Developer Chat - 2000/04/12

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Chat with Turbine Entertainment, April 12th, 2000

Well, the developers of Asheron's Call really packed them in! We had 918 people watching in the chat room, with up to 250 in the question-asking queue at any one time. As usual, the Turbine folks entertained their audience with some witty banter. If a few of their answers were a bit vague (by necessity) we believe that you'll forgive them in the coming months as they add great new features to the game, including an improvement to the spellcasting UI.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

+MrQuazarr@Zone> Without further delay, I would like to introduce the Co-Lead Designer of Asheron's Call, Eri Izawa. Eri, take it away!

rei@Turbine> OK! I'm Eri "reijin" Izawa, co-lead designer on AC. Thanks to all of you for coming! First, the introductions. With me from the Design Team are: Jesse "Nei" Kurlancheek, scriptor & balancer extraordinaire. Dave "Sausage King of Dereth" Javier. If you see saucy dialogue, you know whose it is! Lead Designer Chris Foster may be joining us later. Dave Namerow is our Turbine Community Dude.

Crowley@turbine> Mind you, he's not a d00d.

rei@Turbine> And we also have guest stars Sean and Sean! Sean Huxter is Lead Artist for AC.

sean@Turbine> Ssssup?

rei@Turbine> (Let's hear it for Sean . . .)

spd@Turbine> Hiya, I'm QA-liscious.

rei@Turbine> And spd, Sean Dickinson, is "QA guy," to quote him. We may also have a guest appearance of Scott Herrington, AC Producer. That's it!

+MrQuazarr@Zone> OK, our first two questions are from ppl that got dropped earlier today . . .

Zephaman> I have heard about the lower lvl players having impact on recent events. With the current events of Shadow attacks, what types of things can the lower lvl guys be expected to do to participate?

Crowley@turbine> Keep your pants on . . . There will be stuff for low-level players that ONLY they can do. But you understand I can't go into specifics. Let's just say low-level and mid-level players will play a "key role."

rei@Turbine> (BTW, he just had to say "pants.")

Crowley@turbine> We're not saving all our lovin' for the big wanga people.

Sir_Sherwin> Hello, AC rocks. How do you guys feel about The Missile Defense on the monsters compared to the monsters' Melee Defense? I have 208 bow buffed (not great), yet I hit Olthoi Workers/Soldiers/Nobles, etc., more often with my bow than I hit them with my Unarmed (263 buffed). Are you planning any future changes on this? Not sure if this was brought up in past chats.

nei@turbine> This is partially due to the 150% bonus on archery, and partially due to the /5 of Missile D as opposed to /3 of Melee D. We know about it. We're also very leery of changing existing monsters. However, expect the newer monsters to be more balanced in . . .

sean@Turbine> . . . with a chopstick.

nei@turbine> . . . terms of what can kill them and at what skill lvl.

DeHaanian> Hey, Turbine Guys!! This latest patch really brought me back in to AC, I love how you can be recognized in-game for accomplishments. Anyway, on to my question. Like many players, I WANT A MATTY ROBE. In PvP, these robes are extremely powerful, as with buffs they are almost impenetrable. Do you plan on reintroducing any kind of armored robe? Or will you balance the robe to PvP, since anyone with it is a god? Thanks, and I can't wait to see some new portal spells and that quest bow. Okay, wishful thinking :), Thanks, Turbine Guys :)

DeHaanian> mmmmm quest bow . . .

rei@Turbine> The matty robe was a little unbalancing. Don't expect anything quite like it. However, we'd like to add more robes and other such things to the game as we continue.

Zeraphan> I would like to start off by saying how much I love this game and thank y'all for bringing it to us. My character is a pure mage, and since I started playing around three months ago, every update and patch has been for melee fighters (Atlan weapons, Shadow Armor, etc.). We have heard rumors of new spells/items for mages coming, but each update, myself and other mages are greatly disappointed. I was wondering if you would tell us more specifically when mages should look for our updates, or if not when, a better idea of what we should look forward to seeing in these updates. Thank you. Long Live The Illuminati.

nei@turbine> Eris says hi. Mages will get their dues "real soon now." New classes of spells will be introduced to the world. Mages everywhere will rejoice at their newfound powers: harder hitting, faster flying, and all around kinda pretty looking.

rei@Turbine> Don't expect them right away, though. (It's my job to spoil the fun a little bit ;) But they're coming.

