Question from FactorlanP: Clearly the Ask The Devs feature has been falling short in many people's eyes lately, and you seem to have nearly abandoned the Command Chair. Answers to questions are mostly vague non-answers, and aside from a single history lesson about UI2, you haven't posted anything in the Command Chair in September.
Would you consider simply scrapping the feature and replacing it with a regular (every other week) blog where you can give us information about something that is being worked on that you are ready to talk about instead?
It is incredibly frustrating to jump through all the hoops that make up Ask the Devs, only to be fed a series of unsatisfying non-answers.
Answer from Bryan: The goal of the ATD is to allow players to ask questions and interact with the developers. What I consistently see is a series of good questions that get solid answers mixed in with leading questions that don’t or get short answers. Questions can be opinion driven, and we usually avoid those as they are not objective.
An example could be – “I don’t like SSRMs, what are you doing to fix them!”
Often the leading questions end up with the most votes, which makes it difficult for us to answer with any depth. This is part of the reason we opted for this format. Even if something gets top vote, we can chose to not answer if the question serves to not further any reasonable discussion. Take this question as another example. The number one voted question was a complaint (and a good suggestion) about the ATD answers.
So that being said - I personally would have no issue with removing ATD altogether. I will discuss it with the devs and see what we can come up with. Question 3 is similar to this one, so I will lump the response in here. Yes, we can look to merge these ideas together.
Question from Least Action Jackson: While reading the answers to ATD 47, I found myself troubled by some of the answers. One in particular that bugged me regarding the double XP First Win of the Day bonus was from Bryan: "It’s also designed to encourage exploring the Pilot Lab and developing the each `Mech to a Master state."
That struck me as a bit nonsensical, as the pilot tree is currently a perfunctory break-in period for a 'Mech, and is exactly the same for every 'Mech. There is no exploration involved whatsoever. I recall reading during closed beta, although I can't find the thread, so this is hearsay, that the pilot tree as it is now was a placeholder for something deeper and more interesting. The message I'm getting now is that the devs have abandoned this idea (if that was indeed the plan).
My question is: Are there any plans to change the pilot tree? Perhaps to something with a maximum number of skill points and more skill nodes than points (cf. Masteries in League of Legends), thus forcing the player to make a choice? The idea that the current system allows no freedom of customization, and is therefore redundant crops up on the forums periodically, but I feel I've never gotten a straight answer. Thanks!
Answer from Paul: As stated in AtD 47, we will be adding more items to the Pilot Tree as time allows. With the huge upcoming features (CW and UI2.0 for example) these new items are low priority as both design and engineering are focussed on the big fish at the moment. That being said, we will try to get a few more nuggets in the Pilot Tree soon™. The notion of having a limit to the number of unlocks is still on the drawing board. I think I know where you’re coming from, something similar to World of Warcraft’s talents where you have a finite amount of points to distribute across a series of talents but you will never have all of them. This leads to unique “builds” which is something we’ve been talking about since day one. Again, it’s something we’re still planning on doing and expanding on, just don’t have a concrete delivery timeframe for you at the moment.
Question from MizarPanzer: Dear Devs, it's barely more than 2 weeks where the Phoenix mechs will be released. An they come with a 10% bonus to loyalty points.
- Will you be able to finish the associated features with loyalty point before October 15th?
- Do you understand the potential negative reactions if you reach October15th without being able to release the associated features?
- Do you have any contingency plan in place in case you cannot meet the date?
Answer from Bryan: The good news is we already have the ability to track and earn loyalty points. It’s been in the game since we went Open Beta and could be turned on for October 15th. Our main concern is pretty straight forward. We’d prefer waiting to turn them on when players can actually pick their faction AND be matched against their enemies. Until this functionality happens we’re going to hold back adding and removing LP from player accounts.
From a contingency POV - we currently track the game rules that award and remove LP, we can easily replay our telemetry for several months and retroactively set a player’s standing with each of the factions. However, this may not be ideal, as players will have very little control over the accumulation of LP for the different factions and may start them off on a bad footing.
In the end, I feel most players will be understanding and know that the LP boost will come online in the near future when players can associate themselves officially with a faction and meet matched correctly. Players will have access to all the content they paid for and the added bonuses will automatically take effect when the remaining features are turned on.
Question from HammerSwarm: The word on the forums is that the Flea was delayed because MASC was playing heck with the game engine. Mechs moving at too high a speed with too small a hitbox were too hard to hit and kill.
With the Flea turning 1 year old today (it was announced September 26th, 2012) I’d like to ask this question:
“What is the status of the Flea regarding its addition to the game, and what progress has been made regarding any hurdles that have prevented this Mech from being added for 365 calendar days?”
Please add this mech.
Answer from David: The good news is that the game is at a point where we can start to look at finally putting MASC into the game. And, once I finish up on the Phoenix Mechs, I’d like to try and devote some time to trying to make it happen. Now keep in mind that, just because the game can handle it, doesn’t mean that all we have to do is flick a switch to implement it. At the very least, there’s going to be engineering time to implement it, and then some time to balance out its benefits and drawbacks. I’d like to be able to give you an ETA but, at this point, it’s a little too early to call it. However, once it is working, we’ll be able to release the Flea as soon as we can fit it into the Mech schedule.
Question from Alistair Winter: A lot of recent reviews, by fans and by big gaming websites, have pointed to MWO's lack of variety, particularly because it only has 2 game modes, which are quite similar to each other.
Game trailers said:
Despite the variety in mechs, repetition starts to sink in quickly. This is partly because there are only two game modes. (...) With only two modes and no larger framework linking any of the battles together, you'll soon see most of what Mechwarrior Online has to offer, and the pull of obtaining new things won't be enough to keep you playing."
