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Transcript of Developer Chat Held on February 3rd, 2000

Well, we said it wouldn't happen again, and it did -- the room capacity reverted to its old cap of 500 people, locking out a huge crowd. We profusely apologize. Midway through the chat, we tried feverishly to correct the problem, to no avail. What can we say? We're embarrassed, and we'll try to do better next time.

This developer chat, which ran from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Pacific Time, featured the lead producer of Asheron's Call and several members of the design team responsible for the monthly events. They fielded questions about the shadow creatures from the recent Dark Thaw event, the balance of character powers, and their plans for new features. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

+MrQuazarr@Zone> Hello and welcome to the monthly Asheron's Call Developer's Chat. We will start off with a few words from the Producer of Asheron's Call, Scott Herrington, then jump into questions from you, the players!

Scotth@Turbine> Hi, and thanks for attending the chat! As was said, I'm the Turbine producer on AC, Scott Herrington. I'll introduce the rest of the staff here with me in a minute or two, but I want to say a few things first. We're trying not to nerf players in this or any future updates. The changes that we're attempting are just that, "attempts" at fixing problems. We don't always get it right, but we're trying. The changes that we're making hopefully won't upset the balance of the game. We'd rather boost players' abilities over a few months than go too far one month and have to nerf them the following month.

Scotth@Turbine> With the complexities of a game like AC, there's always a bunch of things to fix or improve. We prioritize the problems and the events, so that we address severe problems first, and then minor ones. Sometimes, we fix the minor stuff just because it can be done quickly -- or by a person who isn't working on another problem. With a limited staff, allocating the resources to fix problems is the biggest challenge we face.

Scotth@Turbine> In the February event, we're trying to help our warrior players a bit. That's all I can say about it for now, but I think they'll be happy with the changes.

Scotth@Turbine> We rely on your feedback to make sure that we're moving in the right direction with our updates. So keep posting to the message boards. We do read them -- even if we don't post often to them! With that said, I'd like to introduce the Turbinites who come up with the events, design dungeons, and in general, bust their butts on a monthly basis to give you new stuff to do!

Scotth@Turbine> Eri Izawa is the head of the content team. She oversees all the content people and the general structure of each event. Without her, we'd all be lost!

Scotth@Turbine> Chris L'Etoile many of you know by his plan file. Often controversial, he's really not nearly as cranky as his plan suggests. He's responsible for a lot of the writing you read or hear in the game, as well as the immense Frore quest from December.

Scotth@Turbine> David Javier is a recent addition to the content team and for some reason is fascinated by the story surrounding Neydissa Castle and vows to continue that storyline no matter how late he has to work.

Scotth@Turbine> Jesse Kurlancheek is also relatively new to the team. He's half content, half programmer, and all . . . erm . . . all good.

Scotth@Turbine> Chris Foster, the lead designer, couldn't be here tonight. He's on a press tour in Europe (yup, that's right, the game's coming out in Europe in March). If you ask us questions about anything we don't have an answer to, we'll say, "That's Foster's stuff; we don't know anything about that."

Araman_Kain> Hail! I love your guys's work! What are you doing to improve melee warriors and when can we expect the change you have hinted about?

nei@turbine> Melee it is: right now we've sped up the "sword" and "sword and shield" animations, so all melee weaps minus unarmed are going to enjoy some more speed. We're also tweaking the dmg formula so that it takes into account your stats with more weight (ie, higher str/coord = more dmg).

rei@Turbine> And we'll be monitoring the situation for any further refinements.

alecmuzzy> In the world of Dereth, there are two kinds of people: those with portal magic, and those who walk. There is a lot of tension between those two groups. Are there any plans to introduce gems enchanted with portal magic -- like a Lifestone Recall Gem?

letoile@turbine> Not at present. That would defeat the purpose of their being so hard to learn and use. They're a mark of distinction -- and darn handy.

Sir_Sherwin> Many people seem to be growing bored of the game, mostly in my opinion because of the % of people power-leveling rather than exploring and/or roleplaying. Are the teleturbies planning on introducing more quests and adventures into the game or planning on pushing quests and roleplaying more than power-leveling? (I understand you haven't pushed people towards power-leveling, but are you going to try to get people out of that mindset?)

rei@Turbine> Oh my goodness, if I told the team they can't make more quests and roleplaying opps, they'd rise up and slay me.

nei@turbine> *sharpens the knife*

rei@Turbine> While we can't always put in more quests, due to time restrictions, you can bet there're more in the wings, and that we love 'em.