Binky413> There has been a rather large debate about the specialization/training issue. The issue is what bonuses should be given to skills that are specialized. At this time there doesn't appear to be any reason to specialize a skill, due to the lack of bonuses. Specialization costs a huge amount for the little gains that are currently obtained. What, if anything, is currently being done to fix this problem? BTW: Get your mattie robes on ebay!

rei@Turbine> We're well aware of this issue.

nei@turbine> *sigh* my eyes hurt today from staring at spreadsheets. My math brain isn't up to par anymore. But the spec issue is being addressed.

rei@Turbine> He's looking at the spreadsheets I made, so of course he's going blind.

nei@turbine> Spec'd skills will slowly rise above trained skills as the lvl increases.

NightWolf_ES> Currently, there is some sort of problem with the chests/ground spawns. Many people believe this was intentional "nerfing." Please please please tell me this is a bug, and that it's being fixed. PLEASE! Not everyone can kill Nobles and Umbris Shadows!

rei@Turbine> Yes, there's a bug with spawns.

NightWolf_ES> BTW, Servers are too crowded; open up new ones for the New people in UK! =]

nei@turbine> Their (re)spawns are a bug.

rei@Turbine> Note: we will have to address some of the camping problems with some chests, but the current problem is distinctly a bug.

nei@turbine> it wasn't an intentional effect, but if a chest is not respawning right now, if you leave the area for some time, it will reload and the chest/items should respawn.

Urborn2die> How come every time an outdoor Olthoi hunting/perch spot is found, within a month's time it is changed or the Olthoi are removed completely?

Crowley@turbine> Sometimes in really problematic cases, the perching is abusive enough that we have to regulate and change the monster placement or effect some other change. It's not a general policy, but we look at things on a case-by-case basis. We're looking to make things balanced, not abusive. And it is not our policy to "nerf."

Gringle> In a very recent update on the Zone (AC section) this statement was made: "The best is yet to come, everyone! Stay vigilant, for no one can tell the day when the next blow will fall, or from where. One hint though . . . we will never make masses of monsters invade a town!" Isn't this contradictory? Why would people need to "be prepared," or even care, if Shadows are only going to massively assault places in the middle of nowhere, and not towns? --Chunkystew of Morningthaw (shameless plug)

rei@Turbine> Well, towns are not exempt from all action. It's just that to be fair to players, we can't do something that will egregiously make a town very bad for long. Also -- and this is just an example, mind you -- would you like it if the whole of Dereth crawled with Shadows?

Crowley@turbine> Yeek!

Dave@turbine> Ouch!

rei@Turbine> (Yeah, they kill me too.) Besides, rewards await those who fight back the tides of darkness.

rei@Turbine> I should note that our intrepid Lead Designer Chris Foster is here.

cfoster@Turbine> Hiya!

dhtaylor> I'm sure that there are many out there like me. I wasted a lot of skill points at creation and tried to play through it. Have you ever considered adding quests that would allow players to receive a skill point upon completion? You could limit it to once per person. Even one skill point at high level would be very helpful. The difference between getting a new skill at level 50 rather than 55 is immense. Thanks for your time.

rei@Turbine> Why, yes, it's under consideration. There are some serious concerns about the ramifications, however. And we really would prefer to balance things out so that you don't feel like you've wasted your credits. But we are taking it seriously.

cfoster@Turbine> BTW, Sorry I'm late. I was busy making myself a High King in Thistledown. And if I can make High King, you know something's up with the system. :)

thundercat_8> I have a question and a suggestion all rolled into one: can you program something so that common allegiance players can see each other on radar, like fellowship is green, PK is red, maybe blue for allegiance or something?

cfoster@Turbine> The way allegiance is coded, your machine doesn't know the status of its entire allegiance by default; that was done for bandwidth reasons, mainly; given the size of these structures, and how dynamic they are, tracking the changes on-line is a lot of bits to transmit. That makes color-coding allegiances pretty tough with the current system. We'd have to reengineer some fundamental tech for it. In other words, it ain't just paintin' dots. :)

cfoster@Turbine> Oh, and I guess I'll blab about allegiances somewhat -- stop pokin' me with that stick, Rei!

