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Transcript of Asheron's Call Developer Chat, May 10, 2000



On Wednesday, May 10, the Turbine team met a packed house in the Zone Theater Chat Room to discuss the recent "Heroes' Respite" and plans for future updates. Most notably, they revealed they'll be rolling out harder dungeons and nastier monsters than ever before, and they plan to make Specialized skills more effective when your character attains high levels.


The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.


+MrQuazarr@Zone> Before we get started, I wanted to address something that is on most people's minds I am sure: We know that there is something affecting the game play during peak hours and in certain areas that is not internet connectivity/router related. This is our number one priority to address right now and we hope to have it resolved soon. Watch the State of the Code for more details as we progress on the issue. Thanks for your patience!


+MrQuazarr@Zone> With that said, I would like to introduce the Co-Lead Designer of Asheron's Call, Eri Izawa! Take it away Eri!


rei@Turbine> Hi all :) I'm Eri "reijin" Izawa, co-lead designer for Asheron's Call and general spec shuffler. With me tonight are: Jesse "Nei Nerfsubmaster" Kurlancheek, game designer, scripter, nerfer, general systems guy. (He's nei, I'm rei.)


rei@Turbine> David "Sausage King of Dereth" Javier, game designer, sausage maker, and dialogue meister, will be speaking via Jesse tonight.


rei@Turbine> Chris "Stormy" L'Etoile, cranky game designer, story writer, and general all-round Frore lord.


rei@Turbine> Sean "artist extraordinaire" Huxter, lead artist, is also with us tonight.


rei@Turbine> Chris "Slapp" Foster, lead designer for Asheron's Call, will hopefully be joining us later.


rei@Turbine> First of all, thanks for coming! I have some things I'd like to explain about how we answer your questions. To give you an idea of our schedule, we are already hard at work on the June event. So we can with some confidence answer questions about that material (though we won't give away all the secrets ;-).


rei@Turbine> That said, we usually cannot give you concrete dates or feature details for anything new beyond one or two months out. This is because of many factors, including the experimental nature of events, schedule changes, and the fact that something that looks simple may turn out to be very complicated or even impossible! In other words, promising specifics for many of your suggestions would be premature. We don't like promising things we might not be able to deliver.


rei@Turbine> Also, because we have so much planned, new requests on the boards or from here may not be implemented till some time after the suggestion is made. But I want to assure you that we are listening! The spellcasting UI changes happened in large part because of your suggestions at a chat much like this one some months ago.


rei@Turbine> Again, thanks for coming!


NightWolf_ES> What are the EXACT changes that are going to be made to specialized skills.

nei@turbine> I can't give you exacts yet -- but what you'll see is that towards higher lvls, the difference between trained and spec'd will become more noticeable. If the spec change touches you, your skills will be upgraded to the new levels -- i.e., you'll get bumped forward. Tasty!


Leviathen1> Speaking as a high-level Sword user I feel that melee *can* be quite powerful, However I also feel that life, item, and eventually creature is needed to achieve this power. I understand Turbine's stance of not wanting to promote flavor-of-the-week characters, and thus not allowing skill sellback.

Leviathen1> But I also feel that those of us that trained an attack kill other than our heritage skill should be allowed to untrain our unused unwanted heritage melee skill, since for many this would be the difference between getting a skill at 35 instead of 55. Which Turbine devs do we need to begin to send things to in the name of the fund to untrain our useless heritage skills?

rei@Turbine> One comment is that the heritage skills are freebie bonuses . . . though I understand they may not feel that way. Your actual question is to whom do you send these things to. But you have short-circuited the process, as we are listening here and now. We will take your suggestions and seriously consider them. The skill "sell back" idea has not been killed completely, but it is not something being acted upon yet.


__THE_WRATH__> Hello, I gotta say this is a great game, just got some concerns about mages and future updates for them. I come before you today on behalf of all the disgruntled mages upset with the tyranny that is against us. For many months now we have been asking for an update for our kind, and have received nothing. The new spellbar probably would have pacified us if sword swingers had not received not only a new type of sword but also a new variance which makes them even more powerful, and to make it worse, the accidental inclusion of the "experimental code," which is obviously designed to discourage life mages is yet another example of the contempt for our kind. We are tired of hearing that "our time will come soon." We want answers. Give us a date. If our time is not until September, let us know, so we can do other things until it is "our time."

nei@turbine> "your time will come". . .


nei@turbine> "soon"


rei@Turbine> *kicks nei*


nei@turbine> it rhymes with "soon"


rei@Turbine> kidding


nei@turbine> Lots of new spells -- for all the schools of magic (though mostly war, since they need a bit of lub).


RESiSTANCE_Ckiy> If and when will be your planZ for quests and quest itemZ for player classes you have overlooked or missed, like the archer , xbow and vagabondZ?

nei@turbine> Thanks for the ad. Archers and xbowyers get their deserts at the same time the mages do -- this time rhymes with "noon." Vagabonds . . . well . . . ya know . . . they're vagabonds.


