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All Posts by JC-Smith

All Posts by JC-Smith

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410 posts found
Originally posted by XAleX360
Is launch happening in the first half of 2015, based on your estimations?

Keep in mind this isn't an official date or anything like that, our official date is "when it's ready", but I think middle of the year is more realistic.  There's a lot of content, polish, animation work, bug fixing to do. It's so hard to give estimated dates with MMOs because they seldomly get met unless it's due to a game being rushed out by a firm date.

Feature wise there's a few things left (world map is still a work in progress, can't dig underground layers yet in cities are the two main things), but at this point its mostly  just us needing to get in more content, and refine the things that are in place so they are easier to learn and more visually appealing, balancing and squashing bugs. We'll take a look at where we're at in April or May and then start trying to lay out a more firm release schedule. We've been steadily increasing our staff size, and expect to significantly increase the staff size in February in preparation for our push to launch. But at the same time, making sure the game is ready when it does launch is our primary concern. When the game gets to the point where we think it's about ready we'll pose the question to the community on what they think our readiness level is and that will also help factor into the decision.

I can definitely confirm that the game isn't shipping on December 2nd. A new stage of testing and the NDA lift will begin around that time, but the game is still a ways from launch.

@DarkCrystal: As I explained to you in a PM, it was unfair to allow a guild to get in a group of people before backers got into the game. Guilds were invited for PAX because we needed them for the siege demo (we invited I believe 6 guilds and they were cycling schedules to battle it out with one another), but the program was suspended not long after that due to complaints from backers who were not yet in testing seeing others get in simply because they were in a guild. There haven't been any guild invites since that program's suspension. There have been buddy key invites for higher end backers, and some of those members surely invited in their guild buddies, but the guild program was put on hold until after all of our backers were first in-game. It will likely be  reinstated at some point before launch. While I can understand guilds being disappointed that they didn't get a guild invite, there were limited slots for PAX, and the alternative Post-PAX to that would have been allowing non-paying customers into testing before paying ones, which would not be fair.

With regards to the price drop, I don't think any of this should have come as a surprise. We made it clear at PAX this year that all backers would be in by the end of the year and that we would be dropping the threshold as the time went by. While it's unfortunate that some players did not see this and expected to be into testing for a longer period before there were other testers, there are other perks on those levels, alpha access was just one of them. It wasn't so much a price drop as it was a situation where we need X amount of testers in-game right now, dropping the cut off range for alpha increases the number of players who have access.

You can only have one per player. Or if you mean the total number of plots on a server for everyone, we're not really sure. Part of it will depend on how people lay out their houses, but we are aware that there will be a lot of people wanting housing, so we've been reserving a reasonable chunk of land for it in the newer areas.

Hey guys,

A key is being given away in a recent Q&A which can be found here:

All players can have open world housing. However to claim land you need a plot. The plot itself will be a difficult to craft item which will take players a while to obtain. So in the early going having a plot allows backers to just go out and pick their land on day one. It will save them in-game money in the longrun (from buying the plot from another player) and allow them to pick a spot early. It doesn't give them the exclusive on housing though.
Achieving things keeps players playing. When there's a new mountain to climb, many will try to climb it. When players run out of things to accomplish many will get bored and move on. The gear grind is an easy way to artificially slow down player progression and keep them playing longer basically.
All players can have instanced or open world housing, but while there is an unlimited amount of instanced housing you need to find an unclaimed space to claim an open world house.
Originally posted by xpowderx
To this day DAOC is still best combination of pve and pvp. Many of the current games copied from DAOC. That includes WOW, Rift, and EQII

I agree with this here. I also felt like Warhammer Online had the right idea, it just got killed by the warcamps and instanced PvP, it pretty much made it impossible to level up through both because you gained more exp just by doing PvP due to how fast the instances cycled. That killed the PvE game.

@Phry: And what features are missing from Repop at this point? The games needs polish and content, but there isn't much in the ways of features remaining for it. Underground levels on player cities, underwater AI improvements, that's about it. 
Awesome news. Been looking forward to a remade Elite for a very long time.
The game hasn't gone into beta yet. If you were an early round backer you should have been let in months ago. We did send out a newsletter, emails, and announced it publicly. Anyone who hasn't received an email (in most cases these seem to have been eaten by spam filters, or people who unsubscribed) please contact and we'll get you squared away.

