Here is my labor of love for our hearing-impaired community. Sourced from Spotify. Dreamweaver: Hey everybody. Welcome to Kander's Candor, Episode 5. My name is Dreamweaver, and I'm here again this week with Kyle "Kander" Vallee, our creative director for Everquest 2. And we're gonna talk about questions that the players have and kind of whatever weird random stuff we come up with, but mostly the questions the players have, since that's what we're here to focus on. Currently, it is pouring outside my window. It has been for at least the past 14 hours, so if you occasionally hear something fairly deafening, it's probably the lightening/thunder, or it's the rain that's trying to drown my apartment, so I apologize. Kander: Yeah, my backyard is underwater. *Dreamweaver laughs* Dreamweaver: Yeah, it's uh...it's a lot. This apartment complex has a pool, and I got to successfully make the joke that it has now added seven additional pools, because of all our poor drainage. Kander: Mmm hmm. Dreamweaver: So that's gonna be exciting over the next several days that I am still trapped in my house. But we're gonna get started this week in just a second. I wanna take a quick moment to talk about Showdown at Diaku Corral, which released two days ago from when this podcast theoretically comes out, if it comes out on a Thursday. If it comes out on a Wednesday, it's only been 24 hours and we're super excited that you guys are getting to experience that content. Kyle and the team have worked very long and very hard on it, and uh, Yippee Ki-yay guys! Kander: Yeah! Dreamweaver: Yeah! Kander: Yep. It's uh, it's definitely a, a passion project for Chris Garralik, (sorry, I bet I spelled your name super wrong! Apologies!) for Chrol, so we're super excited to see how everybody likes it. Dreamweaver: Good. Awesome. I, I think, I think Chrol has put a lot of work into it and I, I think it's gonna be, I think it's gonna be really cool. A lot of the stuff, a lot of the stuff we did for it is super exciting and the soundtrack that our sound guy worked on, and it's just, it's great. I think, I think it's really exciting. The first question we're gonna tackle, uh, one - first of all, thank you for all of the questions guys. There's a ton of them and I- we're gonna work through these, eventually. We're getting through all of them, one way or another, we'll find a way. But there are a lot of you, who have lots of multi-part questions and it's always gonna be great if we can be as succinct as possible, just as a reminder, just because, sometimes, I- I'm not sure where the question is in a statement, and that's my fault. So anything you can do to help me would be great. The first question, or first set of questions I guess, come from Codan Elessar - if I said your name incorrectly, I am very sorry, but we're gonna get started on yours. So the first question, Kyle, from forum user Codan Elessar, is they enjoy crafting in the Chaos Descending expac. To them, the mastercrafted-experimented items were comparable to the better solo loot drops, especially when infused and/or leveled. The Blood of Luclin expac not so much. To make a craft-, ma-, to make a mastercrafted item seems so intensive and costly that it isn't worth the effort. The mastercrafted item also seems so much less desirable than the lowest trash loot items. That kinda seals the deal. Please can the EQ team, EQ2 team rectify this and bring the joy back to crafting in the next expac? Kander: Yeah... Dreamweaver: This question...*unintelligible* Kander: So we had a, we had a detailed plan on how we were gonna do some stuff for crafting this expansion and how we were going to make it more interesting and we had a bunch of really cool ideas, and the bottom line is we ran out of time. We were really pushing to make sure we had the crafting content in, and some of the stuff, you know, slipped by the wayside. But we are, we are talking about it. We are trying to come up with new ways to make the mastercrafted and a lot more crafting stuff interesting for the next expansion, for Expansion 17. We're talking about it right now. We're talking about maybe trying to put in some different stat sets so that mastercrafted is more of a survivability tool. Like maybe mastercrafted has higher resolve and higher hitpoints, and higher mitigation, and higher, you know, all those type of survivability stats so that they're actually viable and useable for, you know, the content types like heroic, and maybe even into, you know, Raid One. But the idea is, is that you will eventually always want to upgrade it. So, we're, we're playing with that and we're trying to come up with, we- we had, we had a plan to do, like, you know, some, some really different stuff with tradeskilling and it just didn't work out. So we're- but we're still thinking about it. We're still talking about it. We, we feel everybody's pain. We definitely want crafting to be more interesting for the next expac, and we definitely want the effort to be rewarded, right? The problem is, is we don't wanna have, you know, a mastercrafted set that everybody wants and it