House of Commons Dev Chat 8/23/06

EverQuest developers had a rather informative house of commons dev chat about The Serpent's Spine expansion. Here it is, as seen on EQLive:

<Brannoc> Welcome to another great Stratics house of commons with the developers of Everquest! Tonight is a general chat, any questions about the game will be welcome.
<Brannoc> Please send your questions to [QT]Sprite OR [QT]Preston by using /msg [QT]NICK My question here.  Questions sent to myself or the developers will NOT be answered so please do not send them to us.
<Brannoc> We'll begin with a brief introduction from our guests and then proceed with the chat.  Now would be a good time to send those questions to [QT]Sprite or [QT]Preston!
Good evening all.  I am Christina Delzer also known as Kytherea, the Community Relations Manager for EverQuest.
<Vahlar> Hi everyone, I'm Holly Longdale, assistant lead on EQ Live and stuff.
<Prathun> Hello everyone!  I'm Jonathan Caraker, the spells and raids designer on EverQuest.
<Rashere> Good evening everyone.  I'm Travis McGeathy, Lead Designer for EQ.
<Maddoc>  Hey everyone, I'm Jason Mash, an Assistant Lead Designer in charge of breaking things for the EverQuest Team
<Oshran> Hello everyone.  I'm Kevin "Oshran" Carter and I focus on the AA system and single group content.
<Raghnell> Hey everybody, I am Chris Lena, the Producer of the EverQuest
<Ngreth> Hello!  I am Adam "Ngreth" Bell.  Associate game designer specializing in tradeskills.
<Merloc> Hello, I'm Keith Turkowski, the new Items Designer for EverQuest. 

*Jetfire* What can you tell us about the next bundle pack? When will it be out? Will it include everything up to TSS inclusive?

<Raghnell> We haven't made any announcements on a new compilation yet so I can't go into the details.  Now that we don't have a retail box for the expansion I would like to see compilations be as inclusive as possible.

*Jetfire* What can you tell us about the next bundle pack? When will it be out? Will it include everything up to TSS inclusive?
<Raghnell> We haven't made any announcements on a new compilation yet so I can't go into the details.  Now that we don't have a retail box for the expansion I would like to see compilations be as inclusive as possible. 

*Nolrog* As for the upcoming changes to the AA system, will you warn us in advance of the advantages or disadvantages of spending points before or after the expansion?
<Rashere> I plan to get a post up on the live forums within the next couple of days discussing the planned changes that are going in along with this expansion, including the AA changes.  Specific to the AA changes, if you're at level 70 you shouldn't notice much change but lower level players will gain AAs at a faster rate than they have in the past. 

<Brannoc> *Nolrog* It was mentioned that one could level from 1 - 75 within the upcomming expansion. As for spells, will there be alternate ways to obtain spells from previous expansions? Will they be no-trade runes like earlier expansions? Will research be the only method to obtain the spells for a player that stays only in TSS zones when leveling to 70+? Will we be able to obtain spells released in DoN, PoR or DoD?
<Ngreth> You will be able to get any spell that you can buy in the original EQ, Plane of Knowledge, and Serpent Spine itself.  Additionally you will be able to get any spell that you can make using spell research.  The Serpent's Spine will add LDoN and OoW spells to spell research. 

*Nolrog* There are a lot of people that do not have access to a credit card, and are concerned about the fact that TSS is download only. Some people are reporting that EB is selling pre-orders with the promise of an actual boxed version. Will there be a limited run of boxes for people that prefer them or can only pay cash? If no, then are you working on other payment options, so they can still purchase the expansion on the day of
<Raghnell> There are no plans for retail boxes of The Serpent's Spine.  If a chain is taking pre-orders I would suggest getting your money back pronto!
<Raghnell> There is nothing currently place that I know of for people to pay with cash.  At this point I wouldn't plan on there being something there on launch day. 

*Croix_FV* With The Serpents SPine Beta underway, will there be live server events that lead up to the expansion such as there were before DoD?
<Rashere> We don't have any massive live events planned this time around.  It's something we enjoy doing, but this expansion is truly massive so we've decided to focus those resources on the expansion instead. 