Ten Ton Hammer gave MWO a 50/100 score in "Lasting Appeal" and wrote:
"As it stands right now though, the game is little more than a decent mech combat match grind. The game gets far too repetitive in terms of what you can actually do to give it any real lasting appeal."
We have some information about some ideas that you have regarding future game modes, but very little specific information and no clear estimated time for when new game modes will be tested, let alone implemented in the game.
Q: When can we expect a third game mode?
Answer from Paul: As mentioned in AtD 47, Attack/Defend is our next target. This is a more robust game mode that is asymmetrical and needs some engineering/art time outside of normal gameplay coding time. We do have engineering resources working on this at the moment and I will let you know more once I have further details on how big of a development impact this will have on our schedule.
Question from Nikoliii: New User Experience - I've tried to get people into this game, but the tech curve/economic curve is too large. New Users are expected to drop into trial mechs and compete against flavor of the month setups or mechs that have every skill maxed out, critical upgrades (DHS), etc. You can explain the concepts as much as you can, but you aren't going to retain users if their first experiences with the game are walking out in a trial, firing three shots, overheating, and getting destroyed in less than 3 minutes. Most people I tell to try the game give it up before the cadet bonuses kick in. The few that do get to that point stop playing because it would take them too long to upgrade to the point where they can actually compete. Nobody wants to get stomped for the first 100 matches or so until they can upgrade their mech.
Have the developers considered a STOCK ONLY queue? This would not only improve the new user experience by allowing them to play without being drastically penalized for being new, but also allow the veteran pilots sick of "flavor of the month" builds a safe haven. This seems like an easy fix to a fairly large problem, plus it would increase the allure of champion/hero mechs (since they would offer a different loadout than the stock chassis).
Answer from Bryan: We have discussed allowing players this option, but not as part of the new user flow. We are currently working on a completely new onboarding process for the new user. This will come online after UI 2.0 and will ease players into the different aspects of MWO ranging from basic piloting, weapon, and heat management all the way up to advanced MechLab configurations. Part of this new system is the ability for us to reward players with items, XP and currency for completing specific tasks. There will be a mandatory tutorial and series of optional ones. By the end of the mandatory tutorial players will have a starter `Mech which eliminates the need to rely on Trial `Mechs. That being said Trial `Mechs will always be around to allow players the ability to test out new content for free.
Question from Nick Drezary: In one of the previous ATD you've mentioned that you already have a concept art for Timberwolf, so... can we see it(pwety pwease)?
Answer form Paul: No. Absolutely not.
Question from Homeless Bill: Just how low-priority is the reintroduction of collision at this point? Like, based on the current state of development, if you had to throw out a ballpark estimate of what month or quarter it would come back. Disclaimer: Neither I nor any other reader will pretend this is a promise or firm date; it's just what I asked for: a ballpark estimate based on the way things look internally right now.
Alternatively, if you feel like a time estimate isn't a good way to go, where is it in relative to other things on the priority list (e.g., after Community Warfare, but before Clans)?
Answer from Paul: Collisions are unfortunately very low priority at the moment. There are much bigger fish to fry before we get there. UI2.0 and CW are consuming most of our engineering resources and the netcode behind knockdowns would need a fairly significant rewrite to get it working properly. Remember, it wasn’t just an issue of knocking a Mech down, there were huge problems with the camera smashing through geometry and the knocked down Mech would be teleporting positions all over the place making it impossible to shoot. All of this would have to be readdressed to get knockdowns back into the game and as I said, this is low priority at the moment. However, your statement of after CW and before Clans would not be far off the intended target at which we look into it.
Question from StalaggtIKE: Now that streaks and LRM have been fixed, can we expect to see ECM and BAP revisited? To make them less like hard counters and more as information warfare tools.
Answer from Paul: There are no plans at the moment to revisit the core mechanics of ECM/BAP. The numbers associated with them may or may not be tuned but the core is currently okay where they are at the moment.
Question from Sable Dove: Can we get an ETA of when you're going to make a balance pass on the current mechs to bring some of the underachievers up to snuff?
For example, the RVN-2X and 4X are obsoleted almost completely by the 3L.
SDR-5V doesn't have anything that makes it worth taking over the 5D.
The AS7-D-DC is hands-down the best Atlas, though the D and RS are at least different enough to have a reason to use, even if they are slightly worse overall. The K is not so lucky, and there is no good reason to ever use it over any other variant.
Not to mention certain chassis are in need of buffs. The Awesome is probably one of the most-cited, but Commandos are easily one of the least common mechs around, because there is little reason to take them over any other light.
So when can we expect some sort of balancing effort both between variants, and between chassis? And are you willing to change hitboxes in order to improve certain mechs (Awesome, Catapult, Dragon, etc.)?
Answer from David: At the moment, I’m going over the Light Mechs, looking to improve those underachieving variants. One thing that I can say for sure is going to happen is that the max allowable engine is going to be increased for certain variants. This will allow them to travel faster than the current ~138 kph speed cap (~152 with Speed Tweak). The new potential max speed for these variants will be ~154 kph (~170 with Speed Tweak). I’ll also be looking at their maneuverability, torso twist angles and speed, etc in order to shore up their effectiveness.
When the Lights are done, the next group of Mechs will be either the Heavies or Assaults (as the Mediums have received a tuning pass relatively recently). In addition to tuning the usual aspects on those Mechs, I’ll be taking a look at their hitboxes, to try and ensure that their relative sizes are all in line with each other.
Question from James Montana: What is the game content you are currently working on right now? Not content on a wish list, but right now.
Answer from Bryan:
UI 2.0 is the big one.
User Drops – we’re tracking down an elusive backend communication problem.
Edited by Destined, 04 October 2013 - 06:50 PM.
I'm very sorry, I missed that last question.