bypasses heroic gear, and it's super easy to make and there's tons of it on the broker. And you know, one of the- one of the things, one of the things that, like, we're trying to avoid is, I remember talking to players in expansions' past where they would log in and they would have money, so they would go to the broker, and they would be like, "Oh look, there's a whole set of mastercrafted that's the current level." So they would buy that and then they would start playing in the overland zone, and doing all the quests, and nothing would ever be an upgrade and then they wouldn't see an upgrade in the heroic content, you know, barely. So, it just doesn't feel like, it ha- it has to have it's place and we definitely need to like, massage it in. Dreamweaver: Sure. Yeah. That makes sense. Kander: That's the short answer. Dreamweaver: That's th- that's the short answer? Good Lord. I bet the long answer is just as thrilling, maybe? *Kander laughs* I don't know. I-, I mean, I think it's good, I think it's good to note that, like, there was a plan and it, and it did fall by the wayside, which is unfortunate, like, and I think it's something that happenes even more frequently than, uh, than we see sometimes. Kander: Right. Dreamweaver: It's just unfortunate when it happens with something that's, you know, very clearly already in game. Kander: Right. Dreamweaver: And that's why there can be that kind of more significant response from players and things like that, so it's good we address things like this. Kander: I mean, to be clear, we had plans for all sorts of other content. You know, paths and levels that also, we had to you know, scope because we ju- we, we were, we were basically just trying to get out what we could being so far behind and so it's not like, to be very clear, it's not like we don't care about crafters or crafting or the experience. You know, for us, the most important thing was, was the content so that- because there has been a time where we didn't have the content in the expansion for crafters, and then they really feel left out and, you know, not happy, so... Dreamweaver: Right. Kander: But like, we had all kinds of other stuff planned for, you know, heroic, for raid stuff. Some- with raids, we might have even went too far with, you know, maybe, maybe we should have toned that back also and, you know, obviously, lots of calamity ensued, so... Dreamweaver: Which, once again, does - can happen from time to time. Okay, so let's move on to Codan's next question. When they returned to the game, they were looking forward to their 15 year Veteran Reward when it came time, only to find out these no longer exist. Is there any chance of that coming back, at least on a quinquennial basis? I'm gonna be honest guys, I know a lot of words, and I think this one means every five years...um, and if it doesn't, I'm sorry. It's been a long day. I apologize. So let's move on - with something unique with something that the loyal players can enjoy and show off? So basically, is there any chance of us bringing back Veteran Rewards? Kander: So, we stopped doing them, I believe, on the 12th Anniversary, is when we stopped. But we ha- so the problem was, was we had this stuff that would come out and and then you'd have to wait. If you were a newer player, or if you were a player that started even 5 years ago, then you had to wait, like, this ridiculous amount of time to get the really cool, you know, rewards for each anniversary, was kinda the way it used to work, right? Like, it was how long you played, and when you got to the tenth, you know, anniversary of your account, then you got the tenth anniversary stuff. So we just were looking for ways to put in cool rewards and cool stuff for everybody, and, and we're not going to be doing any more of the, of the, you know, anniversary type stuff. We'll definitely be doing stuff for our anniversary like, last year, the fifteenth anniversary, we did a, you know, we did a ton of cool content and cool stuff for everybody. But we're not going to be doing any more anniversary rewards in that system. Dreamweaver: Okay. And that feels like a pretty definitive answer. I know a lot of players used to like that, but I- I think, I think, I think it makes sense why we kinda moved away from that system as opposed to the one that we have now. You're still- also, you're still going to get the thing when you log in during the anniversary, and that's still going to be a unique and special reward, theoretically, once you complete those things. Kander: Yeah. Dreamweaver: So I think that's still cool...there are- Kander: We're also trying to like, find a whole bunch of other, like, cool stuff to do stuff for, you know what I mean, like, like different holidays and different things that are meaningful, and you know, obviously the anniversary's a big deal and we want to celebrate our players, and especially, you know, the players that have been playing for a really long time. But yeah, it's just one of those things that we, we opted to stop doing and tried to shoot for more meaningful rewards for everybody. Dreamweaver: