Games Day Baltimore – The Interview
As most players are probably already aware, a group of US bloggers went to Games Day in Baltimore. We both got to see the Bioware Mythic Presentation first-hand (which Mykiel live-streamed) as well as sit down afterwards for a private interview.
For those that missed the live stream, Mykiel may be able to post a recording of it. While some of the questions asked were about the RvR Packs that were announced, some questions addressed general game topics and concerns the players at the panel had.
In our interview, while we did tend to stray off-topic at times, we tried to focus on getting a better overall picture of what is in store for us in the future with these new RvR Packs.
And away we go!
Disclaimer: While a lot of people expected outrageous amounts of information out of this weekend, that didn’t happen. We did, however, get what was promised to us which was information about the future of WAR. Sure, we’d all love more details. However, I’m positive that we’ll get them soon. We just didn’t get it all today.
I always stress the importance of showing up for things like the Ventrilo Q&A Sessions that Bioware Mythic puts on during the PTS test events because things will inevitably get said that you want to hear right away, you don’t always get a chance to ask your questions firsthand to Developers, and sometimes you just need to be there.
Events like the Gamescom stuff this weekend and Games Day stuff here today are no exception to the above reasons. In my opinion, showing up to these is even more important for the simple fact that you also get to truly meet and get to know other players as well as the Devs in a more informal setting. I’ll talk more about the time I got to spend with the other players this weekend in another post, but in this post I’m going to try to convey the fun back-and-forth that went on during this interview as best I can because it was truly an enjoyable experience for me as well as the other players that were part of it.
However, since tone inevitably gets lost in translation, I’m going to preface this by saying the tone was one of a desire to want to share as much info as possible balanced with a required necessity to not go into as much detail as we maybe would have liked at this time. Not because they necessarily want to hide anything from us or make us wait, but more because things can still change in the development process in the way that things could be implemented and they honestly don’t want to end up having told us lies simply because of that.
So, with that in mind, I’ll start us off at this point in the interview since I thought it illustrated just how much Developers want to know what’s on the players’ minds.
(There from Bioware Mythic for this interview were: James Nichols (Community Team), James Casey (Guy that does “Stuff”), Mike Wyatt (RvR/Content), and Steven Engle (Combat & Careers/Player Systems). The players/bloggers present were: Krosuss (Iron Rock), Muertes (Iron Rock), Mykiel (Iron Rock), Kesarin (Gorfang), Sadaell (Gorfang), DrSparkles (Iron Rock), Artiee (Iron Rock) and myself.)
GG – Alright, so, since they’re not here yet (some of the other players/bloggers)…I’ve got a bunch of questions. I just had…(players submit questions in my last blog post)
Bioware Mythic – Yeah, we read them all.
GG – You’ve seen them all already?
BM – Yeah, we read them already and went “Yeah…yeah…no..no…yeah..yeah..” We actually used them as our study sheet. We were in a meeting yesterday. “They’ll ask this one…they’ll ask this one…”
GG – What is the reasoning or intent behind offering multiple purchase options in regards to the Packs other than just pure choice?
JC – Yeah, that was a good one because when we answered we went “Yeah, well, choice would probably be the answer.” Yeah, it really all boils down to choice. There’s a lot of cool stuff but there’s always stuff that you buy and you say “Well, I really want that out of it” or “I really want that. That’s kinda cool.” But in this case you can go “I want these” so you buy that. “I kind of want those so I’ll buy that.” “I guess I want those so I’ll just get them all” or whatever. But, if you only want one or you want two or you want all three, you’ll at least have that choice versus “I’m not going to even touch all this other stuff that comes with it.” You’re getting exactly what you want.
GG – Can you tell us how many new Armor Sets we’re going to be seeing with these Packs and how they’ll be earned?
JC – They will correspond with the new Renown Ranks which we did kind of say in the meeting in there. As far as how you’re going to get them, we’re not going into detail on that right now.
GG – Will one of the Packs finally include the much-desired, sought-after and hounded “mount outfits”?
JC – Mount outfits? Oh, I know what you’re talking about. No, I don’t think you’ll see that as a new feature.
GG – With the addition of new Renown Ranks, are we going to see any changes to how the Renown Training System works?
JC – Yes. We can’t give any details at this time, but you will see some changes. Nate’s kind of already said some of the stuff in the way that we’re going to be revamping some of the stuff.
SE – I don’t think we can go into major details.
JC – Carrie mentioned that it’s probably going to sort of have the feel of the Realm Abilities from Dark Age of Camelot, using that as inspiration. There’s a little more of that going into it. We want to give you more of a choice in what you’re doing and how you’re moving up and making sure there’s a corresponding incentive to what you’re doing.
SE – So you can better customize what you want rather than being gated.
GG – Right, so their system was more “Here’s all the possible choices and you can pick and choose” as opposed to now where we have to put points in to unlock the next tier and then the next tier.
JC – Yeah, you’ll see us move more towards that other style. We’ll get more details out on that as we get closer.
GG – What is the incentive of reaching Renown Rank 90 and 100? Obviously, there’s some new Armor Sets that are gated to that, there’s new points to put into the Renown Training System, but is there anything outside of that?
JC – That’s probably the big stuff.
SE – That’s the big stuff without going into major details of exactly what is going to happen.
JC – What it really boils down to is: you have the corresponding things that you use with Renown Rank now, whether it’s rewards or Sets, etc. So we’re taking a look at that and you’ll see more of that as you move up.
~The rest of the bloggers/players joined us at this point.~
Krosuss – One of the things I take away from this is that you call them Packs for a reason. (With Expansions) people are used to getting everything spoon-fed to them like “Here it is!” with a big splash-page and that’s what they’re looking for today. You can’t blame them, they love the game as much as we do, but it’s a matter of…these three Packs are going to probabably be chock full of stuff.
