NOTD Q&A

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Blaqk, Feb 5, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Ops

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Operations and Web

    As recovered from old forum.

    [hr]

    Q: Why are we changing the Marine XP system?
    It's a combination of 2 factors: i) SC2 no longer recognizes Level 0 -> 1 as a Level Up event and ii) we found that some vet games have been getting double talent trees maxed. A major change we're making is to keep Level 1-9 progression fast (this rate varies depending on game veterancy - newbie games should have faster levelling), and Level 10+ cliffs off and is much harder to gain levels. Some players feel that our balancing on this hasn't been done too well - and we apologize for that. We've been making several refinements over the past few patches and feedback so far is that it's closer to a fair level for most sets of games now.

    Q: What is NOTD v2?
    NOTD v2 will be a major refinement on the gameplay fundamentals of NOTD. This is not a new map but a major update on the current game. Work on NOTD v2 will start in Jan'12.

    Q: Why is Bob being replaced?
    Bob has been persistently having data corruption issues that are inherently not fixable unfortunately. We did our best over several months to constantly fix problems but they re-surface with no clear reason. We'll be replacing Bob with the Technician class by Kithrixx. We aim to complete this class transition by end-Oct'11. As with any new class addition, it'll take 2-3 months to refine, balance and bug-fix the Technician. Bob may likely remain in cameo roles inside NOTD as a non-playable class.

    Q: Why aren't all Qs being addressed immediately?
    NOTD is currently in passive development until Jan'12. During this time, we have limited development time on NOTD and need to prioritize our time spent. Ideally, most of this is spent on value-added improvements and bug fixes. We understand that players will have questions nevertheless. As a first option, try to get answers from the general community. If you can't find an answer, you can escalate to a mod. Niteshade and Gruvious will also help filter key Qs for the Dev Team to answer. While we can't answer all Qs, you have a commitment that the Qs that Niteshade and Gruvious brings to us will have an answer (hopefully there aren't too many haha).

    Q: Why are we starting a Q&A thread?
    There has been consistent feedback that players would like a single, spam-free source of Q&As that come directly from the Dev Team. A lot of Q&As are spread throughout the forum or NOTD channels and players may miss some key explanations or updates - often causing unnecessary reactions. We acknowledge that this thread alone won't solve all the knowledge gaps - but it's a step forward. This helps minimize the saturation of facts, while consolidating key developer inputs and acts as a good archive point. Please continue giving us feedback on how we can improve the Q&A thread.

    Q: What is the Black Ops Forum?
    This forum is actually a development forum for some players who are active contributors who we find a good fit in working with the Dev Team. We've renamed the forums from 'Veterans Forum' to 'Black Ops' to help minimize any confusion that it's a place for seasoned players. This sub-forum is a by-invitation only place by the Dev Team.

    Rationale for Change
    'NOTD Veterans' gives non-members the impression that this is a place for experienced members of the community - for right or wrong reasons. We hope that this change helps set expectations in a clearer way.

    What is this Forum Really About?
    - People who are strong contributors (some qualities include: critical mind, insightful comments, data-based analysis, diligent, mature)
    - People who can work constructively with the Dev Team
    - Getting the best talent where ever the source. There will not be server quotas (unlike the way we create the mod team). If 90% of our key contributors meeting the above criteria are from EU server, that's how the composition of this forum will be
    - Again, the above are a subjective choice by the Dev Team. We can't please everyone, but we can choose a group of individuals whom we feel help us make NOTD a better game

    What is this Forum Not About?
    - Tenure or forum activity earning someone a place here
    - 'Equal representation' for all servers
    - Entitlement. Members can be removed from this forum.
    - A place for 'pro players'. A good football player doesn't automatically qualify him as a good coach. Linked to that, 'bad' players with quality suggestions or a strong analytical mind may be part of this forum.

    Q: Who are the moderators in NOTD?
    We have 2 sets of moderators in NOTD:
    1. Server Rep Moderators - they represent their community and are mature contributors. Yorick (EU), Shooz (NA), and PeerawatZ (SEA). They work like Community Managers in a Blizzard forum.
    2. Development Moderators - they work closely with the Dev Team on highlighting key bugs and suggestions. NiteShade and Gruvious are our two.

