September Q&A – Mostly Code Anticipation

by Iskvarren on October 26, 2011

in Q&A

The September Q&A event was centered mostly around the long-awaited big code update as seen here.  Participants were then allowed to try out the new code on the test port.

Are the two “organizations” [that are part of the Serian metaplot] going to be actual clans, or do they exist solely for the plot?

We’re using the organizations to give backstories to areas in Seria like the Ghetto, which have been mob-run since they were built.  Players are welcome to make them into actual clans if they decide to later on, and features of them may be built into the game depending on how the plot goes.  The plot is very open-ended and can end almost any way that players make it end.

Is there a link that shows a summary of the plot?

We’ll probably post a summary when it’s over, but we prefer that people get involved IC.  If you haven’t been involved, you should seek out people who have been participating to find out information.  MotD provides generally known information that can be used by anyone, but most of the specifics are best found from other players who are involved.

Will there be a way to see how much resistances you are establishing or will it still be pretty hidden behind the scenes?

We’re aiming to have a lot of the mechanics stuff more readily accessible than it has been in the past.  Since we changed to numerical resistances/vulnerabilities, it’s important to know if you resist 50% or resist 10% of an element.  That’s why we added the “resist” command to list your magical resistances and the “show resist” command to put this in score.  Resistances will show up like how your str/int/wis/dex/con do in “score”; you should see one number that is your absolute, from spells/racial effects, then one in (parentheses) that is the scaled number since resistances are scaled based on diminishing returns.  That is, the more you try to stack a single resistance type, the less and less benefit you receive per point.  Additionally, AC, or armor class, has been converted to reduce physical damage.

Will equipment be changed to be either high AC/low resistances or low AC/high resistances?  That is, will gearing towards one of the values necessarily mean that you will lose out on the other?

Not really, although it depends heavily on how you choose to equip your character.  First, let it be clear that AC handles slash/bash/pierce damage reduction while resistances handle one of the 9 magic element damage reduction/increase; there is no overlap with AC handling magic and resistances handling physical damage.  We had to redo all the equipment AC bonuses in the OLC and handle effects such as reinforce.  Some of the cloth and jewelry-type equipment don’t give any AC at all, but may give other effects including resistances.  Other pieces like plate armor will give heavy AC but may also give very good resistance against some elements.  Classes that wear heavy metal armor use that to make up for the bonuses that mages can get via spells.

Will there still be limited gear that is substantially more powerful AC/Resi-wise than others?

Yes, so long as it’s within limits.  All of the OLC point system was rewritten, and some of the higher end items can be very very nice.

AC changes?

One thing that changed is the AC scaling.  Firstly, don’t freak out when you see the numbers.  Originally, AC affected hit/miss, but the values were set so that it essentially had no effect unless your opponent had around 10 hitroll.  Since almost all level 50 characters have more than 10 hitroll, most people’s AC was useless even if it was as low as -1000 from animorph.  AC was rescaled to be mostly in the range of -100 to +100, with +100 as naked and any value less than that as reducing physical damage.  Everyone’s numbers will appear smaller, but they will be infinitely more useful.  A lot of the mages will hover around 0.  The strongest platewearers will probably go down to -100 or less.  We also got rid of the 1-3 point AC wobble that caused AC to fluctuate each time that “score” was viewed.

Will races have any natural AC?

There are currently no plans to allow any race to have natural resistance to physical elements that would boost its AC.  We actually disabled physical resistance and allowed AC to handle it.

Racial adjustments?

With our resistances fixed, we’ll be redoing a lot of race editing so we don’t have races with resist magic/weapon or the horrible vuln magic.  All races need new revamps for mechanics.  We have a set of numbers we would like to work with for stats and max hp/mana/move, but we’ll probably start up race revamps again soon to talk about how we’d like to handle some of the racial RP and skills.  All of the races received significant updates as listed in their helpfiles, so those would be good to read over before coming to a mechanics revamp.

Which races still need revamps?