RaunTaiAon> Wassssup? Love the game. You really worked hard on the history and lore. It is more addicting than the game sometimes. I was wondering . . . Is the "Shadow Key" that is supposed to open the doors in the Nexus even in the game yet and has anyone found it?

rei@Turbine> It's in the game, but it's not IN the game.

cfoster@Turbine> MY TURN! WAAGH!

rei@Turbine> Can we get Foster a little space here?

cfoster@Turbine> Whoo!

rei@Turbine> Before he explodes :)

cfoster@Turbine> *pop* Oops

cfoster@Turbine> Anyhoo . . .

cfoster@Turbine> . . . we know that something funky is up with allegiances, and we've figured out a fix for it. While the problem doesn't affect gameplay in any serious ways, it DOES make it much harder for the game to reflect someone's status in the world.

cfoster@Turbine> And for that reason, the bug is disappointing. As I said, we have a fix on the way; in the meantime, judge each person's rank with a critical eye, for their power may be fleeting . . . *exit brief Shakespearean aside. Slapp exits, stage left*

lowhe1> Unarmed warriors' shield use -- why they need it is beyond me. Question is . . . unarmed warriors need a non-shield bonus for their arts. Seems uncanny for us to have a shield since we use our feet and fist to do the damage and to defend with.

Crowley@turbine> It sounds like you're asking about the availability of an OG pure monk class. So it'd be a nice aesthetic and very cool to have, but we have to question whether or not we can spread resources around in such a way that "naked unarmed" people can get bonuses from being naked and unarmed. To clarify, it'd be cool, and it's an idea we're kicking around, but we can't promise Bruce Lee functionality yet.

Gooopsta> Recently many higher lvl (40+) players have gotten bored of AC and sold their accounts or just quit. What plans do you have to add more content/quests/monsters/Class Balance to this game to keep up this game's appeal at high lvls and when can we expect this to appear in the game (1-2 months? btw "sometime soon" is a vague answer). Throw us a bone here. Keep us interested! The people make this game great, and if the game can't keep the people, then the game can't be great.

Gooopsta> P.S. Please, no more tedious mote/shard quests. The motes were nice and new, but doing it for all this stuff is a real tedious pain. Frore was cool. I'm hoping we can see more of that kind of quest in later events/updates.

Gooopsta> P.P.S Restore Evilsam on Leafcull! Missing for over a month with no word on his char :(and I think I'll be selling my good position in line for the next dev chat on ebay :)

rei@Turbine> Agghhh!

Gooopsta> oh, btw raun didn't like your answer :) *shrug*

cfoster@Turbine> Please, MORE questions and comments at once! :p Dang, was my mike on? :)

rei@Turbine> We're looking into getting some improvements for higher-level characters in about 2 months from now.

nei@turbine> some BIG stuff

rei@Turbine> Keep in mind that we're working on next month almost as we speak.

rei@Turbine> There's only so much we can do at any one time, however.

cfoster@Turbine> I'm working on a giant paper-mache model of Cragstone, in fact.

cfoster@Turbine> Shushing now.

Arphaxad78> Great game, I love it! Question: I've spent a lot of time getting together 16 motes and turning them into a High Quality Pyreal Ingot. However, I've heard horror stories about people without a super-high melee skill not getting the peerless Atlan weapon. So I'm taking my time and buffing my skill before trying. But how long do I have to buff my skill before the Atlan weapons get pulled? Snow season ended before I got my Hoary Robe, and I don't want that to happen to me again. Long Live GreyHaven!

nei@turbine> Atlan stuff isn't getting pulled -- in fact, it's likely to be expanded upon.

