Public Test Server Q&A, 7/30/10
So whenever we see a new patch loaded onto the Public Test Server, it usually means there’s some Developer Q&As that will be going on as well in the Bioware Mythic Ventrilo server. This time it was scheduled during the day before the Stability Test on Friday and had participants from both the US and the EU.
These Q&A sessions tend to last a while as there are usually anywhere from 50-150 players asking their allotted question and getting either an answer, “no comment”, or getting made fun of for trolling. Because of that length, we usually only see extremely cut-down, paraphrased write-ups of these that sometimes completely change the answers that were actually given. Always good times. However, this time around, Bruglir captured an audio recording and posted it on his blog. As I did for the last Q&A, I made a transcript for those who like their WAR info in readable format.
Shameless Reminder: If you haven’t been coming to these sessions, don’t use this as an excuse not to bother. It is always better to be there in person. Not just to hear the live responses, but more importantly to ask your own questions. It is rare, in my experience with MMOs, to have the Development team available like this to EVERYONE to be able to ask questions. You should all be attending these just to take advantage of that singular aspect alone, not to mention getting to preview what’s coming to the Live servers soon. Keep your eyes on the Herald to see when they’ll be holding their next Q&A and be sure to attend if you have questions you don’t think others have been asking.
(There will be another PTS event next week! Make sure to keep your eyes on the Herald for time/date/vent info.)
Public Test Server Q&A, 7/30/10
For those that haven’t been to one of these, there are certain rules as to how this all goes down.
- Each player gets one question.
- The question is not asked in Vent, it’s posted in your Comment. So be specific and concise. General questions get politically correct answers, so avoid those so as not to waste your question.
- Troll questions are ignored and/or made fun of.
- If certain topics are off-limits, it’s usually stated up front. This is rare, but happens in regards to things that it’s obvious they can’t comment on at this time.
- Unless they ask you for clarification, this isn’t the forum for a conversation about something due to the number of people that have questions they want answered and the nature of Vent.
- Attempts to sneak in multiple questions by changing your Vent name can get you booted from the Q&A, so don’t bother.
- Questions outside the scope of the Developers present tend to get vague/pc answers, so it’s usually better to tailor your question to who is in attendance if you want as in-depth a response as possible.
- Questions about Customer Service are not answered as there has never been a CS representative present.
- Andy reads off the question from your comment and then either he or one of the Developers present answers it as best they can.
Note: This is not a complete, literal transcription like I usually do with interviews simply because of the nature of the Q&A. Even the recorded version doesn’t necessarily include everything since some has to be read directly from the Vent comments. Another good reason to show up for these.
And away we go…
Q – Is there a possibility that we will have a permanent addition of a 6v6 scenario?
Carrie - So the answer is yes. It’s completely a possibility. We have been talking about revisiting the rotation based on the metrics we’ve been pulling and looking at some of the favorite Weekend Warfronts. If this goes over well and we decide that it is a bonus to the rotation, then I suspect you’ll see it permanently. (GG - The Eternal Citadel is a new 6v6 scenario that is being tested for 1.3.6 right now.)
Q – When will the next Live Event happen that gives a Live Event Slot item happen?
Mike - We did that today. So…today. Weekend Warfronts will have one now. Every Career has a defensive option and an offensive option. In the case of healers, they also have a healer option. It will last for five days. The Event Slot items will never be permanent, they will always be temporary. There are various ranks for them. You get a chest from the Weekend Warfront and when you interact with the chest…you basically have a chance to get either an Uncommon, Rare or Very Rare version of the Event Slot item. Of course, as it goes up in rarity, it’s more powerful.
Q – Do you have any plans to make improvements to non-set items?
Nate - To a certain degree, set items are always going to be better than non-set items just because they are a set and that’s the reward for wearing the whole set. But we certainly want to improve more things. We started now with the Sovereign set because it’s kind of the most signature armor in the game and the best place for us to really start. We absolutely plan to continue making changes and improvements.
Q – Do you have plans for the Fortresses?
Mike – We’re looking at them, but it’s nothing immediate that we’re prepared to discuss.
Q – Any plans for separating the scenarios for pre-mades and PuGs?
