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Lead Designer Thomas Foss on Neverwinter: Undermountain - MMORPG.com

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126
edited April 2019 in News & Features Discussion

imageLead Designer Thomas Foss on Neverwinter: Undermountain - MMORPG.com

Neverwinter recently grew with the Undermountain content expansion. Undermountain brings some huge changes to the game with classes being retooled and much more. We chatted with Lead Designer Thomas Foss about Undermountain and what it brings to the community.

Read the full story here



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Comments

  • ZenJellyZenJelly Member UncommonPosts: 56
    This designer brought an energy to this interview, and more over to the way he sees the game, that makes me want to go back and play it. Too bad the publisher has other ideas, which thus keeps me away.
    vonryan123nycplayboy78Hariken
  • PsychologiPsychologi Member CommonPosts: 4
    never comment normally, but this update is complete garbage, totally broken game devs have no clue what they do peroid!
    AlbatroesWarhawke80OzmodanHariken
  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 7,267
    This update really wasn't well thought out or properly tested (or feedback was just straight up ignored when it was on the pts or something). Only good thing I guess is that was it wasn't WoW:WoD levels of bad in terms of scaling (anyone remembers getting one-shotted by mage mobs at any level during the first 1-2 weeks). Its like they forgot to scale the rest of the game when they scaled damage (i.e. healing from pots/companions/actual spells).
    ScotOzmodan
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 13,282


    never comment normally, but this update is complete garbage, totally broken game devs have no clue what they do peroid!



    Well you have to start sometime, welcome to the boards!

     25 Agrees

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  • NeblessNebless Member RarePosts: 1,456
    edited April 2019
    I haven't had a single problem with the new update. I've leveled from 30 to 32 over the last couple of days. Unlike before I now have to watch for damage taken and use the various heal options I have, unlike before where a high life steal number meant I never had to pay attention to damage at all but that's how it is in all my other games, so why not here too?

    From the posts over on Steam about the Update it looks like most of those not liking it are the high level players, where the few of us lower levels that post aren't having problems with it.

    SWG (pre-cu) - AoC (pre-f2p) - PotBS (pre-boarder) - DDO - LotRO (pre-f2p) - STO - GnH (beta tester) - SWToR - Neverwinter

  • PsychologiPsychologi Member CommonPosts: 4

    Scot said:





    never comment normally, but this update is complete garbage, totally broken game devs have no clue what they do peroid!






    Well you have to start sometime, welcome to the boards!



    yeah after 6years still no clue, welll looking at it as a failed school science project its easier to accept neglect and ignorance from devs
  • Warhawke80Warhawke80 Member RarePosts: 301
    No offense, but This seems like a list of approved questions, there are so many more obvious pertinent questions that should have been asked, like why no new classes in years, why do basic functions like the quest log inexplicably break still after what a half decade? And why ditch the only unique thing Neverwinter had going for it The Foundry...but what do I care I gave up on the IP after WoTC decided that being woke was more important than making games.
  • vonryan123vonryan123 Member UncommonPosts: 277
    Yep they lost me. They keep making changes based on what " they" want not what the players want. Same as the rest of the games they have .....

    image
  • DubbleFisterDubbleFister Member CommonPosts: 4
    Ummm. Undermountain broke the scaling making it damn near unplayable. Are the devs and the interviewer so out of touch with what is actually happening atm in the game?
    Ozmodan
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,206
    edited May 2019
    Nebless said:
    From the posts over on Steam about the Update it looks like most of those not liking it are the high level players, where the few of us lower levels that post aren't having problems with it.
    There's a good reason for that, and he's even saying it out bluntly in the interview: the major goal was to pave the easy and straighforward road to the first-time players, with both the powers and the gearing.

    However, there's a "tiny little" problem with said goal, and that's why you see those posts not just on Steam but everywhere else too (reddit, forum, Youtube, etc. ).
    After the many years of endgame focus, and with the easy leveling (you could get to 70 in a few weeks of very casual play), most current players fall into your "high level players" category, with several alts.

    Trying to reach out for new players, making the game easier and smoother for them - on their own those are good goals.
    At the cost of breaking the game for almost all of the current players, making them angry or leave - makes your good goals look stupid.

    ed: as you said yourself, "where the few of us lower levels"
    Scot
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 13,282
    edited May 2019
    Po_gg said:
    Nebless said:
    From the posts over on Steam about the Update it looks like most of those not liking it are the high level players, where the few of us lower levels that post aren't having problems with it.
    There's a good reason for that, and he's even saying it out bluntly in the interview: the major goal was to pave the easy and straighforward road to the first-time players, with both the powers and the gearing.

    However, there's a "tiny little" problem with said goal, and that's why you see those posts not just on Steam but everywhere else too (reddit, forum, Youtube, etc. ).
    After the many years of endgame focus, and with the easy leveling (you could get to 70 in a few weeks of very casual play), most current players fall into your "high level players" category, with several alts.

