The Secret World Interviews: The Enhanced Player Experience - Our Exclusive Interview
By Suzie Ford on March 11, 2015
MMORPG: How has the deployment of the patch gone today?
Romain Amiel: The patch has deployed smoothly. No major issues. A little hiccup with a store item but people seem to be happy. Lots exploring all the new changes. Probably the biggest update with a lot of things to discover
MMORPG: Why not use the EPEEN moniker? (Just a silly question from a reader...they LOVED this!)
RA: EPEEN was Joel being Joel but internally it’s what we call it too!
MMORPG: Why now for the Enhanced Player Experience improvements over a year or more ago?
RA: I have been crying for this for three years and they were all sick of me crying about it. This was something I wanted to do from before launch. It’s been stacking up and getting bigger and bigger and every patch I tried to get rid of things on it. It was time and we were able to focus on both this and Issue 11 so it wouldn’t come at the cost of content and fast updates.
Players will be taught right off the start to use both weapons and will be given a lot more information (DPS, healing, tanking) and once 2nd weapon chosen, they will be given much more information about how to use those weapons, how to build a class.
Story should always be accessible by getting rid of the frustration. Those who love challenging content will still find that clearly marked and easy to find (nightmare camps, targeting a nightmare monster, etc.)
MMORPG: How build specific are the mission quest rewards? How clear will it be made for a new player on whether or not it’s a good choice for their build?
RA: Old mission rewards were terrible and not clear. We got rid of all this. Completing story missions now will give blue talismans and weapons that feel and are powerful and, eventually, players will receive a purple weapon at the end of Transylvania. We want people completing something story wise that looks cool, is powerful and can be upgraded.
All other missions in Kingsmouth will give players the option to choose tanking/DPS/healing rewards. All the way until mid-Egypt, every single action mission will reward you one talisman tailored more for solo-type play that might be a hybrid DPS/healing, tanking/DPS etc. At the end game, however, we want players to be more specialized and talismans will be single-style.
World drops are not tailored to any build or player character and are very random. Completing dungeons will see players get build specific equipment.
MMORPG: Some have said that AoE has been nerfed into the ground. What rationale was utilized for this decision?
RA: AOE reduction was not a punishment. The team has taken to the forums to explain the reasons behind changes. Mainly we found that AOE was all that was being equipped and we wanted to have a much more obvious difference between a single target and multiple target ability use. Loss of DPS is negligible overall. We’ve added more power the more monsters that are AoE’d. AoEs will affect 6 monsters at any given time. But we want players to assess things and try to use single target abilities on one or two monsters and AOE on groups.
MMORPG: Have combat mechanics been changed in any way to reflect the new "snappier" combat?
RA: This update is more of a statistical change, not a mechanical one. It’s difficult to point out what it is that is disliked about combat. We think combat seems different than other games. We want the game to be more chaotic and active than other games. We are trying to make combat more visceral. The counterpart to those who say they dislike combat is that a lot of people love the mechanic and that other games feel so slow and static.
We do listen and read what people say and try to respond to that.
MMORPG: What about ability re-balancing?
RA: Elite abilities felt visually and statistically underwhelming. We didn’t want players to go “meh” after finally getting an elite. We want Elites to be cool, in many ways to let players be a super hero. With this update, we want people to revisit them and see that they are cool to use and effective.
Our goal was to look at the abilities that no one used and figure out how to make them better. Some just looked bad and we worked to make some new animations and particle animations to make them better. Additionally, we want people to have more options on what to use rather than feeling as if there is only one way to play a build.
This is only the first phase too. We are working on the next step that will make everyone want to go back and revisit elites.
MMORPG: So, about Quality of Life improvements…
Regarding Fast Travel - Best way to travel up to now has been to kill yourself and then teleport where you want to go. As a designer, this is sad from a RP perspective. We decided to embrace a fast travel system. It is throughout the entire game. Multiple anima wells expands a player’s travel options. In dungeons, this fast travel is not available and in PvP, nothing has changed.
- New icons show only on the main map.
- All icons can be toggled on and off. The map will feel almost overwhelming but can be sorted by turning certain things on and off.
- All content will show, including main missions and side missions. Some side missions have been willingly left off the map to keep exploration fun.
- All vendors are shown with information about what wares they sell and what currency they take.
- Nightmare monster camps have also been added.
MMORPG: Do you anticipate that a player’s Effusion (Gear) Score will become a barrier to dungeon/raid entry?
RA: We are trying to let people use a universal score to use to compare themselves to others and to their own equipment. It’s a fairly simple scoring system. More hardcore people probably won’t use it as it is less complex than the player-created systems that have been used over the last years.
The basic idea is for a player to look at the score and, if it’s higher, it’s better, all without having to worry about stats.
MMORPG: Anything new in the Item Shop?
RA: Yes, we have a new dance and Shoes of Synchronicity that allows players to set up choreography. A party leader wearing the shoes gives a buff to other members in the group to mimic the dance at the same time. Some really cool things can be created with this synchronicity.
MMORPG: What’s next on the list?
RA: Issue 11 – we have been working on it for some time and it is not too far off. Stay tuned and all that!