In case you missed them, here are the previous Dev Stream Transcriptions:
This is the sixth dev stream, hosted by Mike Weicker, which originally aired on April 2, 2021. I’ve transcribed the video below, but you can watch it for yourself here. I’ve done my best to capture Mike’s responses as accurately as possible (nearly word for word in most cases), but please consult the video for precise phrasing and/or context.
Currently, these streams take place every Friday at 4pm EST on Twitch. You can check the schedule here to see when it starts in your region.
Q: What can I offhand with a Scimitar? Nothing seems to work.
A: If you have the correct talents for the given class that you are you can offhand different things. So, for example, Rogue if you get the Twin Blade passive node of the base tree you can offhand a Sword or Dagger. I don’t know all the other classes off the top of my head. I assume the Primalist is Axes and Swords – yep [as Mike hovers over the Harmony of Blades passive node of the Primalist base class]. Sentinel is likely Swords only, Mage is likely Swords only, and I don’t think Acolyte can do any.
Q: You should play the endless damage Abomination build for us before you guys patch it out.
A: I think we may have already patched it out. It was a pretty easy fix.
Q: Have you thought about modify minions speed? Sometimes they feel slow.
A: Yeah, for sure. The minion AI – I know we’ve talked about this a little bit – but the minion AI is getting reworked so how the minions work, like how they move and react, really dictates how efficient they are in combat, and this really helps them feel faster. There’s lots of abilities you can get, like linking them to your Leap so that they actually move with you helps a lot to keep them in the fray. There’s a lot of other minion helping abilities for speed – I think Frenzy Totem has some speed stuff for minions.
Q: I heard wolf AI is the first of the new AI.
A: Yes, wolf AI was the first to receive the new AI.
Q: I noticed, Mike, that the Primalist art is based on you after last week’s stream. Also the comment “I will not die here” fits you very well. My question is; are all the character/class art based on people in/close to the dev team?
A: No, they’re definitely not. Ah…it was loosely based off of a picture of me, I think, that someone took. They’re like, ‘we want it to have a beard and kind of be a bigger dude’ and it was a picture we already had lying around and someone just went with it, but it’s changed a lot since then. I’d like to think that I look like this in real life and my arms are that big [Mike laughs]. They’re not.
Q: Please tell me your views on masochist HC SSF mode / ladder and game difficulty, I heard it won’t be on release.
A: Ah, heard what won’t be on release? The only thing that might disappear is masochist mode. Masochist mode was originally put in the game as a bit of a joke. Some of us who were making the game early on were bugging Trasochi about how certain things were way too easy so as a joke he’s like, ‘oh here’s masochist mode, good luck’ [Mike laughs]. Some of us actually really liked it so we kept it as an optional mode. Also, it’s a way we can test what it would be like if the game was way harder really easily. It helps give us a little tool for balancing and we see some people really like the additional challenge. If it becomes something that is popular and people like there’s a better chance that we’ll keep it. So if you are interested in keeping it than just say so on the various social platforms we monitor. A lot of our decisions are based off of – or at least influenced by – what the community gives us as feedback, for sure.
Q: Any plans to make enemies more engaging than they currently are?
A: You mean like having more in-depth mechanics to engage with? Or more aggressive? I think a lot of the newer enemies that show up in the later acts, like these ones [Mike is currently playing in Chapter 7], are a little bit more engaging to work with. They have different abilities that they react to different scenarios a little bit better which I think is appropriate that enemies get more mechanically in-depth as you progress through the game. Yeah, it’s something we expand upon every single time.
Q: Follow-up to the question: More variety and aggressive.
A: Yeah, I think things are going that way…a little bit. We try to make as many new enemies each patch as we possibly can, and sometimes that means slipping something new in older zones because there’s still some zones earlier in the game that don’t have that great of a variety. Most of the new zones we put in we developed an entire new suite of enemies for those zones. Sometimes we’ll grab a couple enemies from other zones and change them a bit, but usually we just try to go fresh for every new area that gets added. Yeah, the content is better when it’s new enemy models and it’s made custom for the game rather than being taken from somewhere where it’s premade or something like that. Years ago when we first started out on Kickstarter a lot of the models and stuff were not custom made for the game, but now most of them are…which is great.
Q: Is there going to be a trade system? And if yes, how?
A: Yes, there will be a trade mechanic – a way you can get new gear from other players, or give your gear to other players for an exchange of some sort of currency. I’m purposely being very vague here because we don’t have all the details worked out for it yet. It’s something we will adjust throughout our testing. It’s not going to be anything like you’ve seen before, I don’t think.