Scotth@Turbine> We've got plans for the "power-levelers." Hehehe. . . .

rei@Turbine> And yes, we prefer RP to power-leveling ourselves (except maybe nei :-p)

DiReCtX4> Hail, Ken, Dave, and the rest! I have been here since *3:15 PM EST*...awaiting this moment . . . and I am still only 4th in line!..Finally!...Okay, here's my question. Not as interesting as the rest, but it's still good! ;o) What's up so far with Jaraq's little team of happy "scribes"? What will they -exactly- do? Is it [required they be age] 18+? When will it start? Wait . . . that's three questions . . . gr . . . You get what i am trying to ask? Last I heard of it was on CoD..and from there, nothing more.

Dave@turbine> The team is still in the process of being developed, there are so many things to do. It is just taking time. Expect it to come soon.

ACJaggo> Greetings, all. Thanks for being here to answer questions. Hi, Mom! Anyways . . . my friend and I have been searching on the Frostfell server for some time now for the Olthoi Queen. He stated that on another server someone had a cuirass. Please clear up the fact\fiction of the rumors that the queen exists, as well as Silifi of Crimson Stars, and Brogard's Axe.

rei@Turbine> We don't necessarily see it as our role to dispel incorrect rumors. On the other hand, if someone DOES find the queen someplace, let us know. We DO sometimes dispel rumors, though, like the Frost King.

badguymike> I hope I don't tread into Foster's domain here, but I think that a new server of any kind would breathe new life into the AC community, not that it is particularly in need of revitalizing, but a fresh start would be very fun, imho. Can you give any specifics on when you think the current servers will become saturated and what will happen when they are? New servers imo would be as fun as new quests, even if no specific mods like race wars or the like are attempted.

Scotth@Turbine> We're pretty comfortable with the performance levels on the servers with the current crowds, but once they go up a bit more, we'll start looking into opening up more servers. No firm time or date as to when they open; it's all about demand, performance, and game play

AwkwardDruid> I think one of the best things about AC is the sheer size of the world, but even Darktide is starting to feel cramped with camping of the interesting spots. I'm wondering if and when we might see additional landmass to explore?

Crowley@turbine> Gradually. We are hard at work.

Scotth@Turbine> How about more interesting spots? There's still a lot of unused property out there!

Crowley@turbine> That too. We're on it all.

rei@Turbine> We're working on adding interesting material wherever we can cram it (er...).

Scotth@Turbine> We'll be adding content to spread out the crowds a bit more.

Gooopsta> I have seen a lot of things being auctioned off on Web sites. What is your opinion of people selling their items/accounts on auction sites like Ebay?

Scotth@Turbine> Well, we really don't care too much for people selling stuff, because it's the "easy" way for others to buy their way into the game. We hope that people would roleplay and actually go on the quests, rather than buy it off Ebay.

Spaxillian> What improvements will be made to the client interface? Specifically, the spellbar is clunky and doesn't help a mage use a wide range of spells. Perhaps we could see a way to save/load spell bars via hot keys. =) (Member of Crossroads Consortium) =) Wynder made me plug the guild =)

rei@Turbine> Man, is that a Foster question. We're aware of that issue, definitely, but Foster is both lead designer AND Mr. UI. So we're keeping tabs on it.

Binky413> When will more spell and trade skill content be added to the game? Alchemy, for example, is only useful to one character class and the cheap draughts that can be made are useless (besides not being able to make stamina varieties), and War Magic is only projectile-based (no fire walls, etc).

nei@turbine> *grins* real soon now on the trade skill question :)

rei@Turbine> And we're also adding more trade skill content gradually. No new trade skills just yet, though.

letoile@turbine> *pines for more craft skills*

rei@Turbine> You may see some new stuff in Feb!