    Q: Can we expect more new classes in the future?
    It is possible, but not likely as we aim to strengthen the core dynamics of the existing classes we have (with the exception of replacing the unfixable Bob). If a new class were added, it would replace another class in the storyline's class selection menu.

    Q: What is Blueberry?
    Blueberry Entertainment is a private limited company registered in Singapore that will be owning the NOTD IP when the Mod Marketplace is released. You can find out more about Blueberry at http://www.facebook.com/playblueberry

    Q: Will you be adding Peerawatz's custom models and portraits into the game?
    Yes - we'll be adding a fair amount of them over the coming weeks. Please continue giving your feedback on his models.

    Q: Is there an NOTD that will happen in Mars?
    Yes - that's a possible extension for Night of the Dead 2 (an actual sequel to NOTD). This will be created by an extended Blueberry team during Legacy of the Void (final SC2 expansion) if NOTD gains strong commercial success in Heart of the Swarm release. If it's created, we'll aiming to invest up to US$25k to make a quality production for this.

    Q: Is the difficulty for the storylines progressive?
    Yes, Easy Company is designed to be the easiest storyline, followed by Alpha Company and finally Security Team. Game success rate at all levels of difficulties should be roughly 70%/60%/50% respectively (2x lower on Nightmare). This is a constant balance as new classes, items, enemies and mechanics are added.

    Q: What is the intended progression level for normal players?
    Most regular players (10 games per week) should have 2k XP within Month 1, 6k XP within the Month 2 and 10k XP within Month 3. There will be outliers and the actual rate for individual players can vary drastically based on many factors. Most of the hardcore community members typically gain XP much faster.

    Q: Is Rating or XP more 'important'?
    Overall, Rating is your most important measure of talent. XP is primarily a signal of experience - of which the quality varies widely. You can lose Rating but you almost never lose XP. Rating is a more fluid measure of your overall performance.

    Q: Why did we revise the Barrett and Sniper Rifle?
    Both weapons had too many similarities and we agreed with suggestions to make them more distinct. The Sniper Rifle is now known as the M45 Marksman Rifle to better fit its new firing profile. As always, nothing is set in stone in NOTD and we will be fine tuning the balance for these weapons based on player feedback.

    Q: When will the Technician class be complete?
    The Technician will be 'complete' by Dec 2012. He is a new class which we're building and have recently opened for testing. It is far from complete and constant building/polishing work is being done on it. Our key priority at this stage is to get the fundamental talent mechanics working first, before moving into polishing work. As with the introduction of any major new element into the game, the Technician will also have a balancing impact to other classes, items and bosses that we'll need to refine over the next 2 months.

    Q: Who is Xavi?
    Xavi is part of the Dev Team. He's the writer for the NOTD story and helped come up with concepts for several of NOTD's original classes. He'll be writing more work in the future on the NOTD universe so stay tuned for that.

    Q: Who are in the NOTD Dev Team?
    There are 3 members in the NOTD Dev Team:
    i) Ability - Designer
    ii) Earendil - Programmer
    iii) XaVi - Story/Concepts

    Q: What is the difference between "Credits Available" and "Total Credits Gained" that's shown on the character stats screen?
    Credits Available indicates the current amount of Credits you have to spend. Think of this like your bank balance. Total Credits Gained is a count of all the credits you've ever earned in your NOTD career. There's currently an error for many players on the actual counts for these and Earendil will be fixing this by Jan 2012.

    Q: Can we ban players in NOTD?
    Yes - this feature is now possible and will be implemented in Jan 2012. We will reveal further details closer to that date on how this will work.

    Q: What is the intended success rate of Survival mode post Wave 20?
    5% - at present we find the current win rate a little too high still and we've working on making improvements to make these waves more demanding and interesting. The intent for Survival post Wave 20 is to give a small handful of elite players an opportunity to pit themselves against the toughest challenges NOTD can offer. This is a work on progress and we have a long way more to go.

