Fan Faire: You Asked Questions. We Got Answers.

This year we went a different route and asked our community what you wanted us to ask the EverQuest Development team. You responded with questions, so we had them answered!

This year we decided to try something different, so we asked our community what you wanted us to ask the EverQuest Development team. You responded with a variety of questions, and we caught up with Senior Game Designer Ryan "Rytan" Barker to get some answers.


ZAM: Limited bag space is a huge player issue for both personal and guild banks. Are you currently happy with the amount of space, and would you consider adding more space as part of an update in the future?

Ryan Barker: So this one we talked about a couple times yesterday. People brought up various versions of that, essentially. There are a couple different things. There's a significant technical hurdle of adding more bank space. We're not opposed to it, it's just that there's some serious, serious work that has to go into it to make the character file big enough to hold more bank space. The other thing that got brought up was that some of the things should be stackable in larger numbers. We're open to that, as long as it makes sense. There are some items that we're not comfortable stacking in hundreds because of balance reasons, like potions and click effect things like that. For the most part we're OK with trade skill items and things like that stacking in the higher numbers, so if there are any specific examples, we'd love to take a look at which items aren't stacking as high as they should.

ZAM: Well then, just to expand on that, what about adding more NPCs like Tavid Dennent to the guild lobby?

Ryan: It's possible. For quest items and stuff like that, it's hard going back to do it, but going forward we should be able to cover pretty well. We'd also like to avoid situations where there are quests that require holding that many items to complete. We'd sort of like to get away from that and use other methods that don't involve lots of inventory space to hold onto that stuff, because, as everyone knows, our systems doesn't support really large inventories, and if our quests require it, that's really a bad design decision on our part. We need to shrink down the number of items that you have to carry around.

ZAM: Have you, or would you consider doing a double experience weekend once a month to motivate players to play? It's worked out really well in EverQuest II.

Ryan: So, the problem for us is that we obviously don't have the trade skill experience system that they do, so we'd have to do the 'one time, every time.' There has been some consideration for doing that type of thing more frequently. Whether not it's going to be exactly experience, or some other 'hot' weekend, where there's more... whatever. Maybe it's items dropping or something like that, it's definitely something we're considering, so.

ZAM: Do you have any plans for an epic 3.0 or the next line of epics?

Ryan:
Yeah this was brought up a couple times yesterday to and the problem with that is that we love making them and they're really fun for us, they're good storylines and the players enjoy them. The problem is that they're about a month apiece, design time, to put in. That's like an entire zone worth of content, if we're doing expansion work or whatever. It's really just a resource game, in terms of what we want to put our people on, and what we want to do. Sort of tied to that, the epic quests are really just for one class, so you're looking at, at best, 1/16th of your player base. I mean, some of the class levels are obviously skewed and some are more popular than others. You're talking about a much smaller segment of your player base. If you have a quest in a zone, just straight up, everyone can do it and you've got your whole player base able to go and experience that content. It's difficult for us to justify an entire month, out of a year, for a designer to go and spend on just one piece of content that not even everyone's going to be able to see. It's not that we're opposed to it, and we won't do it ever, but it's a really tough decision for us to get to the point where we think that we've got the resources and it's worth doing.

ZAM:
Why does it take a month to develop an epic?

Ryan:
It just does. Usually the quests are fairly complicated, there's different events that are going on in between, those all have to be tuned and tested along the way. That doesn't even count the QA time that's involved. Ed Hartin mentioned yesterday that when the EQ2 put in their epics or expansion pack, they spent 2,400 QA hours on just those quests, and I think he said that's like a third of the year, essentially, in terms of QA time. So they're way, way harder, more complicated to implement versus the time spent making normal quests.

ZAM: There was talk in March about having an offline trader mode for bazaar, when will that feature be implemented?

Ryan:
We don't have a specific timeline for that, but it's something we'd like to do in one form or another, but we don't have a specific timeline.

ZAM:
But it's coming?

Ryan:
I can't even promise you that it's coming for sure, but we like the idea. It's a good one and feasible, it's just in terms of resources we can get for it.

ZAM:
Are there any plans for any upcoming server merges?

Ryan:
No we don't have any plans right now.