*Ikkorus* With the past few expansions introducing mobs with massive AE nukes and AE Rampages and the such pet survivability has become non existant on almost every high end encounters.  Understanding that classes such as beastlords and mages take severe raid utility hits when they are unable to use their pets.  What if any, are your plans to address this issue with the coming expansion?
<Prathun> I've got several abilities and spells planned for the upcoming expansion that should help address pet survivability in raid situations.  Each pet class will have access to one or more spells that can help their pet live through otherwise fatal AEs and attacks, and mages are due for upgrades to their pet toys. 

*Nolrog* When will TSS files be available for pre-downloading?
<Vahlar> You can start downloading files for TSS as of last night. More to come! 

*Cinexa* Hi guys !  from a cleric in guild I have a question - will the CH spell be getting an upgrade - with all the upgrades in tanks etc - the max ch is doing with aa is 9600 and even a crit doesn't always ch - with tanks over 20k - what's the outlook on this spell?<Prathun> The nomenclature of Complete Heal is unfortunate, because as you've no doubt noticed over the past few years, it's not necessarily "complete" anymore.
<Prathun> There will be upgrades to heals for priest classes in the upcoming expansion, and while one of them in particular currently heal more damage than Complete Heal (Promised Renewal), I don't think you'll see a spell in the same line as CH in the near future. 

*Checkers* Dual-track end zone progression for The Serpent's Spine sounds like it will be two expansions worth of raiding experience. Is that a safe assumption?
That's a good way to look at it.  We wanted to provide tons of content for all level ranges including the high end raiders.  You won't have to choose one path over the other, so you'll just have a large number of events to select from at any given time. 

*Nolrog* Are there any plans on improving the GM armor in TSS, either by making a higher level set above GM or perhaps adding in a better augment than the GM augment?
<Ngreth> There are no plans for an upgrade to GM armor for TSS.  We do plan on upgrading it in some fashion, but a decision has not been made as to the exact nature or time table of this upgrade. 

*Croix_FV* Are their plans for aggro focii such as the Demiplane class items to continue in TSS itemization?
<Merloc> We don't have any specific plans for more aggro *focus* this expansion (although we may still add some). There will definitely be additions/improvements to aggro management for several classes via items, AAs, and spells. 

*Checkers* In the recent producer's letter, it says that character creation has been redone to a streamlined, one-screen process. What was the motivation behind this change?
<Vahlar> The addition of a new race required us to make a few changes to character creation as the Drakkin race has a fairly wide variety of options we hadn't accounted for before.  It was a perfect opportunity for us to spruce up character creation process so it's more intuitive for new users. I've been through it and it's much improved. 

<Brannoc> *Nolrog* Can you give us more information on the downtime changes in general (what can we expect, how will it work), plus will this help with END regeneration?
<Rashere> The downtime changes are based around the player either being in-combat or out-of-combat.  While the player is in combat, nothing is changed. 
Once they leave combat, they have a certain period of time that must past and then they can rest by sitting down.  When they are resting, they will regenerate health, mana, and endurance at a much faster rate than normal.  Watch for more details in my forum post later this week. 

<Brannoc> *Croix_FV* Are their concerns that with the current power level of spell focii (50-60%) that they can't increase much further and a new type of caster power increase from gear will have to be designed?
<Merloc> We definitely concern ourselves with evaluating potential power increases for classes each expansion.  While we probably won't be raising the focus percentages this expansion (due to the level cap increase), it's likely that they will be raised in subsequent expansions. 

*Ferlin* What will the focus be of group content in TSS? Similar to recent expansions, or something that is comparatively in a "league" of its own?
<Rashere> In a way, TSS is an old school expansion.  It is very much focused around quests and static zones.  We don't have much in the way of instanced zones this time around, but rather we focused on massive zones, interesting stories and NPCs, and enough quests to keep even the most rabid quester busy for quite a while.
<Oshran> Also, expect a lot more single group bosses that fight with the complexity, tricks and tactics of a raid mob! 

*Nolrog* PoP progression is not widly done anymore, making the Aid Grimmel earring difficult to obtain.  Would you consider removing the requrement of the planar flags from the Aid Grimmel Earring?  People would still need to collect the necessary ingredients (perhaps some could be made no-drop to compensate), and still have to be 220+ in order to attempt the combine, but they just wouldn't need to have completed the PoP progress
<Rashere> Many older items like that have a reputation not just for their abilities, but for what was required to get them.  That is something we have to be careful to honor so there's no plans to change the requirements to get those types of items after the fact. 