Carrie – So we’ve looked at that and we continue to look at that. The balance is always not to dilute the population so much that scenarios aren’t popping anymore. That being said, we’ve been talking and kind of shooting around some prioritization ideas about “OK, so fine. We’re not going to NOT pop a scenario, but we’re going to see about maybe prioritizing skill levels together and pre-made vs. PuG.” But that’s still in development.
Q – Do you plan on fixing the door bug in Tomb of the Vulture Lord? (Gates remain closed at times after a wipe.)
Keaven - We are definitely aware of it and we know why it’s happening. It’s proving to be a little more complex than I had originally anticipated, but we should have a fix for that pretty soon.
Q – Why are White Lions receiving an undefendable armor debuff while Witch Elves lost an armor debuff in 1.2?
Nate - The changes we made in the past to the Witch Elves were made based on the composite whole of where Witch Elves stood at the time and there were simply things that were too powerful for them at the time. As we’re looking now, where the game has changed, it seemed like one of the better changes for us to make to bring some more parity between the Careers. (GG – Class “mirrors” are being given more and more of the same abilities. See the patch notes for more details.)
Q – Do you have any plans for server transfers for Iron Rock?
Carrie - Um, yes. But that’s all I can say at this time. (GG – She’s such a tease.)
Q – How many 1.3.x patches before 1.4?
Carrie - That’s a really good question. But by telling you that answer, I’m putting myself into a time-frame. We don’t currently have plans to have another 1.3.x patch before 1.4. That being said, if the items in 1.4 need more time to mature, that will change. And before you do the math, that does mean it will probably be a little bit longer than you guys are expecting before the next version.
Q – Are you planning on looking into making melee life-tap healing more viable on a group scale?
Nate - In general, we don’t feel that melee heals and life-tap heals are as effective as they need to be in those situations, but we don’t have any specific plans to share at the moment.
Q – Are you aware of, and working on a fix for, people force-crashing themselves to be able to re-enter Land of the Dead?
Andy - We’re aware of the bug, I can tell you that. We don’t have an ETA on the fix at the moment.
Q – Do you plan on overhauling the Magus/Engineer mechanic?
Nate - We want to make their pets more impactful and more a regular part of their gameplay. We don’t have any plans of scrapping them completely and starting over, no.
Q – Are you investigating the parity between Disciple of Khaine and Warrior Priest and other healers specifically in regards to their group heals?
Nate - We know there’s some inequality in the way their group heals work. The reason it’s set up like that is in an attempt to help them since they’re intended to be up in the front line with melee and taking hits much more often. Obviously it doesn’t work out to be exactly equal and we’d love it if it was. It’s certainly something that we’d like to look into in the future. But I don’t have any specific answer for you right now.
Q – What happened to the Loading Screen Tips from the EU forums?
Andy - We’ve reached out to the GOA Community Team requesting that information so that will definitely be considered as part of the contest.
Q – Are there any plans to fix scenario scores for the second instance of the City Sieges so you no longer see the scores from the previous instance?
Mike - We’re aware of it but don’t have an ETA on the fix though. I’d have to check with the client engineers.
Q – Do yo plan on looking at Brutality and Monstrosity for Marauders?
Nate - Marauders have, generally-speaking, got a steady stream of improvements for quite a long time now. There are certainly maybe some particular builds that are performing above or below other particular builds, but I don’t know of any answers on when we’re going to be changing one specific build to be drastically better. All I can tell you is that we make adjustments as we need to and as we’re able to.
Q – Trans-Gaming has stated on their forums that Linux support for WAR would come after Mac support. Any updates on that?
Carrie - We don’t plan on supporting Linux. Sorry.
Q – Will you ever put the Lifeline into Scenarios the same way it is in the City Sieges?
Carrie - Actually, we didn’t go so far as to have Lifeline put into the Scenarios because they end so quickly and you can go back and do further Scenarios. That being said, it’s something we can explore if it ends up being a problem.
Q – Can you address the perceived imbalance in magic debuffs for Order vs. Destruction?