As far as guild invites, we gave some keys to guilds before PAX Prime so they could participate in the siege demo. We never cut their guild access, though some guilds assumed it would be cut after PAX.

Players were guaranteed beta slots, and the game isn't in beta yet. We realized some players had backed and were waiting and with us now being ready for more testers we've been aggressively adding people. That process has gone in what we felt was the most fair way.

Prior to August it was based on pledge amounts, simply because those players had spent a bit of money to support the product, we wanted them to be able to see it progress. We slowly dropped that cut off range over time. Going from $250 to $150 to $100, now to $50 and soon to $25. Each of those packages of course has a lot of extras other than alpha access. But the values served to help us limit players as the game became more ready.

We had another problem though, in that some players had backed the game more a year ago or more ago, and we wanted to get those guys in as soon as possible. So we also began to invite players based on time period. We let in all the original Kickstarter backers first. Then we began letting in the early adopter guys from the web site. That's what we felt was more fair, because they had been waiting the longest. Obviously there's going to be cut off ranges and such where it's less fair to. There's really no way around that. But the choices we made here were with the intention to make the most people happy.

This is still an alpha game. There's still bugs and unfinished content. But it's progressed to the point where it needs more people to start testing the economy in a larger setting. We aren't at an open beta state of readiness, so there needs to still be some barrier of entry so we don't get flooded with players.

I'm shocked that Everquest didn't make this list.
Elite is one of my top five games of all-time. Looking forward to Elite: Dangerous.

I don't think a remade EQ just like it was back in the day would work. Things like downtime, loot distribution, corpse runs, etc would need to be improved. Players accepted those features, grew to be fine with them, but it's tough if you go back and try to play EQ now. I've tried a couple times and never last very long.

That having been said, I think a lot of people would love to see something in the spirit of EQ. Take the world and the lore that everyone recalls fondly, and take a look at the features which made EQ great:

- Strongly encourage grouping. You don't need to force it, but it shouldn't be easy an easy solo to 50 by quest grinding. Encourage and reward players for grouping.

- Go back to EQ's spell/abilities. Melee types need to have abilities, auto attack and taunt or kick every few seconds won't fly. But what i mean by going back to EQ's abilities is that for one there were a ton of them, and for two they were more interesting. You had combinations of things in your buffs. Classes had a ton of variety. I never felt like the EQ 2 classes could match the EQ 1 classes.

- Make quests mean something again. To me the most fun era in EQ was when the epic quests were released and everyone was scrambling to figure them out. They were tough. They were hard to figure out. Some of them took months to be solved and that was with thousands of players sharing every bit of information they came across on the forums. By the time EQ 2 added epic quests, it just wasn't the same. The challenge was only on getting players together to kill the bosses. Make players think.

- Go back to the smaller town feel with many starting cities. EQ 2 made a huge blunder IMO by trying to force everyone into two starting cities. It took away from the community aspects and the sense of being that you had in EQ 1. I was a troll. All trolls knew me and I knew them. We were one. You can't get that when your all mixed into one city.

- Overlap content. In EQ 1 you had areas that had a wide level range overlap. You had level occasional 35 mobs in newbie zones, and you had zones like the Karanas with level ranges of like 15-40. That brought players of different level ranges closer together. They saw one another and interacted. The low levels aspired to be the higher level characters one day, and the high levels could look back on what they had accomplished during their journey.  In modern MMOs those level ranges would only see one another if they were at a bank or auction house in the city and areas typically have a very narrow level range.

Originally posted by mmoesports
hmm, how come they didn't go for something more mainstream like Unity or Cry Engine?

The game has been in development for a long while. Five years ago, Torque 3D was preferable to Unity, and included full source code. Cry Engine, Unreal, Hero Engine, Bigworld were not yet available to indies.

Part of what made EQ great, was the lack of competition. UO was a great game, but it's wild west nature scared off a lot of players. EQ gave those players a home, and also looked pretty good graphically when it came out. Those same mechanics today wouldn't do nearly as well, Vanguard was very similar mechanically to EQ, and it struggled.

That having been said, as a player who loved the game, I think a lot of what made EQ great was the social aspects. It was challenging. You needed to work together. Even a soloer might need someone to help them get their corpse at some point. That caused players to work together and generally treat one another better because if you developed a bad reputation the only people who would group with you were others with bad reputations.