*Igorath* The melee augment Dioptase Segment (#51715) is supposed to proc for a 55 point heal yet on a 44 War wielding an Ornate Rune Blade (#5657) it only procs for a heal of 22 while on a 47 War wielding a Di'zok Imperial Katana (#5708) it procs for a heal of 26. The aug is Rec/Req lvl 40 and the proc is Req lvl 40. Why is the scaling not mentioned and will it be change to a fixed amount as in the item description? (Please don
<Maddoc>  There as a bug with that set of augments that caused them to scale in an unintended manner. The bug has been corrected and they will now heal the same amount currently specified on them +/- an additional 5 points randomly (if I recall correctly).
<Maddoc>  In either case, those augments will be fixed in the next scheduled live update. 

*Wycca* Out of curiousity, is there going to be a /claim reward for the retail box, and if so, what is it going to be?
<Raghnell> There will be no retail box - only a digital download.  BUT we will be giving an in game item for pre-ordering TSS.
<Raghnell> It is a scepter that will teleport you to Crescent Reach (the home of the Drakkin) once a day 

*Ikkorus* In the past few expansions beastlords have fallen behind other classes in terms of having a viable role in high end encounters.  With current mana pools and mob AE mana drains Perfection has become more lackluster.  With pets becoming more and more useless in end game encounters are there plans to improve beastlord DPS by adding special abilities or perhaps (god willing) innate double attack?
<Prathun> As mentioned earlier, there are new abilities planned to help address beastlord (and other pet class) pet survivability on raids.  If there are too many encounters that focus on mana drain that sounds more like a content design issue than class balance.  From tuning the TSS raids I haven't seen many raids that include that mechanic. 

*Kela-the-Gypsy* When (if ever) are you going to force wizards to remove their Maelin's Leggings (and by remove I mean make them unusuable and give us a means to better control our aggro).  It seems that making mobs immune to concussion in the new expansion and giving us a completely new and improved aggro reduction line would fix this problem once and for all.
<Merloc> Having played a wizard at the high end for a long time, I can agree with your sentiment towards Maelin's Leggings.  I actually have several ideas on how to deal with those legs once and for all! In the next month or two I'll talk with some of the other designers, and see if we can make some changes that will keep wizards happy, and allow them to wear something more stylish.
<Prathun> There is a new spell for wizards in the works for Serpent's Spine meant to help with aggro reduction.
<Oshran> And a new AA! 

*Kazzuk* will there be endurance regen added to items similar to mana regen as there is an obviously dire need esp when developers feel they want to add more aggro discs (like for warriors) tied to endurance skills rather than give us class defining weapons as in the past.
<Prathun> The upcoming downtime changes should address the extensive amount of wait associated with regenerating a full bar of endurance. 
<Prathun> By resting for a few minutes between combat, you can restore your entire supply and be ready to go again.  We're not planning on adding endurance regeneration to items. 

*Serpens* How long till the new expansion is released?
<Rashere> You've got about a month to go.  The Serpent's Spine will launch on September 19th. 

*Chanaluss* With the introduction of the tutorial, certain classes obtained new, tutorial exclusive spells. many players wish to have complete spellbooks, but are incapable of obtaining these few spells, due to the fact that they were created before the tutorial. can the tutorial spells be placed in PoK or Crescent Reach?
<Oshran> No spells were intended to be held over for tutorial participants only, so any that you can't get elsewhere are likely that way by mistake.  I'll post on the forums soon with a request for the names of all such tutorial-only spells and get that resolved. 

*Kalthanan* The new Drakkin models are stylistically very different from previous models; robes and armor really outshine the Luclin models being used in the game now.  That said, can we realistically expect upgrades to older models, or just a vague "sometime in the future"?
<Raghnell> Well vague is really all I can say at this point
<Raghnell> We want to do it and we are slowly marching forward.  