ZAM:
Do you have any plans of bringing back more class specific weapons, like the ones that existed back in the Luclin days.

Ryan:
We've got a few. Class specific stuff in general is sort of a problem because of the job issues. A lot of times if you have the stuff that only one class wants, and it drops, you end up in situations where it'll rot, 3/4 of the time. That's not really fun when something drops and nobody can use it in your group. That's why we stick with archetype items. There are some cases where we'll do class specific stuff. It'll usually be on something like a point vendor, or some sort of generic system to turn in a token to get a class specific item, things like that. We do have plans to put a few of those in the next expansion.

ZAM:
Now this is something that I've wanted for a long time. Have you guys considered just skipping the development cycle and the expansion, and going back and repolishing all of the old content that exists in the game? This is not to say that I want you to bastardize the old content, but maybe improve on what's already there - graphically and content wise.

Ryan:
We generally try to do some of that during the year. We'll try to do whatever live content we can, and push it out. That sort of covers what you're talking about. Again, it's a balancing issue where we only have so much time, and people want and need new stuff to do to keep interested. That's generally where our focus is. Some of the people at the top don't have too much stuff to do. That live stuff may end up being stuff for new people, and it'll be in old zones. Things like that. It's sort of a situation where we have to figure out "what's our best use of time," and most of the time that's going to be new content and new areas. We'll generally do tuning changes and things like that, but we won't very often go back and change things, like 're-quest' an entire zone. It's more efficient to go and do new areas.

ZAM: Definitely, and I'm not asking for that at all, or I'm seeing if you'll do that. I more mean going back to make the game look consistent.

Ryan: Are you talking more from our perspective?

ZAM:
That seems to be the biggest thing. The content in the old world is great and it shouldn't be changed, but…

Ryan:
For revamps, we've done a few in the past, but the problem with a lot of those is that they don't really get us much in terms of player retention and lifespan. It's hard for us to justify going back and a lot of our revamps are met with mixed reviews - some people like them, some people don't. We think that it's good to get new players to go into the new art zones - we've been trying to sort of funnel people through some of the newer content as true newbies. But we have so many zones and so many npcs, that it's really just a never-ending task of trying to update all of that stuff. By the time we get around to actually updating all of it because then we'd have some sort of new art thing. It's tough.

ZAM: Last question: When are the living legacy augmentations going to be issued?

Ryan: I believe the July patch will have it.

ZAM: I've been talking with Ryan Barker, Lead Designer. We appreciate your time.

Ryan:
Thanks!

Andrew "Tamat" Beegle
Editor-in-Chief
ZAM.com

Comments

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hurting for money
# Jul 19 2009 at 8:00 AM Rating: Decent
SOE is full of their own crap. They say they can do this simple little things for us in game, but turn around and implement some ginormous idiotic quest that benefits few? c'mon SOE. just cause u have ur head up ur own hiney doesnt mean the rest of us do. and if u were REALLY smart, u would start selling ur own plat. ppl would pay good money for plat from SOE, especially new tradeskillers. by the time it would take to farm the plat AND the items u need, u have no time for nothing else. wow, what fun that is.
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SoE is the problem not the devs
# Jul 01 2009 at 10:28 AM Rating: Decent
11 posts
SoE isn't giving EQ the funds to thrive and succeed and that is why Worley left. SoE focus right now is only one EQ2 and i dont even know how much focus they are putting into that now adays. The EQ series is SoE bread and butter yet they are neglecting it. Soon all this neglect will kill the series and kill it for good.

P.S. on another note did SoE ever release the actual number count to the survey for the servers? I'd like to see the results personally myself unfrabricated ones of course.
Reasonable
# Jun 30 2009 at 6:44 AM Rating: Decent
They need more people to do what we want, period. The bad news is that if SoE is lowering the number of people involved, they must be making less and less on the game. You invest in what will bring the greatest return. It seems EQ doesn't promise great return, so they are investing less. I think Rytan gave some reasonable answers to the questions posed here.

I want bugs fixed, old graphics revamped, etc. too, but the reality is that if I had to pick that stuff or new content, I'm gonna pick new content 8 days a week for two reasons. One, it keeps the people who have exhausted all old content interested in the game. Two, it is good PR for the game with new players because a game that is expanding is still "alive." New content is easily the best way to make people want to play, and people wanting to play keeps the game I love alive longer.

