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=Dev and Balance= Opening Salvo

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2/6/2010 18:04:37   
Legendary AdventureGuide!

I saw somebody comment about AQ "finally" getting DNs on Falerin's last Storyline Dev post. I guess I always figured that with as much time as AQ's team members spend on the forums we were getting plenty of information out there, even if our methods were a little different from the other teams. Still, not everybody uses the forums, so I hope this new format can collect some of that interaction into a little more visible point so everyone can be a part of it. (If you're reading this and you're not a member of the forums, go ahead and make an account! It's fast and easy.)

I figure it's good to get the easy stuff out of the way first. And what's the easiest? "What would you say you do here?" Well, Bob...

We don't have simple breakdowns of roles. Everybody on the AQ team does a lot of different things, though I wear a few more AQ hats than many:
  • I'll start with the big, highly-visible thing: I do the final coding for just about everything in each week's release. Files come to me animated, and I take care of the code that makes anything special happen.
  • As a member of the Knights of Order (yeah yeah, "BOO HISS," get it out of your system now :p ) I'm a part of AQ's game balance team as well as a coder. I mostly stick to the theory and planning level here, offering my thoughts on what sort of balance makes sense while leaving the detailed formula structure to the even more mathematically-inclined Knights.
  • The Knights of Order also do the game design of the item stats every week. We take a look at the items and figure out their various properties, then turn those descriptions into numbers, which I turn into code. This also extends to things like class abilities, and in most cases we're planning what those class abilities should be prior to the art.
  • I dabble in quest-writing. I'm to blame for Assassin and the updated Dragonslayer class quest. I have a few other personal writing projects on the backburner, too.
  • Finally, I also have a few "game enhancement" side projects that I'm working my way through. I can't talk about everything I hope to do, certainly not too far in advance, but I can give my current project as an example: I'm working on improving the in-game tutorials, so even players who don't visit the forums for the more advanced strategy and formula access can have a fair shot.

    AQ is a team effort -- this is just the view from my slice of things. Without the support of the writing team and their scripts, the rest of the Knights of Order and their balancing and statting, the artists drawing all the awesome stuff you see, and Galanoth directing everything and putting all the pieces together, our weekly releases would be impossible.

    Because AQ's such a team effort, I'd like to give a few of the team members with whom I work closely a chance to say hello...

    Hi there! For those of you who haven't seen me around, I'm Aelthai. I also wear quite a few hats - and not all of them are for AQ! You may have seen me in DF recently, for example (I should apologize again for forgetting you can't fly). This is AQ Design Notes, though, so I'll talk about my AQ (and WF - they're the same) hats.

  • First, I'm another of the Knights of Order. Zephyros has more or less covered what that means. My role is heavy on standards (especially item standards) development and actual item stats - we work together to derive theory, and then I turn the theory into both standards and items based on those standards.
  • With the other Knights, I also do a lot of the item design - what does this item DO? Or this skill on that class? I then turn that design into numbers so that Zephyros can code it. If it has a Weird Effect (as so many recent items do), I was probably the person who worked out how much that effect was worth and what the rest of the item can do. As an example, I did the actual numbers for Whispering Raiment.
  • I do a little quest writing - I can't claim anything nearly as flashy as Zephyros, but I'm the reason you got to go find a missing ThunderKitten. I also read quests others have written and suggest improvements.
  • As with everyone, I have a number of back projects that I'm working on. Some of them have already been mentioned (Z-Token pricing, for example); a number of the tasks I would like to do are on hold, however, because of regular releases - and attempting to get moving on the Sweep again. One in particular has been on hold for longer than I like - but I'll mention that in the next bullet.
  • In addition to that, I'm the AdventureQuest (and WarpForce) Bugs Head Moderator. This means that if you report a bug, I will be one of the people who sees it. Some can be fixed immediately; many are saved for a Fixit Week, when we aren't buried in a large release. I (and the other people on the board) try to edit the status of the report into your report - but sometimes reports can sit there for a while - this can mean they were missed, that they are difficult to duplicate, or any number of things - but don't fear; we WILL get to your report, that's why we have you post them there. The big project I mentioned that has been on hold longer than I like is exactly that - going through *every* post on that board and determining if the bug has been fixed or not - and if it has not, making sure it's noted so that we CAN fix it.

    That seems like more than enough for a first Design Notes; if you want more elaboration on something - well, ask and we'll see what we can do (within reason of course!).