JC – Yeah.
Krossus – So right now it’s like NSA-Top Secret is what it is and it’s hard to get people to understand that.
JC – Yeah, the thing is, we’d really love to be able to tell more too, but there’s two aspects of it.
1: Making sure the timing of announcing it is right. Getting the right information out at the right time.
2: There’s certain aspects of it that, as we go through and do Core Tester discussions or even when we get to public forum discussions, there’s certain things that are probably going to evolve, often for the better.
You saw with the City Siege revamp, we did a lot of feedback and iteration in just that. So we’re looking to do the same type of stuff. We don’t want to say “You know what, you’re going to get A, B and C and that’s what it’s going to be” when A might be a little better and B should be really C. A little bit of change might come out of it and we don’t want to get pigeon-holed to that effect from the start.
Krosuss - I don’t think the players full understand how much you gauge what they say on the forums when you look at things.
JC - Oh yeah.
Krosuss - Look at what they griped about recently and it changed. Right now people are raging about “my enemy can’t see me” (in reference to appearance changes).
JC - Well what we’ve done so far, you mentioned one with the Servers, we also had the Friendly Collision stuff going on recently…
Krosuss - Yup and you stopped that from going out.
JC - And I think Carrie’s already said that we’re going to look at how people take the alternate appearance system, how they use it, and see if their feedback remains the same after they’ve had some time to play it. The obvious inspiration for why we couldn’t do that (have the other Realm see your alternate appearance) is when you put something like that in, we don’t want people hiding their power. If it ends up that everyone goes “You know what, we know power without all that stuff and there’s other ways to know power” and it ends up being a non-issue, it will be something we look at changing and we’ll come out and say “OK, maybe we’ll let you do that.” But until we make that decision, we can’t say that. But we aren’t ruling it out and we are investigating and taking feedback on it. And like you said, we’re using that feedback as much as we can to guide the game where it’s appropriate.
Krosuss - Again, you guys really do listen, I don’t think they believe you do. You see it. You go to the forums constantly. You read different blogs. You check up on it because you care about the game.
JC - Yeah and I think that Cake is better than Pie…
SE - That is not true! Cheesecake is Pie, therefore Pie is better than Cake. We’ve already gone over this.
Sadaell – I have a question involving the Alternate Appearance system. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to play around with it. I’ve been out of town for a bit, but one of the things I’d like to do is…at some point I threw away some of the old Armor Sets that I didn’t use and now they’d be a pain in the ass to go back and get again. Is there any way that you’re looking at to be able to get those back if you’ve already unlocked them to go and be able to put them in as your appearance. I kind of like some of the looks on the Carnage set pieces and going and trying to get those again, while doable, is just a pain in the ass just for the appearance.
JC – It’s something we’ll look at and I think it’s something we’ll have to gauge on the feedback of what people start saying. Like “This is a really cool thing that I just can’t get anymore”. The more feedback we get on those types of things like “There was this really cool weapon that I want to skin and have now”. We see those things and maybe if it is impossible to get at a higher level we can look at doing something but that’s more of on a case-to-case basis as opposed to wholesale.
GG – It really comes into effect with Influence items. Obviously, you can’t go back and get those. You get them once and then you’re toast.
JC – Yeah, so things like that we’ll have to see and maybe there’s a way that rather than giving you “oh you can just go get this thing because you unlocked it” maybe we can use some of that art in new places and get it out there somewhere so you can get it again. So if there’s things like that that people are saying, especially on the forums, “I really want to get this thing because I loved it and can’t get it anymore” if we’re getting that information we can use that feedback to kind of tailor what we put out in the future so maybe we can make it more available for people.
Muertes – Would you be able to do something like with the merchants where you can dye things and see it. Maybe have a merchant where you can buy skins?
Krossus – Yeah, my tokens are just sitting in my bank.
Sadaell – Yeah, I’ve spent a large amount of money on vanity armor in every MMO I’ve ever played. I’ve spent huge amounts of time and effort just getting my character to look right.
JC – Yeah, that’s obviously one way we can go and that’s one of the things we have to look at. Any time we put more stuff out there that you can spend some of that alternative currency and the more things that effect the economy the better. So as we get some of these requests and we see more feedback, then that’s obviously things that would go well in that sort…it’s a good idea for what we can do.
Muertes – How do you become a Core Tester?
JN – That’s..umm…a good question.
JN – We go to our scrying pool and we literally look deep into it and…no, to be honest, it’s by invitation only. Literally Andy and I are on the boards so often, so are these guys (the Devs) for that matter, and you just recognize people that constantly give feedback, are knowledgeable about the game, and can present their feedback in a way that is constructive and allows us to kind of go back and forth and discuss things with them. Because there’s a big difference between someone who gives feedback and it’s “My idea or the highway” and someone who says “This is my idea” and you can give them feedback on that and they can go back and say “OK, that makes sense. What about this?” and you can have that open discussion. So we look for those kind of people and really it’s just about standing out as an excellent community member who is active in the game and gives good feedback that is constructive and allows everyone to talk about it is the best way to get recognized by us.
GG – With that in mind, we still don’t know how Mykiel got in…
JN – He slipped by me. That was after I was in charge of the program, so…I’m sorry.
Mykiel – OK, so there’s a lot of players out there that talk about how great they are, how hardcore they are…I mean, in the last Q&A session we had one talking about how “I’m great and everyone else are scrubs” so, will we ever see some kind of difficulty setting for maybe a City Instance where you’d have hardcore players that are the “cream of the crop” and they can wipe out whole warbands with a fart to where it can be that. You can take your warband in of 24 people vs 48 of the opposite faction. Or in Scenarios specifically like that.
GG – Or a hardcore mode where if you die you can’t be rezzed or release.
