Transcript of Developer's Chat, May 1, 2002
||On Wednesday May 1, the Turbine team met in the Zone Theater Chat Room to discuss current issues with Asheron's Call and the world of Dereth. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: Hello and welcome to the Asheron's Call 1.0 Developer's Chat. Tonight, we will only be taking questions that relate to Asheron's Call 1.0. I will be your Moderator once again. My name is Ken Karl. I am the Program Manager at Microsoft for Asheron's Call.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: With me, as always, is Mr Ken Troop, producer for Asheron's Call. Take it away Ken.
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Tonight we have with us: Kim Payson, Lead Designer for AC Live, Les Nelken and Allan Maki, Content Designers. Sean Dickinson, Data Integrator, Brandon Chamberlain, QA, Todd Berkebile and Bert Molinari, Programmers.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: and for our first question.
CorkMist in AsheronsCall asks: Will any other Hollow Weapons such as the Katar be made deadly?
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: We may continue to revise the hollow sword, spear, axe, and mace to make them more competitive. The three hollow racial weapons will not be seeing any changes.
OptimShi_CoD in AsheronsCall asks: Is Aun Ralirea linked to the Olthoi Queen Quest? There's been much debate on this subject with no clear answer.
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: The type of spawns that occur on the marae plateau is linked to what state the queen's quest is on, so it is possible for the queen's quest to get in a certain state that would prevent Railrea from spawning. We're looking into making sure that the state of the queen quest does not lockup the spawns into a certain configuration causing Railrea not to spawn. This should be fixed in May.
Butte_Red in AsheronsCall asks: in the April letter to the players you said that the appraise skills will be replaced. Will they be replaced in such a manner that those who have it trained or specialized will not lose their pts?
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: And related Q:
Chain_LC in AsheronsCall asks: Can you reveal more about the upcoming changes to appraisal skills?
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: I'll give a general overview of the new "tinkering" skills, and how they will replace the appraisals. First, in May, all loot, and almost all quest items, will be appraisable by everyone, with no appraisal check made. Then, in either June or July, we will be replacing the appraisals with their "Tinkering" skill counterparts. There will be 4 tinkering skills, loosely corresponding to the old appraisals: Weapon Tinkering, Armor Tinkering, Item Tinkering, Magic Tinkering.
Weapon Tinkering, for example, will allow a player to attempt to improve any loot weapon in certain basic weapon properties: damage, variance, speed. Each time a player attempts to improve a weapon in such a fashion, they risk destroying the weapon, and each successive improvement has a greater chance of destruction. In order to carry out these tinkering interactions, players will first need to craft a temporary crafting tool. This tool will be crafted out of random gems that a player can find or buy, and the quality and type of gem will help determine the overall success of the interaction, and the effect thereof.
Armor tinkering will affect armor, and Item tinkering will allow players to either increase or decrease the value of a given item, or reduce its burden. Again, all interactions have some percentage chance of destroying the item.
Magic tinkering will actually be introduced a month after the other tinkering skills. And it will be Magic Tinkering which will usher in the latest and last round of major improvements to the warrior classes: but we can talk more about that next month.
In terms of implementation: In June or July, we will be refunding everyone who has appraisal skills trained or specialized. Except for Gharun'dim, who will automatically get Item tinkering instead of Item Appraisal. Gharun who have Item Appraisal specc'ed will get a 2 pt refund, and get Item tinkering trained. All players, regardless of whether they elect a tinkering skill pre- or post-creation, will only be able to train it. Players will not be allowed to specialize it. As for XP that players have poured into their appraisal skills: they will get the XP refunded, and they will be able to spend it as they wish.
Right now our plan is to include both CP (the XP you earn from killing monsters) and PP (the xp you earned for using the skill) into this refundable total. I think that covers the basics! Oh, and no changes are being planned for the Assess skills at this time, only the appraisals.
Masteryoda222 in AsheronsCall asks: Will there be any modifications to the allegiance system?
