Friday with(out) Means - Oct. 30th, 2009: Ramble v2.0
... wait, it doesn't quite work like that, does it? ><
Aaanyhoo - Hey guys! Means has been a bit absent this week due to what appears to be signs of The Aporkalypse (good old swine flu) running through his household, so once again I've been asked to step up to the plate and chat with you all about the latest goings-on up here in Oslo.
On a personal front it's been a busy past few weeks with attempting to get our Halloween content out and about, but everything seems to have gone really well and we all hope you're enjoying the new holiday loot. Last weekend was an especially exciting time as we got to have our annual Halloween party in-game AND launch the new nightclub, The Grind. I wanna thank everyone from all three dims who showed up, hung out, and partied with us - It was a real blast for us up at the office to get the chance to hang out with you guys and I'm hoping we'll have the opportunity to do so again in the near future. I wanna give some special thanks to our ARK-CR department, the Customer Service team down in North Carolina, and the wonderful folks from both Gridstream Productions and Radio SdF - A party like this can only happen when you've got a good group of people working together to pull it off, and everyone involved did a great job. Hopefully you guys had fun too - With any luck it won't be the last time we get the chance to do something like this. =)
Halloween isn't quite over yet, though, and there are a few surprises left in store for everyone out there. Looks like Uncle Pumpkinhead and his mysterious master The Harvester are still up to their old tricks, and maybe even with some new minions to terrorize Rubi-Ka... keep your eyes peeled for stories, news articles, and special in-game appearances for your chance to bring a little payback to the Halloween horrors - You might even find a nice little reward for helping out. ;) So join the hunt and head out for the fight - The Harvester is waiting, after all...
In other news, we've been talking about this behind-the-scenes for quite a while, but it's now time to take the lid off on the all-new, all-improved Professionals Program. I won't go into too much detail in this post, as you can find all the relevant information in this thread, but I encourage everyone to take a look, read what's going on, and get involved. Notices of the new Professionals Program will also be hitting the launcher and hopefully even in-game, so make sure to tell your friends to keep their eyes peeled and check out the posts - This is something we wanna get everyone in on, so spread the word, pitch in, nominate and get ready to vote. Should be exciting stuff. =)
I'm not gonna go for a huge, long wall-of-text this week (I know, I know, I'm breaking tradition here), but that's because we've got more important things to focus on. We've been pouring over the feedback from the initial perk change documents and making adjustments all over the place - As time goes on, we're starting to get more and more willing to make larger, sweeping changes to the perks, and we hope you guys will be happy with the places we're going. There are a few things to note, though, which we hope might make some of the changes a little less confusing to everyone:
- Many perk lines currently have 10 levels available to them, but lack a perk special at level 9/10. For several of these lines, we will be adding in an additional perk special if the line is trained to level 10.
- Adventurers in particular will see large adjustments to their morph nano lines, attempting to seperate the lines and give them unique functionality which makes them more appealing within certain situations. This will also be reflected through their perk lines as our nano-change documentation becomes more finalized.
- Parry and Riposte are returning as part of the overall balance change situation. Final designs on how these special actions will work have yet to be nailed down, but there is a large chance that these actions will have different benefits for different professions, similar to Dimach.
- Grenades are an interesting topic, in that they are obviously a weapon line which has not received much support over the years. It is our hope to revitalize the weapon line - While weapons of this type will be available to all professions if they so choose, the revamp of the weaponry will feature its largest focus on Engineers. Much like other neglected areas we are looking to alter, this will be a very radical, "ground up" revamp.
- Nanotechnicians will see radical changes to their nuke lines, particularly focused on nanos introduced with/post-Shadowlands. Currently their perk lines have seen very few changes in the available documentation - This will change based on the final decisions made for the profession's nano-based toolset.
- Many debuff timers in the existing perk documentation have been reduced. This level of reduction is meant to reflect their functionality in Player vs. Player combat. In many cases, the perks will have dual functionality, wherein the time exist is different depending on whether it is used on an NPC or another player. It should be noted, however, that for debuffs with very long time exists, these will most likely be reduced in duration across the board.
- For Bureaucrats, we will be merging the "Directorship" and "Insurance Agent" perk lines into a single, ten-point line. Replacing this will be an additional eight-point line named "Autocracy", designed to focus on nano-based damage. There is a chance that we will look at other professions and offer new perk line options to them, either as new additions or due to the removal/replacement/merger of other perk lines.
- Martial Artists will see the largest amount of changes taking place within their nano lines and Martial Arts attacks. They will also, most likely, be one of the professions to see the largest benefit from the incoming Parry & Riposte additions.
- Many changes are focused around the idea that total investment in a perk line will aid in specializing a character in one direction or another - A focus on pets vs. weaponry, or offense vs. defense.
- Ranges for melee perk specials will be increased across the board - With perhaps only a few very special exceptions, ALL perks should have a minimum range of 5 meters as their distance.
- Shades will see a large portion of changes taking place in the rebalancing of their itemization. In line with our desire to see Shades as a faster-paced class, Hecatomb has had its duration returned to 1 second, keeping in line with the rest of the perk specials
- For perk lines where the thematic elements have been altered, there will be eventual renaming of the perk lines and actions.
- Perk specials that have different effects while in Shadowlands (as opposed to on Rubi-Ka) will have this difference removed. The perk action will then be altered to one static value that works the same regardless of location.
I think it's really important to let you guys know that nothing here is finalized or written in stone. We're trying to keep ourselves from being locked into only making minor changes, or just slightly tweaking what's already there - Where there are major changes that need to be made, we're trying to keep ourselves open to the idea of actually making said changes. In addition, we will devotedly change and alter these perklines based on feedback - This includes alterations after the perk changes have hit live. None of us here want to lock ourselves into a situation where we feel that we can't/shouldn't be open to the idea of making additional changes down the road (which is, to an extent, what placed us in this situation in the first place). So nothing here is final, everything is malleable, and nothing - nothing - is considered untouchable. We wanna do this and do it right - Hopefully, with the help of everyone else out there, we can make some great improvements to our gameplay and systems while maintaining the exact same feeling for all the Professions.
So what's next? Well, today you're getting your hands on the altered Profession-specific perk documents *and* your first look at the Group Perk documents. The AI Breed Perk documentation will be coming along Soon™ and there's plenty more information to come after that - We've still got Research, Nanos, Weaponry, Items... no rest for the weary or the wicked. ;)
Anyhoo, I figure the documentation will keep you guys busy for the next little bit, so I won't keep you here any longer. Genele and I will be popping into the thread through-out the weekend to check in and maybe even answer a few questions/concerns here or there (and I get the feeling Means will show up sooner or later too ;)), so you guys have fun pouring over the docs and we'll chat with you later. Peace! =D
NEW INFO! Forgot to mention: We've got the first iteration of our brand new mail system heading out to Testlive today, and we would love to see you guys break it in two. No, seriously - Head out, use it, abuse it, do what you guys do best; the more we can get the new system tested before shipping it off to live, the better. Enjoy!