    Q: Is the Technician complete?
    I'd say we're 80% there. We had a weekend (22-24 Oct 2011) of significant polishing, balancing and bug fixes and I'm happy with the progress. Some remaining areas of polish would be to implement some of Peerawatz's new custom models for the Technician's abilities into the game. We will also need to continue balancing the Technician to ensure that it isn't too strong - every class needs to have strengths and weaknesses. We'd also like to see the Technician be a more micro-intensive class as it's a Sec Team toon and is meant for advanced players to fully utilize its potential.

    Q: How will we implement Peerawatz's terrain in NOTD?
    This would have to be done in stages and we need to be choiceful and selective on how we do it too. A full direct port would result in way too many changes for us to handle (region re-allocation, cutscene remakes, storyline progression, class balancing, zombie spawning). We're already starting to implement some elements of Peerawat's work like his doodad ideas and styles. I'd say the end result for NOTD's terrain would probably be 60% of what Peerawatz has (which is also still a work in progress). I'll also be working this closely with XaVi as the terrain needs to fit into the storyline and plot direction. ETA for final terrain? Probably Mar 2012. With that said, you will begin to see changes in NOTD's terrain even from today. It's an evolution to an end state that requires a lot of planning from a holistic view of the game - nothing stands in isolation.

    Q: Can I still play NOTD if I don't buy Heart of the Swarm?
    Yes, you can - for some time. NOTD will use Heart of the Swarm (HOTS) art/sound/terrain assets. Blizzard has stated in Blizzcon 2011 that any map found importing HOTS content into a Wings of Liberty (WOL) map will be banned. The Dev Team has decided that we should only focus on developing one version of NOTD to give it the right attention it deserves. When HOTS launches (tentatively Summer 2012), we'll leave the most recent WOL NOTD map and call it 'NOTD WOL' most likely. This WOL map will eventually cease to function or break over time (say 6 months) as Blizzard patches SC2. All on-going updates will be done on HOTS compatible systems. I understand from Blizzard Marketing that most SC2 players will purchase HOTS and subsequently Legacy of the Void (LotV). The conversion rate from StarCraft to StarCraft: Brood War was more than 80% - and that was for an expansion pack with far less new content than what HOTS and LotV will bring.



    [End Page 1... consolidated][hr]
    Q: When would we potentially see new classes in NOTD?
    We will only re-explore new classes once we begin active development again in Jan 2012. Until then, we will focus on other larger priorities (Alpha Company mission restructuring, polishing map terrain and unit models, bug fixes). As much as possible, we'd like to minimize the number of new classes and focus on the existing ones.

    Q: I see some terrain upgrades. How far along are we in terms of progress?
    I'd say we're only 30% done on terrain. While we're doing minor upgrades over the coming months, Heart of the Swarm (HOTS) will bring several new terrain techniques, assets, performance improvements and visual upgrades which we'd like to utilize for NOTD v2. Net, we'd probably be 'done' 1 month after HOTS release (tentatively Summer 2012).

    Q: What are the changes we've made to Alpha Company storyline recently?
    Alpha Company was until recently a relatively static storyline that many players didn't enjoy. Primarily, we've increased the movement and missions in Alpha Company to help players utilize the map and their Marine talents more. We've also improved Mini AI, updated some bosses and upgraded the terrain at strategic storyline locations. I think we've made positive improvements, but Alpha Company still remains the weakest of all NOTD storylines. A lot more work needs to come, and your feedback will be helpful.

    Q: Why did we remove the Gravity Gun from Easy Company newbie?
    The Gravity Gun is an advanced mechanic that more seasoned players would enjoy more. It has some potential for griefing and eliminating it from EC newbie ensures that new players aren't already facing another mechanic in a game which already has a relatively steep learning curve. This is a similar rationale for why some advanced weapons/mechanics are not present in newbie games. The Gravity Gun wasn't a make-or-break item in EC newbie and after weighing all factors, removing it was the better choice. An alternative was to use a Karma cap option - but we want to minimize any complexity in newbie games (Vets would have to explain the concept of Karma to newbies and they may mistake it for a bug when they can't use the Gravity Gun to full effect).

