Asherons Call: Interview with Ken Troop

| 30 Jan 2002 21:58

Colin's Interview with Ken Troop

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Ken Troop, and I'm the Producer for the AC Live team. This means I am responsible for directing the efforts of our 8 person team to produce each monthly Event for the game, as well as coordinating with Microsoft about the day-to-day game content issues.

Why AC? (Ie why choose to work for Turbine?)

For a long time I was into multiplayer-gaming, especially MUDS (text based online games, mostly rpgs, for those who don't know). I would easily spend 30-40 hours a week playing, administering, and helping to design the MUD that I was supporting. I tended to ignore graphical mmorpgs, as I was very happy with my game. But when I found out that a local company (Turbine) were behind Asheron's Call, I decided it was worth investigating them further and seeing if I could do professionally what I had loved doing in my recreation time.

What is your favorite quest in AC that you didn't design and why?

There are so many cool quests. Right now my favorite quest is the Newbie Outpost quests we introduced in December. I think they combine terrific visuals and details along with a concise story, and with rewards that make perfect sense for the levels of which the quest is designed. I really enjoy it. I also think the main quest were doing in January also fits this mold.

What is your favourite monster in AC?

Hmm, probably my favourite looking is the Hollow Minion. They convey a sense of creepiness and "bizarro-world" flavor very well.

This next question is from Hiro of Deepnet - he dared me to ask it so I did

What color underwear do you wear on Tuesdays?

I don't wear underwear.

Now some AC related questions.

Our monarch Orginal is a Lev 120+ UA spec, he and many other High level UA fighters have a severe lack of decent quest weapons and are outkilled by dagger and sword users half their level. In certain unofficial previews of DM there was mention of a Double Strike Cestus - although this seems to have been either wrong info or pulled for some unknown reason - which is a shame as it would have made UA at high skill levels more comeptiive with Triple strike dagger and double strike sword. - is there ever going to be some High Skill level love for UA?

Yes, and not just for UA, but all weapons. It is one of the main things on our plate right now, but there's no definitive month in which I can say it's going in. We're working on it.

We have recently purchased a clan mansion in game - however even though it is close to zhaikal it is pretty much useless due to the fact that people have to run there and some people are just too low level to make it there alive - will there be a Mansion Recall command added to the game?

We are currently working on this as well.

Our clan has many europeans in it - its not hard to notice that all the important things tend to happen while we are asleep - especially things like housing opening - I have friends that would love to get a villa or a cottage but can't because they live in the wrong time zone - this doesn't seem fair to me as housing was the reason they bought DM in the first place, This is kind of disheartening to them - they save up the items to get a villa or cottage - goto sleep and then find that every one has come on the market and been sold while they slept - will the time that certain things happens ever be changed to occur at a more European friendly time? After all AC is played by many many people all over the world.

We are trying to vary up the times during which housing comes online. We have opened up different waves houses at almost all ranges throughout the day (EST) ranging from early in the morning to late at night. We will continue to try to open up houses at different times as we continue to bring them into the


I know turbine has a policy of balancing through content - if so then why is everyone rerolling a spec mage? I have a lev 108 Swordsman that I never play because he just can't be effective against the new monsters that are added each month - all of which a mage can take down in seconds. Will there be efforts made in the future to make melee a more useful class to play at high levels?

Yes, this is a part of our weapon balancing and improving process. This is definitely one of our focuses.

Lockpick has recently been the recipient of much love (Virindi Keys/Mnemosyne Keys) are there plans to give the other tradeskills some form of boost in the future also, or are skills like alchemy and cooking forever to be the skills of mules only?

Cooking will be seeing some new things shortly. Right now Alchemy and Cooking are not our main focuses.

From a players point of view one of the biggest problem sin game at the moment is Quest jumping, especially on the Queen quest - we spent 3 hrs the other nighting getting bell droppers in place only to have our quest pulled out from under us with nothing we could do - end result being players threatening to quit AC in disgust and others who will not quest again. This can't be right - is this something that will be addressed in future quest design, or are we forever to quest knowing that all our work could mean nothing if someone decides to jump our quest?

We will try to be very vigilant about detecting potential quest jumping situations and removing them before we introduce new quests to the live world. We have not always been successful about this in the past, and we are well aware of how frustrating it can be for players trying to play through the quest normally. It is something that is very important to us now.

Another big problem is combat/Drain macros - I know they pay the same $10 as all of us - but they do ruin the fun and interfere with the gameplay of normal players - especially in certain quest dungeons - will anything ever be done to address the problems of combat/drain macros in dungeons - removing perches is a waste of time when people can just use the corner jump trick to be 110% safe from attack.

We are working on addressing this problem from a number of angles, some of which you should have already seen by this time.

The recent upgrades to the Elari bow are very nice - but why wasn't it designed along the lines of the mage armor - some spells useable by everyone with bow trained or specced and the best spells only active if bow is specced, My melee guy has 350 buffed Bow skill - trained only and to him the Elari bow is a nice piece of wood and thats it - will this trend of adding spec only items continue, or will you try and make these quest items useful to all - thus increasing their desirability and the chance that people will actually go out and get one.

Both, to be honest. The Elari Bow was designed solely for spec archers. There will be future cool items that anyone can use, and future cool items available to specced users only. This promotes more character template flexibility and variety.

Recently because of the rampant duping you have announced the return of the Hoary and PPGSA - thats fine with me - but one problem is that some of my clanmates spent over a year saving up and trading in game items to get one of these special items - now all their hard work is going to be rendered worthless overnight - have you considered having the new versions of these items a slightly different color or with a different text description but with the same stats so that those who spent a year trading in game to get them don't feel like they have wasted their time?

Yes, we have considered options like these.

How about throwing the dogs a bone? ie. Where is the bone mace - even the smallest of hints would be nice.

See our January Event.

Are the Quiditty raids finished - or is the mechanism to trigger them still in game, very few people ever got the chance to get a Quid Ingot - heck very few ever even saw a raid.

The Quiddity raids are not currently going on in game. Quiddity Ingots will probably reappear in Dereth at some point, though.

One other thing is that mildy annoying is the Rubble - if what is known is true this item spawns in dungeons that most of the people who want the weapons will never get into - so whats the point? Or are we totally wrong in what we know about rubble - I would love to get the staff weapon - but as Colin is Lev 108 at the moment if the info is correct I never will seeing as I am 40 levels too high, this is probably why no-one has managed to make one of these weapons yet - bad design or are we just plain wrong?

The rubble quest still has a lot of wrinkles to it which have not been fully discovered. Your concerns are valid, but are not completely applicable to the full quest.

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