We are the Developers of MechWarrior Online, a Free-2-Play MMO based in the BattleTech Universe. Ask us anything!
Discussing the world of MechWarrior Online Here's our verification!
We've stopped answering questions.
Paul Inouye - Lead Designer at Piranha Games - Paul_PGI
Garth Erlam - Community Manager at Piranha Games - PGI_Erlam
With support from:
Adam West (no, not Batman) - Community Representative - ajwest
We have finished answering questions for the evening.
We're really sorry that we couldn't get to all of your questions. This was our first IAmA, and we had a blast! Thank you everyone for your continued feedback and support. As always, we're going to refer to your comments when we think about the future of MechWarrior Online.
This was one of the questions I anticipated so HA!...
We are looking into how we can ensure the Founder's can be happy with their purchase in terms of the Premium Account timeline and when does the time start ticking away. This is a business decision that is out of the realm of my design bubble, but I can assure you that both Garth and I made sure that Bryan and Russ knew about your concerns (Garth did a dance).
That being said, they ARE going to address the issue. Both the hotdogs will be back from their business trip to discuss the actual final plan. I've seen all suggested solutions and all of them are definitely in the best interest of the Founder's packages.
when will mechs actually feel solid, and we will not be able to just walk through them like there's nothing there (if they fall down and we dont)
It seems that BAP and ECM are able to be equipped on any mech. What reason would one have to use the Raven over the Jenner if the Jenner can do everything the Raven can do only it can do it better. More/better hardpoints, jump jets.. etc
I think in order to sustain itself in the long run, this game needs to build a community. A great way to do this would be to have a global chat in the front end UI, along with different channels for units, recruiting, etc. Also the ability to whisper other players easily. (don't hurt me, but i'm thinking almost a straight copy of WoW's chat system would be great)
Is there plans to change the mechanic for unjamming the UAC/5 so that it can't be easily circumvented with a simple keyboard macro?
hmm.. how to format this... bleh.. whatever...
Collisions are still under development. We are working hard on the physics and how things interact with each other (like those "space" trees that never fall down... did I say that?). We want a nice polished product and until collisions work properly, we are going to be chipping away at it.
BAP and ECM are 100% placeholder for now. We had to get them into MechLab to ensure that they equip properly and we will be adding their functionality soon. When we do implement them, you'll see the differences between them in terms of their capabilities. Remember these items can get modified by equipped Pilot Modules. Every Mech variant will be able to carry only so many modules and not every chassis (like the Jenner for example) will be having the same number of module slots.
Community is something we are definitely focusing on in terms of communication and metagame involvement. It's just a matter of us getting the time to get this massive chunk of code and pretty art work done and implemented. As Russ mentioned in his one Dev Upate a few months ago, Community Warfare is pushed back on the timeline, not off the project. It is something we see VERY valuable to the longevity of MWO and is also something we, the developers, are looking forward to playing ourselves. But if you want Barrens chat... I'll Chuck Norris your Mechs out of all your matches.
Our plan to unjam the Ultra AC/5 is to include a DDR dance mat with any MC purchase you make and you will have to score 350,000 points or higher on Difficult setting while doing the Gangnam Style dance.... okay okay... serious... We know it's an issue... no one likes it... I tried it and threw my keyboard across the studio. We are looking at possibly just making it a time penalty to firing the weapon again instead of playing DDR.
Open Beta for a F2P game is basically launch. Aren't you worried that players will try the game, find it lacking in content (4 maps, 1 gamemode, like 7 mechs), and very barebones and just forget about it? First impressions are so important, especially with this type of thing. I think developers think it's okay if they're saying "hey it's just beta," but I don't think many people pay attention to that. I want this game to be huge but I think when you open up the beta in the state that the game is currently in it's just going to fall flat on its face and never recover.
Open Beta for a F2P game is basically launch.
