The free-to-play marketplace has really emerged out of its cocoon in
the last year. For those of you that have been reading Ten Ton
target="_blank">F2P Top Ten List, this becomes
readily apparent as the majority of the games on that list were
released in late 2007, 2008, or are slated for the early part of 2009.
One of the most prominent of these games (and holding the #1 spot on
our Top Ten list) is href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1234"
of Magic. We recently had an opportunity to
submit a number of questions to the RoM developers, and we graciously
jumped at the chance.
The goal of this interview was to get Frogster’s reaction to
some of the open beta feedback for Runes
of Magic. Ten Ton Hammer’s Danny
“Ralsu” Gourley bounced around the game’s
official forums and snatched up any topics or questions that he thought
would be interesting to present to the developers. We’ve
taken the time to link every thread that Danny pulled questions from,
and Frogster’s director of product management, Daniel Ullrich,
has graciously taken time to answer each of the community’s
Magic has a large number of different items to collect.
Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks
for taking the time to talk with us Daniel. It’s always great
to talk with a set of developers that want to interact with the
community. Would you like to say anything before we get started?
First, please let me tell you that we are always working on
improvements, new content and of course the next add-on. We have a very
large list of topics that we would like to change or improve, but
everything takes time. I would like to ask the community to report more
things like the topics below in this interview and believe me, we will
take care of each issue, but of course, we have to take care of
technical improvements and new game elements as well.
In the past, we said that we would like to create a very community
based game and that’s exactly what we are trying to do at the
moment. The community gave us excellent feedback and a lot of very good
suggestions, and I would like to thank everyone who was involved in a
thread or an email with suggestions. Please don’t stop
sending us improvement ideas and things you would like to see in the
Petition: Quest Item Bag ( href="http://us-forum.runesofmagic.com/showthread.php?t=1122"
Ten Ton Hammer:
letsgo1818 notes that a lot of players are having a hard time managing
inventory with the large number of different items they collect.
Players get gear drops, runes for craft, runes for enhancing gear,
quest items, daily quest items, and harvesting items. We know it will
be possible to rent extra inventory from the item mall at a very fair
rate, but some players have asked for a specific bag for quest items.
How likely is that to happen, and why or why not?
That is a pretty nice idea. We’ve already thought about more
possible ways to arrange the inventory. We really believe that there
should be enough space in your bag, bank and chest to store a lot of
equipment. So we will definitely bring in more options to arrange
equipment but please remember that you have access to a bag with 30
slots, a bank box with 40 slots and you receive a chest with 20 slots.
You can access your bank box in every big town and you can enter your
house at the appropriate NPC. From my personal experience,
it’s not easy to have everything arranged in one bag, but
it’s possible to organize your items with some planning.
Elite Mob Damage ( href="http://us-forum.runesofmagic.com/showthread.php?t=1223"
Ten Ton Hammer: style="font-style: italic;">Runes of Magic aims
to challenge gamers with elite mobs that are considered group or raid
content only. Currently, crowned elite mobs (they have a crown symbol
when you consider them) hit extremely hard, making it so that somebody
is sure to die any time a tank loses aggro. mrfoxx and several other
players feel this is a deterrent to running low level instances. How do
you respond? Are things working as intended?
This issue is a bit old. We already changed a lot since the start of
Open Beta and the balance here was one of the first issues we
addressed. There should be only a hand-full of one- or two-hit mobs in
each zone. But, we still like the idea of placing some cool and maybe a
little more dangerous, monsters in an area. So players have to be a bit
more careful and of course, it’s like you described in your
question. It’s group content. Runewaker created a lot of
stuff for solo-players in Runes
of Magic. Those monsters are group content. But like I
said, we already changed a lot of those monsters and are improving the
game balance everyday.
To give your readers a view into our hidden laboratory, I can describe
the process. Each day we export very large maps, which show
us a red mark where each player has died. We use this to see if there
is a spot where people die more often than in other regions. Combined
with a lot of very, very large databases, we locate areas that are too
difficult and of course too easy, and talk with Runewaker about
improving these areas. The more players that are trying to
kill monsters and playing in a zone, the more information we receive
and the better the results will be in our adjustments and balancing. So
keep playing or login again in a month and you may find something
seemingly familiar but entirely different.
No One Wants to Do
Instances ( href="http://us-forum.runesofmagic.com/showthread.php?t=1518"
the community, a lot of the elite mobs are overpowered.