Mykiel – Yeah, so it’s where you can have different difficulty settings where it’s like “OK, this is the normal City Instance” and then you have this one where it has a different set of rules and it’s completely random. Like maybe you go and think you’re going to get a whole warband in but instead you only get 12 people. Maybe it doesn’t have the warning at the beginning “You have five minutes to get out”.
JC – I know we’ve always looked at doing alternate rulesets for Scenarios when we get a chance and things like that are always things we can look at in the future but we don’t have anything currently.
MW – I think it would be cool but to only get 12 people from your warband in, I wouldn’t do that. It’s cool. We could look at it, but there’s definitely no plans right now.
Mykiel – Do you have a price?
MW – A what?
Mykiel – A price. Where I could write you a check and you could look into I harder?
MW – It’s time.
JC – Hold on, hold on. Huddle. ~whispers to MW~ One million dollars…
MW – Wow…It’s cool. We can look at it. But it’s definitely not on the priority list or anything. It’s a lot easier to do stuff like that in a PvE setting than it is to do with PvP because god knows what can go wrong with the PvP one.
GG – Will these new Packs introduce any new types of crafting into the game?
JC - ~thinking~
Krosuss – It’s not a no, so that means it’s a yes right?
JC – Next question…
GG – Guess that’s a “no comment”…
JC – That’s a no comment on that one at the moment.
GG – Will the changes to Open RvR require purchasing one of the Packs or will that be a free bonus to everyone that plays the game?
JC – Yeah, I think Carrie’s already answered that as well, but basically Patch 1.4 is going to do a lot with the free concept in that everyone will be involved with that and the tie-ins with what we’re doing with the Pack as well. But all that Open RvR stuff is really stuff that people are going to be able to experience themselves. Now, there you may get some rewards there that you may not be able to access without the Packs or utilize properly or things like that, but all the Open RvR stuff is designed to be part of the game because we don’t want to take away from the gameplay that’s out there. We really want to focus on it and make it the best.
GG – I think people wanted to know because with traditional expansions, it’s usually a place that’s ther that nobody can go to unless they buy it.
Krosuss – Yeah, cuz if I don’t want to buy the Pack and someone’s all “Hey guys, we’re going to the Skaven zone” and some people don’t buy the Pack and there’s no one in that zone. So that’s kind of the concern.
JC – That’s what it comes down to. You don’t want to segregate your population based on purchases like that. You can get away with it with certain things like Call of Duty does it with some of their packs but there’s different dynamics there as far as how they do their game.
Sadaell – Are there other things like Scenarios you’d only be able to access if you have the Packs?
JC – We’re trying to steer away from anything that would reduce a population based on haves and have nots in that regard.
GG – So, going forward, is this going to be the model you guys are looking at for expansion-type content?
JC – Yeah, you’re not going to see…I know Carrie covered this too…you’re not going to see a full-blown expansion as people imagine it. That has a lot of pre-conception to it. So yeah, we’re trying to follow the Pack mentality and try to give you features and things that you can choose whether or not you can opt-in on. So yeah, that’ll be the future as far as that goes.
GG – Currently, the major releases of information have been Gamescom and Games Day and these blogger interviews. For the future information, the more meaty stuff that people want to see, how is that going to be distributed? Is it going to be gaming news sites, blogs, forums, the Herald, etc?
JC – We can’t really get into that whole thing. We have a communication plan that Carrie and myself and some of the higher-ups have been working on in regards to how this is going to work and this is obviously part of it. I know we talked a little bit about it as far as how we plan the information and what comes out at any given time. So we have those plans but we’re really not saying anything about “You’re going to get the next bit of information at this time in this place in this manner” at this juncture I think. You will see it in familiar ways and there will be cool stuff coming out.
JN – I say it’s safe to say that our loyal fansites and blogs will be involved.
JC – Yeah, that’s currently part of our process right now.
SE – Or we can make it an Easter Egg Hunt. “On the corner of Jones and 7th”…
JN – Where is Jones and 7th?
SE – Exactly.
Muertes – What is the chance of The Ironclad coming back?
MW – I would like to.
JC – Yeah, we’d like to bring it back. There were a few issues that people identified with it…
Sadaell – Healing from the spawn point.
JC – Yeah, the biggest thing in there is pathing and we’ve acknowledged that pathing is a big issue and tweaking, whether it’s art or pathing, we just haven’t had enough time to concentrate on that because we’ve been trying to work out other things like the Packs and the Patches we’ve been doing. We’d like to bring it back, we just have to get it to a point where it’s like “OK, that’s acceptable and it’s going to be fun” without any bugs that are going to cause it to be unbalanced like healing in the spawn or whatever the case may be.
Muertes – Is there a chance that there will be a permanent 6-on-6 Scenario?
JC – Is there a chance? Sure. We’re going to take a look at feedback, for example on The Eternal Citadel, and see how it goes there. I know even Carrie said that could possibly be permanent. It really boils down to is it fun in kind of a spurt, like you get it on a weekend, or is it fun all the time? We kind of have to make that judgment call on whether or not it fits into pulling away population into that Scenario pool and we’ll make that decision based on feedback from this event. I’m sure you’ll see the event again while we make that decision to see if it joins the rotation. The idea is The Ironclad was fun because of that, this should be fun because of that…the 6-on-6…so we’ll see what we can do in the future.
GG – So while we’re talking about Weekend Warfronts, one of the criticisms I’ve seen is that we’re seeing a lot of repetition and there’s still some Scenarios that have gone away and haven’t come back. Are we going to get to see those instead of all of the repeats?
JC – I would say that you’ll probably see a little bit of repetition.
GG – Well, in truth, they have to repeat at some point because there’s only a finite amount.
