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Path of Exile: Die ersten Antworten zum Q&A mit den Entwicklern

Vor einigen Tagen rief GGG zu einem neuen Q&A auf, bei dem die Spieler von Path of Exile ihre Fragen an die Entwickler stellen durften. Nun wurden die ersten Antworten veröffentlicht.

Eure Fragen an die Entwickler

Die Fragen der Spielerschaft wurden in keiner bestimmten Reihenfolge beantwortet und so geht es quer durch alle denkbaren Thematiken. Die Entwickler von Path of Exile beantworten Fragen zum Interface, zur Skillentwicklung oder auch zu ganz persönlichen Dingen. Die komplette Übersicht über alle Fragen und Antworten könnt ihr euch hier ansehen.

PoE MitarbeiterGGG zu Q&A mit den Entwicklern (Quelle)

 

What gave you guys the inspirations for the past leagues? How does the process of coming up with the main idea of the league work?

The inspiration comes from all sorts of different places. Generally the ideas evolve over many years until they’re eventually used. Ambush came from a plan back in 2007 to have mods on chests. During its development, this was limited to only special chests, and then fights were guaranteed. Legacy ended up very similar to the initial plan for the Prophecy league. Essence was inspired by a „Monster Boxes“ idea we read on reddit. Torment was inspired by the treasure goblins in Golden Axe. Coming up with league ideas isn’t the hard part – the tricky part is choosing the one that best fits what the game needs at the time.

Are there any hints or tricks you can share for how to obtain the unique Unset Ring, Angler’s Plait?

We think that the fun of items like this is working out how to get them. I honestly don’t know the trick for this one myself.

Chris, have you and Hrishi played much Vintage? If so, what is the current record?

(This question relates to Magic: the Gathering). We have playtested vintage decks against each other and then participated in tournaments together. I think the record is that I have beaten him in playtesting and then he has beaten me in the actual tournaments 🙂

Are there any plans to extend the skillbar? We could use a few more skill slots for sure.

We have a plan (though no ETA) to add an alternate skillbar that you can reach by holding down a key. This would be ideal for skills like Heralds that you want to cast occasionally but don’t need to be on your main bar.

Will there ever be an auto-sort button for inventory and/or stash similar to Titan Quest mechanics?

Unlikely. I had a good conversation recently with David Brevik about how large items that require manipulation in the inventory help simulate the „weight“ that items have in other RPG systems. It may be inconvenient to have to organise items, but it makes them feel real. Simplifying this down to auto-sorting or single-slot-items is a road we don’t want to take our game down.

Which „Boss-scenario“ like Atziri or the Shaper was the hardest in terms of time, work and brain cells spent? 🙂

In terms of released content, The Shaper for sure. There’s some unreleased stuff that has taken masses of time…

Has the development team ever thought of creating new types of skill gems such as Shape-shifting? And is it a possibility of something coming in the near future?

New types of skills, yes! Shape-shifting in particular? Perhaps not. We certainly think about it often, but that particular concept has some significant animation requirements. It’d be like trying to introduce an eighth character class, as it’d have to work with all the items and skills.

Are there any plans to make spells like spark and cyclone feel “smoother“ by not being easily blocked by terrain etc?

Certainly, though it’s tricky to do in the way that some community members have suggested. However, work is underway to smooth out the terrain so that there aren’t small blockages that stop motion.

Will there be beta phase for oriath update? if it does, when it will be? and what will happen to the character on it? does it treated as league character? (back to standard when beta ends) or got deleted completely?

Yes. Sometime later during the Legacy league. Beta characters will be deleted at the end of the Beta, just like with the other Closed Betas we ran in 2012 and 2015.

Are the technical values of the ‚Bandit‘ rewards going to change in 3.0 (eg changing them all to passive points), or will they be the same bonuses attached to different quests?

In 3.0.0, there’s only one set of Bandit quests. We haven’t decided what rewards they’ll have, but they’ll likely be based on the current normal difficulty ones with some tweaks (to make the non-life ones more attractive possibly?)

Once 3.0 drops, what’s going to happen to the Achievements for beating Cruel and Merciless?

If you have already completed them, you get to keep them. If you haven’t, they change to achievements for killing specific bosses.

