Citan Forum Posts
The Current Forum
The following are not all of Citan's posts, but just ones thought to be important for the future, sharing his vision, and clarifying some things. Please note that newer posts are listed higher in this list. Older information may be outdated.
- Guys, thanks for the feedback, but we need more to go on than "rubberbanding/lag". This is a dirty word among MMO developers because it's meaningless. There are a thousand things that players call lag, rubberbanding, etc. But they aren't all the same problem and they don't have the same solution. Without specific details, we can't fix anything. So please tell us exactly what you're experiencing. I can tell there are at least two utterly different issues in this thread alone.
- First, know that there is no player rubberbanding. (It's been disabled for over a year, and we aren't turning it back until other development is closer to finished.) That means that the server never moves your character without your client telling it to. In other words, if your character doesn't seem to move when you direct it to, or or moves erratically, that is never due to the network. It's always, 100%, due to the game client, and usually due to bad framerate. So if that's the symptom you're seeing, the first thing to ask is, what is your framerate when this happens? Turn on the FPS meter so you can tell us. Turn down the graphics settings and see if it continues.
- If it's something else, we really need to know what actual symptoms you're seeing. Are you seeing monsters skate back and forth along the ground? Monsters, unlike players, can be moved erratically by the server. But if you see that happening often, it's not likely to be your personal connection to the game -- that would probably be on our end. Our ISP has been doing work so that's entirely plausible, but we'd need to be able to give them specifics to help them fix it.
- Another case is that monsters stop moving or slow down fighting, like they become stuck in mud. That could definitely be due to your network connection. To track that down, we'd need to know your ping to the server, what country you're connecting from, and if you experience other corroborating symptoms, like a very slow login from the character-select screen. It might not be something we can fix right now, especially if you're on a different continent from us.
- But it might not be networking at all. It could be due to a bug related to your specific character or account -- we've seen that too during alpha. There's a ton of other possibilities. All options are on the table, but we can't fix "lag". We can only fix bugs.
- The more specific you can be, the better. Thanks!
- Real World Skills
- Nah, this is a case where it makes sense to have them separated. Much like we won't have one skill to make armor and weapons at the same time, we won't have a skill that augments all the slots at the same time. In some cases balance is much more important than the "fiction".
- The idea that, say, a leathersmith naturally can't also make swords is a fiction that happens to be useful for balance purposes. Leatherworkers obviously aren't metalsmiths, right? Even though, realistically speaking, the two skills will have very similar recipes.
- In this case, there's no real-world comparison to augmentation, and it seemed pointlessly complicated to try to invent four totally unique fictions. So there's one. But for balance purposes, they are separate skills and I want players to choose them separately. That's just the way it has to go sometimes to make balance work.
- Solo Content
- While grouping should be the most efficient way to get gear, I want soloing to be viable at all levels and I agree that it's too slow to get gear while soloing at some level ranges. We'll be working on this in the future, though I'm not sure yet what form that will take.
- Hard Bard
- To repeat, again: bard is supposed to be moderately hard to level. Because we don't need 5,000,000 low-level bards in the world, so it should be something you have to work a bit for. That's how you gate things in a game where everybody can be everything: are you willing to spend a few hours to get there? If not, use Sword, it's great and it doesn't require any extra work.
- As to "what about bards requires you to grow plants", well, my idea of a bard is somebody who likes nature, so I picked nature-oriented skills. Maybe it's too hard to level right now, maybe it's too easy. It's alpha, and those are prototype prereqs. Again, we'll be revising all skill's prerequisites into their final forms in late beta after more skills are online. I don't know what the final prerequisites will be for bard, of course, because we don't know which skills will make the cut. I usually toss out about half the skills that get prototyped, so we'll just have to see. There are no planned changes any time in the near future, though we can tweak the temporary settings up or down if they've proven to be too tough.
- Market Stalls
- The reason the market stalls are chopped up the way they are is for occlusion culling. Basically, it's so that your framerate doesn't go even worse than it already does in there. When more optimizations are in place, I hope we can improve the layout, but we can't right now.
- More Inventory Problems
- What are you overcoming by having, say, 10 extra inventory slots? You don't overcome anything. The inventory is still much smaller than you want it to be.
- There is no artificial shortage: I'm giving out as many inventory slots as I think players should have. I didn't make that number artificially small. I assume the average player won't spend a dime beyond their purchase price, and I want the game to be fun for them.
- But I expect we'll need continuing money to keep developing the game in the long term, so we'll give players small benefits for paying a monthly subscription. I don't know if those benefits will include inventory slots, but if so, they won't get a lot of slots. It sure won't be enough to make players happy with how the current inventory system works!
- So the difference between what you're saying and what I'm saying is not semantics: it's scope. You will never be able to buy your way out of inventory management problems! But those inventory problems are real problems with the game, and I intend to improve them in the future. I definitely don't intend to let you solve the game's inventory hassles by giving me extra money. I'm insulted by the idea that I'm making the game extra crappy in order to get extra money. I'm just not finished yet. There's a lot more work to do.
- We can talk about other topics in other threads; this one is already pretty chaotic. The short answer to "why are some skills gated by other skills" is... that's the sort of game I want to play, so it's the game I've made.
- Player Population
- First, there's absolutely no reason we can't reach 1000 concurrent users. That's a very modest goal. We had 250+ concurrent users TWO YEARS AGO, the last time we did a small marketing push. Those players ran out of content and wandered away a few months later, and we haven't done much to bring new users in, because the game isn't finished yet. But I am going to finish the game.
- And when the game is finished, if we can't get a measly 1000 concurrent users at peak play hour, then the game will have failed, and we will have to shut it all down. We can't even cover costs with the current user base. But I'm not fretting about it right now, because we aren't trying to bring in new players. Because the game is not finished.
- So no, I'm not going to spend any time making your life easier right now. I know Alpha is hard because there's no players to buy or sell to. You can either deal with those frustrations, or not, that's up to you.
- But seriously. Cut it with the p2w bullshit. Suggesting that a few inventory slots is p2w is VERY insulting. You insinuate you've played p2w games, but a p2w game requires thousands of dollars investment to win. It won't even be possible to spend thousands on this game after launch. So it will obviously not be p2w. And since "this game is going to be p2w" is pretty much the most insulting thing you can say to me, you need to stop, please.
- Edit: I reread your post and I think it's best that we admit this is not your game. You actually think I'm making game design decisions in order to bilk money out of people... that shows such a lack of trust that I don't think we need you here any more. Your feedback has helped in the past, but it's time to admit that this is not the game for you. Go play something fun! Something without any crafting!
- Storage Slots, P2W, and Inventory.
- Actually, I haven't ruled out selling a few slots. It may happen. But if you think that's what "pay to win" means, you're wrong. Look, this thread already set me off on a bad foot by calling me Hitler -- as you no doubt know, that term "pay to win" is very offensive to game designers, and this thread is already Godwinned. Calling my game p2w shows a deep misunderstanding of what the term means.
- P2W means pay to WIN. Have you ever played a p2w game? Try beating the best players in a p2w game without paying lots of cash. You literally can't. P2W means that to be competitive, in whatever form competition takes, you have to pay more.
- That is not what's going to happen here.
- "But slots are power!" no. Stop it. That argument is nonsense. People don't seem to understand just how many items are in the game, and how many more are coming. At least 1000 more types of items.
- Let me repeat: THERE WILL BE AT LEAST 1000 MORE TYPES OF ITEMS. Probably far more than that.
- You will not be able to store all the items. Even if you send me $1,000,000 and the deed to your house.
- My job as a designer is to convince you to sell your shit. Not hoard it. I am working on tools to help, and that's a major focus on game systems going forward.
- I will have tools that show you exactly what each item does, and help you quickly determine if it's something you'll likely need in the near future. If not, you will need to sell it, and I will make it easier to sell your items.
- I will NOT be giving you inventory slots to store all the items you want to store. Not ever. I simply can't, and I wouldn't want to if I could. I want you to sell shit, because that's the only way the economy will work.
- Why more items? Because it will make your life easier in the long run. As we progress into beta, individual items will fill FEWER roles than they do now, not MORE roles. That will help you make decisions faster. Right now, say you find a piece of worthless green glass, and you know it's used in three or four alchemy recipes. You go "Eh, I may need this some day" and you spend 30 minutes trying to store it somewhere. (Hint: you don't need it.) In the future, the game will make it as clear as I can make it that you should sell it. The green glass won't secretly have a special use at level 502 that compels you to save it forever just in case. All of its uses will be listed when you right-click the item.
- I'm hoping that simplifying items' roles will help. But it will also mean there are a lot more items, because we won't reuse items as much. And there are a LOT more skills coming, all of which have their own items. So you will never be able to store all the items you want to store.
- If I add a few more storage slots as part of the monthly VIP pass, or some other little thing, it will be a small benefit, and it won't scale -- you won't be able to just keep buying slots. In other words, it will not solve many players' fundamental desire, which is to store literally every single valuable thing you find, and conveniently to boot. You will not be able to do that. If that's a deal-breaker for you, I can accept that, and you should look for another game.
- But if your main inventory concern is that it's just hard to manage, I agree, and as I've said before, we're going to improve things. We'll be addressing problems like these:
- it's hard to tell what items will be useful to you in the near term, - hard to find where you left your stuff, - hard to find a buyer for your items, - hard to clear out your inventory quickly so you can go adventuring
- Stay tuned and please be patient. We will be working on those problems in lots of ways during beta.
- Battle Chem & Bard Prereqs
- Some of the existing prerequisites will probably be replaced with different craft skills in late beta, after another 20 or so craft skills come online. For now they've been chosen because they make the difficulty curve about right. Bard is supposed to be moderately hard to level.
- (This also applies to some of Battle Chemistry's leveling prerequisites.)
- Carrot Power
- You don't need carrots to use Carrot Power. All higher level veggies can be converted to rabbit treats, and rabbit treats act as carrots for the purposes of Carrot Power. You are not supposed to actually eat the rabbit treats.
- And yes, it's still a hard-to-use ability. In some ways it sucks to be a rabbit.
- Knife Offhand
- Knife will in fact eventually be main hand / off hand. Daggers for main hand and shivs will be off-hand. We don't have the animations for it at the moment, and it's not really a high priority during alpha, but it will happen.
- Weekend Events
- Glad you're enjoying them! We pretty much expect to keep doing weekend events forever, or at least as long as they're seen as fun bonuses. I mean, players might get burned out on them, start taking them too much for granted, and need some time off. But I'm hoping we can create a large enough repertoire of events that we can keep them varied and interesting for a long time.
- (And we do plan to do occasional mid-week events as well, for those who can't play on weekends. But not until launch, as we don't have the time to coordinate more events right now.)
- Ursula Bartering
- All her trades are pretty simple stuff, like a spoon for a femur. The most useful to my mind would be either the goblin hairpin for ivory mandibles (swapping one gift item for a different one), or maybe the ones that give you crossing/uncrossing oil for favor. But they're not very impressive trades from a monetary point of view.
- The thing is that we want people to eventually GET RID of the Ursula curse -- I don't want people telling newbies that the "right" way to play to is "always get the Ursula curse on every character because of [the chance for X special thing]". So it's unlikely we'll make her trades more exciting for higher-level players.
- We might make her trades more useful for low-level players, though -- although I don't know what that would look like at the moment.
- Only the three intermediary vegetable items are being removed. We may remove fillets eventually, but probably not any time soon. The fillet recipes give scales, which are useful, while the three recipes being removed don't do anything useful except add extra clicks to the cooking process. (They made sense once, but not anymore.)
- Skill Level at Launch
- At launch we expect the combat skills to scale to 100, plus 25 points of synergy bonuses, for a "max level " of 125. (There will be more than 25 available synergy points for each skill, so that you can pick and choose which ones you want to earn. But only the first 25 synergy skill points count.)
- I've occasionally talked about the possibility of skills going to 125 base, plus 25 synergy, for a total of 150, but I suspect that'll happen post-launch.
- There will be other ways to advance your character beyond that -- sort of "alternate advancement" if you like. One of the ways I've talked about is "Master Abilities", which are more-powerful versions of normal abilities, earned by killing elites. I'm not sure if that specific idea will end up in the final game -- I prototyped that idea but decided it was super dull, so it's still sitting on the back-burner -- but there will be some mechanisms, whatever form they end up taking.
- Undead Necromancers
- Necromancy already has it pretty good in this department -- they have Necromancy Orbs at all level tiers, plus various items with necro gems in them as an added bonus. This makes them vastly more versatile than, say, Sword, already.
- A living necromancer will always need a focus item to control the undead. Perhaps if you were undead yourself, that would be different...
- Race Development Update
- Shieldbreaker's links are a good starting point for this topic. I can give some updates on the race development: basically, fairies are blocked by other things that need to be done first.
- Fae - We now have the needed fairy animations (just the bare-bones necessities of flying, landing, etc.), but I still need to figure out some of the systems involved in fighting-while-flying. Because it's insanely abusable atm. Fae also have a custom death system, and to integrate that into the game I need to finish changing the REGULAR player death system -- that is, changing how "Enter the Light" works, among other things. But I know that players use "Enter the Light"'s infinite-travel-back-to-Serbule feature as a fast-travel system, and I don't want to diminish that until we have other travel tools in the game. So I've been pushing on getting travel systems in. The biggest remaining one is horses -- at this point I think horses probably have to happen before fairies. And horses have their own set of bottlenecks -- the new GUI has to come online before horses, for instance. So I don't know when fairies will be ready. Their newbie area also needs lots more development, but that's fairly straightforward. (And interesting -- they have an unusual home place.)
- Orc - here we ran into problems with our plans of using Gazluk as the newbie area. Basically, I want to let new orcs run around inside Gazluk Keep -- but it can't be the REAL Gazluk Keep, because (for instance) there's valuable level 70 loot just lying around in there. I'd planned to make an alternate version of the place, with different spawns and stuff for the new orcs. But the tech to do that optimally ended up being tricky, because other technical features need to be completed first. Orcs are still likely to be the first new race to come online, though.
- Dwarf - not very far developed yet and will almost certainly be the last of the three to come online.
- It's true, this is a significant oversight for bats. Bats were introduced before we decided animals should have weapon-slot gear, and I guess they never got retrofitted when we redid the other animals.
- This will be addressed at some point relatively soon -- when I do the next batch of treasure mod work -- but unfortunately it's not as easy as banging out a few new items. There really are no bat-specific treasure mods for those slots, so they need to be invented, and (if it ends up like pig, cow, etc.), we'll need to shuffle some of the existing bat mods around to other slots. Which will cause gear to go Legacy. So it'll be messy, but hopefully not too disruptive.
- Mushroom Box Restock
- If you return to the same mushroom box BEFORE its timer is expired, you should be able to start another crop of mushrooms. If you return AFTER the timer (e.g. on hour 13 of a 12-hour box) all you can do is harvest the existing crop. That's the intended behaviour, anyway! It may be buggy.
- Launch Wipe
- We are wiping items and probably NPC favor levels, possibly favor-quests... the exact list hasn't been decided. But what we have always said would NOT be wiped is skills. Your skill levels will continue into the live game. People who say otherwise are trolling you or are very confused.
- (Edit: and we're not wiping things at Beta, only at launch. Beta will start when the game is on Steam Early Access -- relatively soon. Launch is when the game is out of early access -- probably late 2018.)
- Gear Switching
- The game balance is designed around not being able to switch weapons or gear (or combat skills or ability bars!) during combat. That's why we allow you to wield both a bow and a sword at the same time -- so you don't have to switch.
- If there are cases where you CAN switch gear, those are bugs.
- Group Dungeons
- First, I want to clarify that I'm talking about the three "group dungeons". (Dark chapel, minotaur dungeon, and Gazluk Keep.) There's also lots of work to be done with the other content in the game -- especially low level content. But that's somewhat tangential here. Someone mentioned the Serbule Crypt -- that's probably the weirdest of the game's dungeons because it's literally 5 years old. It's the only dungeon from "pre-alpha 0" to still exist. It's been the testing bed for all sorts of things, so it has small group encounters, large group encounters, solo areas, quest NPCs, and a ridiculously large level spread of 25 levels (level 5 monsters in the front door and level 30 bosses at the very bottom). It's been the place we figured out how the game works. And as we understand how the game works better, I plan to redo all of the dungeon's content during beta. It'll have a much more specific level range -- maybe levels 15-20, something like that.
- So if you're concerned about low-level content -- that's completely understandable. And we would love feedback on the existing content! (Not in this thread, though, please.) We're working on a bunch of new low-level content that will be added to South Serbule soon, including several large dungeons. So even if we don't immediately change the existing content, we're taking lessons from that content as we move forward.
- So about these group dungeons -- I don't mean to say that reducing group size is a magical fix for grouping. It's definitely something I'm considering, but it's just one of a LONG list of steps I'm considering. (Beta will be chock full of changes in this area.) My point is mainly that INCREASING the group size would be steering us in the wrong direction.
- What sort of changes will we see here eventually? I'm not sure of all the steps yet. But we'll definitely see a lot of ability and treasure rebalancing. The sheer number of offensive mods a player can have right now makes the "large group of glass cannons" approach always viable, and that makes it hard to support other combat roles -- without REQUIRING those roles. (The last support skill, Priest, is waiting in the wings, because right now there's not enough "room" in groups for pure healers -- and Priests lack the offensive versatility of the other support skills like Druid.) I'd like for players to have less DPS overall, and for group monsters to hit harder and have more weird powers -- and give players more ways to counter those powers. But obviously that will require a lot of balancing.
- For related reasons, I'm considering rewriting how buffs work. Originally I expected all group content to be 3-man groups, and although that's changed, buffs are still balanced around 3-man groups! In a six-person group, most buffs are literally twice as good as I expect them to be.
- So I'm thinking about other ways to implement buffs. Instead of "everybody in the group gets 25% melee evasion", maybe it's "the first X people that are attacked get melee evasion" or something like that. I need a system that scales better, from solo up to the largest group size. I don't know what the answer is yet though.
- A lot of the steps we need to take aren't fully obvious yet because there's not enough players doing group dungeons. The group dungeons require higher-level players, and there just aren't a lot of those in the same level range at the same time. I do get some very valuable anecdotal info, but that only lets me make changes a few times. Without a constant stream of people running a dungeon -- dozens of groups every day -- it'll be impossible to keep them in sync with the rest of the game's changes. (This is also true for much of the game's economy: "needs more people".)
- That's why we're working as hard as possible to get the game ready for Steam ASAP. (Of course, the presentation needs to be the best we can manage before we put it up on Steam -- but we're working very hard to get there.) When the game is on Steam, with the new GUI in place, we'll consider the game in "beta", and that's when all the fun balancing work can REALLY begin in earnest.
- For now, these are just pain points we'll have to deal with. But it will get better. Content difficulty won't ever be as tight as it is in some games, because we're so free-form that it's impossible to predict a group's exact capabilities. But it will be BETTER than it is now. Both for soloing and for grouping!
- (Also: often when I post more than once in a thread, it kills discussion. That sucks. I don't mean to dissuade people from posting here! I wanted to weigh in, but I'd love to hear more feedback.)
- Public Bug List?
- No, there's not a public list of bugs, that is a very difficult thing to maintain and we don't have the manpower for it. (We can only barely keep up with our internal bug DB, which is full of private player info, personal conversations, etc.)
- Please report any bugs that you see! Even if the bug has been reported before, multiple reports are a HUGE help because we prioritize based on the number of people reporting it. It also helps us correlate details to help track down what's going on. But really, the prioritization thing is a BIG deal. The only way we can tell if a bug is bothering somebody is if they report it.
- I'm not sure why you can't see your pins, maybe they're blending into the image or maybe they'd be visible if you made the map window larger. Anyway, there's an alpha-tester debugging command you can use to fix it: in the chat box type "/mapclear". It will wipe all your map pins from all your maps.
- But a group of six already steamrolls existing content. So I've been thinking smaller, not larger. How the heck would I make content for 8 people that's engaging and interesting when I haven't managed it reliably with 6 yet?!
- This seems like a "we can be more inclusive while we steamroll through content, yay" thing. I'm not interested in that. The point of group dungeons is to provide interesting adventures, and I need to reach that goal of being interesting and compelling.
- But don't worry, we will find other ways and places for large groups (like guilds) to have fun together later. (That's, frankly, pretty easy compared to getting small-group difficulty right.)
- TCP Port
- At the moment we're only using TCP port 9002. (We have in the past used UDP 9002 also, and may again in the future, but we don't right now.)
- Vanity Slots
- We don't have any solid plans for this, but I kinda-sorta expect to implement vanity armor slots as part of the "VIP package" -- the optional monthly subscription that gives you some little extra perks and features. I haven't planned out how they would work, but I liked the EQ2 system and thought it worked pretty well.
- Personal Quests
- Right now, I'm sticking to "personal quests", where each player gets their own copy of the quest and can complete it at their own pace. I really like the idea of "group events", and it's in the plans to support them, but right now the tech isn't ready yet. The existing "group quests" (guild quests and druid-event quests) each have some specialized code hacked in just for them, and they aren't very reusable for other activities yet. That will change as we progress with other content... and actually, I could "fake it" by using an NPC to tally completions, such as "NPC Bob needs 500 people to complete this solo quest" -- that would be a sort of hybrid solo-group activity. But for the next few events, I'm just going to stick to fairly straightforward solo-able quests.
- Drop Rates
- Frankly, you'll just have to trust me that we already give you the very best info I have available. I think some of that should be obvious. I mean, in your example about making cheese more valuable, I was summarizing my specific recipe changes. Remember the list of exactly which recipes were changed? That's what I was referring to.
- We don't give drop-rate changes in exact percentages because I don't know those percentages. The systems don't work on percents or anything like them. They're complex nested tables with complex weighting systems that can vary per player and per monster. They work well, but they're hard to talk about. So I tell you what I know: something changed by a lot or by a little. That's what we got, so that's what you get.
- In general, the answer is always the same: we're doing our best to give you info. If there are places where just a day or three could dramatically improve the info we give you... those days have already been spent. We give out detailed JSON files with a tremendous amount of game data in them. As for testing, I spend much of my time writing automatic validation, because we have no dedicated QA personnel. But not everything can be automated or easily turned into numbers. I know that more info would always be useful, but there's not a lot of big easy-to-digest tables of numbers we're secretly hoarding over here.
- This is an ongoing project, and that includes our data and analysis tools. I've already talked about various improvements coming, including more logging, more JSON files, more automated testing that will rule out a lot more bug cases. But right now, right today, this is what we have. Please give the best feedback you can given what you know. That's all we can ask.
- Elf Options
- They come from different countries, but there's currently no in-game difference (and the eventual difference will be minimal -- backstory differences).
- Game Changes
- The other thing to remember here is that the complexities of the game mean there's lots of manual work involved. For example, I've tried to manually adjust recipes that use cheese-based ingredients to have something else nice going for them, to justify that extra work. But it's an entirely manual process. I may have missed some, not done enough, etc. Saying "high level recipes aren't good enough" doesn't help me fix any recipes. For people skimming this post, let me emphasize that point: Since almost all of the game's content is made by hand, I can't just change a number somewhere to fix all the problems -- I need to know what specifically needs fixing. That may be the value of certain items, the rarity, the potency (when eaten or used), the gifting potential, so on and so forth.
