Monday, October 19, 2009

More mixed news from Turbine Q&A

Turbine posted it's second official Q&A document a few days ago, and it contains the usual mash of prefab questions. Among these, a couple stood out:

Q: Minstrels currently suffer a 2 second root after a healing skill and animation completes. Is this working as intended or something that will be addressed?

A: This is intentional, for the time being.

This could be construed as a good or a bad indicates that they are clearly aware of the issue, but are not taking any steps to correct it in the near future...on the other hand, perhaps they to plan to do a major combat revamp later on to address this and other 'animation rooting' problems.

Q: Why is so much gear "Bind on Acquire"? If it is just to stop trading, why not "bind on Account"?

A: We want to have certain items be bound to the specific character. Bind on account would not accomplish this. It’s one of our ways to encourage players to engage content on their characters as they progress through the game using various classes. We are not considering Bind on Account at this time, however, it’s a nice idea for a set of “inheritance” items.

This makes plenty of sense for gear items, but for some, such as housing, which is an account-specific feature, it would make TREMENDOUSLY more sense for trophy items to be bind-on-account, and allow storage in housing chests. This is currently one of two major flaws with the housing system. On a related note:

Q: Can we expect to see the guild and housing systems advancing any time soon?

A: Not for Siege of Mirkwood, though we’d love to revisit these systems at some point in time.

Understandable, but will disappoint many a 'fluff' player.

Q: Where does Mirkwood fit, size wise, with previously released regions?

A: Mirkwood is roughly 75-80% of the size of the Northdowns.

This is one of the more worrying answers. We've seen from the new Mirkwood trailer here that the zone LOOKS fantastic. However, being this small, and encompassing all five levels of advancement past 60, would indicate that it's an incredibly dense area in terms of content, much like Moria. However, many players, myself included, have been clamouring for LESS dense areas -- areas akin to the Brandy Hills, Far Chetwood, even parts of Evendim. Also, from the maps we've seen from PAX, the Mirkwood area seems to be directly across from Lothlorien, which is incorrect -- there ought to be many miles of land between the river and the Mirk-eaves.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A partial list of lingering issues

I - Mobs:
1.) Lothlorien
-All shrews need to be swarm, not normal
-Wolverines need to be swarm, not normal
-References to 'rabies' need to be removed
-Lizards need to threaten before attacking
2.) Misty Mountains
-'Reindeer' should be renamed to Elk and use the appropriate model
-Giants need to be updated to the new directional induction tech, instead of rotating
3.) Trollshaws
-Troll density needs to be adjusted down in many areas
-All wood trolls need to be adjusted from elite to signature
-Giants need to be updated to the new directional induction tech, instead of rotating
4.) Forochel
-Elk should be renamed to 'Reindeer' and use an appropriate model
-Sabertooth mob aura visuals need to be adjusted to display frost cloud
5.) Eregion
-Saberteeth really have no purpose or place here. Replace with bears. (Tal Caradhras.) It doesn't make sense for saberteeth to share space with wargs anyway.
6.) Evendim
-Giants need to be updated to the new directional induction tech, instead of rotating
-Goblin and tomb-raider density needs to be reduced along the Barandalf
-Elk need to use an appropriate Elk model, instead of deer

II – Art:
-Scrub lizards, Anduin lizards, and Waterworks lizards need to be visually differentiated.
-Many shields still exist with either improper names or artwork (ie: Elven soldiers shield has a Dwarven appearance)
-Lothlorien sentinels frequently appear armed with Dwarven and human weapons and shields.
-Elk, Deer, and Reindeer currently all use the same model.
-Wooden plank nodes in Moria still display branches atop them.
-Mallorn distance impostor sprites in need of updating

III – Graphics/Engine
-Waterfalls still in need of finishing.
-All maximum draw distances need to be increased: terrain, level of detail, object draw/distance impostor threshold, frill distance.
-Upper and lower body avatar animations need to be divorced. (ie: emotes should play their upper half, if appropriate, while mounted.
-Certain mobs have only one attack animation. All mobs should have at least two, and unique mobs and bosses should have an increased level of animation detail.
-Fog needs to be updated to be volumetric. Fog should be visible from outside its boundaries and not simply 'fade in' when a certain perimeter is breached.
-There is no slider for weapon particle effect intensity. There should be. (legendaries)
-Horse-riding animations still out of sync