To be honest, I really feel sorry for the EQ crew because they are understaffed, and the community wants them to perform miracles and do the amount of work they did when they were reasonably staffed 8 years ago . . .
give us more devs please!
# Jun 30 2009 at 2:39 AM Rating: Decent
Scholar
*
69 posts
seriously...

They really need to double up on the game developers... they are obviously stretched to the breaking point, there is content that needs fixing that dates back 7-8 years, like that nasty box bug that whenever you have your USB devices plugged in you get a square box instead of the ///... or how about them fixing the dreaded helm issue... or the backward coding of some spell lines like when a mob hits a chanter with ward on and a ds ... that the ds goes off after the ward mezz does and not vice a versa, and shet ton of other crap... i wont even mention all the old zone bugs that were just plain ignored... like the noqufel raid event was never fixed etc etc.... i can go on forever...

they seriously need more people in game development... and the TSR and GM crew don't even play in the same room anymore... do they even talk to each other... are they allowed?...
anyways, the skeletor crew they have now just isn't enough/cutting it, or maybe they just don't give a shet... they have our money and that's all they want...

I may need to find another pastime to whittle away my retirement with... and no WoW isn't a pastime worth discussing either... maybe I should just go fishing instead.

seriously...
I believe it's time for a new form of Epic
# Jun 30 2009 at 1:27 AM Rating: Decent
45 posts
After reading the asked questions about why it takes the devs a month to finish up a single Epic Series per class, that's like a total of 16 months, more then one full year even.

I believe it's time we ask the devs to make a NEW form of Epic, one that will not take so long for them to finish up and one new form of Epic that will please a lot of players in turn.
Idiot
# Jun 29 2009 at 9:40 PM Rating: Decent
13 posts
You are an idiot.

""it's a really tough decision for us to get to the point where we think that we've got the resources and it's worth doing."

And we thought our epics were worth doing...there are weapons out now that outshine epics(fabled pet weapon, anyone?).

Thanks again for another worthless quest."



ALL THE ITEMS WILL BE OBSOLETE AT ONE POINT. That doesn't mean that they are now or were useless quests. For godssake, use your brain and actually think before you type.

Edited, Jun 30th 2009 1:41am by RediusMaximus
Idiot
# Nov 12 2009 at 1:47 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
40 posts
first, sorry for the late reply...

So I'm an idiot for sitting in KC and Chardok waiting for my pipes to drop(HOURS, btw), not to mention doing all the running around, wasting time on a weapon that should NEVER be obsolete?

It pretty much is a worthless quest if its not upgraded...
Idiot
# Jun 30 2009 at 7:06 AM Rating: Good
I believe he was dissappointed in SOE for not bringing out another epic like a 3.0 as the current weapons have since made the 1.0, 1.5, and almost the 2.0 epics obsolete. Without another epic quest to continue to the line it kind of pulled the rug out from those that spent a great deal of time working through their respective epics (a **** of a lot more than the month Ryan claims it would take to develop). I don't think he was an idiot - I think he may have confused a few in the way he phrased it. I'm pretty sure he is not siding with SOE on this.

At least I hope he's not.
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Whoever fights monsters should see to it that
in the process he does not become a monster.
And when you look into an abyss,
the abyss also looks into you.


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Idiot
# Nov 12 2009 at 1:48 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
40 posts
thanx, Trip :)
Seems Like
# Jun 29 2009 at 5:09 PM Rating: Decent
Every time something was suggested about doing something the player base is asking for or requesting, there was always some big problem with time or effort or creativity or something else. They wonder why the player base is shrinking on one hand, but on the other, it seems like the things the player base wants, they choose to ignore.

If I ran a business model that ignored what my customers are asking for I would be out of business. (Or getting that way)

I love the question about polishing (ie FIXING) some of the old content and then answer was it was easier to make new content. Yeah, thats the ticket, create more broken crap instead of fixing the old broken crap.
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Kolath 73 Shaman
Flaur 19 Cleric
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Thank you Tamat
# Jun 29 2009 at 3:10 PM Rating: Excellent
A huge thanks to Tamat for taking the time to sift through the questions we posted for him to consider and then ditch the less general questions. You served us well and pressed some of the issues to the best of your abilities. No matter what we think of the responses that were given, please do not take them personally. I think I can speak for everyone that the players on EQ appreciate the time you took to present our concerns to them.