- Ability Damage
- Thanks for the feedback! We'll look at some balancing issues in a little while -- unfortunately nothing is as simple as it looks; boosting base ability damage would lower the potency of the mods, because they're all intertwined. But base damage itself is only a small part of the puzzle, and I suspect the bigger issue is a lack of synergies with other skills. For instance, Venomstrike is really designed to work with other gear that boosts indirect poison damage. What other skills are you using with it?
- Baking System
- Also, the "cruel" description of the baking system comes from srand after she heard the plans. I never intentionally make cruel designs on purpose! But I want different crafting skills to fit different kinds of player personalities.
- This one's not for everybody, but I think it's actually easier than, say, cheesemaking... as long as you're patient and good at timing things.
- Resource Bars
- I've basically held off on using stuff like a Rage meter because I don't want to add yet another meter to the game. Even if you don't count the metabolism bar (since it can be turned off), three resource bars is already a lot!
- I may eventually just say "screw it" and add some more resource bars, and Rage is a good choice... but for now I'm trying to work with the bars we have.
- The exact features of ensouling are still in flux so I don't want to say much about it right now, but you can't do anything with souls right now. But you will in the future! And yeah, sentient weapons are one of the ways that can go.
- But I will spoil a tiny easter egg on that particular claw, because I'm not sure how well it works: it is supposed to be able to emote in text, making hissing sounds, purring, mewling, etc. depending on what you're doing (and whether you're paying it enough attention). It's very similar to how ur-bacon can talk. But I'm not sure if it's noticeable enough. Have you ever seen it happen? I want it to be very occasional, not more than once every hour or two, but happen enough to notice if you carry the item around a while.
- (The chance of it happening is actually higher than Ur-Bacon, but people usually carry a big stack of ur-bacon, which is why it seems so chatty... each strip has a chance of talking.)
- I should mention again that we're also planning some bigger storage-management features as well. The biggest feature is that all the storage boxes in a particular land area (e.g. Serbule) will be accessible from a tabbed GUI interface, letting you quickly manage all of them without having to run from building to building. It will be a while before that feature's ready, but we're slowly evolving things in the back end to make that possible.
- Missing Blog
- We don't have time to keep the wordpress blog software (and its plug-ins) up to date, and after it got hacked for the second time in a year, we just took it down. But we'll bring it back eventually!
- Scamming, Success, and "Being a Dick"
- Since this thread seems to somehow just keep going, I figured I'd weigh in with some thoughts.
- First, I don't want scamming in the game, where players lose items or valuables to other players due to trickery. That's a form of PvP, really: it's tricking another player and causing them misery for your joy. It's a terrible fit for this PvE game.
- However, unless we're a crazy-huge success, I can't imagine having the personnel to deal with a huge number of scamming complaints. A few, sure, but a ton? No. So we'll need to do our best to make the game scam-resistant via tech. But that's often MUCH harder than it sounds, though -- for instance, letting people craft something with your materials, then give you the result, while making sure nobody steals anything or changes anything up in the process? VERY hard. Not on my immediate todo list. Maybe not happening ever. Instead, we've moved toward more scam-resistant game systems, like augment gems. Augmentation has that extra step in the middle of the process specifically to make it easier to trade them. In time I expect more systems to work like that.
- And of course, when that fails, we'll just ban for griefing. I realize that right now, someone who's banned could just make a new account, but when we're on Steam and B2P, banning is a significant deterrent.
- Lastly, I want to talk about the broader topic of "being a dick". Scamming is one way of being a dick, and it's not allowed. But there are a few ways of being a dick that ARE allowed. These are basically practical-joke level dickishness. They involve tricking other players, but they aren't scams, because there aren't huge or devastating consequences for the victim.
- An example is poisoned food. You can poison food with iocaine powder and give that food to other players. They can eat it and DIE. That makes you a dick, but it's really not that big a deal to die in Project: Gorgon. Even if you're Hardcore Mode, you'd just go get your stuff. It's a prank.
- Another example? Words of power. You can be a dick and trick people by giving them bad words of power. Trick somebody into dying with one? Ha ha, you're a dick, but it's okay. However, there are exceptions even here. Tricking newbies into saying a word of power that gives them Leprosy (a much worse fate than death)? That's not a practical joke: it might make the newbie unable to play until somebody cures them. That's way too dickish. On the other hand, tricking a level 100 player with leprosy? Eh... it's not as dickish because it doesn't impact them nearly as much.
- Some people like to say "if the game allows it, it should be okay", but that attitude is how you get shitty, limited, boring, terrible games. For instance, bad names: we don't allow you to call people names in chat. You can exclaim "motherfucker!" once in a while, we don't mind that, but you can NEVER say "you're a motherfucker" to another player. It's true that the game technically lets you do it, but that's because the alternative would be horrible draconian chat filtering.
- Another example? Stealing kills. A high-level player can follow a newbie around and steal their kills just for laughs. That's not a joke, it's griefing, and obviously against the terms of service. The game technically allows it because the alternative would be draconian locale-restrictions that would make the game suck.
- The point is that I'm not making a game for children, so I'm not willing to take out all the fun things in the game just to prevent people going over the line. That means you can't use the notion of "if the game allows it, it's okay". If you go over the line, we'll just have to ban you, even though the game technically allowed you to do it.
- I also realize that some people have a hard time with social concepts like "practical jokes". (I'm not being snide or sarcastic here -- it can be tough for some people.) If you can't tell the difference between a practical joke and griefing, you should avoid doing either so that you don't get banned. We're not going to try to list every possible joke, or where the lines are. If you don't think you can tell where the line is... just don't do it at all.
- Flammable Dwarves
- Hundred-year-old beard hair goes up like kindling!
- Optional Cursor
- An optional custom cursor is on the to-do list. It's pretty far down the list, but it will happen eventually!
- Treasure System
- Hey guys, when it comes to the treasure system, I usually need VERY specific info, right down to the exact mods, monsters, items, and skills in question.
- I'll use the discussion about transmutation as an example. You say there aren't enough mods showing up when Transmuting? There's at least three possible causes for that:
- It could be because the item is designed for lower-level monsters but is being dropped by a high-level monster by mistake. In that case, the item's internal "points" won't be enough to afford good high-level mods, so all it can afford is a few crappy ones. If that's the case, the problem is that the monster shouldn't drop that item! I'd need to know what exact item it is, what level mods of it has, the item's skills, and what monster you got it from.
- But that's only one possibility. Mods can have rarity restrictions -- a few mods can only show up on Epic and Legendary items. If the item's rarity isn't good enough, Transmuting will never give those mods. But that's rare, since only a few mods are set up that way.
- Much more common is that its dice-roll weight is too low or too high. Each mod has its own chance of showing up, and some mods are intentionally MUCH more common than others. For instance, the mods that boost base-damage multiplier are 5x to 10x more common than other mods. So sometimes, what you're seeing is intentional. But sometimes I just didn't set a number right somewhere. To find that, I'd again need to know everything about what you're doing, and which mods you're seeing in Transmute, and which ones you think you should be able to, but are never showing up.
- There's lots of other possible causes, too. Without a really thorough report, I can't do much. I know it's tough to get all the info, but it's necessary because the treasure system is SUPER complicated. It's a huge part of the game, and it does a LOT of things! There's literally 100,000+ numbers involved in there, so finding a bad number is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
- All possible buffs and benefits will be brewable by every player. The recipes to get those results will just be different!
- Performance Problems
- Let me rein the problem in a little here: there are lots of known performance problems! But most are caused by problems with the assets or the level design -- there's too many visible monsters around the lake in south serbule, for instance. Those will get fixed in time. Even I get framerate spikes when turning in Serbule and South Serbule (more often at high graphics settings than low). But my FPS display bobbles when that happens, at least a little bit.
- prior to the April 1 update, the game did in fact load every asset it could need when you entered each zone. And with an 8gb video card you wouldn't have needed to even swap assets. After the April 1 update, it loads-on-demand for some resources, but slowdowns due to loading would definitely be visible in the FPS display. (And a little hourglass would appear in the top right for a split second -- near where the "sprinting" and "in combat" icons are.) What FPS do you get when it ISN'T locking up?
- The FPS display not hiccuping is a big clue because it rules out a lot of causes. Hm, it could be caused by constant exceptions in the client's main thread, maybe -- can you grab the output_log.txt from your installation and email it to email@example.com? It might have a clue. (It'll be in a subfolder of wherever the game has been downloaded to -- but NOT the patcher's output_log.txt, that's just for the patcher program.)
- Bat Form
- I wanted to drop a note about the bat form. The old bat was a store-bought model -- we use third-party art for a lot of our monsters, and then alter them as needed -- that lacked some of the technical bits that would make it look good in the future. As we slowly evolve the game's graphical assets, we need to phase out models that lack things like normal-maps, because eventually they'd stick out really badly. SO! When the artist who made the original bat had an "upgraded" version of the bat, we grabbed it, because it has the missing technical bits. However, it wasn't an upgrade -- it turned out to be a complete remake.
- It's hard to gauge the overall popularity of this model versus the other, especially since the old one isn't readily available to look at. But I'll keep listening (in this thread and others). In the last major update, I turned off the blood on the bat's fur. Whether this is an improvement or not is up in the air -- what's your opinion?
- I'm hopeful that we can make this bat work, but if not, there are some other third-party bat models out there that might work, and of course we do have monsters custom-made for us -- though the queue for customization is pretty long, so a fully custom bat wouldn't happen soon.
- As always, we're reading even when not responding, so keep giving feedback! Thanks!
- Skill Purpose
- In general the question "why does one skill work differently than another" comes down to design intent and balance concerns. In this case, I wanted to give support characters another interesting choice for offhand weapon without requiring them to drop one of their two main combat skills. If you're building a mentalism+psychology healing setup (for instance) and decided you wanted some extra ranged power, crossbow is for you.
- Remember that there will be literally hundreds of sidebar abilities in the final game and most of them won't be useful to every player. If every sidebar ability was useful to every player in every situation, then only the six "best" abilities would get used. Right? So let's not do that. Over time there will be lots of powers with different requirements and restrictions.
- Thanks guys. The ten-second thing seems like it might be relevant somehow -- there is a ten-second check in a certain situation (mainly, part of the PvP in-combat checks)... I can't see how it would apply when fighting monsters, but if it's lasting exactly ten seconds, that's a pretty interesting clue. I'm exploring that part of the code now.
- The intention is that you should stop being in-combat about 4 seconds after killing the last monster that knows about you. Regarding groups, anyone in the group who's "in combat" will keep all nearby group members in combat. That's by design to prevent exploitable situations (such as when a support character has basically infinite Power by staying out of combat the whole time). For similar reasons, if your pet is in combat, so are you, and vice versa.
- DoTs that monsters put on you are supposed to keep you in combat. But DoTs you apply to monsters should only keep you in combat until the monster dies.
- Combat System
- As you know, we're still working on the in-combat system, specifically in making combat end quickly. But finding the exact scenarios that cause problems are difficult. Most reports are just "I'm in combat too long", which doesn't help us any. We need specifics! We need to work out the situations where it's happening so we can fix them.
- First step is to see WHY you are in combat. Hover your mouse over the "in combat" icon at the top right of the screen. It will say, for instance, "You are in combat with Rat and two other enemies" or whatever. How long does it stay that way? Is it just one creature, far away, keeping you in combat? Does the rat ever show up? What is going on? Do you see a pattern?
- The more details you can give, the better we can work on the problems. Thanks!
- Direct Damage
- The way it works is this: "direct" damage is the number at the top of the ability description. If it says it does 500 damage, that's direct damage. "Indirect" damage is damage added on from other sources. If it says at the bottom of the ability "deals 40 damage over 10 seconds", that's always indirect damage. Direct = the attack's actual damage, indirect = anything else.
- : It's still pretty fuzzy, but I haven't figured out a better terminology yet. I considered calling all the indirect types by other names, so direct fire damage would be Fire and indirect would be Heat damage (for instance). The problem there is that we have buffs that boost all direct or indirect damage types. So giving them other names just seems to make things more confusing, not less.
- : It's still a problem I'm mulling over, I'm sure there's a better presentation than we're using now, I just don't know what it is yet.
- Bug Report Time
- We're a tiny team, just a couple of people. We try to read over bug tickets daily, but we can't possibly respond to a ticket within minutes or hours or sometimes even days. And frankly, dealing with tickets like yours, that don't actually have a bug, are very low priority. This is alpha, the game is very far from being finished, and the top priority is finishing the game. So alpha testers must have patience -- that's a requirement of playing at this time.
- : We've never banned anyone due to the contents of a single bug report, regardless of what it says (so far, at least), but sending in DOZENS of back-to-back tickets is intentionally clogging up our ticket system, and that wastes our precious development time. So stop it.
- : Then you broke the code of conduct by trying to raise shit about a ban on the forums and in chat. Milking bans for drama always makes things worse, not better, so we don't allow it. This isn't some crazy new idea -- "don't bitch about bans on the game's forums" is hardly some weird new rule you've never seen before. So stop it. If you disagree with a ban you should contact firstname.lastname@example.org so we can review it.
- Trash Loot
- Also, just a note on "trash monsters" -- there are some trash monsters, but Elites are never trash. They drop top-tier equipment and have a chance for top-rarity mods. Even if the only thing your group can do in GK is kill elite monsters, you will still accumulate great loot and wealth, and that's by design. I know rewards are always perceived relative to other rewards, but elites are NOT trash in my book!
- Behaviour Report
- Thanks for the feedback and help with playtesting this! I've made some small tweaks to the /behaviorreport command for the next snapshot, and will be adding some more functionality to make it easier to do these in the future. But I could still use more ideas regarding how to keep egregious "twinking" behavior from running rampant -- it's a shared world, so some level of interaction is going to be unavoidable even in a "challenge" contest like this, but I'd like to come up with some ways to reduce its impact, or at least tell when it's happened. (The most important "twinking" scenario being "a high-level guy goes ahead of you and kills the bosses in a dungeon, so you get credit for killing bosses without being in any real danger." And similar scenarios.) If you have ideas that aren't in the thread yet, please voice them!
- : Also congrats to Cocytus, who is the winner of the unofficial contest!
- Ring of Fire
- The effects are rolled separately, so you have two separate 5% chances to take damage when you use the ability. (It's rolled per ability use, not per target). I suspect what you're seeing is just one of the mods going off (the 128 one), but your indirect boost is applied, like this:
- : 128 * 1.96 (your indirect fire mod) = 250
- : 250 - 32 (your indirect + generic fire mitigation) = 218
- Yep, you're allowed to stream the game on twitch or put gameplay footage on Youtube. We ask that you mention in the title or description that it's alpha footage; otherwise there aren't any requirements or limitations.
- Well, no system is perfect, but I actually found the opposite. As a templar in EQ2 I routinely helped out others, just for the sake of being nice, and because of the locking system, it was understood as a nice gesture instead of an attempt to steal a kill.
- : In Gorgon right now, you can "help" somebody, but if you do more damage than them against a solo creature, you stop being a helper and start becoming a kill-stealer. And since XP is split right now, many players will resent your "help" because you're inevitably slowing down their leveling.
- : I guess the bottom line is that the current system is obviously not going to cut it in the long term because the loot system heavily rewards mega-groups. Mega-groups are actually really boring, even if the rewards are good. It's not healthy for the long-term of the game. The best system I've seen is EQ2s. If you have other systems to propose, that's cool and I'm all ears! But we can't stay with the exact system we have now forever.
- Hey guys, love getting feedback but this thread feels very vague. It'd be really useful if people gave any sort of specifics. "Zerging" where? What levels are you? How many people are involved? Without specifics I can't give specific feedback. Here's some general feedback that I've posted before on the old forums (more or less):
- : Some low-level dungeons, I honestly don't care if you bum-rush them with a million people. If a high-level player wants to organize a bunch of newbies to kill Gajus? I can't really bring myself to give a crap. It's not important in the scheme of things. But if you're doing high-level content in groups of eight or ten, that's a bigger problem, one that we're aware of and that's on our to-do list to fix.
- : My current plan is to basically use EQ2's system: hunting groups have a max of 6 people, monsters become "loot-locked" (and XP-locked) to the first person or group that attacks them, and a little icon shows that the monster is locked. There are simple level-range restrictions on the group, as well, to keep a level 100 from carrying a group of 50s. This system works well for keeping the game's challenge level up. But it has down sides, mainly that you HAVE to group up in order to share loot and XP from a monster -- casual "nearby grouping" stops working. It also opens up some dumb abuse situations, like "high level guy runs to boss and keeps him perma-locked for hours just so that you that can never kill him", but in practice that's pretty easy to fix. We first disincentivize the abusive situation as best we can (e.g. after the third repeated boss kill, you get literally nothing from it), then if people continue to be dicks just for fun, we ban them.
- : But as I said in the Big Dev-Info Roundup post, these plans will come later this year. The main hold up is that I need the GUI revamp to be done first. I don't currently even have a way to show a little "locked" icon overtop monsters. I could hack something in, but I'd just have to re-code it again in the new GUI. So that's wasted work, which I try to avoid.
- : In the mean time, please try to exercise a little self-restraint. Yes, you can abuse the limitations of the alpha and run a dozen people through a dungeon. But you should understand what you're doing: you're twinking yourselves. There are literally no dungeons in the game right now where a group of more than 6 should be needed -- and most dungeons are balanced for a group of 3 or 4 -- so if you have more than six, you're playing on an "easy mode" that is only going to be available until I can change it.
- : Why should you care? Because once you twink yourselves, your feedback becomes worthless. You don't really know how hard or easy things are, so you stop being able to help me balance content. Plus, the combat metrics generated by oversized groups are worthless, so I can't balance it that way either. I know that there are level ranges where it's hard to level, and dungeons that need work, and skills that need improvement at certain level ranges... but I don't really know where they are exactly, and I need your help -- your untwinked help -- to find and fix them.
- : The game isn't finished yet, but stuff like this won't be a problem forever. In the mean time, I'd like people to use their sense of restraint. It's not hard! Try it
- Eh, okay, I'm pretty convinced that multiboxing is going to cause too much trouble in the long term. The problem is that it's very hard to differentiate "fair multiboxing" with "bot-assisted multiboxing". Detecting bots is already hard enough without giving people more wiggle room.
- : So, starting now, I'm rescinding my temp-approval. You are not allowed to multibox for anything other than item-muling. Sorry, fans of multiboxing! We'll adjust the code of conduct to make this explicit.
- : Also, just to hammer this home: botting's not allowed, whether it be multiboxing or not. Please remember to report any combat-macroers you find. We have indeed banned people for combat-macroing already. But auto-detecting it is not foolproof, especially during alpha, so it's very helpful to have your reports to corroborate the logs.
- Broken Items
- There's no fixed duration for tombstones to exist. They clean themselves up when there's too many other items on the ground in the same zone. Hardcore players' tombstones are higher-priority than non-hardcore tombstones, meaning that they will last longer. But their duration can't be guaranteed.
- : As others have said, though, the tombstone is just a shortcut. It's the item itself that stores where its "broken pieces" are. Broken items can be right-clicked to track down your death-spot, and right-clicked again to repair the item. The interesting thing about this is that since it's stored on the item, not the player, there's no time limit: as long as the item exists, it can be repaired by going to the right spot. So you can store your broken items for later, or even give them to a friend to go repair for you -- anyone can repair it!
- Hammer Bonus Levels
- It was an oversight. Most of Hammer's bonus levels will come from skills that aren't done yet, but a few existing skills such as mining and blacksmithing should have bonus Hammer levels. This will be fixed soon!
- : If there are other combat skills that don't have bonus levels (but do have abilities that can't be obtained without bonus levels), those would be bugs too, so please report them! (Via the in-game ticket system.)
- Behavior Badges
- This is very cool, and it's something I imagined the "behavior badges" would eventually be useful for. For instance, if you want to do a no-shirt challenge, and you live long enough, you'll eventually get the Shirtless behavior badge, which is proof you didn't cheat. The down side of the current system is that you have to stay alive for a few weeks before the badges kick in. But it's something we might be able to evolve in a way that helps make player-challenges more enforceable. If this challenge (or challenges like this) catch on, we might give that tech a bit more priority than it would otherwise have.
- I haven't gauged bandwidth usage in a long time, so there's no official answer to this right now.
- The bandwidth won't depend on your screen resolution or other graphics settings. (It used to matter if you had "Experimental Optimizations" checkbox on, but currently no configuration options affect bandwidth.) But bandwidth WILL change based on the number of players and moving monsters in your general area. Standing in Serbule with dozens of people and pets running all around is a pretty high-bandwidth scenario. If I had to guess where the worst-case bandwidth area is, it'd be standing just outside of Rahu, where there's like 200 monsters walking around in one small patch of desert.
- In terms of BEST-case scenario, the place with the least bandwidth would probably be that little sewer you can Enter The Light to -- unless other players are in there dancing, of course. Dungeons like the Serbule Crypt are also pretty low-bandwidth, because none of the monsters in there wander around.
- The tl;dr of all that is: movement and combat are what consume the bulk of the bandwidth.
- But even in the worst-case scenario, bandwidth usage should still be good compared to, say, an FPS or a moba. I tried to be pretty bandwidth-conscious when building the networking, and MMOs in general can get away with optimizations that many other kinds of games can't.
- It's intended that you can make really good energy-shield-oriented Unarmed builds... the idea is that the shields last longer than one combat, so you can stack them up. That said, I'm sure they are wildly imbalanced at the moment, and may or may not make sense at various level ranges. It's something on the list to work on eventually.
- The very honest answer is we haven't decided yet whether multiboxing will be allowed in the final game. But I am leaning towards not allowing it. In games where multiboxing is actually hard, it's not much of a problem, but when it's easy, it creates a lot of envy and anger from other players, and I don't need that. And would it be hard here? Probably not. When I add features like auto-follow, and when you've found powerful "hands-off" support builds (a battle chemistry/mentalism combo comes to mind), it's a pretty dramatic increase in power for little effort, and it's something that has historically pissed other players off.
- Yeah, I can tweak the game to make multiboxing harder and more "fair", but I don't want to have to think "wait, what does this design decision mean for multi-boxers?" every time I make a change.
- On the other hand, when a game is older and I'm making an alt, it IS fun to multibox. I multiboxed WoW and enjoyed it. But that was after it'd been out for five years and other players didn't care nearly as much if I was power-leveling an alt. So if history is any evidence, we'll similarly worry less about this as time progresses.
- In the very short term (like today), it's fine. You can multibox during the alpha, at least until further notice. But since no launch decisions have been made, I wouldn't pay for an extra account if you only want to use it to multibox!
- Fun Areas
- So basically the areas with more of their content completed are fun, and the ones that aren't done are not fun. Thanks for the feedback.
- Seriously, though... obviously there are mechanics we're still working on, like cold weather. They take time to iterate on. You're allowed to find them un-fun, and I want you talk about them, and I appreciate the feedback when they aren't fun -- or when they are.
- Bet let's leave that aside for a moment. I can tell that you're frustrated with the game in general, based on all your insults and complaints, and here's the thing: you are completely right that you're at a grind. And that won't change until the game is more complete. It won't happen next month or the month after that or the month after that -- we'll add more content and add/evolve game systems, but the game will still be far from complete. You will continue to hit grindy areas and run into game mechanics that suck. Finishing this game will take all of 2017, and it will be evolving that whole time. That includes both the content AND the game mechanics. And the art and GUI too, for that matter.