MxRacer_14> First off I would like to say thank you -- thank you so much for creating a wonderful game. When will you add more dungeons in Eastern Osteth? We need many more places for people to hunt. Notoriously there are 25+ people in all the good dungeons where you can hunt. Aboveground hunting is difficult to say the least -- the number of monsters running loose has been increased, but this also increases "lag" due to the amount of information the client's computer must handle.

nei@turbine> There's going to be a bunch of dungeons to alleviate the camping situation. All your favorite monsters to slay for fun and profit. "When?" you ask? Rhymes with "harpoon."


hi_fib> My question is regarding implementation of new trade skills and residency such as housing and secure trading.


rei@Turbine> New trade skills: we'd like to do it, though it's not on immediate radar


rei@Turbine> Residency: we'd like to do it, but the tech investment is huge, really. (Still trying to find a good design for it.)


rei@Turbine> Secure trade! That's most likely to happen first. I'm hoping we can get that in relatively soon, but I cannot give you a specific date for reasons I said earlier. ("Relatively soon" usually means a few months.)


Fo0eY> Insert obligatory brown nose --- here <--- Is sticky melee working as it's supposed to, namely sticky pvp? I've done some testing and it seems run speed doesn't at all matter. This just doesn't seem fair to people with high run skills.

rei@Turbine> After a lot of testing, we generally found that run speed matters a lot . . .


nei@turbine> Unofficial, off-the-cuff response (though I suppose in chat, it's official): I've been playing far too much DT lately, and it SEEMS like those nasty club swingers are catching up to me and riding on my tail just like I do to MOBs. I'll do a controlled test tomorrow when i get into work


rei@Turbine> Let me wrap up what I was saying. I generally found that if one was significantly slower, one got hit a lot more. A very fast run would allow the monster to perhaps get in a swing or two, because the server figures you were near enough for that. ([I mean] *could* allow -- depends on where you were relatively). There are many, many different factors, and a lot of it is based on perception and disagreements between what the client thinks and what the server thinks.


rei@Turbine> That said, if there are signs of real problems, we will definitely look into them. (And I am not a server expert, though I'm playing one in the chat... jfyi.)


SubChaos> Amazing, amazing game. Thank you for saving me from EQ. When purchasing spell components, can you please have them go into their respective bags rather than into the main knapsack?

rei@Turbine> Hmm, I just inquired recently about having things go to respective containers for other types of actions. It is technically difficult and could break the inventory system (I mean, given that bags could be moved and go away, etc.). So it is unlikely to happen, but thank you for the suggestion.


MrSmashy> Will you be adding any monsters that give high levels a challenge? There should be some that require high levels to work together instead of just soloing.

nei@turbine> heeheehee...


rei@Turbine> (rei joins in the cackling)


nei@turbine> I won't tell you about the evil, evil bad things that are killing my poor admin on my computer right now.


nei@turbine> "Why hello, Mr. New Creature. Why, yes, I'm an admin. Oh no . . . hey, cut that out." Hmm . . . "Hey, guys, he just hit me for 400."


rei@Turbine> Were those those horrible sounds I was hearing over here? The screaming and stuff?


nei@turbine> Yeah, there are new monsters, big mean scary monsters coming. You wanna know when? It rhymes with "Saskatoon."


letoile@turbine> Obviously, it will be in . . . by noon!


Xoltri> Hello, good afternoon. As per the rules, my one question . . . When I am fighting a group of enemies, sometimes I will slide around back and forth, and even land in the middle of the group. "Sliding Melee" -- it's pretty annoying, and also dangerous (getting hit in the back). Is there a fix planned?

rei@Turbine> Some improvements have already gone in. It may be that more need to go in (and it does get worse with lag). So while there is no immediate fix, with reports like yours we are always looking to fix what we can. Err, no immediate fix in the bin right now.


Voxell> Hi there, are you planning In the Future -- say, after AC's storyline has finished and your next game comes to release -- a Client Patch to play a single-player game (no Zone, LAN option). I would imagine this would be a huge download. Is there a possibility?

rei@Turbine> Play AC as a singer player? I don't think it will happen :)


nei@turbine> Turbine's raison d'etre is Massively Multiplayer. That's our bag. In other words, don't hold your breath for single-player AC.


_stroker_> I would like to see is that a monarch would be able to talk to all his followers at one time, and not to be restricted to only his vassals, like it should be when you're the King "Mustafa."


rei@Turbine> We would like to improve allegiance UI overall. To be honest, it is a huge undertaking. So we will be drafting specs and looking into getting it in a little later than "sometime soon."


