by Moorgard on 2003-01-13To Sir, With Love
So I bugged Scott Hartsman--EQ's tech team leader--for the answers to some of today's most thought-provoking questions. Why is there so much hostility in the Middle East? How can prescription drug prices be lowered? Will the Matrix sequels rule or suck?
Unfortunately, all Hartsman would give me were these lousy statements about various EverQuest issues, so I guess they'll have to do:
*** Slow Mitigation ***
As many know, with the release of Planes of Power, some NPCs were given the ability to "mitigate" the effect of attack speed altering spells, such that Slows would not be quite as effective against them, but would still be useful and desirable.
As part of that same change, others gained the potential to be "sped up" by slow spells. After re-evaluating this mechanic over the past weeks, where a slow spell actually makes the target attack faster, we've decided to pull it entirely.
We're doing this for a few reasons, many of which have also been pointed out by members of the classes for whom slowing is a primary role:
* It was kind of an interesting idea at the time, but unless we decide to add other "I press this button, and bad things happen, instead" types of effects to everyone's core abilities, it really does unfairly single out slowers. Suffice it to say, this isn't a road we plan on going down any time soon.
* It's only used in a total of seventeen NPCs in the entire game. Removing this behavior won't have any impact on tuning in the encounters where it exists. Those NPCs will be either set to slow-immune or will allow slows to have a slight impact on them, depending on the encounter.
* It puts slowers in the unique position of feeling like they could cause a full wipeout every time a new encounter is tried, simply by doing their job. If an encounter is set to penalize slowers in this way, it essentially guarantees at least one failure in a particularly frustrating fashion, since slows can't be removed from hostile targets.
It's entirely different when a failure occurs because someone makes a critical mistake. That's absolutely part of learning and playing any game. However, a failure occurring because someone does what has always been their job; not very compelling.
Just to clarify: Slow mitigations and immunities will be staying in. Slows having the potential to have the reverse effect is Right Out. (Or will be in the next patch.)
*** Bandwidth Usage and /Serverfilter ***
This is one of those that we've been meaning to talk about for a while now, but it always seemed to be pushed back by other, more pressing matters.
For the past months, /Serverfilter hasn't had any practical use. It simply sends a message off to the server that the server no longer does anything with, which is why some folks with overly-restrictive network equipment are still able to use it as a means to "jump start" what appears to be a dying connection.
The server-side filters are now controlled by the individual items that live in the Options window, on the Filters page.
Also in a recent patch, we've significantly reduced the amount of bandwidth that EverQuest needs to use, even in large raid or extremely-crowded-zone situations. Unfortunately, one side effect of these changes is a problem that didn't show up in the small test server community, and is only highly prevalent on the live servers; Periodic movement and health updates are nowhere near as reliable as they should be.
Fortunately, this issue will be fixed in the patch that is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan 15 at 3am.
*** Curses, Poisons, and Diseases ***
The troubles with these types of detrimental spells not being curable will also be fixed in the same patch.
*** Faces ***
With any luck, a fix for the interesting new issues with faces will also make it into this patch as well.
Okay, so it turns out those are some pretty important points after all.
Shamans and enchanters will be very, very happy to hear about "reverse slows" being removed from the game. Hartsman is right--it was a neat idea in a way, but it can't be deployed in a fair manner. Much better to scrap the plan and let shamans slow mobs (or fail to slow them, as the case may be) in peace.
The server filtering info is pretty much what we anticipated it to be. Reducing the amount of data bandwidth has made some players with historically unstable connections become virtually free of linkdeath, which is a terrific thing. Once the bugs are fixed in the next patch, this will truly be a boon to EQ players everywhere.
The fix to curing curses and DoTs is essential, as is the face-switching bug. Call me vain, but when you're as good looking as I am, you hate to disappoint the ladies with a sub-standard face.
A big thanks to Scott Hartsman for passing this info on to our readers.
Who Loves Ya, Baby?
I complained just this morning that another patch better be forthcoming soon to fix the major issues that the last one introduced. As Hartsman alludes to above, my whining proved accurate:
On Wednesday, January 15th, at 3AM PST, (11AM GMT), all EverQuest servers will be brought down for a scheduled patch. The estimated downtime is 3 hours.