DA_hOsTiLe_DtH> I'd like to thank you guys for making a great game. I've noticed that there are at least 20 small quests for the newbies at outposts. And there are not many quests for the higher *power lvlers* like myself, or at least I have not seen many. I was wondering if you guys are planning to put some in soon?

rei@Turbine> We're definitely adding more quests. The only issue is time. So we're adding them as fast as we can.

Crowley@turbine> More quests for all levels.

Scotth@Turbine> But to add more high-level quests takes a lot longer than some of the newbie-level ones....

rei@Turbine> Hey, you stole my lines.

letoile@turbine> Yeah, Frore took a full month to do right. A Newbie quest we can whip out in three or four days.

rei@Turbine> Not QUITE.

Spirithex> *bows deep* Greetings, Turbinites. How about incorporating an -Allegiance Name- option [right below monarch nick]? There is -one- free line in char dolls, after all :) Thank you. *vanishes into thin air*

rei@Turbine> That's a good idea, and it's another Foster Question.

Scotth@Turbine> Spirithex, thanks for the idea!

rei@Turbine> I think the idea has already been entered over here, if I'm not mistaken.

Scotth@Turbine> Hopefully you'll see it in an update somewhere down the line (no promises though).

Cryingpan> Hello, I would like to know if you plan on making any kind of banking system like in EverQuest, so that players wouldn't need to make "mules."

rei@Turbine> The really long-term solution for that is probably a form of player housing. That's still being discussed, but we have hopes for getting it in!

Scotth@Turbine> (REMINDER: She said LONG-TERM solution. Please don't expect that next week from us. We'll do it as soon as we can.)

rei@Turbine> L'Etoile wants to point out he mentioned it in his .plan page.

letoile@turbine> Look in the Archive (Nov-Dec 1999)

rei@Turbine> Yeah, it's definitely not something we can just add in a week or something.

ChrisHays> Time and time again adventurers carefully struggle to the bottom of a dungeon, collecting keys, flipping switches, defeating beasts and generally doing the dungeon the way it was designed, only to find a huge line of people at the bottom, camping the chest, telling them to "take a number." What specific plans do you have to significantly deter chest-camping while preserving the ability for all members of an adventuring party to equally share in the rewards earned by conquering a dungeon?

Scotth@Turbine> Well, it's something that I've been discussing with the program manager over at MS. We both realize that it's a real touchy issue. If we make any kind of mistake in the way we go about solving it, you guys are going to yell like crazy. We'd rather take a bit longer to make sure we've got the best solution possible . . .

rei@Turbine> (Even then, no solution will make everyone happy.)

Scotth@Turbine> . . . rather than rush something out that doesn't work, and will need more work to fix. The coders over here are working on a few solutions that I think will probably work. More news as we dream it up.

fayr> It was my understanding that, during the last update, many of the magical items for warriors would have lower difficulties. However, one of my swords has the same difficulty (86) as it did prior to the update. Considering how difficult it is to raise a warrior's Arcane Lore, I was wondering: Was the item just missed, or were previous weapons not changed?

letoile@turbine> We can change the limits on new items generated by the treasure system easily. Changing stuff that already exists is a MAJOR job of work.

rei@Turbine> It's not really possible. This applies to treasure-system stuff only -- because they are unique items.

Skitzophrenia> I have noticed that many items are described as being of high-quality, good-quality, well-crafted, and so on. Are there any bonuses for such items besides a higher value?

letoile@turbine> None at all, I fear. That's really all there is to say -- done.

IAmMeSoHa> Okay, with this month's update I saw something about trying to reduce camping, and I agree it is bad, but with the new update you have released shadows into the open world. But the problem is they resist everything, run faster than us, and kill us easily. This has forced me and many of my friends into camping, which I don't like. Why release such a terror into the open? Or will we hope to find out the reason with the February event?

Scotth@Turbine> The reason will become clearer over the next few months. But I actually kinda like that Dereth has become dangerous again. People are no longer walking around with no fear. It's not that tough to avoid them for the most part.

Crowley@turbine> Shadows are by no means unavoidable. Just be careful while adventuring.

Purrpetual> We have seen some preliminary discussion of possible enhancements to melee fighters to bring them closer to parity with the power of archers and mages. As hybrid warriors (with some spellcasting ability) are currently known to be fundamentally more powerful than pure melee fighters, is there anything in these changes that will provide an incentive to play a non-magic-using warrior over a hybrid?

