CM diary #18 - 11/28/2021

Hello folks. This marks a special diary entry, so I’d like to keep humor and fluff to a minimum. To those who prefer my quirkier entries, my apologies in advance – you’ll hopefully understand this change in tone by the end of this one.

The past

First, should any players have missed the announcement on our Discord server, I’d like to briefly note that the Retrainer replacements have started. Anyone who has lost a tutorial questline Retrainer prior to hotfix patch 1.5.6 may now DM me on Discord (or here) to schedule a replacement. I will need some time to collect the information and confirm the losses before reaching out, but rest assured your replacements are on the way.

The present

Next, I’d like to cover what the patch currently in development is shaping up to include, as there have been questions about it. In brief, its highlights are:

  • Drop rate tweaks. Australia will become far less generous, as you suggested. In contrast, all Champions and bosses across the game will regain some of their former generosity, in line with your feedback.
  • Nerfs. Our data and tests, as well as your feedback, highlighted some overperformers that should be reigned in. But fear not, none of these nerfs will leave any class broken or underperforming.
  • New content. Finally, we’ll be adding some unique new content, as well as a select few items with some unique mechanics of their own. As of writing this entry, most of them are finished.

As regards the nerfs in particular, please remember that no changes in resource gains or class performance are any one individual’s choice. We discuss and test both nerfs and buffs as a team, and have our Shady testers confirm their effects prior to each release. Should any change, positive or negative, miss the intended mark, it’s your civil, constructive feedback that we rely on to revise it and get it right.

The future

Finally, let me discuss some of what the future holds. Here I may go into some more detail, as a prelude of sorts for this section’s conclusion.

Events

As the last Halloween event was received very warmly, we’ve come to refocus our efforts toward events. This is why my last diary entry included a mention of Christmas events – which I cannot promise we will get working in time. In either case, the future will certainly hold more events, and certainly more than the ones Flagship had created.

The endgame expansion

Next, the oft-mentioned endgame expansion is in the pipeline. This you may remember me teasing in April, and the only reason for its delay is our very limited time and workforce.

This expansion intends to provide a serious endgame challenge, as this descriptive dub suggests. Challenge won’t come through inflated stats, Regen, and cheap tricks, but through brand new mechanics that challenge each class differently. In turn, however, this means that it requires tremendous work – and many among the additions require effort, creativity, and plain patience as the game refuses to behave in specific ways. Couple this with Alternalo’s schedule and his work on his own game, let alone his and my work on all the patches since, and delays may become more understandable.

For what it’s worth, this won’t just be a storyless new frontier. Within Alternalo’s initial creative vision, I’ve crafted a plot for this expansion that should hopefully keep the more story-minded interested in-between epic fights.

The other expansion

Finally, the “other” expansion is still on the drawing board. This is because it intends to be an entire new campaign, with a new story, mechanics, and gameplay significance. This you may see dubbed as “my” expansion, as it has indeed been my brainchild since the project began, but it’s by no means just a personal project.

This one’s delays I can explain in more depth as well. Story-wise, this always intended to provide some continuation to the main story – and it is here where I’ve concluded I can use the remnants of Flagship’s Stonehenge that never was. But plain texts aside, there is only so much of Flagship’s material left to use. We will need new assets, new voice actors, perhaps new cutscenes, and more, so as to frame this bold endeavor properly. Development-wise, then, this cannot simply be a rehash of what players have seen and done before. This cannot be a Second Attack; it was always meant to be a love letter to the game and Flagship’s vision, and our tools and assets will need to improve to get this right.

My step back

Now, with all this covered, I may finally conclude with a personal note. With no fluff and daft puns, here I’d like to announce I will be taking a step back for a while. After patch 1.5.7 is finished and released, of course.

This is not due to interactions with players, rest assured. Yes, recently there have been some rather unpleasant ones across various platforms, as I’ve mentioned before and as some of you are aware. However, those come with the job, and are to be expected. We have been doing this for 5 years now, and I would not let those few bad apples discourage me into delaying the content I wish to produce. I also know the majority of the player base is not those few people, and that’s who we ultimately work for.

It is simply exhaustion. I became a grunt-level content developer in May, and have not stopped exercising my newfound abilities since. However, these endless hours of work come with a toll. These duties piled up on top of my regular ones, as a CM, GM, and tester, across the forums, Discord, and internal platforms, and on top of my professional obligations across 2 jobs in real life.