Steven - I guess the best thing is to say “Sure, through parity between the Realms that should get addressed.” (GG – I know where you work Steven…)
Q - When will there be another non-Weekend Warfront Live Event?
Mike - They’re coming up. There’s kind of a lull in the Summer months for the Seasonal Events. But they are Seasonal, so they’re coming back every year. The next one will be The Wild Hunt.
Q - Any plans to reduce Tanks damage capability and tweak their utility?
Nate - There have been various concerns that have come up in discussion about how effective a DPS Tank should be, but we don’t have any plans right now to universally change that across the board, no.
Q - What’s the most effective way to report a bug: Forums or In-Game?
Carrie - The answer is In-Game. In-Game we have a tool that tells us some information about your character, your location, and other various things. It’s always helpful for you to give as much detail as possible. We do track what class you’re replying on and all that, but give as much information about what you think might be contributing to the bug so that we can verify it quickly. We get a LOT of reports where we don’t have a lot of information so we can’t figure out what they’re trying to say. So, In-Game definitely.
Q - Any plans to allow higher-Tier characters to earn lower-Tier influence other than wasting a warband slot as a chicken?
Mike - Not at this time.
Q - (GG – No clue as it was typed in vent and Andy asked him to rephrase it, but Nate responded a bit anyway, so here you go.)
Nate - You’re asking about Swordmasters…In 1.3.6, so coming up in this patch, you’re getting a new ability that will help you move your Balance around as needed.
Q - Is the Choppa going to get a mirror to Shattered Limbs?
Steven - Actually it looks more like a way to counter Shattered Limbs and right now we haven’t really looked into it. That particular thing is not mirrored but it’s something we can look into in the future.
Q - Is the progression 25/50/75/100 going to stay as that or will they become 30/60/90 like the others?
Nate - The ones we put in 1.3.6 are going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. (GG – This mirrors the Ironbreaker progression at 25/50/75/100 bringing more parity to the two Classes.)
Q – Are there plans to extend the CC-immunity buffs to a longer duration or to group more abilities as CC?
Nate - Crowd Control is always going to be a touchy issue and it’s always something we keep an eye on pretty much permanently. At the moment, we’re fairly happy with the state of Crowd Control on the whole and we don’t have any plans to change the immunities right now.
Q – Do you ever plan on allowing Engineer/Magus pets to scale with gear?
Steven - Like Nate said earlier…it’s something we’ve obviously looked into and we really have nothing right now we can share with anyone. It’s definitely something we’re looking into.
Q – Any plans for new Races for Destruction or Order in the future?
Carrie - Sorry, I can’t comment on that right now.
Q – Do you plan on changing how quick the Stealth mechanic breaks?
Nate - We’ve actually made a few tweaks to those abilities in 1.3.6 to make them a little more reliable. After the changes in 1.3.6 it should be significantly easier to get much closer to your target much more often.
Q – Do Disciples of Khaine still have the capability to obtain the Painblade of Anarchy?
Nate - I don’t know off the top of my head. I’ll make a note and check into it.
Q – Will there ever be parity between the Zealot Action Point proc on ability instead of attack so that it is equal to that of the Rune Priest?
Nate - It’s probably something we’re likely to change in the future, yes. But I can’t say definitely since it’s not something we have slated at the moment. But that is a likely change, one way or the other.
Q – What do you think of the Knight of the Blazing Sun ability Shatter when they have the tactic slotted that allows it to remove three blessings at once?
Nate - We know there’s some concerns about that tactic and that ability being a little different from the way it’s set up for all the other Tanks. It’s something we’ve discussed on and off in terms of a lot of the Shatter-type abilities in general. Ultimately we’ll probably end up evening it out one way or the other, but I don’t have anything to share right now.
Q – Is the Mythic staff going to Games Day Baltimore and are you having any sort of community get-togethers, like a wine-tasting party? (GG – This was from Mykiel, obviously.)
Andy - Only if it’s boxed wine… Yes, we are going to Games Day Baltimore at this point. Yes, we do plan on doing some kind of community get-together kind of thing. I’ve been talking to James Casey and James Nichols. James Nichols will be there for the Community Team. James Casey will be leading the Dev Team there. I’ve been talking to them already about what we’ll be doing and there will be more information on the Herald just as soon as we have everything all worked out.
