Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2006-02-28
  • Massively Multiplayer,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
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GB: Will Update 7 introduce any tweaks to help reduce server lag? For example, since Dungeon Alert is notorious for contributing to the game's lag, have you ever considered removing it or at least altering it so that it's no longer an issue?

Ian: Improving lag is a never-ending process. There are many types of lag and various causes. Update 7 includes a few important fixes which should fix the most common causes of lag we've been able to find on the live service. I don't know that we've found anything with Dungeon Alert. Dungeon Alert was designed to help reduce one type of lag. What it does is show players when they made many monsters in a dungeon active at once. At that point, we want players to kill the monsters off rather than running around and waking up more. As always we encourage players to use the in-game bug reporting tool to send us data on any causes of lag that they believe they may have found.

GB: The concept of letting players determine their own item properties when crafting in The Shroud was quite unique to DDO, and it's obviously garnered a lot of interest as there's almost always a Shroud group listed on the LFM panel. Do you intend to add more crafting to the game in the same vein as what we saw in The Shroud?

Ian: Absolutely, but with a friendlier approach. We have a design all set to go and are quite excited about it, but we haven't started actively working on it yet. Like all the things on our wish list, the timing is always subject to resource scheduling and other considerations. I can't even tell you when I think it will be released as it could easily change, but I think I can speak for the entire design team when I say that I hope it will be very soon.

GB: Have you given any thought to letting players break down their Shroud-crafted items back to their original shards or base ingredients? Between crafting mistakes and some items being outperformed by epic loot, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a couple of Shroud items that I'd like to deconstruct. You could even make it a DDO Store only perk, if necessary.

Ian: Yes we have thought a lot about this. In fact, at one point we were working quite seriously on it. We had a prototype of the deconstruction portion a while back, but we never had time to fit the rest of the crafting changes into one of our recent updates and we decided that it made more sense to release a more comprehensive feature at a later date.

GB: The ability to upgrade older raid items to epic versions with a seal, shard, and scroll is a pretty good idea in theory, but the execution of the scroll aspect seems a bit flawed as they just randomly drop on the ground for anyone to pick up. Don't you feel that this promotes ninja looting and other devious tactics, particularly when it's a pick-up group running an epic quest? Do you have any plans for changing the way epic scrolls are obtained?

Ian: We agree that it's not perfect as it is now. We did just recently develop a prototype system that we think will be the solution. We'll play test it in an upcoming development cycle and hopefully go forward with it. It will likely still involve a random chance for party members to acquire the scroll, but we expect it will help resolve the conflict inherent with ninja looting as it will be automated.

GB: There are rumors that you will be making the rune effects more predictable when crafting Dragontouched Armor in Reaver's Refuge. Is there any truth to this? If not, are you content with players running Prey on the Hunter several times in a row just for another chance at getting the Tempest or Sovereign armor property they're looking for?

Ian: As of Update 7, the rune effects are now identified which should have a significant impact on making the related crafting easier. As for running Prey on the Hunter or any dungeon over and over, no I can't say we'd be content with that as it doesn't sound like much fun. I think it's human nature for us to want to be 'productive' when we play an MMO, but I think it's the designer's job to create balance. We certainly would like to think the new rune identification would make it more efficient to run the various dungeons rather than grind one dungeon, but that could simply be an indication that a specific quest is imbalanced and needs to be adjusted.