Letter from the Game Director - August 2009
Tänkte bara sprida dessa nyheter ännu mer! Varsågoda!
It has been a hectic month here with preparations for the reveal of the new expansion, visits to several key games shows and of course preparing the next set of live content updates.
Rise of the Godslayer
The most important news this month is of course that we revealed the first expansion pack for Age of Conan – Rise of the Godslayer. I am very excited to have been able to see people’s reactions to the expansions plans and what we were able to show. The team has done a wonderful job in being able to bring the land of Khitai to life. I think that the adventures people will be able to have in the expansion will be interesting and fun, and we have strived to make sure that our approach to this new continent reflects some of the key feedback from players when it came to the layout of the original game playfields.
This is a great example of where your feedback and input truly helps shape the development process. With the expansion areas we wanted to address a couple of areas that people raised regularly about the existing playfields – that they often felt too linear and that there are great distances between them that sometimes breaks with the immersion of the setting.
Going to Khitai does give us much more freedom with the map. Whereas Howard had fairly carefully mapped out the layout of the kingdoms in Conan’s world, that isn’t the case with Khitai and that has allowed us to address the second of those issues by ensuring that all of the playfields lead on from each other. You will be able to see where you are going and moving from region to region in the expansion should feel much more like a coherent journey.
Then we also approached the actual world design differently and have made sure that we maximize the playable area much better than we have in the past. While technically the same ‘grid size’ as our largest existing playfields, the expansion areas will have much more playable game-space, roughly some 30% more. This is done through creating more open and spacious areas with less of a focus on mountain passes and having large impassible areas. We really wanted to give players that feeling of exploration and discovery that comes with visiting this foreign and mystical land.
Then we have the new armors, it was also driven by player feedback that we really want to ensure that every last piece of armor created for the expansion can be acquired by the player, whether it is simple social clothing or the faction armors themselves. It is very important to us to deliver on that element that the players really want and be able to use the expansion to increase the diversity of the armors that players acquire and use.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to demonstrate that the feedback does end up influencing design choices we make, in particular for larger content like an expansion. While of course we won’t always agree on all things, the feedback can play an important role in our decision making process.
Of course the expansion is only half of the story and the live development process continues apace
What’s coming up?
We are currently working on three separate live updates at the same time. There is an update imminent for the Conquerors (should hopefully be on the test servers very soon! )then we have a more significant update with the new Iron Tower level 80 instance and then beyond that the 1.06 update itself that includes the features revealed last month in the shape of Guild renown, the Tower PVP system, House of Crom and the tier three raids. The 1.06 update will be deployed to the test servers once we are done with the 1.05.x updates and Iron Tower is released. It is a significant update and I do expect that it will need some time on the test server, in particular as we want to test the rate and progression of the new Guild renown systems and will be enlisting your help there!
Before we wrap things up for this month there are a couple of clarifications and answers from questions I have noticed after last month’s details on 1.06 that are worth covering.
Update Schedule for 1.06: We might split the update up into smaller parts to mean some elements come before others, but we haven’t decided what order that might be yet, and it will very much depend on testing. There is a lot in this update cycle so rather than wait on everything we currently think it might be better to split it up, which would mean it will be slightly longer before you get everything, but you would get parts sooner too.
House of Crom: House of Crom is a level 80 instance that will have social elements. So what does that mean exactly? That means that we are aiming to have two parts to House of Crom, one which is more open and supports several teams in a social dungeon setting (and will have co-operative goals) and a part that will be a regular single team instance. I think the mechanics the team is cooking up for this will make for a very interesting experience!
Tier Three Raiding: Yes, the new raids will come with new loot and third tier new armor sets (and maybe a little more time permitting )
Veterans System: I know I have hinted at this before, but now I can confirm that yes, there is something coming for veteran players, and the current plan is that we are trying to release it with the current 1.05.x series rather than wait for 1.06. This will be a new system that will allow veteran players to earn a new currency based on how many months they have subscribed for that can then be spent on a special vendor who will offer a wide range of items, both convenience items (like additional travel options or cheaper mounts for your alts), fun items and cosmetic items. The points will be on a character basis, so you will be able to spend your veteran points on each character. (i.e. if you are eligible for one hundred points as an example, all of your characters will get that number of points each)
So there you have it, we are looking forward to the coming months and some really exciting updates. The great thing about getting to do the trade shows and conventions is that you get to meet up with and chat to players and it great to get to meet so many of you enjoying the game. We will be working hard to continue to realize that potential!
See you in Hyboria!