Kander's Candor - Season 2, Episode 1 Here is my labor of love for our hearing-impaired community. Sourced from Spotify. Dreamweaver: Hi everybody. What's up? It's your friendly neighborhood Community Manager, Dreamweaver, and I'm here with our Creative Director of Everquest 2, for the first time in a while. This is Season 2, Episode 1 of Kander's Candor. It's been a while guys, and I am sorry that we were busy and that it has been some time since you were able to listen to one of these. I know some of you find this useful, I know some of you find it valuable, I know some of you find it at least enjoyable to listen to...I know that some of... Kander: Entertaining? Dreamweaver: Ah, entertaining maybe, yeah. I know that some of you absolutely hate it, and for those of you that do, I'm sorry that you hate it. Kander: Too bad. Dreamweaver: I wish you didn't. Kander: Don't listen. Dreamweaver: But uh, you know, we all have our own canoe to paddle. Kander: Yes. Dreamweaver: Our own sea to fare, as it were. So I don't begrudge you that, so I just want you to know. Kander: I do. Dreamweaver: Kander does, so I'm sorry. I can't control, I can't control him. So this is probably gonna be a little bit of a shorter episode because this is our first episode back. We're definitely going to get back into some of our longer ones and answering the specific questions like we had before, but we kind of just wanted to take this episode and sort of, kind of, debrief on Reign of Shadows and it's launch, on some of the major issues and things that are happening in game right now, and some of those other things. So I think the first thing we kind of want to bring up and address, and I know it's a problem that is plaguing a lot of you, and you're asking about it a lot, is lag. And lag in raids, lag in over worlds, lag in PQs, and Kyle, if you want to, you know, kind of address what we're doing and somewhat talk about some of the things we're planning on this year? Kander: Yeah, I mean, I can't, I can't discuss specifics on a lot of it, because we're, there's a lot of, there's a lot of irons in the fire. But, so, firstly, and right away, we're adding, we're adding nodes, to the servers, to ...right away, that's something we're doing right now. We've actually added a couple this week and we're gonna try to add a few more right away. This is gonna go in and try to dilute the pool so that the, you know, the...especially for raids, the lag spikes happen less often. We are, we have some pretty lofty plans this year. The company is absolutely re-investing back into Everquest 2, and first and foremost, the performance. So we do have stuff planned. It's some pretty lofty plans, and I'm pretty super excited about it. Like I said, I'm not able to go into specifics at this point, but I'm hoping, hoping very much that we'll be able to go into very specifics, very soon. But we know, we absolutely know people are frustrated. The overland zones, those...I don't know. So we did go away from making actual Public Quest zones because those were causing all sorts of problems for people, and so, the overland ones, the idea was, you know, we would have them be able to spawn in multiple instances and limit how many people, you know, could fight them in each instances, which is helping. It did cause some problems for raiders getting around, and, you know, other, other groups, so we've adjusted the cap on that a bit higher. Dreamweaver: Right. Kander: But, I mean, I have played this game since Beta. I was a raider for the first ten years of Everquest 2. I have never not had lag in EQ2, in an overland zone when a raid, or more than 3 groups of people attacked something, so I mean it's...it's... I'm not saying it's good, or it's something that you should expect, or something that we're trying to justify...I'm saying that... Dreamweaver: Or ignoring. Kander: Yeah, or, we're absolutely not ignoring. We're trying to get it to acceptable levels, you know, and we did a lot of stuff design-side with Reign of Shadows to try to bring down lag, and some of it is actually helping. It is helping performance, we're not getting cores and long frames and a lot of stuff that we were getting last year. So there is definitely improvement and we're not, we're not stopping there. The plan is to, you know, the plan is to get it to as good as humanly possible. So...well, I don't know if humanly is the right term... Dreamweaver: Yeah...