JC – Yeah, we have The Eternal Citadel coming out so that will be in the mix. We have The Wild Hunt coming and there are some that we just haven’t released yet into that mix. Right now, our biggest focus is going to be on the next Patch and the RvR Packs, so whether you’ll see them immediately, I doubt it. But you’ll see something with those Scenarios in the future, definitely. I have a list of all of them on my wall.
Artiee – Are you looking at some of them, like Isha and Reikland, that always seem to end short because there’s never enough people on one side?
JC – I know that Reikland Factory has been…
Sadaell – It’s very rarely fully populated in time. By the time people get in, the other side already has 300 points.
Krossus – Yeah, I remember people always loved that one and then when it made the permanent list nobody wanted to play it all of a sudden.
GG – We see the issue with Battle for Praag and Isha being completely empty. I can load into those Scenarios and be the only person in it and the timer will be at 12:30 and I don’t know what happened.
MW – Yeah, that’s strange that it’s at 12 minutes.
GG – The timer started already and no one was there but they couldn’t have left because there’s no one in the Scenario screen because it would show that.
JC – Yeah. Our engineers look at those kind of data and try to find out what’s going on with Scenarios when they pop and what kind of population they had when they popped. We’re trying to see what kind of trends are there to try to make that better.
GG – So do you guys get that kind of information automatically?
JC – Some of it is automatic, some of it we pull based on what we’re seeing trend-wise.
MW – We also get server engineers that show up at our desks if we ever do something wrong or there’s something awry…
JC – That’s the nice thing about people (at Bioware Mythic) playing…”Oh, by the way, you know this is going on…” But then again, they do give us kudos every once in a while.
Artiee – One thing that was mentioned in a previous Vent Q&A was that in this Patch you put in the mechanism where you can change the capture-Tasks in the Weekend Warfronts to a group-based task.
MW – We have to tweak the Warfronts to do that, but we do have new code for that. The code exists now, we just have to go in and tweak them.
JC – Yeah, that’s one of the things about the Weekend Warfront repetition is we’re trying to tweak some of the numbers where we can to make some of the tasks a little more doable since they’re not always perceived as doable. But as we can, we’re trying to tweak them.
Artiee - Yeah, that one with the platform in the center…
Krosuss - Kill the guys with the ore!
Gaarawarr - Yeah, either no one would pick it up or the credit wouldn’t work.
Artiee - I would run over by the ore and wait til someone would come up and I would point at them, then point at the ore. Point at them, then point at the ore and back off.
Krosuss - Yeah, you gotta cross-realm.
GG - I could see it in chat too. “Artiee points at so-and-so. Artie points at ore.” I’d be like /facepalm.
Sadaell - Can we just have a Tor Anroc where you just punt people into the lava?
~everyone simultaneously goes “that would be so awesome”~
GG - Everyone gets the punt ability as a RP/Zealot-like ability and you’re disarmed so can only use it, no heals, no damage, just punting.
JC - We actually talked about several versions of…when we were just throwing out weird ideas…we talked about something similar to that and doing some interesting mechanics.
GG - Are we ever going to see the Chicken Scenario?
JC - Possibly, possibly.
Sadaell - How am I going to get the Title otherwise?
JC - I know, right? Trust me, there’s some whacky Titles out there.
Sadaell - What was it? The chicken one where you kill 10,000 players as a chicken. It’s like the King of Cluck or something like that.
GG - I think it’s “The King of Cross-Realming” cuz that’s the only way you can do it.
Sadaell - Can we get a server-wide announcement when someone gets one of the interesting Titles?
JC - Now that would be kind of cool too.
Mykiel - Can we get the Banhammer back? For the Gold Spammers?
Kesarin - Yeah, I always enjoyed seeing that announcement.
Mykiel - “Bob has been banned for selling gold!”
JC - No, but I know our CSRs have been having fun after the Patch trying to keep some of those guys out of there.
JN - Yeah, unfortunately our CSR guys are busy actually taking care of those people.
JC - Yeah, it was a funny idea when it happened but…yeah.
GG - So how do you guys feel the introduction of the new Packs will bring in new players and affect WAR‘s general overall visibility as a viable game to subscribe to?
JC - It’s an interesting question because the Packs themselves, as a philosophical thing, I don’t think typically Expansions or Packs or extra content are designed around enticing new people. I think getting them into the Trial and getting them hooked on the game then these things give them other things to enjoy once they’re in that game, then that’s going to be good. But I don’t think they’re designed necessarily just to entice new players. Entice older players or current players? Absolutely. We’re not designing it to say “Ok, well we want to grab all these new guys that haven’t played before because of this one feature.” Maybe that feature will entice them, but that’s not our focus. But the Endless Trial is really where we’re getting all of our new people and that’s a wonderful tool for us.
GG - You’ve talked about how the Renown Rank cap is going to go up and there’s going to be new Armor Sets for people above RR 80, but what’s going to be the drive for people who aren’t RR 80 to buy these Packs? Are there going to be things for them as well?
JC - The idea behind the Packs is there’s going to be stuff for a cross-section of people. Obviously with the “Power, Progression and Personality” descriptions we’re trying to shoot for something that hits a cross-section of our players on whatever character they’re on. So there will definitely be things that are immediately usable and then some things you have to shoot for. One of the things that both Carrie and Nate have talked about is we’re also looking at how that curve is going up to RR 80 to make it easier to get up to there so that incentive will be closer than it would be now. So you go “Oh wow, I only need this to get to that”. So it’s going to be moving those things closer and making that more tangible.
GG - People are a little curious with how this is going to work since it’s taking a bit from the Free to Play model. With the F2P model, when you buy Packs of things, you get stuff right away. Like you get items and things. What they want to know is when you buy this Pack and download or install it, are you getting certain items right away or are you just unlocking the ability to obtain them via the game world like a true expansion?