We have a few odd goals we’re trying to achieve with our trading system and weirdly enough one of them is not making it too easy to find the gear you’re looking for, or too easy to sell the gear you have. There’s a sweet spot of convenience we want it to have where it’s a fun and engaging thing to do, but it doesn’t take up a ton of time and it’s not instantaneous. So you can’t just say, ‘okay I’ve hit level 40…I can now use unique item X and I have enough of currency Y so I’ll just go buy it and get it and I’m good to go’. This works really well in several other trading systems, for sure, but we’re trying to build it a little bit differently from scratch. That sort of interaction is something we’re trying to curb a little bit just so that it’s not instantaneous and guaranteed, I guess, so that there’s still a bit of interaction – like you’re interacting with a community and you’re playing with other players.
Q: Truth be told, I wasn’t masochist HC SSF mode to be legacy and be granted a ladder like any other mode. It requires theory craft and in depth knowledge and I love it.
A: Yeah, the only reason we haven’t given it a ladder is because it’s a little bit crazy in difficulty and does require a lot of game knowledge to even get past the first boss – in some cases [Mike laughs]. This is also the reason why it’s not available when you first make a character because we don’t want peoples first experience with the game to be, ‘oh yeah I can do it, I’ve done this sort of thing before’ and then just get absolutely stomped on and suddenly they don’t want to play anymore. We purposely do this to curve that sort of negative experience from the start.
As far as having a ladder for it, it’s a similar sort of thing where incentivizing such a difficult mode is tough. Suddenly it becomes like, ‘you’re not really doing it unless you’re on masochist mode’. It’s such a fine line to walk and we don’t want to encourage it too much because it’s not what we balance the game around.
Q: Any plans to improve the DPS tooltips, like showing more details?
A: The tooltips themselves will likely not get much more detailed than they are currently. Chances are the detail you’re likely looking for are going to show up as a sub-panel within the Character Stats Sheet. The Character Stats Sheet is getting reworked. I know I’ve shown a lot of prototypes for new panels on these streams, but I don’t have another one to show you for this panel right now. That said, there’s going to be an extra panel that shows more detailed information with skill specific information on there.
Q: Is there any information about when we can expect the last few masteries? I’m most interested in Warlock at the moment and would really love it has some additional melee skills for the Acolyte.
A: Yeah…umm…additional melee skills for the Acolyte…I don’t – not a lot. Ahh, I’m trying to think if there are any [Mike laughs]. I might be forgetting one. The Warlock will not be available in this patch or the next patch – I can tell you that for sure. Other than that I do not know when it’s coming out.
Q: I love the crafting system in-game. So far the fracture chance seems a bit high though.
A: Any time in a game when you show the exact chance of something to happen or not it’s a really tricky thing to reconcile in how we perceive chance and randomness in a system, and there’s no normalizing event. So if you fail 80 times in a row it doesn’t make your next one any easier or anything like that. You could fail a thousand times in a row – it’s just really bad RNG, really…or really good RNG depending on how you look at it I guess [Mike laughs].
We are looking to change crafting, in general, coming up here. I can’t tell you the exact change we’re making because we don’t know exactly when we’re going to drop it, but I think you’ll generally be happy with it. When I say we’re changing the crafting system – the core crafting mechanics are not changing.
Q: Any plan to add more and varied affixes, especially suffixes for certain weapon types? Feels a little shallow at the moment.
A: Yeah, we add new affixes every patch. I don’t know how many we have planned for this one, but I’m sure there’s a few coming. It’s tough because a lot of these things we have a meeting on it and we write everything down and someone gets assigned to implement it. As soon as the meeting’s done a lot of the details are like, ‘okay next thing’ [Mike laughs] – so I don’t always remember them
Q: As long as you don’t make it so it’s more optimal to play using 3rd party tools instead of the game to acquire gear I’ll be happy.
A: That’s a really good point – regarding the trading system. We really want the trading system to take place in-game. We want you to feel like you are going through actual game content to trade, if that makes any sense, so that you’re not going through a third-party site. I don’t know if a third-party site will be possible, but we’ll see. I think that keeping it in-engine is a really positive thing for how it feels, really.
Q: Do you all plan on keeping skills based around mana gainers and mana spenders to limit skill spamming?
A: Yeah, though not all skills are like that and each class has a different relationship with mana skills – in their spending and generating type category. I think the general philosophy is around keeping them relatively tame, might be a good way to put it. We’re not planning on changing that any time soon.