    Trying to reach out for new players, making the game easier and smoother for them - on their own those are good goals.
    At the cost of breaking the game for almost all of the current players, making them angry or leave - makes your good goals look stupid.

    ed: as you said yourself, "where the few of us lower levels"
    Easy mode is the only direction a MMO goes in after launch, this nearly always causes huge issues as it makes some gameplay partially redundant. It is a design decision led by marketing wanting more players it is not made for sound gameplay reasons.

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  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,206
    Don't get me wrong, it really is a good goal, and not always necessarily ends up in "causes huge issues as it makes some gameplay partially redundant". It depends on the implementation, and for example Neverwinter was good in that matter. Over the years they've made things simpler, the leveling route was stuffed with tutorials for everything, hand holding through most of the game.

    As I said, with very casual leveling, reaching the levelcap took a few weeks at most. It was already an easy and smooth ride before Mod16 too... 

    With all that in mind, it still could be a good and valid goal to find areas where they can make things even more easy. All I'm saying is, to break most of the game just for that goal was stupid.
    Their other reasoning for the changes (to promote 5e) is also far fetched... I don't see how shoehorning into 4e-based Neverwinter a few simplifications of 5e (and pissing off most of the players during the process) can promote 5e ruleset, or bring in new players to the game.


    Probably they will fix the core issues over the next couple months, I mean there were hotfixes almost every day since Mod16's launch, but I believe the damage is already done, and still a lot needs to be fixed.

    Undermountain is a new course for the game they're willing to go on, this ain't just a Caturday-like issue which they could simply roll back.
    The game as a whole is fairly different now, and only time will tell how large part of the population will like the "new" Neverwinter at the end, when the dust (and fixes) settled.
    Scot
  • NeblessNebless Member RarePosts: 1,456

    Scot said:


    Po_gg said:


    Nebless said:

    From the posts over on Steam about the Update it looks like most of those not liking it are the high level players, where the few of us lower levels that post aren't having problems with it.


    There's a good reason for that, and he's even saying it out bluntly in the interview: the major goal was to pave the easy and straighforward road to the first-time players, with both the powers and the gearing.

    However, there's a "tiny little" problem with said goal, and that's why you see those posts not just on Steam but everywhere else too (reddit, forum, Youtube, etc. ).
    After the many years of endgame focus, and with the easy leveling (you could get to 70 in a few weeks of very casual play), most current players fall into your "high level players" category, with several alts.

    Trying to reach out for new players, making the game easier and smoother for them - on their own those are good goals.
    At the cost of breaking the game for almost all of the current players, making them angry or leave - makes your good goals look stupid.

    ed: as you said yourself, "where the few of us lower levels"

    Easy mode is the only direction a MMO goes in after launch, this nearly always causes huge issues as it makes some gameplay partially redundant. It is a design decision led by marketing wanting more players it is not made for sound gameplay reasons.



    I wouldn't say the update changed the game - be it lower or higher levels to 'Easy Mode'. Pre-Update Neverwinter was just a 'wack a mole' type game. Didn't have to think, just spam you attack over and over again. If anything it was too easy. Now with the update even lower levels are having to actually play the game and think about what they're doing.
    Scot

    SWG (pre-cu) - AoC (pre-f2p) - PotBS (pre-boarder) - DDO - LotRO (pre-f2p) - STO - GnH (beta tester) - SWToR - Neverwinter

  • RangerReekRangerReek Newbie CommonPosts: 1
    First off, we as players saw the problems coming for months. The only thing that is clear after the launch, and in the first week alone, is that the new Mod came out way too quickly. The new area is great, but I finished the entire campaign and leveled to 80 in mere hours. Returning to other areas on the map resulted in ascertaining that there are obvious fixes that need to be done to enhance the experience for "endgame" players.
    The ambition is there, the feedback is there, and now we just have to be patient. Let them hang themselves (like they have done in the past) because all we do is beat the dead horse. I play the game because I have met some great people over the last five years. The current state is almost enough to look for another game, but I realize that the gigantic changes that they made are going to cause problems throughout the whole. Let's let them do their job. The new Mod has been out for 7 days.
    Oh, and I agree that the questions asked were far to easy on the design team. The info giving by Foss may be new to some of the fans here on MMORpg.com, but for the rest of us those are the same things that we have been hearing for 2 months. Give us some solid answers to burning questions we have!
    ScotUngoodPo_gg
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 13,282
    First off, we as players saw the problems coming for months. The only thing that is clear after the launch, and in the first week alone, is that the new Mod came out way too quickly. The new area is great, but I finished the entire campaign and leveled to 80 in mere hours. Returning to other areas on the map resulted in ascertaining that there are obvious fixes that need to be done to enhance the experience for "endgame" players.
    The ambition is there, the feedback is there, and now we just have to be patient. Let them hang themselves (like they have done in the past) because all we do is beat the dead horse. I play the game because I have met some great people over the last five years. The current state is almost enough to look for another game, but I realize that the gigantic changes that they made are going to cause problems throughout the whole. Let's let them do their job. The new Mod has been out for 7 days.
    Oh, and I agree that the questions asked were far to easy on the design team. The info giving by Foss may be new to some of the fans here on MMORpg.com, but for the rest of us those are the same things that we have been hearing for 2 months. Give us some solid answers to burning questions we have!
    Welcome to the Forums! :)
    Po_gg

