Jan 052016
 

Hit or miss: producer vision in DDO
In March, DDO Producer Severlin did something that no other DDO producer has ever done, in the long line of DDO producers. He laid out his vision for the game in 2015 using clearly stated bullet points:

  • Do more classic dungeons.
  • Get back to the habit of ongoing storylines that span multiple updates. We are targeting 9-12 months to start.
  • Open up more build choices and more frequent build design discussion through revamps.
  • Have more itemization, both short term for players with less time and long term for players with more time.
  • Let characters progress to level 30 in a fun and satisfying way.

Such clarity and brevity. No hints, no vague things about might or may or mayhap, just clean in-your-face bullet points. Boom! This is what I am going to do!

How un-DDO-producer-like.

Now that some time has passed, we can apply hindsight to Severlin’s clarity and determine exactly what he meant.

Do more classic dungeons

The Temple of Elemental Evil would have been nearly completed when Severlin made his announcement. Whether you like TOEE or dislike it, I don’t think anyone can argue that indeed, DDO released another classic dungeon. Check! One for Severlin.

Get back to the habit of ongoing storylines that span multiple updates

In addition to being a classic dungeon, TOEE introduced Mysterious Remnants. Not just collectibles, but a story, and one that would take all year to tell, culminating in the Legendary Shroud where the remnants sort of become the raid boss. All we are missing is a Saga to tie all of the Codex-related quests together (that is, if DDO still does sagas, I am not sure about that). So, again, check! Another for Severlin.

Open up more build choices and more frequent build design discussion through revamps

Rogue pass. Ranger pass. Fighter feats. Caster feats and spellpower updates. The balance pass. Not a completed process, but an ongoing one, and clearly this is what Severlin meant. Check!

Have more itemization, both short term for players with less time and long term for players with more time.

Does this mean the new random loot system? I assume that is at least part of Severlin’s plan, but it can’t be all of, and I am at a loss to see where the rest of it is. Is there a raid loot revamp coming too? – shrug – can’t award a full check here. Half a check?

Let characters progress to level 30 in a fun and satisfying way.

The one item that is not really quantifiable. The “fun and satisfying” bit is subjective. Nonetheless, we have level 30, and a whole set of changes to support it (XP curve change, new feats, quest levels, all sorts of things). Really, this one has been in the works all year. Check!

So … four-and-half checks out of a possible five. Not bad.

How strange it is to have a DDO producer who tells us what he is going to do, in plain unadorned English, and then goes out and does it. You may not like what he is doing, or how he is doing it. But that has always been a possibility, with every DDO producer.

This producer cues you in ahead of time.

I hope this continues! And not just because I love bullet points!

(Although I do love bullet points)

🙂 😀 🙂

p.s. Get your nominations in!

Enter your nominations for the 2015 Gamey awards!

  9 Responses to “Hit Or Miss: Producer Vision In Action”

Comments (9)
  1. My interpretation of those bullets points are all vague, the last one about level 30 probably the least vague… Hehehe, so Bob will give 4 half ticks and 1 full tick, 3/5? But extra marks for laying things out, and following through, good work Turbine! That may add up to greater than 5/5 … =D

    Oh, and welcome to 2016, the Year of the Gnome!

  2. We are supposed to have another Producer’s Letter in a week or two from now.

  3. Considering how far through development ToEE was when it was announced, that was a pretty safe one to say 🙂

    “Have more itemization, both short term for players with less time and long term for players with more time.” a whole load of new & pretty powerful effects on items through the new lootgen, i think that covers short term since and for long term, there’s legendary greensteel & the new system for 20th completions. I think that’ll count as a solid check there.

  4. you missing half point: Cannith Crafting Pass coming most probably before u30 in a separate patch. Also LGS, and Raid Runes…. and Night Revels (took almost no time at all to get any or even all of the new loot).

    I too am looking forward to the next Producer’s Letter (due SOON™er™ISH™!!!) with even more Bullet Points (or are those Dragonpoints? ;p)

  5. I couldn’t care less about “classic” modules, so this one is whatever. By “more” it is kind of assumed that means “more than 1”. But whatevs.

    Having the ultimate raid boss in the game be a book doesn’t exactly sit well with me. I have the feeling that it was shoehorned in to explain away why we have champions. I wouldn’t say that the story was actually planned out, but shoehorned in.

    More build choices meaning be a mechanic rogue, a S&B Pally, or a warlock? So diverse! I guess you can still be a swashbuckler if you want, so there is that.

    Random loot is more powerful from a purely numbers standpoint, but I don’t know if it’s actually better. And we are not seeing any unique effects added to raid loot. It’s all granular, incremental increases to just numbers. Where are the spell point clickies a la bauble, ERoSS, twisted talisman et al? Where is power drain, besides on heroic abbot gloves? Where is transform kinetic energy besides the torc? Where is titan’s grip? Where is anything that isn’t a siumple number increase over what we already have? I saw a guildie pull some goggles with 3 UMD, 15 int and 6 insightful int. Yes, its literally the most powerful int item I’ve personally seen but it’s not interesting. It’s just more stat inflation. Hiuzzah.

    Progressing to 30 is not really fun, 2 million more xp sucks. But the fate points and feats we got were at least rewarding. Those fate points (and slot) allow more and different twists. I’ll give him half a check on that one.

    • A book as raid boss doesn’t bother me really – there’s a long-standing tradition in D&D of sentient artifacts, some of which are very, very powerful, and knowledge=power so makes perfect sense.

      Agree somewhat about the granular number thing tho, but hopefully that area of design space for more unusual & interesting effects will be where the new named items will end up going a lot more to help keep them relevant & desirable.

  6. I haven’t made one yet, but I would have considered LGS an itemization for people who have more time to play.

What do you think?

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