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Interviews: Dev Chat Log

By Laura Genender on November 16, 2007

Dev Chat Log

MMORPG_Taera: Greetings and welcome to's Live Chat on! I'm your host,'s community manager Laura "Taera" Genender. Joining us today is the EverQuest team!

MMORPG_Taera: Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to two questions at a time, and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.


MMORPG_Taera: To submit your question, please /msg devbot yourquestionhere

MMORPG_Taera: Now it's time for introductions! Feel free to start sending your questions to DevBot while our guests introduce themselves!

EQ_Zatozia: Greetings Everyone. I'm Zatozia, EQ's Community Relations Manager

EQ_Rytan: Greetings, I'm Rytan Barker assistant design lead.

EQ_Maddoc: Hey everyone, I'm Jason Mash, one of the Assistant Lead Designers on the EQLive team.

EQ_Nodyin: Hello everyone, my name is David Ford and I work on the AA system and content design.

EQ_Ngreth: Hello, I am Adam "Ngreth" Bell, general content and tradeskills designer for everquest and resident development Ogre.

EQ_Rashere: Hey folks. I'm Travis McGeathy, Lead Designer for EverQuest.

EQ_Merloc: Hello, I'm Keith Turkowski I work with items, factions, systems, and content.

EQ_Prathun: Hello all! I'm Prathun, designing EverQuest since 2002, most recently working on Spells.

EQ_Prathun: Oh, and I also go by Jonathan Caraker. :)

MMORPG_Taera: Diet_Canada :asks: i think what puts most wizards off the new casting system is the change to instants. any chance of maybe returning instants back to what they were or at least make the mr oen useful and the cold/fire ones have 6 sec refresh so spell haste is useful again? :)

EQ_Prathun: Even after the changes they remain the most useful and powerful spells in a wizard's arsenal.

MMORPG_Taera: Reminder: submit your questions via /msg devbot yourquestionhere

EQ_Prathun: There is no way I can balance the other spells around instants, so they had to be toned down. * Joins: Ravnmoon (

EQ_Prathun: From here on out, the instants will either remain static or be toned down. Those spells will NEVER get any better than they are now.

EQ_Prathun: It's bad for class balance, bad for focus itemization, bad for spell itemization, and bad for the game in general.

EQ_Prathun: So, again, no.

MMORPG_Taera: Saroc_Luclin :asks: Is someone looking into the aggro pathing issues? We are hunting in icefall at this very moment, and when we pull a mammoth on fairly flat terrain, it takes 5 steps forward and warps 4 steps back.

EQ_Rashere: We're looking into the reports of pathing problems cropping up in older zones. We did make some changes to the pathing engine that resolved a lot of the problems we were seeing in SoF areas, but it's possible that they had negative impacts on other areas.

MMORPG_Taera: Kjan :asks: is there any offical word on fabled planes of power for next anniversary and if so will we be seeing a fabled plane of time?

EQ_Rashere: We'll be evaluating that in the next month or two and will make a decision on the feasibility of doing a Fabled Planes of Power at that time. It's just going to depend on whether we can tap into the scripted content without too high of a risk of breaking it. If we decide to go down that road, it will almost assuredly include a Fabled Plane of Time.

MMORPG_Taera: yuli :asks: do you have any plans to expand the number who can be in a fellowship to help out small guilds?

EQ_Rashere: Fellowships were built to for the group level game, which is why they have the max values they do currently. More than that, and they're basically a secondary guild, which isn't their intent. We don't have plans to increase the max number of players in a fellowship.

MMORPG_Taera: Wycca :asks: Prathun, currently the new monk Echo is only hitting 1 target at a time, is this intended?

EQ_Prathun: Aside from the resist modifier, which appears to be too low on Echo of Misdirection... Echo of Misdirection and Echo of Deception are functionally identical.

EQ_Prathun: They are targeted AEs with a range of 200 and an impact radius of 30. They'll hit anything within that radius.

EQ_Prathun: This means, of course, that nearby mobs must be within 30 units of your target to be affected by the Echo.