(At the same time) Technically... Kander: Technically possible. Dreamweaver: We definitely don't want it to be anything humanly possible. That would, that would be sad. We're not, we're not good, able to run like that. Yeah, and I mean, I think it's important to point out that like, there's lots of times that players don't always see the immediate effects of, kind of, the changes that we're making, especially on the engineering side. It's also important to recognize that sometimes, unfortunately, there's not a lot of stuff that we can talk about specifically. There's a lot of reasons why, and I know that some of you have really good suggestions or some of you have really strong opinions about what, like especially to deal with the lag, what could fix it, and what would or would not fix it, and non-sarcastically, what I would say to that, is very frequently, we are hiring, and if you think you could actually help us, please apply. Like, this isn't a joke. I'm not trying to make fun of anyone. I'm not, I'm not... denigrating, like, your suggestions. It's just very frequently, we can't talk to you about these things. We can't share the information with you. A lot of it is proprietary or security related. And like, some of you do have good and valuable ideas, so if you think you're one of these people, make sure to check our hiring page from time to time. Like, we have hired people. We are continuing to hire people. We are re-investing in Everquest and Everquest 2, they're incredibly important to the company, and like, you're gonna see more and more... I wanna, I wanna say that you'll see more and more evidence of that, but it always takes time, and that's important to remember. Like, as much as all of us would love these things to be finished in an instant, or happen tomorrow, and I know Kyle, for sure, is definitely on the same page as me here. Like, we'd love to see these things happen instantly. We'd love to see these fixes occur in 24 hours, but unfortunately, that's not the way these work, and we are trying to get them done as quickly as possible for you guys so you can see the evidence on your end of the work that our engineering team has been working incredibly hard, doing on the backend. So, moving on from lag, because I think, realistically, when we have timelines of some of the specific things that are changing, or like if there's down-time related to it, we'll definitely let you guys know... Kander: Right, right. Dreamweaver: Once we can say specific things, but from a non-specific place, that's all we can really say about the lag for now, and I think both Kyle and I wish we could say more, and when we can, we will. Kander: Yeah. Absolutely know that it's 100% on our radar. For me, since the launch of Reign of Shadows, it's been my number one quest here at the company. We did change hands, I'm going to say, and that we seem to be very hopeful and there's a lot of good things being said, you know what I mean? So like, we're, we're not, I can't say a lot. I'm trying to be as vague as I can, but I feel like we are in good and safe hands and that they definitely want to help us help the game. So... Dreamweaver: Yeah, I think, we should probably move on before we get any closer to accidently saying anything. Kander: Yes. Yes. Dreamweaver: Just, just know that... Kander: We are known for accidently saying things. Dreamweaver: Yeah. So, uh... Kander: If I could accidently say it and get away with it, I would. Dreamweaver: Yeah, that makes sense. So the next thing I kind of wanna, kind of tackle here, is Reign of Shadows. Launch, raids, kind of some of the choices we made from a design perspective....How...Knowing how the community feels about the portions of it, because you read a lot of that feedback and a lot of people contact you directly, how do *you* feel about it? Kander: Overall, so to go back in time and discuss Blood of Luclin, which was a rough year for us, we lost people and ended up getting very behind. This year went much better. I think, as a whole, it's drastically better. Class balance, we are still working on. There is plans, just to be specific, cause I get asked a lot of questions, to adjust rangers and beastlords are still being played with. I know that rangers kind of had a problem with, um, oh man, what was the name of the spell? Ranger's Insight? Ha-haaaa! And that was...it had an obvious bug, and fixing that bug reduced DPS for those people and that class, and we will be adjusting it. Other things that I get asked a lot, we are still kind of working on auto attack damage and trying to bring that back into scope to where it matters, and it always matters. As far as raid progression stuff, we tried to do something a little different this year and I know that there are a lot of raiders who just want to log in and raid. At no point do we want our game to be something that, you know, people don't at least aspire to play all branches that are available to them. So, that said, we will be making some adjustments. We do, we actually had a meeting yesterday and we came up with a bunch of like, quality of life stuff, making gear easier for alts stuff, without going into too much, too many specifics. Dreamweaver: Which by the time, by the time you're listening to this, hopefully G-ninja, Ninja, Ga-Ninja, Jinnn-ja, I think Jin-ja is still my favorite pronunciation of that name. Hopefully by that point, 'Jin-ja' has released his Raider's Digest to let you know