Ask the Devs #40
Viper69 : If we are going to be able to choose to play against people using 3PV or not to, how are you going to address the then fractured and smaller groups that then have to wait in queue for a match that meets their perimeters?
A: There will be two modes Normal and Hardcore (FPV) only. We anticipate most players will play the first mode leaving the hardcore mode for the those wanting a challenge. 3PV will be going onto test servers in the next 60 days and we’ll see how it goes from there.
Ghost Badger: How does PGI plan to reconcile Community Warfare matches with 3PV and 1PV? How will they reconcile matches between teams with different preferences? Or do they plan to split the CW mechanic by viewpoint?
A: The plan is to have scheduled matches will be FPV only, since these will be performed between Merc. Units. Regular matches will follow the above rules (Normal/Hardcore).
aniviron: You've stated in the past that you don't want to give players using third person view a competitive advantage by being able to see around corners, behind them, or in their far periphery. Do you have any concrete plans for how to do this? It seems like this will be an unavoidable side effect of having the camera located behind the mech, and it is the main reason that almost the entire forum is against having it in the game. You could assuage a lot of upset on the forums if you detailed how you are going to do this.
A: Once players get their hands on 3PV, I think most people will be pleasantly surprised how little the camera impacts gameplay. Early tests are showing that there is not much of an advantage. That being said, until we get this viewmode in the hands of 1000s of players, we’re not going to see how it fully gets used.
Khanahar: Why exactly is 3rd person not implemented as a module?
A: It’s not end game content.
Warge: Are any plans to encourage future 3PV players to use 1PV? Maybe slight XP or/and CB boost, that sort of things...
A: Probably not, however we’re going to emphasize that both view modes are essential to a well-rounded experience, with FPV being something that you use if you are a true sim-head.
MeatForBrains: With the recent (as of today) UI 2.0 improvements showing pending and ready status for players in the dropship. Will there be a team BV (battlevalue) that the team (or individual) must stay under? Or are you going to continue with the current ELO system?
A: The current Elo system works in concert with any drop weight limitations we put in place.
Azshal: The Atlas D-DC has 3 missile hardpoints in the LT, but each hardpoint seems to have a different number of tubes. In UI2.0, will there be the ability to choose exactly which hardpoint an LRM/SRM goes into, and the abilty to see how many tubes are in each hardpoint?
A: Right now there a no plans to allow players to pick which hardpoint items are equipped to.
Prosperity Park: Will UI 2.0 provide a little more information about the Modules in the "description/about" field than the current Mechlab provides? For instance, instead of the Adv Target Decay Module being described as "increases the time a target remains locked to 3.5 seconds," I think it should say something more like "Increases the time a target remains locked from 2.5 seconds to 3.5 seconds" so that people will have a better idea as to what they are getting. Perhaps the seismic sensor could be accompanied with a graph showing its detection thresholds so we can know what to expect in terms of quantifiable values... Etc.
A: The compare functionality of UI 2.0 will allow us to accomplish most of what you are describing, along with better written descriptions.
irony1999: Currently it seems that CW Phase 1 is primarily delivering features for the "clan" (Merc corp) experience, from the current reveals. Will there be any enhancements for Faction members, or will that be delivered in Phase 2? Can you discuss these faction member enhancements?
A: Phase 1 will be the meta game (levels, ranks, loyalty points etc). Phase 2 will encompass association (being a part of a faction, whether a merc unit or house).
Blade Pride: Will lone wolf players have access to similar rewards as Units and Houses in the CW?
A: Each type of player will have a set of rewards to achieve. There will be a detailed write up on how we plan to do this.
Trufast: I was wondering how merc corp sizes would matter in community warfare. I understand that you guys can't reveal too much about that stuff yet, but I was wondering if a merc corp of say 20 members would be at a disadvantage compared to the 2-300 member corps. Is there a minimum requirement to be able to function as a merc corp? (more than twelve active members that is)
A: The minimum requirement will be 12. We don’t want size to play a major role in the CW meta game. Zerging the universe with masses is not really what we are trying to achieve. More details will follow when we outline CW to the public.
Mao of DC: Can you give us some insight of what you mean by "asymmetrical game modes". Is it simply 12 vs. 10 like you would find in a standard Inner Sphere vs. Clan encounter. Or will there be a number of types? Like assaulting a fortified position, or an ambush? For C.W. will there be a logical type, used for establishing a planethead? Around the barracks we call an operation like that as "making a hot drop". Will you be using new dedicated maps, or use any you have available?
A: Asymmetrical means each team has a different objective. Attack/Defend and Rush style modes best describe an asymmetrical mode.
`Mech's and Mechbay
MrTarget: Why ditch the Orion from June's update?
A: We wanted to offer a mech with a slightly different meta game.