- So either you can deal with some grinding and annoyances and nerfs while we keep working, or you can go play something else for a while. I completely understand doing so. Lots of long-time players take breaks, and I think that's healthy. Your character will be here when you come back.
- Yes, you have to occasionally find time to play during a full moon to get the most out of lycanthropy. That's not a bug, it's a feature. In exchange, werewolf players, and ONLY werewolf players, can buy their level-ups and abilities before they meet the prerequisites. They can also pay for it in "tokens", which, it turns out, are a whole lot cheaper than Councils. I'm sorry that the full moon falls pretty far from this update, though.
- Generally the problem here is that raven is not an animal form. Animal Town citizens can smell that you're still a druid, and it doesn't count. Switching any forms is also unlikely to work -- you need to stay in one specific animal CURSE form -- deer included, although it's not a curse when druids do it -- for three hours of in-game time. We'll work on making this clearer somehow in a future update.
- Underwater Nodes
- Thanks for the feedback! Underwater nodes are intentional, and they're supposed to be a logistical problem to figure out. I'm open to improving how things work there, but in general, I don't remove content because it's too hard -- I want to refine systems until it's achievable instead.
- So it sounds like the key problem is not having enough breath? There are ways to increase your breath meter, including randomly-generated treasure items, low-level words of power, and raising your Endurance. Are these not easily accessible, or have you found them and they're still insufficient? I can certainly add more ways to raise max breath -- in fact there should be a low-level alchemy potion for it coming soon. (The potion exists already, but can't be crafted, only found.)
- Thanks for the feedback! I consider newbie-questions to be invaluable feedback, because it shows what isn't intuitable about the game. Not everything is supposed to be instantly intuitive, necessarily, but most game mechanics should make sense within their own context. But because we change things around a lot, systems that may have made sense once don't always stay sane. Boss monster difficulty is one such area -- bosses were once easier than they are now, and while I toned some bosses down when we changed monster difficulty, it's especially hard to find the sweet spot for newbie bosses, because it's hard to tell how powerful you're going to be at that point.
- The rhino boss in the crypt is almost certainly too difficult ... or, perhaps another way to fix that is that the monsters near there need to be tougher. But probably just toning down the boss in this case. Another SUPER-unfortunate boss is 'Tremor' in the myconian dungeon. His curse is supposed to be annoying -- back when basic attacks weren't that important, it was an annoying curse. But we made Basic Attacks much more important recently, and now Tremor's curse is one of the worst in the game... and it's in a low-level dungeon. (We'll fix it soonish, but the point is just that changes do have unexpected side-effects, and I rarely find all of those on my own -- I only realize there's problems when I get feedback.)
- As far as finding research components, it's supposed to be time consuming and/or expensive. Keep in mind that other skills have other time-consuming and/or expensive aspects that aren't necessarily obvious. For instance, to make the Staff skill really shine, you need to find the Hoplology skill, which is in a difficult level 40 dungeon. Prior to that, the skill is good, but not amazing. Similarly with Mentalism -- some of the best powers will be missing for a bit until you can come back and get them from the myconians.
- But saying it's supposed to be expensive and time consuming is just the general goal. Precisely how difficult should it be? I dunno. It's alpha; we're mostly winging it based on feedback and, sometimes, metrics. And it can see-saw back and forth a bit. I suspect part of the problem with fire magic is that I recently made getting Fire Dust a bit too easy, so it seems extra-weird that the later components are so hard to get. The fix is probably to make fire dust a bit less common while also making higher-level components a bit more common. You'll see in each snapshot build's patch notes where I attempt to tackle one or two of these kinds of things each time. (How many arrows should a "bundle of arrows" generate? How hard should it really be to level up First Aid? On and on it goes.)
- Bottom line is mostly: it's alpha, I dunno, please give feedback (as you have!) when something seems amiss -- either too hard OR too easy -- nobody ever reports the too-easy stuff. We're going for an organic difficulty, where not everything is necessarily as hard or easy as everything else, and that means we don't have to make everything perfectly orthogonal, but it can also be an excuse that hides major content problems.
- I'll talk with Silvonis about setting up an area of the forum where newbies can give their first impressions about things in a safe environment -- that is, one where people don't say "learn to play noob" etc. (That doesn't happen much around here, but when it does happen, it makes newbies shut up, and that's bad.)
- In the short term, the advice in this thread is pretty good. If you have trouble with boss difficulty levels, the wiki can help. If you can't find something you need, try checking the Used tab of vendors; if that doesn't work, try using the user-requested-items board in the back of Serbule. There's no level or skill requirements there. It acts as a sort of reverse-auction-house. Try requesting 1 saltpeter at whatever price you can afford, and see how it works out. And having level-appropriate gear is at least as important as having level-appropriate abilities, so when you're stuck on one, try working on the other.
- Alpha can be a rocky time, but it definitely has its up-sides, too. Hopefully you can work around the difficulties, and if you continue to give us feedback when you find them, the game will get better as a result.
The Second Forum
The following are not all of Citan's posts, but just ones thought to be important for the future, sharing his vision, and clarifying some things. Please note that newer posts are listed higher in this list. Older information may be outdated.
- Yes. More specifically you'll buy a Steam license and then connect your steam license to your existing account. We'll have more detailed steps as we get closer, but the important thing is you won't have to start over.
- If tab-targeting doesn't work, the mystical command you want is "/zapresources icefishing"
- Thanks for the feedback! Regarding the map, we do plan to do major revisions to the map after the new GUI is in place -- doing work in the current GUI would just have to be redone, so it makes sense to wait. In the short term, however, you might find the "Objective Orienteering" ability useful -- it creates a glowing path toward your objective as long as you're in the right general map-zone. You unlock it by getting Foraging up to level 15.
- I also want to offer my condolences to Asheron's Call players who've just learned that their home is shutting down. This is a very sad bit of news for me, although ... I hope this doesn't come across callously, but I personally grieved for these games' deaths years ago, when I first learned that Turbine wasn't going to be doing more major development on them. That hit me really hard, because the way I see it, an MMO that's never going to have big updates again is already mostly-dead.
- And I think most AC fans knew the writing was on the wall a couple years ago, when Turbine started trying to help people set up community servers: it was clear that while the staff loved the franchise, the games were not making meaningful money for Turbine. I haven't worked there for over a decade and I don't know if these games got a fair shake internally or not -- it doesn't really matter. It's still a damned shame to see them go.
Staff of Leadership
- We have no plans to make the Staff of Leadership available to non-backers. (But it might happen, years after the game has been live... never say never. But probably not.)
- I also like using a gamepad to play, because after 12 hours of programming my mouse hand is sore. But making a gamepad configuration that easily handles all 18 ability buttons (plus everything else) is hard, so at the moment the best bet is probably a custom configuration of the Steam controller -- it can let you create overlays that let you choose different buttons easily. But eventually... probably not any time soon, but eventually, I want to be able to natively support other controllers like xbox one controllers. (There's some basic support built in now, but it's pretty buggy at the moment.)
- The game is designed to be run from the launcher. The launcher tells the game where to save screenshots, and if you don't run the game from the launcher then it doesn't know where to put them. It saves them in a temp folder that the OS provides. (You can still get them: it pastes the exact directory into your chat.) But the bottom line is that players should always start the game via the launcher.
- Yeah, I've said this in other threads, but we will eventually have a bar for potions and consumables, and that bar will probably also allow non-combat abilities. But I probably haven't talked recently about the flip-side of this problem. The 6-button sidebar was chosen a long time ago, when you were only going to be able to change your button layouts at certain points, not any time you want. So I expected only a few combat abilities to be on there, and the rest filled with non-combat utilities.
- Being able to change bar layouts only at designated "camp sites" was tossed out long ago because it sucked, but the sidebar hasn't been shrunk down yet. But when there's 40 or 50 additional (very powerful) sidebar abilities in the final game, I expect letting you have nine of them (six base plus three more with buffs) all at once will be way too much.
- So most likely, what will happen is that the existing bar will shrink to 3-4 slots (plus up to 3 more with buffs like Gur-Horta), only for combat abilities, and a new bar underneath it will have additional slots for noncombat abilities and items. But this is still not something that's high-priority -- and won't happen this year -- because loadouts let you switch between non-combat and combat setups efficiently for now, and until another few dozen special combat abilities are added to the game, it's not especially game-breaking to have a sidebar full of combat abilities. (As we can tell by how many people bother to use Gur-Horta regularly to get more slots! Very few do, because there's just not a lot of pressure to choose in-combat sidebar abilities yet.)
- And before anybody suggests dropping the buff items to make more room for "permanent" slots: every player wants permanent things over temporary things, but that's not gonna happen here. Consumable items are what make MMO economies work long-term, and it's important that they have a useful place in the game or they just don't work. So as more abilities are added, there will be more and more pressure for high-level players to buy and use Gur-Horta or its cousins. Those drugs are pretty much ignored right now because there aren't that many amazing sidebar abilities. When there are more, and fewer slots, it should become a useful part of the game that helps the economy thrive for years to come. It's important, and a good thing!
- If you can't open the corpse, it means the owner didn't open it to look at its loot. Since the owner still has loot-permission, you can't open it, and therefore can't bury it. Once the corpse has been opened by the killer, you can bury it if they don't.
Druid Emergency, Fun Game
- The thing I always try to keep in mind is that this is supposed to be a fun game, and we'll keep working to make it fun. Sometimes your character will take on responsibilities, like being a druid, but unlike real life, we don't want those responsibilities to be especially tedious... because, again, this is supposed to be a fun game. You may still regret your choices, because what's fun for someone isn't going to be fun for everyone forever. But the intent is that druid events should be fun. There often aren't enough players right now to tell how well the current events will work later, but we're slowly gathering enough data to make changes to them, and we'll keep iterating on them.
- Right now I'm working out technical problems with the South Serbule event; when those are worked out, I'll roll out another new event with a different pace and we'll keep trying new stuff.
- As Silvonis said, we want to make sure that responsibilities are taken seriously, because otherwise everybody would be a druid, and it loses all impact. So that's something we want to work on, too. But we'll work on it within the spirit of being a fun game. We aren't going to do something too horrific.
- As for an account-wide lock, that particular suggestion is a non-starter for me. Being a druid is a character's choice, not a player's choice, so it shouldn't affect other characters. Just like being a werewolf doesn't lock you out of all your other characters during the full moon!
Legacy Loot, Free Loot, Halloween
- When I made new treasure effects, I replaced old ones. When you log in, the old effects will automatically be changed to new effects. And that's not a problem in and of itself. BUT, as I mentioned in the previous dev-blog, I had to move a lot of treasure effects so that they go on different slots than before. Maybe 15%-20% of effects have been changed to new slots. If your item has a treasure effect that now goes on a different slot, it will become Legacy. It will also become Legacy if it doesn't meet the new dual-skill requirement. Those are the two big cases here.
- And as srand explained, we've given up trying to fix these items by randomly replacing treasure effects. So many treasure effects do new stuff now... even the ones that haven't been moved to new slots... so the odds of us being able to replace the item with one that you like is pretty much nil. You're going to need to see these new effects, play around with the way stats work now, and get a feel for which treasure effects you want. Hence the loot-party we have planned.
- But to answer questions in the thread: if your item happens to meet the dual-skill requirement and none of its treasure effects were moved to other slots, it should be fine. (Its treasure effects may do different things and you may not like it anymore, but it won't be Legacy.)
- For the skills that haven't had their treasure-rewrite yet, their slots haven't been reorganized yet either, so this particular problem won't apply to you ... yet! (Although the dual-skill requirement will still apply to all gear.) Once the other skills have been revised, we'll need some other way to help those players replace their gear. I don't know what form that assistance will take yet.
Item Stacking to 99
- During pre-alpha, there was only room for two digits on the item display. So it's kind of a leftover.
- I'm not going to change the system of unlocks. It works, and I like it. Yes, it can be annoying... if you're trying to unlock all the skills. But the secret is that I do not want you to unlock all the skills. The unlocks are there to make it non-trivial to have every skill in the game. They do a good job of it.
- The goal is to focus players on a few skill choices. Without that, everyone would become a jack of all trades. I realize players unlock most of the skills when they reach 60 because they're bored and there's no more content, but there will eventually be more content. In the mean time if you want to unlock other skills, you'll have to befriend other NPCs.
- Again, to reiterate: I do not want players to learn all the skills. I definitely do not want it to be trivial to learn all the skills.
- Yes, if you don't set a timer on the time-restricted boxes, they behave like the lower-level boxes. Higher-level versions would have longer max-times than 60 minutes (90 for the tier-6 one), but I really expect that when the population is decent (a few hundred people is all it should take), successful raffles will be pretty short.
- Raffle boxes have a special clean-up priority that's higher than most items' priority. They're designed to have a 60-minute "safe window" where it would take an awful lot of valuable dropped items on the ground before they were in danger of being wiped out. But after 60 minutes, they're in danger of being... garbage-collected, so to speak. And I can't really increase that window safely, or people would be able to grief others by dropping tons of raffle boxes!
- Other kinds of deployables, like cheese casks, for instance, don't have this problem because if they're removed from the world, they respawn themselves when you get near. But that doesn't work here, since you kind of need the raffle box to exist in the world even when you aren't around.
- The low population is why I haven't done anything else with rafflers. They're basically on the back-burner for now -- although I definitely appreciate people testing them! But I don't think any big changes are a good time investment until the population is larger. The priority system I've described isn't set in stone, but without lots of players using raffle boxes, it's hard to see what kind of usage patterns should be supported. Although if you have ideas, I'm all ears!
- I want people to feel free to explore how the game works, so I don't want to penalize them for dying while experimenting. Bosses have their own death penalty, though, and there's a "hardcore death penalty mode" which you can enable, which makes you lose items on death until you return to your corpse, and I hope to make that a reasonably appealing experience for players looking for a bigger challenge.
Questing and Factions
- It's an MMO about exploring and finding stuff, and in general I want to let players "explore by doing." Having seriously punitive consequences to NPC decisions aren't very compatible with that. It makes people less excited to try stuff out if there's a "wrong" way to do something.
- So while there ARE and will be more cases where you need to decide what you're doing very carefully because there are hard choices to make, those decision points are rare.
- I've poked around with factions, but as a game design tool, they suck. The game design benefit of factions is to make hard decisions more gradual, so players aren't broadsided by their actions. But frankly it never works out that way. Instead, you see "you lost 5 faction points with team X" and you immediately think "oh shit, I may have done something bad." And then you stop playing and you go google the factions to decide which you want to be friends with. In reality, there is no gradual process of accidentally finding which factions you want to befriend. I might as well just put up a box that says "do you want to like orcs and hate goblins or vice versa?"
- So if factions don't work for their intended purpose of easing players into a hard decision (and they don't, because they don't give enough info to make that decision within the game), then there's no real point to them besides yet another grind.
- Anyway... this came off as a bit negative. I'm not saying you're wrong or dumb for wanting hard decisions in an MMO. But that's not the main mission of this MMO, because it contradicts exploration too much.
- Heh, I'm not sure where the bee thing started, but there will indeed be bees in P:G. But not necessarily ones you want to meet in an idyllic garden... Fae Bees live in the fairy realm. They're tameable by fairy animal handlers.
Druid Event Free Loot
- Good feedback here, though I think a lot of the issues aren't really related to the druid events in particular.
- Regarding "people coming to get free loot" -- as I said in the big catch-all blog post, we'll need a general solution for this problem. Right now, players can do Manticores up to 24 times a day. The loot may be a little worse, but the sheer amount of it is overwhelming. This is the same problem as ANY scenario where there are group monsters on the landscape.
- The answer isn't "don't ever have group monsters outdoors", and it isn't "don't let them have any treasure", because both of those things are suck. The answer is a complex treasure-determining algorithm so that you can't just get free loot by running around.
- But as I said in the blog post, that's not something I'm working on right now, because there's bigger fish to fry first! Right now, with the tiny populations we have, it's absolutely not an epic problem for people to get free level 30 loot from the kraken event. Getting an inventory full of level 60 loot from the Ilmari event is a bit more troubling... but tagging along with a group to do the minotaur dungeon will get you statistically better-quality loot anyway -- and a whole lot of it.
- The point is that the "free loot" problem is not something specific to druid events, and just as I'm not going to shut down manticores or the lab dungeon over it, I'm not going to shut down druid events because of it. We'll address the issue in time. Right now I have a bunch of more fundamental changes to make before I can get to that problem.
- That said, I have nerfed the quality of loot from Druid event monsters in the next update, because it was too good regardless. Will this change keep every non-druid away? Nah, probably not. But that's okay by me. I don't want druid events to only have druids in it, as if druids are the only people who care about nature. I want the events to be druid-LED, not druid-ONLY.
- I guess I should step back... there seems to be a big misunderstanding here. Being a druid is not a curse like Lycanthropy. It's a calling. They are both permanent decisions, but they don't have to be the same level of drama.
- It seems like some of you are of the opinion that you should have a big down side for having flight forms. But the REASON you have those flight forms is to get to the druid events quickly! (That's also why there won't be any "free teleporting" to the events -- that'd be spitting on Dreva's blessing of flight.)
- But also note that bird flight is not the only kind of flight in the game. It's probably the only easy flight at level 50, sure, but high level players (in the 100+ range) will be able to get flying mounts.
- In a game with flying mounts, why should being a druid have huge negative repercussions? I don't think it should.
- The down side of being a druid is that you need to drop whatever you're doing and go flap to the crisis at a moment's notice. Well, that's the down side I need to make happen, anyway.
- It's already annoying if you log in to level your brewmaster skill and have to drop everything to flap your ass to the desert. I don't think there needs to be a "punishment" beyond that interruption. But the events obviously need to last long enough for this to be a thing you can't ignore. Most of the events right now are so short that you can probably just sit it out... or go for a coffee and come back later. That's something I want to address.
- Regarding Dreva blessings: all participating druids get the same number of blessings from an event. Really: every participating druid gets the same number of blessings from the event, whatever level they are. If the monsters are too dangerous for you to attack, you can stand back and heal, or debuff, or drop Sanctuaries, and still get blessings. That probably makes less sense when there are a hundred or more druids online at once, but I think it's probably a good approach for now.
- Sometimes newbies literally can't reach the events in time ... but hey, sometimes being a druid is a hard life. You'll level up and it'll get easier to survive some areas. And when the events are longer it'll be less of an issue.
- Please keep the feedback coming, but keep in mind that:
- - most druidic emergencies involve dangerous changes to the whole landscape, so naturally everyone can participate, not just druids.
- - the reason you can fly is specifically to get to these events more easily. There will be faster flight forms for high level druids, but there won't be a "druid teleport" that obsoletes your flight forms.
- - loot quality from druid events is going down in the next update.
- - eventually when there are 1000 players online, we'll need more than one simultaneous druid event! That's why I don't want people to fret too much about newbies fighting alongside level 60s, or level 60s being bored by newbie events. There aren't enough players online for it to make sense to have lots of different level ranges active at once, but when we have a basic outline for how these should work, we can expand it as necessary to fit the population.
- First, when talking about treasure effects that suck please include as many specifics as possible. I never sit down to make treasure effects and think "this skill's treasure should do something completely unrelated to the point of the skill." That has never been the intention a single time. So we're on the same page about intent, but not specifics. That's why details are critical! Now, talking about ones you mentioned in particular:
- The fire magic effects involving + Power were vociferously defended when I nerfed them, as being critical to survivability with the fire magic skill. That was a long time ago and these sorts of concerns fluctuate as balance changes, so it may not be relevant at the moment, but I do think it's a good idea for each skill to have some abilities that can give a small return on Power. (Could those abilities be implemented as "costs less Power" instead? Yes, and they will, but that's a polish thing, as that involves making a new Attribute for each one and it's more work. When I'm reasonably confident an ability will work that way, I do set up attributes for it.)
- When I add Health to something it's often to give it scale. If I decide that the most Power saving I can give is, say, +4 power, I may add in some Health healing to give me 6 levels of the ability. I try to have 6 or 12 levels of each ability, and sometimes that involves tossing in some extra buffs of a small variety. I also include several "survivability" effects in each skill to give players options in how they stay alive. I don't generally think of those as being a burden to players. Healing is rarely perceived as burdensome in my experience, unless you're trying to build an insanely overpowered DPS set, and in that case I don't care if I'm burdening you.
- Which brings me to one of the bigger problems with treasure right now -- "single-skill" treasure builds can be far, FAR too powerful right now, and I have to fix that problem. Having 30 treasure effects for a single attack skill obsoletes the need for survivability because you just kill everything dead.
- So I'll be taking slightly drastic action to subvert that -- I'm currently looking at completely removing the notion of single-skill equipment. If an item has more than one treasure effect, it will always be for both of your skills, not just one. And crafted treasure simply will never have only one skill on it. I need to do something drastic like this in order to push people into working out both skills relatively equally.
- I bring this up because when players are more equally splitting their gear mods between two skills, you may be right that survivability effects make less sense for combat skills -- and I may end up reducing the total number of treasure effects across the board. We'll see when we get there. Right now if I removed them, I have nothing to replace them with. In most cases, every attack already has as many murder-boosting treasure effects as it can have. The other effects can either fill out the skill's role in other ways or add survivability, or... not exist.
- As to why certain skills don't have any -- it's just a practical thing. There are certain requirements for abilities to be eligible for these tags. For instance, for "Signature Debuffs", the ability needs a reset time of at least 10 seconds. (Otherwise giving back Power when you use it would be much too good.) Some skills just don't have any abilities that meet the requirements for any of these special tags. But that's something I'll work on as I evolve the skills some more. Ideally each skill would have at least one of the set: either a Signature Debuff, an Epic attack, or a Major Heal.
- Guys I want to ask again to please report bugs in game, and if the bugs persist a month or more and they are annoying you please re-report them. There's two reasons for this. First, there is no way for me to tell that something I think is fixed ain't fixed unless it gets reported again. (I believed the screenshot issue was fixed in a Unity update a while back and I haven't heard otherwise from anyone in months.)
- Second, this helps me prioritize. If I see you re-reporting an issue, that suggests that it's hampering your play experience, so it's something I should look at sooner than something nobody really cares much about.
- Huh? You had network-latency lag. Whenever you have lag that can be felt by other people in other zones, that's never, EVER due to Unity.
- We use Unity for graphics. That's all. A different graphics engine might get us better lighting (to better show off our oh-so-beautiful artwork...) but it will do jack squat to improve the connection between your machine and our datacenter, which has been having problems recently. But these are hardware issues that we'll work out. We've had two hundred concurrent users before, with no lag -- and yet now we have lag with 50 users... that's definitely not due to the graphics engine, or the server code. It's just hardware.
- Since I presume you "read up" on these engines before recommending them, it should be obvious that we don't use the networking code in Unity, and we couldn't use the networking code in Unreal, either, because they are designed for FPSes and totally useless for MMOs. We have our own networking code. We technically use the physics engine in Unity, but it's just the PhysX library, same as most every other engine on the planet, so the physics would be the same on other engines.
- Finally, suggesting that you can just switch out engines shows a very deep lack of understanding about how a game is made. I would have to spend at least two more years to switch engines. Yes, seriously, YEARS. And the results would be extremely unimpressive, because we'd still have the same artwork. The graphics engine just shows it off.
- Unity is the most popular game engine, so it has the most vocal detractors. It also has real problems... but they all do. I promise that I have done my homework, and this engine is better suited to the game than Unreal or Hero.