_Spinman_> Hi, guys, great game great game great game! (in stereo) Lilithas Bow was great when I was level 10, but I'm 50 now. I want an Atlan Yumi of Crimson Stars of Lost Light! (laughs) "done" (Okay that was off topic :P) My question is . . . What is planned for those of us that are getting up there in level (level 50 on Morningthaw) as far as higher-level content/monsters? Specifics of quests or monsters above level 60-70, high-level Lugians, high-level Mosswarts . . . etc. Olthoi-quality loot would be nice...

rei@Turbine> We were waiting for the Bow Question; too bad this wasn't it. What I said about what we're looking at for a couple months from now. I can't guarantee it of course -- more than once something has come out of the blue and changed our plans :) But it's on the radar and it's coming right for us. It will probably be in stages, however.

suceava> I know that creatures are supposed to have a max level of 126, but it's obvious that some aren't (Umbris, Guards, etc.). Why is there a max, and are you thinking of changing this in the future? Long live GreyHaven!

nei@turbine> Yes, this is a display bug -- as a side effect of another project for AC, this should soon be fixed so that you actually see the right level.

alecmuzzy> Why do boots only have an AL of 20 or 30? Other leather armor can reach levels as high as AL 120. I don't like the look of solerettes. I want to wear boots! P.S. Archers are too powerful -- a normal Yumi with a normal arrow does 9-12 pts of damage! Gertarh's Dagger was removed and it did less damage than a Yumi does.

rei@Turbine> Good question -- we'll look into the boots.

MicroBorg> My question concerns Magic Defense . . .

nei@turbine> Thus, so shall my answer.

MicroBorg> I would like to know why Melee D is a viable skill, Str + Quick /4, and can actually be used to evade many physical attacks, whereas Magic D not only has a terrible base -- Focus + Self /10 -- low-level Tumerok Warriors can still drain me 9 out of 10 times.

rei@Turbine> (He was looking forward to this question.)

MicroBorg> I find it hard to believe their Life Magic is over 200. As a warrior expects to be able to evade physical attacks with a high Melee D, a mage should be able to resist magic with a high Magic D. As it is, Magic D is an utterly useless skill.

nei@turbine> Ayup, Magic D is a little wacky right now.. We're moving towards a fix to the skill that should make it a more useful equation. It's the nature of a "free" skill that it will be less powerful than a costly skill (melee), but we're looking at tweaking the numbers.

Darroth> Last night I died in Jahannan due to fizzling Lifestone Recall twice at 162 item skill, then when I came back I was almost killed while in portal space by a Zefir camping the entrance. What's up? Why are we all fizzling so much, and why can I be attacked while in portal space with magic? -- Koraki, HG (Go nei! BTW Say something about Swords, ANYTHING) Darroth> btw Jihad Master rules! =)

Dave@turbine> Swords are nice.

rei@Turbine> Darroth wanted nei to say something about swords, methinks.

sean@Turbine> Sharp and pointy!

nei@turbine> Nothing has been done to component burn or fizzle rates -- said as a lvl 40 mage. As far as I can tell, it's player perception -- some people say they're fizzling less, and some say they're doing it more.

Briboru> You all do outstanding work and we relish the world you've woven for us. Balancing classes, bah -- know your role. My question regards chronically missing characters. We have characters missing from their respective accounts. E-mail responses have been nil. Any word on their restoration or what we should do? :)

+MrQuazarr@Zone> The situation with the missing characters was fixed with this update. If you still have a missing character you should write to It's important you do the following:

+MrQuazarr@Zone> Subject: MISSING CHARACTER

+MrQuazarr@Zone> In the body: Zone ID, and World.

+MrQuazarr@Zone> Also, leave a slot open in your character list for each character you are missing.

Purrpetual> The current spell-casting UI (the spell-bar) makes managing the large variety of spells frighteningly difficult (if not impossible), particularly for mages with Creature Magic. Are there any plans to improve this interface in the near future? For example, by adding multiple selectable spell bars?

rei@Turbine> Yes, in fact, you asked for it, you're going to get it.

cfoster@Turbine> And, BTW, the Magic Defense work Nei mentioned a few Q's ago is being worked on now; if all goes well you should see some of the changes next month.

rei@Turbine> And very likely in the near future, too.

Punchcardz> I was wondering how long your story arcs are designed to be, and how those arcs affect your plans for new servers. E.G., would you open new servers during Shadow Invasions? How would that affect that server, with a populaton of lv 5s?