some of the changes we all decided on actually. Kander: Right. Yeah, so we will be making... Dreamweaver: This will come out a little bit after that. Kander: We will be making a post - Carlos will be making a post. Gninja... Dreamweaver: You can say 'Jin-ja'. It's fine. Kander: Yes. He'll be making a post and telling you all, the raiders especially, what we have planned. But, we have a large GU coming in March. I wanna say late March, without being too specific, in case things have to change. And there's quite a bit in it. We planned last year's, we planned Reign of Shadows with specific content to be released in the GU. So there is Heroic content, Solo content, and a lot more Raid content coming. And there will be a new season of the Overseer system with new rewards and new quests and new agents. What else? Dreamweaver: Uh... Yeah...there's a bunch happening in the GU. Kander: There's actually...there's actually...a lot. There's a lot in the GU. There's a couple of things I'm not going to talk about. They're cool, and you're just going to have to find out. But, let's see...there will be a new Guide quest that the Guides will be handing out for Reign of Shadows with new rewards and oodles of status. So make sure you look, when the GU launches, make sure you look for your Guides. They work hard and they really try hard to get everybody having fun and hand out quests and you know... Dreamweaver: Yeah, for those of you that listen by the way, I want to give a special shoutout to all of our Guides for EQ2. Like, you guys do a bunch of work, and it's, it's awesome. It's really great. And if you have a chance to interact with them, or you've done Guide quests or anything like that, make sure you thank them. Kander: Right. Dreamweaver: They are super passionate and dedicated, and love this game a whole lot. Kander: Yeah, I mean, for both games, for EQ and EQ2. They are definitely, there are some Guides that have been Guides for as long as both games have been, you know, in existence. So we still have Guides that have been around, you know, since the beginning of Everquest, and some of the Elders, we have... in case you're not aware, Guides have basically a, you know, there are Apprentice Guides, Guides, Senior Guides, and then there are Elder Guides. And the Elders, are - I think there's three of them - they help run the program. In fact, they do a lot more to help run the program, and they also have Guides that are like, Quest Chairs, and there's so much in the, in the hierarchy that I'm just not going to go into it, but, there's some that have been around since the beginning of Everquest. And like Rynara, who's one of the Elder Guides, she's been there from the beginning, and they are still committed, you know, and they love being Guides. Dreamweaver: Yeah. So yeah, just a special shout out to our Guides in 2021. Kander: But yeah, so I mean, this is going to be news to the Guides too, that they'll be getting a new Guide quest! Dreamweaver: Hey, by the way, new Guide quest everybody! Kander: And since we're on the topic, I actually put in rewards for the Guides. The Guides get different rewards for different amounts of time and service, and this is for Everquest 2, so I actually put in all the way up to '16 Years of Service' rewards, so they get like, a cool sword or a cool weapon that's, that's really cool looking and it says on it that you know, "This has been presented to you for X amount of years of service" and they also get illusions and cool stuff for each amount of years that they have been in service, and I actually put in. So that will be going in the GU all the way up to 16 years of Guide rewards, for the Guides, yeah. Dreamweaver: Yeah, that's actually really awesome. Even I didn't know about that. Kander: Yeah, yeah. So...yep. I try, I try, I have to, I have to restrain myself about going into too much detail. Because I want to give out, you know, as much detail as possible. Dreamweaver: Let them, let them be surprised sometimes. Kander: They're going to be surprised when they hear this, I'm sure. Dreamweaver: We gotta, we gotta hold some stuff back. Kander: Sorry guys. I do what I can when I can, but I'm only, for as far as Everquest 2, I'm only one person. Dreamweaver: Yeah, and I mean, just to be clear, and this kind of goes for, not only the Guide program, but in general, we are doing a lot with the resources we have, and the team works super hard, and I know a lot of you recognize that. But I just kind of want to say it out loud too. I know some of you don't always see the work that Kyle and Carlos and all the other people on the team are putting in, and some, you know, people like Mint, who are newer, but they're putting in a bunch of work. And, you know, if you ever feel like it - I know, I know some of you can kind of have testy days where you're not very happy with them - but know that they love this game and that they care about you guys a whole