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Transcript of Developer's Chat -- May

May 7, 2001

Img bar On Wednesday, May 2, the Turbine team met on AC Stratics to discuss current issues with Asheron's Call and the world of Dereth. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Auz> Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to this month's developer chat with Turbine.

Auz> Again, thank you all for attending, and now I'll hand you over to Azeraphel for the introductions :)

Azeraphel> Hey, everyone. I'm Nik Davidson, Producer for AC, here with my colorful cohorts; Allan "Orion" Maki, community guru, Cardell Kerr, (who just kicked my butt at basketball,) Jesse "devilmouse" Kurlancheek, and Sean "One Man Art Studio" Huxter... with more possibly to arrive later on. Thanks to Auz and the Stratics folks for hosting us tonight - and without further ado, let's get on with the chat.

Auz> *Dennisg* Question: Is there any changes to the Hieromancer Armor in this upcoming May Update?

Azeraphel> For the time being, the armor's "done". Its charms seem to be growing on people.

Xeveniah <Achtung> Are there any plans or possibilities for more fixed outdoor monster spawns? The Lugian commander areas are a huge blast - its like a 24/7 bar room brawl going on. Its an interesting alternative than a dungeon with wall drainers and macroers.

Dell> Actually, now that you mention it, it sounds like a good idea.

Dell> To be truthful, you stand a much larger chance of seeing more outdoor spawns than other OHN's Dungeons that are over crowded tend to be a large hit on server performance, so they are going to be avoided in the future.

Auz> *Archbow* Could the burden of books be lowered? 480 is a bit much, maybe 240?

Dell> Books...

Dell> Okay, it is a bit large, considering what they actually do for you.

Dell> Punishing people for carrying lore on them isn't really in our best interest, so we'll take a look at it.

Auz> *Xitel* Currently, I have to travel all the way to Sawato to get blunt arrowheads. If mages were required to travel to only Sawato to get orange tapers, I think there would be a huge outcry. We archers have been patience enough. Give us our arrowheads!

devilmouse> Quite quite -- "very soon now" you'll see loads of improvements in this area.

devilmouse> I want fletching on my main again. *sigh*

devilmouse> availability up! useability up!

Auz> *CVeRiTy* Are there any plans to change the "You have jumped too recently" message? I understand why this was done, but it doesn't seem like a very practical solution. This has many negative effects on the gameplay, especially when jumping is often used as part of a challenge to a dungeon, but also as part of evading attacks. On a side note, this was a most excellent patch. Thank you for the wonderful features you added!

Dell> The solution was put into game to "fix" godmode.

Dell> Though jumping is fairly important to quests, jumping multiple times in quick succession isn't.

Dell> Therefore, it is my sad duty to inform you that that fix is there to stay.

Auz> *Astral_Dominae_TD* Can you make Trade note stackable please? i hate to fill pack space with D notes , especially since all my mages packs are full anyway. Thank you and keep on doin this great game :)


devilmouse> Your answer lies within...

devilmouse> No, trade notes can't be made stackable, even if they come from the same vendor. There are technical issues that make it impossible to stack these, unfortunately.

devilmouse> The wallet idea has technical problems also -- we can't do this for the same reason we can't give people more backpacks. (Basically, it causes lag.)

Auz> *Thufir* Do you think youll ever implement new trade skills, or melee skills into AC1? Gems are pretty useless right, and alot more could be done with dyes, and hides. Or are you waiting for AC2?

Azeraphel> Well, we probably could. But unless some new skill really added brand new functionality, there's not a lot of incentive to doing so, over appending an existing skill.

Azeraphel> And if we had the brand new functionality, we'd have to think long and hard about creating a new skill rather than adding to existing ones, which would probably impact more players.

Azeraphel> That's the long answer. The short answer is "no". :)

Auz> *ClockworkII* hey I want to know if theirs any plans to change the ratio for magic d from self+focus/7 to say self+focus/6 or something?

Dell> No.

Dell> Part of the whole monster rebalancing that we've been doing is to make magic defense practical.

Dell> Granted, you aren't going to see many people walking into a crowd of umbris laughing maniacally as they get hit with spells.

devilmouse> Like me? =)

Dell> However, when you fight things that roughly your level, you should resist their creature and life spells about 50% of the time if you dumped points into it.

Dell> Heh, not like you DM.... no one is like you.

Auz> *Total_Eclipse* With more and more people casting high level spells have you considered taking out the spell economy, and if not maybe reducing it's effects at peek times when it's really bad?

devilmouse> Taking out the spell economy would only hurt you more.... No economy means no +37 (yes, it's still better than a piece of jewelry, kinda) on critter spells...

devilmouse> On a vaguely related note, the "reversed" economy for some of the life magic spells will have their economy removed "real soon now" so they won't penalize players.

