Exclusive: Interview with CEO of Masthead Studios: Earthrise

I recently had the chance to interview Atanas Atanasov, CEO of Masthead Studios, about the upcoming MMORPG Earthrise. We were also able to bribe Mr. Atanasov into providing us with a new exclusive screenshot of the Eastern Gardens in Earthrise. (right pic) Your son will be returned by midnight.

For those of you not familiar with the game, Earthrise is a sci-fi MMORPG that takes places after the Third World War where society has split into many factions, but the two major ones are Continoma and Noir. Earthrise is based completely off skills so there will be no leveling here. The combat system will use dynamic targeting much like any FPS, however this is not a MMOFPS as other skills will require players to use them as they would in any other MMORPG. Earthrise will also feature PvP and territorial control points where guilds will be able to battle over certain areas in the game to extract resources and impose there own power and rules in that region.

For more information on Earthrise, check out the site play-earthrise.com

Onto the interview:

1] In your FAQ you mention that skills are never permanently foreclosed, does this mean at any time in the game I can reallocate my skill points to change my characters skill set?

Players in Earthrise can learn all skills, but they cannot reallocate skill points. The skill usage will be limited by the equipment, which means that the player has to learn the skill first, and then equip the weapon, armor and other devices that go with the skill. All abilities and tactics, which are not supported by the equipped items will be grey (not usable].

2] Staying on topic, you mention that Earthrise is entirely skill based. Given that there are two factions, how many skills will be shared and how many will be unique?

There are two main factions in Earthrise – Continoma and Noir and many smaller ones. Players can play for one of the two factions or they can choose to be neutral or criminals. All of those choices will not affect the skills they learn, which means that no matter which side you have chosen to fight for, your skills will be the same. Faction items are another story. There will be weapons and armor, which will be available only to members of a certain faction.

3] I read that there will be full looting in Earthrise? How does the looting system work? In what scenario could someone loot all my equipment?

Full looting in Earthrise will be possible, but for players who are careful or willing to spend money, it won’t be a problem. If player A kills player B, player B is resurrected at a resurrection site. If player B has insured all of his items, his former body is empty and player A has nothing to loot, but player B needs to reinsure his items, which costs money of course. If there are uninsured items in player B’s body, he will have several seconds time to pay at the resurrection site and get his items back. This decision will cost much more than a simple insurance. It is for those people who have forgotten to insure their items or are willing to take the risk and go in the wilderness with uninsured items. If player B doesn’t pay for his uninsured items or the waiting time passes, player A can loot everything which remains in player B’s corpse.

4] Considering Earthrise is set in the future, how does it handle transportation? You mention personal hovercraft’s in your FAQ, but will there be air transportation or a quicker way to travel?

Many variations of personal hovercrafts will be available in the game. There will also be teleportation points scattered across the island that will need money to operate. We are also considering some skills and items for faster transportation, but there is no final decision on that yet.

5] Since characters in Earthrise will not gain levels, how will this affect what type of armor or weapons players can use? If I pump all my skill points into weapons, will I be able to use the most powerful weapons within a few hrs of playing?

Players in Earthrise will have wide choice of weapons and armor, but their use will be limited by their character’s genetic code, or their physical attributes – Physique and Intellect. Players will be able to modify their current genetic condition anytime, and it will cost them money depending on the amount of the change itself. Small changes will have affordable costs, while turning a battlefield brute into Einstein will be a massive investment. That being said, it will not be possible to make a new character, and be immediately approached by a guild that shoves the most powerful weapon in the game into your hands and sends you on the field. That would throw the balance of the game off the scales in favor of whoever has the most money or weaponry to entice newbies. Instead, we make sure that players are able to use moderately powerful weapons after a small gaming investment, and everything else onward requires players to actually play to unlock the features of the game.

6] Will newbies be able to kill veteran players with a lucky shot or if they catch them off guards? Or will the skills learned greatly improve veteran players making it so beginners have no chance?

Absolutely! Earthrise is a PvP-centric game, and that means that players should always have a chance to score a successful kill on other players, given that they have the skill and strategy to pull it off. The way we allow that is by emphasizing a variety of options and combinations, thus tactics themselves, over power level. Players who advance their characters will not grow so powerful that newbies won’t have a chance no matter what they do; instead they will have more options. More options means better combinations, but only if the veteran player can use these combinations wisely. If they don’t, one or a couple newbies who use their limited set of abilities in a smart way have a greater opportunity of taking that veteran down.

7] You mention that players will be able to have careers that advance while offline? Is there a limit to how much a player can advance? What part will careers play in the big picture of Earthrise?

The offline advancement system has a more social approach. Players can educate and have a profession in Earthrise, which will give them social standing and constant income. The income will be significantly less compared to the one they can make during online play, but it will be enough to compensate all those people who don’t have the time to be online for hours and hours every day. The social standing of the players will allow them to gain some rewards from the factions they work for.

8] Territory control is a big part of the PvP in Earthrise allowing guilds to extract resources from the territory. However do you think there is any danger to 1 or 2 very large guilds controlling and holding most of the territories in the games?

The vast open space on the island of Enterra where territory control will take place will have hundreds of locations for building a base. The more territories the guild has the more vulnerable it will be. It will be very difficult to control such a large territory where smaller guilds will fight for their chunk of the pie and mutants will try to reconquer what was taken from them. The situation, which you mention in your question may also reflect the real world, where many empires have fallen due to tribes and smaller nations invading their borders, riots and internal problems.

9] From the screenshots I’ve seen, the game looks absolutely amazing. Will Earthrise use DX10 technology? Will there be real world physics in the game?

Yes, we are planning to implement DX10 technology and real world physics, although the physics will not be as advanced as the modern 3D shooters.

Thank you for taking the time out to answer these questions for us.


  1. Fascinating! Ever since this game has been announced I ahve been very intrigued. I used to play a 2d isometric MORPG called Faldon that was primarily skill based and it was a bunch of fun. Can’t wait to see how this team implements it.

  2. Earthrise’s skill system sounds very similar to the one used by EVE-Online.

    In EVE , you can learn *all* the skills; you are only limited by time. You also cannot reallocate skills; Once a skill is learnt, it is permanent.

    Earthrise’s newbies can kill a veteran player – EVE-Online has this element too !

    Earthrise’s territory control – EVE-online has this too.


  3. It sounds interesting.I think the game will be one of the best MMORPGs ever made because of the interesting ideas.I just hope the developers won’t mess up everything.Peace

  4. Earthrise looks awesome, nice interview too, but i found a grammatical mistake (at least i think so)… or is it really supposed to be that way?

    “Fool looting in Earthrise will be possible,” Fool Looting xD

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