February 27, 2009

Letter from the Game Director February 2009

There is an exciting new letter from the Age of Conan Game Director that outlines the changes the next major update will bring. It includes changes in items, character attributes and statistics as well as GUI modifications.

The first part will be revamping of the RPG system. Attributes that you gained automatically while leveling up and attributes that your gear gave you haven't influenced your character that much up till now. However, this new update will increase the effect of attributes and in essence make your character stronger:

At a basic level what we have done is add an additional range to the attribute budgets, this additional range comes from items and trickle down from your primary attributes. Mobs and encounters have been rebalanced to account for this increase. The end result is that items and trickle down now account for up to fifty percent (give or take a couple of percent variance here and there) of your overall budget for any given attribute. For comparison that contribution did not exceed twenty five percent before the changes, and ‘trickle down’ barely influenced it at all.
I must say this change is looking pretty good and will make attributes much more important. Up till now it made more sense to wear +dmg gear than +INT, for example, and months ago there even were discussions whether attributes worked at all. You can find the examples of how this update will make attributes more important (refer to the director's letter for full information):

Every one point of Strength
  • Increases Combat rating when using melee weapons (except daggers) by 3
  • Increases Armor by 2
  • Increases Natural stamina regeneration by 0.05
  • Increases OOC stamina regeneration by 0.15
  • Increases Stamina by 2
  • Increases OOC health regen by 0.15 
Every one point of Intelligence
  • Increases Spell damage with 0.3 per hit for spells with Intelligence attribute (mage spells)
  • Increases Mana points by 3
  • Increases Natural mana regeneration by 0.07
  • Increases OOC mana regeneration by 0.38
  • Increases Protection from Electrical/Fire/Cold magic by 0.5 
Every one point of Constitution
  • Increases Health points by a number depending on class, roughly 5-8
  • Increases Stamina points by 2
  • Increases Natural stamina regeneration by 0.05
  • Increases OOC stamina regeneration by 0.15
  • Increases OOC health regen by 0.15 
Every one point of Dexterity
  • Increases Evade rating by 0.5
  • Increases Stamina points by 2
  • Increases Combat rating with ranged weapons and daggers by 3
  • Increases Natural stamina regeneration by 0.05
  • Increases OOC stamina regeneration by 0.15 
Every one point of Wisdom
  • Increases Spelldamage with 0.3 per hit for spells with Wisdom attribute (priest spells)
  • Increases Mana points by 3
  • Increases Natural mana regeneration by 0.07
  • Increases OOC mana regeneration by 0.38
  • Increases Protection from Holy/Unholy magic by 0.5 
What's interesting is that some stats (such as Evade) are now ratings instead of percentages. Dexterity, for example, gives 0.5 Evade rating (not %) per point. I am wondering what figures will the calculation involve.

Second, there will be a new system for showing character statistics. Age of Conan doesn't really provide much information about your character now, but that's about to change, too. The new character statistics window will have tabs named General, Combat, Physical, Magical and PvP which will in turn contain more detailed information - such as bonus spell damage for Fire or Electrical spells, for example. Here's what the Magical, Combat, PvP and Physical tabs might look like:


I say "might" because it's all still a subject to change. You can find other example pictures in the letter on the official site.

In addition the letter promises tweaking of high-level items, improving some classes and their feat trees, and even a brand new gem crafting system (hooray!) that will be revealed soon:
In addition we have worked to make the item stats display better in the GUI and make the comparison of items better.

This is really just a teaser for the information that is to come. These changes have also allowed us to look at each of the classes and make changes to feat trees, skills and spells. Some of these changes were necessary due to the changes above (like the new Armor system) some for balance concerns and adjustments. A lot more information in this vein will be released as we prepare the update for the public test servers. In addition there is also a complete new gem system for crafting items that I haven’t touched on here that will also be revealed soon.

The items themselves, in particular those at high levels have received a lot of individual attention and tweaking to get the most benefit out of the system
Overall it looks like that exciting times are ahead for Age of Conan, and I'm very glad about the excellent work by Funcom and especially Craig Morrison.

Read the letter from the game director on the official community website or discuss it on the forums (EU / US).

2 comments:

Openedge1 said...

Beat me to the punch. I am glad to see you are blogging about the game again.
Cheers

Yasmina said...

I'm excited that they are taking a good hard look at how these things work, and I'm scared that they'll mess up something so fundamental and take forever to fix it.

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