Friday with Means - March 27th, 2009
We are currently trying to get a "big build" done to get a new version out on Test Live for the weekend. It is looking like it won't be there tonight...but we are hoping for some time this weekend. Part of our delay this week was related to a new issue with monsters suddenly gaining out-of-combat regen while fighting in the latest version. Thanks to all who helped us by reporting this issue and helping us develop a good test case for it on the test dimension. It turned out that stunned monsters would lose their target and drop out of combat while switching aggro between targets. This was an obscure result of changes to game systems to terminate combat when feared. The fix of this issue (Thank you Macrosun and Metaing) involved some tricky new code logic and implementation of a new "Stunned" state in game in 207 in game items and nanos. As you might imagine this took awhile...now we just need to get all these items correctly into a new build and our little problem with regening monsters should be a thing of the past. In the meantime not running stuns will reduce this problem until we can get a fix out next week WITH the new 12-(wo)man instance...finally...and with it the new profession specific Hold Hell at Bay ring upgrades loot for the instance.
"Is there any chance of modifying the names of items like Arul Saba Bracers or the upgraded Reanimator cloaks to make their specific type clearer? (ex. "Fire - Arul Saba Bracer - 5/5 - Right" and "Cloak of the Reanimated Jester - 5/5")"
Yes. There is potential to change the names of items that share names but not stats. PM me a list of the most annoying ones...and they will get done when we get a chance.
We don't have any immediate plans for implementing an in-game mail system or account wide banks. From a technical standpoint these two systems can introduce a whole new set of issues and would represent months of work. The coders are already very busy with new features and the new engine. The mail system I am not a huge fan of personally...as I like that people congregate together to exchange items/credits...it is social and nice to actually see each other now and then. I have played other games with these systems in place and never really liked that I could not see members of my org for weeks at a time..yet exchange items etc with them all the time. Travel in AO is really quick and easy...so a quick visit with your friends never felt like a "bad" thing for me.
"When will we get timer on missing skill like specials attacks?"
18.1 will bring timers on any skill-lock items (including Shadowbreeds) but not yet for actions like Full Auto. So...not yet...but maybe soon.
"I believe I read in some Friday with Means you mentioned more pvp areas like the battlestation, any clue when we might see these and can one of them be a revamped will to fight?"
In the near future we will be working on new PVP encounter areas that will provide other areas to gain VP. I honestly can't commit to when they will be done as they are in the early concept phase now but they are in the works. Will To Fight will likely not be revamped as it is horribly ugly and outdated...but the concept of an open pvp area with sided respawn areas is a good one and will likely be implemented in the near future.
"In a previous week you mentioned maybe revamping outdoor hunting to make other ways to gain xp viable. Any further thoughts or progress on that?"
Not sure I remember how I mentioned this...but I would like to see as many possible different ways to gain XP as possible. Currently grinding XP can be repetitive...adding more options like "Daily Quests" for significant rewards and increasing quest xp-rewards for current questlines are in the works. The content produced for LOX is the model I would like to continue with....soloable content with significant rewards...and larger challenging encounters for items. Leveling shouldn't feel like a grind...even though sometimes at a fundamental level in all games it is. We will be trying to make it a good leveling option to pursue quests and outdoor hunting...both in Rubi-Ka and SL. Again SK quests on Rubi-Ka, Daily quests to vary the leveling experience, and increased rewards for non-repeatable quests to make the reward worth the time spent not running inferno missions or grinding hecklers.
"Back when the log-in window was changed to requiring us to enter our password each time Sil said something they'd like to do is allow us to change chars without logging completely out. Is anything like that being looked at?"
Not that I know about...but Macrosun has SECRETS!