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: This relates very nicely to a survey we currently have up asking you, the players of Asheron's Call, what your viewpoints are on issues such as Macros/3rd Party Applications and yes, XP Chains. http://zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/ACsurvey.asp. This survey is scheduled to run through May 10th. We have heard many different viewpoints over the years on these subjects and we wanted to make sure we offered ALL players, not just those who frequent fansites, a chance to express their opinions. We are looking forward to seeing what the results show and using that to guide future direction of MMPs present and future.
So back to XP Chains. We currently have no plans on changing the XP distribution system Though we have discussed ideas on how we would if we decided to. We will use the survey to help guide us in a direction, though it is only part of the puzzle. Lots of it also has to do with the design intent of the game and the overall effects of changing a major dynamic of a game that has been out for 2.5 years. Same is true of Macroing and 3rd party applications. You should not expect to see any overnight changes come out of this survey. Rather, we will use the data as part of an overall puzzle. A puzzle that extends to AC1, AC2 and beyond.
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: I believe at some point in a previous monthly Letter to the Players, I mentioned that we were going to be reexamining the XP chains. And we did, and there were a few issues that we identified as important dynamics to be tweaked. . . if we decided to tweak them. Right now our feelings are that if AC was starting as a new game, we could make some of these design changes. . . but 2.5 years later, now may not be the best time to make this kind of change to the allegiance XP system. For every person that would be deliriously happy with such changes, we feel there would be a person very upset over them. And so ultimately, we have decided to let the matter rest for now. And in most ways, the system does work as originally designed.
NBK_Handy in AsheronsCall asks: Extreme lag, being stuck in the world, character save in progress, double RQ hooks, etc. Can we expect all these issues to be addressed in this patch?
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: Good news on this front. We are just about to roll out two major items that we believe will ultimate address this problem.
First, is the second promised hotfix.
The second is new hardware. More specifically, doubling the memory on every server we have. Right now, as AC has grown over the years, so too has memory utilizations (though Todd can fill you in more on that). We finally reached a spot where there was not enough memory to keep up with everything you guys wanted to do (congrats!). We could have sat back and said "ok, just throw a little memory on these servers that are having the problems, but we decided that was the wrong answer. We wanted to put more memory everywhere so EVERYONE could have an improved experience. Additionally, Todd has been working his behind off to improve how we utilize that memory in the game. Our hopes are to begin roll out of these two things on Friday. As there is a hardware feature to this fix, we most likely will be doing one world at a time. We will apply the hotfix at the same time as we do the memory.
So we appreciate everyone's patience over the last few weeks. Once we get all memory in place, we will be opening the April housing. There will be NO new housing in May still, but will return to full schedule in June with RQs and Houses!!!
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: One additional note. All duplicate hooks in the houses and rqs will be deleted in the May Event. So anyplace where you have two hooks/chests in the same spot, please clear them before the May Event.
PyroINC420 in AsheronsCall asks: What is the "Mage Love" you were talking about adding soon last time?
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Ok, the magic changes. These are currently being planned for either June or July. There are 4 basic changes:
1) No more spell research. All spells will be learnable through scrolls that are purchasable. Except for Level 7s, which will drop directly from the Steel chests.
2) No more components. In order to cast a spell, you will need the appropriate level scarab, and a "spell backpack" associated with one of the 4 schools of magic. So if you want to cast spells from all 4 schools, you will need 4 backpacks, and the 7 different types of scarabs. This system is an option. For those of you who wish to cast using components, that will still be available to you, or you can choose the scarab+backpack approach. Note that the "use scrolls to research spells" will not be an option. You will no longer be able to research spells.
3) Buff times on level 1-5 will last 30 mins, level 6 will last 45 mins, and level 7s will last an hour.
4) The global spell economy will be removed. In its place, will be a modified version of a personal spell economy which takes into account the caster's given spell skill level vs. the difficulty of the spell.
We know that these are huge changes. Affecting the game play and balance considerations of most every aspect of the game. We will be making additional changes to take these balance changes into account. And as we get closer to the actual implementation, we will sketch out some of these subsidiary changes as well. Ultimately, we are working on these changes because we feel it will make the magic system far more accessible to more players, and far more fun. We are letting you know about these changes now, so that you have an opportunity to offer feedback and questions a month or two in advance. All of these changes are not set in stone. And some of these specifics may change as we get closer to actual implementation.
