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Design Preview Development Update - Tier 6, Loot Revamp and Elder Play Ophelea
July 12, 2006
Ophelea
Multiple and duplicative topics of discussion have been occurring on the boards lately regarding Communication between Tulga, the Players and the direction of the game – the Elder Game in particular. While both sides are in agreement that some level of discussion and foreknowledge is preferable so that the game experience can be designed for maximum enjoyment, there are areas where the design and development team are hesitant to release too much information too soon.
  • Too soon, and the team feels committed to a design they're not confident is best for the game. 
  • Too much, and the players may lose the "wonder" of entering a game world, the surprise of the evolution of...well, everything!
  • Too little of either, and the players feel as if they are no longer engaged in a process of change for which they are uniquely qualified to contribute. 
Recently, we have been monitoring those topics that appear to be paramount to our Elder Players and hope that we can enlighten you as to the direction we are heading - without giving too much away. Please, understand, these are in no way promises of what is to come, but more a "design philosophy" - our hopes of what the game will be.

Tier 6 Resources:

  • Tier 6 Resources will be harder to find and better defended than previous tiers. This is not to say they will be impossible. Not all construction resources are yet released and balancing them (as has been seen) is a difficult task. The ultimate goal is to add unguarded areas of resources where the rate of availability is lower than the much larger, guarded, greater available resource areas.
  • Our goal is to ensure that all Tier 6 resources are approximately equal in terms of difficulty of acquisition. This was the reason for recent reductions in Thornwood and Travertine - they were much more plentiful than other Tier 6 resources. Do not confuse this with the idea that Tier 6 construction is complete. There are five additional resources that have not been released except through transmutation and it will remain this way until we best understand how players utilize them. (This is also directly related to forthcoming topics).
  • We will correct the current situation where sometimes there is temporarily none of a resource available. Mostly this means larger spawn areas, with a low density, but a shorter respawn time. Tier 6 is the pinnacle of current game play - it should and will be more difficult than previous tiers of construction - more so than the linear progression of difficulty from Tiers 1 – Tiers 5.
  • A completed Tier 6 structure is something to behold and to brag about. It should be considered the pinnacle of construction in the sense that the extra effort required to create it exceeds the extra benefit provided vis a vis Tier 5 buildings. Debate regarding this is intense, to say the least. The changes above will alleviate some of the concerns; and, as more players reach levels where they can help with construction still more concerns will fade. But, until the entire design is complete, implemented, tested, re-implemented and done, I suspect this will continue to be a "hot topic".

Nadia/Technique Resources:
  • Nadia's price increase was done to start weaning players from away buying technique components from an NPC instead of having adventurer hunt for them (whether for themselves or to sell).
  • Only four technique components are sold by Nadia that cannot be acquired by any other means. One has been corrected for the next update. We have not yet determined how the remaining will be handled.

Loot revamp:
  • In the upcoming loot revamp, all technique resources will be re-evaluated. There may be some that are switched from one technique to another to better balance their utilization. The exact nature of how this will work has yet to be determined; it is too soon to discuss it further but rest assured, several ideas are being debated.
  • Also in the upcoming loot revamp, effort will be made to ensure all technique resources are sufficiently available. With regard to Tiers 1-5, please do not equate availability with difficulty. Some will simply be harder to get than others. But, there will be a minimum availability we want to ensure regardless of the resource.
  • In addition to the above, the loot revamp will include many new items of all tiers. Examples are new sets, non-blighted items with random techniques, and new ultra-rare, powerful items. Current design thinking requires that all levels of items have some degree of item degradation. This idea is not new either in the thoughts of the players or the developers for Tier 6. However, this is the first time it has been presented to you, the player, for all Tiers. Again, I stress, this is current design philosophy, not canon. Please consider thoughtfully what type of doors may open to you, not just those it may close. We encourage your thoughts on this.

Monsters:
  • Monster initial aggro was recently changed to reduce the range at which the monster is likely to attack the player if the player's rating is higher than the monster's. This will remain.
  • Another recent change was to make a monster’s chance of attacking increase as you neared the monster, instead of a hard aggro radius (where venturing closer than the fixed radius would always result in an attack, and staying even slightly behind it would never result in being attacked). Unfortunately, this did not work well in all cases and has had some problems when combined with social monsters (monsters that call for help from other monsters). The changes will be rolled back until those issues are resolved


Please feel free to discuss these ideas in our Dicussions Forum.

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