Friday with Means - January 9th, 2009
Happy New Year!
It has been a busy week...filled with many meetings as we begin to plan for the future of AO in 2009...and try our best to shake the vacation out of our minds and get right back into "the zone" balancing the new content for the "Legacy of the Xan" booster.
This week we published a new version of the booster to TestLive and we are looking forward to another version coming middle of next week. This week also brought small update to live with a couple crash fixes and to get rid of a significant exploit. I am hoping the TestLive version next week will include significant adjustments made to the free pvp content (knockback and fear) included in the same update as the booster. I am also hoping next weeks version will see some of the work Macrosun has being producing based on his investigations of synch issues. Thanks to all who have taken the time to give their honest opinions about the functionality of these pvp additions...we will do our best to keep your opinions in mind and do our utmost to "make everyone happy". These additions are far from complete and they will not be included until we are all satisfied that they are ready and good for the game.
Outside meetings this week I managed to get some time to start examining the orbital strike mechanics and their effects on current Notum Wars pvp. My current impression is that the orbital strikes have "gone too far" in terms of their effect on the outcome of tower battles. The original basic concept was to "spread out" combat to make individual contributions more significant. The general feeling from the community has been that OS mechanics have an overpowering effect on the outcome of these battles and really highlight the balance issues that exist between the sided shadowbreeds. Data would also indicate that high level bases rarely if ever change hands. This could of course be for many reasons...but again OS mechanics could be a possible cause. AO is a game where we push individual character power to the extreme and I have always had a hard time accepting the basic idea that being killed from space, without ever seeing your enemy, could be "fun". Especially when "killed from space" can (and does) happen multiple times in a single tower battle. Before I make any changes I would like the oportunity to discuss our ideas for change here.
Two Proposed Changes:
1. Orbital Strikes will no longer kill anyone at full health.
An unharmed player will probably never die. Someone at low health will.
2. Spreading out players will now be achieved with knockback.
Players caught in an orbital strike will now be moved significant distances away from "ground zero". Being rooted will not prevent this move. This should also lessen the chances of being caught be multiple OS attacks at once. On "landing" a brief but significant snare will make regrouping "slower" this should give the OS team a short advantage...yet not an overpowering one.
I'll be checking in here daily to participate in the discussion, and hopefully we'll see the first new version of the orbital strike on TestLive for next weekend. Hopefully the long awaited Engineer Mines will come at the same time.
I hope everyone had a holiday season. I'm really happy to be back at work, recharged and ready to go!
Colin "Means" Cragg
This friday with Means can also be found in the Anarchy Online Forums.