This is a killer statement. While some companies have used the term Open Beta to be in line with launching their product to the general gaming populace, it is not the case for our title. It is important to us that we and maybe even with the help of the community make this apparent. Open Beta is our invitation to the gaming community to try our game out as we move into finalizing the launch of the game. The launch window is always ambiguous but that is the joy and opportunity of the F2P business model.
Bottom line is messaging will be critical on how we let people know that MWO is still a work in progress and we just want people to join us on our adventure to putting out a top notch MechWarrior title that everyone will enjoy.
Are you worried that the current performance of the game will scare away the general public? The industry standard is that the words open beta really just mean "Free Publicity Demo". Where as MWO is in a state where there are highly visible bugs slapping you in the face from the instant you boot up, which will also be compounded by the fact that anyone logging on around the open beta launch date will have to deal with overcrowded servers.
What is your personal, not at all speaking from a PR perspective, view on Lore breaking mechs like the Gausepult or some of the more extreme laser boats?
Do you ever regret not just lying and telling people "No Clans. Not Now. Not Ever." just so people wouldn't waste their time fixating and filling the forums with post about the clans instead of talking about the game as it is now?
Do you personally believe that organized pre-made groups should be segregated from the general population to stop them from outperforming poorly organized random groups?
If you had the ability to Brute force one feature or piece of content into the game, and it would work flawlessly, by next patch, what would it be?
First part addressed and I too like the other questions... so here goes:
Personally, I don't mind the lore breaking Mechs, assuming that they're even breaking lore. For every rock in our game, there is a paper and scissor. There are some factors (weapon mechanics) that will be affecting those who rely on a single weapon system to succeed. This is one of the reasons the AC/2 now fires a very fast projectile at a high fire rate. The AC/2 isn't the only weapon that is going to have adverse effects on single weapon reliant Mechs, look for a future tweak to PPCs that will also have a similar effect on other Mechs.
Denying the Clan Invasion is something that Bryan AND Russ never wanted. It's a big point in the timeline and it's a very relevant scenario in which we can all have a lot of fun partaking in. People can fixate on whatever they want. It's part of the immersion that even Internet forums can play a role in. Some people shoot for the stars in what they'd like to see and we'd like to see it too. We'll roll out more information as the time comes... but do not discount the first sightings of the Clans that will make their way into the game.
Segregating teams from the general random groups isn't ideal. A skill based system of match making is what we're going to be aiming toward but this takes a lot of design and implementation time to get right. Personally I don't think that if you started playing the game with a group of friends, we shouldn't stop you from being able to play in a group. If you're all beginners, then you should be matched with beginners and it will be in-game metrics that will move you up in brackets so you're not always stomping all over new players. More information coming on this soon.
Brute force huh?.. man.. loaded question. I would say our Community Warfare. It drives so much of the game and even takes care of the Lone Wolf, Faction Player and Merc Unit Players needs. It's a beautiful system on paper and even in just concept, but it's a matter of time to get it in. Everyone will have a part in the InnerSphere's conflict and that will be reenforced when the Clans arrive. Exciting times.
What is the status of current netcode improvements related to firing delay and using server-side lag compensation? Is there any immediate time line for implementation of modern netcode and how big of a priority is it to PGI?
Ahhh... the infamous "netcode" that encompasses everything that you see wrong in the game...
We have been addressing this monster the entire time since we first saw happy skippy Jenners flying around the levels. It is a time consuming and detail oriented process that requires the focus of some dedicated engineers on our end. This is improving in various levels on a day to day basis. Some patches you see noticable improvements, and other days you can't even tell we've done anything. Trust us, it's something that is being addressed every day.
As for some major sweeping changes that are apparent... well the funny thing is, the problems with the current patch (the disconnects and lag spikes) are covering some major updates with our netcode. We are madly addressing the lag issue (which directly relates to the disconnects) and once that's cleared up, you'll see some big improvements.
Are we saying that we're done with netcode after this patch? Not by any means. We will be continually working on and tuning until the cows come home.
It feels like the game is being pushed into Open Beta before key features are in the game. (Tutorial / Better Matchmaking / Chat Lobbies).