Punchcardz> And over the past few months you have taken several measures to resolve the issue of camping. I was wondering what if anything you plan to do about chat camping? And will we ever see Atlan noodle cutters? And fierce noodle creatures to use them on? :)

cfoster@Turbine> I'll take it. Actually, noodles figure in to the answer to your first question.

cfoster@Turbine> Actually, they don't. All servers are going to be kept in sync with the "current" event as they go live. But most of our triggered events will wait until someone qualifies and ends them and, aside from making parts of the world tougher than others, don't have catastrophic effects on the world so a world can start just about anytime without too much hassle.

cfoster@Turbine> Beyond that, as long as a handful of players race to max out their characters, there should always be a high-power population out there to take on most events.

cfoster@Turbine> Within a few days, that is. *out of breath*

hi_fib> Hi, all Turbine fellas. Well, I had to think of another question since my first was asked, so guess we'll try to get the rest of the info on this: wondering what rest of scoop was on quest bow/xbow or new bow/xbow being made since brought *smile* to rei

nei@turbine> Quest (x)bows -- I like 'em. You like 'em. So where are they? They're coming. :P Just have to squeeze them in with all the other stuff in the pipe.

Crowley@turbine> It'll be messy. Heh.

rei@Turbine> Trust me, it's cool.

ThriftyTuna> I LOVE playing AC, and the latest updates have been great (despite the yucky sticky melee). Here's my question: I have problems playing for extended periods of time. It appears AC allocates more and more memory over time, not freeing old information but still referencing the old memory. Sort of like a memory leak, except that because AC keeps "touching" the memory, there's a huge amount of disk swapping eventually, making the game unplayable. Logging out and logging back in fixes the problem, but if there's a lot of data (e.g., in town during peak hours), it doesn't take long for the disk swapping to make the game unplayable. I realize one fix is to upgrade my PC from 32MB of RAM to something higher, like 128MB or so, but does Turbine have any plans to fix bugs like this that affect the lower-end PCs? I *have* reported this to the address, a while ago. (With respect to the earlier question about color-coding fellow Allegiance members -- just key off the Monarch name. You don't need the entire Allegiance structure.)

rei@Turbine> (wow)

spd@Turbine> This is currently in Testing. We have seen a few reports on this exact problem, and we are trying to track it down. Thanks,Thrift, for all the details; they help.

BriOmega> Hail, Hail. Could you please go into more details as to why Gertarh was killed? Was it merely to balance things? If so, then why not just change the stats on the Dagger? {Hail, Baator, land of Lawful Evilness . . . mwahaha} {Eat Cookies!} :0)

rei@Turbine> If we changed the stats on the dagger, it would super-nerf every dagger in existence. I'm sure that wouldn't make anyone very happy.

Crowley@turbine> We can't release any information about Oswald here. We are paid too well for our secrecy.

rei@Turbine> What, I can't talk about the *Mmffff*

cfoster@Turbine> Hey, you're getting paid?!

rei@Turbine> *mmffff*

Fo0eY> Can we ever hope to get some better Allegiance management tools? I.e., a way to track the tree, or for higher ups to drop their vassal's vassals? --Kor of Darktide (struggling webmaster for the Vonbrax allegiance) *mutters about pining for an Atlan bow*

cfoster@Turbine> Hi, FoOeY. (I hope I spelled that right.) This goes back to my answer about allegiance-tech and how it works on your client; the tech to "browse" an allegiance isn't in place, and would take a good chunk of work to get done. We want to do it, but right now there are more critical fish to fry.

cfoster@Turbine> Mmm . . . fish.

SirXavier1> Give me a second; someone stole my question. My original question was about high-level content, and I can't ask about War Magic. So where's that dark blue robe, with gold trim, that people asked for before I started ranting about War Magic :) Oh and not all people are racing to max out their characters. Some are trying to get skills, such as Life Magic *grins*

nei@turbine> we've still got a pile of palette colors (thanks, Sean!) to play with, so you might get your robe yet, xav. Don't know about gold trim, though. It might clash :)

rei@Turbine> (nei's very particular about fashion)

cfoster@Turbine> That'd be a Boy Scout uniform!

Dave@turbine> Very!

cfoster@Turbine> Or was that Cub Scouts?