Auz> *kmk`* Staffs only got Atlans, that what I say are the only thing staff has. Will there be a new staff introduced that will make staffers stop having to buffing there staffs, or one that has some Damage modifers that makes it useable, let alone low value, worthy of atlan.

Dell> Actually, we've been kicking around ideas on buffing other melee weapons in a method similar to what dagger and sword recently got.

Dell> This would be a new spin on melee combat, resulting in interesting new combat strategies for different melee fighters.

Dell> No estimated ETA, but it certainly is on our minds.

Auz> <GreenEggs> Are there any major undiscovered secrets in AC? e.g. undiscovered dungeons, crafted items that have never been made etc.

Azeraphel> Heh.

Azeraphel> There's always more than even the l33test of the h4><0rz have found.

Auz> *Gadget|SaH* no offence, this was a great patch, and i love what you nerfed godmode, but is there any chance you are going to fix gear( speet hut, speed hack) because due to gear, that 5 second timer rule means nothing, GET RID OF GEAR.

Azeraphel> Ah, speedhack. Let's just say we've all lost some sleep over this one.

Azeraphel> I wish I had a more concrete answer than "we're working on it"... but... we're working on it.

Auz> *The_Dark_One* Greetings, I was wondering if AC will take steps to rework skills at all... I had left for 8 months because of the constant adjustments... I am back hoping things will change. Will AC always be a game where one type of character will prevail at high levels (i.e. Must have life)?

Dell> AC and balance.... *shudder*

Dell> Skills in AC are rebalanced using content.

Dell> Though many players screamed with the introduction of hollow weapons, they allowed people without Life to shine.

Dell> In the future, you are going to see more twists on monster abilities. No, Life will not be nerfed, but other skills will continue to be enhanced.

Auz> *smitian* How about you guys put some fun group stuff in besides long dungeon quests.. I was thinking like make giant caves that are explorable outside instead of in a portal and have Adult Gromnies (dragons) inside that take large groups to kill. Make them have large treasures inside their cave that you have to find maybe by unlocking a puzzle. You could also make it drop body parts that can be used for weapons/armor/magic stuff.

Azeraphel> Dungeons in the style of "holes in a mountain" have their own issues associated with them.

Azeraphel> The semi-epic Aerlinthe/Heiromancer quests are the sort that seem to fit that bill. And adult gromnies are NOT dragons.

Auz> *Jento* LOVE the spec weapon/skills quests...Any hints on which skills may be next (I am specialized in bow)?

Azeraphel> Well... skills that don't have a spec'ed quest will get one before skills that do will get another. :)

Azeraphel> Beyond that, no hints, sorry.

Auz> *Tarkus* Any plans to try and move things away from the shard based economy?

Dell> Generally, we can only really make gentle nudges to the economy, it's the players that really move it.

Dell> So, if the question is "do we plan on adding other very valuable hard to get items in the game" , then the answer is yes.

Auz> *Yakamura* It seems as time has passed, you have done away with large creatures in the game. I miss the hoary mattekar and tremendous monougas. Could you, perhaps, add some large creature to the game again? It could be something new. I just miss the epic feeling of taking something down that was 4 stories tall! :-)

Dell> Part of the problem with large creatures was they were easily taken advantage of.

Dell> The Tremedous Monouga was obviously to large, and was suffering from lack of oxygen, because you could just sit inside of any overhang and kill it.

Dell> Over time, many of the monsters have shrunk down. This doesn't mean large monsters will go away forever, mind you.

Dell> We just need to put them in a location where there is no place to hide.

Auz> *Marauder_Moe* Hi! I have a question about some of the recent group-oriented quests. Now, I think group quests are great and it's a great feeling to enter a dark dungeon with a whole war party of your fellows, but why do all the group quests have solo rewards? If a whole group of people do a quest each person should get something for coming instead of just the leader of the group getting the prize.

Dell> Group quests are difficult to predict, especially in AC.

Dell> Due to tech limitations, we can't limit the amount of people in a dungeon, therefore it making a suitable reward is like taking a shot in the dark.

Dell> As for multiple rewards for completing a quest, it certainly is a possibility.

Auz> *SupertoddOfHouseJulus* How about raising the number of people one can add to his friends list? I maxed mine within about a month, and now whenever I get a vassal, I have to remove one of my existing friends from my list.

Azeraphel> It's something to consider, but it's more work for the servers.


