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TRANSCRIPT: Twitter Dev Chat August 21, 2013 – Class Changes

Hey all,

Sapience posted the transcript of the Twitter Dev Chat from August 21st. It’s all about the upcoming Class Changes! Allthough it’s quite a lot, I’ve decided to post it all since it’s quite important, at least in my opinion.

Members of the LOTRO team answered over 40 questions during a recent live developer chat on twitter. The focus was on the Class Changes coming with Helm’s Deep this fall.

The members of the dev team who took part, and what they’re working on.

  • Matt “Hoarsedev” Zimmitti – Lead Systems Designer (Classes)
  • Jared “Amlug”Hall-Dugas – Senior Designer (MTX)
  • Trevor “Jinjaah” McEwen – Associate Systems Designer (Classes)
  • Erika “Deviled_Egg” Ng – Associate Systems Designer (Classes)
  • Rick “Sapience” Heaton – Community Manager

Hi Everyone, we’re going to start just a little early with questions submitted via the forums. Here we go! #LOTRO

Q1: bgriggs: Are the current virtues and traits being incorporated into the new system at all? #LOTRO
A1: HoarseDev: Virtues will remain mostly the same. Traits are now completely rolled into the new system. #LOTRO

Q2: Yulin-Gladden: How will these changes effect Mounted combat? Are those skils getting a revamp as well? #LOTRO
A2: Deviled_Egg: Any benefits gained from these new traits will be isolated from Mounted Combat. #LOTRO

Q3: Leixy: Using war-steeds as a template, how will trait points be earned and spent on trait trees? #LOTRO
A3: HoarseDev: You’ll earn a point every other level. You’ll also earn points from some deeds. #LOTRO
A3a:You’ll choose a specialization at an early level that will grant specific bonuses and affect the cost of traits as you spend them #LOTRO

Earning points every other level. Okay, it’s not every level, like in Rift, but it sounds earily the same. I do wonder how it will all work in combination with skills you get from trainers. Cause that’s also still possible. (See question 23). In Rift we’ve got the Soultrees. You get a soulpoint for each level and you can invest I think a total of 63 points? Not sure, cause, like here in Lotro, I’m noway near level cap in Rift. I’m only just starting out there.
But, and that’s my point, it gives you a great way to specialize exactly how you want it to. I think that can be very interesting!

Q4: WertyJohn: Are you going to revamp combat animations too? #LOTRO
A4: Jinjaah: We are addressing animations on a case by case basis.#LOTRO
A4a: Some are far too long and are being shortened to increase responsiveness.#LOTRO
A4b: Ferocious Strikes for Champions is an example of this. #LOTRO

Q5: banjolier: For players who spent TP to unlock trait slots, how will you convert our existing purchases to the new system? #LOTRO
A5: HoarseDev: Your specialization choice gives you access to bonuses as you spend points. #LOTRO
A5a: These are unlocked in the same way as the old slots and those purchases carry over to the new system. #LOTRO

Q6: Laire: Will we be able to save different trait set-ups? If so, how many? #LOTRO
A6: HoarseDev: Two set-ups to start. You can purchase more if you like. #LOTRO

Q7: Grhysli: How much of this new system is going to be gated behind the LOTRO Store? #LOTRO
A7: HoarseDev: Only the slots similar to the old Premium/F2P purchases and additional builds after the two you get for free. #LOTRO

Hmmm… Two traitlines free and others have to be paid for. I wonder if that’s a bad thing at all. After all, right now people usually use 1 – 2 trait lines. I know the yellow hunter line is hardly used (although I think it has potential). I think I’m gonna wait and see how it turns out before putting more traitlines on my TP wishlist.

Q8: Schinderhannes: Will the update allow us to use 4 legendary traits at the same time? #LOTRO
A8: HoarseDev: No, but the ones you have will be more potent. #LOTRO
A8a: Deviled_Egg: Legendary traits are now a part of each trait tree, and are available for purchase at the end of the tree. #LOTRO
A8b: There is also a Legendary Passive bonus that depends on your specialization.#LOTRO
A8c: This will be unlocked when you spend a certain number of points overall. #LOTRO

Q9: Mildford: Will the new traits system be offered to creeps too? #LOTRO
A9: Jinjaah: Creeps will be getting Corruption Set Bonuses but not full on trait trees. #LOTRO

Q10: Grimdi: Will there be detailed dev diaries on the upcoming class/system changes before HD release? #LOTRO
A10: Deviled_Egg: We are planning to release dev diaries for each class. #LOTRO
A10a: Sapience: I see many long hours of editing in my future… #LOTRO

I hope they will indeed post developer diaries for each class. And an example of a trait tree would be great! Will it be something like Rift has? Or will it be completely different?