Fox News Channel: Do you plan to give the Yen Lo Wang the same amount of horizontal arm movement as the Highlander 733C in the future?
A: Each mech has their own feel/quirks, we regularly look at them to see if they need tuning.
Gaureth: Regarding Mech upgrades (DHS, ENDO, FF, Artemis): Have you guys considered perhaps turning these into "unlocks" per mech instead of charging C-bills every time a player wants to revert to one or the other?This would be heaps better in trying different mech configurations without fear of spending again. You could charge a slightly larger fee to get the "upgrade", but after that the player would be free to switch back and forth between the two should the requirements allow.
A: It costs an engineer a lot of time and money to change a mech’s core configuration.
Strum Wealh: Which specific variants are planned for the respective releases of the Flea, Orion, and Victor?
A: We keep them secret until 2 weeks before launch.
mania3c: Will you consider to add "Try before buy" system for Hero Mechs? That we will be able to play let's say Up to 5 games with any hero mech without CB/XP bonuses and we wont be able to change loadout.
A: It’s a system we are considering as a whole for all Mechs.
Weapons & Loadouts
Maxx Blue: What is going on with weapon convergence? It is my understanding that, currently, convergance changes instantly, and the convergence-related mech skill doesn't have any effect. If convergence is not gone for good, can we get an update on what is being done to it and where on the roadmap we should expect it to come back? If it is gone for good, any plans on changing the mech skill related to it?
A: We’re going to be looking at this in the near future. I don’t have any current notes to discuss yet.
Colonel Pada Vinson: Are jumpjets going to undergo tuning for DFA, collisions & better gameplay to bring them inline with battletech values and make them viable for jumping instead of wall-climbing? Jetfire: Right now a Trebuchet with max jumpjets can just barely clear an atlas head - how does PGI invision DFA working with such mediocre jump heights? I am thinking something that could fill a sizeable radius, 200+ meters with smoke for 10-30 seconds.
A: When collisions come back into the game we’ll take a look at each mech and the JJ system to make sure we get the desired results. TT is just a guideline and not really applicable to a realtime simulation.
Biruke: Will the different manufacturers laser beams differ in color? Say now we have blue LL beam. Lutien manufacturers could make the LL beams violet, no?
A: It’s one idea we have, yes.
Kmieciu: PGI did a great job balancing LRMs in the recent patches. Gradual increase in damage (0.7->0.9->1.1) is the right way to balance things. How about applying the same rule to balancing SRMs, LBX and Machine guns? Maybe a 20% boost in DPS in the next patch?
A: Paul has outlined a series of incoming changes to SRMs. Check out the Command Chair for the latest weapon tuning information.
Papar: Are you going to add modules that counter other modules? For example one that limits the usefullness of Seismic sensor or one that makes you undetectable by UAVs?
A: Right now these are counters for existing functionality (ECM). Overtime we do plan to offer more modules and more counter measures.
Nick Drezary: When Comstar will stop playing ecology and finally approve destruction of trees in the battle zones?
A: When collisions come back into the game.
Will9761: Do you have plans to modify base objects into something more worthwhile of capturing like hangars, prisons, factories, cargo containers, power generators, etc?
A: With a different mode, yes.
RF Greywolf: Is there plans for making more realistic bases, like ones with defenses that must be dealt with before capping?
FRYBOTH: The physical damage on Mechs looks really great. Are there any plans to expand upon this further? Maybe an additional layer of exposed internals underneath the brown/black pock marks? Also, is there ever going to be a visual representation of a destroyed side torso? When I Survive a round with only my center and another torso left, or just as a zombie (only CT), I wanna look like I just went through hell.
A: We actually dialed it back a bunch. We’re fighting a regular balance between high spec and min spec. Right now the game still needs improvement to run on lower end machines, which still dominate the market.
Banditman: In the current build, when you set your advanced options to low, you gain a significant tactical advantage over those who set them to maximum, outside of the FPS increase at lower settings. To wit: with lower settings, you can see opposing mechs at much greater distances due to the way your CryEngine implementation chooses to cull distant assets.
This seems completely contrary to common sense. It seems to me that greater image fidelity should yield a tactical advantage if anything does. As it stands now, you are encouraging your most competitive players to lower their image fidelity in order to maintain equal footing with their opponents.
What does PGI intend to do to address this issue?
A: I’ll have to ask Matt to do a write up.
Loc Nar: When will the controls be updated to allow the use of chat/scoreboard/battlegrid while using analog throttle?
A: It’s a technical limitation of the engine currently. We’re looking into a way to fix it.
Hammerfinn: Have you thought about individualizing the "Pilot efficiencies" for each mech? IE: having a different bonus for mechs without arm-mounted weapons? If so, what were your ideas, with no pressure on actualization?