Right. Alright. The third question on their post: Dungeon finder, to the best of their knowledge, never worked well. Can the team re-work this feature and not just have past dungeons but include the current content from the latest expac's dungeons and heroic zones? Kander: Dungeon finder was kind of in the same vein as the Battlegrounds. There was a time where there was a certain game that would implement something and then people above us would say "You need to put this in the game immediately!" and, and we would have to stop what we were doing and lose a third of our expansion content and all this other stuff and rush these things in and Battlegrounds was one of those, and the Dungeon Finder one was the other, and the definitive answer is it would have to be completely re-written. It never worked the way we wanted it to. We also had a very big and broad plan for cross-server Dungeon Finder where dungeons were instances in between the servers and everyone could just get groups and play together no matter what server you were on, and that was a really super cool idea and we actually had a plan for that, but yeah, I mean, it's something that I can't, I can't say we will ever re-write but I can't say that we won't ever stab at again, so... Dreamweaver: Yeah. I, I think, referring to the other game that shall not be named, which is our new Voldemort, I suppose, *laughs* I think it's, I think it's interesting in that like, I think we know that there are a lot of things we'd like to do, but the, the work itself, it's one of those things that ends up being a value proposition of, "well it's either this or this." It's an 'A' or a 'B' and there are times where we choose 'A' and times where we choose 'B', kind of, kind of like that, where it's like, it's not that we never will do this and it's not that we haven't talked about it before... Kander: Right. Dreamweaver: But we're prioritizing other things. Kander: Right. Dreamweaver: Ok. And, the fourth question on their post: Please, can you do something with the Familiar quest so it is not impossible to level our familiars? Kander: Yeah. Um, I don't know what they mean by the Familiar quest but, I mean, I-, the way that I know that it works is you blow up, like, blow up your extra familiars for XP and that's how you level your familiars. When we did familiars-, it's one of those things that, that, so, and it's, and people aren't going to like this answer, but, when we put in familars, we never intended for people to just have max level familiars all the time, you know, so we, we wanted to make it something that took a good amount of time and was a, you know, was a time-consuming thing. So, as far as making them level faster, we have, we do have, like, you know, familiar-leveling events where we drop, you know, familiar time and we're, we're adding more familiar time to all different places and stuff, so, that's something we're working on, I guess, is the, is the answer? Dreamweaver: Alright. Moving to the next user's questions - gonna apologize now, because I have tried to pronounce your name four or five times, and I'm not gonna get it right, so I'm just gonna call you Ben, and in the Show Notes, everyone will see your full user name (Bendigeidfran) and then probably correct me and teach me how to say it. But for now, user from the forums, Ben, here's your first question: Can we have a heroic gem merchant added to BOL? The gems are really stacking up beyond what'll be needed even to upgrade to challenge level gear? Kander: Yeah, so the gem merchant should be in with GU 114, with Showdown at Diaku Corral. We put in some stuff that you can do with your heroic gems, so yes. You're probably already using it at this point. Dreamweaver: Their second question: Can some consideration be given to giving heroic-only players a pathway to raid gear, allow conversion of heroic tokens to raid tokens, even at a high conversion rate of say, a hundred to one? They say next, "I appreciate the age-old set argument that if you don't raid, raid gear is too OP and what-have you, but with the advent of challenge and expert levels, that raid gear would be nice, even just the red adorns being available on Sanctus Seru merchant and it might also convince people to continue to run heroics while waiting for the next expac or GU, even with that conversion rate. Kander: I don't have a huge issue with maybe doing some sort of conversion rate. I don't, I mean, if heroic players have access, you know, Tier One raid loot, I don't think that's, that really that bad or that's really that big of a problem. I mean, I know that we have put some Tier One raid loot in the Overseer system. I know that there will be some available via the crates on the Heroic Gem Merchant. So there's definitely paths as far as, you know, loot. But as far as a direct path where you can, you know, know for sure that you're gonna grind out heroic gems, and then possibly buy raid level stuff, I don't-, we don't have a plan for that. But I don't necessarily think that heroic players having access to some of the Tier One raid loot is a, is a bad idea. I