AoC Letter from the Game Director - April 2009
It’s more than a little fitting that as the snow has melted away and given way to some Scandinavian sunshine here in Norway, and as the brighter month’s approach that we also can look forward to the new changes and updates coming for the game.
Update 1.05 and your feedback
The versions of 1.05 are progressing nicely on the test server and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is participating on the test servers for their valuable feedback and involvement. We knew that when we decided to undertake the work of revamping the items and statistics in the game that the public phase of testing would be key, and we are very encouraged by the constructive nature of the feedback and the engagement with the test server community.
The systems team is hard at work going through the feedback, tweaking values and working to improve the new system in each and every build. A lot of that tweaking is much easier with the feedback that we can gather from the test server community, both on the servers themselves, and from the forums. The information that we gather from your sessions on the test server is invaluable when it comes to such a systems heavy update as this one.
Remember you can find the test server forums here and be involved yourself in helping to shape the changes and give your feedback on the direction for the new update.
While thinking about the subject of feedback and how much the team pay attention to what players think, and how they play the game, I was struck by a very valuable form of feedback for us that has crept up almost without many noticing, and that is player’s videos. Whether it is players or guilds uploading their latest conquest to YouTube or watching someone stream their game-play live via X-Fire (the latter being something I actually got quite addicted to lately, it’s one of the best, most tangible source of feedback you can get! To actually watch how players approach the game as they play it!) we, as developers, get to see whole encounters play out. We get to see the tactics players adopt, keep an eye out for issues we might like to deal with, or see things that just worked out differently then we had thought they would. All of that comes from you! It’s very important for us to always be aware of how you actually play the game, and the ability for players to share videos online and even stream them now with modern internet technology does provide us with a lot of valuable feedback.
Since I’m already on the subject of player videos I can’t help but give a quick nod to those who are also using the medium to grow the community and are using the game to make some really great videos (I see a lot of great preview videos using DX10 as well as teasers of the upcoming content from the test servers popping up). There are also more ambitious projects, like the ‘The Roleplayer’ and ‘The Last Bastion’ that catch the eye. Seeing the time, passion and effort that people are putting in to bend the game to their creative wills is mightily impressive. It really does make us very proud of the community!
Ok, enough with my ramblings on the great things you folk are up to, what else do we have in store?
New Character Options
In the interests of saving the best till last I can bring you some news today of a couple of things we hope will really add some further options into the mix for the 1.05 update. With the update involving many changes to the items and statistics, as well as the character classes’ feats, spells and abilities we really want to give players the ability to experiment further with the classes, both within their existing characters and with new characters.
To this end there are a number of important changes that will come in terms of character options with the next update.
Firstly we will be making sure that people have the option to re-set their feats and experiment with new builds. We will allow some form of additional feat re-setting, either in the form of a reset of the retraining price, or a free reset, or maybe a combination of both. We haven’t decided on the exact details yet, but rest assured you will be given the chance to experiment with the new feat trees.
Next up and I think most interestingly for most of you, there will be a new option for players who already have a character above level fifty. All players with characters above level fifty will now have a one time option to create a new character that starts life at level fifty. This character can be of any class you want to make so you can jump straight into a different class after the update without having to go through the early leveling stages. This will be available to all players from here on in after they reach the milestone of leveling a character to level fifty.
You will need an empty character slot to avail of the new character option.
Lastly, we will be offering something else in relation to these changes during the games anniversary in May, but I’m not allowed to reveal that just yet. So keep your eyes peeled for more information as we get closer to the anniversary.
While I am sure this one will spark some debate – yes, it does take a little time to get used to a new class, and many players might take a few levels to adjust to a new class, but we really felt that we wanted to offer players the chance to experience the new RPG system through a different character if they wanted to. I think players will hopefully appreciate the opportunity to get to grips with an additional character as a reward for already having a higher level character.
With 1.05 getting ever closer we are really moving into an exciting time for the game. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work, and we hope it is something that you all appreciate and enjoy. With the additional character options mentioned here we really think that players will be able to explore Hyboria and enjoy the game on a whole new level.
It has been very encouraging for me and the team to see the constructive and positive feelings about the general direction of the game and we are working hard to make sure that we follow through on your faith and continue to work with the community to ensure that the new updates are everything they can be!
See you in Hyboria!
Craig 'Silirrion' Morrison