Gaarawarr - Mykiel and I are trying to arrange a WAR player, and Developer if you want to come, trip to Camden Yards the night before Games Day Baltimore. That Friday night the Orioles are playing the Rangers at home and I think we’re looking at getting a block of seats in the $8-10 range. So if you’re interested in that, keep an eye on the forums and our blogs for more information.
Andy - Cool. Also, if you are a current blogger for WAR, please let me know if you’re going to Baltimore Games Day, UK Games Day as well, and I’ll see what I can do to help you out with getting into the convention.
Q – Is the rumor of a Skaven invasion via an Anniversary Live Event true?
Carrie - You know what they say about rumors: totally untrue. No, I’m just kidding. That’s a strange rumor. There may be bits of truth. There may not be. (GG – Told you she was a tease.)
Q – Why do we have potions in the game that give more armor than the Engineer/Magus armor buff? Are these going to become stackable with those buffs?
Nate - There’s no real answer to the why, it’s just kind of the way the potions and the abilities worked out. Keep in mind that the potions are exclusive within their own grouping types. So if you choose to use the potion instead of your buff you certainly can, but that locks out the choice of other potions from that grouping for you. You always have the choice of using your buff instead and choosing a different potion from that grouping. Now are all the potions equally compelling? Well, no, obviously not and that’s something we’d like to fix in the future.
Q – Do you plan on re-evaluating the currency conversion rate, specifically when it comes to Conqueror > Officer Medallion conversions?
Nate - Not at the moment, no.
Q – Are you looking at giving parity between the Disciple of Khaine and the Warrior Priest when it comes to Righteous Fury and Soul Essence regen?
Nate - We made some changes to the Disciple a couple patches back now to change some of their resource management. They are much closer now. We don’t have any specific plans to make any further changes to that that I can share right now.
Q – Bombing is still a problem on (some) servers. Do you think it would be better to let all magic resists go above the current cap?
Nate - Increasing the diminishing returns cap for magic resists has far more implications than just bomb groups. There are lots of other strategies that are just as, if not more, effective than bombing that we’ve seen across all the servers. So, anti-bomb isn’t really a huge priority to us right now as there’s already plenty of ways to do that and moving that resistance would have significant impact on the game all around and that’s not something we would do just on a whim to fix a smaller issue.
Q - Are there more vanity items coming?
Carrie - Yes. (GG – See?)
Q – Why are there no Crit Healing liniments?
Nate - We don’t have liniments for every stat combination. I’ve answered that a couple times in the past. We are aware that there are request for certain types and they are something we have on our radar, but we don’t have any plans to put them in imminently. (GG – FYI: this question has been asked in at least 6 Q&As now. Seriously.)
Q – Are there any plans to increase the Renown Ranks to 100?
Carrie - That’s something that’s certainly not off the table. (GG – You’re killing me Smalls…)
Q - Any plans to give Warrior Priests a mirror to Curse of Khaine?
Nate - That’s not specifically on the plate for the immediate future. But like I’ve said before, we’d rather make the Careers more similar than dissimilar.
Q – Do you plan on implementing eligibility restrictions for rolling for loot in a City instance?
Nate - This is kind of the same idea as lower Rank people out in Open RvR getting Sovereign currency as well. We don’t particularly have any plans to change it because people can still contribute to the fight and be part of winning that fight even if they aren’t able to use the loot right now. Anything they get they’ll be able to use eventually and as long as they’re contributing, they have an equal chance to win.
Q – Any plans on increasing the drop rate of Officer Medallions?
Andy - We kind of covered that, but this is a different way of asking that question and I’ll let Nate address that if he wants to.
Nate - We’re monitoring the rate of the Medallions coming into and leaving the game since we changed the conversions. We don’t have any plans to make any changes right now, but it is something we are watching and have been watching.
(GG – This is an important answer. Not because of the topic necessarily, but because of how it shows that sometimes it’s not the question you ask, but how you ask it that gets you an informative response. You’ll notice in these Q&As that a lot of questions get asked repeatedly and get next to no answer every time. They tend to follow the same format, so it’s easy to see why they’re given a PC/fluff answer. It’s a good thing to keep in mind when thinking about what you want to ask in these sessions. Think about how to ask the question in a way that will get you the most informative answer possible and you may find more of your questions get answered.)
