Stellar Dawn will feature both free-to-play and pay-to-play options, like RuneScape. It's rumored however that the recurring price may be higher than that of RuneScape. This has not been confirmed by Jagex though, and we will not likely know until after the beta period ends.
Also like RuneScape, Stellar Dawn will be browser-based and of course an MMO game. Although we don't expect gameplay to be like that of RuneScape.
The exact date is currently unknown, but Jagex employees have said that we can expect Stellar Dawn some time in 2011. Likely, we won't find out until after the beta period ends, which will probably be late 2010 or early 2011. The Stellar Dawn team will probably be quite busy changing elements of the game after the beta ends, too.
The head of the Stellar Dawn project had this to say:
Forget about any dates you might have heard for its launch, we're not bound to them but to quality and excellence. The game will be released when we feel it has reached maturity, as simple as that.
Factions & Races
We know that there will be at least four races to choose from. Confirmed so far are Human and Pliigi. We are unsure about the other two, but the third from the left appears to perhaps be rock or lunar related. The one just to the right of that may be a robotic race, the symbol being a claw or hand of some sort.
While the MechScape project has more or less been scrapped, some major elements still persist in Stellar Dawn. Namely the game engine. We can assume this because the time period between first speculation and the first official announcement of Stellar Dawn was so short (for Jagex at least).
Comparing to RuneScape
Jagex has been very clear in that this will not be "RuneScape in space". In addition, their target audience is older than that of RuneScape (probably the 16-30 age bracket). The head of MechScape said this:
"This is not RuneScape in space" has been our motto since day one on the development front. It's a completely different game, from every possible perspective, not only from RuneScape but from other MMOGs out there.
It's not a secret that sci-fi MMOGs are not the most successful if compared with fantasy settings, despite the genre being extremely popular for single-player games, TV, films and comics. There's surely a reason for this, and we believe we know what it is. But that's for another time!
For the most part, Jagex wants to make it clear that Stellar Dawn is an entirely separate entity from RuneScape. There will probably be no skilling like there is in RuneScape, for example.