This does not mean I’m quitting, by any means. I will still be around, and I’ll still be available. I will still do the diaries to keep you informed on what we do. I will even continue working on “my” expansion, as it fulfills me creatively, so as to have a solid blueprint to work on when the time comes. I will just need to rest, and this will require a step back.

For just a bit.

Cheers!

And with this I may leave you, kind reader. Should 1.5.7 be released before next time, I hope you will enjoy it. In either case, I hope you continue to enjoy your journeys into the dark corners of what was once proud London.
All the best.

8 Likes

Hey Bro
dein My Step back
hat mich sehr gerührt
ich schreibe das mit Absicht auf deutsch
wir kennen uns seid Anfang an
es sind Leute gekommen und gegangen
viele verstehen das Projekt nicht
auch wenn ich zu zeit nicht wirklich Aktive bin aber dennoch verfolge ich euch
ihr macht aus dem spiel eine GRANATE was damals absolut nicht ging und vor allem eigene Ideen
Das da so viel auf dich rum gehackt wird
nur weil du als CM bist das verstehe ich nicht
WARUM ZU HÖLLE
Wieso Akzeptieren die Leute nicht das man dieses PROJEKT Hobby mäßig tut
man kann sich unterhalten aber eins kann ich nicht verstehen wieso man beleidigen muss
Ich finde eure Arbeit in der Freizeit SEHR SCHÄTZENSWERT
HÖRT NICHT AUF MACHT AUF JEDEN FALL WEITER mit euren IDEEN
Zieht es durch und Scheiß auf die verdammten Nörgler die das game runter ziehen
Mfg Fruska

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Danke Freund, wirklich.
Es ist lange her, nicht wahr. Kaum zu glauben, dass wir schon so lange unterwegs sind. Aber zu sehen, wie die Spieler Spaß an dem haben, was wir tun, macht das alles lohnenswert.
Freuen Sie sich auf eine bessere Zukunft – mit mehr “Granaten”. Ich weiss dass ich werde :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Hello.I do not know if I have lost something or not.There are a lot of new things in the game and I’m confused.So I completely trust you, personally.How do you decide (confirmed losses, or not)let it be so.What information do you need from me for this?All the best.

Hello sir, a happy new year to you :slight_smile:

The tutorial questline is the one that begins with Baker in Holborn, and concludes with Leader in St. Paul’s. Just before the end, at John Milton Passage, there’s a quest to kill Quavontavius which awards a Fateful Skill Retrainer - one for each difficulty mode. That’s a Unique Retrainer players can’t discard or trade, which we introduced in 1.5.6 because the old Retrainer reward was misbehaving.
So, if you’ve lost something this should be it. There are two main occurrences I’ve been seeing:

  1. Pre-1.5.6, players might’ve claimed both Retrainers and then lost one after relogging. That’s because those had a “1 per player” flag, which had copies clash.
  2. Post-1.5.6, players might’ve completed the quest and not received a Retrainer on completion, as the reward window was blank. This one’s cause I haven’t pinpointed yet.

If either is the case for you, or you’re otherwise sure you’ve completed the whole questline and are still missing Retrainers, I’ll need the following from you via DM:

  1. The name of the affected character(s), and the name(s) of the account(s) affected
  2. The number of Retrainers lost
  3. A brief explanation of how you think you’ve lost it/them, if it happened recently and you remember. Timestamps would also be helpful.

Once the losses are confirmed, I’ll need to arrange to meet with your character(s) in-game to deliver new Retrainers. Discord is usually more helpful in this regard, but the forums too will definitely do.

1 Like

Hello,Bryan.You and your entire team, too, Happy New Year.Thanks for the comprehensive explanation.At the moment, my characters most likely have not lost anything, as they were created after patch 1.5.6. And they have already received this item after killing the beast at the first difficulty level.I’m working on killing the beast at the second level of difficulty.And, it seems to me, there is a little progress.It remains to finalize some details.Of course, it would be nice if these items were detached from the character.And it would be possible to transfer them to another character through internal mail, or through a shared basket.Is it possible to do this?Or is it against the rules games?All the best.P.S. Does it mean “Damage from a blow”-hand-to-hand?

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Happy to help :slight_smile:

I’m afraid that no, those Retrainers are designed to be this way - like the ones we used pre-1.5.6, which Flagship distributed sometimes. This was chosen to make sure each character only earns the two, as a way to correct mistakes and finalize builds. This way we don’t have cases where players create new characters to respec their old ones, for instance, or where the questline is farmed to sell Retrainers on the CH.
The latter we’re particularly careful with, as players are evidently quite vocal about such matters.