*Jetfire* When will we find out more about the new launcher? When will EQ (and the other games) start using it?
We are working on the back end for this now.  EQ will be on the new SOE launcher.
<Raghnell> But when is something I don't have control over...different department
<Raghnell> Hopefully before the end of the calendar year but NO PROMISES :-)

*torvo-darkpaw* any chance on removing the insane number of subcombines needed for research and AAAAs? The new tradeskill system is EQ2 is vastly improved and would love to see subcombines go away in eq as well
<Ngreth> I do not plan on reducing the amount of combines needed for Ambleshift's Amazing Automated Amalgamator. 
<Ngreth> As for spell research I have had some thoughts along that line and I am leaning towards offering a choice to players of saving money and making the acid themselves, or spending much more money to avoid the sub combines and just buy the acid. 
<Ngreth> If I do this, the acid on vendors will be significantly more expensive than if you make the acid yourself. 

That's it for this one folks! Thanks for joining us here on Stratics IRC, the logs will be up on shortly.  Be sure to come by next time!
<Kytherea> Thanks for coming folks.  See you next time!
Thank you for coming!  Have a great day!
<Prathun> Thanks for joining us tonight. :)
Thank you all for coming!
<Raghnell> Thank you everybody.

<Merloc> Thanks for the questions.


Post Comment
Dial-up vs. cable/DSL
# Aug 31 2006 at 11:07 PM Rating: Default
Well it seems that SOE has fallen into that internet chasm..... and overlooked the fact that unless a person lives in a MAJOR metro area...(such as Seattle/San Fran/LA/NYC/Chicago etc)... that over 90% of the people online are using DIAL-UP connections and DO NOT have access to DSL or CABLE!!.... While a 56k modem and a solid connection is good for playing.... the download times of a "Download" ony expantion is beyond the scope of even a solid connection. Personally??? Even though I have a dedicated computer line (with solid connection at over 48k).. I don't plan to order the new I don't want to have to tie up my computer for a solid day just to download the new exp!
Dial-up vs. cable/DSL
# Sep 15 2006 at 7:14 AM Rating: Decent
Please see the following link about internet usage:

Simply stated, broadband has now passed the 70% mark and dial-up will most likely be non-existant in 3 to 5 years in the United States.

And my guess: EQ players are much more likely to have a broadband connection (although I 2-boxed back in '99 on a 33k dial-up).

Just some food for thought. And I understand that broadband is still not available everywhere. That is changing however.
no credit card
# Aug 31 2006 at 11:32 AM Rating: Default
you dont need a credit card. open a bank account and get a bank card (aka debit card). its as good as spending the cash you HAVE.... stop living in a cave and get in the 21st century!

The End
# Aug 30 2006 at 9:12 PM Rating: Decent
I guess The End of EQ for me will be coming to a end since I do not want or have a real need for a credit card. I prefer to pay by cash for my games and my service. I really hate the fact that I will not have a Box version of the next expansion.

Digital Download price $
# Aug 30 2006 at 3:09 AM Rating: Decent
342 posts
If SOE wants to make TSS and future expansions download only, fine. But please explain the same ~$30 price when there are no longer any manufacturing, packaging or shipping costs?

Yes, they have previously done downloads of their expansions. However, they were a few dollars less as I recall and did not come with a prize. The boxed version could frequently be found for less if you watched the sales at big box stores during the first few weeks. The boxed versions also included prizes that the download version did NOT have for quite some time now.

This essentially equates to a PRICE INCREASE for their expansions if you do the math.

Don't get me entirely wrong. Downloading the expansions is a great resource and time saver. Then again, folks who are on shaky modem connections may be unhappy. You also face re-downloading any time you reinstall download-only expansions. EQ is already a huge time investment to install (perhaps even longer than installing and configuring Windows itself). It would be nice of SOE to at least offer a custom order CD in a jewel box that could be shipped and cost a little more.

There may be good reason for SOE to increase the expansion price in order to offset some other expenses. Perhaps this expansion was as great an undertaking as it sounds and required more production cost. Perhaps they have lost more subscribers. Perhaps their access rates are going up (and believe me they will only get worse, unless some well-crafted Net Neutrality legislation goes into effect.)

