It looks like Severlin is jumping in head first in all his duties as E.P.
In the producer’s letter thread on the forums he answered a few questions that were poised. You can read the full list of questions and answers here, but I have picked out a few that jumped out at me.
“Are any bug fixes in the works?”
We plan to do regular bug passes with each update. Right now our engineering is devoted to fixing lag issues.
“Is this the Sentinent weapon that was talked about?”
Here is the honest reason I didn’t mention Sentient Weapons. Our plan is to include them in the new Greensteel, because we don’t want to release a system and have Greensteel overshadow it, and we also don’t want to release Greensteel and have Sentient Weapons make those obsolete. So far we have been unhappy with our designs to include Sentient Weapons with Greensteel because, as most players know Greensteel was an awesome system. Because that design is still very much in the air I didn’t want to include Sentient Weapons in the producer’s letter.
“What about adding better networking hardware? Better servers to handel the players?”
We are currently discussing options to move the datacenter and update the hardware, but I have no firm plans to announce at this time.
“Can someone please be assigned to adding new relevant recipes to Cannith Crafting?”
We’d love to revamp Cannith crafting and have it extend into some of the higher levels, and have discussed doing so. Our schedule is fairly aggressive and if something needs to be cut the revamp is a likely candidate. For that reason I didn’t add it to the producer’s letter. It is on our list of things to do however.
“Lag grew to an unacceptable level in 2014 and has majorly affected the ability of players to enjoy the game.”
Last year we took steps to combat lag. We changed the shared bank to a paged system for example.
We are currently looking at a specific case of lag caused by stacking server instances. We are working on a fix. I have no date to announce but we want to deploy a fix soon.
There is also another type of lag players are seeing – the lag spike. The lag spike isn’t lag as you imagine it. It is often a server process encountering a content bug and trying to restart out from under players. The server tries to save the instance by moving the instance and all the players to another server process. When this happens all the players see a longish lag spike as their characters are shuffled from process to process. Some characters fail to move and get DC’d. We are actively pursuing the most frequent cause of these process issues and hope to close off at least some of those in the next patch. This work will continue until we have nailed down any frequent crashes.
After that lag will be an ongoing development process. As an example, we plan to look at possible lag caused be crafting formulas in the patches that follow this one.
“Exploits have completely destroyed the in game shard economy, anniversary event and crippled the end game raiding scene.”
We have already added server side protections in the last patch to close exploit holes. We will continue to do so throughout the year.
“When do we start talking about the other stuff in U25”
We have other balance plans as we progress through the year. We still need a ranged pass. We are looking to see if barbarians need further tweaks. We know there are classes that need a third tree. We have other plans for some trees that underperform. Those ongoing design notes are out of scope for a producer’s letter.
To clarify, we expect the Shavarath adventure pack to be all new content.
“Warlock Class? Wait isn’t that basically Pale Master?”
We envision the Warlock class concentrating mostly on its Eldritch Blast ability and ways to manipulate that arcane blast in various ways. While the Warlock does have spell abilities they are closer to a ranged character than a traditional caster.
“This might also be the time to introduce the Tiefling race as well (hint, hint).”
Modifying all the helmets in the game for horns *and* modifying all the animations to add a tail turns out to be really, really costly in time and art.