All of them.  They were never really worked out mechanically because each race was viewed separately and problems arose later on, especially when mechanics changed.  If you don’t compare the races when you decide racial stats, you end up with things like both felis/siriyu have 21 STR or siriyu are less wise than humans.  We have a new set of racial maxes and stats that make more sense in comparison to other races.  We’ll probably hash out things like RP, racial skills, colorations, racial class restrictions, and racial resistances/vulns at revamps, which hopefully will not take as long now that we have most of the RP and stats established already.

I hear that Seria is being changed a lot, expanded… and made so that you can level to 50 IN the city and it will be made to be outside the city will be extremely dangerous.

Let’s talk about what we define “Seria” as.  Seria isn’t just the city, which includes the apartments, guilds, temple, etc.  We also include the outlying farmlands and forest in it too.  Hawkwind will likely also become part of Seria.  It’s not going to be that you step outside the gate and get killed; there will be plenty of places near Seria for low levels to level at.  The danger will mostly be the farther away you travel from the city.

Will there be safeguards for lowbies/newbies? like another set of gates after the first gates?

We originally wanted to build gatehouses on the roads that warn people who travel past them.  Again, we reiterate that it is not going to be safe one moment and instant Ishon Forest the next room over.  Areas closer into the Serian countryside will remain easier, and the farther you travel, the harder life gets.

Although I know gate spells may null this idea, will there be difficult areas to reach (without a party)?

Yes.  There will be safe outposts from which you can explore farther away dangerous areas.  Some of the boats may contribute to that.  Farther away from those outposts, it will become dangerous again.  We’re going to have more cities besides just Seria.  Some of them you may not want to step into without a party even if you can.

I’ve always thought gate spells stole from the exploring aspect of the game, are there any plans to revamp gate spells in the future?

Not really. You have to explore to find what you can gate to in the first place. If we want to prevent gating, we can set areas to no_gate.

What if you just spam gate on random targets?

If you want to spam gate on random targets, you often end up with no idea where you are and die.  Seriously though, if you want the thrill of exploring and think gate detracts, don’t use it.  You don’t need us to disable the spell.   However, the people who can get around efficiently with gate are the ones who also know how to walk to any place they gate to.  It’s a bit surprising that there’s people with gate who still do things like ride the basket up to CotG.

Will you still be able to gate generally, or is it not going to work as much unless you explore and practice where you can gate?

We’re not changing the way gate works.  Pretty much all gateable areas have mobs you can use as gate points.  Areas we don’t want people to explore into are flagged NO_GATE or NO_TRANSLOCATE.  For most of the new areas, you’ll still be able to gate. You just won’t know how to actually get there until you go explore first.  You can’t gate to an area you’ve never been to before because you have no idea what gatepoints are there.  You can let your friend walk there and gate to them, but then you’re the one who loses out.  It’s not our job to force people to learn how to get places if they choose shortcuts that only hurt themselves.  It’s also too much work to make sure every new character you create has walked to every single area before you start gating there.

Let’s take a moment to talk about level up revamps.

One problem we had with race stat revamps was the 21 WIS requirement to get 4 practices per level.  It was cruel to allow stats to go under 21 or else some poor race would have trouble getting practices, so we went ahead and did away with it.  Everyone will now get 4 practices per level.  A benefit of that is we don’t penalize dumb races twice by giving them fewer practices and making them spend more practices to learn skills.  We also don’t reward smart races twice by giving them more pracs and making them spend less to learn skills.  Once 21 WIS was fixed, we could allow stats to go lower to make the races more different from each other.  Some races will have 20 in certain stats and 25’s in others.  We didn’t want to penalize races that got 20 STR in how much they could carry, so that was shifted down a little.  Most people will see no change or a gain in how much they can carry.

Now, skill learning.  Every skill in the game was modified to be harder or easier to practice.  The amount of bonus you get from a practice is recalculated.  It’s a bit more random and you can get higher bonus if you have higher in a stat.  A STR based skill practices better on average if you have 25 STR versus 22 STR.  Therefore, some races will learn some skills better than others as well.