Whatever the reason(s), see this for what it is: a price increase on the expansions.
Credit Card
# Aug 25 2006 at 5:37 PM Rating: Default
Getting a credit card these days is as easy as buying an icecream at the corner store. Now the reason why? SOE looked into the fact that everytime any of us go to the store and there are still Ruins of Kunark expansions sitting on the top shelf of nearly every store that sells PC games. They lose more money then its worth. This way they dont have to calculate how many to make and how many will be sold. Just make it downloadedable and if you want , you get, If not they lose no Cash. Otherwise 10 years from now they will have made back the cost. They already tried cloth maps and mini Character figurines. Didnt work, Not gonna work, Game is dieing, and I hate to see it
No Credit Card? No Problem
# Aug 25 2006 at 4:36 PM Rating: Default
Am I missing something obvious about the "no credit card" thing? Does no one else but me use a bank card from their checking account?

I've never had a true (personal) credit card. Ever. I've been an EQ subscriber for neigh on 7 years now.

Do you all bury your money in mayonnaise jars, or??? Get a savings account started at your local credit union for like $25, and then open a checking account and just deposit $$ in there prior to the TSS release. Pay with the debit card that your credit union issues to you for the checking account.

Am I missing something?
No Credit Card? No Problem
# Aug 29 2006 at 11:12 PM Rating: Decent
1,117 posts
Blasted double post.

Edited, Aug 30th 2006 at 12:21am EDT by dfrnchman
No Credit Card? No Problem
# Aug 29 2006 at 11:10 PM Rating: Decent
1,117 posts
Yes you are missing something. Debit cards are not avaible in most countires, like most of Europe and several other countries.

Don't assume that everything is the same as in the US.
No Credit Card? No Problem
# Aug 25 2006 at 5:45 PM Rating: Decent
Heh heh, that's what I'm doing. I started with an ATM card that works like a debt card, but unfortunatly, it didn't have that little Visa logo at the bottom, and no varification number on the back.

In about a week I'll get another card with that stuff on it, and I'll be able to put money in the bank to spend it.

It's not a real credit card, even, you got just the bank to deal with if you break something =P But it still works like one.
researchable oow spells....
# Aug 25 2006 at 12:28 PM Rating: Decent
56 posts
while it will help vastly in the distrobution of the higher end OoW spells i'm sure, the fact of the matter is that if they go with the same trend as they have in the past concerning spell research... the components for these combines will be wicked rare or crazy hard to get. research is already pretty much the most difficult tradeskill that a non-gnome can attempt to GM (in my humble opinion), so i think i'll end up probably just camping runes some more.
--Faedarr (70 Chanter, 167 research, Drinal server)
credit card
# Aug 25 2006 at 9:19 AM Rating: Default
go to your local check cashing place and buy a pre paid credit card, just have to put mone y on card and charge away.
# Aug 25 2006 at 6:35 AM Rating: Decent
49 posts
Researchable LDoN and OoW spells is just awesome. Thank you SOE.
# Aug 25 2006 at 5:28 AM Rating: Decent
hehe..this was really able to put my mind at ease...considering all this ( you didnt hear this from me but I heard ..blah blah blah ) stuff going around. Looks like there will finally be a lot of changes for both the good and the bad. Changes are still good none the less since it keeps the game moving with it.
no more boxes?!
# Aug 25 2006 at 1:26 AM Rating: Default
They really should make a retail box of this! what's so wrong about it? I don't have a credit card of my own, and what would happen should my computer crash if it was only a download? What were they thinking? I was really looking forward to the expansion too.
no more boxes?!
# Aug 25 2006 at 11:12 AM Rating: Decent
58 posts
I can't help you much in the way of the credit card, but as far as the computer crashing, you'll still be ok. The expansion is registered to your account. Basically, you download all the software again from SOE and when you enter your user name and password, you'll still have access to the content.
well guess I mis out
# Aug 25 2006 at 12:52 AM Rating: Decent
56 posts
well so much for me getting the exspansion, no credit card here...
that really pisses me off
Good Show
# Aug 24 2006 at 9:29 PM Rating: Decent
101 posts
That's pretty cool. Thanks for posting it. Looks like we finally get a useful preorder item this time, eh?
"What was the start of all this?
When did the cogs of fate begin to turn? ~ Chrono Cross

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