Hats off to you sir!
Thank you Tamat
# Jun 30 2009 at 4:21 AM Rating: Excellent
Thank you! :)
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Fly High Daevas,
Tamat ~ Andrew Beegle
Community Manager
What was really said
# Jun 29 2009 at 2:50 PM Rating: Good
Before Translation wrote:

ZAM: Do you have any plans for an epic 3.0 or the next line of epics?

Ryan: Yeah this was brought up a couple times yesterday to and the problem with that is that we love making them and they're really fun for us, they're good storylines and the players enjoy them. The problem is that they're about a month apiece, design time, to put in. That's like an entire zone worth of content, if we're doing expansion work or whatever. It's really just a resource game, in terms of what we want to put our people on, and what we want to do. Sort of tied to that, the epic quests are really just for one class, so you're looking at, at best, 1/16th of your player base. I mean, some of the class levels are obviously skewed and some are more popular than others. You're talking about a much smaller segment of your player base. If you have a quest in a zone, just straight up, everyone can do it and you've got your whole player base able to go and experience that content. It's difficult for us to justify an entire month, out of a year, for a designer to go and spend on just one piece of content that not even everyone's going to be able to see. It's not that we're opposed to it, and we won't do it ever, but it's a really tough decision for us to get to the point where we think that we've got the resources and it's worth doing.

After running this text through my trusted BS decypher it spit out this:

After Translation wrote:
ZAM: Do you have any plans for an epic 3.0 or the next line of epics?

Ryan: Oh God not this subject again? We keep telling you people over and over... (pulls out cue cards) We love making them and they're really fun for us, they're good storylines and the players enjoy them.... (puts cue cards back into pocket).

The problem is that they're about a month apiece, design time, to put in. That's like an entire month without playing the XBox-360 in the staff lounge, if we're doing expansion work or whatever. It's really just a resource game, in terms of what we want (notice he didn't say cannot) to put our people only person left on the EQ development team on, and what we want (notice again it is what SOE WANTS, not what the players want) to do.

Sort of tired of doing work at the office anyway, the epic quests are really just for one class (OMG they just figured that one out?), so you're looking at, at best, 1/16th of your player base (he can count, I will grant him that). I mean, some of the class levels are obviously skewed and some are more popular than others (Not sure how this would affect programming time on the epics - Is he suggesting if there was only 1 mage in the game the epic would require him to turn in a solitary veggie to the NPC?).

You're talking about a much smaller segment of your player base. If you have a quest in a zone, just straight up, everyone can do it and you've got your whole player base able to go and experience that content. It's difficult for us to justify an entire month, out of a year, for a designer to go and spend on just one piece of content that not even everyone's going to be able to see (maybe they need to rethink how they do their epics, but they make the aug quests just as gruelling don't they?).

It's not that we're opposed to it we just don't want to work for our paychecks takes too much thinking and causes a lot of overload on our brain cells in which we were hired to use. But a career needs all of the brain cells so we're not going to use them on EQ, and we won't work hard for our profits ever, but it's a really tough decision for us to get to the point where we think that we've got the profits rolling in and now we have to just had to hand over some paycheck to another employee to actually work. Are you kidding me?

____________________________
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that
in the process he does not become a monster.
And when you look into an abyss,
the abyss also looks into you.


Just another guild video - click to view
What was really said
# Jun 29 2009 at 7:50 PM Rating: Decent
40 posts
We want epics updated WTH ! I can get a drop nice weapon sure but thats easy, give me an epic that I tell everyone as I do it I am stupid for doing it but yet I will show it off once I have it.
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........
# Jun 29 2009 at 2:07 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
40 posts
"it's a really tough decision for us to get to the point where we think that we've got the resources and it's worth doing."

And we thought our epics were worth doing...there are weapons out now that outshine epics(fabled pet weapon, anyone?).

Thanks again for another worthless quest.
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