Game Director Letter – June 2014

Game Director Letter – June 2014

Hi everybody,

The end of a month brings the start of a new one, and with it, a new world boss to sink your teeth (and swords, daggers, arrows, maces etc.) into.

In the first week of July, keep an eye out for the presence of a new portent – I’ve heard rumours that this one prefers deserts to anything else.

Work on update 4.4 continues and due to some additional resources available to the team, we have been able to push the Unchained Raids revamp forward in the schedule. This means that we will have the Unchained Raids coming out before Palace of Cetriss – giving you all something to play through as we move into Tier 5. This whole new tier of Raids will also offer some unique and special rewards, which I will talk about later.

Let me provide some more detail on the Unchained Raids. The raids are a complete reworking of the current Tier 1 raids; Vistrix, Yakhmar, Champion of the Honorguard and Kyllikki – balanced and upgraded to act as the first encounters in Tier 5.

The extent of the Unchained overhaul is comparable to what has been done with the Caravan Raider’s Hideout dungeon – a complete overhaul of mechanics while attempting to preserve the flavour and nostalgic elements of the original encounter. For example, the Hyperboreans in the Kyllikki encounter will be there to maintain the original theme of the encounter, but their functionality and the necessary strategy required to deal with them will be completely different to the current Tier 1 fight.

And no, you won’t be punished just for being a Herald of Xotli when you encounter Yakhmar – nor will we be letting you use fatalities on Vistrix again!

Some of our design goals for Unchained Raids are:

  • To create a new level of raid progression that is a sufficient difficulty spike from the previous raid tier and provides ample opportunities for raiders to develop different strategies for defeating them.
  • Create a sense of progression within the encounters themselves (encounter flows that allow raiders to identify key moments within individual fights where they can improve the efficiency of their team and thus increase their progression).
  • Make use of our seven pillars of encounter design (Cirith is going to write an article on this!)
  • Maintain the original theme and flavour of the encounter.

 

We are envisioning the Unchained Raids as a chain of instances rather than a series of single instances scattered across the world. This allows us to create a real sense of progression through the tier.

Access to the new tier of raids will be via the Dragon’s Spine area.

Update 4.3 will be coming quite soon, and we hope to have it on the live servers within a week or two. This update contains several class balance changes, so be sure to check the patch notes to see what tweaks have been made.

Work on the crafting system continues, but due to the complexity of the system we have kept the system separate to the regular updates. This gives us two advantages - it doesn't lock us down to a certain code release and it allows us to release it as soon as it is completed.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been debugging and testing and fixing. Here are some examples of the systems within the crafting system that have had their code updated/revamped/written in the past two months: The Gem System‏, Salvaging / deconstruction‏, stats and upgrade system for player enhancements, resources and resource regeneration, critical chance code for crafting and salvaging and of course the User Interface.

Currently we’re adding all of the feedback in the system – error messages for when you craft wrong items etc.

I understand the frustration people feel that the crafting revamp is taking so long, but doing this right is very important for the longevity and balance of the system.

Finally, due to the holiday break in July, I will skip next month’s letter as with the team away, there won’t be a lot of new information to provide. In August we are all back in business though, so expect lots of cool new updates going forward.

See you in August,

Joel