Yes, that achievement only buffs punch damage. It won’t affect sword damage or physical damage of any kind, just hand-to-hand punches.

Okay, thanks.

I don’t quite understand what you’re talking about.Let’s say I messed up the characteristics of my character.And to fix this, I have to either buy retrainers for attributes, skills, expertise, it doesn’t matter, for 400,000-600,000 palladias, or create a new character, taking into account past mistakes.(It will be much cheaper).In addition, the new character, the old character still has things, weapons, palladium.What’s wrong with the fact that, in addition to all this, he will still have one or two retrainers?And, the second point.In “achievements”, to get “+2% damage”, you need to increase the properties of any one skill to 10. And to get “power 8%”-you need, in general, to study ALL your class skills!And, after that, you need to choose the skills necessary for the normal operation of the assembly!And, for this, you need at least one retrainer, but it’s better to have two, since the number of skill points is limited and barely enough to meet the most important requests of the character.From all this it follows that-1)-it is necessary to give the player the opportunity after reaching level 50 to choose how to use the next five points-for expertise, or for skills.(As it was in Hellgate Global).2)-in the examination, return the past values-stamina,willpower,strength,accuracy-to enable the player adjust attributes after level 50.Well, and 3)-still detach the retainers from the character.Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you what to do.This is dictated by the game itself.I think many players will agree with me.All the best.

For one, thank you for the long reply. Discussing such subjects often needs length, so I appreciate that you’re taking the time to do so.
That said, I think we had a misunderstanding here.

Old characters still get access to the questline, so they too will get their 2 Retrainers. What I meant was, to use your example, that players won’t get to both

  1. reroll a new character, learning from past mistakes, AND
  2. use the new one’s Retrainers on an old character, fixing them both.

By memory, I believe that’s how Global also handled this issue - with their free lv50 one, that is.

What’s more, that’s just a typical example of this approach’s merits. My personal primary concern is actually the latter; seeing those on the CH.
Retrainers are valuable currency, because respecs are as inaccessible as they are, and they keep bosses like Moloch relevant and farm-worthy just by themselves. If every new character could pump even one Retrainer into the market by lv30, this would change; those bosses would become less appealing, and existing Retrainers would lose value.
It’s this kind of effect we’d like to avoid too, while still giving each character 2 free chances to finalize their build. For further tweaks there’s always farming, whose rates we’ve also buffed considerably, that should handle that without such shortcuts.

Stop!Let’s start over.And by points.1).It is necessary to give the player the opportunity after reaching level 50 to choose how to use the next five points - for examination, or for skills.(As it was in Hellgate Global).2).-in the “expertise”, return the past values-endurance, willpower, strength, accuracy-to allow the player to adjust attributes after level 50.3).I did not understand why it is impossible to detach the retainers from the character.Please comment on each item individually.I’ll understand everything faster this way.By the way, if a player knows that he can easily fix the situation with skills, attributes, he will not need to create a new character and clutter up the game.I hope I didn’t bore you too much.Have a nice day.

I can try, but I’ll be on the move all day today. So apologies for being briefer than I’d like.

Could you explain this?
I’m assuming you refer to Global’s +5 skillpoints, since it had an extra 5 levels after 50. If that’s the case, we can’t do that without raising the level cap, which will take a while to do properly. I’m all for it, myself, as Flagship’s exp values seem to suggest they wanted to raise it, but we’ve been live for so long that it will have some implications.

This we can’t do; the reason for changing it, put simply, was that those were extremely more valuable than all other expertises. They were blanket +stat boosts that raised stat caps indiscriminately, which not even Global dared do - so we had to revert this Test Center-era decision.
I believe we’ve had this discussion somewhere before - I’ll try to find it when I’m back from work.

It’s not that it’s impossible; we could simply award tradeable Retrainers instead of untradeable ones. We have chosen untradeable ones, like the ones Flagship (and I believe Global) used for such purposes, for the reasons I mentioned above; mainly so each character only gets their own two instead of “farming” new characters for them, and so that the CH isn’t flooded with new Retrainers this way.

I hope this sheds some light on the issue. Should I steal some time today or tomorrow I’ll try to be more thorough, if something still feels amiss.
A great day to you too, of course.