JC - I’m sure there will be some kind of recognition that you purchased it to some degree, yes. But will there be something instant in every case? No. Will there be some things that are instant for some of them? Sure. I’m trying to think of something I can say without giving away details, but we deal with Power and we deal with Progression so having these Packs are definitely going to be the conduit to that, so there will be ways that you can utilize it right away in those areas. It’s really tough to talk about that one without saying what’s involved, but you’ll see it kind of clearer I think in everybody’s minds when we talk more about the details of what’s in each Pack. And then you can ask us even tougher questions.
Krosuss - And then you’ll say “Well…we can’t talk about that right now.”
JC - Yeah and then after the Pack launches, you can ask us more questions.
GG - And then we’ll give you answers.
SE - Isn’t your keyword “Stuff”?
JC - Yeah, Stuff. I didn’t get to use “No! Never, never never!” though.
SE - You could have.
Kesarin - With all the tweaks to the RvR zones, is there any possibility of getting more NPCS? Because sometimes when you run through the RvR zones it feels sort of “ghost town abandoned” sort of thing and it doesn’t feel quite as alive as some of the PvE zones. Is there any possiblity of getting something like a merchant that shouts out “Sigmar’s Sizzling Sausage!” or something?
JC - In the actual RvR itself?
Kesarin - In the lakes.
Sadaell - Yeah, like Runehammer Gunworks, wouldn’t you think that if you own that you’d have people there building guns and forging stuff and if you lost it, it’s the other side that’s making it look active.
JC - Well, there’s two parts to that question. You’re seeing a little bit of that with what we’re doing with the Tier 2/3 stuff that Mike’s group put in for this Patch that’s being received very well. Will there be stuff that’s probably more fluff? That’s probably doubtful. There’s two reasons for it.
1: We’re trying to concentrate on ensuring that it hopefully doesn’t feel empty. That there’s players out there. So that there’s people fighting so that’s your population.
2: We purposefully left those lakes kind of for that reason because we want to make sure that there’s less stuff that’s on your screen at any given time. We don’t need a bunch of NPCs taking your targeting away or your performance or anything like that. They either need to be integral or out. So we’re kind of trying to keep it to the Open RvR mentality.
MW - And then there’s also the thing where you don’t want to be running into Feiten’s Lock or something like that in Tier 3 and then you have a bunch of NPC aggro on you now.
Artiee - A note on the mobs in regards to DAoC was the Great Brown Drakes were the best Relic defense because they would wipe out full warbands coming down to Excalibur.
SE - Yeah, I remember being in there and it’s like “You aggroed the Great Brown Drakes…/sigh. Fine, I’ll just sit. We’ll respawn and come back.”
JC - Yeah, we’ve been careful about it and when they had done some of the Events that had stuff in the lake we tried to make them in the lake and integral but not to the point where they’re going to interfere with the core aspect of the lakes which was RvR. So they were out there and they were available to a limited degree.
GG - It was always nice to run a random person chasing you into one of the big Ogre guys and having him aggro him because he didn’t realize it was there and you did and you’d just sit back and giggle as he got pounded into the ground.
JC - That’s always a good moment.
Artiee - The Land of the Dead event where you added the stuff into Thunder Mountain was a great one because it caused a lot of fights there.
Krosuss - The pig PQ started a lot of fights too. People running around killing those stupid pigs.
Muertes - What about the game where you had to run the ball up and down the lake?
Krosuss - Daemonball.
Muertes - That was fun.
JC - Exactly. That kind of stuff is kind of cool.
MW - That one did take away from RvR a little bit but it was temporary.
JC - Yeah, it’s a nice temporary thing but if you had it all the time it wouldn’t be as cool.
Kesarin - It’s a nice surprise or break.
JC - Yup, break from the norm.
GG - So I have a “No Comment” question that I’m going to try to change to try to get an answer.
SE - No comment.
GG - Some people are apparently a little confused by the vagueness of some of the answers in regards to Skaven. There are some people who…it seems to most people that it’s kind of an understood thing that you’re going to be able to play as Skaven somehow but there’s some people who think you have never said that, that you’ve skirted that statement and it’s not going to be happening. So can we get a definitive answer? Are we going to be able to play as Skaven in some capacity?
JC - Yeah. There’s a mechanic or capacity that will allow some of that. I think the reason it’s been so vague is we don’t want to really give away the mechanic and we don’t want to build up people’s expectations. Because, you say Skaven and people say “Oh! It’s a playable race? Who gets it? What does the other side get?” and that’s not what we’re looking for out of this. We’re looking for ways that it fits into what we’re planning with the RvR Pack and it fits in very nicely for that but we don’t want to give too much away at this moment until we get a little closer and we don’t want to build up those expectations of that. So that’s probably where the confusion is.
Sadaell - So, definitively it’s not a race playable in the same sense as the other races?
JC - Yeah, it’s not a race or a career.
GG - So it’s not assigned to a side. Either side can play as it.
JC - Yeah. You’ll get a little more details on it, hopefully, soon.
GG - Will any of these Packs or the content that goes along with them introduce destructible walls?
MW - Let me remember how I said this. Can someone pull up the Vent Q&A?
MW - I said it’s a really big art overhaul and we’d probably do the Keep Doors first as having destructible states. But that’s a huge, huge thing.
GG - So it’s not something we’re going to see any time soon?
JC - No.
MW - It would be cool but…
Muertes - How about a catapult where you could shoot someone over the wall or something?
JC - No comment.
GG - It’s already been stated that the VP system is coming out (of the game). How do you see the campaign moving forward if you’re removing Domination and VP? How is Open RvR going to work now?
JC - I think I kind of covered this in the presentation earlier. The idea behind doing the changes to how the Domination, you know the Wait-Hammer, and the Victory Points Pool and things like that is we kind of want to change RvR so it’s a lot more…how would you describe it? Easy?
