Here is my labor of love for our hearing-impaired community. Sourced from Spotify. Dreamweaver: Welcome to Episode 3 of Kander's Candor. Once again with Kyle "Kander" Vallee, our creative director, and me, Dreamweaver. This is the last episode that we have before we start accepting questions from you guys. First two episodes are up. I believe you're already listening to them, and announced, and I think, ah no, no - I know by this time, you've already been asking questions in our Episode-four question thread, so hopefully you're doing that and you're getting your questions in before that gets closed. When this episode comes out, I believe you'll have like maybe a day or two left to get those questions in. But I'm super excited. We're getting good feedback from the first two episodes already, and we're super excited to continue doing this for you guys. So thank you for your responses to the first episode and let's get into our first question. So, Kyle... Kander: Yes. Dreamweaver: The players, not the players, that sounds too broad. There have been players over the last few years, recently, that have talked about how they feel like the game is moved away from casual players. Do you want to address that at all? Do you want to talk about kinda your feelings on that, your philosophies for them in the game? Kander: Yeah, I mean, we're definitely not doing it conciously, it's not a conscious effort to move away from casual players. In fact, we just discussed with the Game Update that's coming out soon, TM, to make sure that we have a version of, so we're putting in the new dungeons that we talked about previously, the shoot-out at Diaku Corral and stuff, and to make sure that, you know, the solo version of the dungeon is definitely set up towards casuals. I have seen people saying, they feel like they have to do all this progress with their stats and their gear and their stuff to be able to progress, and I mean, that's why, I wanna say, three expansions, four expansions ago, we started putting in the crate gear, which is basically a set of gear that should be able to get you through all the solo content without, you know, without having to do too much work, and then also, it's set up so that, you know, the solo quest gear you recieve from quests are upgrades to the gear you have, and, and, you know, we definitely try to make sure that the solo dungeons and solo content is casual friendly. So, I'm, I'll be honest, I'm unclear where they are getting the idea that we're getting away from that. I mean, there's, the game is very granulated, and there's many layers to it, and it's, it's how much, how far you wanna go, right? Like, if you wanna, you know, work your way up from solo to heroic gear, you should be able to do that. You should be able to play in the heroic gear that's dropping, you know, from the base dungeons. So, but that's heroic, which is no longer, really super -- , and also, I don't wanna confuse casual with solo. So, I feel like you should be able to make progression from, from starting a new expansion to the solo overland quests to the base heroic stuff without too much effort. If that's not the case, it definitely should be. So, I mean, we have so many different layers of players. We have players who are fully solo - they just wanna solo, they don't wanna play with other players, or maybe they just want to play with their family members or friends. We have players who are die-hard heroic players who, you know, wanna conquer all the heroic stuff and do all the challenge heroic stuff. And then we have multiple tiers of raiders, you know. We have, and going back to the heroic, I feel like, from talking to people, that you know, PUGs are not a thing and they should be and that's probably something we should address. We do try to put in at least one set of dungeons every expansion that is set up to where it's not super complicated and people should be able to, you know, to do pick up groups and that, and then going forward to raiders, which there's, I mean, I don't even know how many tiers of raiding you have - you know, your casual raid guilds, which should be able to progress and get gear. You have your, you know, all the way up to your hardcore raiders who want and have to have everything. So, there's a lot of layers. It's, you know, this *laughs* very intricate cake -- but we're definitely not consciously moving away from casual. That's the short answer. Dreamweaver: OK. That's the short answer? Oh my God...this is the short answer to these things? Kander: Right Dreamweaver: Alright, I mean, that's a good, that's a good note. I think it also points out that we're kind of always thinking about these things. It's not something that we're static on, especially you guys as a development team. It's not like you've made, not only, it's not like you've made a conscious decision to step away from them but you're also making conscious decisions to make sure they're still included... Kander: Yeah. Dreamweaver: And while those may not always hit exactly where we want them to, it's still something we're doing that addresses or we adjust as we see the feedback. Kander: Right. I mean, we have so many different playstyles. I mean, when EQ2 kinda first launched, it was kinda this big world of, you had to play with people, and it was kinda hardcore, and you had to group to even get through overlands, and, you know, that kind of a thing. And then back in the day, we added a, we started adding solo content, and we've stuck with keeping solo content. There's always a good amount of solo, I mean, that was the whole progression where we started turning all of our heroic dungeons into solo dungeons, is cause it used to be, you know, there was your solo content was the overlands and the quests in the overlands that you could do and that was it, and then if you wanted to do