Do you know what I like when a game is in development? It is is developers that actively address the concerns of the prospective player base. No, I do not mean bow to their demands. Just listen, given feedback, talk about the possible problems. Even if that talking is just, “Actually we think it is better this way, and we hope you agree when you get to play.” That is great, it means they heard. At the beginning of this week we had two live stream conversations addressing posts players had made on the forums in a thread of their biggest worries about the game. It was glorious!
The live chats comprised a total of two and a half hours of conversation between the Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh and our lovely community member BicycleWalrus on his youtube channel DM21 Gaming (he also does a lot of other CoE videos so well worth hitting subscribe). Part 1 of the Live Chat can be found here and Part 2 can be found here. There is also transcripts made by community members Xilana and Maygus, with help from Rhaegys and Howl, so if you prefer to read rather than watch check those out here.
There is so much information to cover in those two videos that it has taken me most of the week to realise I can’t do it! If you want it all head to the links above. What I can do is bring you my Top 3 Topics covered in each part to bring some attention to the parts I think everyone should know! So lets get on with my Top 3 from Part 1.
1. Talents and Magic
Talents and magic could be rewritten as, talents are magic. They are parts of the same system. Getting a talent is what gets you access to magic of some form. A lot of the concern about talents came from their rarity, how common would they be, what if they did not get one, would they be at a disadvantage? There was a lot of talk from Caspian about hindsight, about whether it was best to actually put this card on the table as early as they did, should they left it as a surprise. Because it will be a surprise when we see it in game due to how rare it is:
The best thing I can tell people at this point is, it’s going to be extremely rare to the point where it is almost non existent. We still hope that people won’t feel like the fact that some small percentage of people who are out there can get it and everybody can’t other than that is going to be a game changer for them.
Interestingly for those have been worried that they always play the magic user and they want to in this game too, Caspian went on to say when we find out more about the system we can see if it is something we would even want in this game. It looks like there might be yet another twist to MMO mechanics we take for granted.
What struck me was how many questions, and how wide an array of questions, had answers linking back to the worlds story. Story seems to be something that is a big deal. It seems to have various layers to it. Those based on the cause and effect of actions you take on a local level:
There is an ecosystem and if you go out and kill a slew of animals then it is going to break the ecosystem and that is going to cause a chain of events that will ultimately lead to some kind of a scenario. There will be a story element there.
There there is your individual story, the one that relates just to your character:
Then there is this concept of the personal story and this is tied to your birth date. So from the moment you character is born into the world, they have a series of tasks that are going to be assigned to them and again it’s randomly distributed based on your birthday.
And over all of that is the 10 year story which covers the whole game.
So we have divided up this 10-year story into books, and each book is going to last about a year, there is about 10-books in this story, these books are further divided up into chapters and the chapter for us could be months. What happens is that at the transition point, at the inflection from one chapter to another, we don’t know what the players are going to do, how they’re going to come out of that chapter.
The story is something that excites me a lot at all levels. However, the fact that the 10 year story is going to go in different ways on different servers is the most interesting to me. The fact that player choice can really impact the game that much is something I am really looking forward to seeing play out.
3. Game Speed
Or to be more precise season speed. This is something that comes up a lot when people are discussing their concerns with the game. With each season lasting one real world day, is that all a bit to quick. Caspian set out their reasons for it only being one day, firstly it felt right secondly it fitted in well with the way players play. It means that people are not stuck out in winter for days on end, that farmers do have things to do, and there is a good balance of food in the world. I think the most interesting part of their response was:
Ultimately we went with a system that feels like it’s natural and yes one days it’s spring, next it’s summer, next it’s fall, winter. Honestly it doesn’t feel like it is going to be that big of a deal. This is one of those that once players get in we want to see what their thoughts are, until players are actually in the world and seeing the seasons go by one day at a time we don’t plan on making any changes there.
As I said at the beginning of this article. I do not want the developers to give into pressure. I want them to make their own choices, especially at this stage in the game. Perhaps after we play it them we get to make our cases heard again, but for now it is great that they are sticking to what they feel works best in the game.
So there we have it. My top three topics from part 1 of the live stream Q and A. There is no developer journal scheduled for tomorrow so Part 2 will hit the shelves then. As always my Journal Discussed article will not come out when I said it would, it has never done so far so why would I change now! But if you want more on Identity, Disguises and Reputation (and who doesn’t) mid next week is a good bet.