ChaosAddict in AsheronsCall asks: When are the assistants FINALLY going to get settled into the shops so they can make house items for us?
Payson_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: Basically, in May we will be done with all of the items that we wanted to add from the ACXP stockpile. In May, we will also be hooking some more existing items, so you can probably expect the furniture guys to open up in July.
Whoops, correction--June will be the last month to add the last of the ACXP items.
eldukeo in AsheronsCall asks: What's going to be done about these "Spam a grief player" tactics in third party programs?
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: We are aware of this program. If you feel you are being targeted, its VITAL that you submit a help call. That will initiate a log so we can monitor what is being said, even in private tells, and we can and will ban after the fact if we discover people using this program.
So to be clear, as the question wasn't n necessarily clear hehe. Ppl using the new 3rd party application to spam people via @tells will be banned when detected in logs. You can help this happen by making sure you submit an abuse call.
WHJester in AsheronsCall asks: can you explain what the new potions will do?
Payson_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: The potions will become useful as soon as the next event opens. Seems as though Nuhmudira had one last gift for the people of Ispar, before she was taken away.
KaisenX in AsheronsCall asks: WILL PLATS STILL BURN!?!?!??!?!
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Scarabs will still continue to burn. We may adjust the cost/burn rate on all scarabs to approximate mage costs before the changes. But the exact nature/changes to the dynamic are still under discussion
JohnLinnell in AsheronsCall asks: First of all, I love the Nuhmudira quest, can we look forward to more quests like that? More specifically, quests that deal with game lore.
Payson_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: We are planning on focusing mainly on the storyline from here forward when designing our quests. In the future, there will be ways that players will be able to directly influence the world.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: Two related questions:
Deramis665 in AsheronsCall asks: Will the "Component Packs" take up slots like the current backpacks do?
PugMajere in AsheronsCall asks: Will the "magic" packs be something we can put other items inside of?
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Yes, the magic packs will take up a slot like other backpacks. No, you will not be able to put anything inside it.
evilcaleb in AsheronsCall asks: Do you plan on updating any of the old quests? Like atlans or shendo quest?
Payson_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: We are certainly planning on updating a few of the old quests. You can look forward to an update to the Atlans soon.
_boneyard_ in AsheronsCall asks: will the Component Packs have an unlimited use or do you have to buy new ones or recharge them?
Psyfe in AsheronsCall asks: How much will the new "magic packs" weigh?
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: The component packs will not wear out. You will not have to recharge them, or acquire new ones, once you have the spell backpacks you need. As for weight, we are still coming up with the exact specifics, but we are not looking to replicate the weight parameters of the old component system, meaning that these backpacks should not be too onerous. Oh, and one more tidbit on learning spells from scrolls. It will be based on your skill in the given school of magic, not arcane lore.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: And as always, to end our chat, our "useless question of the night that everyone just must know."
SailorNash in AsheronsCall asks: What do you call the abandoned mines - Sub or Hub? Each of you respond with your answer, please.
Sean_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: I call it the Abandoned Mines.
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: sub
Sean_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: Funny enough...
les_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Hub
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: Brandon says Subway, Todd says Subway
Payson_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: Aha! Now it is MY Turn! I call it the Sub.
Sean_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: Dickinson calls it Subway or Portalhub
les_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Bah, the Sub is the one the Vessayans
Payson_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: But I think it's a hub.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: Sub here
Sean_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: It's a nub.
Sean_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: Or a Hubway.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: Yummmm... juicy subs...
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: must go eat.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: OK.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: We would like to thank everyone once again for coming out tonight.
kentroop_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Thanks everyone for attending.
mrquazarr_MS in AsheronsCall says: we look forward to seeing you all next month.
Sean_Turbine in AsheronsCall says: And thanks, Mrs. Kalabash, wherever you are.
les_turbine in AsheronsCall says: Goodnight all, and Thanx!