Don't know if you've noticed, but we added a link to the Scheduled Downtime page with the date of the next upcoming patch just above the site links on the right-hand column of each Mobhunter page. No big deal, but hopefully you find it handy.
An All-Expense Paid Trip to Europe
There was an announcement today concerning those new localized Euro servers:
To celebrate the recent launch of our three new European based servers (Venril Sathir for England, Sebilis for France, and Kael Drakkal for Germany) and to build stronger communities for these servers, Sony Online Entertainment and Ubi Soft have joined forces to offer free character transfers, with all items intact. For a limited time only, we will make free character transfers with items and coin for the first 1000 players who request moves to each of the Kael Drakkal, Venril Sathir and Sebilis servers.
Registration is open now and will remain open until January 21, 2003. To take advantage of this one time offer, visit the European Transfer Service pages in English, French or German translations.
Please note the following rules that apply to these transfers:
- FREE character transfers to each of the following Europe-based servers: Kael Drakkal, Venril Sathir and Sebilis.
- All of your characters from the server you select will be moved to Kael Drakkal, Venril Sathir or Sebilis (your choice).
- Characters moved will keep their items and coins.
- Character transfers from the Legends server (Stormhammer) will not be permitted.
- This service is only available to paying subscribers; accounts within the initial "free trial" period are not eligible for this free service.
- All transfers are subject to the rules posted in English, French, and German translations.
Transfer will be free for the first 1000 players to register for each of the above servers; after that, transfers may be available at the standard price.
That sounds like something European players would be grateful for, right? Well, some of them aren't so happy.
As one of our very own readers pointed out, players who started characters on the Euro servers when they went live at the end of November did so with the understanding that these would be brand new servers with no character transfers allowed for six months. As you can imagine, introducing a thousand fully equipped players on a server that's only a few months old would have a huge impact on both the economy and the community itself. While the move provides huge opportunities for high-level players to move to a local server that would have very little competition, it does seem a bit unfair to the people who signed on at the server's foundation.
On a positive note, European players who longed to move to a localized server but didn't want to give up the characters and gear they'd spent three years developing can do so now without losing anything.
The offer is a bit surprising, even given the partnership between SOE and Ubi Soft. Sony is giving up 3,000 subscribers to its overseas ally--though of course the details of whatever financial deal is involved will probably never be known to us.
Is this a move to boost the population of the Euro servers? To kick-start Ubi Soft's subscription numbers? Or merely a gesture of good will on the part of both companies? Feel free to form your own theories.
Moving to the French server might be kind of fun. You know what they call Vex Thal? Le Vex Thal.
This Charming Man
As Lucy points out, 872 spell changes just showed up on Test server. The big changes are that spells with instant recasts now have a 2.2 second recast time, and charm spells had a 1% slow component to them and were made more resistable.
The change to insta-recast spells is to stop players from exploiting a bug that eliminates the delay between spell casts through the use of clickable items and such.
Adding the slow component to charm spells makes charmed pets unable to be hasted. Given the number of high-level, hard-hitting charmable mobs in PoP, this seems like a fair change. Hasted pets outdamage players so much it's not even funny, making enchanters a wee bit too powerful. Thus this change comes in the name of game balance.
Of course, these changes are ONLY ON TEST and may not go live at all. Still, expect chanters (and mages and necros and druids, all of whom are affected by this change) to be a bit unhappy.
Another change that many people find annoying since the last patch is a problem passing on item links you get from other people. For instance, I can view an item info box when someone loots a mob, but unless I have the item in my inventory I can't pass the link on to others.
Absor stopped by Graffe's to explain that this was an intentional change:
Actually, we did that to reduce the number of people that get ripped off in trades for items that the other person doesn't have.
We're working on another change to the way linking items work, where there will be a way to link items you don't have that will also identify the fact that you are linking from a link.
With luck it will go in next patch.
Hopefully it does, because doing loot calls, for instance, can be a major pain. Stopping scammers is a good thing, though, so I guess even a loot ho like me can afford to be a little patient.