EverQuest II: Weekly Developer DiariesEQII: Rise of Kunark - Tradeskills Dev Diary #5EverQuest II: Weekly Developer Diaries - RSS 2.0
Tuesday, October 25, 2007
Well, it's been a very unusual week to say the least, and definitely not how I think anybody expected our last week before content lock to be. The moon in the sky tonight looks huge and is a strange yellow-orange colour from the ash and other particles still in the air over San Diego as we recover from terrible fires all around the city.
But to step back in time a moment ... Last Friday when I left work I was anticipating a long hard week's work to get all the new content in before our content lock first thing Saturday 27th. I joined a few friends and co-workers at a karaoke bar on Friday night and then played my normal Traveller RPG with my friends online on Saturday morning (to the tune of a cool 2 million credits' profit), then spent the rest of the day working. I wanted to create a quest for Kylong Plains so that crafters who are not high adventure level could quest a sokokar mount; the sokokar quest for high level adventurers had already been done by Srukin, but since it required combat, it wasn't appropriate for high level crafters who might be lower level adventurers. Since I hadn't known this would be needed, I hadn't scheduled any time for this, so the weekend's project was to try and slip in a crafter-friendly version of the sokokar quest before the content lock.
Since I'm still far from familiar with quest writing, I just took Srukin's quest and basically mirrored it, removing the parts where high adventure level was required and replacing them with crafting tasks. I had a little fun at his expense in the process; where his first quest has Borbin Happens asking adventurers to go kill 24 drolvarg and bring back their fangs as proof, my first quest has Borbin's assistant despairing about what to do with all the drolvarg fangs that are piling up and asking the crafters to make something useful out of them. And so on. There were a couple of complicated tricky bits, but fortunately (for me -- maybe not for him) Srukin happened to be in working on Saturday as well and he was nice enough to explain the bits of his quest I wasn't quite sure how to work with. I spent most of Sunday in the office also finishing off the quest and by the end of Sunday I was pretty happy with it.
Sunday is when the fires started getting out of control around San Diego, but as I was mostly in the office I wasn't really aware of how serious it had become. It was Monday morning when I realized just how big the fires must be. I don't normally turn my alarm clock on; I'm a very light sleeper, and just the sky starting to lighten is generally enough to wake me up by about 6:30 at this time of year. Since most people get to work around 10, that's definitely not a problem. On Monday morning though I didn't wake up till 7:30 because it was so dark outside, and when I did wake up, I thought at first it was a cloudy, rainy day. It was only when I looked out the window that I realized it was smoke in the sky, not cloud, and that the fires were much worse than I'd thought.
The last three days have been pretty surreal. There's been a constant smell of burning in the air, and quite frequently there's been ash raining down from the sky. The swimming pool at my apartment complex looks as if someone poured a few ash trays into it; my balcony has enough ash on it to sweep off in clouds with a broom. The office was closed from Monday to Wednesday since they've been asking people to stay off the freeways so that evacuations and emergency vehicles can move around, plus half the office staff seemed to be evacuating their houses and scattered all over the state staying with family and friends. Gallenite said at one point he had about 7 people, 3 dogs, and a couple of cats at his place alone, a little mini SOE evacuation center.
Since my area didn't have to evacuate and since I can get to the office without using any freeways, I ended up going to the office all three days anyway and actually got quite a lot of work done. Monday and Tuesday were pretty quiet but on Wednesday a few more people came in. Kander, who used to work in customer service before joining the design team, came in and spent a good part of Wednesday helping out the very short-staffed CS team. I had contemplated going over myself, actually, but since I have no idea how to do any of what they do, I figured I'd be more of a hindrance than a help overall. I spent my time creating faction writs, recipes, and quests instead, and working on the tradeskill tutorial.
Today, Thursday, was the first day that we were theoretically back at work. Work today and tomorrow is optional; those who are still affected by the evacuations and the fires are of course not expected to be in. But, most of the rest of us were, and the office felt more or less normal, if a bit on the quiet side. I can't speak for everyone else, but I was glad to have some human company once again, having spent the past 5 days working in a mostly empty office with almost nobody to talk to, and the evenings in a mostly empty apartment watching DVDs and making model slugs out of modelling polymer (don't ask). Apart from the fact Silverfrost informs me I have apparently discovered a new way to crash zones, this time with tradeskill writ quests (go me), all is pretty much well once again in tradeskill land and now we just await the decision on when the new date for the content lock will be.