Scotth@Turbine> Dave J steps up to the plate with an amazing answer . . .

rei@Turbine> (drum roll)

Crowley@turbine> Specializing has its perks. I've got a level-18 hybrid, and can only look with envy at people of a similar level to me and much higher Str and Coord.

letoile@turbine> What, we gave you a great build-up for that? Siddown, ya putz!

Scotth@Turbine> (There was a really good hint in there...)

Crowley@turbine> I am sitting!

RoBz26> Why was Tremblant's Ivory Staff, a quest item, made for rank 4+ only?! If I did the quest, I should use the item without having followers! I don't see why I MUST have followers to experience the fullness of Asheron's Call, the best game I've played, BTW. I feel that my posts at Message Boards and NG's and email to go unnoticed, so it's better to ask live =)

letoile@turbine> For one thing, the guy who wielded it was a knight -- a noble himself. For another, we figured that Frore would be unbeatable without a concerted effort, that players with allegiances would rally to go in and beat the dungeon, and hence that a level restriction was appropriate for the item's backstory-genesis and the dungeon's difficulty and design intent.

Scotth@Turbine> And we do actually read the boards, so even though we may not post there often, we know what's going on.

EBnow> Why do you need to be a damn mage to be good in this game? I am an unarmed/bow fighter lv 18 currently on the Darktide server. I've never played on any other server. I don't intend to use magic at all. Any attempts at making special techniques only very skilled melee/ranged fighters can use and have?

rei@Turbine> Oh . . . I should add that Pierson has visions of cool combat things to do down the road.

Scotth@Turbine> The improvements to combat should help you out a bit. We're trying to make each character class have their weaknesses and strengths even out.

rei@Turbine> It's a continuing balance issue that we're aware of. However, magic items will still tend to confer an advantage over non-magic items.

Scotth@Turbine> Archers, on Darktide, can really do some major damage

HYDROPONIKRONIK> Is the Silifi of Crimson Stars just a fairy tale that is taking up space on page 49 of the Instruction Manual or will this thing actually ever be implemented? Rumors of Bael'Zharon being released/surfacing is talked about. :)

Scotth@Turbine> Well, the silifi right now hasn't been discovered, for a very good reason, and it would give away some of the future story of the game if I told you. As for the rumors -- yeah, I've heard those too.

Grimaud> Hi, I just want to say thanks for the great game. The only problem I have is it is too addicting! Mr. L'Etoile, I really enjoy reading your plan site. Keep up the great work. Well, my question is are you/could you implement a place where you could fight other characters without the danger of losing something or where you don't have to go full-time PK to fight other players? Possibly a type of arena?

Scotth@Turbine> Grimaud, you're reading our minds. That's something that the design and content team have been discussing with the programmers, and I've been discussing it with MS, so . . .

letoile@turbine> (discussing = badgering)

Scotth@Turbine> . . . hopefully we'll be able to find the time and allocate the manpower to get combat arenas in at some future point. The plans have been in the works, so it's just a matter of the time, really.

PaladinOSU> Okay, I have been playing since beta2, and I still love the game. Just wondering, are you planning to remove the new armor types after this event? I didn't have the chance to get my own Matty Robe, and I don't want to lose out on stuff again.

letoile@turbine> The new armor will stay for all time. Unlike the Hoary Robes (a limited-time quest item), they're in for the duration. Don't fret about getting it immediately.

rei@Turbine> There WILL BE some armor that is limited-time-only. Later.

Scotth@Turbine> And some stuff may reappear from time to time.

Akye> Okay, in the Sybex book, AND THE MANUAL, it is emphasized that Coordination affects dagger damage, not Strength. But this is not so. Strength affects damage, not Coord. When is Turbine either going to a) fix it or b) admit they totally misinformed everyone and wasted a lot of our time.

nei@turbine> Guess what? It's B. The formula has a bug right now. STR should NOT be affecting dagger, but it is right now.

Scotth@Turbine> (And we're doing some fixes to thrown weapons in the next month or so.)

Kommander0> Hello, Turbine, you have done a great job. My question is about how generation works. Why does one Tumerok get a bow and the other get a sword?

rei@Turbine> Monsters have a somewhat random selection of loot and equipment they carry. Different monsters wield different weapons, depending on their tastes and aesthetics. What items they have left on them when you nuke them thus depends on the monster.