The combination of being the first truly group oriented, and raid capable MMO, combined with the social bonds from its mechanics made EQ a memorable game. The community was a big part of it, and the mechanics made it easier for that to happen. You don't get that same feeling in modern games, because the mechanics in many ways discourage grouping. The mechanics also generally separate players outside of being within a few levels of one another in modern games, where in EQ you had content which overlapped. High level dungeons near low level areas. Zones like East Karana which had content from like level 18-45. Even if the players weren't hunting together, they were crossing paths. The low levels loved seeing higher level players come clear Giants or Griffons from their hunting areas, they wished one day they could be that guy. Then when they were that guy they relished in how far they had come.

Games don't generally get designed in that way any more. If your in zone X then you are between level 20-22 and in zone Y you are between levels 25-28. To progress you do quests, and unless someone else is on those same stages there isn't much reason to group with them. Because players often move out of the level bubble of one another, and because they don't really need to interact with anyone outside of their bubble, you don't get that mix of low and high levels together outside of cities. And as a result you don't get the reverence or the community feeling you had in EQ. I know as a troll shadowknight, I knew most of the regular trolls. They'd often send me tells asking questions, things of that nature, because they had seen me in the same area. And because I often came across them I usually answered those questions.

Until developers get rid of things like anonymous group finders, start encouraging traditional grouping, and go back to a wider overlap of level ranges, you won't be able to duplicate that experience.

A quick note on the NDA. It is planned to be lifted relatively soon. Not by any means impending immediately, but it will drop before the game hits Steam. As for why the NDA is in place, you have to understand that we did things opposite of what some of the more recent alpha titles have been doing. We focused on features, making sure we could have functionality, and without much of an eye on polish. Even today there are some aspects graphically, or functionality wise which are placeholders. With a smaller number of testers and a lot of things to do, things like cosmetics have been low on the totem pole. We're now focusing on shoring up a lot of those areas because we are getting ready to add a ton of testers over the next couple months.

That is the direct opposite of what a game like Landmark has done, for example. They instead focused on a small core set of features, but tried to release it in a pretty polished state for being testing. It's easier for them to deal with player videos, and encourage them, because while they have been adding new content to the game, it's appearing in game in a more polished form. That's worked well for them, but it wouldn't have worked as well for us. We have a smaller team, so waiting on polish for certain features could take a long while, and from a mechanics standpoint we have wanted players being able to test those features as early as possible. If we had lifted the NDA a few months ago though, to appease to players who don't yet have access, then surely there would be videos of things like players standing up to fire with some weapons from a prone position. This was due to us not having the full set of animations ready yet, and just a part of the development process. But you don't want dozens of videos on youtube of a glitchy product, because once they are out there in public they never away. 

So while some other games have gone without an NDA earlier along in the process, and it may have worked well for them, it wouldn't have worked well for us. At the moment we're pushing hard on getting the game in a ready state to feel comfortable about an NDA lift. Your probably looking at about a two month wait.

Originally posted by DMKano

I am a gamer - why would I limit myself to one genre?

The idea of "migrating" to and from genres sounds pretty ludicrous to me - as why would I stop playing any fun game just because it wasn't in a specific genre???

Have fun - enjoy all games.

I agree with this post here.

The truth is people play games to have fun. I think the stagnation MMOs have gone through is mostly because the games have been so similar to one another, and take so long to build that players play the shiny new game, then feel like they have played it before (because it's nearly identical to another game they spent a lot of time in) which burns them out more quickly. There are some interesting titles in the pipeline which could help there. And some of the more recent releases have also tried some new things.

But as a gamer, I'm going to play what I have a good time playing. I personally haven't enjoyed the theme park era all that much. I felt like UO, EQ, SWG, and WoW were the most important games this genre has seen, and it's been a long time since those games launched. I've enjoyed a number of the newer games, but not enough to hold my attention long-term for the reasons mentioned above. So I've found myself playing games like Civilization, X-Com, The Walking Dead, or NBA 2K14 in the time that I might have spent playing MMOs in the past. Doesn't spell doom or gloom for the genre though, it continues to grow at a good rate. There are more good MMOs now than there have ever been. It's just that the awe factor of the early games is gone and has been replaced with a "been there, done that" feel.

I personally enjoy alpha/betas. It's fun to see games take shape, and to see things that developers experiment with along the way that wind up getting canned. I rarely put in huge hours during them though.
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