“Oh, hi!”, quoth the Conrad.
This not-too-brief, but very special diary comes with a few different notes and news, including where you, dear reader, can contribute to the project’s course. So, here we go.
First, a very quick heads-up; we seem to be getting a new skill planner! Our resident Seadee is working on one, and we’re absolutely thrilled to see that.
If you’d like to keep up with that, or even contribute yourself, I hear there might be a forum post on this soon-ish. Until then, there’s always our Discord server where you might catch up on how it’s going.
…it’s a reference, you see, for wonderful times.
On to our stuff then, patch notes are finally available – if you haven’t seen them yet, you may find them here. This one won’t quite dethrone 1.5.5 in my heart as the most extensive, polished patch we’ve ever released, but it’s a close second.
This one too brings a ton of new things to see, do, and adjust to; the good, and presumably the bad and the ugly as regards some inevitable nerfs. But this classification I’ll leave to you to judge, dear reader.
What I may do here is one, note what we’ve learned through this patch’s cycle, and two, clarify a few things on our end. The latter are strictly to avoid some avoidable confusion that sometimes seems to take hold.
The former, then:
- We’ve added more data safeguards. Mistakes slipped through over time, as you’ll notice with item repairs, for example. With these safeguards, we’ll minimize such issues moving forward.
- We’ve become more comfortable with retroactive changes. This you might notice with Naturalism/Spiritualism affix changes being retroactive; by memory, the first such instance post-Beta that’s not RoF changes. We’ve become more accustomed to how exactly this kind of application works, so we now have this card to play if need be.
- We’ve grasped events. Probably the highlight of the patch, we’ve finally made our own event. This experience was also invaluable, and will certainly help us design more events for special occasions in the future. Say, Easter egg hunts… ?
Now, the latter part. This bit is rather specific to clearing up specific bits of our course, and explains how we work as a team. If that’s very secondary to you, which is perfectly logical, you may safely skip ahead to the next exciting section.
For those who don’t:
- We’re a team. First, I need to stress this; we’re a team that functions as one. We have different perspectives on different issues, and we vote on changes. Please don’t assume any single one of us is dictating our course – least of all me, half-a-content-dev (#not-a-dev) Bryan. I seriously just work here, and all my opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.
- We’re a very busy bunch. This is absolutely not to excuse any oversights at any point; I simply highlight this to explain our patch schedules and communication frequency. This should halfway explain our work’s focus as well; roadblocks along the way need specific people’s time to tackle, so the rest of us workaholics need something else to deliver on. It’s this kind of situation that often creates wide-reaching patches, where one might wonder why they weren’t broken down into smaller pieces.
- We have testers. Finally, to address this general concern that I fear will emerge again in light of the Evoker nerfs – we have testers in our active CMs and Shady Ones. This I need to bring up to clarify that our choices never come in the dead of night, but are always examined carefully by our testers to the best of their ability. We will certainly miss the mark here and there, because we neither have the time nor can we perfectly emulate live conditions to anticipate every change’s exact impact. But we function as a team in this regard as well, which I feel bears repeating here.
Finally, on the subject of keeping an eye on the (live) ground, my question on surveys still stands. Please, if you’d like to have your voice heard and your feedback noted, state your interest and we’ll extend a willing ear.
Not a Disturbed reference, honest.
Speaking of voices, then, this I think will excite some of you dear readers. I’ve actually been contacted about this before, which really pleased me.
So, as the patch notes noted, we’ll be focusing much more heavily on solid expansion-esque content. Our needs are fewer right now, but will expand over time to animation, model design, what have you – as long as our tools keep up with our creative cravings.
For now, however, there’s the endgame expansion to look forward to. For it, we have new characters who need new voices. And here is where you might come in!
We will soon craft something more official than a diary entry on this, but the gist will be simple; we’ll need to record the typical 1-to-5-second NPC lines for, well, new NPCs. Those will need to be somewhat faithful to the characters (ie gender, personality, general tone, perhaps plot-related tidbits), but creativity beyond these basics is always welcome. So, if you’d like to contribute your voice lines for other players to love, hate through endless repetition, or meme into stardom, you will soon have the opportunity to do so.
Please let us know if this does interest you down below, and we’ll be in touch when the time comes.
Finally, speaking of time, this bit is where I make this my personal blog and announce my resignation.
No, not even. It’s just a break. Rest assured, there’s plenty ahead.
But it is indeed time, to maintain a logical flow here, for me to finally take my step back. This too is rather personal and lengthy, so this too you may skip at your leisure.
For the rest of you, I’d like to briefly explain this choice and what’s to come.
If you’ve followed the link above, you pretty much know the basics. But that diary is dated, so here’s the full timeline of this phase of my Hellgate journey.
First, after modest work over months past, we got deep into work over the summer. This was where pressure first mounted, as I took on a more active role in actually getting things done. Then, as fall came, we started facing the October 30th deadline; the game’s anniversary was coming, you see, and we wanted to commemorate it appropriately.
And then came freedom, hm? No, not at all.
That dreaded patch, for all its merits, came with flaws. Hotfix time then, and now we’re done. No, not even; you see, that hotfix included the drop rate buff reversal, my personal blunders (hello Australia), and some other oversights. Back to work then, quoth the Holloway, to fix the hotfix. And what’s that, digging unearths more issues to address.
Fast forward, and here we are. January’s ending, and I can’t wait to finally stop for a bit.
See, I want to have the time to actually play through the things we’ve made. I come on the live server pretty much always as a GM, and very, very rarely as a player. Frankly, I don’t have the will to play the game I’m endlessly working on on my free time too.
Second, there will actually come a time when I do need to mostly resign. Life only gets busier over time, and at some point there won’t be a 25th hour in the day for Hellgate. So I really want to make my time here count while I have it, because there are a few substantial milestones I’d like to see through.
It’s for those two reasons that I’m taking a break now. It’s not about player backlash; after 5 years and counting it’s pretty much a guarantee of life. It’s not about the team fading out either; those of us who can be here are here and are working, or there wouldn’t be this diary.
Still, I’ll still be here and on Discord. You’ll still get the diaries, at most with some help from my colleagues, and all the casual banter and semi-useful support I bless our server with.
It’s just that I’ll slow down the pace, for just a bit. And then comes more, why yes.
Slightly better than “FIN”, hm?
So now I may leave you, dear reader. I hope that you enjoy the patch, and that perhaps you’ll find the opportunity to voice some characters intriguing. Finally, I hope you’ll enjoy what the future holds, when the time for new adventures comes.
Until then, all the best!