Producer's Letter - Jeff Skalski

7/15/2009 by war-europe.com
Hey Everyone,

My name is Jeff Skalski and Iím the WAR Producer here at Mythic Entertainment. Some of you may know me from various Mythic podcasts and interviews Iíve done over the years on RvR and Land of the Dead, but today I get to share with you my first Producer Letter. I hope you enjoy the read and if you actually like it, I might write more of these in the future. ;)

Continuing where my boss Jeff Hickman left off, I want to provide more details on items you can expect with our upcoming 1.3.0b patch, and a little bit of a sneak peek into 1.3.1. Just one small disclaimer -- I donít want to cause anyone anger or emotional distress if something I discuss slips to a later patch. In this professional field, anything can happen at a momentís notice, especially that which is unplanned. Besides, being rather excited for what we have planned and currently in production, Iíd rather not hold back too much. Consider this an insider look into what weíre working on. ;) Our plan is to continue to be more open with our community, so Iím sure youíll be hearing more from me and others over the coming months and years.

So with that said, letís chat about the soon, *cough*this month*cough*, to be released 1.3.0b patch. Itís a letter patch, but donít let that make you a sad panda. Weíve got quite a few good improvements from our Player Systems team to start addressing your concerns related to crowd control and area-of-effect abilities. Besides that, the long overdue look at the Archmage and Shaman has been completed and, last but not least, the guys managed to squeeze in the stacking enhancements for Runes and Marks.

So what are some actual examples of what we are doing that are ability and career related?

AoE balance fixes:
- All AoE abilities are moving to standardized ranges and coverage, based on their type (Melee "Cleave", Conical AoE, Line AoE, PBAoE, or Targeted AoE).

Crowd control changes:
- All Immunities Persist Through Death - Pretty simple one here, no more Stun -> Dead -> Rez -> Stun -> Dead.
- Increased Duration of Disable Immunities - Immunities for the disable family of CC (knockdown, stun, disarm, and silence) will have their immunity timers increased from 6 times the effect duration to 10 times the effect duration. In other words, if you are stunned for three seconds, in 1.3 you would have an 18-second immunity. With this change, that same immunity would be 30 seconds.
- Root Immunity and Knockback/Pull Immunity Combined - We're rolling root immunity and knockback/pull immunity together into a single "movement immunity" effect. This immunity will remain for 30 seconds, and will prevent you from things such as being pulled in, then immediately rooted in place, making it a much more tactical decision about whether it's better to stop an enemy in place or move them around.
- New Renown Purchase Ability - We are releasing a new Renown Point purchasable ability at Renown Rank 40 that will be a "CC immunity" that players can trigger for temporary CC immunity. This should help break up the "I get CC'd at the beginning of a fight and there is nothing I can do about it" issues.

Archmage and Shaman revamp:
- We'll also be rolling out the next phase of our Archmage and Shaman changes, moving their abilities around to create more cohesive Mastery paths, and re-adding some new abilities and Tactics. These will include the new and improved Path of Da Green and Path of Vaul layouts that you knew and loved on the Public Test server, the new Energy of Vaul and Fury of Da Green abilities, and a handful of new and improved Tactics! Archmages and Shamans everywhere, rejoice!

Rune and Mark stacking changes:
Runepriests and Zealots will be thrilled to hear that we'll be re-introducing the ability for your Oath Runes and Marks of Chaos to stack on your allies! Just as before on the Public Test server, all players will be able to have one of each type of Mark or Rune on them at a time, and higher-effectiveness versions will simply overwrite lower-effectiveness ones. This will make your Marks and Runes much easier to use, and a more effective tool in your toolbox.

One other area we are focused on for 1.3.0b is to better incentivizing open-field RvR. We want players to hunt each other, and thatís what RvR is all about -- crushing and out-thinking your enemies. With that in mind, we are literally multiplying your XP and RP gain when fighting enemy players around Keeps and Battlefield Objectives. The Field of Glory buff currently grants a 100% experience bonus in RvR Lakes when killing players. Players will now receive an additional 50% bonus to experience and a 150% bonus to renown when killing players near Battlefield Objectives or Keeps.

Among all that, a whole grab bag of bug fixes coupled with continued improvements to our server and client performance are underway. Now, I read the boards and know some people will point out that Mythic sounds like a repeating record in this department, but the team really is improving server stability almost daily, and working hard to find even more ways to optimize our client just a little more. Some of you may not notice a change, while others will. There is no uber solution, just a whole bunch of little things we can do that will, in time, add up to something bigger. Rest assured, the team will continue to address bugs as they surface and work those fixes into their schedules, too. We canít catch everything right away, and I know we have some that have been lingering for a while, but we prioritize them against others and do our best.

Hereís a few of our favorite bug fixes this round.
1) Archmage -: Blessing of Isha - Ability is set back too frequently."
2) Juggernaut is not properly removing Takedown, Cleave Limb, and No Escape.
3) Marauder: Mutating Release - Does not grant immunity to snares while already active.

Finally, what about 1.3.1?
On the RvR front, weíll finally have the second ramps in for the Keeps. I wish they were going up in with the 1.3.0b patch, but a few hiccups happened right at the end and we had to hold them back one more patch to allow for adequate testing. Regardless, they look great and weíll be posting more information about them on the Herald over the coming weeks so you can get a look at the adjusted layouts.

Weíll continue to look at improving the RvR campaign by better incentivizing Keeps that are defended and upgraded. The plan is to base the value of rewards handed out on how many enemy players are present, and by the upgraded Rank of the Keep. Players will receive a boost for both XP and RP, plus additional gold bags handed out for a successful attack or defense. Now youíll have even more reason to seek out your enemies for the most rewarding experience.

Another big ticket item for the RvR team in 1.3.1 is the work weíre doing on the city sieges. The goal is to make them RvR-centric from beginning to end, and this is just the first phase of our plans. Iíll save the details for my next letter, but I will share this: In the redone capital city PQs, defenders are never kicked out of their city, and they can now win the main city PQ during the capture phase to reset the campaign even quicker than the current 18-hour timer.

What about the Fortresses? Next letter. ;) Sorry, Iíd rather say that than nothing. I donít want anyone thinking we forgot about them.
Jumping from the RvR team over to our Live Events crew, get ready for a Live Event unlike any other weíve done thus far. The Wild Hunt will be upon us to help bring in our one-year anniversary, along with the first phase of some of our social networking tools and items to help in-game players stay connected.

Lastly, 1.3.0b will be up on PTS this week. Along with that, our patch notes will hit the official forums. I strongly encourage all of you to check out the patch notes and jump on PTS to play around for a bit. Let us know what you think!

Guild keep is under attack and I gotta run,

Jeff Skalski
WAR Producer, Mythic Entertainment
Twitter @Jeff_Skalski

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