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    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

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  • AkulasAkulas Member RarePosts: 2,656
    It literally is worse than WoW:WoD level scaling issue bad unless you spam health stones.
    Po_gg

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,206
    Just wanted to drop here the semi-apology of Foss from Friday, as I see it wasn't mentioned yet:
    https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/neverwinter/#/discussion/1248017/message-from-the-mimic-king
    I say semi, since apparently their main concern is not the mess Mod 16 is, nor the leaving players, they only worry about how the upcoming Mod 16 launch will affect the consoles...


    Nebless said:
    [...] If anything it was too easy. Now with the update even lower levels are having to actually play the game and think about what they're doing.
    There's a misunderstanding (or a few, even).
    First, nobody likes easy-mode. There were several threads on that subject here as well (with @delete5230 ; as its spearhead) usually with an agreement on too easy play is harmful on the games the long run.

    I agree with you on Neverwinter's leveling part too, up until let's say level 64 was fairly easy before this change. Here's the issue though, the aim of the changes was to make the game even more smoother. The fact alone that you like it because of you found it more challenging shows how much they've failed their goal. Which leads to

    Second, the game is now easier. Almost to a faceroll magnitude. Surprised? I'm sure that was unexpected to hear... :smiley:
    Of course there is a catch: you have to keep yourself in a very narrow window of character level and gear score, exactly where the devs planned you should be.
    As soon as you're slipping out of that narrow window, the game becomes tough, and the further you're out, the worse it gets - up to the point where dungeons become unbeatably broken.

    And that is clearly an issue, not a design goal of "having to actually play the game and think about what they're doing."  They've really messed it up.
    You can read the comments under Foss' post above to get some ideas on the magnitude of the issue. Cryptic didn't have 6 or 7 fixes already just because they think downtimes and maintenances are fun...
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,206
    ... and yesterday he did the Q&A stream as he announced in his post.
    It had a fair share of PR, he also dodged a few questions, but still was an informative hour.

    He repeated his apology and said "We were so focused on fixing the actual bugs, we didn't see the bigger picture you [the players] were talking about. That's where we missed the mark and blew it. We weren't listening in the right way."

    They announced (maybe as compensation for using the playerbase as live testers), all PC players will get a free pack with goodies, claimable after Thursday, plus they will switch on the double AD rewards for the weekend.

    There will be a big patch tomorrow, fixing the most urgent issues. They acknowledged level and gear scaling was a mess, just as mob spawn scale, players were practically scaled down a couple levels below the content with even worse gear and against broken critters, that's why you've felt it more challenging, @Nebless . Also that has made some dungeons broken, just as Karzov killing newbies easily in the story dungeon.


    QA, the two most pressing questions, or the answers to them actually:
    -No, there won't be a rollback to Mod 15.
    -And a definite yes, scaling will stay from now on, that is a core feature around they're planning to build the upcoming content and the game in the future. However, with the patch of tomorrow Barovia will get rid of the scaling.

    There was a good follow-up question to the scaling, if it stays in the game, why bother with gearing and enchants, etc.?
    Foss: "When the new stuff comes out, you'll gonna need the better gear."
    (Riiight... and until then? And what about all the other parts of the game?)

    Console launch is still on schedule, but if they can't get rid of the most severe issues and bugs by then, they might postpone it. Question: why PC launch wasn't postponed then? No real answer on that, just PR talk about the useful feedback, a thank you for the players, and a mild apology.


    Funny tidbits during the stream,
    Q: why companion healing is so low now? Foss: "Because it is broken. (laugh) And we're fixing it."
    (is it really that funny?)

    Q: chultan tiger (and all the similar items players have spent a ton of AD, Zen, time, effort, etc. ) is turned insignificant overnight. Why, what was the purpose behind it?
    Foss: "Balance. Chultan tiger was the best, everyone had it. There shouldn't be just one thing in the game which is best, it should be balanced out." (???) 
    at least he finished the line of thought with "I think with the tiger we went a bit too far the other way."

    Maybe the most controversial/weird was (since Neverwinter barely has any pvp scene), when Foss talked about how much he loves pvp, and that a lot of the changes in classes, in powers, etc. were for the pvp balance, and that he'd love to see the pvp getting more presence and weight.
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