CM diary #28 - 04/18/2022

“Hello, hello!”

In the words of Lionel Richie, a certain Hellgate NPC, and a wealth of other English-speaking humans who greeted someone after at least 1826.

Well anyway, that bit is going nowhere. So, I trust you’re here for a diary entry, brave survivor of London. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Hopping into Easter

First things first, yes, we did it. As noted last time, we were working on an Easter event which we managed to get out right on time after all.

Well, nearly right on time. But it’s going live soon, and it’s Easter – so forgive thy neighbor, eh? It’ll be two weeks too, so there’s ample time to hunt for those eggs.

If you missed this… revelation, you may find 1.5.9’s patch notes here – which outline the whole thing, and also mention the patch will be live shortly.

In brief, it’s much less expansive than Flagship’s Guy Fawkes and Halloween events. There are no quests for it beyond an informal announcement of one, and there are no progression steps or multiple unique enemies to collect goodies from (and craft consumables of questionable combat usefulness). It’s what the name suggests; a dastardly new enemy spawning randomly across ravaged London, who carries eggs you may collect to craft themed items with.

Still, it’s our first event of its kind, and we’re quite proud of how it turned out. Yes, it’s just 2 weeks a year, so it’s not as conventionally “valuable” as other content. But it’s an event that will now be here forever, for players to look forward to like those beloved legacy events. And that’s a reward for us all in itself.

Mind you, it was also put together under less-than-ideal circumstances. After all the pressure of the past year, pretty much, it wasn’t really on the map until April 1st or so – when the thought just so happened to come up again. And the whole team was a mix of tired and busy, so the actual hands-on time was bits and pieces off our weekends.

This bit I’ll get to again – you’ll notice a theme, kind reader.

The El Diablo that never was

The second bit I feel bears mentioning here is the new Elite encounter for Wart. This one, for such a discreet addition, ticked a few boxes very well – or so I’d like to believe.

Just in the off-chance you didn’t know or notice, Wart is of course a reference-on-legs (pun honestly not intended) to Wirt. So this one brings over the first box; continuing the Diablo reference. I’ve done so before, ever so discreetly, in Architect David’s quest text, but this one should stand out more. And what better way to honor the Architects than to pay some more homage to some of their greatest work, before what would’ve been Diablo 2.5?

…I did pitch “El Diablo” as a tongue-in-cheek name for this enemy, but was thankfully reined in. Common sense prevailed, and London cheered in relief.

The second box it ticked was making Elite Passageways a bit more desirable. Simple enough; Treasure ones carry, well, treasure, and Hidden ones now carry fragments – I’ll get to that too, fear not. But Elites had little going for them beyond Champions, so now they have another purpose. In brief, every Passageway you come across will now have something worth looking out for, and isn’t that a great incentive for exploration.

The third and final box was making this odd Wirt quest hand out an item for each faction. The quest itself still doesn’t, yes, but now each faction can get a usable item out of it. This too always felt a bit weird, so “fixing” that discrepancy also felt great.

Now this one isn’t perfectly executed either; the items don’t require more “pieces of gold” to upgrade, for instance, as the idea initially held. It doesn’t come with some intricate quest that could drive the allusion home more effectively, as one might hope. And the items themselves scale, instead of being fixed at set ideal levels to then need upgrades and dedication. But it still feels good enough, given the circumstances no less, and it’ll make London a better hell-torn place than it was yesterday. Hopefully anyway.

Defragmenting fragments

And here comes the bit at least some of you likely hopped over to. What did we do in this regard then, and why not more?

Well first comes agreeing with the ideas being presented. We did get a bunch of them, and we do thank you for them all. Most of them are still in the drawer, at that. However, some don’t align with what we want the event to be, and some require careful consideration and internal discussion. Which, at this time, could not be done. And I’d much prefer to not take liberties and introduce everything I happen to like; I just work here, and we do function as a team.

So for instance, the idea of adding enemies that drop them to ABs has a point – but clashes with the view many (but not all) of us have that ABs are desirable enough as they are. Perhaps not as desirable some players want them to be, fair enough, but they’re certainly already worth running without the added value. Hidden Passageways, on the other hand, might not be for much longer if their primary appeal is slowly distributed among other sources.

The second issue was implementation. On such short notice, so soon after the last patch, and on such busy times, I could not much bother our devs with deep code explorations and tweaks to facilitate intricate ideas. And I myself… am not a dev (#not-a-dev).

So for example, the idea of adding fragments as minigame caste kill rewards sounds fun at a glance; it does dislodge fragments from Hiddens somewhat, but I personally see the point. It’s a kind of mini-Messenger system, so there’s precedent for it – even if said precedent is in Global, which we… respect for what it was but don’t quite love. But how do you implement such a thing? I certainly couldn’t, and that was another major issue in the way.

Still, 1.5.9 does include new ways to get fragments; 3 daily quests and all Abyss bosses will now carry them. These sources still align with our intent for caste rotations, and they do allow players to do something more beneficial than running Thames for Hiddens.

And hey, even Catas should now work better for fragment hunts, since Elites are also worth batting an eye at now. So win-win, surely.

But in either case, small steps toward ideal compromises. We’ll see how these play out, for starters, and adjust accordingly in time. We’re nothing if not good listeners at the end of the day.

Logging off, maybe

Much less ominous than it sounds, honest.

So finally, I’ve hinted at our schedules and pressure a few times by now. I’ve touched on this issue before, at that; the fabled break we never take.

Well, to be real, we’ll never fully take that break. Working on Hellgate has become a hobby as well, and even a distraction from RL work, somehow. So something will always be in the works. But that said, after this last unexpected piece of stress (the blame for initiating which falls squarely on me, I confess), we’re definitely slowing down this time.

What this means for you, dear reader, is I don’t know if there will be a new diary 2 weeks from now. There might not be enough work to report on, or not enough exciting developments to share, or community concerns and turmoil to address. And if that’s the case, I’d rather not take up your time or tag you on our Discord for simple reassurances that we’re here with little value.

So, this section needed to be here just to prevent concerned speculation. CS is on the table already, and so is other stuff. The scratchpad is also full again, somehow. So rest assured we’re always here, hammering away, even if finally slowing down means there’s no progress report worth sharing in 2 weeks.

Bye!

And there you have it – a longer, wordier entry, because I’m finally enjoying some downtime and had ample stuff to cover. Despite the slight delay, I do hope you enjoy the Easter event, alongside everything else 1.5.9 brings.

Until next time then, all the best :slight_smile:

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