Executive Producer’s Letter, part 2

ancient-letterI never even knew there was a part 1. Talk about dropping the ball on that one. Well, if you really want to go there to read it, you can just follow this link. Or, if you would like the whole thing with the ease of staying in my lovely domain, just keep on reading. I’ll even be so kind as to give my opinion on some of what is said in there. I know that’s why you’re really here, my charming wit, and devilish tongue is able to whip up a conversation piece into a steaming froth of hectic rhetoric (i.e. skip to the bottom for the condensed version). You know you love it.

Hello again!

We hope you’ve all enjoyed your week of testing the new Land of the Dead content. We’ve already received a mountain of great feedback and with your help we have identified – and worked through – many of the kinks. The Public Test Server is an essential part to our development process and, as always, I want to thank all of you for participating and taking the time to share your thoughts.

But Update 1.3 isn’t all about ancient empires, arid heat, and squig-powered zeppelins! Those who have been on the PTS have already seen all of the other great changes coming with the release of the Land of the Dead. For those who haven’t, you’re in luck as that’s what I’ll be discussing in this week’s letter!

We’ve been hard at work finding and fixing any and all bugs we come across. Improving the current game will always be a top priority as we work to tune and better polish your experience when playing. We’ve picked a selection of awesome new features being introduced in 1.3 but there is so much more from improvements to a number of Scenarios, crafting, and have even improved pets. So read on and see what 1.3 has in store for you!

Since release we’ve heard many requests for improvement to the Ward system (as a note, this was previously referred to as the “Sigil” system). In the past, you would need to acquire and equip specific armor pieces that granted special wards, enabling you to defend and assault the more dangerous corners of WAR. This presented many challenges and didn’t provide you with the option to wear the armor that you wanted to. Starting in 1.3, set items will grant Tome unlocks for the corresponding ward fragment (these ward fragments can also be unlocked by meeting alternative criteria such as killing enemy players or defeating dungeon bosses). Once you have an armor piece with a Ward fragment you’re done and free to wear whatever you wish as you work to complete the remainder of the Ward.

I’m also happy to announce that 1.3 introduces the Lifeline feature. You will no longer be forced to restart a dungeon if a group member is momentarily disconnected. Now, briefly disconnected players will login where they left off in any active instance or scenario. Life happens – but we wanted to make it easier for you to get back in the action when it does!

While we’re talking about dungeons, we know lockout timers are often a topic of discussion and concern. After listening to player feedback, we decided to make it easier to continue on your dungeon adventures even when you lose a member of your party. You are now able to invite players who do not have a lockout timer to your party and pick up where you left off – giving you less downtime and more time for fun!

That’s not the only thing we’ve done to dungeons. Mount Gunbad has been overhauled and – starting at level 19 – players (with as few as 3 friends) can begin their adventures into its cavernous grottos and murky depths!  In addition to many bug fixes, we have implemented respawn checkpoints. These allow you to recover from a fight that doesn’t go your way without need to restart your expedition from the top. Gunbad now offers a challenging and rewarding option with substantially increased experience and faster access to its many rewards!

Speaking of rewards, we’ve also improved Public Quest loot roll – again in response to player feedback. We’ve chosen to make it easier and more rewarding for you to help your friends (and strangers) earn the loot they need! Before the end of a Public Quest you can now opt-out of the loot roll and give others a chance to win, whether you’re in a Keep, dungeon, or any of the PQ’s throughout the world. So if you don’t need the rewards, consider opting-out and help your Realm succeed!

We look forward to continued improvements to itemization and this is just the first step.

Lastly (but not least!), we’ve made significant improvements to the User Interface. We strive to make the way you interact with the game as customizable and useful as possible. With 1.2.1 we added more support for our awesome and active mod community. Now in 1.3 we’ve delivered many improvements to the standard UI. Your backpack will now contain tabs for crafting, quest, and alternative currency items (such as medallions, scarabs, skulls, etc.) in addition to the current bag space you have for everything else. Inventory management shouldn’t be a game within itself, so we helped clear the clutter so you can get back to fighting.

We didn’t stop there!  We have made it even easier to get the items into your inventory in the first place. Now you can configure how you handle loot rolls automatically. Select Need, Greed, or Pass based on rarity or item type! There’s a long list of improvements and bug fixes – everything from Tome of Knowledge improvements to small changes like being able to distinguish warband members from everyone else.

Update 1.3 brings a lot to the table with new lands to explore and conquer that are further enhanced by the features and improvements I’ve mentioned today. There are many more changes we can’t cover in a single letter, so we encourage you to check out the Highlights and Patch Notes on our website to see what else we have in store!

Now, the question on everyone’s mind is – “What’s next?”

