Producer's Letter 2017

Posted by John Thornhill | 2017 Feb 17 00:21 -0500 GMT
Greetings all,

We're already a month and a half into what will be an exciting 2017! We've been busy discussing, planning, and working on what's coming this year as there are a LOT of things on our plate. In this letter, I'll be giving our take on where things stand currently, addressing much of your feedback from the past several months, and outlining the plans for this year!

Over the past year much has changed in Dark Age of Camelot: a complete overhaul of the Necromancer class, brand new RvR bonus systems and layout changes, returning player rewards, pet class improvements, stealther class changes, Siege-craft streamlining, and the introduction of some challenging PvE instances just to name a few!

Many of those changes helped reinvigorate certain classes and aspects of the game that had not received much attention in a long while; and we thank you for the great feedback on those!

That said, a few of the changes have gone too far, too quickly and have impacted game-play in unanticipated ways. Dark Age of Camelot can be enjoyed in many fashions and our goal has always been to improve the game without negatively affecting preferred play-styles and we regret that that line was crossed. We appreciate your patience as we revisit and tackle those changes based on your feedback in early 2017.

First, we'll be focusing on the pet changes to bring down both the number and power of pets that are available in-game. We still believe in the need for many of the pet-class changes that were done to bring those classes up to date, but it's clear that a lot of the pets themselves still need adjusting. We'll also be looking at some further Necromancer class adjustments. Light tanks and their roles will be reviewed again and most likely will have their pet procs removed along with a few other changes.

Next, we'll be looking at addressing the new Slow CC so that it is harder to use in conjunction with other powerful abilities in smaller scale fights. Finally, we'll be looking closely at damage values on a myriad of abilities and styles to once again increase the duration of fights.

These changes are coming quite soon, in early March, along with several other much-requested improvements and bug fixes. We'll be adding in-game UI displays for the Buggane's RvR objective control and the dynamic underpopulation bonuses, fixing a common mouse-targeting bug, allowing direct teleportation to relic towns via the /realmwar map, and more! Along with these changes, adjustments, and bug fixes that directly respond to your feedback, we'll be launching a new PvE Campaign with this update that involves some familiar, large, and fearsome foes of each realm. 

Beyond the March and ongoing campaign updates, we will be looking forward to addressing many of the classes and specializations that haven't made it into the previous few patches. Specifically focusing on the hybrid and support archetypes, reducing the power and ubiquity of item-based abilities, introducing some cosmetic-only options for armor, cloaks, and mounts that can be bought with real money (MTX), and offering players the opportunity to achieve Champion Level 20! These changes are currently planned for late Spring, so there won't be too long of a wait after March's update!

For the hybrid changes we'll be focusing in on Skalds, Minstrels, and mostly melee specializations of the other hybrid classes that are currently struggling in solo, small-man, and group combat. Learning our lesson from the previous few class-balance change patches, the plan is to offer more tweaks and evolutionary changes rather than completely new roles and revolutionary abilities. Similarly, for the support classes, we'd like to keep their roles essentially the same but continue to increase their flexibility so that groups can more easily be formed around their nucleus. 

Item-based abilities have become a common complaint in feedback and we're glad to be able to finally address them! This again, will not be a wholesale removal or upheaval but instead will be targeting the biggest offenders (ablatives, among others) and the ability to have so many active at once. With this change, we know that base survivability will need to be looked at and so we'll be allowing characters to obtain Champion Level 20 along with the typical increase in health that goes with it. In addition to that, we'll be looking at reducing some of the damage values on certain abilities too!

Next, the introduction of MTX items with this late Spring update is a first step into providing some much-requested features later on. To be clear, we never intend to offer any "pay to win" items for real money and will be only selling already-existing items with unique cosmetic skins, as well as new mount types, to start.

The MTX system will include the introduction of a new, account-based currency (Mithril) that is initially purchased from the Account Center website and applied to the selected game account and can be viewed from any character on the account. In-game, players will see the new Mithril currency and be able to use it on specific in-game stores just like how any other in-game store works! Most excitingly, once this system is in place and working smoothly, we'll be able to work on the much-requested quality-of-life features like race, gender, and name respecs as well as potentially account to account character transfers!

Additionally, we are re-doubling our commitment to ensure that our communication with you is a two-way street. As such, we are happy to announce the return of the Grab Bag, in a bi-weekly form, and the monthly Newsletter. The Grab Bag will be where we answer questions about gameplay mechanics, reasoning, and address any concerns of the moment. The monthly newsletter will go into greater detail on upcoming changes as well as highlight many of our community's efforts! 

Lastly, we are still hard at work on the new website and official forums. After much of the groundwork has been done, we've gone a different direction on the layout of the site and apologize for the delay in getting it out. We hope to have this new version of the site out by this Summer with tools like a searchable Item Database (an official downloadable version will be released sooner) and Realmwar/Leaderboards included! 

As you can see, the first half of 2017 has a lot to be excited about! We'll be providing much more information on these upcoming changes as we get closer to their launch, as well as providing another update on what can be expected in the latter half of 2017.

And on THAT note, we'd like to request additional feedback from you on a popular topic of late: an alternative ruleset server.

Below, we have a link to a survey we humbly request you fill out so that we can get a better understanding of our existing and former playerbase's views. Please share it with your friends and let us know your thoughts by answering each question truthfully as we are eager to see what you all have to say!

Survey link HERE. Please note that the survey requires a Google account in order to be completed.

John Thornhill