anything else, you had to group or raid, right? And we've moved past that where we now add solo, I mean there was - so I wanna go back to like Altar of Malice where we did solo dungeons, and then we did casual dungeons, which were even easier and lower level. I don't remember how successful those were. It wasn't like people raved about them, and also, every year, we have to pick and choose what we can do with the time and the people that we have, so, I mean, again, we have not made a conscious decision to move away from casuals. That's completely the opposite. We try to make sure that we provide content for casuals. So I would definitely be curious and would want to know from those players, like, what is it that's giving you that idea? Dreamweaver: Sure. That makes a lot of sense. Ok. Moving on to something else that's kind of something that we've wanted to talk about cause players have mentioned it, but duplicate agents and overseers, you get a lot of them. I get a lot of them, Gninja (he pronounced it ja-ninja!) gets a lot of them. G-Ninja! I don't know how to say his name! *Kander's laughing at him* Every time I read it! Is it Geeee - Ninja? Is it Ja-Ninja? Kander: It's...it's Ninja! Dreamweaver: It's Ninja? Then... Kander: It's Ninja with a G. Dreamweaver: The G is silent? Kander: Yes Dreamweaver: The G is silent? I hate that. Kander: I used to call him... Dreamweaver: I hate that so much. Kander: I used to call him Ga-Ninja, which... Dreamweaver: I'm gonna call him Gin-ja Kander: If anyone remembers the old Space Coaster, there's no Gnu's like good Gnu's with Gary Gnu. *both laugh* Dreamweaver: I'm, I, uh...I like it, and I feel like I'm just gonna call him Gin-ja or Ginnnnnja- like that. I'm just gonna say it like that cause it bothers me. So, duplicate...duplicate agents and overseers, what are we, what are we talking about doing with them? What do you think the future plans are? Kander: Yeah, so, that was something that we wanted to have in with the launch of overseers. The overseers system is something that we're constantly looking at and planning changes for, and there was definitely an idea on the board for what we were going to do with duplicate agents. So the plan is, and I actually really like this plan, is we now have a code request that's been completed to turn agents into a currency. So all the agents are a currency and then what we want to do is we want to provide a place, a merchant, a merchant list, something or rather. So it'll probably end up being, like, a merchant in the world at first, but then you'll be able to go and what we're gonna put on thereis rewards from the overseer system, right? Like, say you didn't... Dreamweaver: Sure... Kander: Like you didn't get the one thing you wanted from the overseer system, then you'll be able to purchase rewards with the duplicate overseers. Dreamweaver: Nice. That, that seems like a great plan. Kander: Yeah. Dreamweaver: Are we also, looking at, and I know, I know other people have asked this - are we looking at maybe stacking duplicate agents in some way, so, so they don't quite fill up as much space while they're hoarding them for whatever thing they want to purchase? Kander: I believe that was part of the, part of the turning them into a currency, is, is they would stack? But I am not 100% sure at this juncture. Dreamweaver: *laughs* Okay. Kander: Ok. Dreamweaver: Well, it's something we can always look into afterwards, too. Kander: Right, right, right. So yeah. I mean, one of the crazy things is that like, our game, Everquest 2, has like, the most storage space in bags that I've ever seen in a game, and it's like.... Dreamweaver: And somehow they're all so full Kander: Somehow...Somehow they're all still full...it's just like, amazing. Dreamweaver: It's uh, it's a very special sort of nightmare. It's like, "I have these bags! They're the most bags I've ever had! I've filled the bags!" It's like someone who fills, like the portable hole in DnD. Like, realistically, you shouldn't be able to do it, but some player always finds a way to fill the portable hole! Kander: Yeah, it's like, my father-in-law plays Everquest 2, and he's got giant bags, and you look in his bags, and there just, there's no rhyme or reason to them. They're just completely everywhere, like nuts, and he's fine with it! *laughs* Dreamweaver: Oh, that would stress me out! Kander: Like, how, how do you find anything? Oh, I don't know. What, what, what exactly do I need? So it's like... Dreamweaver: Oh no...that would, that would stress me out so much. My bags are like, super hyper-organized to the point of where like, they're organized by like, the first letter of the name of the thing in each separate category, so I can find stuff easily. Like, that would stress me out so much if I...it's like when someone has a computer screen, and everything they've ever done they've just dropped on that computer screen and there's no rhyme or reason to it...that's what those bags feel like to me. That would - I would be scared. Kander: So you're saying it's, it's like my desktop? *laughs* Dreamweaver: Yeah, your desktop scares me Kyle. It is a stressful thing. Kander: It's got...it's got thousands of jpegs and, you know, documents, and like...just things you can't even imagine. If you sort by document, it's like, you know, what...there's, there's 35 Excel sheets here! What are all these for? Dreamweaver: I'm just saying there's files for a reason. They gave us file paks for a reason! *both laugh* Stresses me out! Kander: Alright. Dreamweaver: We don't want to spend too much time on my phobias! Because that will just, that will spiral out and then we'll never get anything done. So, the next thing I kinda wanted talk about is we've now put the crafting levels back on items, on the craftables for players. What are some of our, I guess, on-going