_EnviroWallace_> My frind on AOL (he HAX!) sez U can DUPE and HAX on AC?????! HOW?$! ???? If U tel me i sware I won't do it, cuz I'm kewl, OK? i will trade som pron or my warezz versin of JILL OF THE JUNGLE PLZ???? d00dz?

nei@turbine> LOL

Dave@turbine> heh

Scotth@Turbine> ummmm.... yeah.

letoile@turbine> *falls down laughing*

nei@turbine> d00d, j00 cann0t h@x0r AC (though if your friend does, please have him drop us a line).

letoile@turbine> Speak the Queen's English, man. :)

Dave@turbine> I like jill of the jungle... darn

heIIgo> After the mages rebalance, what kind of boost can we expect for archers in the balancing effort?

Scotth@Turbine> We'll take one character class at a time, so, for this month, we're looking at melee; then we'll see how that plays out and then make adjustments to them, or start looking at the other character classes. We'd rather take one at a time than try to tweak everyone and hope it works out.

rei@Turbine> (Imagine the chaos of changing everything at once.)

mrhitman7> Have you thought about a player loot list? Like "/loot <name>," so you won't have to run across Dereth to find your corpse with a friend right next to it.

rei@Turbine> If you mean allowing friends to loot your corpse, it's ultimately a kind of Foster question. However, I know it has been requested many times, so we are very aware of it. There are a lot of these neato features that we'd love to get in. We just can't do them all at once.

Bytenator> Do you have any suggestions for a quest a level-12 mage can take on? (And don't say Green Mire. I already done that.)

nei@turbine> Let's see . . . there's the dagger of Tikola (might be a little tough). There's also Bandit Castle/Neydissa.

rei@Turbine> I don't know if these are solo-able.

BriOmega> Has there been discussion as to how new skills will be implemented and how players can get them? Perhaps increasing the amount of skill points you can gain at higher levels? Or as I once suggested on Crossroads, perhaps adding quests for skills?

rei@Turbine> Yes, there has been discussion of how to add new skills.

nei@turbine> LOTS of it . . .

rei@Turbine> Last time we had the discussion it was not actually resolved.

letoile@turbine> We were distracted by something shiny.

rei@Turbine> Quests for skills is something we like, though we're not sure how it could fit in.

rei@Turbine> (Hits L'Etoile.)

letoile@turbine> (Hits Rei back)

Buffy_Becca> What are the Virindi and where did they come from? ((nerf jayna = ))

rei@Turbine> They come from France

nei@turbine> They come from France!

Scotth@Turbine> They come from France.

letoile@turbine> They come from France.

Dave@turbine> France.

Crowley@turbine> They come from France.

Crowley@turbine> Thank you for your question, fellow human.

allen_xrgaming> Hey, all. :) While I really appreciate the lengths that the team has gone through, I'm wondering what smaller things are being done to make the story more alive from day to day -- sort of mini-events that are not announced and just happen.

rei@Turbine> We hope to continue adding little bits of content tweaks and changes as time goes on (and as time allows -- that's always our biggest issue).

Scotth@Turbine> One of the things that we've tried to do is populate the world with big stuff that everyone knows about while slipping in some smaller things.

Crowley@turbine> I know I'd love to add in ongoing content, evolving quests that change from event to event. But it's all an issue of time and resources.

rei@Turbine> Also, we're hoping to facilitate more player-run events down the road. I know that's vague but we do like slipping in the details when we can.

Scotth@Turbine> As our processes get smoothed out, you'll start seeing some smaller stuff slide in there.

Crowley@turbine> Like colored packs.

_skidoo23> So far there are quest weapons for just about all types, but any plans for unarmed, xbow ones, or lower-level quest weapons (better than random ones, unlike SOLL)? BTW, archers do not need boosting; they are way overpowered as it is at high lev.

Scotth@Turbine> What, somebody admitting their character class is overpowered?

nei@turbine> The quick answer: yes, yes, yes . . . yes to all the items :)

Crowley@turbine> Look for a funky new unarmed quest soon...