In Part 3 we’ll explore the future of Warhammer from Career Balance to improvements to Tier 4 and discuss both the long and the short-term. We’ll address many of your concerns and questions as we look forward to the future and work to make WAR – and your experiences – even more glorious!

To better achieve this goal, we’ve already begun assembling focus groups from guild leaders to solo players. We’re asking what makes you tick and what you want to see next. The feedback we gather from these groups, the forums, blogs and those of you we play with everyday in-game is very important to us and helps to shape the game everyday.  I thank everyone who’s taken the time to talk to us – it really is appreciated!

Based heavily on that feedback, our current “Top 5” areas that we are giving significant attention to are:

  1. Addressing concerns related to Crowd Control and Area of Effect abilities.
  2. Continuing to improve client and server stability and performance.
  3. Strengthening and improving the Tier 4 experience.
  4. Improving server population distribution – both in terms of overall population and realm balance.
  5. Improving itemization and the overall distribution of “carrots” (rewards) throughout the game.

While this is not anywhere near a complete list of what we’re working on, I wanted to make it clear that these are major priorities for the team and that we’re applying significant effort, attention and resources to addressing them at the moment and will be the topics of discussion for the final part of my letter.

So, as always, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your continued support. 1.3 approaches, but we’re far from done…WAAAGH!

See you on the battlefield,
Jeff Hickman
Executive Producer, Mythic Entertainment

We invite you to share your constructive thoughts, feedback, and questions on the Official Forums, we look forward to your discussion!

Well, that’s a whole lot of words. Essentially, what he said was, “Hey, Land of the Dead is here. Yaayyy! Be happy! Oh and we did a few other things too.” The few other things are a long time coming, but they are some of those little things that have been bothering many people for a while, as well as some things that should have just been there from the start.

  • Opt-out for PQ loot.
  • Someone without a dungeon timer can join a group in progress.
  • If you get disconnected in a dungeon, you don’t need to run back anymore.
  • Gunbad improvements.
  • UI improvements.

Like I said, mostly minor. The opt-out should have been there at launch, and the dungeon stuff really just goes hand-in-hand with the overall casual philosophy of the game. It’s not something to “wow” me, but it is one of those minor tweaks that creates a more enjoyable atmosphere overall. The Gunbad improvements are a total joke, sorry, when you have been quoted as saying, “The game begins at level 40.”, making improvements to a late mid 20’s dungeon is almost a slap in the face. Essentially, you’re improving something for before the start of the game. This goes right in hand with being able to hit the escape key to get through all those load screens. Last of the patch updates, UI improvements. It seems like this is something they tack on to the end of every patch notes. Something to pad the pages of the updates, so to speak. Though, in this case, I really am happy with some of the changes. I always run around with a ton of crafting items, and all those tokens are starting to eat up space, so anything to help sort all that random lewt out is a plus in my book.

Toward the very end of all this, we get a message saying that they are still ever-working on the existing game, like busy little bees, and to tell us what WE the players want them to focus on to make it more enjoyable for US. Then he gives a list of top 5 things they are currently looking at, the first and third of which are very serious issues, the rest, for me, seem to be a bit on the low end. My server stability is fine, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve crashed during normal play during the last 3 months. However, if it means increased performance in forts, and no more supply lines, I’d be happy with that, but still, low on the list. The fourth one is more of a symptom of career imbalance, and the last one shouldn’t take a whole lot of brainpower to figure out, and for the most part, is pretty spot on (this is still the easiest freakin’ game I have ever played to get geared up in).

So, that’s the long and the short of it all. How do you feel? Do you care? Am I screaming into the vast, dark abyss here?

About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

3 Responses to Executive Producer’s Letter, part 2

  1. Kash says:

    They are getting things done and listening to feedback. Sure, they arent getting things done in the order we’d like but that never happens. Some things *cough* cross server scens *cough* just take a lot longer (and using different staff) than a gunbad rejig.

    It’s still faster bug fixing and content patching than other MMO’s I’ve played.

    • shadowwar says:

      The comment makes me more sad than anything. We are the customers. They are providing the service. Why should it NOT be done in the order we’d like? I understand the customer is not always correct, but when we’re not, it would be good to hear why, and what their reasoning is. As to cross-server scenarios, I’ll quit if they come. I get far too much pleasure out of recognizing the people I kill, and being able to see them on the field as well. It would be a huge blow to my enjoyment if they are implemented.

      • slurms says:

        Agreed with the recognition of your nemesis a la TF2. I would rather this kind of system be in game than the ToK. honestly.

        My biggest problem in game right now is the top heavy feeling of T4, and the performance issues in large scale fights. Seems no matter what I do with my settings, it always runs like crap. Theres just too much info being thrown back and forth.

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