EQ_Prathun: I'll look at fixing the resist mod on Misdirection. ;)

MMORPG_Taera: DaNole :asks: EQ is the best game out there is there any thought about revamping graphics?

MMORPG_Taera: lucc :asks: how does the new systamatic spell system work

EQ_Rashere: We've been slowly updating the graphics in old world zones and plan to continue doing so. It's just a long process.

EQ_Zatozia: Loading please wait...

MMORPG_Taera: REMINDER: If you have a question, please /msg devbot yourquestionhere

EQ_Ngreth: The :Systematic Spell Research" system, is a set of rules that can be followed in order to make spell scrolls using the spell research tradeskill.

EQ_Ngreth: The very short summary is that each spell scroll is comprised of a type of "stationary", that represents the level of the scroll, a quill that represents the class that can use the spell, an additive that represents how the spell is resisted, a thickener that represents the general nature of the spell, and one to six inks that represent details of the spell.

EQ_Ngreth: These items have a definite systematic pattern, and you can use this pattern to decide what is needed in order to make the spell.

EQ_Ngreth: There are books in game that describe the system, and will go in much more detail than we can in this chat.

MMORPG_Taera: Kadore :asks: would the mentoring system in EQ2 ever be viable in EQ?

EQ_Rashere: Unfortunately, EQ doesn't handle advancement the same way EQ2 does so scaling down a character to a lower level isn't really viable without some extensive rework. We introduced shrouds partly as an alternate way to achieve a similar effect.

MMORPG_Taera: QuinnotetiquanBrell :asks: Now that all melee classes have Triple Attack would it be possible to get a triple attack mod added to Beastlord's Ferocity? This would greatly improve its usefulness

EQ_Prathun: When we received the new triple attack effect it was discussed and decided that it not be used on spells yet.

MMORPG_Taera: Armarant :asks: is there a chance druids can be given new scimitar weapons?

EQ_Merloc: In SoF I've made several "Priest" weapons that are intended to cover druids... I don't have any plans to make new scimitar weapons, but I am willing to look at the issue.

MMORPG_Taera: Galidin-Prexus :asks: With Secrets of Faydwer being released and the next expansion not due out until next november can we expect to see zone revamps, further balance tuning and other time intensive updates take place before the next expansion is released?

EQ_Rashere: We haven't finalized our plans for the coming year yet, but it's likely that we'll be able to do a significant amount of work on the live game including things like more zone revamps and tackling outstanding balance concerns.

MMORPG_Taera: Ingolf :asks: Hi there, thanks for a very smooth launch of SoF with only one emergency patch, my question is if the vellum required in the sublime symbol book combine to patterns is in game and where it is

EQ_Ngreth: Those books use the same Roll of Superb Vellum as the previous books, and these are still available on the same vendors. It is on various vendors in all of the home cities.

MMORPG_Taera: Rasker :asks: Can you explain the reasoning behind the change to Skin of the Reptile, Decrepit Skin, and Ward of Tunare? Especially while a similar spell line for Clerics was left as is

EQ_Prathun: Before I took over as the spells designer, it was pointed out that there was a problem with the scaling of those defensive proc spells. Against swarms of low level NPCs, the ability fired reliably, quickly, and with very little danger to the player.

EQ_Prathun: That explains the reason for having the proc rate scale down against lower level NPCs.

EQ_Prathun: The proc rate was also very random on the spell, firing as much as 50% more or 33% less, depending on how lucky you were.

EQ_Prathun: These are basically heal over time (or rune over time spells). That's a bit too much randomness, which is why we wanted a precise proc rate that we can control.

EQ_Prathun: These spells also use the buffed player's foci and AAs to determine heal amount, which meant that some players benefitted from the Ward of Tunare more than others.

EQ_Prathun: Which explains the change to the spells ability to be focused.

EQ_Prathun: I'm going to look over those spells again soon and make sure they're worth using for the mana cost, but don't expect any removal of the limitations.

MMORPG_Taera: Diet_Canada :asks: could i get your thoughts on mana regen? ooc aside, it's only quadrupled in size since luclin with about 3k manapools yet mana pools now are approaching 20k in solteris gear. to me seem a bit behind of what it should be.