Q – Can you paraphrase what you believe the role of the Engineer/Magus to be?
Nate - Our general intent is for them to be ranged attackers that are the most effective when they can be dug-in and have a chance to set themselves up.
Q – Can you please confirm that Snurz is the prettiest Shaman in the world?
Keaven - We can neither confirm nor deny that statement.
Q – Do you plan on evaluating the 30 second cooldown for the capability of changing between modes for the Zealot and the Rune Priest?
Nate - That’s a new feature that’s up on the PTS and that’s what the PTS is for. So, go play PTS and give us your feedback.
Q – Any plan to make it so that people that crash to desktop don’t get the Quitter debuff?
James Casey – So as far as that goes, what we’re going to do is take a look at what kind of crashes are being reported, what kind of issues people are having and try to approach it from that aspect rather than change the Quitter debuff mechanic. But we’ll be monitoring the whole thing, especially to see how it plays out in 1.3.6, and go from there.
Q – Do you plan on addressing parity between the different delves in different Careers?
Nate - Any time we see any abilities being used disproportionally far too often, we’re always concerned. Across the board we’d always like people to have a variety of equally valuable abilities. We never want someone to have one that’s head-and-shoulders above the others so you don’t use anything else, no.
Q – What is the Kraken Sea and why is it a zone if there’s absolutely nothing to do there and I have to exploit terrain to get there?
Andy - Well, you shouldn’t be exploiting terrain… It’s there…but you’re not supposed to be there… Carrie, do you want to answer the rest of that?
Carrie - Gah, what is with the bus? Hello?!?!? No, I don’t want to answer it.
Nate - The very, very short answer is we build out a lot more of the game than we ever end up using and sometimes there are things like that.
Andy - And sometimes there’s room for things that we can build in the future.
Nate - Conveniently enough…
Carrie - Yeah, like no one ever asks what’s on the other side of the zone in Cinderfall and Death Peak.
Andy - Wow.
Gaarawarr - That’s cuz some of us have been there.
Carrie - That’s f’d…
Andy - Alrighty then….next question.
Q – Any chance of a Ventrilo session like this for Dark Age of Camelot?
Andy - Well, what we decided to do was get someone who’s a little bit closer to that game to let you know what the answer to that is, so just a second guys.
Stuart Zissu (The Silver-Haired Fox) – Hey, it’s Stuart from DAoC, I’m the Producer there. Long time listener, first time caller. I just wanted to let you guys know that I’ve been looking at these sessions and they seem like a great way of interacting with the community and as you know for DAoC, that is really what we’re focusing on right now. This is definitely a strong possibility of things to do. We’ve been looking for things like this. Yeah, this looks like a blast.
Q – Are you planning on adding end-game gear that is more challenging to acquire?
Nate - There is a fine line there. We want high-level gear, or I should say Signature Gear, to be not just “You level and you get it handed to you.” We want it to be something you work for and be proud of getting. At the same time, if we make gear so that only a fraction of a fraction of a minority of people will ever get it, that’s not really the best thing for us or for the game. So we have to walk a fine line there. In general, we’re probably not going to put in gear that is almost inaccessible to everybody because that’s, honestly, a little silly. But do we want high-end gear or Signature Gear to be something that you’re proud of getting, that you’re proud of putting the work and time in for? Absolutely. (GG – An interesting note from the PTS Stability Test later that night was that it was stated that less than 5% of the WAR population has full Sovereign.)
Q – Can I haz Fester Bomb for my Squiggie please?
Steven - Is that lolcat speak?
Andy - It’s like lolsquig speak I think.
Steven - Actually, we are trying to move towards parity between certain Careers. Whether or not we’re looking to give you the situation where you can produce a Fester Bomb, that right there, not really sure. Haven’t looked into that. But we are pushing towards parity.
(GG – They like that word, huh? For those who might still not get what they’re saying: Parity (noun) – equality, as in amount, status, or character.)