plans of crafting or things like that? How do we feel like crafting is currently in Blood of Luclin? Kander: Well, I mean, so it's been kind of an adventure with crafting because we, we, at one time, had amazing people who were completely focused on crafting, and we don't have that, that *laughs* we don't have that, that sort of situation anymore. We have a lot of people who have a lot of different jobs. And, so as far as putting the levels back on, we had a plan to go through and make it so that all of, all the crafting stuff was assigned to specific expansions and it was easy to tell where it came from. We probably should have had that ready to go before we removed the items, the item level, I mean removed the item levels. The item levels was the source of bugs constantly. People were constantly filing bugs about them, because, you know, the way that they work is they're not necessarily accurate for most cases. So, but as far as, so we, I remember the first year, post-dedicated crafting person, we did some crafting content, and it wasn't super popular and it felt, you know, like it was more adventure content, which is not what they wanted, and we made a big effort to make sure, so then, you know the next year we made a big effort to make sure that crafting content was in the expansion at launch, not something we added later. And we'll be doing the same thing this year. I mean that's, it's the plan. It's on, it's on, on the docket. But as far as, we've been talking about a lot of stuff, and ways that we can re-invigorate crafting and get people excited about it again, and we definitely, it's, it's not something we've decided to just let go. I mean, it's important. We know crafting is important, and we know there's a lot of our players that care about it. So, as far as future plans, I can't really talk about anything, but we are gonna try to make some adjustments and try to make it, you know, more of a focus, so that people don't feel like it's an afterthought, cause it's not... Dreamweaver: Right...And, and then it might also be something down the road that we end up using the Community Resource Council for, at least for some projects related to it. Kander: Right, so, I know that the Community Roundtable, or Community Resource Council, or whatever we called it in the past, we, we started it up, and it kinda got let go because we didn't have, again, a dedicated resource. We all have so many jobs that, unfortunately, it kinda, kinda fell through the cracks. So, and then, so with the CRT, or the Community Recource Council, or whatever we're calling it, one of the big hopes is to get some people in there that represent different playstyles and different avenues of Everquest 2 and, and of course, try to get some ideas, and really try to, you know, brainstorm on what we can do to make people feel like, you know, um, you know, that we, that their playstyle and their stuff matters, which, you know, it absolutely does to us. Dreamweaver: Right. And, I think we got time for maybe one more question that we can dive into. So, how do we feel about where auto-attack is at the moment? I know some players feel like it's not quite what it used to be; I know there are others who are feeling that it's maybe a little too powerful? Are we still in the process of tuning that and looking at those things? Kander: So, the story of auto-attack is, it had, it's had this metamorphosis over the years, and around, I wanna say around Tears of Veeshan, which was Expansion 10, it got to where, it was dumb. Like it, people could go AFK, you know, while they were playing, and they could parse meaningful, with auto-attack only. So we made some changes, and eventually what happened was that it kinda fell out of focus and we are trying to bring it back into focus. We've adjusted it some with Blood of Luclin, and we do plan future adjustments. One of the big things is, is that, we have stats that no longer matter, which we don't like. People are not concerned about auto-attack or flurry because, you know, auto-attack isn't meaningful enough in the damage process for them to care about those stats, so rather than, we, we don't plan on removing those stats, we wanna get auto-attack to where those stats matter, and we are sort of planning a revamp for some of these stats also because some of the stats are capped and that includes auto-attack stats. So, it needs some system changes, which is, that, that segways into the fact that we're planning the AA revamp this year with the, with the, with Expansion 17. So, we're hoping to make a lot of meaningful changes there as well. So, yeah. That's uh... Dreamweaver: *laughs* That's the answer I think. Kander: The short answer is we do plan adjusting stuff. Auto-attack is dangerous because we have to, there are some classes that use it much differently than other classes, so we can't just make blanket changes to auto-attack and just say "auto-attack is you know, 20% more" because, and then you have a class, I mean, for example, I don't know if it's still that way, but inquisitors could just do crazy amounts of auto-attack damage and they had an AA that was like "crazy auto-attack damage AA" and we don't want to end up replacing Tier 1 DPS with, you know, inquisitors, which might be fun for inquisitors, but it's not really their role. Dreamweaver: Right. OK. Well, I think that's it for Episode 3. I don't think we have anything else we want to hit this week. Like we said, we wanna try and keep these short, and I feel like we could probably just go forever with the amount of questions we get, but we're gonna, we're gonna split this up. We're gonna end on that note today. Kyle, thank you once again for doing this with me. Kander: Yeah! Dreamweaver: I hope you are all enjoying it as much as we are and we'll see you in game! Kander: Thank you very much! Have fun!