    Q: What's your current assessment of Survival mode?
    Survival is currently a casual mode that is far from complete. What we have right now is a very basic skeleton of the gameplay mode (this is why Survival isn't a menu option yet). We've prioritizing the polishing of our 3 main storylines and will dedicate more time to Survival in NOTD v2. Among the key things we'd like to see is:
    - Rewards for team mobility
    - Increasingly more demanding micro as Waves progress
    - Usage of several strongpoints across the map (not camping in 1 location for most of the game)
    - Teamwork as a key element (e.g. several mobs can only be damaged from behind so kiters/tanks are essential)
    - A maximum of 45 minutes of hardcore gameplay. Each minute in Survival should be as intense as it gets (progressively...)

    Q: Is Peerawatz part of the NOTD Dev Team?
    No, unfortunately. He has asked and the interest level on our side is high, but it's important that we work with someone we personally know as NOTD would become an intellectual property of Blueberry when the Map Arcade is released in HOTS. I'll be going to Bangkok this weekend (11-13 Nov 2011) and I've asked Peera if he'd like to meet me to talk more on this. He has my contact details (tel: +65 9457 4582) and I hope to hear from him. I was living in Bangkok for 2 years prior to relocating back to Singapore and have asked him several times to meet up, to no avail unfortunately. We need to remain accountable to our investors and meet any potential employee to ensure that we get a good assessment of the individual. Peerawatz has been a very dedicated and talented community member of NOTD and you can see many of his works in NOTD today from the custom models, game bugs/suggestions, terrain ideas and many other art related work. He's also been credited in the NOTD Loading Screen.

    Q: Why is Alpha Company available at 500 XP?
    This allows Alpha Company to be unlocked relatively earlier to give players more options (especially very good players - a small subset of the total player base). Realistically, most pure 500 XP+ teams won't beat Alpha and this is intended. The learning curve is steeper and the strategies and dynamics change a little. To reiterate, the key rationale is to give good/curious players options and without forcing newbie teams to take on a challenge that they can't face yet.


    Q: Why was Speed Bonus XP increased?
    We just increased the XP awarded for Speed Bonus by 2x. We wanted to more strongly incentivize quicker games to cut down the length of NOTD games. Many successful games average 1.5+ hours and we aim to bring it down to 1 hour. There will be other game mechanics that will be updated to further bring down game time - while still giving newer players the option to take their own time if they wish. We've also added in Speed Bonus tracking into the '-wins' command.


    Q: How do the new item color codings work?
    All items are now coded either in generic blue, rare gold and epic purple. This is to help players visually identify item quality - similar to Diablo and World of Warcraft franchises - and make it more intuitive for new players. Our current coding of item rarity is:
    Epic - Stinger, Shiva, Helium-3
    Rare - Heavy Machine Gun, XS Armor, Reactive Armor, Kinetic Armor, Arc Reactor, Gravity Gun

    Q: There are a number of bugs to fix in NOTD. When will these be done?
    I've personally been investing time to fix as many bugs as possible, and many of the remaining ones will need Earendil's help when he's at my home this Christmas (since they are more technical in nature). We're making some progress on this and bug fixes currently have at least 50% of our dedicated development time. If you continue seeing bugs, please report them in the NOTD Bug Report thread and Niteshade will compile them in the Page 1 list - which is where I'm working off.

    Q: How does community input work in NOTD's development?
    The community's input has been a major voice in shaping many development aspects (new classes, new weapons/items, boss balancing, new side missions, aesthetics, and more). Ultimately the Dev Team will make a call on certain game choices. We believe we're one of the most open and feedback oriented custom map communities available in StarCraft 2 atm (another example being Sotis in its own way). We take the risks and implications for our decisions to ensure that there aren't too many chefs in the kitchen and that NOTD moves largely in a consistent growth path. Some individuals may feel frustrated that not 100% of their inputs are taken, but that's something that can't realistically happen (no game developer can act on 100% feedback). We're happy that we have passionate members of the community, and would like to see them continuously channel their energy into constructive suggestions and balance testing. The Dev Team is not perfect, and the community needs to bear in mind that we're still in Passive Development (Earendil - basically 50% of my team - is MIA until mid-Jan'12) and I'm working a 12 hour job that helps pay the bills.