Galapos> Hey, guys. Game is coming along nicely. Keep up the good work. Question about the recent events. You said that players could alter certain aspects of the plot since this last update. Do the people who killed Captains gain anything for their heroic deeds? As rei said before, "Rewards await those who fight back the tides of darkness." Thanks

cfoster@Turbine> We're all gonna head over to your house and shake your hand. :)

rei@Turbine> You mean 5 million @tells aren't enough? :) I'm trying to say something but everything I want to say gives away something about this month. So I'm going to leave it as is for the moment.

geniusclown> Coupla suggestions (I know you get a lot already, but I have the floor now! Mwahaha!)

geniusclown> 1) fix the death-on-a-steep-hill problem by introducing a climbing skill, making those steep slopes possible to get on.

geniusclown> 2) fix the magic d by allowing partial resistance -- reduce the damage taken or skill penalty (as per creature magic)

geniusclown> 3) I'd like to see some sort of shop that can dye my armor, and perhaps even embroider my clothes/leather armor in a pattern

geniusclown> Now the question, about the players affecting the game: is there a way members of a large standing army (i.e., a well organized monarchy like The Silver Citadel []) can send a message to, say, the Shadow Colonel, and request a . . .

cfoster@Turbine> Ooh! A question! :)

geniusclown> . . . a formal battle?

geniusclown> It would be fun to try to organize a full-scale army of 50 or so people and lay siege on a rival army.

cfoster@Turbine> We're huddling here . . .

sean@Turbine> Wait. Isn't this called "snuggling?"

cfoster@Turbine> Ooh, that explains the harassment suit coming on.

rei@Turbine> First of all, we are under some constraints when it comes to favoring one world, or one group of players, over another. Secondly, we also very much try to avoid encouraging crowding. 50 people in battle is (as some of you know) pretty laggy.

cfoster@Turbine> To do this right would be a whole new "allegiance wars" system; we've wanted to do something like that for a while, but it's a BIG chunk of work. It also has the drawback of being REALLY cool for people who like PK in whatever form, or heavy-duty social role-playing, but it doesn't do much for the lone-wolves out there, or the PvP-averse.

rei@Turbine> (50 people against a rival army . . . 100 people casting spells and fighting . . . )

cfoster@Turbine> So it ends up being a lower priority than something of equal size that can benefit everyone in the game, like property ownership (which is also a BIG chunk of work -- have we mentioned that? :)

Tkobo> In both chats and plan files you have admitted that the melee skill type is under-balanced. In this chat you have admitted the imbalance between bow and melee. To a lot of melee skill players it seems the other skills have had a tremendous advantage too long. Do you have any clue HOW to establish a balance between skills? Also someone named hi fib asks me to tell you that a spin link is not working.

cfoster@Turbine> Well. Aren't you friendly folk.

nei@turbine> I'm not sure what you're asking here. I like to think we have some clue about balance. That's awful subjective though, eh?

rei@Turbine> I'll add one comment: Overbalancing too quickly is a very dangerous thing. It can lead to exactly the problems you describe.

Ravik1> Great game, but I have noticed one thing. Torches, why do we have them? What are they for? Well, to my knowledge nothing. They look great because of the new lighting and really light some places up, but are they really needed? I would really love it (and others would too) if you guys would make it so you need a torch to enter a dungeon because it is too dark to see. So you would need to have someone carry a torch; otherwise, it would go pitch black. Or use torches to open switches.

Ravik1> Any of these additions or info on these would be great! Thanks for the addictive game!

cfoster@Turbine> Well, torches are there because they look great and light some places up.

cfoster@Turbine> :)

nei@turbine> Actually, in beta, back when Mountain Halls was a camper's dream, there'd be tons of stuff on the ground and it'd be hard to find what you wanted -- so we'd always have someone with a torch to light the way.

cfoster@Turbine> We might tie them into quest stuff later; I agree they're under used.

cfoster@Turbine> But they're still pretty! :)

rei@Turbine> One thing: People's monitors vary greatly. We found this out early on. So we must be careful to not make things too dark in the wrong way.

Spike_Ac> Hiya, question about new servers. When are they coming? With populations over 2k on each server and with the release of AC in other countries, servers are getting packed and lagged. (Btw, with European servers, we gonna see more Virindis in Dereth? ack)

cfoster@Turbine> Ken'll take that one...

rei@Turbine> (You will see some interesting Virindi)

+MrQuazarr@Zone> The server capacity and additional servers are something we are closely monitoring. Stay tuned for more details.