Q11: Raven-EU: What was the primary driver(s) for this change? #LOTRO
A11: Jinjaah: I think there were two main things that drove these changes: #LOTRO
A11a: 1. We wanted to design the trait trees in such a way that as soon as you leave the intro, #LOTRO
A11b: your trait line starts to play as it was envisioned instead of later on down the road when you began to collect traits. #LOTRO
A11c: 2. We really wanted each trait line to sort of stand out from the rest and reduce some of the class homogenization #LOTRO
A11d: that had slowly occurred over the years. #LOTRO

Q12: Zombielord: Will retraiting still require our character visiting a bard/class trainer? (Hope not) #LOTRO
A12: Jinjaah: Nope! Respeccing your trait tree can be done on the fly so long as you are out of combat. #LOTRO
A12a: Deviled_Egg: The process is similar to how you re-trait in Mounted Combat #LOTRO

This I like! Up until I’ve hardly changed my traitlines unless I was in the vicinity of a bard. I didn’t go looking for a bard/trainer to change my traits. Perhaps I’ll make more use of the differences between the traitlines when I can change them on the go.

Q13: Silmelin: Can minstrels still switch (with in game silver) between being as strong as possible War-speech minstrels #LOTRO
Q13a: who can enjoy all the solo content of the game, and as strong as possible healers who’ll get invited to Instances and Raids? #LOTRO
A13: HoarseDev: You can switch builds with silver. #LOTRO

Q14: Judi: Will there be a new class added to the game? #LOTRO
A14: HoarseDev: Not for Helm’s Deep. #LOTRO

No new class introduced for Helm’s Deep, was the explicit answer. Now, that beggs me to question: will there be a new class introduced in an update/expansion AFTER Helm’s Deep for another update/expansion? Hoarsedev didn’t outright say no, now did he?

Q15: Laire: Using all of their points, on average how many active skills does a 85 toon have? #LOTRO
A15: Jinjaah: Our goal, and it isn’t the same across the board, is for all classes to have around 20 skills after spending all their points.
A15a: Things like travel paths will not count towards this cap. #LOTRO

Q16: medwulf: will the class changes affect LI’s and Legacies at all? #LOTRO
A16: HoarseDev: Ugh, we have a lot of updating to do. #LOTRO

Q17: Moochi: How will the new system afford us the same flexibility we have now, #LOTRO
Q17a: without buying many trait sets through the store? #LOTRO
A17: Jinjaah: A lot of time and effort was put into the construction of the trees to encourage spending points #LOTRO
A17a: in trees that you did not specialize in. #LOTRO
A17b: The new system should offer various forms of hybridization to explore.#LOTRO

Q18: @BhorisTheSpider Will the class changes mean a L95 character may be less potent (healing/damage) than an corresponding L85 character? #LOTRO
A18: HoarseDev: They’ll be more potent in their specialization. This will come at the cost of broad utility.

Q19: @greendragoon Is there going to be any effort to streamline the Warden’s massive (and convoluted) abilitiy list? #LOTRO
A19: DeviledEgg In short, yes. Some gambits are being trimmed, some are being placed in different specialization.
A19a: The total number of gambits will be decided by how you choose to specialize.

Q20: @osmihu Can you give some specific examples of specializations? #LOTRO
A20: Jinjaah The hunter could choose between the bowmaster or huntsman. #LOTRO
A20a: Huntsman has less range, but can induct on the move. #LOTRO
A20b: Where the bowmaster has much greater range, but must plant his feet to deal damage. #LOTRO

I’ve gotta choose between Huntsman skills and Bowman skills? Darn. I don’t know if I like that. Or is it just because I’m so used to have all my skills available to me? Is it something I can get used to, like I do that easily on Rift, just because Rift has got the skill trees straight from the beginning? Hmmm…… Lots to think about and to learn!

Q21: @ForgotMyGambits Hunters currently have a lot of skills. Will there be skill consolidation? #LOTROA21: JinJaah Yes. There is some skill consolidation to reduce the overall skill count to around 20. A21a: Per specialization. Travel skills won’t count towards that number. #LOTRO

Hmmm… Only 20 skills after spending all points at level 85? I wonder what it will be like on early levels. Do we have to relearn everything we’ve learned so far (as in pushing/clicking the correct buttons)? It’s a good thing all the “guide to” hunter skills aren’t part of those “20 skills specialization”. Cause that would sure as hell limit your porting possibilities! Still…. 

Q22: @brrzap can we change specializations later or is this a 1-time choice? #lotro
A22: DeviledEGG Yes you can change your specializations. Respecing your tree will also allow you to choose a new specialization.

Q23: @osmihu Will skills still be purchased from the trainer or gained from the tree? #LOTRO
A23: JinJaah Some will be gained from the tree, others will be auto-granted based on level. #LOTRO

Q24: @mavegibson Will there be dramatic changes to the skills we have, and will there be skills specific to our trait lines? #LOTRO
A24: All: Yes and yes!