- Also, this isn't exactly on topic, but I want to ask you and everyone reading this to please... PLEASE... in the future, for other games, especially indie games, DON'T make recommendations to developers to switch engines. It basically reads as a huge "fuck you" to developers. I know you're trying to be helpful, and I know you aren't trying to be offensive, but it really is offensive. It's like saying "your child is ugly, get a divorce!" It's too late for that. Even if a game really is bad because of the engine, switching is never a viable alternative. Even large teams can't switch engines once they're past the prototype phase.
- Oh come on, a "wi-flag"? That looks like a doctored screen shot to me. After all, this is from Monger, the same person who posted that clearly-fake picture of 200 deer in one place. (I mean, come on, why would all those deer stand on that little ice ledge?) Has anyone actually seen this so-called wi-flag when examining themselves?
- If there *is* some sort of "wi-flag", I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. Srand was the programmer who fixed the wi-flag in AC1, so I'm sure fixing this one would be no problem for her. If it existed. Which, of course, it doesn't.
- First, Endurance is intended to be easier to level for meleers. It is probably too slow to raise right now, even for melee users, but that's just details that we'll get worked out over time. Being a melee fighter is frankly more dangerous than being an archer, especially if you've just started playing, and you can see the proof of that in how much less Endurance XP archers get! So that's why meleers get a small benefit to help counteract that.
- It's not a huge permanent benefit, since anybody can EVENTUALLY raise the skill regardless of level. But I think it helps when you need it most: if the first combat skill you level is a melee skill, you will need a bit more help surviving than somebody who shoots lightning and uses a cat to kill their enemies (or whatever). Eventually things even out a bit more, and eventually everybody gets endurance levels.
- One of the intended benefits of Endurance is that melee users have an easier time wearing plate mail armor. That's why really heavy armor has Endurance requirements.
- But lots of other types of gear have Endurance requirements, too, and that's just because (as many people have surmised) we needed a way to gate gear so that newbies don't wear level 100 armor. But it does get in the way for higher level players. I like Ianfiniti's suggestion for these cases: removing the Endurance requirement when the item has equal or higher requirements for other skills. I think that's fairly elegant, so it's been added to the to-do list. (It won't be in the next update because it requires new tech, but it'll happen.)
- There will be other combat-related skills down the road, and I expect some of the weirder esoteric benefits of Endurance to move away to those. The extra inventory slots, for instance, are just tacked on there temporarily.
Druid & Knife
- There's some technical and practical complications right now, but the plan is (and always has been) that druid+knife will be a viable combination. But unfortunately not for a while.
- You understand correct: if you didn't participate in the Kickstarter then the way to unlock the other races is by completing quests in the game with the first three, and then making an alt using those races.
- The other three races have more difficult play styles and they aren't for novices. You will need to know how to play already in order to succeed with them.
- This has been the publicly-explained design for years, and it's not something I could change now if I wanted -- it's too late in development. But I don't want to change it: I like alts. And most MMO players like rolling alts, too. But I want my alts to play differently, so that's what the other races are: different ways to play.
- I know that lots of alpha players like doing every single skill on a single character, but I've explained over and over that that's not a reasonable thing to do in the final game -- the skill dependencies just get too broad to try to do it all at once. So when it comes time to roll an alt, the other races are variant ways to play. They aren't just cosmetic changes.
- I won't tolerate any further "the game is ruined", "dev has no sense", sort of manipulative bullshit here. Be constructive or fuck off please. This is an alpha, not a finished game, and these forums are for getting constructive feedback.
- I have lots to say about this issue and lots of thoughts on where it's headed, but it's frankly not the top implementation priority right now. This is a game IN DEVELOPMENT, which means that the order things get done is the best order for getting the final game done, not the order which is most convenient for you guys.
- So if your #1 concern is storage, kindly sell more of your shit please. I know, you want to save literally every item in case you need it some day, but you can't, so stop trying to and sell it. If you must complain about how you can't intuitively store all of the 4000+ types of items in the game without a lot of hassle, then at least do it politely.
- Will storage issues get better? Yes. Will the game always have item-management problems, given that the final game will have 10,000 types of items? Yes. I can't see why it wouldn't -- literally every MMO does. I had serious inventory problems in WoW, EQ2, AC1, every MMO there is, so why would this game be different? But we'll certainly be working on improving things to the best of the game's potential, approaching the problem from several different angles, in time.
- Finally, I want to emphasize that I'm not saying don't give feedback and thoughts about this topic -- I'm saying keep it respectful and constructive. I've read and appreciated most of the feedback in this thread, and it definitely informs my plans, both short-term and long-term. But when feedback gets derogatory or dismissive it stops being worth my time to read.
- I think croocy was asking about other kinds of were-animals, wasn't he? In terms of adding other were-forms like werebears and wereboars and werecats... eh, no, we probably won't add more animal forms that are considered "lycanthropy". In other words, you might be able to turn into a cat, but it won't be because you're a were-cat. There'll be different fiction and different rules.
- In terms of providing alternate appearances and modes for werewolves, yeah, there will be more appearances available down the road. Some more colors and some alternate models too, hopefully.
- Well, this isn't a fully free-form game, it's a game where you work within a framework. The framework gives you limitations, and part of the game is planning around those. You can use a sword and a bow together, but you can't use a sword and a hammer together. You can use druid and cow together but not druid and werewolf.
- Some of those reasons are practical (animation limitations, balance concerns, etc.) and some are driven by the eventual story, but they're all limitations to be worked around.
- In the case of werewolves and druids, I have lore plans. I also have balance concerns which aren't relevant right now but will be, eventually, I hope, if werewolf and druid both take off like I want them to.
- I'm not sure why this is popping up again, because there's been no change in our plans for quite some time... like, a year now, I think. As I've said on these forums many times, we are likely to wipe equipment and items, in order to give the in-game economy a fighting chance of taking off after launch. But we won't be wiping player skills and abilities, just items.
- (Also remember that "launch" is not "when it's on Steam" -- the game will be on Steam soon, but that will be Steam Early Access. "Launch" is when it's out of Early Access, which won't happen until next year. Once again, NOTHING is being wiped this year.)
- I understand if the idea of losing your gear is upsetting, I really do. But the items you have right now will be obsolete long before we launch, anyway -- as we raise the level cap, your current items will become junk. But anyway, if this is a deal-breaker for you, I get that. But all I can say is "goodbye for now". I hope you come back and play after launch.
- On the flip side, I understand if you think it's unfair to let players keep their existing levels, but again I'll have to disappoint because we aren't wiping characters. The levels you earn now are your "reward" for dealing with the bugs and problems associated with alpha-testing.
- RE: "why don't you just open another server?" Well, we can't plan on having enough players to do that. If we have enough players to support multiple servers, we'll be able to reconsider a lot of different plans, but until that time, we are planning around a worst-case-scenario where there's only one server at launch. It's an indie game and it'd be a mistake to assume there will be tens of thousands of active players on launch day! But fingers crossed...
- Yes, there will continue to be new resources available for animal players. Understand though that most animal curse-forms aren't really intended for newbies -- the first curse form that is "legitimately" available to newbies is the cow curse, and there will be more cow-related resources early in the game. The other curse forms come a bit later and so their resources arrive later. (You can get "pig potions" early on, of course, but as it says on the bottle, those are just for testing -- they won't exist in the final game.) So I'm not worried that pig players have limited resources in Serbule -- they aren't going to live in Serbule anyway. On the other hand, pigs have a much easier time in Rahu where very few of the NPCs refuse to serve animals.
- Druid and Necromancy will continue to work fine together, although there are lots of druids who don't like necromancers, so you may need to keep your choices hidden.
- As for necromantic form, that is expected to be a sub-class of necromancy (much like, say, rapier is a sub-class of sword), and I haven't designed it yet so I couldn't say for certain that they will 100% always be compatible, but at the moment I expect they will be.
Solo Loot vs. Group Loot
- For people wondering "why" -- why can't solo loot be better than group loot, the answer is that I need people to group! And the majority of players will gravitate to the thing that gives them the best rewards. In the past couple of months I've seen a dramatic rise in crafting, and a corresponding dramatic drop off in grouping. This makes it impossible for me to develop the game's group experience. I need players to do group dungeons in order to continue to improve the grouping experience.
- In a nutshell, my mistake was making it possible to get the best loot via a completely soloable process. I expected there to be more reasons to group -- for instance, the Combat Wisdom system, as well as some others -- but those aren't ready yet. Right now, I'm hearing (and seeing) players not grouping because it's "pointless".
- Eventually as more reward mechanisms come online, things will change, and soloing will have benefits that aren't achievable by grouping and vice versa. But we're not there yet.
- If your concern is that "grouping is too hard" or "grouping is too easy because people just get carried through dungeons" or "grouping causes bottlenecks which create player tension", those are all things I have plans for. But I can't work on them until people are grouping again. I need people testing the systems in order to make accurate changes.
- And to reiterate, I'm not removing soloing. The stuff dropped from solo monsters will continue to be good stuff. And it may be useful to know that low-level monsters are designed around Rare (blue) gear and high-level monsters are designed with well-chosen Exceptional (three-ability) gear in mind. Level 60 is mid-level for the game so I expect you to be somewhere in between. (In game-design terms, at level 60 I expect you to have 2.5 synergizing and applicable treasure effects per equipment slot.) So you are NOT supposed to need a perfect set of Epics, let alone Legendaries, let alone Max-Enchanted-Legendaries, in order to solo or to be useful in a group. Some group content will be harder, but not a lot of it. (The only intentionally-overly-hard dungeon right now is labs.)
- If you find that's not true and you can't e.g. find anything soloable even with a set of decent 3-effect gear for your level, please let me know what level you are stuck at and the skills you're using, because that's a fundamental balance problem that I still need to work on.
- Thanks for your patience, and please remember this is an alpha! You are sometimes required to play the role of guinea pigs. I try to make that painless, but I can't always make it painless.
Ability Bar Limit
- This comes up every six months or so, so I should really get a FAQ! But here goes again: six abilities for each skill is a hard limit and isn't going to change. There's lots of reasons for this. Here's some:
- - it lets me offer interesting ability choices. Fire Magic is a good example of a skill that would be a lot more powerful (in terms of total damage output) if you had just two more slots to use at once. But that's not an accident. I want to use the six-ability limitation to be able to create interesting choices, without worrying as much about "what if they just use ALL the choices?"
- - it helps players understand that they need two skills in later parts of the game. Being "just a fire mage" (or any other one skill) is going to leave you unable to effectively fight a large number of monsters later. The thing is, at low level, any combat skill is viable for all the newbie content. It's just not that hard. So the natural tendency is to want to focus even MORE into a single skill because the second skill isn't as important. But letting players do that is very bad expectation-management on my part.
- - it helps players understand that they need to spread their gear across two abilities too. Again, this is important later, when you may very well need the Mentalism side of your Fire Magic/Mentalism build in order to kill some of the monsters. If you have no mentalism gear, you're screwed.
- I need to do more to push people (and help people!) make sets with dual-skill focus -- it's something I'm working on. But letting people make single-skill builds would just set back all my effort in this area.
- So anyway, that's not going to happen. It's a very intentional design choice that you only get six abilities from only two skills.
- On the other hand, most everything else about the GUI particulars may change.
- One upcoming feature is something like "configuration snapshots", so you can take a snapshot of the abilities and gear you have at a particular moment, and switch between snapshots for different scenarios.
- I'm also exploring ways that sidebar abilities may play interesting roles. At higher level I'll probably let you put sidebar abilities on any bar slot, so if you know what you're doing and you really only need 5 mentalism abilities (for instance), you can use the sixth for a different sidebar ability. I have to avoid screwing up expectation-management with that feature, but I don't think it would cause imbalances and it may open up some interesting builds.
- Another question that comes up every six months or so: some people would prefer having one row with all twelve slots on it, so the abilities take up less vertical space. But that was the original design and we abandoned it because it didn't work well, so I'm hesitant to allow that again.
- In very early alpha, the bars were set up in one row, 1-6 then 7-12, with just tiny space between them. (And yes, it does look cleaner!) But players just never remembered to use their second ability buttons at all. When I stacked them on top of each other, the second skill started seeing a LOT more use.
- So I'm wary of reverting the progress that's already been made there. I really need to help players get in the habit of using two skills early on.
- But I dunno... we'll see how things progress there. It's not something I'm dead-set against, just something I'm worried about.
- (However, actually moving the bar out of the center of the screen, say over to the left or the right, will be possible when the GUI is revamped.)
- We have something like this planned, called "sentient weapons". You'll be able to imbue weapons with intelligence and they will take on a random personality, complete with simple "quests" (such as "I want to kill boars today"). Making the weapon happy will level it up. The exact details are still pretty sketchy (as in, they're literally sketches in a notepad) but we'll end up with something in this vein, anyway!
- (Oh, and this is a high-end crafting process, not something you'd do as you level up. That's why it's not in game yet. There will be several different ways that crafters can augment top-end gear, and this is just one of the options.)
- First off, there's a lot of rose-colored-glasses in here. WoW's jokes are INSANELY invasive and terribly un-funny. Every other quest title is a joke referencing a sitcom. Every third monster is a joke referencing a movie. Entire races seem to exist just for shitty jokes based on their stereotypes.
- Humor is subjective. You're allowed to think WoW's humor is good. But I don't, and I'm not replacing my sense of humor with yours. I can't. And even if that was a thing I could do, I don't have time to rewrite all the text.
- That doesn't mean every line in the game is locked down and unchangeable, but "replace the writing"? Come on, there's hundreds of thousands, maybe half a million words of text so far.
- But if you think particular lines are shitty, or unfunny, or offensive, or whatever, then send feedback about them and we can revise. Specific lines, though. Generalizations don't help me revise.
- Bottom line is this: if a lot of the game text really jars you, then I'd just find another game. If it's due to isolated shitty item descriptions or whatever, then help me fix it. If you want to be constructive, be specific. And if you want to rapid-fire your opinions about particular lines, that's great and appreciated -- but it's probably best to send those as suggestions in-game; doing it on the forum will probably not result in very useful dialog.
- The data-miners out there have probably already seen hints of this, but an Assessment skill is in the works. (But not ready for next update.) There will be a way to "foil" the assessment as well.
Carrier Pigeon Skill
- Yep, a carrier-pigeon skill is planned
Bug Submission System
- Yep, we do respond when we have time, and those are never automated. (And I'm glad the effort seems worth the trouble!)
- The way it works is that in-game tickets are queued up for analysis, and then one of us (right now usually Sandra) categorizes them, files them in a bug system, and closes the in-game ticket. So when you get a response, it means that we've "processed" it. That doesn't necessarily mean a fix or response will be coming right away -- there's a lot of bugs. But if you get a response, it DOES mean that we won't forget what you said. It is known.
- And yes, the in-game reports include your character name and location.
- Oh and by the way, if people can find precise locations where monsters can "see them through the walls", we could use that info. I've seen lots of reports where people say things like "I have to avoid walking too close to the walls or monsters will see me right through it and come out to hit me." But I've never been able to repro this.
- It might be an illusion -- monsters DO wander, so it may just SEEM like they're seeing through walls. (And of course if you're in combat, monsters can HEAR through walls, and that's intentional.) But if you know with certainty that a specific wall is a problem, I would love to have a reproducible location.
- (What I'd do is have the feedback window open, ready to submit the bug, and not hit Submit until you see the monster coming for you. That way we have an exact coordinate from your bug report.)
Chickens and Feathers
- There should probably be more ways to get feathers -- you can get them from spiders, and a few other places, but maybe too rare. But I don't think it'd make sense to make the NPCs care less about the chickens -- the next content update adds eggs, which come from chickens minecraft-style (occasionally popping out of them, that is). So the chickens are more important to them.
- (Elves don't believe in keeping livestock in cages, which is why even the cows have no fence, much to Sir Coth's annoyance.)
- There will never be instancing because the engine can't support it. Making an MMO engine requires compromises -- especially an indie one made by a single person. One of the big limitations is that it simply can't do instances with combat in them. (I can do instanced housing because it will have no combat.)
- However, making a fun game without instances is hardly a groundbreaking feat. Yes, there are down sides to not having instances. But there are up-sides as well. In a game like EQ2 - and this game - you won't typically "get a group together and then go to the dungeon" -- you'll go to the dungeon and get a group together. The dungeons will be much longer -- remember, this is an alpha, not a beta, an alpha, so zero percent of the dungeons are their final size -- and several large groups plus some soloers will be able to explore the same place without getting on each others' nerves too well. I've seen it done well in the early launch EQ2 content and in many ways I'm basing my dungeon design plans on theirs.
- So the answer is no, no instancing, and no amount of convincing will change that. But for indies, limitations are also opportunities. In many ways I've designed the game around this limitation, and I think this will become more clear when we have a larger population -- and a bit larger world to go with it.
Can I change character race?
- I'm sorry to say that a race change option isn't necessarily going to happen -- because of how race is implemented, it's not trivial to change.
- However, we can change your appearance and gender more easily, and we'll definitely have a way for existing characters to change that. (And maybe race too, depending on exactly how hard it ends up being.)
- The timeline for those features is late in the game's development cycle, though. None of that will be available for many months. It wouldn't make sense to implement that feature before we have new appearances in the game.
- And now something totally unrelated to these tools, a side note that sorta fits here: I've had players accuse me of explicitly gimping their character builds -- and I have done that once or twice over the past five years of development, but it's really rare. I just don't have time to examine individual characters and see how you're breaking the system.
- It's easy for players to forget that a typical MMO has at LEAST 5 engineers and 5 full time designers... and that's for a super tiny team. But I am the only full time engineer or full time designer on this game. I'm also the entire operations team, part of the customer service team, and the head of QA. I work a LOT of hours. :)
- A side effect of players not realizing this is that they can't understand why I don't focus more deeply on particular things. Why can't I focus on equipment stats and just get it right? In a normal MMO, equipment stats would be a full time job for at least one person. (A job I LOVE, by the way, and have done professionally before.) But that's just a tiny part of my many jobs, and as frustrating as it is for me, I can't focus all my time on it. Sometimes I have to half-ass it while I'm busy working on all the other things that are also in development.
- So tools like this can be a really good thing, because they can help players help me -- you can point out problems and guide me to them. And I REALLY appreciate help in this department! If I hadn't pulled my hair out years ago, this game would have turned all my hair gray by now. It's a BIG game and I am proud that it seems kinda-sorta professional -- but it's an indie game. And indie games live and die by their communities. So again, when you report broken builds or insane power sets, that helps me and helps the community, too: the longer a super-broken thing goes unfixed, the more upset people are when I finally spot it and fix it.
- Anyway, sorry for the ramble. This is a very cool tool, and if there is other data that you'd like in the client files, I may be able to add it for you easily, so feel free to ask.
Foul Mouthed NPCs
- Different people will interpret NPCs' behavior differently, so they aren't really a good guide. That's the point of a code of conduct: to codify a few behaviors so players don't have to guess.
- The NPCs do cuss, but they use it sparingly. That's basically what I want players to abide by also. Just because an NPC says "fuck" in their dialog somewhere doesn't mean you can call yourself "Fuckboy" or scream "fuck" over and over like a 14 year old that's only just stopped being under parental supervision.
- We all know people who are eager to push boundaries by stretching rules to their limits, so the official rules have to be pretty tight. I don't want to try to precisely codify all possible valid behaviors, it's a losing proposition. So the rules have to be tight enough to deal with whatever comes up -- but we can be more flexible in enforcing it. As long as you're generally being civil and helpful in chat, cussing and even occasional lewd jokes or whatever really isn't a big deal to me. But if your behavior gets out of hand then you need to stop.
- In fact there's a bunch of places where I expect we'll let these rules be bent. For instance, we currently have a hands-off approach to moderating cussing in guild chat channels -- the guild master can decide to allow more cussing if they want, or none at all. (And they will eventually have the ability to gag guild members in their guild chat channel, allowing them to enforce their rules.) But that doesn't mean guild channels can break ALL the rules -- just a few, like cussing. Those sorts of special cases are too specific to go into a code of conduct at this point, but we'll try to make some of the more important distinctions clear via in-game screens (e.g. a screen of help text for guild moderation, etc.)
Werewolf Shifting in Combat
- Werewolves shifting in-combat is supposed to be viable -- but risky -- for high-level players, but basically impractical at low level. But to answer your question, yes, that's okay.
Druid & Werewolf Clarification
- And no, you still can't use your druid skill and werewolf skill at the same time, but you can still be a druid and a werewolf -- just not at the same time. This is not a change. A druid/werewolf item has NEVER been in the game and it never will be... and I'm definitely not going to code up a reset over an item that's never existed.
Druid & Werewolf Lore
- Druid will likely not be available for werewolf form for lore reasons -- the gods responsible for druids and werewolves are not friends. (The god responsible for spiders couldn't possibly care less, and there's no gods for the other animal forms.) If there is a druid/werewolf item it'd be a difficult-to-obtain quest thing.
- RE: removing deer from druids -- right now I'm leaning toward giving druids a "spirit deer" form, which looks different than normal deer but fights the same. NPCs would treat druids as people in this form, meaning the NPCs could "see through the illusion" I guess you'd say. So druids could get access to the deer skill easily, but not deal with the down sides (or up sides) of being an actual deer.
- That's my thinking right now -- we'll see how things pan out down the road when more of the pieces of the puzzle are in place.
Focus and Specialization in Skills
- Well, I don't really think of it in terms of "focusing is bad" -- though I guess you might say focusing is the natural end-game.
- One of the goals of Project: Gorgon is to give you an interesting nest of complexity to explore. I often say the game is about "exploration", but I don't always clarify that I mean "systems exploration" as much as world-exploration. So there's a lot of interconnected systems to discover and poke at and interact with, and I hope to attract players that find it fun to find, unlock, and explore these systems.
- A good systems-exploration type of game will be bewildering at first, but then you get your bearings and think you've got it figured out... and then the game throws you curveball after curveball, so you have to keep thinking about how it all fits together. Things like special enemy abilities, curses, environmental hazards, and so on force you to learn and adapt all the way through the game.
- But no game is going to keep you guessing forever -- at some point you've seen the content and explored how it works enough to make decisions about what you want to do. This naturally leads into focusing on specific skills and gear and so on. (Some people will hit this point very quickly, whereas for others it will take hundreds of hours... it's a very personal thing.)
- At that point, instead of the pleasure of exploration, the game can offer the pleasure of mastery: of being amazing at a certain specific thing, and having ways to share that with other players.
- ... at least until the next content update comes around, where maybe some things get shaken up some more. (We expect to have them every couple of months after the game ships.)
- It's not about realism but it IS about gameplay mechanics. I want liquid resources to be "heavier" and the only way to do that is to restrict their stack size. This is important for a lot of game mechanics -- without that "weight", a bunch of the game's systems are pretty stupid.
- For instance in the desert, you need to bring a lot of water. If water stacked to 99, that's not a restriction. It'd just be meaningless busywork, filling infinite bottles. The point of the desert mechanic is that you have to bring lots of water, which means you have less room for other stuff.
- Watering and fertilizing plants is another example. Wells are never in the same spot as gardening zones -- you always have to run a few feet. Not far, but far enough that carrying more bottles at once has benefit.