EQ_Nodyin: In fairness a lot of ways to gain mana have been introduced since Luclin that are above and beyond meditation skill increases or Flowing Thought. The Paragon lines, the various versions of Harvest for Wizards, etc, all add ways to gain mana back. Still we've discussed the role of mana regeneration in a post-OOC EverQuest recently.

EQ_Nodyin: Those discussions let to some larger-than-normal increases to various mana regeneration abilities but we can continue to look into the state of mana regen in EQ going forward.

MMORPG_Taera: Surreal :asks: what does it take to get on the devteam?

EQ_Rashere: The standard offering is cheesecake and beer, but we've been known to accept cash bribes from time to time as well.

EQ_Rashere: Seriously, though, I tend to look for candidates who have prior experience with game development and extensive experience with EverQuest. All job opening with SOE can be found here if you're interested:

MMORPG_Taera: Mechamagic :asks: Is there any action being considered for using an experience "exploit" in one of the Solteris mission arcs?

EQ_Nodyin: I became aware of a few fast-spawning NPCs in one of the TBS missions that didn't have the proper (low) amount of experience associated with them.

EQ_Nodyin: I've corrected and and a fix is on the way out to the servers very soon.

MMORPG_Taera: Nocturnia-FV :asks: More Curisity is there plans to make it easier for folks to do epic 2.0? Seems 1 componant of the quest requires a raid basically into an area that you need to have a key for.

EQ_Rashere: The only plan to make it easier is the continued growth of characters as the game advances. Beyond that, we don't tend to change older content. It naturally gets easier as the game progresses, though.

MMORPG_Taera: Ryuchitoran :asks: Are the developers aware of the recent malfunction that appeared in Hollowshade Moor, causing the "war" there to be impossible to manipulate? This makes the shadowscream armor smithing path many times more difficult, and almost unviable.

EQ_Prathun: Wasn't aware of that. This happens from time to time when Hollowshade is repopped to the wrong dataset and that's probably what's occurred. Thanks for letting us know.

MMORPG_Taera: Kead :asks: are the spells going to be upgraded , as it stands new ranger spells (and many other people say the same) seem like copy paste add minor boost and rename example 71 heal to 76 heal is only increased 100ish hp the new cure (salve line) is same but heals a bit more

EQ_Prathun: So, here are my options:

EQ_Prathun: Upgrade existing spell lines by a predetermined percentage amount.

MMORPG_Taera: REMINDER! Got a question? /msg devbot yourquestionhere

EQ_Prathun: Expected upgrades in healing, damage, buffing, and debuffing.

EQ_Prathun: Some things aren't infinitely scalable, unfortunately, like % bonus effects such as on the Defensive discipline.

EQ_Prathun: Some spells have multiple effects, some of which can be easily upgraded and have opposing mechanics that balance them out, so I tend to boost what I can while leaving the unmodifiable aspects alone.

EQ_Prathun: The Dragonscale Aquifer, upgrade to Sunderock Springwater, is a good example of that. I can't bump up the cure counters on that without causing curing class imbalances.

EQ_Prathun: So I bump up the heal.

EQ_Prathun: The other alternative would be to not upgrade it at all.

EQ_Prathun: Which tends to generate a different kind of feedback - "why didn't you upgrade X, Y, or Z? I liked those spells"

EQ_Prathun: Even spells which players promised me they hated in the last expansion cycle.

EQ_Prathun: Which I suppose comes down to not being able to please everyone. :)

MMORPG_Taera: DevBot is no longer accepting more questions. We will continue to answer the ones in queue, though! :)

EQ_Prathun: Another option is to add additional effects to existing spells when I upgrade them.

EQ_Prathun: Which, depending on the effect, can be interesting, or it can also cause class envy (like the annihilate slow effect on annihilate the unnatural), or it can cause stacking nightmares when new effects don't stack well.

EQ_Prathun: And I'd rather not add complexity simply for the sake of adding complexity. EQ's already difficult enough to comprehend without having each spell do 135 different things.

