Another cryptic email about the Fallout MMO has arrived from Interplay – but this time there’s actually some solid information within it.

The first bit of actual news is that Ghouls have been announced as a playable race (duh?)

Ghouls are the first announced playable race in Fallout® Online. Like humans, there are many different types of Ghouls and not all are the sterotypical pacifist or weakling. Ghouls get bonuses to trade and engineering skills. They enjoy fixing broken technology more than most survivors in the wastelands but that doesn’t prevent them from being dangerous opponents in combat. Ghouls have high radiation resistance and slightly better than normal Intelligence. Their gear tends to be in better condition than other races, but that’s not always true.

Ghouls start with two racial abilities: Complaint Department and Geiger Counted. Ghouls have two unique racial Traits added to the available pool: Radiant One and Tech Wizard.

All of this information comes courtesy of a Pip-Pad – which is totally a pseudo 1950′s post apocalyptic version of the iPad.  :-)

There’s a lot to read in this edition of The Armageddon Rag – Read the whole thing here.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL

Upon venturing deeper into the forums, Interplay’s Chris Taylor (that guy who created Fallout 1) also discusses the combat system and guilds within the game. (Thanks to NMA via The Vault Wiki for posting this)

Chris Taylor about the combat system:

We try to read as much as possible, but lately, it’s been hard to keep up with everything! ^_^

Some things are pretty locked down, like the combat system. We had a strong concept for the combat system from the very beginning. It’s not FO1/2, and it’s not VATS. It’s a SPECIAL based system that works in a MMO environment. You can say it’s specially designed for us. We never intended for it to be a FPS or pure shooter. Character skill and stats are very important to the combat system. Probably 50% of the equation. Character gear, player skill, decision making and timing make up the other half.

Like I’ve said in the past, what gets said here does influence us, naturally, but we do have a very strong vision for the game, so we’re not rewriting it based on what we read.

There have been more than a few moments where this forum has made us realize that there was something missing (hey, it’s a big game design, there are gaps here and there) or we could tweak it one way or another because we hadn’t fully fleshed out that particular feature.

We’ve got our own strong idea of what the game should be, and we’re confident in our skills and experience as game developers. But that doesn’t mean we don’t listen to the community. Honestly, however, I’d say that it’s very difficult for the community to understand the game as a whole at this stage. When we get to beta testing, and people have a chance to play the game instead of discussing it in theory, it will be better for everyone involved.

And Guilds:

I saw a post or two about the naming of “Guilds”, and hoping for something other than “Guild” as the name of a player-based social group.

Well, we tried. Internally, we called them something else. We set up wiki pages for the new name, all references in the design docs used the new name, etc… And we kept referring to them as guilds whenever we had a discussion.

Finally, we caved in. If people are going to call them guilds, we might as we support that.

So, our “guilds” are Guilds. Yar, it’s not quite appropriate (“Faction” is reserved for something else, and “blankity-blank-blank”, the name that we tried to get people to use, was stolen by another part of the design and co-opted to do something else), but it’s what everybody uses.(1)

(1) Geek op-ed piece: It annoys me when a paper-and-pencil RPG calls the DM something besides DM, if fantasy, or GM if anything. A GM is a GM. It’s not a keeper, or a storyteller, or a HPIC or whatever. It’s a GM.

So, what have we learned here today?  Ghouls will be a playable race – there will be giant shrimp monsters – the combat will not be like Fallout 1/2 or 3 – and there will obviously be guilds.

It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

Stay tuned to RipTen as this story unfolds into the apocalypse.