Q25: @ElinneaG Will new characters be able to see all the traits/skills before choosing a specialization? #LOTRO
A25: HoarseDev Yes. You’ll be able to see all specializations and trees before deciding. #LOTRO

Q26: @Gihalahad will players have to sacrifice surviveability for damage?
A26: HoarseDev. Yes and vice versa. Though there is room to dip into both.

Q27: @nick_wilbur you guys keep saying specialization will be chosen at a low level & bonuses granted. Initially, what can we expect with toons at 85?
A27: DeviledEGG We’ll autogrant you the correct number of points for your level. #LOTRO
A27a: Deeds that previously gave traits will give trait points. #LOTRO
A27b: You can choose your specialization and spend your points when you login when HD goes live. #LOTRO

I just hope they introduce Helm’s Deep after November 30th, cause that’s when NaNoWriMo will be done and I AM going to participate in this event again this year come hell or high water (or is it the other way around?).

Q28: @landlover64 how different will the play style of our characters be with the changes to how they play now? #LOTRO
A28: DeviledEgg They’ll still feel like the class you know, just better versions. #LOTRO
A28a: Jinjaah They should feel better catered to the role they were destined to fill. #LOTRO

Q29: @miofli Will certain currently unused trait lines, eg the yellow hunter line, change role? #LOTRO
A29: Jinjaah Traitlines like the hunter’s yellow line are being revamped more than others. #LOTRO
A29a: DeviledEGG In general we want each traitline to feel just as good as the next. #LOTRO

Q30: @corynettnin Classes like cappies and champs are considered off-tanks. Will these changes move them closer or further from being “real” tanks?
A30: DeviledEGG Each tanking specialization will be effective, but in its own way. #LOTRO

Q31: @skinnynakedboy will all hunter traps become skills and are there going to be more traps available as they have potential but are underrated #LOTRO
A31: Jinjahh Hunter traps are becoming skills.
A31a: They will be usable in combat and some have had their potency changed to make them feel less ‘underrated’. #LOTRO

Q32: @Aelrindel what about creeps classes and traits? #LOTRO
A32: Jinjaah Creeps will be getting corruption set bonuses. #LOTRO
A32a: These bonuses give various buffs and effects based on the corruptions slotted. #LOTRO

Q33: @Scoed To respec for silver, will we have to refund and respend all points, or just the parts we want to change? #LOTRO
A33: HoarseDev It’s all or nothing. #LOTRO

Q34: @Ranni Will the trap skills share a common cool down? #LOTRO
A34: Jinjaah No, they will each have their own cool down. #LOTRO

Q35: @Merry_Forest88 Can we expect increase of power and abilities from under-power Lore-Master Pets and Captain Herald? #LOTRO
A35: DeviledEGG We are trying to better balance the potency of LM pets and Capt. Heralds. #LOTRO

Q36: @eldaeriel can you tell us any timeframes? For dev diaries, beta testing of changes #lotro
A36: Sapience You can expect to see them “Soon”. You’ll get an 11.3 Dev diary first. End of the week. #LOTRO

I’m guessing a lot of relearning is due when HD goes live. BUT……Please, please, please, don’t let it go live until December 1st (technically that’s still fall! Right?)

Q37: @Lord_Dolvic will we still have “use skill X” deeds, legendary trait page deeds and quests? Will they now reward trait points? #LOTRO
A37: DeviledEGG Completing these deeds will now reward trait points.
A37a: Jinjaah If you have already completed these deeds, your progress will be carried over. #LOTRO

I think it might be wise if I tried to get all the trait deeds I’ve got right now completed. The more deeds I’ve got completed (and thus traits available, although not slotted), the more points I have availabe when the new system goes live. I foresee a lot of work for Sheherezi and Shriya. And well, basically all others who already have class deeds. Those who don’t have class deeds…. I think I’ll keep them away from those until the new system goes live. I foresee a lot of crafter potentials coming up!

Q38: @Crappledumpkins Recently chickens & a referee have been spotted at the Hobnanigans field again. Will this event be returning soon?
A38: Amlug WE’re working on it. WE have no ETA, but we’d like to see this make a return. #LOTRO

Q39: @leixicon will all trait lines still be auto-unlocked for VIPs? #LOTRO
A39: Hoarsedev Yes they will. #LOTRO

Q40: @JVaughn227 What’s being done to address the current in game lag and severity of it?
Q40: Sapience Some changes are going in to address mounted combat lag with Update 11.3.
Q40a: We also continue to add more monitoring tools to help isolate other issues.

Q41: @paspinall42 What about the disparity in the class deeds,, with changes in levels for skills and the like some can complete faster than others.
A41: DeviledEGG We’re aware of this issue and we’re addressing it. #LOTRO

So, what do you think of it all?  I do like the idea of specialization, though. I realise we have the possibility to specialize now, but a better way would be great!


About Ilse Mul

Junior Game Designer, Author, Lotro addict, Puzzle Pirates addict

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