On the first point, I expressed myself incorrectly.I meant raising the level to 55 and for the player to choose where to invest his points.Along the way, a question.If now the maximum level of the character is 50, and the animals are 57-59, then if the maximum level of the character is increased, the level of the animals will also be increased by the same amount?And the difference will remain the same?Or will everything level out?On the second point, I remember we discussed this issue.and, as I understand it, the fact that I disagree with this will not change anything.Regarding my third point, I will say the following:- "There are NEVER many retrainers."And they will always be in demand.

Understandable. This I’d like to see at some point too, but it will have some implications. So I can’t say if or when it will be done.
If it is, I imagine we will have the same +5 points to be spent where the player wants, yeah.

That’s a good question. There are two different ways to establish a level difference; either

  1. the area scales to “player level + x”, or
  2. the area has a set enemy level which is always the same.

The first group would follow the player’s level. So we’d have a lv60 Moloch and so forth. The second group we’d need to choose what to do with, so these areas can either stay the same or follow suit.
My personal view there is that level differences should be more substantive; ie, I don’t like that lv59 areas are farmable. I didn’t like that Sydonai was lv60+ (presumably) to stall for time. So I’d like to reduce these differences, and make them more substantive; have fewer lv56+ enemies, and bump up their difficulty in a different way. Have lv59 enemies discourage lv50 players, because they’re not meant to farm them at lv50.
But that’s just my personal opinion, and such decisions are made by the team as a whole. So I really can’t say what will end up happening if it gets to that.

There will be disagreements everywhere, that’s a given. Sadly, when two parties want different things, one will have its way.
In some cases we’ll budge, like how we did with re-buffing ABs after nerfing them down. In others, like this one, we cannot, because we believe we can’t afford to. But in all cases, discussions are always helpful to both sides.

I agree, but we’d still be devaluing the existing Retrainers if we made the Fateful ones tradeable.
Imagine, at some points we provided tradeable Retrainers after large patches to help people adapt. Many appreciated this, but every time we were also accused of “meddling with the economy” and “devaluing the work people put into farming them”. This is, in part, why we’ve opted for untradeable ones for such cases; everyone gets their personal Retrainer but we still largely leave the economy alone.

What is “X”?

There are contradictions in this sentence.“To reduce the differences”-“to make them more significant” i.e.-to increase the differences.You, somehow, will decide.Decrease, or increase.

Which you, with success, did.Example: "The Wild."Enemies are like the same level as the character, but it’s harder to kill, as enemies are 5-7 levels above the character’s level.About the same as in Australia.But in Australia, the enemy level is correctly indicated 5 levels above the character level.Plus-the number is bigger.



Firstly:Judging by the first screenshot, the armor effectively protects the character from enemies of this character’s level.For greater effect, the armor should be at least the same level as the character.And if you look at the second screenshot, it’s not possible.Because it is not possible to appgrade the armor to the character level.A level 30-45 character can take his level armor from a level 50 character.Then the armor level will be the same as the character’s level.This also applies to weapons.And what about a level 50 character?Where can I get such armor?There is such armor in the store.But, it is impossible to take it from enemies, because the character will be killed by enemies 57-59 level.So, it turns out that the difference between the levels of the character and the enemies should be minimal, at least 3-5, not 9-10.And you say:“I don’t like that lv59 areas are farmable.”

You, almost verbatim, repeated the catch phrase from the story of A.P. Chekhov -“A letter to a learned neighbor.”"It ‘can’t be’ because it ‘can’t be’ ever."We “can’t” because-“can’t”

Have you ever thought that the cheaper the desired product, the more often it will be bought?For an occasion, without a reason, or, simply, in reserve.And the economy will not suffer.Even-on the contrary.A newbie in the game makes mistakes dozens of times until he gets used to it.And when he gets used to it.he’ll take it in reserve anyway.In addition, there is a second, third, fifth newcomer.And so-endlessly.Good luck.

“X” is the level modifier an area has. In Stonehenge’s case, for example, this is 5; so enemy level will be “player level + 5”.

Here I mean to reduce the level difference (ie bring enemies and players closer together than, say, 10+ levels apart), and make the level difference matter more. Example; now you have lv59 enemies you can farm. Personally, I’d reduce the difference (say, 57), but also make it matter more, so you couldn’t farm enemies so much higher than you.
This stems from my belief that the level difference system is meant to tell players where they should and shouldn’t be. If a lv50 player can farm lv59 areas there’s no point in lv50 areas, and there’s no point in enemies being lv59 just to be hard. They could be hard through other modifiers, like the Wilds enemies are - as you mention next.