- These sorts of small game mechanics aren't very important by themselves, but they make emergent gameplay possible. For instance, imagine a guild of gardeners who have one dedicated fertilizer guy and one dedicated water guy, doing that role for everybody else. Those sorts of user-invented roles can only exist if there's a tiny bit of friction in the game world. In this case, the friction is the annoyingly low stack sizes.
- I originally wanted all liquids to be non-stackable. But that was way too much annoyance. I think stacking to 5 is as high as I can go for water -- any higher and it'd lose any gameplay tradeoffs. As for other liquids like fertilizer, the jury's still out!
Animal Form Update and Animal Town
- While implementing the upcoming "Animal Town" I ended up going with a different plan. The animals in this town only talk to players who have been in animal form for at least 3 hours of game time. My goal there was to keep druids from getting too much benefit from Animal Town -- if you can just turn into a deer and instantly use the shops and storage there, it stops being a special alternative resource for animal forms and just ends up being yet another boon for druids. But on the other hand if you want to actually play as a druid deer, just stay in deer form long enough and you're good to go.
- I haven't bothered to implement the plan I mentioned where you have to re-buy your higher-level animal unlocks if you change out of the form. I'm hopeful that Animal Town will eventually become enough of a draw (and losing access to it enough of a drawback) that no other mechanics will be necessary.
- Cooking will slowly become more fleshed out as we add more content and systems. There will always be easier recipes and harder ones, but I think it'll make a little more sense in time.
- Speaking of which, there's a small step toward fancier cooking in the next update when we add new kinds of meat drops. There's nothing that changes gameplay yet, but you can see where we're headed a bit better.
Animal Form Update
- Hi guys, just a quick note about where animal form curses are heading. (There was a long and important thread about this a few months ago but I figured a fresh thread is useful here.)
- The old thread was discussing the idea of having to lock into your animal form permanently in order to raise the skill past level 50. I've thrown that idea out as being impractical, but I still want to dis-incentivize people from switching constantly.
- So the new plan is pretty simple: when you cure the curse, you'll also lose any level-cap-increases you've bought for the skill.
- Say you're a cow who has bought the level 51-60 skill-cap-increase, and you're level 57 in the Cow skill. Then you decide to abandon Cow form. If you later become a Cow again, your skill cap will be 50, not 60. You will have to re-buy the level-cap-increase from the trainer.
- However, you don't permanently lose XP. In the above example, once you bought the level-cap increase, you'd instantly go from level 50 to level 57 again.
- I like this design because it doesn't penalize people for switching when they're just trying out the curse form, but as they level up higher and higher, the penalty becomes increasingly expensive and time-consuming.
- That's the plan, anyway. We'll see how easy that is to code and how viable it ends up seeming, and change things as needed. I just wanted to keep you up to date on where things are headed.
- The first animal-curse skill to go to 60 will be Spider, because I just happened to flesh out its treasure systems enough to make it raisable. So I think that'll happen late this month. Spider will be our test case for the new tech involved in this plan.
- (Hmm, I guess using Spider is a little weird because it's the one animal curse form that's still supposed to have a permanent mode. As the spider NPC mentions, you will be able to pledge your loyalty to Akhisa, the goddess of spiders, and gain special powers in exchange for becoming a spider forever. But that decision will be separate from the leveling system -- there'll be a quest line involved for that.
- ... and, actually, we may just mothball the perma-spider thing... we'll see how things evolve.)
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
- But please understand there are over 2000 bugs and issues in the bug database already, and there's only the one person who is working on game systems: me. I really appreciate you reminding me of the issues that are pissing you off, because that helps me prioritize this sea of issues. Of course, different things piss off different people... but I definitely focus on things people bring up.
- But reminders aren't the same as getting really upset. Please keep in mind that a typical MMO development team has 50-200 people, and we have about two and a half, give or take. Patient consistent reminders are really what I need. When there's this many jobs to do and these few people, a lot of balls are going to get dropped, but we'll pick them up when we can.
- (A side note: every MMO I've ever worked on has shipped with many thousands of open bugs. A large game like this can never really be bug free. But when there's thousands upon thousands of bugs it can be several people's full-time jobs just to prioritize what gets done when. We don't have people for that, so this is a role you help with by voicing frustrations.)
- As for skills needing other skills -- well, that's usually intentional. It's much like most every other crafting system in that you sometimes need materials that other crafters can make. Unlike some games, you aren't artificially limited in how many crafting skills you can learn, but the skills ARE designed around the idea that you only do a few at once, and get the raw ingredients from other players. If you wanted to do every step yourself, that should require a ton of time. So this is something that will get easier when there are more people crafting.
NPCs in Dungeons
- I'm torn about the general case of skill NPCs in dungeons. In the future I'll stick to soloable dungeons for NPCs like Furlak, where you're supposed to gain favor with him. But I also want to be able to put exciting rewards in group dungeons, which will sometimes mean new skills or abilities or recipes that you have to group up to get. But they'll be more of a one-shot deal, rather than a favor-gate.
- Yeah, as mentioned, the idea behind Decapitate is as an "oh shit" emergency type ability, strong enough to do major damage to an add, or alternatively, with enough healing to pull you out of a tight spot.
- With that in mind, if the damage is too high my first thought would be to increase the reset timer a bit more to compensate, rather than reducing its use in that emergency role.
- I agree that the ability to reset Decapitate's timer is brokenly powerful. I've removed it in the next update, along with a lot of other resets. I'm basically going to give up on the resets altogether because they're too powerful: they're so potent that I have to lower the potency of the ability to make room for them. Which means they're too good.
- I think it's definitely true that boss curses will cause some players to rage-quit. We know from MMO history that any death penalty with real meat to it will cause players to rage-quit.
- Giving people a "freebie" won't help anything because you will be just as pissed off if you die the second time as if you died the first. (In fact, probably more so.)
- I want to allow for the exciting highs of dangerous battles, and you can't do that if there's no real danger. The down side of having real danger is that sometimes you get frustrated and quit. That's the age-old trade off.
- I envision stalls of all sorts (and yep, the little back area in Serbule is where we'll prototype player stalls). There'll be stalls for augment gems, new sword hilts, blade sharpening, sentience upgrades for your flaming club, spring heels for your boots, and so on and so forth. I expect players will basically feel they "need" a lot of these crafted enhancements in order to be competitive at high level. But they will still usually find the initial item in loot, because that's fun.
Mules & Multi-Boxes
- I'm okay with people using two accounts to mule items. (Although soon you will need to buy two accounts to do that...) The Unity engine actually has a checkbox that would disallow multiple game clients running on the same PC, and people have asked why I don't just do that -- for one thing, you'd still be able to multibox, just with multiple computers, and for another, I don't really mind. I guess muling stuff to another account is slightly cheaty, but it doesn't raise too many alarm bells personally.
- It's more problematic to use mules to get free loot from the in-town event. I've asked mods to be on the lookout for people doing that, because the last thing we want is thirty or more dummy accounts standing around in town. Not only is that a terrible message to send to new players ("the best way to get ahead is to stand in town with six accounts") but it also hampers ping rate in that area, makes tabbing harder, and generally just makes things less fun for the people trying to actually fight.
- My preference is always to have code solutions to disallow behavior so that there aren't any gray areas, but cases like this one are very hard to deal with. If I made it so that only people who do damage can loot bosses, that would screw over healers. If I make it so you just have to heal somebody to get loot, that's easy enough to fake just by pressing one heal ability mid-fight. It makes it harder but the gray area still exists.
- Compounding this particular issue is that the Halloween monsters are scripted to not be too invasive. If you don't attack, they won't track you for long, and they don't wander away from the altar. That's to prevent newbies from being killed when they wander by, or worse, being spawn-camped.
- So although we can't enforce it reliably (at least not yet), I think this is a multi-boxing scenario that's against the rules. I'm sure there are other multiboxing scenarios that are gray areas, and we'll have to figure those out on a case by case basis.
- Of course there will be solo content and ways to play solo. As I've explained elsewhere, we're working on the group combat experience because it needs more design work than solo play does. Right after raising the level cap is the best time to work on it, because that's the easiest time to get feedback.
- So in that sense, yes, I am currently "forcing" people to group. You're helping me test, you're guinea pigs. That's the down side of being in alpha!
Expansions once the game is out
- yes, we intend to do expansions every so often. Those are important for marketing and outreach purposes because they get the game back in front of reviewers and back onto Steam lists.
- we also will be doing regular content updates every 4-8 weeks (depending on the complexity). That will include new skills, quests, items, dungeons. Probably we will save large new landmass additions for expansions, but continue to improve existing areas (and the game in general) as free updates.
Weather Witching yet?
- Yep, it's still on the schedule. It's just not going to happen for a good while due to tech requirements.
Sewer Portals and Lore
- There's no way to know this (since it's not mentioned anywhere) but that sewer isn't supposed to be under Serbule; story-wise it's under Statehelm, the capital city of the Council Lands. I expected to add Statehelm pretty quickly, but it ended up working best as a very high-level city, so it won't be in the game for a while yet.
- There were plans to add more to that encounter, and to make it a sort of "hub" where you could travel to various locations easily. Those plans are on hold for two reasons:
- One, I think that would make travel a little too easy if there were a half-dozen additional portals in there,
- And two, the sewer dungeon set I used is very crappy. It's a third-party dungeon kit from years back, and it has lots of glitches. If you were here a few years ago you might recall all the animal-form players getting stuck in there... and that's when it's just a one-room dungeon!
- So at some point I will redo it using different art. It's part of the game's overarching storyline, but the story ties into Statehelm, which isn't in-game yet, so I can't easily add those story elements yet.
- As for adding other portals, I'm thinking I'll add one or two more, but they'll require more effort to unlock or access. (Or maybe they'll change destinations from day to day.)
Role of Crafted Gear
- The intended "end game" of crafting has always been augmentation -- various ways to alter and enhance gear, whether looted or crafted. That way, crafting is important for every player, but it doesn't overshadow looting. It builds on it.
- In some cases these augments are things you'll be able to sell to other players (similar to how augment oils work now), while in a few cases you have to actually have the item on-hand in order to improve it. Some of the planned augmentations include: changing the item's appearance, adding stat boosts, adding treasure effects, adding sentience, attuning weapons to specific enemy types, and more.
- The role of actually-crafted gear is intended to be more niche. The stock leather crafted armor is very generic and isn't really optimal for anybody, but other types of armor are supposed to be useful to specific builds.
- For instance, there's recipes for evasion armor, which could theoretically be useful for a monk-type build. In that build, you minimize the amount of Armor points you have so that you can more easily get the benefit from treasure with effects like "+25% damage when you are below 33% armor". The evasion-boost theoretically helps you survive even though your armor is low.
- In reality, none of these niche armors has yet to find much use, and that's partly because the numbers aren't right. Either it's overpowered or crap, and it's hard to get the sweet spot... so I've had to err on the side of crap. I won't actually be able to nail the stats on these niche armors until six months or more from now, when I have a lot more of the game's numbers worked out.
- In the mean time, crafted armor remains sub-awesome and everybody complains about how crafting sucks.
- Yeah, I really like the idea of doing geology magic, but I haven't found a direction to go with it that I liked very much yet. I had to brainstorm some pretty off-the-wall stuff in order to get a full set of spells. It felt kind of random, as in you couldn't really foresee how the skill would play until you'd found every single spell, because they were so different in theme and utility. So I mothballed it ... and later, borrowed several of those ideas for Ice Magic. (Stoneskin became Ice Armor, Earthquake became Tundra Spikes, etc.)
- I expect it's something that will be easier to add down the road when the combat is pinned down a bit more, so that it's easier to say "ice magic is like X but with less Y, whereas geomancy is X but with a lot of Z". Right now the combat isn't hammered down enough to make that work too much.
- One skill that I haven't played with too much is warding. The combat wards could be turned into a complete skill line instead of side-bar abilities. But not a terribly good newbie experience, I think.
- I guess my posts are getting pretty derailed!
- Really, there isn't going to be any "newbie magic" that makes a ton of sense, because if magic was easy to learn then every townie would be doing it, and they aren't all tossing fireballs or controlling the weather. Fancy magic is hard -- harder than mastering a sword. But I need to make some magic accessible to newbies anyway. I have a way to do that with the new newbie island, so that it makes sense story-wise. So that's not a huge worry to me.
- In this game world, it's not too far fetched, and I think that will be more obvious as we have more content in the world.
- Undead often rise even without any necromancers around -- it's one of the major worries that townsfolk have, especially in big cities. (They don't have to worry too much about disease, but instead they worry about their grandparents passing away and then rising up to kill them in the night.) So necromancy is really just tapping into something that happens naturally, and leashing it.
- That's also part of why it's so reviled by townsfolk -- undead are people who died in unfortunate ways, and they're being taken advantage of even after death. So Necromancy is totally dickish. But not really harder than other magic -- and probably easier than Fire Magic, which requires careful manipulation of super hot matter.
- I think that distinction will be more obvious to players as the game progresses and there's more world visible. Or maybe not... hard to tell just yet.
- Animal skulls are never used for phrenology and you can safely turn them into fertilizer or whatever.
- Aberration skulls will eventually be used in aberration phrenology. Basically any sentient monster type's skulls will be useful for phrenology, so crone-kin would work that way as well.
- Demon, aberration, and crone-kin phrenology are probably only going to have recipes at high level, though (70+), so it will be a while before they're actually useful. I would sell them, personally, because there will be a whole lot more of those monster types at high level and so the skulls will be easier to get.
- Research is supposed to be a sonofabitch. I know the various parts aren't balanced right, so I'm not saying it's in the "right place", but I'll just give you the rundown on its intent. Each skill has something that's needed in order to make it work well. Every skill will have one.
- For unarmed, you have to do meditation to be dps-heavy. For sword, you are supposed to need calligraphy to be high damage. (I know, people ignore it. But they won't when we're done.) Archers must make arrows forever. And so on. There's always something else you're doing, something tied into crafting and non-combat-related materials.
- For the research skills, research itself is supposed to be the down side. After you complete the research, you are "free" of annoying down sides. You never need to craft arrows or seek out meditation pillars or any of that. So the actual process of researching needs to be slow and expensive. Otherwise it doesn't work and I'd need to replace it with something else.
- As for finding them yourself... you aren't really supposed to be able to just find all you need via playing. You should need to buy them from other players. You (the mage who needs sulfur etc.) are the reason those items are valuable commodities in the player economy. There's no player economy yet, though, so ... it's not really working yet.
- At the moment, enthusiasm determines if your pet will gain happiness when it fights. Happiness determines how much XP the pet earns from combat. That's it.
- (The pets actually have a bunch of other attributes which were used earlier, but do nothing at all right now. Since they literally do nothing, they've been hidden, but pets also have Loyalty, Intelligence, Friendliness, and Virility. These will probably be re-used with either the pet rework or the animal husbandry system.)
Objective Feedback and Bad-Faith Feedback
- Thanks guys. I appreciate the feedback, and I appreciate the specifics, Greenmeanie. Specifics are always good. But I could do without the accusatory tone. It just creates drama.
- I think this thread is going to go off the rails, and I'm about to go to sleep, so I'm going to lock it to avoid problems. (I've made power changes for the next update, so we'll need a new power thread pretty soon anyway.) Before I close this thread, let me ramble a bit about feedback.
- Bad-faith feedback is when somebody lies. It does happen. But it's not at all an epidemic, at least right now. I have a database that tracks what people kill, how quickly they kill it, and what skills they were using -- stuff like that. Unfortunately data analysis is usually a full-time job on an MMO team, and I just don't have time to dig into it as deeply as a large team would. But when I do dig into it, I have found a couple of people whose behavior definitely doesn't match their comments.
- But here's the thing: it's so rare as to be a statistical anomaly. If you're seeing it all over the forums, you're imagining it.
- The much more common scenario for "munchkins" is to shut up and lay low. The typical munchkin never gives feedback about their skills at all. They try very hard to avoid drawing attention to themselves because they don't want me to notice whatever crazy thing they're doing. This tends to work, because I don't have time to trawl my data to find people with insanely overpowered builds right now.
- If I was going to complain about "munchkins," those are the ones I'd be upset with: the people quietly min/maxing while trying to keep me from finding out. The people who tell their friends about overpowered setups and then say "don't tell the devs." Those people are Hitler. They're intentionally making my job harder, and my job is already really fucking hard.
- And sadly, among the hundreds of active players there are a couple of those. Just a couple. Most people with overpowered setups either 1) don't realize they are particularly overpowered, or 2) have sent feedback about their build, and I haven't had time to respond yet.
- The people in this thread are not hiding. And I don't have reason to doubt their sincerity. So name-calling isn't appropriate.
- That doesn't necessarily mean it's objective feedback in terms of game mechanics, however. But subjective feedback is just as important -- sometimes more important. If someone wants to tell me "I found this to be un-fun", I want to hear it. (I may choose to ignore it, but if I don't even hear the feedback, I don't have a choice in the matter.)
- Most players haven't used every skill set and every gear combo. Most players are not aware that Elites are supposed to require a three-man group and take at least 15 seconds for that group to kill. Pretty much EVERY player that reaches level 60 is insanely overpowered in my book, due to bad balance and normal player herding behaviors. (They see somebody kicking ass, they follow suit. That's not exploiting, it's Game Playing 101.)
- In this thread I'm not really hearing "I am weak because of Power issues." I'm hearing "I am running out of power and it's not fun." That's a subjective thing, and maybe it's not fair, but I still want to hear it. I have to decide on whether it's actionable.
- Bottom line: please don't get on people's cases about their motives for leaving feedback. It's really important not to scare people away from leaving feedback -- I get precious little enough as it is. If you have evidence that somebody is doing something naughty, the in-game report tool is the thing to use.
- While I'm at it: it's also not okay to accuse people in-game of intentionally exploiting. For a lot of reasons. Just report their behavior if you're worried about it. Don't attack them. Attacking fellow alpha players is damaging to the game at this point, because whenever people see drama in chat, they get turned off. I really need less drama.
- The end.
- And seriously, thanks guys for your feedback, please keep it coming.
- Unfortunately we don't plan to have other language support.
- If the game ends up being a hit and we have 100,000+ players, we will of course reconsider.
Why do you raise some skills and not others?
- Some background for people talking about specific skills:
- I only raise skills' level caps to 60 when their treasure effects profile is fleshed out. (That's why it's taking so long.) I shoot for 50-60 different treasure effects for each skill. Ice Magic has 35, so it's a little thin. I may be able to get that in before the big update, but not sure.
- Werewolf also has limited equipment. And actually I was just looking over the werewolf treasure mods (the ones that exist so far, at least) and... blah. I think the skills need some revamp. So I'm going to take the whole skill back to the drawing board a little bit. Try to get some more feeling of being a "skirmisher" to come through better. I'll probably drop the combo equipment, or at least revise them completely. Lots of stuff! BUT that's outside the scope of this rework right now. It will have to happen a bit later.
- Animal Handling and Battle Chemistry also need more fundamental work (as well as a bunch more equipment mods), but I similarly don't have time to flesh them out just now.
- The animal forms are mostly in okay shape in terms of their abilities -- with the exception of pig, who has had the most reworking and still isn't very fun. But all of the animal forms have VERY limited equipment available, and that will have to be fixed before they can be raised to 60.
- Necromancy actually has most of its equipment ready and will be raised to 60 soon. There's a catch, though: I want to turn it into a research skill like fire/ice magic. (I think I want all the "real magic" skills to use research to unlock their spells.) So that might take a little while longer.
Time is Power
- Yes, the essence of MMOs is that time = power. This is true in lots of other game types also such as ARPGs, and even single player RPGs like Skyrim really fall into the same formula. But the details matter a lot in determining if players notice the "treadmill" or not. Previous experience matters a lot, too.
- I'm reminded of the WoW beta. At the very end of the beta they slowed down the XP curve and added "rest XP". This was perceived as a punishment by beta testers because you only earn the "real" amount of XP during the rest XP period. There was a lot of shouting about how they had ruined the game. Then it launched, and the shouting was utterly drowned out, because new players didn't perceive it as a nerf, since they had never experienced the earlier levelling speed.
- Not really related to the topic, just a random thought that floated by.
Character Limit for Horse Names
Permanent Animal Forms
- Just to clarify an earlier posting: I have no intention of forcing pig/cow/deer on players who have currently raised the skill above 50 via synergy bonuses.
- My earlier plan was that you would agree to "lock in" the form when you bought the upgrade that let you raise the skill to 60. So in any case it would be a player choice, not a surprise.
- That plan is pretty much dead at this point (and animal form advancement is up in the air), but in any event there's no danger to leveling up the existing animal forms. You won't log in one day and find yourself a perma-cow.
- think that deterioration is a useful game mechanic to have in the designer's toolbox, and it solves some serious power-escalation problems, but it's not a technique that works for every game.
- The problem is a psychological phenomenon called loss aversion. People routinely assume that losses will hurt much more than they really do, and they tend to work to avoid losses much more aggressively than logic would dictate.
- In short, players hate to lose things and will work VERY hard to avoid losing things. Even if they don't really need those things. This leads to either tedium (e.g. logging in every day to avoid losing something) or risk aversion (never using your great item or skill or whatever in case it "breaks").
- So in a game that focuses on system exploration, these loss mechanics aren't a great fit because it encourages players to be more cautious, to plan very carefully, and to avoid taking risks. But in other games, that's exactly what you want players to do! If this was a PvP sandbox with town building, I'd weigh things differently.
- tldr: I like the benefits of deterioration (longevity of the world economy, dramatic slowdown of power creep, etc.) but not at the price you have to pay, for this game.
- As an aside: I've made a few small stabs at using deterioration mechanics anyway -- for instance, I had a system where you could slightly add power to an item but there was a chance the item was destroyed in the process. This system was very much despised, even though on paper it was a net win to use it. To overcome players' natural aversion to loss, I would either have to make the rewards overly large, or else force the system on players. (And you could argue that if I make the system overly rewarding, I am in fact forcing it on players anyway, at high level, because content would come to be balanced around that higher tier of power eventually.) I think this is one of those mechanics that has to be baked into the low level of a game in order to make it work well.
Economy & Work Orders
- "As I've said before, guys, we WILL have more methods for players to manipulate and interact with the economy.
- However, that would be 100% a waste of time right now. There are not enough players to even BEGIN to form a TINY BIT of a player economy. Please stop insisting on it. You can't have it without players. Hundreds and hundreds of active players.
- How many players you think need to buy level 20 stuff right now? Not very many.
- I've done this before, and I know the bare minimums necessary to make a player economy run. And we can't just achieve it right now.
- Work orders are a way to help crafters earn money while leveling up their skills. That was their goal and that is all they are for. Their existence doesn't mean there won't be other systems. If you don't like work orders, that's good feedback, and I'm interested in whether you think there needs to be other ways for crafters to make money from the game or not!
- But do not fool yourself into thinking that other players will buy your junk and give you money. They aren't there. The players we have don't need your low-level crap. That's a fantasy that can not come true at this time. Hopefully we will make it happen in time, but pining for it right now is a distraction.
- That last post came off pretty harsh, and I meant it to be ""firm"", not harsh. Let me explain why by way of example.
- Two years ago I was trying hard to figure out how to make group combat work. But nobody was grouping. There were like 15 people online. They didn't want to group. I tried making it more appealing, polishing, but there was very little action.
- You might assume that was because grouping wasn't working well, but actually it was just a lack of players. When more players came, more grouping happened, and it's letting me improve the group experience a thousand times faster than when I was working on it without feedback. I was wasting my time earlier, I should have been focusing on other things until there were enough players.