Q: Do you plan to include puzzles in the game to get some high level loot?
A: That’s a really interesting thing. I want to answer this question in more detail, but I’m just too sure behind in chat. It’s unlikely, but maybe some minor ones. It’s tough because usually they just end up getting – like the solutions get spoiled and if they’re randomly generated puzzles they can sometimes get too tough for people…and that sort of stuff.
Q: Are there really only 4 skill buttons?
A: There are five, actually.
Q: What’s the ratio of crafted vs found gear you’re aiming for?
A: I think – it really depends on the build. I’d say most people are going to be wanting a combination of both, roughly 50/50, of like Unique, Set, and crafted gear but it can it can be anywhere from a range of 90/10 – either way type thing…depending on the build. I’d say it’s likely that every piece of non-Unique or Set gear you find you’ll do some crafting on, if you’re going to use it.
Q: Can you recommend some good beginner builds?
A: Yeah, for sure. Honestly, the guys that do the build videos on YouTube and our forums – they have so many amazing builds out there that looking up one of those is not a bad idea. Basically anything – I’ve picked arguably the worst skills you can take on Primalist and I’m doing pretty well with it [Mike laughs] – so it’s kind of hard to screw yourself over and not have any fun with it at all. Keeping things thematically similar is really useful.
Q: How’s work on the Falconer coming along?
A: Falconer is coming along great. Falconer is going to be an awesome class. Once again, it’s going to be something that’s very unique. We’re going to release the Falconer and people are going to assume they know roughly what it’s like, and I think people are going to be a little surprised…which I’m excited for. Now that I’ve just said that people are going to start thinking about how they could be surprised and might figure out what it’s going to be anyways – I don’t care [Mike laughs].
Q: That sounds very difficult to implement. If the end goal/result is that you get the exact item you want through trade, but it’s somehow difficult, it might just end up feeling tedious?
A: It will be difficult to achieve. If it all comes together exactly how we want I think people will be extremely happy with it, but it will be very difficult to do. However, we’ve never shied away from a challenge so we’re going in [Mike laughs].
Q: I’m really excited about Runemaster. Am I right in thinking that it will play a little like a trapper in other ARPGS?
A: Ah, not necessarily. There will be more battlefield control mechanics in there, but trapper is probably a little bit too far.
Q: How do you guys plan on doing seasons? Will you push content updates with new seasons?
A: Yes, we will. We’re going to do ladder resets, new seasons with new content – but there’s a lot of different ways you can provide the content so it’s difficult to say exactly how we’re going to implement it. Is the content going to be available in the standard league right away? Is it going to be available first only in the new league? It’s safe to say the details of these seasons have yet to be fully ironed out.
Q: If you release seasons you should stagger them between the PoE releases in order to keep a higher player base.
A: I think it would be foolhardy not to. There’s a really clear wave pattern in the playerbase of PoE, and they’re a huge game. We’ve already seen that wave happen when we release patches around new PoE leagues, and we have nowhere near as many people. I think there’s a huge amount of overlap in our playerbase and I think if we were like, ‘okay we’re going to release it a day after PoE or a day before or same day’ I think all it’d do is split the playerbase between the games. There’s so much more to do in PoE, I don’t think we’d come out smelling too great there [Mike laughs].
Q: Would it be possible to add some kind of DPS meter to the training dummy?
A: Ah, we’ve been talking about different things to do there. I know we’ve had a lot of requests recently about more accurate DPS meters. There’s good and bad things about having really accurate DPS calculations available. It would present a really clear way of comparing builds against each other – and that happens with the ladder already – but once you get say, ‘this build has ten thousand DPS and this build has eight thousand DPS’ suddenly you get a lot more pressure from players to play the highest DPS build. This tends to homogenize builds, and it’s something we’d prefer to avoid if we can. I think having forty different, fun, and playable builds out there is a really cool concept.
Q: When are you planning to release passive trees for Sentinel stances?
A: Ahh…yeah, I’m sorry – bad news bears. Don’t hold your breath for them.
Q: Is there a plan to add an undo button when allocating points to skills and passives, and maybe extend the tooltip to show what the next point actually does?
A: We’ve talked about having a system in here [Mike has the passives window open] where you can like click, click, click, click – figure out exactly what you’re going to do – and then like a confirm button. Same goes for the skill tree nodes of your specialized skills. We haven’t implemented it yet, but we’re working on it.
Also, a similar thing with respec’ing – especially in the passive tree where you have to confirm each point you remove – being able to respec and you can take points in and out and then confirm once you’re finished. So maybe you could use left-click to add passives and right-click to remove passives and a little counter that says, ‘this respec will cost this much gold’. I think this would be a better way to do it, and we’re still working on it as well.