IV – Systems/Skills
1.) Mail system
-Autocomplete feature required
-Multiple item mailing still not present
-'Save' feature would be nice
2.) Mount system
-Mounts need a substantial increase in sturdiness.
-BPE should be enabled while on mounts
-If you are afflicted by a slowing effect when you mount, it should not affect the mount (ie – hamstring)
-Criticals should not auto-dismount
3.) Stable-point
-Stable route prices need revision; many make no sense
-We still do not have linked stable-routes
-Housing areas require stable-points for return trips
-There is no boat travel point on the friendly Annuminas pier; this should be a logical replacement for the bizarre stable point in Echad Garthadir
4.) Housing
-Add a 'mailbox' feature to permissions to allow other chars to use your house mailbox
-Housing storage MUST be able to store bound items. With the tech from shared storage (only allowing the char to which the item is bound to retrieve it) this should be possible now. Permissions could be adjusted to allow certain people to return bound items to their owner's escrow (to prevent people from filling up kinhall chests with bound items as a DOS attack.)
5.) Skills
-Hunter 'rain of thorns' and 'rain of arrows' should not require LOS
-Dwarf 'Endurance of Stone' needs to add frost mitigation
-Fellowship skills (as displayed in the fellowship tab of the skills panel) should carry across to all characters on an account.

V – Audio
1.) Voice-over
-All of the non-main character Dwarf VO done for Moria is in dire need of replacement
-Some of the Angmarim have not been updated to the proper accents
-Unique VO's for certain Fellowship members still lacking
2.) Music
-Annuminas/Evendim theme still used in default cave music loop
-Eregion still has multiple zones which use music from the North Downs or Evendim
-There is STILL no toggle for combat music. (should be landscape only)
-Many instruments which are not physically capable of playing chords (ie: horn, clarinet) can still do so ingame
-The zone boundary around Caras Galadhon needs to be tightened up so the audio doesn't constantly switch back and forth with the Lothlorien woods audio.
-Many of Chance Thomas's orchestral tracks are grossly underused, such as the 'Archers of the Galadhrim' track which would be perfectly at home in Fanuidhol.
3.) Sound Effects
-Lothlorien requires its own ambient sound track, not the default woods one used in ND and Bindbole Woods, etc.
-Weapon-on-armour sound effects need to be revised and expanded
-Non physical impacts still make the generic 'smack' sound when they hit you (ie drake fireball)
-Block and Parry sound effects need to be much more distinct

VI – User Interface
1.) Fellowship/Social
-Hovering over fellowship-members' portraits should reveal their location (zone, not region)
-Inspect needs to be enabled on all social panels.
2.) Who/fellowing panel
-Upon opening the /who or fellowing panel, NO level range or zone should be selected
-Location filtering should be doable by REGION (ie North Downs) as well as zone (Nan Wathren, Nan Amlug East)
-All ranged social options, such as inspect, should be enabled on the /who tab
3.) Target marking
-Target marking needs to be enabled even while solo (not in a fellowship)
-Target markers need to show up on the targeted mob/npc/pc portrait
-Target markers need to have increased (or variable) opacity
4.) Chat/CLI
-We are still limited to 4 user-channels
-There is still no /target command
-Hitting shift+R needs to re-tell the last person to whom you sent a tell
-When friends and kin members sign in, their names should be right-clickable, with the regular social interact option
5.) Buffbar
-Defeat dread and revival sickness still show up on the buff line
-There is as yet insufficient delineation between buffs and debuffs in terms of visual clarity
-There is no option to customize how these are displayed, esp timers.

VII – Quests
-Level-cap quests need to reward extra cash or Destiny as a basic function (not something specially coded in for individual quests)
-The nested instance quests in Moria still do not seem to have any purpose or reward, other than petty cash.
-Escort NPCs in many older quests need to have their AI reworked so as to be less suicidal.