DeLT> Looking further down the road, is there going to be something introduced in the way of War Magic spells to help war mages who currently have a capped maximum damage? That is, at level 85, a mage will no longer be the class doing the damage, which makes it not worthwhile long-term, since they have so much working against them.

rei@Turbine> I believe that we have some ideas upcoming, but Foster is the guy who knows all. And he's off on a different continent, the scum.

nei@turbine> Right now, I have a list of "spells" on the whiteboard behind me -- war/life/creature and more -- so it's on the proverbial plate, I reckon.

Rukes> Most of my friends have been playing almost nonstop, and exploring everything pretty quickly. Most of them have stopped playing AC because they feel like they have done everything. What do you have planned to keep those addicted people from jumping ship, besides huge monthly events?

Scotth@Turbine> Well, I can't go into a bunch of details. But I will say that we're going to be giving away features that other companies would probably charge you for. Wait a month or two, and you'll see what I mean.

blasto65> You have done a great job. I've heard that there is going to be horses and guild houses. Is that true, and if so, how long before we would see them?

Scotth@Turbine> Nope, only guild horses. :)

Dave@turbine> heh

rei@Turbine> Horses that have doors that you walk into. Immobile, even.

Scotth@Turbine> Houses, horses, and other stuff.

rei@Turbine> I think we've said that houses are something we're seriously looking into. I don't think we've said anything about horses.

Scotth@Turbine> Maybe little ponies. Check out L'Etoile's plan file to see how much work would go into doing something like that. He broke it down really well and explained all the aspects of putting in something as "simple" as horses.

Genjuro_1> Question -- can you make/are there any plans to add: weapons that cast offensive spells on monsters/pc's during combat -- for example, a sword that casts Slowness Other on its target (the npc/player) or other spells that are "offensive," and if not, why?

Genjuro_1> I know a lot of people will hate me for this, but you really need to raise the Lore and or stat req's on higher-level magic items and perhaps lower the mana use rate a bit to comp.

Scotth@Turbine> Part of that answer would lie in tech needed, and another part would lie in the design/balance issues that would raise. Creating new weapon types -- with extra magic benefits -- is a really tricky proposition.

rei@Turbine> I don't think there are any plans right now. (I think that answers the question). But we are always looking at suggestions.

Scotth@Turbine> Don't think we won't, but we don't have any plans for that at the moment. Good suggestion, though, and thanks for the last bit too.

Archemist> First Off, Great Game, can't wait for melee fighters to get their day in the sun, someday. Now, my question: "The armors greaves, gloves, and boots have me confused. Can one wear greaves (to protect upper AND lower legs. There is NO upper-leg armor) and non- or low- AL (magic stat boost only) gloves and boots to protect against attack (creatures don't target hands/feet and greaves cover whole leg)?

nei@turbine> Without any base AL, an item will offer no protection; however, if you cast spells on a shirt/pants/something, it's possible to wear armor over that and enjoy the double layering.

Archmage_Shark> How does a weapon skill amount affect chance-to-hit, damage, speed, or a combination? Does Strength, Coordination, and Quickness affect anything besides the total for other stats? If this is in the manual, what page? I didn't and don't plan on reading it ;)

Scotth@Turbine> Well, if you're not going to read it, it's on page 12 :)

nei@turbine> Weapon skill affects your chance to hit. Quick affects speed; str/coord affect dmg.

Tafflehos> Hail, Turbinites. Tasslehof Windrunner of the Lost Order of Akalabeth (Http:// ) here. Are we going to be allowed to purchase extra accounts without having to buy another copy of the game itself? How soon can we expect to see this? And many thanks for the great stuff in the Events. ;) Keep it coming :)

rei@Turbine> Thanks :)

Scotth@Turbine> That's a discussion more for MS than Turbine, but now that you've brought it up, I'm sure that we'll be able to at least start some discussion on the matter. Why do you want an extra account? Run out of mule slots? :)

+MrQuazarr@Zone> It will be something that we consider at a later date. No immediate plans, however.