mean, especially if it's something that's, you know, takes a lot more time to get. Like, raiders, you put together a raid, you go clear your Tier One raids, you get your Tier One loot, is your players- we do have a lot of players that are you know, pretty much predominately heroic players, and I don't, I don't, I don't have a problem with that. I'm not saying it's something that we'll necessarily do, but I, I definitely have written it down. Dreamweaver: Okay. Alright, and their third part of their question is: How about some upgraded heroic gear and/or red or blue adorns on the Sanctus Seru merchant? Kander: Yeah, again, not really something that I have a problem with. They're talking about, like, being able to buy, you know, like higher tier heroic loot from a merchant. Dreamweaver: That would, I think that was, yeah. I think that's what they're asking. Kander: For the heroic gems. Dreamweaver: Mmm hmm. That, that would be my, that would be my assumption. There's not of additional context in their question, but from the context of their previous questions, I think that's what they're talking about. But... Kander: Right... Dreamweaver: But it's entirely possible Ben will hop on the forums and let me know I'm wrong, so if that's true, Ben, please let me know. Kander: Yeah, and then, since we're on that path, we did actually put in a way for all the raiders who got their quest shoulders, there will be a path in game now with the GU so that you can get those shoulders for your alts as you've been asking, so, that's, it was kinda felt like it was in the same vein as what we were talking about... Dreamweaver: Yeah, and they've, and they've definitely been asking, so... Kander: Right, so we put in, we put in a way for you to get those items for your alts. Dreamweaver: Awesome. That's gonna make a lot of people who like running several alts very happy. Kander: Yes. Alt-a-holics. Dreamweaver: The, *laughs* the Alt-a-holics. It will, it will definitely, it will definitely make them very happy. I know quite a few players have put that as part of their questions or, or similar things. The final question that I have before we wrap today's podcast, because once again, never want these to be too long: If you had to pick a Harry Potter House, Kyle, which house would you fall into, and the only reason I ask is because, apparently, players want to know. Kander: Uh...that's a tough one. I will say that I think on the Harry Potter site I was sorted into Huffle Puff. *Laughs* Dreamweaver: Yeah, I could see that. Kander: But I always, I always look at myself as I would, I would definitely be a Slytherin. *Laughs* Dreamweaver: That's a, that's an interesting way to look at yourself. Kander: Well, because, so, just to be clear, when I play games and when I play, like, fantasy stuff, and when I play, like, MMOs, and like, whenever I'm playing, I always go evil, I-a, cause, you know, it's hard, and even almost impossible to be evil in the real world. And I feel like... Dreamweaver: I feel like that's unfair. Slytherin is... Kander: Not, not in the... Dreamweaver: Just ambitious. Kander: Yeah...I mean, true, right? I mean that's another thing. They're ambiguous, right? They... Dreamweaver: Well I said ambitious, but... Kander: *Laughs* Dreamweaver: Those are very different words, Kyle. Kander: I think, I think some people, you know, feel like they're evil. Some people feel like they're just misunderstood, which is also cool. I don't mind being misunderstood. Dreamweaver: I'm definitely leaning you were just misunderstood. Kander: Yeah. Dreamweaver: I feel like ambition is misunderstood and that's unfair. Kander: Ok. Sure. Absolutely. Dreamweaver: Perfect. Kander: I'm not gonna give my, I'm not gonna give you my real answer, but we'll go back to, I-I think, I think I would consistently be sorted into Huffle Puff. Dreamweaver: That's good to know. That's uh...that tells me a lot about you, and I'm unsurprised by your sorting. I think we can do, I'm looking at our time right now, and there is one other question I'd like to get answered because it does come up quite a bit, but multiple people asked this question in DMs. A few people asked it on social media, and it got asked a few times in that thread by a couple different people, and I'm sure picking out one is...they're all worded about the same way but more or less, the question is: Where are the Heritage Quests? There used to be a few per expansion, but we haven't seen any for a while and are they coming back? Is there a reason we stopped doing them? Kander: That is an excellent question. So we had, we have Heritage Quests planned. We have, we have planned them for almost every expansion, but the thing about quests is quests are so time-consuming. I actually have, I did some of the Heritage Quests. In the past, Heritage Quests were mine, like, as a designer. I did, I've done quite a few Heritage Quests, and I enjoyed doing them as a designer, but they're incredibly time-consuming and there's this whole kind of dichotomy where it's like, we have to, in order to spend this, you know, large amount of time on a