Can you discuss what made you make this jump to open MWO to the public?
Tutorials/videos are quickly coming along. People in Beta may have seen me drop into matches. If I die.. and that's a big IF .. kiddin.. I spectate the entire match. I've seen my fair share of people walking into the side of a building while looking upward at a target and firing off to the far right cause they're arms are pointing the wrong direction. Addressing this has been dubbed "the New User Flow" and is something we have built a lot of design and implementation items around. After we get the game running smoothly, quite a few members of the team are being dedicated to this area specifically so we make the transition into our game much easier to take.
Chat Lobbies/chat interface is currently being redesigned. The interface team will have some spare cycles coming up and we want to get this addressed as soon as possible.
Match making has been addressed in another answer.
Hey Paul, great job so far :) My question:
Considering the fact that FlyingDebris is doing full redesigns of every chassis being included in MWO, would you please address the possibility of unseen/reseen designs? To most of us, it seems as if his work would preclude any legal problems from arising, though we would certainly understand if it were not something PGI wanted to risk. I think the fanbase would be incredibly appreciative of a simple nod in one direction or another.
Why must you do this to me? What did I do to you?
FlyingDebris IS doing an
awesome great job at redefining the looks of the classic Mechs. When it comes to the unseen/reseen designs, there is always the question of legal matters. No, we don't need to go pointing fingers at anyone but it's the reality of the situation. Our fearless leaders Russ and Bryan would be the only ones to be able to make the call on the inclusion of those Mechs. There's nothing really technical keeping us from including them, it's a matter of making sure the variant/chassis we come up with is worth the time and money needed to invest in getting them done.
Now I came in here promising myself not to dodge any questions but from the bottom of my heart... yeah yeah.. trolls have hearts... I am not the one to answer this question for you.
How is the game doing monetarily?
People are speculating the Open Beta was pushed up for money reasons.
I don't get told the money numbers. I just get my box of Kraft Dinner and told to sit in the corner and quietly eat.
If Open Beta's date has been pushed any direction... it has always been outward/later.
I'm going to PURPOSEFULLY avoid this question because like I said... I'm the Lead Designer... I have no eyeballs into the business side of things. :)
Any HOTFIXES rolling out before the stress test tonight?
Awesome, very happy with how dedicated the devs are to answering everyticket, forum posts and keeping the community up to date.
Other betas wish they could be this cool!
Hotfix going on right now.
Generally the Beta Testers are 2 builds behind internal testers. We also have a midterm group of testers who check the build 1 prior to the Beta public build.
Regarding the current state of the game do you feel that new players will be turned off of MWO?
Bad word of mouth / publicity could be potentially harmful for overall growth. Can you also discuss your short term vs long term goals for dealing with these problems.
When it comes to bad mouthing the game... there's nothing I nor anyone can do about it... like I can't run around like Jay and Silent Bob at the end of their "Strikes Back" movie.
What it's going to come down to is this. The game is free to play. People who are going to run from our title because of something someone said is going to do that no matter how well the game is made. What we need are people to play the game, give it a chance... look into the potential and if we've done our jobs right of making a great MechWarrior title, then we will not have a problem growing or keeping people in the long run.
Can you make any comment regarding a plan to expedite a matchmaking function?
When it comes to matchmaking, we have a multi-tier rollout plan that will address the requests from design and the community in the form of basic quick fixes to massive implementations (like Community Warfare). There will be times where it seems that we are crazy but you'll see how it rolls out very soon. Now it may sound like I'm dodging a timeline but I'm really not. We have a LOT on our plate and priorities are shifting on a daily basis.
In short to address the concerns of matchmaking: We are very aware that the current system is not ideal. It is in by no means where we want it to be but it will start gathering momentum sometime in the next few patches.
Because many Founder's are concerned about their premium time ticking down on Open Beta, can you confirm whether that will timer begin going the minute open beta starts, or when we first log in after open beta starts?
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