Zotar99> Specialization does not appear to be worth the skill points it costs -- are you looking at improving it, possibly by flattening its curve vs trained so the gap grows at higher skill levels? (Perhaps from 15 points at level 20, to 30 points at levels 30-40?)

rei@Turbine> Actually, there's some stuff we want to do with the skill costs in general. I'm not sure when we will be able to address it, BUT I definitely want to see changes made to skill costs, especially at higher levels. Specialized skills would be included in that.

Scotth@Turbine> If it's on Eri's "I want this feature" list, odds are it'll get done at some point, sooner rather than later if I know how persistent she is.

Merlin071> Greetings! Great work on the game, guys. :) I haven't played a game so much since my days of the Atari 2600. I was wondering if you have plans for a better spell interface? The one in place now is rather cumbersome, and I am forever switching spells for 1-9 hot keys. I have all four schools of magic, and it can be frustrating hunting for a spell with the clunky scroll bar (even when it didn't do the hokey pokey, 4 steps forward 3 steps back).

rei@Turbine> Hey, I think I've seen this question many times today. So it's on the radar screen. Again, Foster is not only lead designer but Mr. UI, so I can't really speak for him.

Scotth@Turbine> But if something like this comes up a lot, you can be assured we'll look into making improvements.

BaalPon> Love the game, and your interest in the players. Great job. Thank you all. Most item's diffs are lowered when there is a heritage restriction. Why don't magic wands, staves, and orbs have these restrictions? Seems it would be fair; warriors are often frustrated to find weapons they can't use, but not us mages.

nei@turbine> Pierson would be the person to ask on that one, but . . .

Scotth@Turbine> Don't say it!

nei@turbine> . . . casting items often can have rank requirements, so that can lower the diff on them significantly

Silverion> *Bows to Turbinites* This game is like sand in the desert -- more you try to hold in your hands, faster it slips out. *He makes strange moves trying to hold his turban in place but it looks like it's moving?* Actual rank system is best used only if you have ONLY two followers and they only two followers and so on. How exactly do you work a system of loyalty and leadership? How much experience is this 100 points more in loyalty worth, and how much exp is passed from one's vassal's vassal to him from 1000?

Scotth@Turbine> Sorry, but we don't have the huge charts here in front of us with the exact numbers you're looking for. AC has about a zillion different tables and charts associated with every facet of the game.

rei@Turbine> Don't forget equations.

Scotth@Turbine> And there are a lot of things to keep track of (which is why we write 'em down). So sorry. We don't have the answer to your question. Ummm, interesting question though.

Erenon> Is there or will there be a way to create "add-ins" to interact with the AC front end (via COM)? For example, someone could write an add-in to retrieve the spells the currently logged in character has learned, inventory, vassals, etc. (shameless plug) Hire Eric Heikkila [Turbinite-wannabe, programmer, & AC addict] ;) Thanks!


nei@turbine> There's no supported way to do this, but if you can, more power to you.

Scotth@Turbine> How do you think Jesse got hired?

Crowley@turbine> Some of us are still trying to figure that one out, Scott.

ArtyD> Where do magic items come from, or can we make items eventually?

rei@Turbine> I don't think there are currently plans to make permanently enchanted items. That said, Mr. Magic (Pierson, that is) isn't here, and I know he has nefarious plans and ideas up his sleeve.

tportman> Great game! Too addicting, though. Careful, or you'll get a surgeon general warning or some class action lawsuits. Oh and the classes are balanced; the warriors/archers can fight without even lifting a mouse . . . enough rant. Re: the recent increase in portal storms at Fort Tethana (a bad place to get portal-stormed away): It seems that low-lvl players are in abundance at the fort. Since it is improbable that they ran to Teth, we know that they were portaled in via players tied to the exit of a nearby dungeon. That has a lvl restriction on its entrance of lvl18+. If lvl18+ restrictions were placed on the exit, that could reduce the number of low lvl's at Teth, thereby reducing the frequency of the portal storms. Can you do this? Please? Also, dittos on the spellbar tweaking; it needs to be done badly! Great game, BTW.

rei@Turbine> We are trying to be careful in where we put in portal restrictions. I don't know if the number of low levels is so much the problem as the crowding at Teth. We have plans for trying to relieve crowding at Teth when we get a chance. Nei can tell you about it if I'd let him. Which I won't if it comes to certain details. French details.

