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Monday, May 22, 2006

House of Commons on Stratics

I thought the recent Stratics House of Commons chat with the devs was very good reading. Even though I didn't get my question to the devs answered ("Why r u all such noobs?") a lot of people did. So head over and check it out.

Some stuff I wanted to comment on:

Achievements (the questioner couldn't trick Scott into calling them AA's) in EoF are "going to be its own separate tree, one for each of the 24 classes, and our goal is to make it a series of choices you make along the way, instead of a number of linear paths as we did with KoS." Sounds like an interesting system which could further increase diversity between subclasses and even within a subclass. As always the key is not having one "correct" path.

On PvP, Lyndro says "We do have some plans in the works currently. We aren't at a point where we want to talk about them, but we do have some interesting ideas in the works." I hope so. PvP is still fun but it could use some more content and additions. I'd hate to see EQII lose its PvP player base and some new features could really keep people interested.

With regards to the tradeskill revamp, "tradeskill changes to the subcombine system (along with a few other changes) are going to be in Live Update #24. At this point, you can already find some of the changes on the Test server (scholar and outfitter recipes) with carpenter and woodworker recipes coming shortly. " This is fortuitous for me since I just started tradeskilling again and I really enjoy the lack of subcombines thus far. Hopefully this goes live before I hit level 20. Knowing me it probably will. The new secondary tradeskill lines for EoF also sound fun.

EoF will feature a "great cat mount." Will it be a He-Man style Battle Cat mount (aka Cringer)? Or perhaps Happy Cat? NEDM.

The belief system probably has me the most excited of any EoF feature: "You'll be able to choose a god to follow, and will be rewarded for doing so. This may include access to specific quest lines, the ability to wear certain items, and access to abilities that players who worship other deities can't use." In essence, it sounds like a faction system, but a fascinating one. I'm sure players will love building up their "faction" with a god for special abilities. And, again, it will increase diversity between players.

What do I mean when I talk about diversity? You might have one wizard with different regular Achievements then another. Then add in different subclass Achievements. Then add in different abilities from a different belief system. That would make my character feel more individual and I'd probably feel a stronger connection to it. It also makes the game more fun when not everyone is a cookie-cutter wizard, tank or whatever.

I don't discuss technical issues too much here because I think the game is pretty solid overall but I do feel the pain of "Homegrown" who:

"would like a way to handle when things like a server crash causes a raid force to lose their lockouts, this happened to us about 4 times in the past few weeks, and its really frusterating to have a 7 day lockout timer lost becuase the server went down."

This has happened to my guild twice in the last month (when I was present) and it really kills the night and is discouraging to players. We were on the last mob of the (honestly rather dull) Trials raid when the server went down. Total buzzkill. Not only did we lose our progress but we were faced with a lockout.

Lyndro tells us "Until LU 24 Customer Service has not had good tools to fix lockout timers that are incorrectly set. We've given them new tools to address this when they determine that you've had a lockout timer applied to you unjustly."

That's a plus but it's still not good enough. When the server goes down during a raid the lockout timer should be reset automatically. I shouldn't have to deal with petitioning and why should we clog CS with reports? Of course, it would be even better if we were placed back in the raid zone exactly where we were. I realize that both of these things may be technically impossible, but, hey I can still ask, right?

There was a question about profession hats. "Since we get comments saying that we'll hold off on releasing profession hats until the next expansion, I assure that's not our plan. We'll be releasing each of the profession hats as they get finished, and guardians are, as I said, coming soon." I've been pretty patient in not complaining about the profession hats and I think the players have been as well. I happen to love the ones that are in the game. But it's been a while now since KoS and some subclasses are still left hanging. It's getting lame considering profession hats were an advertised feature.

The cloak system is sounding cool. To summarize, they will be customizable but not completely so. So, you may be able to pick from a bunch of colors and patterns but will not be able to draw your own cloak graphic (for obvious reasons). That's the way I would do it so no complaints here. Guild emblems will be a great feature.

Scott comments on voice-overs, stating that they are working on "an extremely large one that will cover much of the live content that's been added and changed of late." I'm somewhat torn on this. I love the voice-overs in EQII. They are really some of the best I've heard in any game. You can check out
this post I did a while back about some of the amazing voice-over talent who participated in the game.

But I'm not sure I miss it when it's not there. I certainly enjoy it when it is. But I'm wondering if the resources might be better allocated to other areas. I'm leaning towards pro-VO but what do you think?

Regarding the Adventure Pack raid content:

"We're going to be adding two X4 raid encounters (one contested one instanced), several X2 raid encounters, and one extremely difficult single group instance that will be geared for the very best equipped level 70 players. "

That sounds like a nice amount for an adventure pack which will likely have a good deal of regular content as well. And I really like the idea of a super-tough group zone. For players like me who love single group combat the most it's a perfect addition.

I was also glad to hear the LFG feature will get better as I've requested that
in the past.

I've just been summarizing the points that stood out to me, but there is plenty more info there so be sure to check it out. Most of the questions were excellent and I thought the dev's did a good job of providing informative answers. Kudos to Stratics for a great feature.