single questline, then we have to make sure that, you know, it's, it's not done in an hour, even though we spent three, four weeks on it. It's not...it's, it's rewarding enough. There's... Dreamweaver: Right... Kander: And then it, and then it starts to go into that path of like, we're putting in our official gates and time- consuming things and farming things and all the stuff that really isn't very popular anymore and people really don't care for in their content. Dreamweaver: Sure. Kander: And so, so we planned Heritage Quests. We had one planned for Showdown at Diaku Corral and we cut it because we opted to put in some quests for the dungeon, and put in some more relevant stuff that actually pertained to that dungeon. Does that mean that we won't do any in the future? No. It doesn't mean that. We... Dreamweaver: From like a, since you, so really quick, I'm gonna interrupt... Kander: Ok... Dreamweaver: So, from a, from a time, from a time perspective, I think it might be helpful for players to understand, when you say it was a large amount of time, pick, I don't know, the last Heritage Quest that you actually designed that went into the game - it ended up taking players, you know, how long on average, but how long did it take you to design and get that into the game? Kander: So, the last one that I did probably took me six weeks to do. Dreamweaver: Do we know how long did it take players to get through it? Kander: Probably, probably two to three days? Dreamweaver: That is, that is a lot of time. Kander: Yeah. And, I think the last one I did was Dark Mail Gauntlets? Maybe I did one after that? Might have done a couple after that. I don't remember. But like, the Dark Mail Gauntlets one, I put in like, all this extra stuff. I made it so that you could grind faction. I made it so that if you did all this cool stuff, you got all this extra appearance gear. You got all these cool titles. But I mean, it was like, it was a Heritage Quest in the theme of, I think all of our Heritage Quests from the beginning were always these really cool, kind of separate side-story things that, you know, told the story of a really cool item and a really cool, you know, like, like, story line, and we spent a lot of time on them. And implementing quests in Everquest 2 is so time-consuming. I mean, we, we basically spend all the time that we have writing, crafting, the, the, the Signature lines for each expansion, doing all the dialog, doing all the...you know. I mean, these things are so time-consuming; it basically takes us the entire breadth of what we have time for, for each expansion just to put in a Signature line and a handful of side quests and stuff, and now, you know, we've been making like this extra effort to put in dropped quests and POI quests and we definitely make sure that there's a good amount of collection quests and all this kind of different stuff to kind of fill up and make it full. You know, like, there's a lot of stuff to do, not make it feel, but give you a lot of stuff to do. And the Heritage Quests, it's, it's...it's also in this crack between we, we wanna do it justice and we just don't have the time to do it. That said, we are, we are planning one or two for Expansion 17, so...and I'm hoping that... Dreamweaver: Hoping that we can get to them? Kander: Well I'm hoping I can plan it in to where it'll be, it'll be actually kind of part of the overall content that was intended so that way, you know, it happens, right? Dreamweaver: Sure. Kander: It's not just a Heritage Quest, but it actually is involved with something that's going on in the zone and that... Dreamweaver: So, it's, it's built into the creation of the thing as opposed to... Kander: Yeah, I mean it would be more like... Dreamweaver: A secondary thing that occurs. Kander: Right, it would take more of, kind of the place of, like some side quests, that we would normally be doing that tell like little side stories or something like that. Dreamweaver: Sure... Kander: But we do have, like, some really, really cool stuff coming for Expansion 17. I'm super excited about the zones and where we're going with Expansion 17, so... Dreamweaver: Yeah. And we'll be able to talk about it more in the coming months, I hope. Kander: Yes. We definitely will. But, um...so, the short answer is, is we would like to do Heritage Quests. We feel like they're something that was kind of part of EQ2, and we, we, we tried to get them in for years, and then, you know, the other thing is, you know, if we can spend a lot more time on a lot more content like Signature quest lines, and long quest lines and Epic quests, and whatever else the stuff we've done in the past. I mean, to me, like, the Epic quests were kind of giant Heritage quests. But, yeah. So, that's the answer. *both laugh* Dreamweaver: Awesome. Alright. We have definitely gone long, even if there are edits to this, so, thank you everybody for listening to Kander's Candor, Episode 5. Once again, I'm your friendly neighborhood Community Manager, Dreamweaver. I'm here with Kyle "Kander" Vallee, and we'll see you in game! Kander: See you in game!