When will this game be released on xbox? An estimated date or month would be amazing

We’re aiming for „very close to the PC release of 3.0.0“ which is targeted at „the middle of the year“.

If you guys at GGG play PoE in your off-time from the office, what are your favorite skills to play? Does anyone in the office play on Standard/Hardcore or do you guys always jump to the temp leagues?

Yes, absolutely. We play both upcoming leagues and also the current league on the live realm. I asked around to see what skills people preferred, and it was a really wide variety. Regarding Standard, at least one senior developer has been playing the same character (in the late 90s) for several years now.

I know this may be far in the future, but do you guys plan on eventually making an offline version of the game once you guys move on to the next game and aren’t able to devote resources to maintaining servers and such so that the game can be preserved forever and played years from now like Diablo 2. (I know many of us still play D2…including Chris.)

We don’t plan to do this, and the reason is because the game will never be in a state where the servers have to be shut down for financial reasons. Running the servers is inexpensive – it’s running the studio to create new content that consumes most of the resources. Making an offline version is masses of work, unfortunately.

What is the current plan for languages? I read about a german portation quite a while ago. Sure it won’t be at a high place on the list of priorities, but i would be a nice QoL. 🙂

We’re trying to find people to help us with German, French and Spanish translations. Last week we asked for help in the news and over 500 people contacted us! We’re blown away by the amazing response!

Why don’t you make particle reduction options for better FPS?

Honestly, because once we have finished our optimisation work, it won’t really make much of a difference to have particles reduced.

Do you do systems simulations on multiple spec variations to determine balance? Do you use Machine Learning to grow the tree/balance stats or to find anomalies? Any other systems automations you guys use?

We do run simulations when developing new systems. I personally did the Prophecy simulation myself. We don’t use machine learning. There is a lot of automation on the build/testing side of the game, but not so much on the game design side. Making things fun and addictive is more of an art than a science in our opinion (we design on gut feeling more often than trying to optimise some data).

Will we ever be able to zoom out farther?

The short answer is „No, because the game isn’t designed for this“. The long answer is that the farther your view distance is, the more stuff you have to render (it’s a quadratic relationship). In addition, there are specific distances that the server sends you objects at, and if you can see more terrain, you won’t necessarily be able to see the objects on that terrain. There are a few places in the 3.0.0 expansion where the view is pulled back slightly, but we control those carefully and you’ll see what I mean when you play it.

Are there any plans to better standardize the tagging of skills and their respective gems in order to make the mechanics more understandable and accessible? An example of where the current system falls short is the relationship between „increased duration“ and „burning arrow“.

The team are aware of some inconsistencies here and want to solve them. This is a large refactor that we’re postponing until critical 3.0.0 work is finished. Things like double-dipping have to be out of the way first, for example.

When 3.0 hits, what will happen to characters who are in Cruel or Merciless at the time? Will they have to start from Act 5 even though they’re overleveled?

This is something we’re working on, and don’t need to have ready for day one of the Beta (for obvious reasons). Because of that, we’ll probably solve it and implement it after the Beta has started. The intention is that while some characters have to start in Act Five, some equivalencies are defined so that others can start later on.

What is the plan for existing league mechanics coming 3.0? With Legacy League meant as a way to ’say goodbye‘ to old content it suggests most of this is being removed or re-examined. The Zana mod system in the league suggests the same. Are we getting Leaguestones in 3.0? Are all the leagues staying, or going?

The plan varies from mechanic to mechanic. Legacy isn’t meant to say goodbye to them, but provides a great opportunity to play with a lot of craziness happening simultaneously. The Zana changes are because we can’t run regular Zana mods at the same time as Leaguestones, and to provide an alternate experience for people to make their maps more difficult and rewarding. We haven’t decided about the role of Leaguestones in the future of Path of Exile.

For those of us wanting to work in the games industry regarding programming, what qualification/ experience does GGG look for? (for the programming team specifically) If you were to give advice to someone entering the industry based on your own experience what would you say?

Get as much practical game creation experience as possible, and put together a portfolio of work that you’ve done. A compelling portfolio is honestly more useful than the degree paperwork, assuming you know everything the graduate does. Algorithmic knowledge, modern C++ with STL and low-level performance stuff are important for us.