While I agree, let me just clarify that the Wilds difficulty was not our doing. Australia’s was, as we made that, but the Wilds we got this way.

Exactly; so the player is meant to farm enemies of an equal level, and be punished for farming higher-level enemies. This is not my belief either, but the mechanics Flagship left behind.

Fully agreed.

To explain, we believe we can’t afford to do this. We find that old form of expertises detrimental to the game, so we can’t agree to restore it the way we walked back other changes like ABs.
If this changes in the future, through new developments and dialogue, we might - but we also have a vision for the game which doesn’t always align with everything players want. When it does we compromise, but this isn’t one such case.

For one, these are not my words - so it’s not about me (or us as a team) considering this. These were players’ words, which we must respect since they were so vocal about it and actually made a reasonable point.
But see, this is an example of a player perspective:

This is true, but it misses the perspective of a game’s direction and its creators’ (or ours, much less so) vision. Hellgate has always been very reserved about respecs. It started with minimal drop rates for them, and Global kept them while only handing out one. We increased drop rates, added a new source, and hand out two.
So yes, newcomers would like many Retrainers. Everyone would like more Retrainers - I used over 20 in Global, on one character. But, Retrainers are rare, and are a form of currency and an incentive to farm some bosses whenever one is needed. For sellers, these bosses are a source of income - and sellers and buyers together make up the economy. So, if we made them even more available we’d drive prices down; same demand, more supply. We’d devalue current ones; why buy one when you can roll a new character and get one that way while making money on the way.
This, when we’ve already made respecs more accessible than they’ve ever been AND have been accused manifold of messing with people’s efforts, we’ve decided we can’t do. Still,

these newcomers will earn their own two; they just won’t be able to trade them to other characters. Those characters too can earn their two, and then farm away.

Finally, let me stress again that what I share here are my own opinions. Through them I don’t make decisions; I only cast my vote. Convincing me of anything will only, at best, change one vote - so please don’t believe any single change is up to me alone. I feel this is worth clarifying, for both you and future readers of this convo.

Okay, thanks for the comprehensive answers.And, sorry for the meticulousness, especially at this time of day (we have 4 o’clock in the morning).All the best.

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Always happy to help. It’s 3 here, but it’s at this time of day when I’m usually free to discuss :stuck_out_tongue:
All the best to you too.



Good morning, Bryan.Sorry for the importunity, but I couldn’t keep silent.That’s my character.Pay attention to the prices in these screenshots.These retrainers have been lying for more than a month.(Those that cost 400,000 palladias and above.)What is the benefit to those who accuse you of “interfering in the economy”.?The goods have been lying dead for more than a month!It’s really cheaper for players to create a new character.Plus-skills and experience in the game increase.(Repetition is the mother of learning.)The player takes into account his past mistakes.And he doesn’t need a retrainerthe,cost of which-400000-900000 palladians.Personally, I have been patiently waiting for the price reduction.And often came to the storeAnd then bought 2 retrainer for 270,000-280,000 palladians.And for 400,000 and above, it will be in the store for another month or two.And what is the benefit to your accusers in this?NOTHING!And you say-"interference in the economy."Please discuss this with your colleagues.Or is it still not about the economy?Have a nice day.P.S. I think those who put these retraners in the store use the store as a warehouse.And it’s a pity to throw it away, and no one buys it.So they lie idle.And we all know how to blame someone for something!Not satisfied, there will always be.

A good morning to you too Kole.

A part of this issue comes from our version of the CH, admittedly. If auctions expired properly we’d have a more real-time view of the economy, instead of seeing such leftovers that won’t sell anymore. Because, if I had to guess, I’d imagine those are either from players who have since left, or from ones who hope theirs will sell if the cheap ones are absent.
In either case, any going price, whether 400k or 900k, would still be reduced by higher supply. That’s inescapable; people already reroll characters or make new ones all the time, often just for fun. If each of those yielded 2 more Retrainers to be sold, we’d have an entire supply line outside of farming - which, by definition, devalues the benefit of farming.
That’s why, I believe, both Flagship and Global used untradeable ones too. But even if that was not the reason, limited respec availability was a general design choice they both abided by - and we believe that line is worth keeping.

Imagine, we initially intended to just provide one, like Global did. We decided on the second over time, and that too felt overboard for some of us. So after the Retrainer drop rate/source buffs and us settling for two per character, I really wouldn’t hope for even more conveniences. A respec NPC might come at some point, like the Attribute one, but I don’t think we’ll concede more ground on Retrainers themselves in the near future.