MW - Yeah, I wouldn’t describe it with the word Easy. A lot more active.
JC - Yeah, it’s active. There’s a lot more options. You’re not looking at that big wall of text to figure out what’s going on. There’s a clear objective.
MW - Yeah, no addons.
Muertes - So I won’t need VP Breakdown any more?
MW - No.
JN - You don’t have to be a veteran to understand the system.
Krosuss - Will it be based on…the old city was pretty straightforward in the first part because you could see how many people you had to kill. So will it be like “Win X number of Scenarios” as opposed to “Well, we just lost one. There goes a VP point.”
JC - Basically, it’s going to boil down to there is going to be a clear objective…
Krosuss - Ahhhh!
JC - What? I…now there’s going to be all kinds of new rumors…
GG - Dude, let him finish. If he’s going to leak information…Here’s a tip from a veteran interviewer: If you’re going to do this, when the guy starts leaking information, you shut. the. fuck. up.
Krosuss - You need to apprentice me Gaar! You didn’t apprentice me before the session!
JN - He was using that word to describe a goal and not literally meaning an objective on the battlefield.
JC - You guys can rumor all you want, but that’s not any leaked information. Trust me.
Krosuss - See, he didn’t have anything anyway.
GG - Now we’ll never know.
MW - If you’ve never played WAR, you’re going to be able to walk in there and go “Oh, I need to do this to win”.
Kesarin - Instead of needing an advanced degree in Calculus to figure out what VP is actually?
JC - Yeah, that’s the idea.
JN - Everyone can run and jump into RvR and not have to worry about listening to some guy who’s just shouting orders in all caps just to figure out how to win.
GG - So in other words, people can put me on the ignore list now?
MW - Just because it’s so clear doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy though. We’re not making it any easier.
GG - It’s the difference between clarity and complexity.
MW - Yeah.
GG - Will there be any new /emotes in any of these Packs?
Mykiel - Like /urinateonyourdeadopponent.
JC - No…
Artiee - I’m personally hoping for a /shieldbang.
JC - The possibility of getting new /emotes…I would say there’s more of a probability of getting ones like we’ve put in recently more than anything else. Getting ones that are animated would probably be ones that use existing animations if they were put in. Getting brand new animations probably is kind of long-shot at this point.
Artiee - Well I noticed there was already an animation for shield bang…
JC - Well, let’s go with an easy example: urinating on a dead corpse. That’s probably a pretty specific animation.
Mykiel - /dryhump is another one.
GG - OK, how did you come to the decision to raise the Renown Rank cap instead of raising the Rank cap?
JC - Lots of discussion.
GG - …what was the reasoning behind it?
JC - Oh, you didn’t ask that.
GG - /sigh
JC - I don’t know that there’s really anything I can say on that one. There’s just a lot of inherent things that go along with both Renown Rank and Rank and it seemed like based on the focus of the game being RvR and what we wanted to achieve with the Packs and some of the RvR tweaks we’re doing that the Renown Ranks really made the most sense.
Muertes - Are there going to be new Renown Abilities like Resolute Defense possibly?
JC - We did mention we’re tweaking some of the abilities a bit. There will be some cool stuff. Did you want to say anything beyond that?
SE - I don’t think I…there’s going to be cool stuff…there’s a possibility.
JC - I’m pretty sure there’s going to be cool stuff.
SE - There’s going to be cool stuff.
GG - With the new Armor Sets that have been talked about for the…it’s been alluded to the 80s and 90s range…how many pieces are we talking about? Because you get most of them in the 5/6/7 range, but Sovereign is an 8 and requires a Cloak and a Jewel…are these new ones going to be along the Sovereign lines with 8 pieces or are we going to go back to the lower number requirement?
JC - Ummmmm…we have definite plans for them…I really don’t want to give too much away on that. We’re trying to make sure that…umm…I can’t even say it without giving it away so I’ll say “You’ll get more info on that as we get closer”.
SE - You’ll get cool stuff!
JC - And they’ll do cool things! And they’ll be cool together! And there will be Double Rainbows!
GG - I heard it was Double Skaven…
JC - Yeah, I know. I didn’t want to use the same one she did.
GG - On a tangent, Frontierville got Double Rainbows…why does a Facebook game get Double Rainbows and we don’t?
JC - Hey, we’ve got double XP!
GG - Not for me! I’m here!
JC - Well, if you’d stop asking questions you could go play!
GG - No…I won’t be able to. :( I’ll have to go transcribe this.
GG - Will the Packs introduce new Accessories to the game and, if so, will they be TotVL level or above?
MW - Same answer as the last one.
JC - Yeah, pretty much.
SE - There’s gonna be cool stuff.
JC - Cool stuff!!! You can quote me on “Cool Stuff!”
SE - James Casey says “Cool Stuff!”
Artiee - Have you guys thought about fixing the bug you had in beta and putting the /sit animation in?
JC - Didn’t we almost have that in?
JN - We almost did but it never quite worked.
JC - We had it close. There was some time where we had the bandwidth to add the /sit. But we had some bugs with it and unfortunately the priorities for the art staff have been kind of beyond that, especially right now with the stuff we’re doing. So I wouldn’t count on that any time soon but I’d love to get back to it because it’s one of those things where it’s almost there if we could just finish it and get it out there it would be a cool thing to have.
Sadaell - With the increase to Renown Rank 100, there doesn’t seem to be any content Ward-wise after Excelsior. You have the higher Wards and essentially you’re going to get higher armor at some point. Is there any plan to continue with the Ward system and make content for those Wards or is that something that’s not really in the works at this point?
JC - I would say probably not. I think it’s safe to say that. There aren’t really any plans to expand on the use of those at this point.