MMORPG_Taera: Quorthon :asks: my Question, whats the future prospects of seeing the +mods affect dots in addition to DD spells?

EQ_Merloc: This has been brought up multiple times, and is on the agenda for discussion at our next systems meeting; I don't think it's unreasonable to find some way of adding in functionality for DoTs.

MMORPG_Taera:: Skottee :asks: Hi, I'm really enjoying SoF, but I'm a little baffled by some of the item stats on things I'm finding in Dragonscale, for example Bejeweled Parrypoint has a stun effect that only goes up to lvl 65, Gorget of Ferocity has a heal focus but classes are WAR RNG MNK BRD ROG BST BER -- not really healing classes, etc etc, would you like us to submit feedback on things like this anywhere?

EQ_Merloc:: If you have feedback to submit on items, you can post on the forums or send me a PM... looking at those two examples, I don't think they are as strange as you seem to think.

EQ_Merloc:: The stun proc is level capped, but the aggro generation and damage are still effective... and just because an item has a healing focus on it, doesn't mean that it will automatically be usable by all healing classes.

MMORPG_Taera:: Groogle :asks: with the launch of SoF, have any plans been made to address the game imbalance caused by tharkis' skirt?

EQ_Rashere:: I'm not sure that anyone can really contain Tharkis' skirt, but we will do what we can to adapt the world around it until someone convinces him to wear pants.

MMORPG_Taera:: daydrmr622 :asks: since the expansion removes the need for runes and words to craft spells how does the new system work for skill advancement

EQ_Ngreth:: Typically people make some of the sub-components for making spells in the systematic spell research system, and then make spells. There is a very smooth path from skill of 0 to 300 within the systematic spell research system.

EQ_Ngreth:: By the way, the systematic spell research system is not new and has been in the game for about two years. The only new thing is that it now also replaces the old rune/word/page system for spells that were made using those items.

MMORPG_Taera:: Dillward :asks: What are the current plans for a special server rule set? Most importantly can we get an ETA?

EQ_Rashere:: We don't have an ETA on a new rules server yet. We're still wrapping up the expansion and will likely begin discussions on what it will be soon. The ETA will be based off that.

MMORPG_Taera:: Fazin :asks: The symbols is at tskill 400. our current tskill max is 300. will that changes?

EQ_Ngreth:: Not immediately. The current skill cap will stay where it is for a while. The higher difficulty on the item just means that I intend for you to have more than a 5% chance to fail on making the item, and I am not artificially doing it by putting in a success cap. This will allow people with trophies and the Mastery AA's to gain more benefit from them.

MMORPG_Taera:: noob1 :asks: do you know there is a problem with the enchanter xp aura, with the fact that other players in the group dont gain its effect not even an icon saying it is on... and if so when can we expect to see a fix?

EQ_Prathun:: I tested it out earlier today and it wasn't working for me. I haven't had enough time to dig into it and find out what's wrong but I hope to have a resolution in place by the time we patch next.

MMORPG_Taera:: AhSkirt :asks: will we be seeing shrouds revisited and brought up to being viable in modern content?

EQ_Rashere:: Yeah, I'd like to add the higher levels to Shrouds when I have the time.

MMORPG_Taera:: Aamain:asks: do all devs wear fuzzy pnk bunny slippers to work?

EQ_Zatozia:: No, this statement is not true. Some wear blue, some orange, some white... etc.

EQ_Rashere:: I set mine on fire and burned all the fuzz off them.

EQ_Merloc:: Mine didn't start out fuzzy, the fuzzy grew on them later.

EQ_Ngreth:: Mine is Cthulu

EQ_Maddoc:: Mine are rabid and sometimes take off across the floor randomly chasing developers.

EQ_Zatozia:: I give up lol

MMORPG_Taera:: Thank you for joining and for the EverQuest dev chat! Logs will be posted on ASAP - if your question is not answered, hope is not lost! It may be forwarded along to the devs in a followup Q&A :) Thanks to all you Sony peeps for joining us today - and have a nice night!

EQ_Prathun:: I prefer Skechers (tm) and no they didn't pay me to say this.