Auz> *Vlaid* Question: Will the shard dungeons or anything similar ever be reintroduced? With getting smalls from the casino, I think it would have been better to just put shards dungeons back in.

Dell> Camping dungeons is boring. If shard killing fields get reintroduced, expect some new flava.

Dell> Heck, camp landscape... at least you get some virtual sun.

Auz> <emanation-hg> Will we see any new content designed mainly for high level warriors (65+) with high meleD, ie bsd w/ silver tuskers? :)

Dell> In the future, there will be more content for higher level folk.

Dell> Can't give specifics, however.

Auz> *PapaBear* I am a level 87 Vagabond type character, specialized in *gasp* throwing daggers. We all know that throwing daggers have basically been forgotten about, but I feel that if improved, they could become a valuable form of weaponry. My question is this: do you plan on ignoring throwing weapons?

Dell> Throwing weapons have not been forgotten.

Dell> They are actually underneath the blanket of melee weapons that need a buff.

Dell> So don't give up hope yet, my 87th level Vagabond King!

Auz> *FORT* hello, i would like to know what will happen to all of the account when ac shuts down... i mean when the world population drops, will you shut AC DOWN or will you put 2 servers into 1?

Azeraphel> There are NO plans to ever shut AC down. :)

Auz> *Ghost33* Are there any future plans for the Aerlinthe Quest?

Dell> That is more of a Stormwaltz question.

Dell> From what I know, there will be another minor tweak in the future, but the details are unknown.

Dell> Sorry I'm not more inormative. You can try the Q&A board to get in direct contact with him.

Auz> *Skystreak* Can you tell us if there is any ongoing work on allegiance communication and if so what type of improvements will we be seeing?

devilmouse> Why yes, in fact there is... there's a miniature pile of communication improvements coming "kinda soon" to a server near you.

devilmouse> Improving vassal relationships! Keeping the monarchy better informed! And being in general chatty. whee.

Auz> *Corinthian* For the last few months we have been seeing new monsters, ie The v'rindi Executors, and the new mattekars. Any new species, or variations of current ones?

Dell> New creatures are part of what keeps AC fun. Developt new Strategies! 0WN new monsters! Brag to your friends!

Dell> There will be more new monsters in the future. Expect a mixture of tougher old creatures, as well as more Virindi Doll type monsters.

Auz> *Dil* With the average level of characters rising all the time, will you look toward maybe repopulating older "newbie" dungeons and make them more useful for higher levels, like Moss Chamber was done recently?

Dell> Repopulating old dungeons would mean denying new players the pleasure of getting axed in the same places the veteran players did.

Dell> Sometimes plot makes you revisit old locations and make them tougher, however it is not SOP.

Dell> Expect more Mid to High level content, not rehashing of the same old dungeons.

Auz> *talisin* {question} although the new mattaker paws are nice, are there any plans for mor UA type weapon quests?

Dell> All weapons get love eventually.

Dell> So to answer your question, yes, there will be more UA Quests.

Dell> As for when... *shrug*

Auz> *Kendoryn* For pure melee people, we work our way up from Lugians to Olthoi then jump to high-level Tuskers. Any plans to add a new non-magic-using creature that's about level 90 or so?

Dell> New iterations of monsters are always being looked at. Don't be surprised to see even more now that Aerbax is running rampant.

Dell> I mean, that guy is crazy.

Auz> *YiotiLlama* Are we ever going to see the other dye colors again? I'm tired of seeing people with ice cream diarrhea amuli leggings, bright blue isn't my style, and teal just doesn't match any of my stuff.

devilmouse> you and me both...

devilmouse> more dye colors (really good ones =) are coming "kinda soon", so get your cooking skills up there

devilmouse> *does a song and a dance*

Auz> *Darthakia* will there ever be a new PK server? I myself don'y play Darktide, but would jump in on any new PK server that comes around because I'd have a more fair advantage because everyone will be level 1...

Dell> Sorry, this is an MS question.

Dell> I'd love to open another one, but the decision is not really mine to make.

Auz> *Ac-Wraith* Are you going to make it so people without item magic can portal recall or lifestone recall within the next 4 months?

Dell> There are no plans to break Item magic in half, at least not within the next four months.

Dell> So the answer is no.

Auz> *Damien_Sarin* q: Will the SW island where you held the monarch tests ever be open to the public... maybe as a high level hunting ground? Interest has recently resurfaced since that Rufus guy somewhow got himself there and took screenshots... some of the views were amazing... the bridges across the sky etc...

Dell> That sounds like an interesting idea. It certainly is a beautiful area.

Dell> Opening it to the public is certainly open to debate, however.

Dell> It would require a great deal of re-tooling.

