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Update 17.9 Plans and Progress!

Game Director Craig Morrison tells us about the plans and progress with Update 17.9.

So where are we at with 17.9? I thought I'd take some time out today and just give you all an overview of where we are at, what the plans are and what you can do to help test the progress.

17.8.2 Update this week

We had planned to go straight to the 17.9 update, but given a couple of things that I will get to in just a bit we have decided to do a small maintenance update for some fixes in the interim. Therefore there will be a small client update this week to a 17.8.2 version. This is a very small update to address a couple of issues we didn't want waiting any further. Namely pets going into a disconnected state on the battlestation and some fixes for the use of aoe effects on duels.

We will post the exact time and duration of the downtime at some point tomorrow.

17.9 Status

So what's up with 17.9? The update was actually pretty much ready to go, although we will use the extra time to do some more polishing and tweaking to the new encounters and items. So what's the reason for wanting to hold it back?

Concealment and Perception is the answer.

When working on some of the older bugs in an effort to squash the pesky things we were finally able to nail down something we had suspected for a while, and players had wondered about for some time and that's the oddities with how the perception against concealment (and general perception checks) scale and work. What we found hidden away in a particularly dark corner of the code-base was that these checks has always been checking only the unbuffed base stats when performing its checks.

Fixing that resolves quite a few minor bugs (like the difficulties players have finding hidden mobs as you find in the Crypt or in Penumbra for example) but it present us with a potentially major change to the game mechanics that is going to be difficult to gauge. How will resolving this effect those professions that rely to a large extent on concealment, and how will it effect general balance with everyone getting additional benefit from perception buffs.

The honest answer is that we can't be totally sure until we get some data, this is where you can help!

Playing on the test server

The transfer of characters to test live is now back up and running and we would encourage players to please come to the test dimension and check out the change and provide your feedback. Does it play any differently? It may be that the balance isn't that far out due to the using the buffed stats, it might be that with players set-ups it makes quite a difference and we would like to get as good a picture as possible. We will most likely test this update for an additional two or three weeks before considering releasing it to the live dimensions.

We are of course testing this ourselves as well both internally and on the test dimension but any additional players or time spent on the test dimension will be very helpful to help see the effect of this change.

In closing

Now it's unlikely we would want to revert the change, but we are open to adding new and different buffs (or modifying existing ones) if we feel that the new balance caused by this change requires some further adjustments.

We felt that this change had far too much potential for significant change to rush out to the live dimensions. It might well be that in the end it doesn't have such a big impact due to how players stats have ended up down the years. So deciding to take extra testing time might be being over cautious, but I much would rather be safe than sorry!

So there you have it, that's the current game-plan and we will of course keep you updated with any further developments!