    Q: Why is NOTD so resource intensive on my PC?
    NOTD is one of the most complex and full-featured custom mods available in StarCraft 2 and has 3 storylines' worth of content. We have many unique weapons, classes, talents, missions and features that require very precise scripting as not everything can be done via the Data Editor. Our triggers alone take up 30MB uncompressed (4.7MB compressed) and require a lot of processing in the background. We are doing our best to optimize our code but very few games have the level of depth and content that NOTD is creating (there will only be more in NOTD v2). Heart of the Swarm will bring in some performance optimization in how custom mods are run and over time our community will upgrade their PCs. We're regularly working behind the scenes to remove unused content and to minimize the quantity of unique assets we use in NOTD. This will always be an on-going challenge as we balance the need for content and performance.

    Q: Why did we create a new NOTD Strategy and Tactics Forum?
    We've received feedback that some quality content can be lost in the uncontrolled environment at the NOTD Discussion forum. This new forum helps us manage and consolidate quality content that can help both new and veteran players alike.

    Q: Can you fix all bugs in NOTD?
    Unfortunately, we can never get to a state where NOTD is 100% bug free. Even large professional games designed by huge teams (World of WarCraft, Fallout, Skyrim) have their share of bugs. It's a developer's constant challenge to fix bugs and we do our best to fix the major ones. For NOTD, we're learning along the way to balance our development time on new content and bug fixing. It's not an easy balance and we sometimes need to make tough choices to bring the game forward.

    Q: What are the difficulty levels available in NOTD?
    Easy - Activated when you type '-em'
    Recruit - Activated there is at least 1 newbie in squad (<500 XP)
    Normal - Squad Rating > 1550 with no newbies
    Hardened - Squad Rating > 1650 with no newbies
    Veteran - Squad Rating > 1800 with no newbies
    Nightmare - Activated when you type '-nm'

    The key differences in progressive difficulties is the unlocking of new mobs, game/enemy mechanics, tougher enemies and new mission options. Higher difficulties also tend to reward more XP in most situations (especially Nightmare). Most new players will begin NOTD in Recruit mode. We only recommend Nightmare mode for well-planned and coordinated teams that want the toughest challenge available in NOTD.

    Q: X is a hacker. Can you ban him?
    We currently don't ban specific accounts, but may do so in the future. Today, we disable certain traits and stat combinations from playing NOTD. This usually removes the most (not all) blatant hacking cases and is not meant as a one-size-fits all solution. We don't reveal the specifics of our checks for security reasons.

    Q: What is the L3 Grenade Launcher?
    It is a new manual-fire weapon primarily aimed at seasoned players and suits a mobile strategy/class best. It has several roles:
    - Direct damage: Target an area to deal direct AOE damage.
    - Quick minefield: Rapid-fire several rounds in an area to lay a temporary minefield.
    - Fire and forget: Fire behind you and continue moving. Mobs chasing you get blown up.

    The L3 Grenade Launcher is available in Alpha Company and Security Team storylines. You can also buy it anytime at the Weapons Store.

    Q: Why aren't you replying to my post?
    We read every post (except those in General Discussion) and can't humanly reply to all of them due to time constraints. There is no need to re-post or send reminders because we don't have a reading deficiency. If you have a valid point which we agree on, it's usually a matter of time before we act on it. Yes, sometimes it can take a while due to other priorities.


    [End Page 2... consolidated... strikethrough applied where Q/A is null][hr]
    Q: Why are we making NOTD?
    It's genuinely fun to create a universe and see it grow over time and hopefully good gameplay is just part of it. The big hairy dream is to create something that can grow to a Star Wars or Aliens. Along the way, we're building on important things like polish, story-based gameplay and replayability. It's also a great learning experience for the development team.