Mykiel - I considered it a career mechanic change with the introduction of Sudden Shift and the Black Orc one and the recent change to the RP/Zealot mechanics…are you going to be messing with any of the other mechanics to slowly modify them so it’s bringing the mechanics into a more conducive environment?
SE - There’s nothing in particular that I can comment on. I know that there’s a few things that we would like to address such as the Stance-swapping between the Marauders and the Shadow Warriors. We all know Stance-swapping can sometimes hinder your gameplay.
Mykiel - You can use Nerfed Buttons…
SE - What?
SE - Huh? What? So those are things we want to look into. They’re a major art investment time which is one of the big reasons that it’s not out there, but it’s definitely on our radar. Those are probably the two major ones.
JC - Yeah, with the careers and stuff like that, it’s always an ongoing process in that regard and anything that we’re going to do in the next Patch will come out over the course of the Patch cycle as it has in the past. But yeah, there’s nothing we can give you at this moment where we’re saying “Well, this is our next big focus.”
Muertes - Are there plans in the works for maybe redoing some of the bonuses we get while in the stances?
SE - Well, like you just got the recent changes to Ballistic Skill…
Muertes - Yeah, that was awesome but more like when I’m in Skirmish Stance I get extra Toughness and it’s eh…
SE - We’re always looking at things like that, but it’s just…especially in the Shadow Warriors, we have to see how you guys perform now that 1.3.6 is out and then go “Well, should we allot time to look into certain things or is the Magus a bigger concern now?” So that’s kind of where we’re going with that.
JN - Any last questions?
Mykiel - Mike Wyatt, if you could fight any celebrity, who would it be?
MW - A celebrity?
Mykiel - Alive or dead, anyone famous, who would it be?
MW - That’s an odd question.
Mykiel - It can be a forum celebrity, like ARM.
MW - A forum celebrity? Oh, there’s definitely a forum celebrity…I’m not gonna say who.
GG - ~cough~testpig~cough~
MW - How about Master Splinter.
Kesarin - Excellent choice.
SE - Andy Belford.
GG and JC in unison – No, but he said celebrity…
GG - Once again, James Casey and I are right on the same page.
Krosuss - Ok, so the new artwork on the Armor Sets that you showed us all was frickin’ incredible and we understand that it got waylaid for a little bit…in there/not in there? Gettable/not gettable?
JC - It should be all gettable. If there’s a certain one that you still can’t find, let us know and we can see if we can get you some information.
GG - They were all shuffled art assets from different things. None of it was brand new. Some were rare influence items, which is why you can’t find them now because you can’t get them again.
JC - Yeah, but all of them were just a re-order of what we had existing. I know there are some that are really interesting and you’re like “Where did that come from?”
Krosuss - Do I have to run Lost Vale again and check the Armor Drops?
GG - No, because all the major Armor Sets are out there for you to view. What people will now have to do as a community is work to create a usable set of pictures of all the armor pieces. It’s already being worked on by some people in bits and pieces.
SE - That way you can all be collectively unique with the same armor appearances. Yeah!
JN - We have a guide list stickied on the forums with pictures of all the Armor Sets…
Krosuss - Yeah, from this guy? ~points at me~
JN - Yeah.
Krosuss - But they’re all the old Armor Sets.
GG - But those are all valid images. None changed. The key is, when they said they were going to reassign the art to those pieces, they didn’t. But those images are still in the world, you just now have to find them.
Sadaell - Essentially someone needs to make a Wiki with each different piece and say “Here’s where you can find this artwork”.
JC - Going back to that though, if there’s something you can only find on this item which you can only get at this level and that’s it and you think it’s really cool, tell us and maybe we’ll re-use it or make it available in a different form.
Artiee - Is there anything that you’ve developed that you were really surprised with how the players did it? Like, I’ve never really thought of doing it that way?
JC - I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but I’m sure there’s been one.
MW - I don’t have any examples, but it happens all the time.
JC - I’m surprised about all the people that wear the “Oh Pretty Flowers” Title that I put in.
Kesarin - I used that one on my Archmage for quite a while.
JC - I use the one for exposing yourself to NPCs.
Mykiel - A good example of using something unexpected was about two and a half weeks ago, someone made a post like “This is the most interesting way someone has ever talked to me” and it was screenshots of someone renaming their White Lion pet to talk to the other Realm saying stuff like “I’m going to beat your ass”.
GG - Yeah, they would change the Lion’s name and point to the Lion to get people to read it and then change it again.
JC - Wow…that’s pretty cool.
MW - That’s a good example.
JC - Yeah, that is a very good example.
GG - So, you guys don’t do the Grab Bags on the Herald anymore, but one of the Grab Bags…well, A: I’d like to see those return and I’m sure players would too…
~James Casey points at James Nichols~
GG - …and you just got thrown under the bus.
JC - Yeah, I point at him but eventually it’s going to come back to us because we’re going to be the ones giving him the answers.
GG - In a sense, it’s kind of handled by the Vent Q&As too, but the Grab Bag was on the Herald which was more visible.
JN - I will say that Andy and I have talked recently about how we’ve gotten a lot more participation with the community itself on the forums and in Vent during the PTS events but we do want to do a better job of getting that information from those extraneous areas to the Herald because we know there’s a lot of people that don’t have time to track all that down.
JC - Or at least draw attention to it, kind of like with the Blogger Role-Calls and the Pink for Tink stuff when they did that.
GG - So what brings me to that is that in one of those, somebody asked about the rowboat in Tier 2 Elf that has rats spawn on it and it was apparently hinted at as having a secret associated with it that had not yet been found by anyone in the game.
Artiee - Is that the boat you’re in on the picture on you blog?
GG - Yeah, that’s it. It’s on my blog right now. I’m standing in that boat.
JC - I’d have to look at that. I honestly don’t recall.