A: The core mech
Made From Scratch: Since there are times in a battle when nothing is left but a weaponless, limping heap of scrap metal - Will there ever be a self destruct option that contributes to a degree of close proximity damage along with some splash damage?
A: No plans currently, but you never know.
StalaggtIKE: Light and Medium mechs were the most prevalent within Battletech lore, with Heavy and Assault being a rarity. This is not the case within our current meta game, which consists of opposing teams of mostly Heavy and Assault class. Basically the plan is to bring your largest, heaviest hitting mech. Is this intended,and if not, are there any plans to curb this trend?
A: We have some plans in the works to limit the amount of tonnage on the battlefield and encourage balance through rewarding will structured teams.
Weaselball: Is the current large energy weapon alpha build meta something the Dev's are ok with? If not, when can we expect to see some tweaks to help tune the game away from said meta?
A: It’s being worked on.
Noktoo: Currently it is possible to drop with 8 Atlas into an 8man to maximize the firepower, but the firepower of the enemy team is not taken into consideration, though it may happen that 800 tons drop against an more balanced team with ~500. Are there Plans to bring in weight-limitation on 8vs8 or later in 12vs12?
DocBach: Now that firing while jumping incurs a randomized accuracy penalty, is there any idea to incur penalties for accuracy while moving at a full run to simulate a running 'Mech being an unstable firing platform?
A: It’s not on the table right now.
littlelifter: Please could you make a special “headshot” notification and reward like “component destroyed” notification and reward?
A: It’s coming.
James Montana: Can you add a simple eject animation and effect? Even if it is only a modified missile that shoots out of the head and disappears off map?
A: Maybe once we get all of the critical features out of the way.
Vegalas: Will there ever be a game mode featuring repair bays?
A: Maybe. We’re looking at several ways to do respawns.
Jman5: A while back you had expressed concern that mechs were dying too fast. With 12v12 coming the amount of firepower directed toward a single mech will increase substantially. Do you still feel this is a problem? If so, how are you planning on addressing it?
A: Yes. Ongoing weapon and game balancing is improving the rate of damage dealt.
Cockpit, HUD & Customizations
Hanz Blitzer: Will we eventually be able to scan friendly mechs to see what weapons they are carrying?
Svidro: Are there any plans to be able to move certain aspects of the interface, such as the minimap, or perhaps have the targeting reticule appear OVER the minimap graphic so we can see how far down we are actually aiming?
A: No, and yes. But we’ll have to see how the HUD revamp take shape.
slash b slash: When will we be able to assign different camos to each map and how is it going to work? For bonus points: Will we be able to use the same single use pattern on multiple maps or do we have to buy them multiple times to use them on multiple maps, making permanent patterns the more sensible option?
A: This will happen via the lobby and DropShip interfaces coming out with UI 2.0. Players will be able to bring in a variety of BattleMechs to use.
SUBZERO8K: Are you guys considering changing patterns/skins to be a universal system like the paint colors, rather than on a per Mech basis?
Sable: Jumpjet shake was a big step in the right direction. The shake seems a bit violent and disorienting and i'm sure it will be fine tuned in the future. Something just didn't seem fluid with the reticle shaking though and i came to the conclusion that it was because the rest of the HUD doesn't shake along with it making the reticle by itself seem awkward. Any plans to make the rest of the HUD shake to create a more fluid feeling?
A: Probably not, however we are tuning the shake amount to make it a little easier on the eyes.
*Bonus: Follow up from ATD-39
A: We show everyone’s Dead/Alive/Disconnected status in the player list. Can you expand on that thought?
Sentinel373: What i meant was:
When we first spot an enemy mech it is given a letter designation, Alpha Bravo, Charlie etc. most of us that play with friends via teamspeak or other voice chat programs never look at the players name during the match. we refer to the enemy mech as Alpha Cataphract or Bravo Cicada. and when an enemy player gets killed we often call out which letter is destroyed but sometimes this gets confusing when multiple mechs die right after the other and we dont know which mechs had gotten killed. Can we see this designation next to the player name when he/she gets killed in the kill message. That way at the end of the match we'll know who is still standing and its easier to remember what mech he/she is in.
A: Ah! Ok, I’ll ask the team and see what they think. Thanks for the clarification.
GB Tarkus: When can we expect to see SLI/Crossfire and TrackIR in game.
A: When our team has extra time.
Chiun44: What is being done to eliminate hacking that seems to be occurring occasionally? Are players being actively banned, and is the player stat database being routinely combed to identify game altering hacks? How often? Are server side changes coming to root out hacking? Are the recent changes in trial mech options an attempt to deter hacking?
A: Players are actively banned. We have a suite of tools and telemetry that helps us track down and discourage the more prolific hackers. That being said, hacking will always be a part of any PC game. It’s impossible to eliminate entirely. And no to the trial mech question.