- Player economy is similar. You may think that it's not working because it's not good enough yet. But that's not the case. I can tell because there's so little feedback about the mechanics that already exist. If there was enough energy for a player economy, I would see constant complaints about how shitty the consignment system is and what I need to do to make it work better. Players would be organizing among themselves to work around my limitations, too, like doing ""craft fair days"" as they do in large MUDs. :But nobody is doing that. The consignment system sucks, yes, but almost nobody even wants to try it. I get more feedback about CHEESEMAKING than I do about economic mechanics.
- It's not that I think we're in a good place with player economic systems. It's that this is not the time to work on them. When there are players chomping at the bit to make an economy, it will be 1000% easier to get it right. In the mean time, it's a distraction.
- That isn't to say that I'm pissed or annoyed at people bringing it up. I just mean to say that I am intentionally ignoring you for now. :)
- In terms of crafting, my current concern is that it should be reasonably compelling and not seem like a huge waste of time. Because I have enough players who want to craft, mostly for personal gain, that I can kind of iterate on that and see how it's working. Will crafted items ever be the most amazing stuff in game? No, never. The high-end goal of crafting is not items, but augments that improve any kind of gear. You will eventually be able to craft super-rare augments that any player will want, regardless of what kind of gear they have.
- The actual act of crafting weapons and armor is not supposed to be better than looting. It's supposed to be more or less on par. A different way to achieve the same results. And a way to level up your skills."
- I like this line of thought, and I'm mulling how to work nonlethal "kills" into the game. Thanks!
- "Zergs are ruining the game we need instances naow" : well, there will never be instances in Project: Gorgon for the simple reason that the game server doesn't support instances.
Killing broken mobs?
- "Yes, we do consider it an exploit, though it's understandable that you can't always tell what's happening, so we don't get upset if you just kill a few before realizing they're broken. It's when you kill broken bosses that it gets problematic.
- The broken AI subservers will eventually be auto-detected by the main server, and fixed automatically (and you won't get any loot/XP from broken monsters in the mean time)... but we haven't gotten that implemented yet."
Messenger Bird Skill
- Messenger bird skill is in fact in the works
How to Pledge after Kickstarter?
- Short answer is We're Working On It! Should have a solution within a week or so. Thanks!
8/4 Character Limit & VIP time
- "By the end of the month, the most important thing to do is to get your account down to 8 (that's the VIP max-character limit). The only immediate action we'll be taking is to delete characters beyond that point. (Some players have 50+ characters on their account, and it's woefully unfair to let them keep all of those when other players have a cap.)
- At a future point, probably another month out, we'll implement the part where you only have 4 slots available unless you have VIP time on your account. At that point your other characters would get ""locked"" (but not deleted).
- The issue of VIP time is a little tricky. That's because the other perks of the VIP plan won't be available for quite a while, so spending your VIP time now would be pretty crappy -- you wouldn't get all the benefits, just the extra slots.
- I'd be tempted to say ""screw it, everybody who pledged just gets 8 slots until launch"" but I feel like that really screws over people who pledged generously. Giving the $25 pledge 18 free months of pseudo-VIP time seems like a dick move to people who actually paid hundreds of dollars for lots of VIP time!
- So I don't know of a ready solution that's fair to all parties. But I'm open to suggestions. Maybe we let you ""spend"" our VIP time early but at a better rate (so one month becomes three, since the other VIP features aren't done yet). Something like that?
- In any case, if you are at 8 characters or under, you needn't worry about your excess characters being deleted -- they'll just become ""locked"" and inaccessible. And if you're at 8 or fewer, you won't actually lose access to those characters in a month"
- "Your tombstone will last for a while. It may eventually disappear but you can still get your stuff fixed by going to where the tombstone used to be.
- Right-click on your broken items and it will tell you if you are in the right zone and how far away you are from the spot."
- "We're not a PvP-focused game, so we're not planning to have forced PvP, or PvP areas that PvErs feel obligated to go into, or anything like that.
- I suppose we might have a PvP skill or skills, but they'd be PvP-oriented, not something that PvErs have much use for."
Steam Early Access?
- "If you get the game during Steam early access we'll have a way to tie your Steam account to your existing game account. (Though it may involve emailing us to tie it together manually for you.)
- We'll probably wipe unclaimed accounts right before the official launch, in late 2016."
- As has been mentioned a few times, though (including on the forums and in yesterday's live chat), Mentalism's high damage isn't intentional and will be addressed soon, so I wouldn't go into Mentalism with the plan to be super-high-damaging. It's primarily a support skill.
Kickstarter Lord Tier
- Each qualifying account will be able to create their own title, and you'll have a special chat command to give it to others, like "/bestow Bob" or something like that. However your exact example of "Earl" is already reserved by the game. But that's the general idea, yeah.
- Vocabulary - unfortunately it's so easy to cheat at word games with the internet that I don't want to add much reward to raising vocabulary, because of the achiever-oriented nature of many MMO players, I'm effectively encouraging players to cheat. So I don't expect to tie a ton of intricate things to Vocabulary. But a modest Vocabulary skill is a prerequisite for the upcoming Bard skill.
- "The unfortunate truth is that all your builds will get broken three or four more times. I'm sorry, but that's the way it will go. Every number on every piece of gear you own? It'll change. Your gear will become useless trash overnight and you'll have to find new gear. Ask veteran testers -- it's happened many times before.
- And it's absolutely fair that this is rage-inducing, but I can't do anything about it. I can't deliver perfect balance on the first try. Or the second, or the third, or the fourth, or... it will take me another year before I have all the different attributes in some semblance of balance.
- And if this is going to make you really unhappy, then alpha-testing is not a good experience for you, because I don't want you to be this mad at a game, and I don't need the stress of people angry at balance changes that I simply must make. So I hope you'll wait a while until late beta when combat balance is more hammered out than it is now."
Spawn Camping, Stomachs, Frustration.
- "It's not an exploit to camp a spawn. Remember that levels are very fluid (a level 60 player may have level 1 skills they're trying to raise) and the content resources are intentionally widely distributed.
- Do I want level 60s camping a level 20 dungeon? No, but if that's what seems like the best thing for them to do with their time, okay, I need to know that. We can fix up the content when it's problematic. (And in fact I lowered the drop rate of stomachs and spleens from 10% to 5% in this bugfix update to make it less worthwhile to farm the corpses.)
- When I set up the loot tables on those corpses, I'd forgotten that stomachs are rare right now.
- That's a temporary thing, by the way. It's just a side effect of how the butchering and anatomy skills work. When the skills can be raised above level 50, it'll become easier for high level players to get organs from kills. Stomachs won't ever be as common as dirt, but their current extreme rarity is just an accident of how the game's content is being added.
- The point is that I don't always realize the ramifications of new content. Please communicate with us about these things! I make lots of mistakes, so please don't assume I ""must have a reason""... maybe I do, but I try to mention things in the update notes if I think they'll have a big impact on the economy.
- And please try to keep an objective view about this sort of stuff. Calling him ""greedy"", ""lazy"", ""exploiter"", etc., is over the top. I mean, he's picking up some crap that spawns on the ground.
- Now I'm NOT saying that people shouldn't be frustrated by that behavior, or by any behavior, really... if you're frustrated, that means other players will probably be frustrated too, so I want to know that. Please report what's frustrating you. We act on that kind of feedback all the time.
- What I'm asking is that you avoid getting into heated in-game arguments about whether people are playing the right way or not, especially when it's something as minor as camping a solo spawn spot. :It just can't end well."
Just for Old-School players? (No)
- No, the game isn't just for old-school MMO players -- the game won't be successful unless there's room for a large audience with many ages and backgrounds. My goal for the game is to have 500 concurrent users daily. That's not at all a large number -- hell, there are a couple of text MUDs bigger than that -- but it's still a lot larger than we are right now. So obviously we will need to appeal to more people than the ones playing right now. And also obviously, there will be growing pains as we figure it all out.
- Despite there being in-game racism, you are still not allowed to use real-world racist terms in General Chat (or Local Chat, for that matter). And if your "fantasy racism" is intentional callbacks to real-world racism ("make the deer pick our cotton!", "gas the deer!", etc.), that's over the line too.
- "I can say confidently that we'll have a non-Steam version at least after launch... but that's a ways away. We plan to launch at the end of 2016 so a non-Steam version might be as far away as 2017.
- It might happen much sooner -- I just can't promise that at the moment."
- "Thanks for the feedback! We do have some changes planned for it down the line. There are just so many things that need attention that it will be a while until we get to it. But one thing that we're failing to convey in-game is that Necromancy is not supposed to be a skill for newbies.
- Its current position is basically just a stopgap. During early testing, we had the necromancy altar out in the fields of Serbule where anybody could pick it up and help us test it. When that started to lead to newbie confusion, I moved it to the bottom of the nearby dungeon, past an encounter aimed for a couple of level 30-ish players. The goal there was that you wouldn't stumble on it until you returned to this dungeon in your late 20s, already having some other skills under your belt. I might be better off moving it to another dungeon entirely, maybe one in Eltibule.
- On the one hand, I can definitely see the fun in struggling to get the skill early. And it's fine, and fun, for higher-level players to help newbies get the skill early in their careers. But I need to find a way to show that it's a little bit more advanced of a skill.
- Brand new players are going to have a harder time with Necromancy's requirements than people who've got a few dozen hours of play under their belts. Everything from bone collection (at higher level, it's much faster to get femurs when you need them... or just buy them from newbies who don't care about necromancy!) to graveyards (you find ways to get much faster as you progress through the game) to just knowing how some things in the world work.
- The skill's early power levels are also set up for the idea that you're already level 30 in one or two other skills when you get this one, and will likely want to keep fighting stuff around that level. Maybe you don't rush back to fighting level 30 monsters with your brand new level 1 skill, but : I figured you'd not want to drop all the way back to fighting pigs and such. I figured that with the aid of your other skill (which is already level 30) you'd have an easy enough time in Eltibule.
- So the very first power you get, Death's Hold, is INSANELY overpowered against newbie monsters in Serbule. And that first tier of skeletons are ridiculously powerful against deer and such, because I expected you'd be putting them up against fey panthers and I didn't want them to be instantly slain!
- This design might have been a mistake, because newbies who get a hold of this power will perceive it as being comparatively more powerful than their other combat skills... for a little while. (And provided they aren't fighting undead.) And then it can lead to disappointment when people run into the sorts of convenience issues Dirtnap mentioned.
- (And I'm not saying the skill will always work the way it does now... maybe we'll drop all sorts of aspects of the skill, maybe we'll rework literally everything. Maybe it ends up being a starter skill for orcs! I dunno yet, and your feedback will help guide that. But right now, in the current builds, it's hard for newbies.)
- So anyway, I think it might be smart for high-level players to mention to newbies that the skill is a little more advanced. It's not as hard to get the hang of as Battle Chemistry, which is probably the most difficult skill for newbies to try to use, but it's tougher than sword or unarmed etc.
- And I might see if I can move that Necromancy altar somewhere else for now!"
Item Inscription & Crafting Marks
- The creator's name shows up on items and isn't removable. You can also inscribe a message onto items, which can be removed by someone with equal or higher Calligraphy skill than the inscriber. But that doesn't remove the creator's name, just the inscription.
D&D + Pathfinder
- "Hah! Well, I'm a big D&D nerd, yes. I play Pathfinder most weeks via Skype -- our table top group moved around the country so we make do with internet play, but it's still fun!
- As far as affecting the game's design... eh, not too much, but I'm sure there's some stuff that has been borrowed by osmosis. One of things that I can most easily pinpoint is something that came from 4th edition D&D. That game has a monster-encounter model that's a bit like ours: your heroes fight a bunch of different monsters at once, not (usually) just one big dragon or something. And each monster has a couple of unique tricks that make it stand out, and those tricks often synergize to create different combat scenarios. I didn't intentionally ""steal"" that idea, but we'd been playing a lot of 4E at the time when development started, and I did like the feel of combat, so that probably bled into the game design from there.
- RE: the face in the logo, that's Destriel, the demon lord, who we talked a lot about in the first Kickstarter, but I just realized we haven't mentioned in quite some time. Suffice it to say that he plays a big role in Project: Gorgon's main story arc!"
- "On PvP, we've talked about it a bunch in the past, so people who've been here a while already know the plans, but I guess we haven't discussed it during Kickstarter. This isn't really anything secret so I wanted to explain it before the town hall, so that people aren't unnecessarily disappointed.
- In a nutshell: it's just not going to be a PvP-centric game. The social experience I'm hoping to cultivate isn't improved by PvP (in my opinion), and the game isn't balanced around the idea of PvP. And due to the low-structured nature of the game's combat, it will already take a LOT of work to make the game reasonably balanced for PvE... adding in good PvP balance just isn't happening, there isn't room in the schedule.
- That said, there will be PvP... it just won't be a big focus. There's already a little PvP dungeon that you can find in the back of Serbule (in the mantis house IIRC). And I expect we'll eventually have basic game mechanics like duels, and some sort of simple PvP rewards mechanics (like arena events or dungeon scoreboards).
- And while we won't be balancing toward PvP, I have already set things up so that I can nerf/change PvE abilities that are insanely broken in PvP without affecting their PvE effects. So my expectation in terms of PvP balance is: stuff will be very unbalanced and it's up to you to find a workable build, good luck, but I can nerf stuff that the PvP community agrees are more detrimental to the PvP game than they are helpful.
- Will there be open-world forced PvP? Definitely not.
- Will there be an opt-in PvP flag (like the Hardcore flag)? Maybe... I'm not ruling it out, but it's not in the plans at the moment. If we have enough people to form a viable PvP community, it might make more sense to open a second world with its own rules. (e.g. a FFA PK world, or maybe an honor-system world) We'll see what the community looks like as we get into beta and will decide then!"
Can I rename my character?
- Sorry, we don't yet have a way to rename characters. Eventually! Just not yet.
- Lore-wise (so to speak), the Red Wing mantis gang is supposed to own a casino near Eltibule. We do intend to add it eventually! You're free to gamble as long as it doesn't result in the transfer of real-world money or items.
Character Races at launch?
- "The existing three races are the always-available ones. If you unlock the other races during beta, you'll keep those characters at launch, so it wouldn't make too much sense to re-lock the races on you.
- So my immediate thought is that they'd stay unlocked indefinitely."
- For level 50+ content, Gourmand and food consumption is supposed to be increasingly important. You're supposed to basically always have a food effect on (unless you're using two healing skills... then maybe you can recover health without needing food, but you might need extra Power regen instead).
- " This is for newer players that don't know: despite being in development for years, I've done very little equipment balancing. Most numbers are just guesses, and most balancing is just putting out fires (fixing stuff that is grossly over- or under-powered, fix it!) That will continue to be the case for a while.
- I know that combat numbers can change everything about a game. They can make a dungeon fun or un-fun. They can make or break entire play-styles. Good numbers can keep players playing and bad ones make them quit in frustration.
- But unfortunately, ""getting the numbers right"" is literally the last part of the systems-development process. So expect lots of ups and downs in the coming year-plus of development! I really need your patience, open-mindedness, and vocal feedback to make it all work. Which you're delivering in threads like this. Thanks!"
- "We do plan to support Linux! Earlier, Unity for Linux was just too buggy to justify foisting the game on players. But I've heard that Unity for Linux has gotten better now in Unity 5, so the big bottleneck now is my time: I haven't had time to get a decent Linux gaming system setup to figure out why our native patcher program broke a year or so ago. (My old linux machine died.)
- We still generate Linux binaries every time we do an update, which is what shardragon's patcher is downloading, so that should keep working until we do Steam integration. After that we'll need to do the Steam for Linux integration, which is a little quirkier than the the Steam for PC integration, so I don't know what the time table will be there, but it will happen."
Skill wipe at launch?
- Yep, we'll have a way to map your current alpha game account to your Steam account. (Edit: and we don't plan to wipe skills for launch. We may reset some skills during development if needed, like we did for Fire Magic a while back, but that'd be a special case.)
- "For people who haven't been here for years (when I blogged about the design goals), I wanted to explain the original intent of the animal forms. The ""pig potions"" and ""deer potions"" (and the curative potions!) were intended to be alpha-test items only. (That's why they say ""test potion"" on them.) As originally designed, pig is supposed to be pretty hard to stumble into ... until you reach the first boss in the late-game area, the Crone Hegemony. At that point, it's supposed to be an out-of-the-blue thing. ""Ohhh shit. We screwed up fighting that boss, and we're totally screwed unless somebody can help... and if nobody can help me, I guess we'll have to make the best of it."" I hadn't intended many players to stay in animal-curse forms for long-term. They also weren't especially deep. I implemented cow, pig, and deer all in three days. They had a half-dozen abilities each, just enough to fill the ability bar.
- The cow curse was in the tutorial cave because I was testing the curse system and needed a convenient place for it. I hadn't really intended the cow curse to be a low-level animal curse at all. But because it was so accessible, lots of players tried it out, and they liked it. So we added custom gear and did several tuning passes on the abilities to make them more fun.
- However, now that the cow curse is out of the newbie dungeon, a lot fewer people seem to be ending up as cows. Which is fine! (Out of sight, out of mind.) But it may mean that these curses would work better as originally designed: a surprise ""gotcha"" curse to foist on high-level group players.
- So that's a third possibility: maybe these animal forms don't go past 50 at all. They might just be tuned so that they are useful around the range the curse comes on. (For instance, if the cow boss is level 30, then the cow's power would effectively start at 20 or so, so that you have enough range to level up and break the curse, but not a full game's worth of levels.)
- The up side of this is that they AREN'T commonplace. That's okay -- not every player has to experience everything in the game. And because they aren't commonplace, it'd be a lot more shocking, funny, memorable, and concerning when your friend gets turned into a cow after a party wipe.
- I'm not saying that's the thing to do here -- I'm not even really leaning that way. But it's another thing to think about.
- And a FOURTH thing to consider here: we can always make these ""races"". Players are generally okay with making permanent decisions during character creation, so we could just have a Cow race, a Pig race, etc. To unlock the race, you'd need to level the curse form to 50, or something like that. Then you could roll an alt of that type.
- Just another option to consider.
- Lots of people here say they don't want to roll alts, but I also get a fair amount of feedback from people who WANT to roll alts, and think the current game doesn't do enough to encourage it. Alt-aholics are not uncommon, and new variant ways to play aren't a bad thing..."
Animal Forms 2
- "I'd kinda been imagining the animal-curse forms as something for alts, really, or for players who only want to experience the game in an ""outcast"" state. To me, the attraction to the animal forms is NOT being a human. It's basically playing the game on hard mode, to some extent. Maybe that's the fundamental problem -- maybe people are attracted to the animal forms for different reasons than I expect. I kind of got that impression when I heard people asking to make cow form a toggle ability.
- I think permanence is a useful step toward making the animal forms fun, because it gives me more balance room to be creative. I want to be able to give these forms some crazy powers and abilities, like giving cows the ability to let other players ride them... sure, why not (when we eventually have the tech for that)? But I can't do that if it's trivial to switch into/out of cow form. It's one thing for somebody to play a cow to high level and get that as a reward, it's another thing for literally every player to be able to carry other players as a mount.
- Or a less dramatic example -- I want to let player-spiders waltz past monster-spiders, even bosses. But if anybody can just poof into a spider, that's less a spider-player-reward, and more a trick to avoid spiders that any player can use. It lessens the impact, and just becomes a potential balance problem if everybody can do it.
- I'm not sure if I'm being very coherent here, but I guess to reiterate: permanent choices are useful in a game where you can otherwise have all the skills. It's a way to gate powers so that they aren't available to anyone else.
- So the reason I haven't added a lot of unique stuff for the animal forms (aside from lacking tech for a lot of my crazy ideas) is because those animal forms are too easy to get at this point. (And I kinda regret giving Druids the Deer form -- it makes the deer ""curse"" much less unique. If I give deer cool special tricks right now, I'm also giving every druid those tricks. Which in turn means I can't give the druid line itself as many cool tricks, because then they'd have too many. I may end up taking deer form out of there... or not, I dunno.)
- But yeah, the down sides of not having hands are pretty severe. I'd assumed that perma-animals would have a method to become true humanoids for a few minutes at a time (so they'd have hands), but that wouldn't be a viable way to e.g. level Carpentry for more than a few levels. It would let you fix small mistakes, though.
- Oxlazr - thanks for the ideas! Good stuff there. In that vein, I also want to eventually give the animal forms specialty movement tricks. Deer will have ridiculous jumping power as they level up higher and higher. Cows will (someday) be able to act as mounts. Spiders ... might be able to walk on water. (I'd like to let them walk on walls, but the tech just won't be happening, I think.) For pigs, I'd been imagining a power called Piggieport -- a short-distance teleport. These tricks may not be completely unique, but the animals would have the easiest access to them.
- Yes, there will be a couple other skills that don't require hands. Dickweed skill is the pure-taunt skill (which I'm not sure if it'll ever actually make it into the game... other skills like Psychology kinda stole its thunder). Dark Geologists just need special headgear, which could be available in special form to animals. And there may be others."
- "One thing that surprises me is the concern about Lore levels... on paper here, most players should have a lore < 10. There have been exploits and bugs that let you get repeatable Lore boosts, but those are irrelevant for balance purposes. Are people really grinding Lore @1xp to the point that it's an important stat?
- Speaking of which, I think the Lore XP for doing words of power was probably a mistake. Lore is supposed to be a reward for interacting with items as you explore, and really that's the only way I want people to level it. So I'll probably remove all repeatable sources of Lore (just as there aren't repeatable sources of Notoriety, for instance). It's tricky to fix old accounts, because Lore is one of the oldest skills in the game and wasn't coded in a way that lets me easily recalculate it. I realized my mistake in time for skills like Notoriety -- if I want to recalculate Notoriety levels, I can do so pretty easily. But for now, broken Lore levels will have to stay broken, until I have time to fix things up more. (I may end up just wiping all Lore levels, if that's what it takes -- but even that isn't completely seamless, because you wouldn't be able to re-get some of the existing Lore sources, so I have to find a way to fix all of that.)"
- "On group roles -- I don't have a ""vision"", a hard and fast rule on group composition. I think the trinity is not very popular among players -- except the DPS part. I also feel like Project: Gorgon is the sort of game where things should be more fluid than that, with different tasks being important at different times.
- So I've tried a lot of different things in different dungeons and encounters. Tanking for bosses is definitely supposed to be useful, and healing others needs to be a useful role, but in dungeons I also want Rage management to be an important group role, and dedicated crowd control to be important too. (People do have two skills each, so theoretically a three-person group could handle six roles, right? ... theoretically, anyway!)
- I also think there's lots of other roles that might be fun to emphasize in the game. For instance, in Borghild there's very intentionally a role for a high-DPS ranged-attacker (fire magic or archery); the floating death heads are cake for a fire mage but very dangerous to meleers. In Winter Nexus I tried to make it more obvious that you need Rage management. And so on.
- But there's so few people running the dungeons in level-appropriate groups that I haven't usually gotten a good feel for how well the mechanics work. The problem with having high-level players try stuff out is that when you crank the DPS up enough, all roles are irrelevant because the monster dies in 2 seconds. (This is exacerbated by bad equipment balance, etc.) So it's been hard to get much test data for those ideas, not only to see what works mechanics-wise, but what players think would be fun roles."
