Monthly Development Update: April 2012
Releasing the engine video generated a lot of interest for us from fans and game portals around the world, and for this we're very happy. The host of Wayback Wednesday, Rob Lashley, asked us to do a live streaming show and we gladly jumped at this chance! We played together and talked about AO for three hours. So many of you showed up in game to support us, and with your help we managed to both kill Aztur and twink on the Stygian Desolator! The video clip is available on MMORPG.com.
In April, we revisited some of the older content to improve the experience based on your feedback!
First, the monsters in the Mantis Hive and Smuggler's Den dungeon have been particularly slow to wait for, and this was not ideal since the place is now hosting some of the elite agency missions. When doing maintenance in the dungon making these monsters reappear more frequently, we accidentally aggravated the Mantees, and they begun digging holes to escape our tough workers! If you don't mind getting a little dirty, you may be able to utilize these tunnels as shortcuts.
Second, our builders went into Arid Rift and banned all the Regeneration Conduits. As an anti-train mechanic, we were never a fan of these towers, and we believe you guys will enjoy this place much more without these snares. In addition most aliens in the area will lose interest in you quickly. Please train responsibly!
The New Player Experience
In May we're shipping the New Player Experience off to our internal QA Department, and our testers and designers will be working side by side to iron out potential issues and making sure it's fun to play!
We really like the concept of a shuttle port, but we feel it's important that the newbie area is a part of Rubi-Ka not to alienate new players from the rest of the world. So I'm proud to present Arete Landing, a shuttle port built and run by the Interstellar Confederation of Corporations. It's located in Andromeda, in very close proximity to the ICC Headquarter, and choosing this location enabled us to completely rebuild ICC, as we feel it is a very important hub that should look more impressive than it currently does.
We managed to drain out the entire lake of Andromeda in the process, and large parts of this lush zone is beginning to dry up now, leaving dunes of sand and salt. A barren land, although beautiful in it's own way.
I'm expecting this to be available on Test Live after the next Live update has been released.
The Systems Changes
After doing some internal testing, we decided to disable Damage Modifiers from affecting Damage Over Time-Nanos for now, although we believe it's a really good way for caster professions to be able to increase their damage output in the future, so it's our intention to bring this feature in at a later stage.
In May we're going in depth on Research Procs, Perk Actions and Special Attacks, and I feel there is things we can do here to improve accessibility and balance, without removing complexity!
The Engine & Client
In April, work begun towards creating a stand alone version of our client housing the new Dreamworld engine. This is going well, and we're continuing to work on this goal in May.
We will stop supporting the small (no expansions) AO Client in the near future, as this is very time consuming for the team to maintain, time we would rather spend on producing the new engine. If you're playing on our small client, you will be notified on how to proceed in order to upgrade to our full client - Note that this will not require you to change or upgrade your account, only download a new client.
The Next Update
We are very happy to announce that the Global Market Interface is available for beta testing in the next Test Live version. The player shops will be disabled in this version, but you will be able to collect all your your items and credits though your shop.
In addition, many code improvements and a complete overhaul of the Launcher Experience is included in this version, so we will allow it some more time on the test dimension before we release it into the wild.
You are more than welcome to try it out! If you already have the Test Live Client installed, you will need to re-duplicate the client again before you attempt to patch up! We've had some technical issues with the current Test Live version, and we decided to completely skip over one patch in order to get this version out as soon as we could. Don't forget to copy your Prefs folder in order to keep your current GUI settings.
Preliminary Update Notes are available in the Test Live Announcements section on the forums, and you'll be able to see all the detailed changes going into version 18.5.0! Live release date to be announced.
Thank you for resisting the urge to kill Mr Lashley aka. Grakulen during our live streaming show! You proved to everyone how great of a community you are, and seeing us flagged in Temple of Three Winds must have really been making your q-finger itch (:
Ich möchte mich außerdem dafür entschuldigen, keine deutsche Übersetzung bieten zu können. Waldgeist ist im wohlverdienten Urlaub, und ich hatte keine Gelegenheit, ihm diesen Brief rechtzeitig zukommen zu lassen.