Do any of the devs have small games as personal projects they work on? If so, what are your favorite tools/frameworks to work in? I’ve been wanting to work on a game for fun for quite some time now and I’ve tried out LibGDX, Unity, and Gamemaker and would love to know what others think is the best tool for a solo project.

There are quite a lot of hobby projects in development. Unity is a popular choice for that, due to rapid prototyping speed.

What I miss most is some reward for full clearing every single location or map. I am really a slow noob player, but I do enjoy full clears a lot.

This is a playstyle that some players enjoy, and some don’t. While I personally want to see more rewards for doing this, we have to be careful to not make them feel mandatory. By the way, the current Legacy Leaguestones do encourage this a fair amount (to get maximum advantage from the stones you have equipped).

When will the Russian voice over be implemented? (Russian question)

I am very sorry that this is so delayed. It requires a large overhaul to how patching works, so that Russian users receive that data and non-Russian users do not. We want to avoid patching more than a gigabyte to the millions of non-Russian users (just like how we want to avoid patching English voice acting to people who have their language settings set to Russian). Currently this is in the queue for „as soon as people are free“, but those people are working hard on critical 3.0.0 features. We have several Russian developers inside our studio who remind me daily about this feature.

Why is there so little group-oriented content in the game? (Russian question)

Because it is important to us that all content is possible solo. This is a base design philosophy of the game. You should never feel forced to group up to be able to do something.

Will there be any new server locations in Russia? (Russian question)

Maybe. Currently we can only offer Moscow, but would happily do more if we were able to in the future. There are economic and reliability issues that need to be solved.

Do you plan to implement new weapon types? (Russian question)

Yes. I don’t know when though.

Why are all MTX in the shop for armoured warriors and not for mages? (Russian question)

I think this question highlights the need for easier searching and sorting in the shop. There are spellcaster microtransactions, but it’s clearly not easy enough to find them.

Do you plan to sell character skins? (Russian question)

We do sell lots and lots of armour sets, so I’ll assume that you mean changing the underlying character itself. This is something we have considered, but we note that the character is usually covered in armour, so it’s hard to see the base model. We are planning cosmetic improvements to all character models in the medium-term future, but weren’t planning to sell those.

Do you plan to implement option to see original (English) names of times when pressing alt or in trading tabs on regional clients? (Russian question)

This is a feature that would be very useful, but is actually quite difficult because the localisation system is designed to replace the English text with the foreign text. This means that the equivalent English text for the Russian name isn’t available for display. I’ll definitely bear this request in mind if we’re improving the system later.

How many GGG employees does it take to change a lightbulb? (Russian question)

Honestly, we’d probably just call someone to do it for us so that we can work on the game instead!

Will we ever be getting microtransactions that are from the past? (Such as items from the Microtransaction shop, and Challenge rewards such as the red/blue seraph armor sets.)

If we said they were exclusive, then they’re exclusive.

Virtual Reality, when?

Never. Yay.

As someone who has recently finished school and is now looking for a Study course. Is game design (as a major) something you would recommend (or who would you recommend it to)? I’ve only been really passionate about games in the past but have little programming experience. Are there other ways into the gaming industry besides programming?

There are many types of roles you can do in the game development industry aside from programming: design, concept art, high/low poly modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, visual effects, sound, marketing, production, testing, etc. Pick something that interests you and pursue that!

Are their plans to further buff the under-powered unique items? The recent buffs have been a huge success, but there are still many uniques that are „dull“ – even when found very early on in the game.

Yes

Do you still play other ARPGs at GGG in order to get inspired? I am thinking of games like Diablo 3, Grim Dawn etc.

Yes, our team check out many different games and the reason we’re all here is that we love ARPGs.

When will the microtransactions from the last mystery box be available to buy and will this box be available to buy?

The non-exclusive microtransactions from mystery boxes are available for purchase around a month after the box stops being sold.

Why did you choose to call skins and effects awarded by completing challenges „microtransactions“ instead of, for example „cosmetic items“? It bothers me every time i see this term used in announcements to describe stuff that cannot be bought.

You’re probably right.