Dell> So, the answer is maybe, but can't really give a definite date on it.

Auz> *penelope* question: a while back there was a comment made that the devs were going to look into the spellcasting abilities of mobs, specifically in regard to the life/war inepts that make a mages suffer a permanent 20% vitae with no corresponding counterparts for other classes. Has this been addressed any further?

Dell> Monsters that cast Magic school debuffs do so in order to augment their own abilities.

Dell> If the debuff hurts, dispel it. That is why the spell is there. And if you don't want to get chorizite, get some dispel gems.

Dell> As for making spellcasting creatures more interesting, expect some rather pleasing changes in the near future.

Auz> *Quickmulian* Oo Oo: Umm... very curiously... What's being done with the Aegis's design now that there isn't any advocates?

Azeraphel> Well, while we don't currently use it in any available content (aside from the memorial), I don't anticipate using it for general consumption, out of respect for what those shields meant.

Auz> *Corinthian* I have noticed on the map, that there are many islands that have yet to be occupied or explored. Will more islands like Aerlinthe or the Vesayen Island chain be introduced in the near future?

Dell> While the Vesayen Isles and Aerlinthe were great for the game, they were not light undertakings.

Dell> So, while we would certainly love to do another island, I can't really tell you when it will become reality.

Auz> *Stormbringer* Is there any way to let high level alchemist *make* their own magic items?

Dell> Currently? No. However, we do plan on energizing Alchemy and other tradeskills in the future.

Dell> After all, why make something from scratch when you can just tweak something that already exists?

Dell> Not in the near future, however.

Auz> *Tinu* Why do the monsters in AC seem to be able to switch from melee to magic and cast a level IV or V spell at you and then go back into Melee before you can go from Wand to Weapon?

Dell> The monster in AC have skills no mere Isparian can fathom.

Dell> Monsters can cast and switch to melee in an extremely expedient manner. They will also run into walls for long amounts of time, for no real reason.

Dell> I personally like to call them "Special" and leave it at that.

Auz> *Quickmulian* Will Arwic ever be rebuilt? & what is happening with Ketnan?

Dell> Ah, Arwic. It's kind of like the El Dorado of AC now.

Dell> If Arwic ever gets rebuilt, rest assured that Ketnan will say he had a role in its revival.

Dell> As for whether or not he's being truthful, I'll leave that for you to decide.

Auz> *Cava* Is there any hope for the SoLL for us role-players who don't want to turn to the Dark Side or should I lose hope and sell my soul for a SoLH?

Auz> <SeanHuxter> LOL, Dell!

Dell> Kudos to all you role-players out there.

Dell> I'm certain the sword of Lost Light will eventually be enhanced.

Dell> There are probably all sorts of multicolored infusions out there, waiting for someone to either discover them or re-discover how to make them.

Dell> As for when that will happen? Not so sure.

Dell> It certainly has been passed around here though.

Auz> <ArySCWE> Two Words: AC Skins. If ya'll like em, what would convince you to use them (example: color or theme?) You guys are great, please keep up the awesome work! =)

Azeraphel> I use 'em. :)

Orion-Turbine> I use the Olthoi Horde skin. :-)

devilmouse> i use the nekkid patch...

SeanHuxter> I have never used them, but I must say I do like the screenshots I saw.

Dell> They are solid.

Orion-Turbine> Skins aren't for everyone and as you can tell by our split their a personal thing.

Auz> *Alista* Do you plan on naming any of the Level VII's after people in the community?

Dell> Naming the level VII's is a tough one...

Dell> Right now, I can't really confirm or deny our plans with them.

Dell> As a rule of thumb, however, we try to stick with solid Lore names for them. Either that, or associating them with an existing creature in the game (ie. Tusker Bane).

Dell> Naming them after specific players would get kind of tricky with multiple servers.

Auz> *The_AntiMacro* Any input on Dark Flame? It's driving the mage community batty - what's it do, what's it for - they shout. Please HELP US!!! =)

Azeraphel> Well, people have figured it out, even if they haven't figured out that they've figured it out.

Azeraphel> Trust your data.

Auz> *Astral_Dominae_TD* Could you actually make more towns like stonehold/plateau/tufa buy for more than 100% ? No one ever goes there because there is nothing to see than random spawns or perhaps 1 special npc.

Dell> Revisiting some of AC's seldom seen towns is certainly a good idea.

Dell> Certainly something to be looked at.

Auz> OK - thank you all. And goodnight :)

Azeraphel> Thanks for coming, everyone!

SeanHuxter> Hey, thanks. Was fun.

Dell> Thanks everyone.

Orion-Turbine> Thank you ALL!