Power Levels & Balance
- "In the mid levels, balancing around blue gear is actually supposed to be tough! I mean, does the average player find nine useful 40s-level blues? Without buying used stuff, I kinda doubt it. But they'll have some purples from their 30s, say, which they keep using for 20 levels because they're so awesome. And they'll find that one combination of three blues that gives them a huge leg up.
- It's an organic process, or at least it's supposed to be, with several ""eureka"" moments when you get gear sets working together and suddenly you feel amazing. I think that's a really important thing, and something that a lot of MMOs miss out on because they have such smooth gear progression that you barely notice the difference between one piece of gear and the next. In Gorgon, as you're leveling up, you're supposed to power up in leaps and bounds. That means at some levels you'll feel underpowered and need to rely on auxiliary powers (mushroom bombs, glyphs, etc.). At other times you'll be kicking ass and murdering things well above your level. Because that's fun!
- So really ""balancing for blues"" is kind of meaningless. The real goal is to balance it so that you have that fun moment of finding synergistic gear, every few levels. My guess is that at level 50 a lot of players will be using purples they found in their 30s. That's fine -- gear intentionally has a long shelf life that way."
- "And this is a generous community that has been willing to help each other power up, often giving away gear for free. And the NPC vending system makes hand-me-downs very easy to come by. And the more powerful you get, the easier you can get your own gear.
- Now imagine that the game has launched, it's reasonably successful, and there are 500 players online at any given time (that's about half of a single WoW server's population). The quality of hand-me-downs will drop dramatically! There will still be lucky players who find amazing stuff in the Used tab, but more often than not they'll just see other newbies' junk. And even the most generous veteran won't be able to provide hand-me-downs for everybody.
- Plus, the game will go to level 125, so most high-level players will be farming stuff in that level range. That means their excess items won't be helping newbies anyway -- the level requirements would be far too high.
- So the question is, how powerful would you be right now if you never got any help? If you can get past a certain power point, it becomes a lot easier to get gear. (When you can solo the Nexus, for instance.) But would you have gotten to that point? I don't think so."
- "You'll raise skills up to 125 eventually, but the monsters will go all the way to 150. Those extra 25 levels come from finding better and better gear. And you'll likely be giving hand-me-downs to your guild mates at that level, helping them build sets and catch up in power just as you are now.
- So yes, the end game IS in fact balanced around purples! But the mid-game needs to be balanced around what I expect will be the average loot haul, which is blues."
- It will be! Just haven't gotten to it yet :)
Necromancer Bone Form, Vampirism
- "There's a bone-form planned for late-level Necromancers, which is technically an undead form, but nothing too exciting in terms of crazy rules.
- I'm hoping we have time to do Vampirism too, and possibly others like lichdom, with more intricate rules. I agree that doing something like ""you die if you go outside during the day"" isn't really playable. Though catching on fire during the day sounds hilarious. But it'd need to be weak enough that you could overcome it with equipment or fire-resistance potions etc. You'd also probably have a damage debuff outdoors in the sun, and maybe be repulsive to some NPCs.
- My current plan for the whole ""blood drinking"" thing is to do it offline. (Your ""hang out"" is always ""prowl for blood in a psychotic frenzy"", which means you can't ever do NPCs' hang out options... that's just a weakness of the skill set.)
- After you log off, a monster version of your character can appear around town at night, trying to kill hapless players. (It would look like you, but not necessarily have all your stats and equipment... probably would scale depending on where you logged off.) If your monstrous version gets killed, you'd log in with a Headache debuff or something. If it managed to kill somebody, you get a buff when you log in instead.
- This might have other effects, too. For instance, sometimes NPCs might give you the cold shoulder some days because ""I saw what you did last night... you're a monster!"" and you have to use Vampiric Hypnotism to be able to interact with them again. There's lots of places to take it... depending on what ends up seeming fun.
- But I don't actually know if/when we'll get around to undead forms... it may be something that ends up in an expansion after the game ships."
- "Humans have an internal stat called Community. (Well actually all players do, but it only has gameplay meaning for humans right now.)
- If you're around other players (real players, not NPCs), your community stat will slowly go up. It doesn't matter if they're human or not, just that they're real players. Going into dungeons together or just standing around in town with other players work. When your community level is high you earn +1% XP. You'll see a little icon on the top right of your status bar.
- When you play by yourself for a while your community goes down. If it gets to rock bottom you earn -1% XP. There's a little icon for that too.
- Human NPCs know when your community value is low, and if they're Friends, they'll cheer you up a little, just high enough that you don't lose XP anymore for a while. (This is a special case of the rule that it has to be real players!)
- The XP amounts are so tiny that it doesn't really matter at this stage, you can ignore it. But at higher level you'll have the ability to opt in to more racial options, one of which is higher bonuses/bigger penalties for high/low community score"
Exact Crafting Results
- "First off, I have to say ""no"" to one suggestion here: we're not going to add the ability to dial in an exact set of enchantments when crafting. That would make random loot obsolete. It wouldn't matter how slow or tedious it is to craft, either. This is just the way that players think: they'd see the perfect ideal, realize it will take hundreds of hours to craft it, and either give up and quit or start grinding away... but in neither case would they work for loot gear if there's a way to get non-random gear. To players, random is always less appealing than non-random. It's not logic, it's psychology.
- Random loot is critical to the success of the game, so we'll never be obsoleting loot by making crafted gear completely non-random. The AMOUNT of randomness in both looting and crafting, however, will go up and down as we tweak things.
- I had a long post explaining how looting and crafting are intended to live together, but I just don't have time to polish it up right now. Let me try to summarize. The basic idea is that crafting has two advantages: crafted items can fit niches better than looted items (for instance, evasion gear might be ideal for certain combat roles... when those roles exist), and crafted augments work on both looted and crafted items.
- The niches are problematic because I haven't managed to make any of the niche armors compelling yet. It's hard to make some of them interesting at this low level (for instance, the Evasion armor has mediocre evasion chances at level 50, but much higher at level 125). Others are just victims of how the game's combat meta keeps evolving. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to make any of the niche armors compelling until late beta, when the combat is more locked down. But if you have ideas, I'm interested!
- Augments are a big deal. Not just the oils, but all the ways that will come. There will be a lot of different systems to alter, adjust, and repurpose items. This is a place that crafting can really shine without detracting from random loot, and I intend to make heavy use of it. I suspect that for most players, crafting new items will be less important than crafting augments and modifiers (at high level -- again, it's hard to make those augments useful at low level).
- That's not to say that I want the crafted items to be useless -- and really, they aren't useless now. They're quite powerful! And if you've crafted a few hundred recipes, I'm 100% confident that you'd be able to defeat any existing solo content in the game, including the werewolf den. It may not be what you want, but I don't consider it junk, is my point.
- I realize junk is in the eye of the beholder: it's garbage to you unless it's better than the best looted item you've ever found. But that will only be possible when you haven't found really amazing loot items. (That's randomness for you.)
- It's also important to realize that some of the bosses, like Sedgewick, have given out really overpowered stuff in the past. For many months, the major bosses were dropping legendaries like party favors. And before the last update, the werewolf matriarchs were dumping out 300% more treasure than intended -- and all of it magical. That's not indicative of the intended balance... people aren't supposed to be walking around with a half-dozen Legendaries at level 50! I haven't worried about this boss-equipment inflation, though, because level 50 is just a mid-tier in the game. It will work itself out as we add more levels.
- I also don't want crafting to be boring, but it's hard to fix that. It already takes less time to acquire decent gear with crafting than farming solo monsters (except for some buggy monsters that gave out too much loot! And ignoring grouping, which is supposed to be more efficient than any solo activity)... but it's tedious. I don't have an easy answer for that.
- I don't want to make it faster to craft items -- it's already fast enough in general. I just want to make it more fun. But I don't want to add timed mechanics to it, and without timed adversarial mechanics it's hard to make it more engaging. (I don't want crafting to be timed because it's supposed to require less attentiveness than combat. In other words, it's a thing to do during down time, not Combat version 2. I think that ""combat-crafting"", as it's called in some MMOs, is only fun at first, and then it bogs down the socialization and relaxation aspects of crafting.)
- So I'd love to get people brainstorming on how to make crafting more engaging, without it taking more time, and without turning it into quick-time-event type stuff.
- The original intent of the survey system was that people should work together to do them. For instance you and your guild mates would all crank out maps while chatting in town, and then you'd sort them based on which quadrant of the map they were in. Each person takes all the maps for one quadrant, and you'd really reduce the amount of running-around-time. I don't know if this idea works yet, because 1) we don't have guilds yet, 2) trading items is tedious without a trade GUI, 3) inventory management still sucks, and 4) there aren't a lot of players online to work with. So I'm not saying it's a failure... I just don't know. It's too early to tell if the social aspect can be fun or not. But it's something to keep in mind.
- I have some more explanation and examples that I'll post when I can. I've dumped a lot of stuff in here without a lot of details, for which I apologize!
- Oh, about random resource drops, those are used for inventory and cash control. Right now deer have about 1-in-4 chances of giving an antler (combining the chances of getting one as a drop and finding one when butchering). If they dropped antlers every time, antlers would be worth 1/4th the current amount and recipes would require 4x as many! Even if they stacked quite high, that sort of proliferation of resources puts added pressure on inventory management, and inventory management is already tight enough.
- There's some interesting pros and cons to random resource drops, though... but I've already gone off on enough tangents. Bottom line, I think random drops are fine. The devil is in the details, though. Some random drops are too rare, and some recipes require way too many of them for no good reason. The fur coat shouldn't require six tufts of fur, for instance!
- So I talked about a dozen things here... let me sum up. The following things are especially helpful to brainstorm and discuss:
niches/builds/setups that specialty crafted gear recipes can fill. (These are hard to pin down while combat is still so fluid, but brainstorming is always helpful so I have notions of where to take it.) ways to make crafting less tedious, WITHOUT making it take significantly less time, and without adding time-sensitive mechanics.
- please feel free to point out recipes that have seemingly-absurd resource requirements!"
- At this alpha stage players are just going to have to look past some things like muddy text objectives. The landscape of Serbule has changed so many times, and will continue to change several more times, that the careful text directions (and even cardinal directions!) get obsolete VERY quickly after I add it. It makes no sense to add that sort of detail now. But it will be added when the landscape is finalized.
Dragons & Racial Traits
- "If you can be a dragon, it'd be a temporary form. Dragons are so large that they would need their own towns, and would have the whole ""cows can't talk to NPCs"" problem at an entirely different scale. I know there was that one game that let you play as a dragon, did they let you be full size ones, though? I mean, dragons in the Project: Gorgon world are bigger than most of the houses in Serbule...
- Each actual race (human/elf/rakshasa/fairy/orc) will have their own racial mechanics. You can see a little bit of that already for the three existing races. They have very small benefits and weaknesses to start, but as you level there will be more opt-in chances to dig deeper into their racial background, unlocking more racial benefits but also taking on new racial requirements.
- The other two races, fairy and orc, will have racial features too, but they won't be optional. They'll just throw you into the deep end with all the racial stuff active immediately. For that reason, they won't be available to newbies -- you'll have to unlock the races by completing quests in-game."
- NPCs will have the ability to do different things at different times of day, but I haven't decided what they'll actually do differently yet. Most vendors and shopkeepers will stay in their store through the night, ignoring the day/night cycle. But NPCs like Blanche and Rita might head to their homes and sleep. Or, head to Joeh's leather party... or whatever. I'll have to experiment and see what behaviors are fun and also cost-effective to implement.
Potential Skills & Player Feedback
- "You mention the skills, do you mean how individual skills will play out, or more generally how skills advance?
- I'm hesitant to give the specifics of too many upcoming skills because they tend to get merged and altered as I implement them -- sometimes becoming multiple skills, sometimes (really, most of the time) getting condensed down into fewer skills with more meat. I want to have hundreds of skills, but I want them to be more than just a number. We do have some ""just a number"" skills like the various Anatomy skills, so it's obviously not a hard and fast rule, but when I'm adding new skills I'm trying to see what abilities, recipes, and special features can be tied into it. And vice versa -- when I add new gameplay features, I try to see what skills can map to it!
- So in that way player feedback does drive the skills. For instance, players have mentioned a few NPC features, like being able to see what's in their various storage chests without having to run around the world. Or to see what Hangout options are currently available to them. I plan to add these sorts of features and tie them to new skills -- skills I haven't really invented yet.
- But for others, I have a list of skills I want to see happen. Most of them are not very fleshed out until I start implementing them. I had more design docs years ago, but they're all obsolete now since the game has changed so much as it's developed, so all that's really still around is the ideas. To show just how little is really designed about some of these skills, here's the notes for one of them:
- - Illusionist! You could shoot fireballs, but only sentient monsters would believe the illusion and catch on fire. And of course there'd be a Mirror Image ability -- description would say ""creates a duplicate so similar to you that only a shrewd observer would notice the difference"". But actually the mirror image would have some random difference from you, like a different skin tone, different armor, different sex, etc., so often it would be very obvious they aren't the same person. If you select them, their name would be the player's name, but just one letter changed. They would run around behind the player shouting one of the comments the player recently made in chat, like an annoying parrot.
- That's all I've got for Illusionist -- a couple of cute things that would be fun to see in game.
- When it comes time to work it up, I'll sit down and figure out how it fits with other skills. That's if it ever gets into the game... if there are other better ideas, they tend to come first. And ideas like the one above often get merged in with some other skill -- I'll grab these old ideas when I'm trying to flesh something out. But lots of them just won't make it into the game before launch because there's only so much time!
- Sometimes I add new skills specifically to help me flesh out part of the game engine or gameplay experience. I'm thinking of adding the Osteomancy skill -- bone magic -- as a useful low-tier skill that leads you to other skills like Necromancy. So in that case it's not because Osteomancy sounds more fun, but that it fits a need.
- Speaking generally about skills, the basic idea is that most skills go to 125, but after level 50 you need to unlock further advancement by completing various quests. So you'll do a quest to unlock 50 to 60, and a quest to unlock 60 to 70, etc. Most skills will have branching sub-skills that unlock after level 50. For instance, at level 65 or so, a Staff Fighter could unlock Spear Fighter. Spear skill uses many of the same abilities from Staff, but also some new ones. That's also how dual-wielding swords would work, and magic-wand usage, and lots of other stuff: sub-skills.
- There are also going to be sub-skills for the craft skills -- skills like Leatherworking let you create some basic leather suits, but the fancier pieces of equipment need more specialized skills. For instance the best leather helms might be made via Haberdashery.
- The point of sub-skills is to help players differentiate themselves from one another. I expect to have so many skills that it's not really plausible to have all of them maxed out. At least, not for years! The first part of each skill (up to 50-ish) is pretty fast, but advancing beyond that takes more time: the XP requirements are higher, and you also have to do quests to unlock further advancement. So this is why high level sword fighters may be extremely different from one another, and high leather armor crafters might have very different products for sale, etc.
- Hmm, hard to give too much in the way of specifics without more idea of what you're asking. If you have specific questions I can try to answer them!"
Equipment slots for Pets
- "Heh! Well I would love to do equipment slots for pets, but it's mostly an art budget thing. They can't wear normal armor so they have to be crafted per pet. And the store-bought 3rd party animals we use aren't actually rigged for wearing armor anyway (the cow and the wolf are custom models and can wear armor, but the deer and pig and cat are store-bought and can't really be augmented too much). So it will depend on how much of an art budget we can drum up when we're on Steam to see what sort of things like that are feasible for launch.
- That said, we do have a bunch of plans for pets. Animal Handlers will be able to practice animal husbandry, breeding animals to get stronger and more interesting offspring. And sometimes discovering entirely new art styles for pets.
- We'll also probably end up with some non-visual equipment slots (tail rings?), and possibly something silly like hats. (We can ""glue"" some items onto the models, like the top-hats on the mantises, if the art is very carefully done so that it doesn't intersect with the animal's animations.)
- Some of the other ""pet"" skills that haven't been added yet will also work a bit differently. Demon summoning, for instance, involves a live sentient demon from another dimension. When you summon your demon they'll be wearing whatever they happened to be wearing when you summoned them -- usually some armor but sometimes you catch them at a bad moment! And some have better fashion sense than others..."
- "Yep, group XP is split amongst nearby group members, and the XP should already be getting a bonus based on the group size. The current numbers are:
- 1 person: 100% of the monster's XP value
- 2 people: 125% total (split two ways)
- 3 people: 133% total
- 4 people: 150% total
- 5 people: 166% total
- 6 people: 175% total
- 7 people: 190% total
- 8-10 people: 200% total
- So it's not a huge amount, but should be noticeable! Instead of further raising the percentages, I've been thinking there might be a support role in there, like the bard class might literally boost that XP group bonus, or something like that.
- Only nearby group members count, so people that are far away from the combat shouldn't get a split (and shouldn't count towards the number of group members, above)."
- "I think they've all been mentioned at one point or another in the patch notes, so it's not exactly a secret... I mean, it's never mentioned in-game, but it's something that could find its way into the wiki.
- I like the notion of keeping them secret so players can have the fun of discovering them, but I also need people to test the badge system, so... at this moment, the possible behavior badges are:
- Hunger Artist
- Teleportation Denier
- Jewelry Refuser
- These have all been in game for many months, but I've never gotten any feedback on them. This makes sense, given that most of these are voluntary ways to make the game harder, and this being alpha, not a lot of people want to do that. But if there are people who want to try them out, let me know when you have the badge on your character!
- (I might keep the next batch of badges a secret if these seem to work without a hitch.)"
Roadmap Goals (Before Kickstarter)
- "In terms of big-picture details:
- the eventual game will have 125 levels (the current 50 levels are the newbie levels, basically)
- there will be at least three times the number of dungeons and land areas (and hopefully a fair bit more than that)
- over 200 skills (we have 100 now.)
- There are six playable races planned, including some unique racial skills and other content for each
- Many user-interface elements are slated for overhaul, including the inventory and chat windows
- The game will also have day/night cycles and dynamic weather, among other niceties that haven't made it into the game yet!"
- "RE: bipedal wolf form -- I don't have plans for a bipedal form for player werewolves. I feel like the Skyrim-style wolf form is kinda overdone, personally. But more importantly than that, it makes it much harder for players to understand the drawbacks of the form. ""What do you mean I can't chop wood?! These hands could easily hold an axe!""
- The wolf-form also helps reinforce the benefits of pack behavior, because we have images of wolves hunting in packs, whereas bipedal werewolves tend to be ""lone wolves"" in fiction.
- I could definitely imagine adding a bipedal form for top-level werewolves as unlockable expansion content, but the ""vanilla"" werewolf experience is going to be a quadrupedal form."
- "my goal for the full moon has always been for it to become a time of celebration, not a time of being pissed off. One step towards that is howling -- werewolves who Howl together in a pack get much better bonuses than ones who Howl alone, and naturally it'd be easiest to get a large howling group together during the full moon. But given the small number of players online right now, that sort of mechanic doesn't really come through too well yet.
- I'm working out the details on another full-moon mechanic which will be for level 50+ werewolves.
- Basically, during the full moon you'll have access to a bunch of tasks. Things like ""kill 50 orcs"" or ""eat 100 corpses"" or ""kill the Scion of Norala"". For each of those you complete, you'll get a point to spend on special werewolf buffs that will last until the next full moon. So, for instance, if you have three points you can buy ""+25 Max Health""; if you have 5 points you can by ""+50 Max Health"" (or if you have 8 points you could buy both!). Other things ""for sale"" include some run-speed abilities, enhanced versions of a few werewolf powers, and similar things. Maybe the ability to be ignored by monster-wolves would be something you can buy, too.
- I think the fun part of being a werewolf during the full moon is hunting together with other wolves, running in a terrifying pack of doom. So this change is intended to give werewolves something to strive toward during the full moon so that they have reasons to hunt together.
- When you can run around as a large pack and take advantage of Howling and Pack Attack and these special quests, then hopefully it will start to be a uniquely fun time, where you stop doing your usual things and start doing special werewolf stuff with the other wolves.
- That's the goal, anyway, and we'll keep iterating things until we get there!"
High Level Gear w/ Low skills
- BTW I have a to-do list item to make high-level gear not work when you're level-cap-exceeded (so that you can't use level 50 sword items when you're raising a level 1 combat skill). That will be a stop-gap solution, and eventually the items will "degrade" automatically when possible, so that your gear effectively becomes a lower-level piece of equipment when possible. But that part's way down the road.
- We'll eventually have some more tools for refining the list (e.g. filtering by equipment slot, etc.), but in the short term, the suggested "is it wearable at all" checkbox was pretty easy to add, so I added it for the upcoming patch. Thanks for the suggestion!
- "We don't want to make it easier to switch -- in fact it will become harder to switch animal forms eventually. Keep in mind that a lot of the stuff like pig/deer potions are temporary. And the cow curse won't always be as easily accessible as it is now -- it won't always be in the tutorial dungeon!
- I know werewolves and druids have it ""easy"" with wolf and deer forms, but they've taken on permanent character-altering obligations that can never be undone, which is the down side of those skills. So we might add more tools to let the other animal forms change, but only if the player makes a permanent decision that's related.
- And actually, the spider one is planned out -- players will be able to complete a ritual to become servants of Akhisa, the god of spiders and patience. For cow and pig forms, I don't have anything planned... and none of the 37 gods is particularly cow-themed. But if you have ideas, I'm all ears!
- Lastly, as Mortitia mentioned, we've been slowly giving the animal forms more accessibility. NPCs that are outside of towns are generally okay with talking to animals in any form, and I've been adding animal-form access quests to newer in-town NPCs when time permits. There will always be some NPCs you just can't talk to, but in the final game you'll be able to talk to more of them than not."
- "Sandra and I worked on it, yep! We weren't on the original development team -- we just loved the game and so we dropped everything and went to work for Turbine. That led to working on the AC1 expansions and live updates.
- Sandra became the live-update producer for Asheron's Call for many years. (She was ""srand"".) I instead wanted to ""save"" Asheron's Call 2, and so I'm mostly known for my time with that game.
- (I was the live-update producer for AC2 for a year or two.)"
- I think the chests are important for solo players, because they otherwise have very little motivation to explore solo dungeons (rather than wander outside where it's generally much safer). There needs to be "stuff" for them to find. But it's not my intention for the chest content to outshadow other sources of equipment.
Crafting & Balance
- "On randomness -- there will never be a ""make your own perfect item recipe system"". A big part of Gorgon is working with the equipment you find, which is often imperfect -- and which may lead you to use different abilities than you otherwise would, for instance. So crafted items will always have a large randomness element. At higher levels you'll have lots of ways to guide the randomness, much as you do with gems in the existing recipes, but not remove it.
- On grinding -- the thing is, the early game (including level 50) is balanced around fairly low gear standards, compared to what you're talking about in this thread. If you make it your goal to find a piece of gear with exactly x, y, z, and w attributes, then yeah that's going to be insanely tedious because of the randomness. But, of course, that specific piece of gear would likely make you INSANELY OVERPOWERED for the existing content, so that's kind of intentional. :)
- This is a tricky thing to talk about because a lot of people do have insanely overpowered gear sets at the moment, because they've been at level 50 a while and there's nothing to do but find better gear. But in the final game, level 50 is not a level where people are going to stay for months at a time. (It's a slow level, because you have to complete quests to unlock level 51, so players may be at level 50 for, I dunno, a week? But not months.)