Currently the game contains some examples of partitioned content. IMO it was just a kind of natural product of the different expansions being stacked on top of each other. In some cases the earlier content hasn’t been updated to work with the parts that have been stacked on top of it. For example, masters — there aren’t masters for jewels because the jewels came out after the masters patch, or there aren’t any lab trials in Act 4. Does the team have any thought process or idea if they will kind of give everything an overhaul to make it all seem a little more harmonious in 3.0?

Your point is correct, in that we’re occasionally slow to update old systems for new content, but both the Jewel example and lab trials in Act 4 are intentional. We don’t want a Jewel Master currently and we purposefully design the trials to be Act 1-3 content (they wouldn’t have built trials in or around highgate).

The Divination cards are still a sour spot for me (probably others as well). Can you provide a little more information about what happened in the process of releasing them that took them from a way to deterministically farm an item to just another currency? Was it just a communication issue that got our hopes up? Unrealistic expectations from the community?

Many cards can be deterministically farmed and provide the item relatively easily, because the item is something reasonable to obtain for that amount of effort. The system can’t give top items for a low amount of effort, but it does provide a way to find pieces of those items that can be traded for or combined to receive the desired result. To answer your question, I think we could have been clearer about expectations. If you make a divination card for a unique like Skyforth, it is not realistic to expect that every player can now get a Skyforth.

The only reason for me i don’t buy mtx is that i once Sold Boots with footsteps mtx on it. Could you Change this somehow? That this is not possible or the mtx is removed and returned on selling?

I think you’re mistaken. This has never been able to occur. Since day one, you weren’t able to vendor or otherwise destroy items with microtransactions on them.

Also, will you ever made the MTX bound to character window instead of items? It’s a horrible act to find old and lost MTX because my chest is flooded with 200000 pages of old leagues.

Yes, in 3.0.0.

Which brings me to…I saw a post about an entire guild banned because one person did something against the rules. How exactly is that? If someone on my guild does the same thing and nobody knows can everyone get banned because of it? Because I don’t really know the people of the guild to risk my account like that.

We don’t ban everyone in a guild if a single person does something bad. We ban the whole guild only under special circumstances where we have compelling evidence that the entire guild is botting. We can’t talk publicly about how we detect and handle Terms of Use violations in any more detail.

Do you guys intend to improve mystery boxes in a way that we don’t end up having multiple copies of the same item? Multiple portal effects of the sae portal for example is pretty obsolete.

If we made this change, they would have to be massively more expensive than they currently are. Is this a tradeoff you would prefer?

Will you ever be in the mood to create a system with account bound names and not globally bound? It fucks me up every time I can not create my character just because my name is already taken. Its ridiculous at this moment, you can even type gibberish and the name is already taken.

Our character names are designed to be unique. Significant work would be required to change this, and it would introduce issues like impersonation. We added a system where character names (but not the characters themselves) expire after their account hasn’t been used in a year. This helps a lot with regards to making the bulk of names available. I understand this doesn’t address your concern to the extent you want, so we’ll stay on the lookout for other ways to improve it.

How was the initial planning for the Passive Skill Tree? How long did it take to become functional and be implemented in the game? (Brazil question)

The very first version allowed multiple points to be allocated per skill. It was quickly clear that it was more interesting when these were turned into pathways, to allow progression around the tree to other areas. Our early versions also had a shared central start location (with the three attributes branching out in the different directions). The tree even had a hole in the middle so that you could see your character, just in case it was attacked while you were allocating points!

We had a functional version of all of this as soon as it was designed, but it used temporary art. We kept the functionality updated as the design evolved over time to what we have now.

What technologies did you use to develop Path of Exile, especially modeling, animation, engine, and programming language? After the game was ‚done‘, did any technology ever hindered the development? (Brazil question)

We use a custom game engine, written in C++. Modelling and animation are done in Autodesk Maya and exported to a custom format that the game loads. None of this technology has hindered development, as we invest in solving problems as they crop up.

Ctrl+F „Trade“ – where are the answers to all the trade questions?

I’ll likely address this in the next post.

Well that’s the set of questions we’ve answered this week. We’ll try to do more in a follow-up post or two later! Thanks for the great questions.

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