"global research: questions has been here before. Do you still plan to bring new ones or are you not really a fan of those , e.g. it's leftover from before your time as boss"
I was never a fan of the global systems. I didn't like the idea of producing huge amounts of content that..when the research was complete...would never be seen again. The mechs are a great example of this...hundreds of hours of work producing and texturing models that a new player will never see. I don't feel this is a good use of resources...I also don't feel like people feel they are getting value by contributing their XP to the common good. I would much more prefer to implement more personal research to allow for individual improvement...perhaps one like the ability to build new building (just an example) for your new city....the player who researches the line can create a building that can be enjoyed by his entire guild.
"What is the role of VP moving forward? Could more quests or the new booster instances give us a way to earn VP other than through battlestation? Or is VP still seen as the reward to the PvPers, that the rest of us just have to live with."
I would like to implement more varied ways of gaining VP...much the same as gaining XP. The fastest way will still likely be PVP related...but the options are going to be more varied. Again, Daily quests for VP are a possibility as are PVM encounters in areas that would expose you to PVP should there be any "hostile" players in the area. There is potential for improvement in this area and we will be looking into it
"Will anything be changed in the GUI for the graphics update?"
If history has shown us anything it is that you guys like your GUI the way that it is. As few changes as possible are being made to these systems and we will be letting you know what they are so the custom GUI enthusiasts can make their changes accordingly.
"With the new special affect system does this mean the perks will finally have unique animations or special affects apply to them? At this time the "button press" animation on 95% of the perks out there are pretty lame."
The new graphics system has nothing to do with the perks or their animations...that being said it is possible now to change the animations for these perks...it just has never been done. We will be looking into profession balancing in the near future and it is likely that a great number of these perks will be changed then...at which time appropriate animations will be added. The "poking and waving" shade has always been a huge source of personal annoyance for me...Nobody here wants to let it go...we'll get to it. That being said I doubt more effects will be added to individual perks as AO is a bit of a "Lightshow" already.
"Why do procs have nano recharge?"
They shouldn't. Let us know which ones.
"How is the Profession Balancing Act coming along? Any eta?"
Early plans and proposals are being drawn up. But there is no immediate ETA. Any large scale changes are going to be discussed in the forums here before implementation...no "suprise! Huge changes!" Issues like Aimed Shot are going to finally be addressed.
"When are are you going to let meta get stuck in to new main pets for all 3 pet clsses? We have had the same pets now since the launch of SL and to a pet class, pets are the same as a weapon."
"How is Instanced Pande coming along?"
This will be coming soon after the release of the 12-Man instance and likely before 18.1.
"Is there a possibility of significant changes to the Xan weapons in the next patch or two or are they basically frozen?"
Nothing is ever frozen. We'll be watching the performance of these items and making adjustments if necessary.
There were a great deal more questions than I have time to get to today...I will try to get through some more of your concerns during the week. I'm sorry if I didn't get to yours.
An 18.1 Preview from Macrosun (All Hail!):
18.1 code features sneak peak/preview:
Here's a short preview of code-related changes in 18.1:
- Instanced cities. You can only have one city at a time (meaning you can't have both a non-instanced and instanced one), and shops will not be allowed in the instanced ones.
- Option to hide nanos in programs window. You can add back hidden nanos using the 'show hidden' option is in the 'i' menu.
- Map navigation will be resettable.
- Target NCU window. See hostile nanos running on your target (with restrictions on which ones you can see).
- Split the default new player chat window into default (system/vicinity etc) & combat tabs.
- Right click names in chat to get a menu with the option to ignore them.
- Mouse targetting improvements. It will now be easier to target small/fast moving things/players.
- Hotbar timers on skill-locked items (including shadowbreed). Timers also work in the programs and controls windows.
- Added /duel draw. Currently neither of the participants get a loss for using draw.
- Added battlestation chat channel(s).
- support for custom guis outside the 'Guis\Default' directory (we still don't give any customer support on third party GUIs though).
- Improved various tools to help GMs handle chat spammers.
Colin "Means" Cragg
This friday with Means can also be found in the Anarchy Online Forums.