Monthly Development Update - November 2010
With the 2.1 update series almost upon us this has been a very busy month for the team, as we get all the various parts of the update lined up, started testing, and begin to build the first release builds.
This update series brings with it a lot of important improvements and new content to the game. As we have mentioned in the weekly development updates that are posted to the forum every Friday, we have decided to split up the content of the series rather than try and wait for ‘everything to be done’ in one mega update. This means that you will start to see the first stages released over the coming month. We have already talked about a lot of that content already, but have also squeezed in some more content that we will talk about for the first time today.
The Call of Jhebbal Sag progress
The first stage of the 2.1 update will bring with a lot of the new dynamic content that we have been preparing over the summer. We talked about the new PVP mini-game, the new queue system, and the new social additions in a previous update, and those additions have been in public testing for the last month. We have been paying particular attention to getting some good feedback on the new mini-game and the PVP side of things. So how has that testing been going? We asked one of our systems designer, Tim Donks, who is working on the new map, for a quick update on the testing progress.
“Many players took this opportunity to take a look at the new mini-game, and more importantly give us feedback on the mini-game. Quite a bit of this feedback has already resulted in changes that have already made it to the test server. For example adjustments have been made to the amount of capture points, the duration of the mini-game and the scoring mechanics in general. We will continue to tweak and polish the new mini-game as testing continues, and we get ready for the live release. Thank you for the feedback so far, and please never hesitate to keep letting us know what you think.”
The testing has allowed us to give the new queue system a good going over as well, and we are looking forward to these new additions going live soon.
New winter festival event
One element that we haven’t revealed yet is the addition of a new Winter festival for Hyboria. Off the back of the second successful year of the Nights of Lost Souls, we wanted to continue by adding a new seasonal event for the Winter Solstice. With another series of new quests, players will help the Aesir celebrate the winter solstice by helping them defend against Vanir aggression that threatens to disrupt the festivities. With a whole host of seasonal rewards to be earned we have taken what worked well with the previous seasonal event and expanded upon it for this winter offering. We’ll have a more in-depth preview article on the community portal as the update gets ready for the live servers.
New Content additions
So if that is what we have for new dynamic content, what about the new solo, team and raid content? Never fear, we have quite a bit here that we haven’t spoken about yet as we were still putting the finishing touches to the designs. This content will come through the course of the 2.1 series into the New Year. As we mentioned earlier in the year, the intention for this series was a little of something for everyone, rather than a huge addition for one play style or preference. So what exactly do we have coming up in this series?
- Two new max level six player instances set in the city of Pai-Kang
- New raid encounters in the Jade Citadel as tier four raiding expands
- One new max level solo player ‘daily’ instance in Kara Korum
- Two new solo ACG (auto content generation) dungeons that will scale for players between levels 40 and 80
For the details on these we asked Content Producer Per Storløkken for some more information on the upcoming content.
“In this series we really wanted to add variety for the players, and give them more choices about what do with the play-time, in particular in Khitai. We really wanted to bring the story of the emperor, the insurrection and the evil that threatens Khitai to a satisfactory conclusion for players, so the content in Pai Kang concentrates on that.
Paikang Districts team instances
Emperor Yah-Chieng is loosing his grip on the people of Khitai, and so tightens his iron fist over the districts of Paikang – something must surely give or break. In the districts of Ai and T’ian’an, the Dark Legion plunders and persecutes the people, while madness and corruption spread, like ripples in oily water, from the heart of the Jade Citadel; the home of the Emperor himself. Gather your friends and help the Insurrection regain control of the two districts. Rekindle hope in the hearts of the people!
The Jade Citadel raids
Too long has the Emperor ignored the wailing of his people and the demands of his loyal subjects. Khitai crumbles, yet he locks himself away, obsessively contemplating an abomination from the stars. The final hour is a scythe, and it swings towards the neck of the God-Emperor. The factions all tire of his rule and want you to end it. Venture on a perilous journey to the Jade Citadel, a massive structure towering above Paikang City. Battle your way though the Emperor’s Garden and a living Zodiac; battle the Emperor himself, the greatest sorcerer of the East, and prepare to face a terrible choice that will shape the very future of Khitai.
Kara Korum Solo Instance
Then we also wanted to add some content for the solo player, which is where the new daily instances come in. The max level version will be found in the crater in Kara Korum and will offer some good daily reward for completion. With these additions we really feel we will add some more variety for players in Khitai and offer something that can help everyone progress in the eastern lands.
New solo ACG content
Then lastly we also wanted to add in some more solo player options for those still levelling. The Villa’s in Tarantia Noble district have long been the only dynamic content for the solo players, so we wanted to set that right in this series. These ACGs will probably come at the end of the series, but should make a nice addition to the levelling options for players.”
That’s a lot of new additions, and hopefully there is something there that appeals to your tastes whether you await the new PVP map, new seasonal content, new raids or the new solo content.
Balance and such
As always the systems team are hard at work with the numbers and calculations behind the scenes, so over to our Lead Systems Designer, Einar Forselv for some of the details.
“This month we have been concentrating on a few things. The Guardian class has a good deal of the focus in terms of class changes, and we have been busy testing and tweaking there. Then we have started taking a much deeper look at two areas, class damage balance and then some of the core abilities. In effect we are taking a much deeper look at the fundamental balance issues not that all the additions and changes of the last year have settled in. Damage wise we are now looking at the damage budgets for all the classes and formulating a number of changes. We have now started taking a look at a few of the core balance mechanics in more detail, in particular the crowd control abilities. Taking a fresh look at how they work, and how they impact combat. So you may start to see some changes coming up there in the future. We are also starting to look into the PVP specific stats and seeing what can be improved there.”
As always those changes will be done on an ongoing basis as we move forward with the 2.1 series of updates.
With a very busy schedule for the next few months (remember we have the technical Dreamworld integration in the middle of all of that content as well!) we are really looking forward to getting the 2.1 series rolling, and getting all of these new additions out to you all.