Game Director Letter – February 2014

Hi everyone,

I have returned from the burning sands of Stygia (okay Australia is probably more like Mu) to the frozen wastes of the north (though Oslo is kinda temperate at the at the time being). Let me take a moment to say thanks to Matthew who stepped up and handled the letters while I was gone – he did a great job.

I’ll be joining the team in the US in early March and we will be putting together our plans for the game and I will talk about those in the GD letter next month. For now, let’s take a look at what has been happening in Hyboria!

World events

Three down, nine to go. The Twelve Portents continue their monthly attacks on Hyboria, and this time terror shakes the world as the Prophets of the Serpent Men rise to summon their terrible master.The events have been great so far, with players banding together (or fighting for supremacy) as they battle gigantic creatures. If you haven’t participated yet, I recommend jumping in, anybody past Tortage can participate and there are rewards for everybody and plenty of fun to be had!

PvP Gear and class balance

As Matthew mentioned, we’ve started to take a look at rebalancing some of the PvP rewards in the game and beginning work on Tier 4 PvP rewards. As we have investigated, we’ve seen the need to make class balance changes in some areas, in order make the gear changes make sense.In essence, it is a cascading series of checks and balances which will improve the overall health of the PvP system. 

A wise (and very experienced) PvP designer once told me that “players will only consider their class to be balanced for PvP when they win 70-80% of the time while developers will only consider a class to be balanced when there is a 50% win ratio in place.” 

I’m not sure that is an absolute truth, but there is often a definite disconnect between what a player wishes to see for their class, and what developers have as a vision. Nothing is more dangerous a subject for developers to tackle than class balance.

These changes are not designed to nerf one class or another beyond playability. We are making careful, considered adjustments in order to foster a competitive atmosphere in the game. It’s certainly not our intention to reduce the viability of classes in PvE – but even PvE players need to stop and take pause when tank classes are topping the DPS parsers.

At the end of the day, be patient as we do our work. The beauty of an MMO is that adjustments can be made on an ongoing basis and we have and will continue to listen to feedback.

In addition to class balance, we have also started looking into Daily Quests, which tie into the world boss system and can be run across the world at random times. The very first tests of these have been run on Testlive, with another event happening on Saturday the 1st of March. 

These tests will help us to test both the balance changes and the quest setup so help us out if you have the time!

Dungeons, Exploits and Tradeskills

Dragon’s Spine dungeons are still progressing. The Palace of Cetriss and The Slithering Chaos continue to slowly work their way towards completion.

People have been asking for a long time about whether the way that some guilds have skipped to the second lobby of the Tier 4 raiding instances is considered an exploit. We’ve looked at the problem and we don’t want to remove the lobby, for obvious reasons, so we are going to add a teleport that can be accessed on the outside by anybody who had completed the first few boss fights.

This means that going forward, teleporting to the Memory Cloud raid is legitimate and available to all – and we will adjust drop chances accordingly. This gives everybody an equal chance to access the Memory Cloud in the future.

Our tradeskill slaves are still slaving away and the system inches towards release. The most recent code work has been updating the UI to include correct tool tips for all materials and showing the origins of the materials and the associated crafted items.

Item Store Updates

Finally, in response to player requests for more baggage space, we have added a new, larger bag to the store – the Coffer of Infinity. Together with the account wide unlock option for bags, players can now have more storage space for all characters on their accounts. 

Alright, I think that is it. Expect a larger update next month as I outline more of our plans for the year.