sonicsmit> Hi, guys! Good game, but needs a lot of improvements. My question is simple: What do you guys plan on doing to improve the lack of roleplaying? The team may be made up of RPers, but it still doesn't fix the game, and as new mmoRPgs come out, Dereth may end up filled with powergamers.

letoile@turbine> We're going to replace all the players with actors. ;P Seriously, there's only so much we can do on our end.

rei@Turbine> I think the best approach is to continue to add to backstory and other story elements that encourage RP.

letoile@turbine> Most of it is up to the individual player -- we can't force you to roleplay.

rei@Turbine> We do prefer RPers of course, but as letoile said, we can't and in fact don't WANT to force modes of play in AC. But you can bet that people here are dedicated to story. I got yelled at today for an idea that letoile thought didn't fit the backstory :)

Kakori> Well, two people have already requested more "newbie-like quests but for higher levels," so let me ask another one: Any chance of getting more of the lore or history from Ispar placed in Dereth libraries or for sale in shops? I know it's a little thing, and needn't be addressed, but for content's sake this is yet another way to add richness to the world and expand the cool fiction in AC. It also involves close to zero coding, just filling in books. I love the stories Chris does on the Zone, by the way. I'm done.

Dave@turbine> Hi, Kakori, great job on the Recipe....

letoile@turbine> Hi Kakori. :)

nei@turbine> Man, that carrot cake sure is good.

Scotth@Turbine> Dave, coming up with an answer really soon.

rei@Turbine> Kakori (I still remember your contest entry), trust me, we want to add more stories to the libraries.

Crowley@turbine> We're constantly developing new backstory. Good lord, the oodles of backstory we're working on here. Just wait for more events; you'll see more backstory.

rei@Turbine> There's really a LOT of stuff we want to put in.

letoile@turbine> Writing backstory has pretty much become my sole job lately. ;)

geniusclown> I've found two exceptional things about being a Vegabond, but we're still ~severely~ underbalanced (masters of stealth, my butt!), to the point that I haven't seen even one other actual Vegabond in Leafcull. In "Spin from Turbine," Foster acknowledged this. This kinda ties in with all the complaints/suggestions and such about non-magic users and perks of playing a class rather than hybrid Adventurer. What can we expect for Vegabonds, and when?

letoile@turbine> As a fellow vegetarian vagabond, let me assure you that getting some real thiefy-skills in is something I want badly to see.

Scotth@Turbine> More lockpicking!

letoile@turbine> But you should be aware that we really don't have any skills that are class-only; we're not that sort of game. Vagabonds start off with Lockpick right now and Deception, that most useful of skills. But I'd like to see "sneaking" and possibly "backstabbing," myself. :)

rei@Turbine> Yeah, I would too.

Dave@turbine> me too

letoile@turbine> No plans on when or how - that's also a Foster question.

nei@turbine> I wouldn't -- vagabonds would be a power class.

letoile@turbine> Bite me, Nei! ;P

Scotth@Turbine> As you can see, there's some dissension in the ranks about vagabonds.

Ginx13> How ironic that the last question was about thieves. Thievery in the form of taking items while muling and while trading is a big problem. The house situation will obviously help the muling problem, but I suggest a trade window like the shop window that can be opened between players to view trade items.

rei@Turbine> Ahhh, yes, Secure Trade!

Dave@turbine> The problem is a large one as we see it, but it can only really be solved by education in the short term. Don't trade with people you do not trust. Use a 3rd party if need be. Read the message boards, be aware of scams. We cannot help you if you agree to a trade and get burned.

+MrQuazarr@Zone> And our last question of the night belongs to Jmcginley1.

jmcginley1> Why doesn't armor affect the damage dealt by a spell? Whirling Blade, for example, is a huge blade shot at your chest. Shouldn't armor help lessen the damage from that attack?

rei@Turbine> That is a very old issue, actually, and one we've struggled with quite a bit. (Really.) But at this point to change it would be to greatly nerf magic, and we're pretty sure that this is probably not a good idea. And despite the cries of "nerf magic," we have to be very careful on issues like that :)

+MrQuazarr@Zone> I would like to thank everyone for coming to the Chat this evening. Thanks, everyone at Turbine, for spending a few hours with us!

Scotth@Turbine> Thanks to all of you as well! Good night!
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