MaulerMithel> Hello. Cool game! I think that some spells that other players cast are unfair to melee fighters. Particularly drain spells. With one spell, a mage drains 1/4 of a monster's hp, while warriors have to whack away at it for a while to produce the same results. Basically, mages kill too fast. I had to make this Question on the fly cause microbug stole mine :) In particular, this Magic Defense issue is bad because it limits gameplay for meleers. We are forced to fight melee-only monsters (gets boring), or be very conservative with spell monsters, which isn't fun either.

rei@Turbine> If you're asking about drain, we have some cool ideas up our sleeves. We're talking about them, and it's neat stuff.

lucidconcepts> Hi, this is Girelle M'aloth from The Journals Of Girelle M'aloth -- First I'd like to say I have been a loyal AC player since beta. The game is everything I hoped for and more.

lucidconcepts> The events each month keep everything nice and fresh and us hardworking webmasters on our toes. Is it or will it be possible to reach the island off the coast of Eastham that Celycind of Rithwic spoke about? I don't want to waste too much time wading.

lucidconcepts> And please hurry up and fix the magic spell bar so it scrolls fast again! Oh and yes of the 50 or so people I talked to, fizzling has seemed to increase. --Morningthaw

rei@Turbine> It may be possible to reach any number of islands in the future.

cfoster@Turbine> If you read Game Developer, you probably know that. :)

rei@Turbine> Some of them before others. Hmmm, how can I be more vague?

cfoster@Turbine> Don't use vowels.

rei@Turbine> Seriously, though, the next island may not be one you expect.

Magnum_Load> Hello, I'd would like to congratulate Turbine on a VERY well done job, and would like to address the issue of Mules, and having possible storage space in AC. Any word?

rei@Turbine> Yes. Well, no. But yes.

Magnum_Load> lol. :)

cfoster@Turbine> THAT's vaguer! Yay!

rei@Turbine> I'm seriously looking into it. We've been held up by some unforeseen complications. (And it really IS a big task; the more we look at it.) So the upshot is that it's higher up the queue than ever before.

Archemist> As a monarch of over 200 people, I want to see something done to give monarchs, of some size, some real TRUE power in the game. What is going to be done to increase the importance of rank besides being just a basic pyramid scheme and/or arcane lore?

cfoster@Turbine> Both our plans for allegiance wars and property ownership will involve allegiances in a significant way. Both are areas where large groups of players can be recognized, and have a tangible effect on the world. We want to explore the allegiance system further.

cfoster@Turbine> More details as either of these turn more solid.

GoD_FiNiXX> I want to know why archers and warriors are so strong. Mages are crap. U alrdy gave archer the DM at 112% plus the BD'S so as the warriors, they got melee so do archers. Warriors have all the best quests. Mages have none.

rei@Turbine> I thought that warriors were too weak compared to other classes. Also, we have stuff up our sleeves for magic.

cfoster@Turbine> As we said before, there are more spells in development.

rei@Turbine> Nei won't let us get away with NOT putting in cool new magic.

treymule> At higher skill levels, Mages get more powerful spells, yet as melee increases, we get no new attacks, no higher damages. When can I expect to see a "level 5 sword swing" that can deal as much damage as a level 5 war spell?

cfoster@Turbine> We have the tech for this; it's just art and content. DaveJ can tell ya more.

Crowley@turbine> We've been looking at cool stuff like new animations and new stuff in the melee UI (an accuracy meter is tempting, yes), but there are other things that are higher priority at the moment.

cfoster@Turbine> (BTW, all, GoD_FiNiXX and treymule'll be duking it out in the parking lot later tonight; come by and check it out :)

Crowley@turbine> Making melee more varied is a special and dear issue to me, but I can't make promises or give you a timetable. But if you DO get it, you know who to give props to. Just kidding.

sean@Turbine> Props will go to the animator of course. Ahem!

oPerrin> First I would like to make a couple comments (don't answer as my q): 1. Shadow invasions are very cool but it is insanely frustrating that I am not given the option of HELPING the Shadows in any way. I have pledged my soul to the great lord and now I have to fight his children? Absurd.