- So I'm not balancing these low-level crafting systems around making super perfect gear. (Level 50 is ""low-level"" in the larger scheme of the game.) I don't want level 50 crafting recipes to be useless, but I also don't want it to be easy to get perfect equipment out of them. I want it to be pretty painless to get ""good"" gear, maybe with a couple of specific abilities. (In other words, good blue gear -- items with two relevant powers on it. That's what I balance level 50 content around: players wearing appropriate blue gear.)
- If you're saying, ""then what's the point of crafting?! I already have good gear, I want PERFECT gear!"" ... well, to be really blunt, you've basically reached the game's content limit at this time. You've run into part of the reason I still call this an alpha, not a beta! You've already reached an extremely-grindy part of the game, not because I want people to be grinding thousands of gems at level 50, but because... there's nothing else to do.
- I wish I could add more levels instantly, but I have to do a bunch of other stuff before rolling out the next batch of levels, so it will be months before the level cap is raised. In the mean time I'm trying to alleviate some of the grind by adding some of the higher-level skills now. The new augment oils are a good example -- they were originally slated for level 75, but I added them now to help people who are seeking ""perfect gear""."
Food Spoilage (Not going to happen).
- "Yeah we wouldn't do food spoilage, that's just too tedious. But it would sometimes be fun to do ""fresh ingredients"" recipes, if there was a way to do it without breaking stacking.
- For instance, suppose you kill a dragon and get Fresh Dragon Meat -- if you grill it right there in the dungeon, in a makeshift barbecue celebration, the meal would be super fresh and give bigger rewards. But if you just wait a while, the ""Fresh Dragon Meat"" would become ""Dragon Meat"". It wouldn't degrade beyond that.
- But as mentioned, I don't have a good tech approach for doing this that isn't annoying (due to breaking stacking), so that idea is on the back burner."
Dungeon Chests 2
- "The chests in group dungeons (e.g. Nexus) are rewards for a group. People who can solo these dungeons, even surviving long enough to train to the chests, are simply overpowered. This will take care of itself in time! I can't balance everything at once, please bear with me. (In some cases, players are overpowered because they have gear that makes them level 60-equivalent... in those cases, the problem will be alleviated when the level cap is raised.)
- The new crafting skills are intentionally diversifying. There will be a lot more craft skills in the future and you simply won't be able to do it all. That's just how it is, sorry."
Swapping Gear In-Fight
- "Being able to switch your equipment during combat is just something I haven't gotten around to fixing yet, but it won't be possible in the final game. I made it very free form to protect newbies from frustrating scenarios like ""I'm trying to use Sword Slash, but my Sword isn't equipped... oh crap, and I can't equip it because combat's started! I just have to stand here and die!"" That sort of thing can be very disheartening. But I'll find a solution that protects brand new players without letting advanced players swap their entire wardrobe out mid-fight!
- (And yeah, the idea behind the presets is you'd only switch out of combat -- possibly with a cooldown timer or something if that ends up being necessary.)"
Limited Ability Slots & Presets
- "Not much to add except that I know not everybody likes having a limited slot system, but it's crucial to this game's design. With a game that's extremely free-form, where new skills and abilities can be added every month (and will!), it's only possible to even *hope* to balance it by restricting what verbs you have access to at any given moment.
- I like giving each skill a broad range of possibilities -- broader than many other MMOs -- so that you have lots of interesting things to experiment and build with. But if every single new ability was always available for everyone using that skill, I'd really be hamstrung in the number and variety of abilities I could add.
- In a few cases more slots wouldn't really make a huge difference, balance-wise -- like having another Wave ability available wouldn't really matter a lot; they are all tied to the same reset timer anyway. But in other setups (including some Mentalism setups), six is already stretching it -- and I kinda wish I'd kept it at 5. Not that I'm planning to take the sixth button back out again, but I'm definitely not adding any more!
- Sometimes you just have to reorganize your bars for specific situations, like when you enter a dungeon. At high level you often need to change gear to meaningfully use other skills anyway. (This is an intentional design element so that the small number of ability slots mirrors the small number of equipment slots.) At some point in the distant future I expect there will be several Gear+Ability preset buttons available for each player, so you'll be able to swap into your soloing setup, or your group support setup, or your exploration setup, etc., with the push of a button."
Why does Unarmed have knockback abilities?
- "Fighting more than one opponent. At mid-level and higher the game is balanced around the notion that you will be fighting at least two enemies at a time.
- Unarmed is also a nice combination with ranged skills because of its knockbacks. Remember, you are NOT using just one skill. Your ""class"" consists of TWO active skills, not one.
- Unarmed is a skill with many useful, cheap, but low-damaging abilities, which offer interesting combination points with lots of other skills."
Metal Armor Crafting?
- "There will be an Armorsmithing skill which is a sub-skill of Blacksmithing. It's a high-level skill -- gotta have some fun stuff for higher-level players to unlock! Various weapon-smithing skills will also be sub-skills of Blacksmithing.
- (Those skills won't show up until later this year when the level cap is raised.)"
- "I wanted to mention another trading feature that's on the ""maybe get added"" list. The consignment system is sort of a boutique system for unique items, but that may become too tedious for ""resource"" type purchases. For instance, archers who want to buy thousands of arrows shouldn't have to go window-shopping. They should just be able to buy their arrows and get on with life.
- So if that sort of bulk-sale ends up being problematic, we can add a globalized resource-house.
- The unusual feature is that stuff you buy from the resource house can't be re-sold! The items will be flagged so that they can't be sold again. So if you buy a pack of arrows for $50, you can't turn around and put them back up for $100. This keeps super-rich players from manipulating the market too much.
- (In fact, we might end up flagging consigned items this way, too -- we'll see.)
- For people who want to do face-to-face trades, there'll always be a place for that (for instance, there'll be some specific crafted things that require face-to-face interaction), but I think ONLY having face-to-face transactions is too annoying for people trying to buy stuff at odd hours.
- The goal is to find a middle ground where sellers can make decent money, but buyers aren't overly inconvenienced in finding what they want. So we'll see how things evolve, and try to make that goal happen."
How do Golems work?
- "The golem does one command every 5 seconds. It goes down the list of commands, starting at the first one, until it finds one that's ready to go (and whose Conditional is met). So if the first rule resets every 4.5 seconds, and has the ""Always"" Conditional, it will always be picked!
- If you want to use the ""Always"" conditional for several different abilities, you should put the slower-reset command in front of the faster-reset command, so that the slower one gets picked whenever it's ready to be used.
- If you want the golem to randomly pick between different abilities, use one of the randomizing Conditionals on the first rule. (Like ""50% of the time"". That will mean that it only picks the first rule 50% of the time.)"
- We'll eventually have a way to let you flag recipes as Favorite Recipes so that you can access them quickly, but that feature will be a ways down the road!
- "RE: auction house; it's been discussed in the forums a few times, so I don't want to repeat myself too much (because it's long) but in a nutshell we're not adding a global auction house, we're going to rely on consignments, and later, player-owned vendor stalls. It's intentional that players have to search around a little bit for what they want, maybe travel between a few towns (and eventually visit player shops/stalls).
- This is a game that's supposed to be fun for crafters. (Not for auction-house junkies... for crafters. AH junkies have plenty of games to play, but crafters have very few.) It's also supposed to be fun for non-crafters, obviously, but those goals have to be more balanced than they are in most MMOs. An auction house isn't balanced at all: an auction house depletes the fun of crafters in order to give buyers an easier time. It forces every single crafter to compete with every other crafter in the whole universe. In most MMOs, this means that by year 2 or so, crafters literally make no money on most sales -- they just hope to recoup their costs. It's the antithesis of fun.
- Obviously crafters will have to compete at some level, but the consignment system at least breaks things up a bit by geography. As the world gets larger, that will add another angle to the shopping system. (We'll also be adding ways for crafters to compete on things besides price and geography... but those are big parts of the equation.)
- That's the short explanation.
- My hope is that we can evolve the consignment systems to the point where it's easy to use and understand, and players can use those as ""localized auction houses"" for selling rare items or expensive crafted things. Buyers won't always get the best price or have the entire world's selection at their fingertips, but they won't be stuck screaming ""WTB blah blah blah"" either.
- If your concern is that the reason there's not a lot of trade in-game right now specifically because of a lack of a global-type auction house... probably not. There's only one city in the game, so at this point, the consignment system is practically an auction house as it is.
- There are lots of things that need to happen before the game's trade economy flourishes, including:
- - having more levels (because nobody under level 40 is going to buy anything expensive on consignment... it makes no sense, the levels go by too fast)
- - having more players online (when there's like twenty people online, everybody knows everybody else, people are happy to just give their stuff away at this stage)
- - better consignment searching tools (when one NPC has hundreds of consignment items, the existing system will be completely unusable... but at this point, it's not a high priority task)
- - commodity-style items worth trading (and too time-consuming to just make all of them yourself)
- It's not going to happen overnight. And the upcoming changes aren't going to magically make trading happen (hopefully there will be *more* trades, but not a flourishing trade system just from this). That's okay... the game is a year away from being finished. This is just a step toward the final goal!"
End-Game & Why Eric is Awesome.
- "There will be traditional equipment tiers in group dungeons for level 125s to work through -- basically finding rare drops of items and hard-to-acquire special abilities -- so their effective level goes beyond 125. And presumably a dungeon or two of insane stuff for the ""effective level 140"" players to do. People who want to keep on keepin' on will be able to do so, albeit at a reduced pace. (And probably not very soloable, just because of the extreme difficulty of making ultra-high-level soloable content that isn't easily exploited, or an insane grindfest.)
- But that said, I do expect players to basically never run out of skills. Not even half the skills are in game yet, and the ones that are in only go to 50 -- the easy part of the advancement curve. As you get past 50 it starts to make more sense to focus on your favorite skills rather than trying to do them all, so that you're able to progress in those chosen skills at a good pace.
- And so players who max out their character can go back and start other skills. This is an intentional design goal because it pushes high-level players back into low-level dungeons and cities.
- There will also be content updates (think DLC or mini-expansions) three or four times a year. (I'd previously mentioned doing one a month a la Asheron's Call, but it doesn't look like that's a realistic timeline given my resources.) These updates will include new areas, new skills, and so on, and will also have ""story events"" which can result in permanent world alterations -- and possibly permanent character alterations. Think things like ""the volcano is erupting and we have to fight back the lava drakes or Sun Vale will be destroyed!"" These are PvE crafting and combat tasks that players can band together to accomplish, if they choose.
- I also intend to have a large number of minigames and other diversionary activities, so people who just want to hang out in game have stuff to do.
- I think most end-games fall flat because they are trying to change the game into something else. I'm happy to add some raid-style dungeons if players want to do them, but I don't intend to push players into raids or PvP or whatever else.
- And some times, you know... it's a good feeling to say ""I beat this game. In fact, I beat the SHIT out of it. I won!"" And then you go play some other MMO. Maybe dropping in on weekends to do some quests and say hi to friends, or perhaps just quitting completely and coming back in six months when there's new content.
- There are a million MMOs out there today, and I think it's naive to pretend that players will stick with the same one for years and years without interruption. While I definitely envision Project: Gorgon being a lot of players' ""main"" MMO, it can also fit the role of a ""side MMO"" pretty well. And I'm okay with that."
Character Wipe (From March 2015)
- PS: I don't plan to wipe characters. We'll probably wipe your inventories, but leave players and their skills intact.
- "Someone asked why I was so against camping bosses -- it doesn't make me angry or anything, but it's not ideal. In my experience, static camping burns players out. Imagine: you sit down at the computer for the fifth day in a row and think, ""time to spend another two hours standing in one room looting the same monster over and over, which poses no real challenge to me"", and... you decide to go play something else instead! A modern game needs to be more involving than that.
- At the very least, I want to make it so that groups are motivated to travel around the dungeon, going from boss to boss to boss, rather than standing in one place. That's usually how things worked in EQ2's early dungeons, and it was much less tedious than standing around idly. So that's what I'm working toward right now. I suspect I can make that work if I add enough bosses, though I will also probably have to slow down the respawn on each boss. (Because if it takes even 11 minutes to fight your way between bosses, the motivation to just stay put for 10 minutes will be very high.)"
Boss Respawn Time & "Dailies"
- "There's an old saying in MMO design: ""don't balance via tedium in an MMO, because players will do it anyway and then bitch about it."" What that means is that it doesn't work very well to make something super dull so that players won't do it. They'll do it anyway -- some even claiming that it's fun (because they're chatting with friends) -- and then get burned out and quit because it's too grindy.
- The ten minute timer is trying to find a balance between discouraging camping and also being short enough that other players have a chance to kill the monster. But that isn't working very well right now -- it's too short. But if I slowed down respawns to, say, an hour, then players would show up and be disappointed the boss is already dead.
- Chests are one way I can fix that, pushing players to move on, explore other areas, have fun, not just stand in one spot camping because it's low-risk-high-reward. (I can also make the bosses have a loot timer instead, so you can kill each boss and loot them only once -- that way I could respawn them even faster than 10 minutes. Or other variants of the same idea.) I'm trying different things to solve that problem. Right now I'm trying BOTH -- having bosses on ten-minute respawns with good loot, and also chests with good loot -- hoping that players will go do the chests, and only come back to camp the boss if they've run out of other stuff to do. But if that doesn't work, I'll try something else.
- I'm not trying to push people to do daily activities at this time. If you're perceiving them as dailies, that's just your OCD talking :) There's no way to avoid some OCD-like compulsion: ""I have to log in every day to pick a new Hangout Activity!"" Well, you can if you want, but the only person pushing you to ""have"" to do those things is you. The rewards of hanging out are intentionally low-impact so that you DON'T feel compelled to constantly log in.
- But maybe I will do dailies eventually -- I don't hate them, and if players want a log-in-every-day incentive I can do that. I'd use classic game incentives, like limited-time rewards (""get special dyes in the loot chests this month only!"") or score competitions (""who has the most chests opened this month?"") etc. It can be useful to do those things sometimes to drum up players when the game is in a doldrums -- gets people back into the game. But I'm not doing that here."
- Crafting two-skill belts: my plan with those is to make them rare drops (like some of them are now). They're the sort of thing that would make good Consignment sales items. I could even imagine player-run shops full of just rare belts. But we'll see how it goes.
What is Cheating?
- Cheating does include "escaping" dungeons, using jump-exploits or transformations or camera bugs or whatever else. If people use it to kill monsters with impunity, that's something I'd have to ban people for. Cheating would also include using dupe bugs, NPC logic bugs, etc., although of course we don't consider it cheating if you find an exploit and report it (and then stop using it).
- "I like the idea of using some sort of offloading item to allow you to store your notes. Maybe I will add a cartography skill that lets you store all your current dots on a blank map, and anyone that uses the map will have their dots replaced with the ones from the map.
- There will also be items eventually that let you boost your maximum number of map dots, and other skills that increase the number of dots and also add other options to your map.
- I actually had a large set of features planned for the map, and technically I still do... but there's just so many other things that are higher priority right now! But eventually I hope the map will be a lot more useful.
- The maps may also be one of the few places where I can easily allow user-provided content -- people could load their own maps into the game, as was done with EverQuest 2 long ago. I haven't explored the details of that yet, but it's doable with the game engine, so that might be something we try down the road."
Elves and their Vices
- "There are definitely people who will not play the game because the NPCs say dirty stupid stuff. If those people would also refuse to play a game with ""lingerie model armor"", then I can't fault them for that: they have beliefs about sexuality, and as long as they aren't hypocritical about it, that's fine by me. (If they're the sort who like women in games to be nearly naked, but to keep their mouths shut about sex, then that doesn't sit as well with me. But still, whatever. I'm not here to lecture people: play or don't.)
- The design of the elves came from seeing all the prefabricated ""elf models"" I could buy when I was developing the game. They were supposed to be mighty archers and swordsmen, but they could never take off their high heels or wear a supportive bra... it was ludicrous. So I did the indie thing and dug into why: if they look like this when they're fighting, they must have a reason, right? They wouldn't dress this way just to entertain the game player. And it became obvious that elves would be pretty into sex.
- That artwork is long gone and elves are much more modest in their appearance (which is how I want it). But they remain very ""into"" sex. I find it a useful racial attribute. Most games have elves which are just ""humans but arrogant"" and dwarves which are ""humans but stubborn"". If we have to stereotype a whole race in order to make it work in a fantasy game (and we kinda do -- otherwise they just come across as ""humans with different appearances""), we can at least give them new stereotypes!
- That stereotype also helps explain racial animosity between humans and elves, provides backstory hooks, and gives roleplaying opportunities. (Although it also has created a few unfortunate ""roleplay"" scenarios, too, so like every design, it's a double-edged sword.) As the game goes on and we see how each race approaches sexuality, it will let me highlight the differences between the races in a way that few other games manage to do. I find it interesting, and that's basically my litmus test.
- If I had to change the elves in order for to be successful, I'd just remove them. I don't really need ""humans with long ears and no other discernible differences"" in the game -- I'm an indie, and artwork costs a fortune. I need every aspect of the game to pull its weight from a gameplay point of view. Elves weren't in the original design of the game, it was going to be only humans. So I have considered removing the other races and tightening things down -- but at the point I'm not planning to do that. It doesn't seem to be a deal-breaker for most people."
Ancient Coins & Crone Hegemony
- Lore wise, the three "ancient coins" are named after different greek coins because they come from the part of the game-world that's inspired by greek myths -- the Crone Hegemony is full of harpies, hydras, sirens, gorgons... and eventually there will be a substantial part of the game set in that country, where those old coins are actually still legal tender, but Councils are worthless. So they'll prove useful in those lands.
- "For our purposes let's call PvE ""player versus environment"" and it specifically means ""killing monsters that are driven by the AI and not under the orders of other players"". PvP is ""player versus player"", which also includes ""player versus another player's AI-controlled pets"".
- It's also useful to point out that there's a ""PvP flag"" but not a ""PvE flag"" because PvP is a superset: you're always PvE flagged. (Otherwise you could wander through dungeons with impunity!) So when I want to use very specific terminology, I tend to say ""PvP"" and ""non-PvP"", because PvE isn't the opposite of PvP. They are complimentary game modes.
- Anyway, someone earlier asked why the game doesn't just have one set of numbers for PvP abilities and another for PvE. And the answer is that the game engine can already do this! But it's not actually very helpful.
- For one thing, equipment is a huge part of your character build, so I'd have to give different stats for both abilities AND every single piece of equipment. Basically, the problem isn't technical; it's time: that's an exorbitant amount of time to make it work!
- Let me try to explain how long it takes by comparison. This is a game with a fairly open character-build system, and those are already much harder to balance than games with strict classes and simple equipment (like WoW). And yet it's taken WoW a very long time to even come close to having both their PvE and PvP content semi-balanced. And they had multiple people working on it full time, for years.
- And to make matters worse, it's not just number tweaking. It often ends up that there's no numbers that can go into an ability to make it work. For instance, mezz abilities are just not fun in PvP. If I wanted to focus on PvP, it's not enough to make it ""balanced"", it also has to be tolerably fun, and that means being locked in place for 30+ seconds is not an option. Which means now there's a fundamental difference between PvE and PvP. I'd need to either make those mezz abilities do nothing in PvP, or else make them do some entirely different thing, inventing a new mechanic just for PvP. That's a very generic example, but it applies to lots of aspects of the game, from crowd control to damage to armor levels to well, everything.
- Also, I'm not really planning on the game being extremely well balanced even for PvE. I'm committed to doing a passable job of balancing the PvE skills against each other for a few common use cases (soloing, small groups, etc.). But I'm not under the delusion that this will be an easy thing, or a perfect thing. It will take literally years; the game will ship and I'll still have to make more changes periodically, just like every single other MMO in existence does.
- So given that, I can't also take on balancing PvP as well, because that will more than double my workload: I need entirely different numbers, but also entirely different scenario models (one-vs-one, two-vs-two, gang fights, etc.), and various different gameplay tweaks. I just don't have time.
- Plus, I want to be adding new content every month after the game ships. Which means new balance variables every month. I won't have time to make sure every new item or skill or pet makes sense in both PvP and PvE.
- Maybe when the game is on Steam it'll sell enough that I can stop ""thinking indie"" and instead hire a couple of systems designers to work on these tasks for me, but at the present moment, it just can't possibly fit into the schedule without throwing out other things that I think are more important to the game."
Griefing that's fine to do.
- "That doesn't mean there's no griefing! There are lots of places in the game where players can grief each other, and that's okay. For instance, even in its early state, you could:
- - trick newbies into saying horrific words of power
- - give them poisoned food
- - convince them to drink pig potions and then laugh and laugh"
Is this a Beta (No).
- "We've never been in beta; we're in alpha.
- We had a pre-alpha version during the first kickstarter in 2012; that was ""pre-alpha 2"". When that kickstarter didn't succeed, we closed down for a while, and later came back as ""pre-alpha 3"". We went into ""alpha 1"" earlier this year, and we're still in alpha 1. There will be at least one more alpha stage before we go to beta 1. But it's an indie game, so the terms are kind of wishy-washy anyway. MMOs are insanely big projects; we'll get there when we can get there!"
- "Yeah the wording here is unfortunate. Valiance isn't being done by Elder Game (my company). We're just part of a collection of indie companies that help each other out when possible. I'm letting them use my toolset and server tech, because their game design fits my engine's capabilities very well.
But Gorgon itself doesn't have anything to do with Valiance. Though there are a few things in the game that were added to help them out. For instance the Valiance team needed flying and super-jumping (since it's a superhero game), so I added basic versions of those to the engine -- and then promptly added them to my MMO too, because who doesn't like flying and super jumping!
I don't have any day-to-day contact with the Valiance team, though -- I just don't have time. Haven't for many months. The team has their own client-side engineers, and hopefully if their Kickstarter succeeds, they'll be able to pay for a server-side engineer to add some engine improvements -- which should benefit Gorgon too, since they share the same code base. Fingers crossed for them!"
Feeling Dead Inside?
- Stop killing sentient beings for an hour or so and you'd stop being dead inside. (For instance, the Serbule crypt has pretty much no sentient beings.) There will be racial jewelry which makes this much less of an annoyance / work differently.
Why Unity Engine?
- "This game's first prototype happened over four years ago, and we've evolved with Unity since then, creating elaborate custom tools for MMO content creation. Unity also got MUCH more vibrant as a community, making it easier and cheaper to create quick content.
- But it doesn't really matter, as switching engines isn't feasible. There's way too much to rewrite, and I don't have a spare year to do it! Neither game engine has anywhere near enough ""built in"" functionality to make an MMO, so I've done a lot of custom coding, some of it quite fancy, to make Unity work as an MMO.
- About Unity doing poorly: I'm not really worried. At this point it would take a MAJOR misstep to do them in. They have a strong market share and a vibrant community. So any screw ups would be due to a serious management blunder. The asset store alone does tens of millions of dollars in sales. Contrast with Unreal's community, and Unreal seems like a ghost town.
- If they really do screw the pooch, I'm sure there will be paths forward, probably by buying maintenance contracts from a second-party company. That's how the Gamebryo engine continued to be viable after its parent company died. Unity also does offer a source code license -- it's just insanely expensive -- but that would probably drop in price if people started freaking out and demanding source as a safety net.
- But bottom line: I frankly believe Unity has a healthier ecosystem than Unreal. So I'm just talking about speculative futures there."
The First Forum
No information can be gathered from the first forum for the game.