Tsunamisan: Will PGI be adding server side implementation to block stuff such as Hacked game files, Aim bots and other types?
A: For the most part, players can hack data files, everything is server authoritative. Aimbots, wall hacks, and the like are more difficult to deal with since they prey on core Windows/DX functionality. Aimbots are reasonably easy to detect, especially in MWO. We have telemetry and snooping tools that allow us to watch players real time.
Krzysztof z Bagien: Any other game of similar kind I play shows actual number of people playing at the moment, often with average time to join the match. Can we get the player counter back, maybe with UI 2.0? And why did you remove it after closed beta in the first place?
A: It was a business decision to remove sensitive data. Queue time is something we’re looking at though.
DEMAX51: I think the June 4th patch fixed a lot of balancing issues. LRMs are a viable option again, especially from a team-play perspective, and the JJ shake has certainly reduced the number of poptarts we're seeing. I'm just wondering how satisfied you guys are with the overall balance of the current build. In general terms, are there any major issues you feel still need to be addressed?
A: There are always things to tune. We’re working on heat and beam weapons now. I’m happy we continue to improve the balance week to week.
Chavette: Its a shame to see game engine bugs taking such amount of time from you guys could spend elsewhere. How close do you work with the engine devs, and do you mutually benefit from the engine bug findings from other studios like Chris Roberts' team?
A: Unfortunately, very little to none. We’re pretty much on an island when it comes to a lot of issues.
Hellen Wheels: One of the tool tips mentions downloading the software to use the in-game VOIP. Is there any possibility that this might be a patch option that the patcher can handle and set up as part of running the game, as opposed to the user having to do it manually apart from the game?
Morang: When will you give us more freedom in Training Grounds? Selecting a map is the obvious need, selecting target mechs is possible, but what I want to be able to do is selecting camouflage pattern and colors for target mechs to evaluate camo performance before buying. You don't need that if you want fancy colors, but to create working camo a field test is needed.
A: Map selection is coming very soon. The rest is very granular and we’ll need to evaluate player feedback before adding/changing how it works.
VanillaG: Can you explain how the test server is going to work. Specifically:
- Can anyone get onto the test system or will it be invite only?
- Will the test system be always available or only available for specific time windows?
- Will the test system require a different account or will the test system be periodically refreshed from the live system so we don't have to grind out existing mechs and configs?
Draxist: Would the Dev's consider doing community survey's once a month or once every two months via email? Another beta game I play uses these to gain feedback en mass from the community upon specific topics or in general.
The survey questions range from "is xy satisfying" or "rate how well you feel this mechanic works" to "any feature you want to see in game?" with a text box.
I know the game will be launching soon, but even after launch, a community survey about features being tested or that are currently "issues" could help the devs in getting a better feel for what the community feels without all the forum rage.
A: We are doing this. We just haven’t sent one out to certain demographics of players yet.
Forum/Website/Sales, Events and Tournaments:
ThePieMaker: I heard that either Garth or Bryan said they wanted to make MWO into a E-sport.
Has any progress been made on this? Do they still want to make it a E-sport?
What's the news concerning this?
A: It’s an ongoing progression. We have to get some core feature out before turning to an e-sport concept.
MrDoggss: Would there be a possibility of offering premium time in an play-time based form? A lot of players would be more willing to purchase MC/Premium time knowing that it won't just evaporate when we're not able to play. Instead of 3 days, maybe 12 hours?
A: We do not have any plans to make tweaks yet. The implementation is widely accepted and PT sales are incredibly strong. Before changing time slices, we plan to add more benefits as the game evolves.
MasterC: Could you release mech usage statistics? It would be very interesting to see what are the most and least popularly played mechs on Mechwarrior Online. And if you do release mech usage stats, please release stats or charts which show mech usage over time, say month-to-month or evenly weekly. For those who play the game regularly, this information would be very useful to help spot trends and changes in mech usage.
A: The only issue with showing trends, is they being to influence how players play. I’ll have to think about this one.
Khord: Would it be possible to get the Profile > Stats > MechStats page on the website organized to group by "Current" mechs (mech's currently owned and in a mechbay) at the top and "Unused" mechs (mech's where we no longer own the chassis) at the bottom in designated groups?
A: More functionality will come as we roll out new stats.
Dan Baxter: I greatly enjoyed the 25 victory challenge. Does PGI have any plans to start multiple challenges at the same time, allowing players to decide which ones they wish to opt in to?
A: These are tests. We are building an in-game achievement systems right now, and we are gauging user interest. The short answer is yes.
White Bear 84: Have you considered or is there room for consideration to provide opt in challenges over short-timescales such as 1/2 hours? Additionally is there any consideration towards providing items such as modules as rewards for challenges?
A: Definitely. We are working on a new system that will allow us to have much more granular challenges.