JN - Do you remember how long ago that was?
GG - I beg and plead, after two years, can we get a hint? :p Because there was no hint and Tome Hunters have been there and scoured and not been able to figure it out.
JC - I’m sure there’s something there, but I don’t remember what it is.
GG - Well, it’s just sitting there, but when you jump in it, rats spawn that attack you and you kill them but you don’t know if there’s a chain or do you need an item… There’s a lot of things in the game like that, but it’s never been discovered.
JC - Yeah, we can look that up. I just don’t remember what it would be. There are very obscure things out there. There’s one with a spawn of a skeleton that only spawns after so many other skeletons have died…
GG - There’s one like that with flamers in Tier 2 Empire.
Sadaell – There’s one with a skeleton that only spawns for 15 minutes at midnight in game-time.
JN - Is that it guys?
Mykiel - Well, do you guys have any questions for us?
Krosuss - What do the Devs want to know from us?
Mykiel - Hit us with some questions, we’ll answer. What do you want to know about WAR?
And that was that. There was a lot of random conversation and comments among the entire group of us during this interview that there was just no viable way for me to get into a typed transcript, so I stuck to the main parts as best I could. Like they say, sometimes you just have to be there. :p
Much thanks to the Bioware Mythic peeps for spending well over an hour chatting with all of us after the presentation.
Despite comments by some to the contrary, this was a lot of big news about WAR that people have been wanting to hear from them for a while now. People have wanted to know if WAR was viable/profitable enough to have any kind of expansion and this gave us an obvious and clear Yes in that regard. People have been wanting Skaven put into the game in some form for a while and now we know it’s coming. Not to mention the things brought up, but almost skimmed over in the Presentation like paid Server Transfers and Name Changes.
Don’t get me wrong, I want more information than this too, but this was leaps and bounds more than we’ve solidly known as a community for quite a while now and it will hopefully put a rest to some of the clueless trolls on the forums saying the game is over. Well, maybe I’m getting my hopes up too high. ;) Trolls suck.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to hearing more about all this over the coming months as I’m sure we all do. The word out of Gamescom was that we could expect these things around December-ish. While they wouldn’t even get that detailed with us in Baltimore, it makes sense based on their Patch cycle as of late. We just got 1.3.6 and 1.4 is next based on Carrie’s comments in the Vent Q&A. So with the 3-month-ish Patch cycle they’ve had, that would put it dropping around then and the RvR Packs would have to follow that since 1.4 would have to be in place with its changes before the Packs could really work the way they’re describing them.
Now, notice they wouldn’t come out and say those things when asked. This is guesstimating. However, historically, it’s been fairly easy to look at the patterns they present to us over time and make accurate estimates like this. So, barring any major delays, look for pics of me beating on people as a Skaven by the end of the year. :p Until next time…
OK, so I thought I was done but when I was proofreading I decided to see if Mykiel had put up a video of the presentation and ended up over at his Webcast site and there was a bit of chat conversation left over apparently from the live stream of the presentation. I couldn’t end this without addressing it directly from my point of view since I’m mentioned in it. Here’s the chat text:
martman3407: we have an annoucement… it is that we cannot annouce anything because marketing said so
Vhamp: well no suprise that was a dissapointed later all
GregWagingWAR: I feel bad for Gaar, Myk and Artie that they spent their time to travel to this conference for what was given.
GregWagingWAR: I feel bad for myself for the time I wasted watching it.
GregWagingWAR: I feel bad for the Warhammer community that this is what the game has come to.
martman3407: i feel for them the most
martman3407: and myself second, for staying up till 4;30am to see what they would say
Bootae: It’s a bit disrespectful to the effort made by their fans to attend and report on an event like this tbh
Salvos: what a mess
Where do I even start here?
1. There was a lot of stuff announced that we have not heard before at all. I talked about that a bit already so not going into it again.
2. If you were disappointed by the announcements made, good. Why is that good? It means you didn’t doubt the viability of the game like some did so an announcement that screams that the game is viable and profitable and will be providing new content in a customizable format wasn’t important to you because you’re already having fun. That or you just don’t care in general in which case nothing was going to satisfy you.
3. Greg, you can feel bad for yourself if you want, that’s your own choice to make. However, don’t dare to presume that I didn’t feel my time/money was well-spent traveling to Baltimore for this. Mainly because I didn’t go there just for that. I had a blast this weekend with WAR players at WAR Day Out and at Games Day. I loved seeing the tabletop games in all their glory and getting to experience the Games Workshop world, as it were. The Presentation and the Interview following that were also well worth my time/money in my opinion. Obviously it wouldn’t have been for you. But don’t speak for the rest of us.
As for your comment about feeling bad for the community? Wow. Yeah, I feel bad for a community that plays a game that’s gotten a free semi-expansion in the form of Land of the Dead, major upgrades to its RvR end-game with more on the way, upcoming RvR Packs that allow us to customize our experience and that model going forward which will allow for much quicker addition of expanded content to the game as opposed to the “wait 2 years for a major expansion” model other games have. /sarcasmoff
4. Bootae, it’s not disrespectful at all, in my opinion. They gave us exactly what they promised. They had a Presentation with major announcements of brand new information about the future of WAR and we got a separate private interview as well. While that may not be enough for some people apparently, it was more than enough for me and my time.
I think some perspective is needed here. Just because something big was announced but not fully doesn’t make the announcement any less valid or any less huge. Neither does it diminish the importance of the announcements made that were glossed over by the community in general that came out in the Presentation or the interviews. They are all things that make the future of WAR more promising than it was last week before we heard this. Period. Getting rid of that doubt for people is a big thing. Bigger than I think some people are realizing at the moment, but hopefully we’ll see the effects of that going forward. Especially with more information coming out of Games Day UK next month.