the game has been out and people reached their goals, what are your plans to keep 'Veteran' players interested. Will there be special events/fights that are targeted at high skill/geared players?

A:

1) We are working on an experience that will gently guide you into the Shattered Isles and help you become the best slayer you can be!

2) We are working on traps. And if you become a behemoth psychology expert you can trick them into moving into areas that are beneficial for you.

3) Gear progression is as linear or as tree-like as you want to make it. It really depends on what you want to focus on. There are a lot of overlapping gear options.

4) We're still thinking about this, but it's more likely that what you craft will have these properties innately

5) https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/67r17j/we_are_phoenix_labs_makers_of_dauntless_ama/dgsjgic/


Q:

What's your plan regarding storage in dauntless? will we have an unlimited amount of storage space from the get-go, or will we have to expand our storage through either paid or in-game means?

A:

We're still deciding how we will handle this. A lot of it has to do with what we see players doing during Alpha/Beta tests.


Q:

Hi, what is the FOUNDER'S BANNER? and what's the max number of players in Co-op?

A:

All slayers will have access to a banner that will be able to customize with elements that they will unlock as they progress.

The Founder's Banner emote that is found in the Founder's Pack is a specific animation that will make placing the banner look that much cooler.

Currently, the cap is 4.


Q:

Phoenix Labs, you say Vancouver is beautiful but offer no evidence, why is this?

A:

Too beautiful. Breaks all cameras.


Q:

When will we be able to stream the game?

A:

Streaming will be available during the Founder's Alpha


Q:

Will we get different playable races in the future or only Humans? Are there any rewards for participating in the Alpha / Beta? Thanks, already got the founders pack. Sooo hyped! <3

A:

In the Shattered Isles, humanity is its own thing. You can look forward to learning more about the different cultures and islands that make up the world.


Q:

Phoenix Labs, how often are you on Reddit and what are your favorite subreddits?

A:

Our community manager is a long-time Redditor (7 years) and frequents /r/dauntless (of course), /r/YoutubeHaiku, /r/Mealtimevideos, and /r/enlightenedbirdmen (SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE)


Q:

what are the limits on how risque or lore breaking cosmetics can be?

A:

We don't want to go too silly, but we also want to let slayers express themselves. Expect to see a few eyebrow-raising items, but nothing that will totally break immersion.


Q:

You mentioned airships earlier in the comments, do you guys have any plans for guild/player housing or anything of the sort at the moment?

A:

We really want to nail down the core elements of the game first, but this is something that we will explore once we feel the core of the game is solid.


Q:

When will be the next set of invites to the Alpha be? and roughly how many people do you expect to be adding in the next wave and the waves after that?

A:

Tomorrow morning.


Q:

How many people signed up for the alpha?

A:

We're not mentioning numbers, but we are very happy with the response.


Q:

Will the min specs be tuned following tech Alpha results ?

A:

Yes


Q:

Phoenix Labs, do you have beakers and bunsen burners in your lab?

A:

We use them to make science coffee.


Q:

Phoenix, labs what are your favorite beers?

A:

Yes.


Q:

I'll take that as every beer.

A:

Yes, please.


Q:

1) Cupcakes or muffins?

2) Will there be Behemoth hoodies and Owlbear plushies?

A:

Chocolate chocolate-chip muffins

We are working on merch! Shrike plushies are frequently requested and we hear that ;)


Q:

Any plans to implement a mini-game (Monster hunter had Arm wrestling, PSO had soccer, etc) for Ramsgate? (on page 4 of a list of suggestions for possibilities.)

A:

Giant in-city soccer ball confirmed.


Q:

...>.> wait, for real?

A:

Nothing as firm as PSO, but there is a ball you can kick around Ramsgate.


Q:

When will 21:9 support come?

A:

Glorious 4K+ widescreen confirmed


Q:

Phoenix Labs, do you all have any pets?

A:

Dogs, cats, hedgehogs, bunnies, bats, children.


Q:

Hiya~! I have a few topics I'd like to ask about:

1) Will you implement large monster battles, similarly to Lao, Jhen Mohran and friends? If yes, after reading that you are planning to add airships, could there be some monster fights fully in the air? :O (Maybe underwater too? no hate pls, lmao)

2) Since you are inspired by Monster Hunter, I assume there's gonna be an Armor Skills system similar to it. What kind of improvements/changes do you plan to make over the MH's own system?

3) Will there be crossovers with other (indie) games? Personally, I'd love me some Shovel Knight armor :D

Cheers,

Esch

A:

1) We're really into this idea. That being said, we want to nail down the core of the game first. Once four-player combat feels GREAT we will look into this.

2) There will be Amour (Sic) Skills/Abilities. We're looking to incorporate a wide variety, clear crafting system, and improved visual effects

3) We met Yacht Club at PAX South. They're nice!


Q:

As a big fan of Monster Hunter, I loved the village quest hunt and the guilds hunt and the fact that they were separate, can we expect the same in Dauntless? Don't want to ask a question that was already answered, but I can't seem to find an answer.

A:

There will be different factions within Ramsgate that will have varied motivations and desires. We're excited for you to meet them!


Q:

Phoenix Labs, how many months did it take to plan, design and develop Dautnless?

A:

Phoenix Labs has existed for three years. We've been working on Dauntless for most of that.


Q:

Phoenix Labs, which ages is the game best for?

A:

13+


Q:

Phoenix Labs, how much time will it take a Customer/user to complete the game?

A:

Now this is an interesting question.

The short answer is hundreds of hours. But, we'll also continue to add more content on a consistent basis. So, really you can never ever finish it.


Q:

Phoenix Labs, what type of music will in the game?

A:

Cris Velasco is making something truly amazing and breathtaking for us. You're gonna love it.


Q:

What do you think about a Voice Chat for better communication?

A:

We're working with Discord on something to this end!


Q:

Phoenix Labs, how often do you make trips to USA for fun and business? And where do you usually go in the USA?

A:

We've been down quite a bit lately. LA, San Fran, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Portland, Boston.


Q:

Any new footage?

A:

Not just yet!


Q:

Phoenix Labs, how many different characters can a player play as in Dauntless?

A:

Currently, the plan is one -- which you can alter and customize to your desires.


Q:

Will there be any type of Pets/Companions?

A:

Not at launch, but it's something that we're looking into!


Q:

Phoenix Labs, what ways do you plan to market and advertise Dauntless to customers? Do you plan to use Facebook, twitter, Instagram, word of math, YouTube ads, Facebook ads, Reddit ads, or better ideas than these?

A:

Word of math. Our current plan is to becoming irrationally desirable.