    Q: How long will NOTD be in development for?
    We're committed to NOTD's development until 12 months after the release of Legacy of the Void (the last SC2 expansion). This would tentatively mean a timeline of end-2015. That's a long time and NOTD has been in development for close to 20 months now. A major question is whether we should continue development on the current platform or build a new one - that's something we will likely answer 6 months after the release of Heart of the Swarm.

    Imo, the core gameplay is there but weaving Xavi's rich backstory into the game is lacking and a major priority for me. I like that the community tries to help, e.g. Reaper's suggestion to integrate Lt. Sheng into Sec Team storyline. It's a lot of effort and I hope that with the core gameplay mechanics in place, we can start gearing a bit more focus into the story integration. Some of the main characters appear to be very stereotypical personalities because we aren't fleshing them out enough in the game. There's a story to be told here and our mission is to bring that to life.

    Q: Can we have voice acting in NOTD?
    Realistically, this is not doable if we want to keep this a managable-sized online mod. As we update frequently, one option is to use support files to keep all voice acting data so that players won't have to re-download it every time there's a patch. Still, the other constraint is talent. Earendil and I have tried reaching out to voice acting talent and haven't been able to find any. Also, anything less than 100% quality can retract from the game experience and we would be better sticking to a more limited, but stronger pool of base SC2 voices.


    [End Page 3... single post]
  2. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Ops

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Operations and Web

    Q: The website mentions something about Pathfinder and Chemical Expert classes. What are these?
    Pathfinder is a new class created by Kithrixx and is in the final stages of implementation. It has been available for testing in Survival mode for some weeks now and should be live for test in Apollo Sec Team soon. If you wish to give your feedback on the Pathfinder, you may do so here. Chemical Expert has some basic work done and wont be available for testing for some time.


    Why doesn't NOTD use a prefabricated inventory system?
    NOTD is a cooperative game and there will be times you need to use ally/leaver units. Blizzard provided ones have some issues with using other people's inventory. There's a lot more technical issues with it and also the rules we've put in place for inventory manipulation may not make sense in a standard system. The only drawback is that we won't have Right-Click functionality.
  3. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Ops

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Operations and Web

    Survival is too hard! I can't beat it because the waves past 20 are too hard!
    But... you did beat it! Survival is meant to be beaten at wave 20 which is why you are awarded Superior Service Medal at that point. Anything beyond wave 20 is meant to be a challenge and will require intimate knowledge, profound skills, and divine luck to pass. Completing all 40 waves is an accomplishment that few will achieve and is a challenge even to the best NOTD players.

    What's going on with Subtlety Commando? Where's my KMS?
    Subtlety Commando is an old, unchanged, and non-synergistic tree that has been in dire need of an overhaul. Currently it is in the process of being converted to Delta Commando and many of the talents that are available for testing are buggy and incomplete. There are discussion threads on Delta Commando readily available in NOTD Discussion and we encourage your testing and feedback.

    When I die, my predator can no longer get a mass cloak. What gives? I have the 5000 xp and stuffs but my predator still wont cloak! >:l
    I'm sorry you got swarmed by ghouls again. Death pets have been changed because a mass cloak is just plain overpowered. Everything got bumped up a notch and you'll find that death pets are actually more capable than they were before. More can be read here.

    In addition, Bronze Star now requires your pet live until the end to obtain, in addition to the present 50 kills.
  4. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Ops

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Operations and Web

    Why is it so hard to play Chemical Expert correctly? Is it because no one is as cool as you, Blaqk?
    Yes, but that's not the only reason. Please understand that just like all major changes it takes time for players to adjust. When Seth was first added, he butchered team after team until eventually many people stopped attempting the mines altogether. Eventually, the experienced players started showing that, with only a little coordination, Seth was an ammo and Stinger farm and even newer teams began to eat him for dinner. The same situation is applicable to our Chemical Experts. The players who are interested in this class will, given time, work out all the kinks in their technique and develop tactics for his use, making Chemical Expert a valuable asset to all Sec Team games. While Chemical Expert is in the final stages of development, there are still bugs, tweaks, and other little things that need to be worked out. If you wish to contribute, there is a thread already established for Chemical Expert found here that you can join, and all bugs can be reported here as usual.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page