Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Extremely Long Discussion on Proposed Defensive Changes

An extremely long discussion is currently going on at SOE forums. Here is the gist of it:

Greetings all. Over the years, EverQuest has gone through many changes. Sometimes, these changes have had long-reaching effects the original designers could have never imagined. One of the biggest changes recently has been he dramatic scaling of NPC damage. In order to keep content challenging for raiders, the damage dished out by NPCs has increased to the point we're at today where only the mightiest of tanks can stand up to a difficult target for more than one round. Gone are the days when a caster who accidentally drew the attention of the enemy might have a chance to survive long enough for an experienced tank, or off-tank to draw agro and save the fleeing finger waggler. In our opinion, this has lessened the enjoyment of the game sufficiently that change is needed. Badly.

What kind of change you ask?

We will reduce NPC melee damage across the board. Primarily this would be raid NPCs, but there will be some group changes as well. In short, we want to return EQ to the days when a tank change didn't just mean how many people have to die before a tank can step in; when a caster drawing agro didn't just explode in a single hit. In short, making the game more survivable, more fun, and less punitive for even the smallest mistakes.

Along with the NPC dps reduction, the damage mitigation such as defensive, final stand, knights' mantle and carapace abilities would be overhauled so you still have some emergency situation abilities, but these would last for 18 seconds instead of the three minutes they do now. Warriors would retain their innate mitigation bonus over knights, and would receive a five percent mitigation advantage at 45% damage reduction, as well as an increase to agro generation while this ability is active. Knights will receive a flat 40% reduction ability with no damage caps, with added flavor of SK's adding a lifetap, while Paladins would receive an increase to their healing.

So what does this all mean to you?

Hopefully, more fun in the game again. We also NEED your help in testing the changes. This is obviously no small task. The changes will be pushed out to the test server for a couple months before being implemented on live servers. I can't stress enough how important this time will be for you to help us find any major problems. While we can account for most of the major changes, there is always a chance something will get missed.

Please note, the changes listed above are the MAJOR bullet points. I'm sure there will be more points of discussion and I'm absolutely open to talk about them. Most importantly, this path has NOT been set in stone. It is something we are discussing, but something I feel is very important to the game's health. We are VERY aware this is a big change, and we welcome your opinions on the matter.

- Elidroth Renato (Doug Cronkhite), Game Designer, Sony Online Entertainment, LLC

You can read all of it and comment here.


The more work I put into this project, the more work I am uncovering that will need to be done in order to achieve the goals I set for success.

While I still believe the basic idea to be sound, the sheer scope of work involved is growing much larger than I expected, and is reaching a point where it may not be feasible or accurately testable. The NPC changes themselves are not hard. That data is fairly simple to adjust and test. Another issue gets into the fact that so much of raiding is scripted with many npc power changes happening within those scripts under specific conditions that the likelihood of catching all the changes accurately would be increasingly difficult.

Then there is the issue of healing. Were casters able to survive even a short increase in agro time, the light tanks and hybrids would then have a much easier job of tanking, to the point that they would be sustainable in a raid fight where they should not be. In short, literally all classes would have to be adjusted. Again, scope of the project growing out of reasonable limits.

In short.. this idea is likely dead in the water unless I can come up with a way to reduce the scope and still achieve the goals I set out in the 1st place. Considering how much I have on my schedule already, it's unlikely I'll be pursuing this further.

- Elidroth Renato (Doug Cronkhite), Game Designer, Sony Online Entertainment, LLC

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