Friday with(out) Means - August 27th, 2010: (re)Balancing Act
With Means out at the Norwegian Game Awards we have Kintaii up and at it once again with this week's Friday with(out) Means!
Welp, Means is out today attending the Norwegian Game Awards in Trondheim so it's me again. Not really a *whole* lot to talk about this week but a couple of things to share here and there so I'll try and keep it brief (as brief as I can, at least - I mean this is still *me* we're talking about here and I tend to write like they're paying me per word [note: they ain't] ;P).
So last week saw us toss out the Fixer and Enforcer nano change documents. On the up side, most everyone seemed to like the Fixer changes. =D But about them Enforcers - Not quite as much positive feedback on that end. So today we're tossing out what is pretty much version 5 of the document with a bunch of additional tweaks and changes based around what you guys have had to say. I should note that this version of the document still doesn't include The Plan™ we have regarding Enforcers and being able to catch up with their target; still waiting on confirmation of code support before we start talking about this one to a wider audience. That said, if we *aren't* able to do what we want code-wise then we'll definitely be looking into alternative solutions to the issue using more normalized parts of the AO abilities. Hopefully this will work, though, as I think it's something that quite a lot of you would really enjoy seeing as an addition to your toolsets. =) MA's got Zazen, Keepers have received Clarion Call - We wanna be able to give Enforcers something unique as well.
I also think it's important here to state, again, that this *is* an iterative process, and we will continue making changes/alterations where need be both during the process of designing the rebalancing and past the point where the changes hit the Live dimensions. This isn't something where we're just tossing stuff out and saying "Here you go, enjoy it or not, we don't care" - Quite the opposite. We do take feedback seriously, and even though I won't claim that we'll always agree on all of the feedback we receive our goal is to make AO a more entertaining, engaging experience at the end of the day. To do that we are making sure we are dedicated to tweaking, adjusting and altering our work until it's *right*, and if this means further adjustments after it's been unleashed into the wild then so be it. Together, with the feedback from you guys and with the work from us, we *will* make this work.
I've also heard a lot of people on the forums raising concerns that we've 'forgotten' about PvM during this process and are focusing solely on the PvP balance of the game; far from it. PvM is actually a larger part of our design effort than most people seem to know. In this process of balancing and normalizing profession toolsets/stats/abilities one of our primary goals is to make the PvM aspect of our game more engaging for players of all levels while making the individual professions of AO feel as though they can actively contribute to a team-based environment, something that a lot of our current classes lack in many ways. That said, our goal isn't to destroy the soloing aspect of the game either, not in the slightest; as bitnykk put it over in the Balance Discussion forum, our goal isn't to provide "less solo action" but "more team action". We don't want to destroy that aspect of our game, simply enhance it, and with the changes that Genele and crew have been working on I think we're working very solidly towards that goal.
In further rebalancing news we still don't have the nemesis nano changes quite ready for public viewing yet, but they should be going up for the Professionals early next week - Work there has been slowed down a bit by both the changes we've been working on to the Enforcer document but also the work happening for the next profession in the pipeline: Bureaucrats. Genele's already started in on their nano document and we should have that out for the Professionals late next week as well (barring any disasters) with a public release shortly there-after. Again, when reading through these, please remember that we *are* open to changes and will listen to feedback given - We won't always *agree* with said feedback, but I hope that the changes to the Enforcer document show you guys just how vital gathering feedback is during this process. =)
Otherwise on the team Lindelu has been hard at work on the new Alien Daily Missions and is getting close to time for testing with them. To start there will be six individual missions, scaled across all level ranges, and a couple of team missions tied into the new Sector 7 playfield. As Genele has been keeping herself busy with the rebalancing work I myself will be giving her a hand with creating a few of the bosses in the new playfield, and I've got a few interesting ideas up my sleeves already. The Sector itself looks really great and is very different in terms of theme from the rest of the alien sectors already in-game; I think you guys will like what we've managed to come up with thus far once it gets out to the live dimensions.
Work on the open PvP playfield is more-or-less finalized at this point, with the official final name of the area being "SBC-Xpm Site Alpha-Romeo" (long name, but it's there for a reason i promise). What remains right now is working on separating the playfield for the individual level ranges in-game and otherwise shipping it out for the Live dimensions. There's still a couple more interesting things happening here which I'll leave Means to talk about when he's ready, but it should hopefully make you guys pretty happy overall - Some definite improvements on the horizon. =)
I also wanna take a few minutes to thank Chrisax and crew of the Testlive Squad, who've recently been putting in work on creating a 'floating object/visual error/worldbuilding bug' tool for the team, which has been a *massive* boon for us. His site tracks bug reports created around floating objects and other worldbuilding errors/issues in-game and gives us an easy way to look at visual issues in-game and fix them when we have the opportunity to do so (if we've gotta re-export Milky Way anyway, might as well take care of the floating trees in there while we're at it, after all). So major thanks to Chrisax, Darkbane, Dagget, Phoenix and all the guys who've put effort into the tool - You guys rock. =D
And yeah, that's about it from me. See? Not *that* long today - Under 1200 words, even! (yes, i count this as an accomplishment) Meantime, I'm gonna bust outta here like a bad habit - Me, MstrBstrd, and Daniel (one of the former AO artists) are about to go get our crunk on in da club. Or something like that. Have a great weekend, guys - See you all on Monday. =)
PS: The player gathering next month is shaping up to be one hell of a party! If you haven't checked out the details for it yet, make sure to visit this thread and read up. Hope to see you there!
Brad L. McAtee
Senior Designer, Anarchy Online
To view the original post on the official Anarchy Online forums, please visit the following link: http://forums.anarchy-online.com/showthread.php?t=580447