Ten Ton Hammer: Building
off of the idea of elite mobs being overpowered, Miang1 started a
thread to address the problems with trying to find people willing to
run a mid-level instance. In addition to being scared off by debt (more
on that later), most players don’t find the quest rewards and
drops worth the effort. Miang1 asserts that by the time a group can
live through an instance the players have out leveled the gear. What do
you think about these claims? Will you be tweaking drops and quest
reward for instances or the difficulty?
Daniel Ullrich: That’s
something we already did in the past and we are trying out on our test
servers at the moment. We would like to bring in different kinds of
rewards for doing instances. One topic in this discussion is that we
would like to integrate different and better sets for different
classes. Concerning the boss and elite monsters in instances, I can
only repeat what I already said before. Unfortunately, balancing needs
a lot of time so keep an eye on this topic and you‘ll see
results in the coming months.
Death Debt ( href="http://us-forum.runesofmagic.com/showthread.php?t=933"
Ten Ton Hammer: Galphon
has identified what he believes are problems with the current debt
system. I was hoping you could address each one:
Daniel Ullrich: Debt
is indeed one of our main topics at the moment. You might know that we
integrated the debt system during the closed beta. The concept behind
it is larger than players can see at the moment. The different
sub-topics of our debt concept will be implemented in waves to prove
that the earlier part is working correctly.
Ten Ton Hammer: Right now
XP and TP (TP is used to level up skills) have separate debt counters.
The XP debt is easier to clear out, but the TP debt is slower to
remove. Galphon’s concern is that players may end
up with an imbalanced ratio of TP/level under this system. How would
you allay those fears?
Daniel Ullrich: This
morning I received a new sheet on debt and user data. Most of the
players don’t have a lot of debt. There are only a few people
(compared with all users) who have extraordinary high debt. But my
character’s personal debt also isn’t decreasing,
and we will have a solution for this topic maybe in the next week, but
in the long run I suggest players wait and see what happens with the
whole concept. It’s pretty cool with more interaction with
the tombstone system and a lot of nice ideas to reduce debt even if you
have logged out of the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: In open
beta, players need to click on their tombstones to recover some of
their debt. Galphon proposes that system be replaced with being within
a certain distance of it. Other games allow players to /claim or /drag
tombstones to get them out of areas with tough aggro mobs. Will this
system stay as it is, or might we see some other method to get those
Daniel Ullrich: I
can’t give away all of the changes we’re making
here, but there will definitely be more in the future, that’s
unfortunately all that I can tell you now.
Ten Ton Hammer: Another
issue with tombstones is that they spawn outside of an instance. This
is likely to make it so players don’t have to move through a
whole instance to get to the tombstone. The negative effect is that
gamers who get revived inside the instance are unable to get to the
tombstone if they are deep inside the instance. Is there a solution in
the works for this problem?
Daniel Ullrich: Indeed.
We absolutely have plans for changing this system.
List of Much Needed Fixes ( href="http://us-forum.runesofmagic.com/showthread.php?t=708"
are items that may see changes in coming months.
Ten Ton Hammer: Excaliber
has started a thread to address some of the most common complaints
submitted on the forums and found in chat in the game. We’d
like to know your position on several of his notes:
Many players find the
search tools in the auction house to be lacking or confusing. Do you
plan any changes for the auction house interface?
Daniel Ullrich: This
issue has been fixed already.
Ten Ton Hammer: Buff
icons are somewhat small and hard to discern, especially at higher
resolutions. Any chance these will get an increase in size or an option
to increase their size without scaling the entire user interface?
Hey that’s something new to me but I’ll try to
answer this question.
The interface is fully editable via interface add-ons. style="font-style: italic;">Runes of Magic
supports LUA API for changing and modifying nearly everything on your
screen. Some of the community coders have already started
working on add-ons to see the monsters’ HP, change the bars,
or simply move broadcast messages away. We will provide more
information about this in the coming weeks and I really hope that
players will explore the add-ons and contribute their creations to the
community as well. If the problem continues for awhile, we’ll
work out a solution on the client side.
Ten Ton Hammer: Finally,
most Knights contend that their ability to generate hate is unreliable.
Since Knights are the primary tanks, players expect them to have the
best skills for keeping aggro. Can Runes
of Magic fans expect to see any tweaks here?
Daniel Ullrich: Class
balancing is another big topic on our list. We collected a lot of
feedback about all classes from our testers, already improved class
combinations via elite skills and will work more and more with external
and internal testers. Please keep in mind that we are still in open
beta and trying to fix the main issues as soon as possible. But with
the help of our community I don’t see any issue, which we
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