    Hey everyone! I'm Lord Barrius. Most of you tend to refer to me by other names, though, like "LB", "Kitten", or "that really creepy shadow cat thing".

    Unlike my co-workers, I do not wear hats most of the time because they muss up my beautiful fur. Yes, I have fur. You just can't see it because of all of the shadowy stuff. *nod* Silliness aside, here's a brief description of what I do:

  • I'm also one of the Knights of Order. Though I've been known to stick my little nose into all sorts of things (for example, I've done a lot of work on shields for the Sweep), my primary job is to work on monsters. If it swims, crawls, walks, runs, or bites you (especially the last one), it's usually my job to make sure that it's a balanced fight.
  • I work as a moderator for these fine forums. In addition to heading DragonFable Suggestions, I tend to do a lot of posting and such in the AQ boards. I usually post in two different capacities: as a forum moderator, and as an AQ staff member. I like to use the forums to interact with you, the players, and get your opinions on how we can improve the quality of this game.
  • I have also dabbled in side projects and quest writing. I won't go into any major amount of detail here as to what sorts of things I've done or am working on (have to give you good reason to keep reading our notes, don't I?), but suffice it to say that the biggest of my projects at present involves some jet black felines that you might remember from the last April Fools event. You might not have realized it then, but these kitties have a story all their own to tell, and hopefully in the not-too-distant future, you'll get to hear it. But I'll discuss that story in more depth once we're a bit closer to their arrival date.

    Feel free to ask questions about what I do or give me suggestions. I'd love to hear what you have to say!

    Hello! I'm Kalanyr, though I think most call me Kal. Like most I wear a bunch of different hats, though they've blurred together a lot.

  • I'm the head of the Knights of Order, which means that its my job to keeping things working smoothly both within the Knights and between the Knights and others. In terms of actually balancing things, I do a little bit of everything, usually a bit more crudely than the more detailed analysis the others do in their areas, to work out approximately where things should be (and if they are possible) and check that things are correct. I also make sure that the various standards used are consistant with each other and keep an eye on where things have worked and where they haven't.
  • I used to do the weekly coding that Zephyros now handles but ,thanks to his presence, I'm now focussing more on getting a lot of the behind the scenes projects that have been on the back burner done, like the Z-token repricing and revising the spells and in the future I plan to squash some of the nasty bugs that live in the engine and to do a few more enhancements that I think people would like (like "Spells" that can be cast from HP or SP, and hopefully some day to organize things so that equipment can change the information it displays in the equipment menu again which was lost in a past upgrade and is rather useful for items with special triggers and that grow in power like the Blade of Awe.)
    This isn't a huge change for me as I'd been doing that kind of thing in the past when I had time, the status system, guardian login-equipment, the ability for hits to give stat damage at values other than 0% and 100% and revamping the class armor system to allow for the growing defences and resistances with class level and SP and HP costs and to let you use certain class abilities with 100% special weapons are all things I've done. I also do most of the coding on class armors (though Zephyros is starting to work on them and was responsible for Pirate) and help out when people run into complex coding issues.

    Chii here! I wear a wonderful hat, a really big one... which... I think I lost. My hat! ;_;
  • I tend to focus on designs and themes and customer relations, bringing the Quality Assurance into the QA team that the Knights of Order collectively encompass. When not designing new items with unique flavors and concepts, I try to do my part in making sure each week's release is polished and shiny for your enjoyment purposes.
  • I also have a tendency to function as the reservoir of ideas that are mentioned late at night and then come up ten months from then in a completely different context, as well as being a storage bin for game information. Having been around since early 2004, I've seen the game develop from its roots, so I can look at the game from the perspective of both tradition and development. I often use this to contribute what I perceive to be a player's perspective upon development decisions, hypothetical and from experience.
  • I also tend to roam in AQ Suggestions, looking for original ideas that stand a chance of making it in the game. Few things are better than a project that everyone can contribute to, so I look for opportunities to let the players contribute to AdventureQuest.

    Now I'm new to this whole "Design Note" thing, and I spend a lot of time on the forums and chat talking about specifics anyways, so let me pose this question to you, dear reader: What do you want to hear about in this space? Please post your ideas in the comment thread, or reach me on Twitter at @ZephyrosAE so I have something to talk about next time!

    < Message edited by Chii -- 2/8/2010 0:33:54 >
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