Last night I had a little chat with our leader and founder Infinite Art /RoH. So the information comes straight from the game creator. Instead trough middleman. I will also explain some game mechanics and design as it seems to be unclear to many what RoH actually is.
We were discussing the reason for not allowing people to host their own server, which would allow CooP or Local LAN, or if it was even possible to begin with.Well there is some good news regarding this information, but may also disappoint some of you by some degree. First I give you short version, then the long version.
In short: "maybe, we shall see after RoH has been released, but this is not our main concern atm"... and off to code he went!
Long version: We are planning on to possibility of letting people host their own servers, it is not fully ruled out at this time. The possibility in order to accomplish this, and allow for the community to host servers, is a very complex task for us. But not impossible thing to do! Many reasons for this, our vision and design of RoH is different from standard Mod. Problems also include copyright issues and giving up our project and code too early kills our chance making RoH big and giving our team permanent job at video game industry. After everything turns into sunshine and rainbows. Everything is possible! but traveling to the end of that rainbow trough the zone we call "life" is hard thing to do. We do not own the S.T.A.L.K.E.R license nor are we rich, but we always pool in money from our own pockets to buy parts for server machine. None of us is getting paid when we are working on the project in our free time. So we decided to set up patreon and if people want to help us with our dream game they are more than welcome to do so. We cannot set up crowdfunding, that would end up badly for us.
- RoH was always meant to be massive multiplayer FPS set in S.T.A.L.K.E.R universe, in it's modified x64bit engine and standalone, with enhanced stalkers mechanics and rules. 60, 100 or more people per server. With enhanced A-Life, mutants, anomalies, quests, main quest, faction wars, NPC's, random encounters, loot and seamless etc etc. Basic X-Ray engine supports 2000 A-Life objects. RoH X-ray before latest technical update supported around 3000. Now it supports even more! we haven't even tested the limit yet! There will be "raid" dungeons or "quest locations" that are going to be locked up from outside access for safe squad activity, or if you so dare take them on alone. As though turning off the brain scorcher in Shadow of Chernobyl! but our missions will be harder and have richer rewards.
- RoH was not designed as Co-Op of 1-6 players going trough old same stories we all know and love. But a new full standalone game that continues the story in our vision. As player is one of the random stalkers you have seen as NPC's in S.T.A.L.K.E.R but instead of an AI, it's a human player. Of course in RoH NPC's outnumber players. They work as guards in safe zones, travel around the zone, fight with other factions and do stalkerish things, like getting drunk and play guitar. And most will be shot by players, of course the faction you just shot won't like that one bit! so chose your enemies carefully!. As every kill you do effects the reputation of your character. Other players might even add your name on wanted list. You don't want mercenaries on your ass while you do your daily routine. Or hang out with your Bandit buddies with inferior gear when squad of exosuit stalkers close in! Our servers will end up be PVE/PVP and RP, PVE servers would be kinda weird in game design perspective, imagine a scenario where player bandits shoot all NPC squad next to you, and you could not protect them. You can imagine rest of the problems. In RP servers people play more seriously and there will be harder penalties for "screwing around". In all servers everyone starts on equal ground as a rookie loner and work their way up in ranks of factions they chose to work with. And people spawn in different areas of the zone border when they first make their character.
- Gameplay design PDA: As you saw in our latest Dev Diary, PDA will have important game functions on it these include chatting with other players, map, blowout warnings, able to see who the enemy is, who is friendly or who is neutral and of course your squad mates. Anomalies can effect your PDA, or even damage it. You might get lost easily in RoH's huge underground area. Radio stops working suddenly, your friends get eaten one by one, and you will be left stranded with no ammo. Good luck stalker, you are going to need it! Oh! for you sneaky fellows out there, rejoice! you can turn off your PDA when you want to stay off the radar and be hidden on map. Of course that means losing all those sweet protection protocols. Might even end up being sneaked upon yourself, or miss important information.
- Karma/Reputation: To safeguard players actions there will be Zone Karma system with Faction Reputation system implanted to the game. Faction reputation system effects how NPC's act towards players, trader prices, quests available and your reputation status for players too. How your faction acts towards you. As everyone can see it in PDA Social Network (we need fancy name for that!) people will know who the bad boy is. Might get that delicious WANTED status on your head. Now, Zone Karma. "What the f-" you say?. Well, if you ever did read books of Roadside Picnic, or watched STALKER movie. You know that zone itself is kind of "living entity" or so the belief goes. The Zone acts accordingly on players actions, of course if you play Good Samaritan it does not mean that Zone suddenly sends you gifts and love letters. But it might let you off the hook and you seem more "lucky" in the zone. That bloodsucker suddenly left you alone! "Oh look an artifact in very weird place", "Holy moly RPG in toilet!"While being an "evil" player might make you more "unlucky". "God no! Bear just broke trough the roof while I was scavenging!" or "Where did all these angry rats come from!", "why is my weapon jamming all the time", "Sidorovich please dont touch me there!"
- Safe zones: Main stalker camps always act as safe zones, with high guard activity. Attacking one alone or in group is gonna be extremely hard thing to do. Might even draw unwanted attention from mutants which the gunfire and smell of blood drew in. Outposts and caps are different thing however. Those can change owners depending how the factions are having a war at that moment.
- Weapons and gear: As you saw in Dev Diary 1, we are gonna have a lot of guns to play with. And you have certain amount of gear you can fit/carry with you. So no more 2000 bullets and 100 medkits. You have to plan your adventure every time you leave safe zone, we want players to feel safe in safe zones, but also be ready for any mutant or player attacks. And every time players leave warmth of the campfire. We imagine them to take a deep breath in, check their gun and start throwing some bolts. As you never know what anomaly spawned and where in that last blowout.
- Anomalies and Mutants: All old anomalies are there, and they move. New ones are there also, but we don't want to spoil surprises what they actually do! Arch Anomalies are something like in CoP and CS, with high anomaly density and different variants, with high chance of artifact spawning. All old mutants will be there, with variants and different skins. Upgraded with better animations too! New mutants have surfaced over the years. Even some really crazy ones that are extra hard to take down, or even immortal ones! Overpower you say? this is The Zone, not Hawaii! Don't worry though, those extra dangerous organism are rare and there is always a way to avoid them. We just want players to feel that even with all your gear you will not be safe from The Zone. This also brings that extra Roadside Picnic flavor we the developers like.
- Map: Seamless huge world, no transaction between areas as it's going to be 1 huge area, or 2 areas depending when we hit the next engine limit. All old areas will be there, with their underground areas. Our new locations in between with dense forests and our huge underground complex. We will add more stuff in updates after release to keep things fresh. To keep The Zone alive and ever changing.
There might be some stuff I forgot to write, so ask me in comments section and I will answer!, to finish things up. Everything I just wrote has possibility of a change if they don't end up working as intended or engine won't like it. Hopefully you do not think badly of us just because we are looking after our project as we see fit. Just have Hope! and trust us to finish the task which have been under work since 2009, to clarify online code was experimented on at that time, but serious work on RoH started in 2014. It's been fun 3 years. And we have come so far, stay tuned for more Dev Diaries that have more delicious info and show some gameplay aspects. If you have the hearth and will, and like what we are doing. You can support us in our Patreon page so we can get servers rolling faster around the world when in need. All the money goes forward the project and servers. We do not use it for ourselves. To show our appreciation for your financial support we always add screenshots/videos to Patreon of our progress.
Thank you for reading, and good hunting stalker!