Will skills that are easy to learn and skills that take more practices be apparent before you start? So you’re not stuck at 54% with no practices and need 75% to lvl?

Most of the powerful, class-specific skills will take more practices to learn.  Enchant weapon will take more.  Dagger will not.  We can probably work something in to say “This skill is hard to learn,” so you don’t put practices in fast healing hoping it will help you level, but most of your lower level skills won’t use more practices.  By the time you hit the hard ones, you’ll have a lot of practices saved up.  To put it in perspective, everyone will now be getting 200 practices.  Most classes have around 50-60 skills.  You’ll have plenty by the time you reach the skills that need more than one or two.  You can also skimp on practices and do hard mode.  A lot of skills might go up to 70% on first practice and you can save one by not practicing for 4%.  The message for practicing tells you the current % it’s at now, so you get “You practice axe (70%).”

Stat revamps:

Nearly everyone who is not lythren ends up with 394 base movement at level 50.  It has something to do with a calculation messing up so everyone gets 6 move per level.  We went ahead and modified how hp, mana, and movement gains are adjusted based on your class and race.  For some classes, we changed their level up schema altogether.  Battlemage, for example, was getting the same hp/mana as enchanter.  We aimed for HP/mana as mostly determined by class with minor contributions from race, and move is mostly determined by race with minor contributions from class.  A felis thief will get more move than a human one.  A siriyu enchanter will get more mana than a johgo enchanter.  What that means is when new code goes in, we’ll be manually bumping everyone’s move  and allowing you to exchange your current hp/mana for the new calculations, if you want.  Some of the people who’ve invested a lot of exp won’t find it beneficial.

At this point, Deliverance was announced and the helpfile unveiled.

Kamrin and Deliverance will function as the other godless religions.  We’ll keep an eye out for you if you pray and make offerings.  It has some attributes of Love, but it’s not so much “help everyone” or “help one person”.  While it’s really open to compassionate ending of suffering, there’s less nice options too… like wiping out the poor because they’re a drain on society.  Be creative.  You can do it.

Is there going to be crafting?

That’s probably at the back of the to-do list because this stuff we’re changing is the result of 10 years of dated code and is much higher priority.  We are stabilizing now, not making more new things.  There’s no concrete plans to work on it at the moment because we have a bajillion other things to edit.


This helpfile explains what all the words in a combat message mean.  You also notice we put a new word into damage messages for absolute damage.  You can tell if you’re doing more damage or not instead of hitting “scratches” on every big mob and determine how well your resistance or armor is working.

Class Changes

We’ve tried to go through and give each class new skills and pull some old ones to work with resists/vuln/AC.  Please note that anything that’s changed is not final.  Later on, we’ll sit down and look at each class holistically.  Most of the changes now are to replace things that are broken and add a bit of newness. In particular:

  • There was no reason for three classes to have acid blast, which was stronger damagewise than every other spell and was also impossible to resist except by two classes.  A lot of the other elemental spells were bumped up to a “max damage” tier.  Disjunction should do as much damage now.  Immolate, Malevolence, Poison Bite, Subzero, Miasma, and so on.
  • We added permforget so that you can now change permslots and get the EXP back for full 3000 if you permforget it.  That way nobody has a permslot they can’t use.
  • You’ll also notice some classes picked up some combo spells; Cleric, for example, picked up Deluge and Celestial Thunder and battlemage picked up Flurry and Scald as someone talked about before.
  • One of the goals of class revamps was for every class to have strengths and weaknesses so you didn’t get some classes that resisted everything and then some classes that only resisted holy.

I notice it says: each damage type checks the associated AC value or resistance value. Are there going to be any skills/spells that reveal some of your targets info to prepare you for the combat? Or will we still need to learn by experimenting?

Most of it will be learn by experimenting.  Races that are PC races will have the same res/vulns.  Damage messages give a hint.  You can probably guess that for example, a canidae will be vulnerable to fire.


Thanks to everyone for attending and stay tuned for the next one!

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