lot as players. That being said, I also like you guys, sort of, so just keep that in mind. *Both laugh* Look, if I say that I like you too much, you'll all get big heads, and then where would we be? Kander: Right. Exactly. Dreamweaver: Ah, so, I kind of want to wrap this up. There's not a lot left to talk about this time around. We're gonna, obviously like I said, we'll have longer episodes again and things like that, but *I* was wondering Kyle, we had been talking about how you had some very specific things you wanted to tease, and I was wondering if you were going to continue to torment me with that. Kander: Hmmmm...specifically, as related to what, specifically? Dreamweaver: I don't know. Possibly something that something that starts with a P and ends with a P and has a letter in the middle? *Kander laughs* And I mostly say torturing me with it, because how ever many times I tell them that we have nothing to say, someone messages you directly and you continue to give this communication. Kander: Ooooooooooohhhh! Dreamweaver: Just abject hope, and uh... Kander: I was sitting here, and just trying to pretend I don't have any idea what you were talking about. Dreamweaver: Clearly, yeah, you were pretending so well. Kander: It is coming. We are working on it. Right now. Dreamweaver: We still don't have things specifically to say about it. Kander: But it is coming and it is coming sooner rather than later. Dreamweaver: Oh God. That is...that is not gonna help on the 'not firing them up' part. Kander: Uh, yeah! So we should have... Dreamweaver: Stay tuned! Kander: Specifics for that very soon. In fact, I will make it a goal to have more actual specifics for the next installment. Dreamweaver: Of the podcast? Kander: Absolutely. Dreamweaver: Oh, wow. Ok. Well you heard it here first folks. Kander: So stay tuned! And all you guys out there that are like, you know, "Don't waste your time on it"... we like it. We know that there's a lot of players who like it. We enjoy playing it, and we enjoy watching people play it. So it's happening. Get over it. Dreamweaver: (laughing) Also, and I'm gonna say this, in hopefully a nicer tone, besides "Get over it", we do schedule these things into development time. So time, it's not like a 1-for-1 ratio. This is not a "because this is being done, your..." Kander: It's actually been planned for quite a while. Dreamweaver: The thing that's important to you is not being done. We have lots of things on our list and on our timeframes, and they're all very frequently, simultaneously being worked on by, you know, some pretty dedicated people. Kander: I just know that there's some, there's some smack talk about, about what we're talking about. Dreamweaver: I'm pretty sure, I'm pretty sure there'd be smack. I mean, that's kind of the nature of the thing, right? Kander: It is! That's, so that's kind of where it's going! Dreamweaver: Since we haven't explicitly said what we're talking about, and I think everybody knows, but I feel like that's kind of the nature of it, smack talk is a part of it. Kander: Talk your smack, but be prepared to defend it. Dreamweaver: Exactly! If you, if you happen to find yourself alone in say, ahhhh I don't know, uh...gonna pick a zone, somewhere in Faydark? Maybe be prepared to defend yourself from all the crap you talked on the forums. I don't know. Kander: Maybe. Dreamweaver: Kind of like the nature of this thing. But don't talk crap on the forums. Also that. Like, come on guys. Just be kind to each other. I don't want to have to moderate you. Kander: Don't....don't do that. Dreamweaver: That's no fun. Kander: But going back to what you said, and I know we were going to make this shorter, but it's not that we're not working on the thing that you want us to be working on, but we have a lot of irons on the fire at all times, and we go through a lot of trouble to schedule this stuff out. We've been scheduling this for quite a while, and we did a lot of pre-work to make sure that it wasn't as much work as, you know, people would think it would be. It's actually been a project over quite a few years, so we're excited about it, even though we're not telling you what it is. Dreamweaver: Although, I feel at this point, everyone, everyone can guess. I'm still not going to say it out loud, because, you know, we don't want to summon everybody at the same time. Kander: That's, yeah. Dreamweaver: That's, that's our episode this week everybody. Thanks for listening to Kander's Candor, Season 2, Episode 1. I'm here with Kyrrr...Kyle "Kander"...I can't talk today everybody. Sorry everybody. I'm here with Kyle "Kander" Vallee, our Creative Director for EQ2, and I am your spectacular Community Manager. I don't like calling myself spectacular - that works better with Spiderman. I am your...corrigible Community Manager, Dreamweaver. Kander: I like it. Dreamweaver: And that's all for our episode today. Bye everybody! Kander: Bye everybody!