Q - Any plans to make non-Chosen/Knight Tanks more impactful in large-scale Open RvR battles?
Nate - I wouldn’t agree with the premise that they’re not viable to begin with, honestly. There’s certainly an argument to be made that Chosen/Knights bring a lot in large-scale fights in part due to their abilities being large-scale as a part of their Career, but the other Tanks certainly have effectiveness that they bring to the fight.
Q – Any plans to lower or remove the cooldown on Cleanse/Cure to zero seconds or perhaps have it ignore the GCD with a 5-second cooldown?
Nate - I think Steven actually brings that up to me every three hours, so it’s something we’re discussing, yes.
Steven - Speaking of which Nate, I’m bringing it up now.
Andy - Alright, sorry about that guys. (GG – I can only think he was apologizing for us having to listen to Steven. This is what you get for dodging my question Steven.)
Q – How about making use of the /duel command?
Carrie - It’s something I mentioned in the Q&A a while ago but, you may not have been there, so I’m happy to refresh. We do have /duel in some capacity in the game, however we didn’t get it up to the polish level that we wanted in respect to making sure that the rules made sense and that you can do it in certain places and you can’t do it in others. There’s a lot of different pieces that we require to be polished to kind of push it through and make it really useful. And as well, we’d need to consider the IP. So it’s something we have that is kind of like “in our pocket” if we prioritize it, but right now we’re prioritizing some other things.
Q - The Funerary Shroud of Khutep can have Souls slotted but the other Funerary Shrouds cannot. Is this a bug with Khutep or with the other Shrouds?
Nate - I’ll check on that for you. I don’t have an answer right now.
Q – Any plans for Open RvR Weekend Warfronts?
James Casey – I actually do have a design I’m working on for them but as far as when and how far in the future you’ll actually see them, I can’t give an answer like that. It’s something we’re investigating though.
Q - Any plans on implementing Cross-Server Scenarios?
Andy - Here comes the bus…Carrie?
Carrie - I love this job… It is absolutely one of those things that comes up often and we look at it and we think about it and we evaluate the risk involved in implementing it along with the value. Once we kind of wrap up what our plans are for Open RvR, I think that would be a time to start looking at it again. Right now we’re focusing on Open RvR, so we’re not focusing on that aspect of Scenarios. It’s certainly something we’d like to do if we believe it’s worth the time and risk.
Q – Any plans to bring back some of the fancier Chosen Aura graphics?
Nate - We’re not planning on changing any of the effects right now, no.
Q – Would you consider making Chalice/Tome Disciples of Khaine/Warrior Priests have their robes converted to Light Armor since they’re effectively back-line?
Nate - That’s an interesting question, but probably not, no. The Careers are still a front-line Career on the whole, at least by our intent.
Q – Any plans on evaluating the parity between Shaman and Archmage DPS specs?
Nate - The only thing I can really say to that is what I have said a couple of times before. All things being equal, I’d rather make the Careers more similar than less similar. But I really don’t have an answer beyond that.
Q – Any plans to support Addon Developers with documentation of the WAR API?
Andy - That is definitely something that I’m currently communicating with the Development Team that I would like to give you guys more resources like that. I have communicated that to the Engineering Team. Right now we’re working on it. It’s simply a matter of what is a priority and what is not. So, as soon as we can give you an update on that, we’d be happy to. There hasn’t been a whole lot that has changed about the API with the recent exception of the /assist command no longer being accessible by Addons.
James Casey – And the forums are still a good place to try and get some of that information. To try to work not only with other Addon Devs, but for us to visit and see what you guys are looking at and what you might need help with. That type of thing.
Andy - Thanks for coming out to this Q&A Session. There will be another one after next week’s Public Test session that will be a little later, or earlier depending on your point of view. Again, we’ll be heading out to Baltimore Games Day. We’ll be heading out to Games Day UK as well. We’ll also be heading to Games Con in Cologne, Germany. We’re definitely open to suggestions on where to get together and have a fan gathering. We look forward to meeting a lot of you and if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see at these conventions, feel free to PM it to me on the forums or leave it in a feedback thread for me to look at.