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Letter from the Game Director - March 2008

Here is the latest letter from Game Director Craig Morrison. Full text after the jump.

 

 

With the 17.8 update now live and being enjoyed across the dimensions I thought it would be a good time to tell you all a little more about how we are feeling about the recent changes and what we have in the works here for upcoming content.

Firstly I just want to say a few words on the latest game update and take the opportunity to answer a few questions. We are very pleased to see the positive reaction to the new PVP systems we introduced in 17.8. It is always a little bit of an anxious time when you overhaul a major part of the game and we have been delighted to see players enjoying the new dueling system as well as taking part in more group based PVP. It has always been our aim to encourage people to explore group tactics and learnt to work together in mass PVP scenarios and I’m very happy to observe that already people are starting to put together new strategies and tactics for taking each other on.

Quite a few people have asked if the new systems will support PVP based rewards. As I mentioned last time out this is something that is on the drawing board as it were. We will consider PVP based rewards associated with either your ranks or possibly some other associated goal. We won’t be doing it in the short term however. We want to give the new systems some time to settle in and see if we need to make any further tweaks or changes before we add rewards into the mix.

Next up, I have received a few questions on why did we decide to include a duel mode when we don’t balance for one on one PVP? Well, mainly it was to try and provide something for everyone in the PVP update. While as we have said in the past there are indeed too many inherent imbalances between the professions to try and balance them all for one on one combat, we do recognize that there was an active community who enjoyed just challenging friends (and enemies!) to single combat.

So when we decided to look at the PVP system it seemed a logical extension to also include something for those people as well. It was I think a fun addition to the game that allows player to have another, safer PVP option and one that isn’t as open to anti-social behavior like ganking and trying to trick people into PVP. I think it’s a great thing to be able to offer options that cater for as many preferred game styles as possible, so the dueling system was a small addition that would make that kind of PVP more appealing and more fun. If we encourage those people who were previously put off this type of PVP due to the negative elements mentioned above then I think the system was more then worth it!

So what about the future?

The render engine upgrade is coming along nicely and we are still hoping that we will be able to launch it later this year. We are soon starting full testing on the engine itself, and will them move on to the upgrading of the visual effects that have to be reworked or converted for the new engine (Nano-casting effects and such like). This is a lengthy part of the process but the progress so far has been excellent and we will be sure to keep you all up to date as we progress.

In terms of game updates the current plan is that the new engine upgrade will be the 18.0 update, which will also hopefully have some great new booster content at the same time. We are working towards completing a playfield booster for high level players to launch around the same time as the engine. That might change however as we might not want one to hold back the other and vice versa so we really won’t be sure until we get the engine into full beta testing. That then brings us to what will come before the new engine in the form of the 17.9 update!

The 17.9 update will be a chance for us to add a lot of little additions we have wanted to do for some time and make some small tweaks, changes and fixes that have been lower on priority lists up till now. There will be some more changes to NPCs and quests on Rubi-Ka, including some that will point players to existing content and locations and flesh out the game world a little more as well as providing some more information about the current Dust Brigade storyline as you learn a little more about what they might be up to with their sudden interest in Xan technology. You should also find some new encounters out in the wilds of Rubi-Ka that might just be of interest. There will of course be the usual selection of fixes and changes to existing items and perks in the update.

We will have a full preview of the update in a few weeks time, and then hopefully have the update on the test-live dimension not long after that.

Please continue to keep the suggestions coming through your feedback mails and posts to the game suggestions forum. Many of the recent changes and features have come directly from your feedback and we are always on the lookout for the ideas that might work their way into the coming updates!

The main code feature we are currently working on is the addition of a true raid interface for the game. This will allow for up to six groups to be linked into one raid group that is considered a single entity and allows for its own chat channels, loot rules and visibility of members health and nano status. It’s currently in development and we haven’t slotted it into a specific update just yet. It might make the 17.9 update but we haven’t reached the testing stage with it yet so we will have to wait a little while before announcing which update it will be included in. This will also allow us to produce raid instanced playfields in the future just for the members of the raid and balanced for the numbers involved just as we have done with the single team instances.

So that’s a quick update on where we are at the moment. With the new engine and continued content updates I think it’s going to be another exciting year on Rubi-Ka! For those of you who celebrate it enjoy the Easter vacation and we will see you all on Rubi-Ka.