oPerrin> 2. If you actually think two 999-diff doors can keep anyone out of the Nexus, you're silly :)

oPerrin> Question: What is your stance on Verant banning the sale of items/characters from EQ? Will we ever see this kind of tyranny from Turbine/MS?

cfoster@Turbine> (Hmm . . . "tyranny." Methinks someone has an answer in mind already . . . :)

cfoster@Turbine> We're not really in the tyranny business. And neither is 989. These are REAL tough issues, and sometimes it's tempting to use as much force as you can to deal with difficult problems. Oh yeah, it's Verant. (eek)

cfoster@Turbine> I'm glad they changed their mind. So Tyranny is pretty low-priority on our schedule right now. :)

rei@Turbine> It's behind housing on the top 10.

Crowley@turbine> BTW, you can always go to Darktide and backstab people fighting the Shadows. And there are other things protecting the Nexus. Heh.

smurph64> Has any thought gone into allowing us to change our characters for a penalty like dropping levels. I, like many, have a good char, but with the changes to the dynamics of the game have been weakened dramatically and don't want to start from scratch.

rei@Turbine> I assume you mean changing skills.

smurph64> Yes, changing skills.

rei@Turbine> Yes, thought has gone into it. There are major gameplay concerns associated with it. We generally prefer to try to balance things so that everything is worthwhile. (And, yes, we're still working on the balance :p)

cfoster@Turbine> The issue is the systems weren't designed for reversibility in the first place. While we can make the change, technically, the effect on game balance could be horrendous and hard to forecast.

cfoster@Turbine> It also leads to "character-of-the-week" problems, where players end up looking too similar to each other because everyone keeps reorging their character to what's popular at that point in the game.

rei@Turbine> And as balance changes, I'll bet people will want to go back to how they were.

Zoltard> While you look at the classes, I hope you consider that archers need their strength for ammo so they have less armor and must return to reload often. I mean, I just hope you consider that! :) (Don't answer.) Well . . . my question now! (More like a suggestion.) What about letting people write messages in the taverns, and those messages should last for a few days so people would have time to read them! That would be very handy for allegiances! As most members aren't online at the same time! So, what do you think?

rei@Turbine> Actually, some of you may remember the old broken bulletin boards. That's a good idea . . . and it ties into some other stuff I'm thinking of, though the number of possible abuses tells me it won't be a trivial task. (And I'm an archer, so I know about STR.)

+MrQuazarr@Zone> RitualFait will be our last question of the evening . . .

RitualFait> First off, a suggestion to keep the muling problems down: Allow us to purchase an unpickable chest to dump off at our favorite hunting spot with an undroppable key to unlock it. This will end the problems with people grabbing your stuff while you mule.

rei@Turbine> Is that the question?

RitualFait> No.

rei@Turbine> Locked chest is a possibility, but it's not nearly as easy as it sounds.

RitualFait> Are the 112 yumies gone. My patron and I have been looking for 2-3 months now and it seems there are none left. We hunt at all the spots. Or are they just dormant for the coming of a new toy for us archers?

nei@turbine> They still exist.

Dave@turbine> Found one the other day

RitualFait> Everyone is asking if you can elaborate on bows.

Dave@turbine> Sure if you swear to me.

rei@Turbine> Doh!

spd@Turbine> I'll create an archer, Dave.

cfoster@Turbine> Talk to my monarch. :p

rei@Turbine> I'll give a hint: "Ewww."

rei@Turbine> I'm happy with my own patron, thank you.

cfoster@Turbine> I think we're at the end of our chat, folks.

Dave@turbine> Thanks everyone for coming!

rei@Turbine> (The "eww" was for the bow question, not swearing allegiance to Dave.)

+MrQuazarr@Zone> I would like to thank everyone for coming out this evening and setting a new Zone record for a chat . . . 918 . . . Thank You! We hope to see you back here next month!

Crowley@turbine> Thanks, all.

cfoster@Turbine> Thanks! See you later!

rei@Turbine> Thanks, all! We appreciated you coming by!!!!

sean@Turbine> See y'all!

nei@turbine> night night (or morning morning, if you're over there)

rei@Turbine> (I bet they think I was joking about the "ewww" :-( The ewww will come. Not yet, but watch for it.)
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