Amusary> When will see places that have a restriction lvl to 50+ , like a place that has a spawn rate like the Incunabula vault but filled with nobles and maybe a queen at the end, for us high lvl pp?

nei@turbine> *tries to think of a good word* How's about sometime in the month that rhymes with "saloon" or perhaps "basoon"?


rei@Turbine> Just say "soon," Jesse, and get it over with?


nei@turbine> I ain't even gotten started.


treymule> The time on looting creatures needs to be longer. When I'm fighting eight soldiers and when they are all dead .I go to loot, there is some low-lvl player looting my kills after I did all the work.

rei@Turbine> Sounds like a good suggestion to look into. So let me jot it down in my handy dandy text file. (I was thinking the same thing recently.)


letoile@turbine> I've often thought so as well. :)


sKUm_bIZKit> Arthur of Bloodlust from MT here. Firstly, I love the game. The best game ever. I've heard some rumors about Sword of Lost Light's status.. (stats improving, req's lowering). Are they true? Considering swords are 2x better than it w/ lower req's . . .

cfoster@Turbine> (We're huddling.)


rei@Turbine> Did we mention Foster's here?


cfoster@Turbine> Sorry I'm late, folks. I was attacked by ninjas en route to my PC. It's been happening lately.

rei@Turbine> SoLL got a small boost this month, and there are some ideas that L'Etoile has for it that sound pretty cool. In other words more changes likely.


joncrowl> For a semi-retired/part time sword-user, the new rapiers look nice. BUT! What are the chances of getting new spear types? IE, Halberd, Ranseur, Awl-Pike, or Glaive or some other type? (I know they aren't EXACTLY the same weapon type, but close enough, unless you want to code a new weapon type.)

nei@turbine> I'm looking over maces and spears for an upcoming prop. Right now I'm looking at new types, like maybe a naginata or a spiked club. When will you get these? No promises, but it rhymes with "poke in the eye." Hopefully.


DoctorLW> Hey, great job on AC. I live on Darktide, and it is tough being a mage there ;). Anyways down to my jumbled up question . . . I am happy to see from a previous question that you are in fact adding new war magic spells. At last! (PvP-oriented I hope) ;) But I was wondering more importantly if there are any quests for mages coming up? More importantly, wand quests.

rei@Turbine> (PvP is near and dear to Jesse's heart.)


letoile@turbine> I've never heard a PvP'er actually ask for new wands before. :)


nei@turbine> Right now, of the four classes of coming war spells, one is geared specifically for PK-action. I can't see why it'd be used elsewhere really . . . (and you're not going to get an Imperil VI wand, so neener).


nei@turbine> Oh wait! I forgot, sometime in the month that rhymes with "baboon"!


rei@Turbine> "Loon." Did I say "loon" already? (oops)


Izeman00> Congrats on a great game, thanks for your hard work. I am challenging you to build a dungeon or area we can't beat. I thought Incunabula was it, as I imagine you did, the count is 190 Olthoi Soldiers but it wasn't enough. From high-level soldiers to mid level parties, we love Incunabula, but in another month or two it will be like LoD, picked clean. So, will you accept the challenge?

nei@turbine> DaveJ speaking on Nei's machine. Yes we accept the challenge. You will have our response very quickly. Probably in June. That's right, I said it.


traggert> I agree with Izeman00...bring it on! Great game, thanks! I would pay up to $30/mo for a premium server or a onetime say $70 registration fee for access to a premium server, is this a viable solution? Or what does it take to get another server? I would sacrifice content for 3-4 months for a new server!

rei@Turbine> I don't think it's very likely there will be such a service. But it is really not our specialty topic.


TMeister> I just want you to know that AC has pretty much destroyed my life! But I have loved every second of it. Thanks! My Q: Talk to me about hotkeys: Are you ever going to allow users to have more than nine item hotkeys? Here is what I really, really want: A super (macro?) hotkey that would equip a whole pouch of stuff all at once; (here is the kicker) then unequip would return all the items to the pouch that they came from!

rei@Turbine> Returning objects to specific containers is something I just looked into recently. It is a cool idea, but is technically involved and dangerous. So while it'd be great to have more features like what you describe, they are not too likely in the immediate future.


avalon_grey> Hey, guys, once again great job on the prop event. You rock and we wub you all. Okay, is there more to this event or is it really just a down time, say "a calm before the storm." Or is the collective player base clueless of what to do to trigger the real event?

rei@Turbine> Enjoy the calm for now (can't think of a good rhyming word right now, oh well).


cfoster@Turbine> . . . and the spellbar. :)


fearGod1> Hail, all! Great game. Any chance Asheron will be teleporting "new" races into Dereth to help with the struggle?

rei@Turbine> Races are not on the horizon at the moment, though they would be very cool. There is a lot of investment in new heritage-group-specific items, as you can see from the variety we have for the three already in-game.


SuperPansy> The only thing that makes this game boring at all is the AI. Players are forced to fight monsters that don't even have an IQ equivalent to a warrior's. If you were to put ONE person on this job for a month straight it would make an incredible difference and make the game much more interesting and enjoyable. Some people would even do it for free! About when can we expect to see this? After Final? Perhaps when the new graphics engine is implemented?

rei@Turbine> IQ equivalent to a warrior's? Ow.


nei@turbine> *cough* PK *cough cough*


cfoster@Turbine> Trust us, if this was a one-man-month problem, we'd probably have made more significant changes by now. In order for AI to be radically changed, the entire world model would have to change just as radically. Which means LOTS of work. Simply put, a good AI system is defined as much by the environment as by any "smartness" in the code.

(Second half of this chat is needed)

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