Q: Are there any plans for a character creator or more robust character options?
A: Yes, but not before launch though.
Q: Will maps for Monolith of Fate be procedurally generated at some point?
A: Having procedurally generated maps with how we’ve set up multiplayer is really tough to do. We are working on getting those in because we do like some content in that type of category. Having handcrafted levels lets us really make sure that the quality level is there for a lot of different scenarios. We probably won’t have any soon, but it’s something we’re working on.
Q: Do you guys have plans to do leagues/seasons with new changed gameplay like PoE or release DLC with new content?
A: More similar to PoE style – it won’t be exactly the same, but more similar.
Q: Will classes get new skills before release and is there the possibility of a Werewolf form for the Druid?
A: The third form for Druid – which I know a lot of you have seen that there will be a third form – is not Werewolf form. I’m not saying we’ll never have one but the third form is not Werewolf. I think you will be quite pleased with what the third form is. In general, yes other classes are getting new skills. Each class will have the same number of skills all with skill trees when the game launches. I was going to say it’s going to fit on this screen [Mike has Skills & Specializations screen open] but this screen is changing so it’s not really a great showcase of how many skills are going to be here. I don’t want to say exactly how many there’s going to be, but we’re pretty close on a lot of classes. There’s already a few classes that are maybe already at the right number.
Q: Are there any plans on dealing with spammable action skills? I know some users are using the Num-Lock trick. Are you planning to disable that or provide an in-game alternative?
A: Umm…yeah, the Num-Lock trick is something that we, I’d say, tolerate right now. It’s not how the game is meant to be played, but it’s also not really that debilitatingly broken so we’re not trying to take action to stop it right now. I know a lot of people feel that because they don’t have the right keyboard that their hardware is putting them at a detriment and suddenly they think, ‘oh I have to pay money to buy the hardware’. We’re really cautious to say certain software versions are okay because software can start doing all sorts of crazy stuff. There’s a post on the forums that has a very carefully and clearly worded statement on how we feel about anything like this, and I don’t remember exactly how it’s worded so I don’t want to try again [Mike laughs].
I’d say if a skill performs best by using the Num-Lock trick then that is a failure by us in designing how the skill works more than anything. If you always want to press a skill right after its cooldown no matter what then we’ll likely try to address that through a design solution later, and not a solution that involves trying to detect key presses or anything like that because there’s so many ways to do it that don’t involve Num-Lock. There’d be no point in trying to detect for all of these right now.
Q: I just wanted to add that poison leveling with daggers is painfully slow at the moment. Also can we get a Gunlance in the game?
A: Well, there’s no gunpowder invented in the timelines before the Void just completely obliterates everything. Research tends to slow to a halt when you’re being absorbed by an unstoppable force of nature like that. So I mean – it’s a time travel game – so who knows. Not pre-1.0, I’ll tell you that.
Q: Do you plan to make leagues or seasons with a mechanic or something like that in this game?
A: Yes, for sure.
Q: Can you please add a “tik” option above every skill for auto-cast? I try to use the Num-Lock trick but it gets disabled every time I Alt-Tab.
A: Yeah – like I said earlier – it’s not something we’re really interested in as a mechanical thing. It almost feels like a failure we’ve made in the design of it – and I say failure as a loose term…I’m not saying we completely failed the design of a skill, but a mistake was made. However, if we change our minds on it, I could see that as something that might get added in, but certainly not right now.
Q: Are there any animation changes planned for Tempest Strike?
A: Yeah, I mean the animation is a little quick and he only uses one hand there – it’s kind of weird…maybe, but I kind of like it though. It’s distinct from Swipe though which is something I do like. The Swipe animation is so much nicer though. Something I always forget – when people say animation do you mean VFX? They are two very different things.
Q: Would it be possible to add something like a DPS meter to the training dummy?
A: Possibly. There are problems with that, like I’ve said earlier.
Q: Do you have plans to add stack counters to the enemies, like bleed/poison stacks?
A: There are some technical problems with that that we have not yet overcome yet, so not yet.
Q: Will the game offer HDR support?
A: Ah, changing the render pipeline is really a big thing. We might do it eventually, but it’s not in the process right now.
Q: What’s your future plans regarding itemization? More stats, more items at all level break points, etc.?
A: Yeah, we add in new items all the time. We’ve got new swords – I’m trying to remember what’s coming since last patch – I think swords are the next thing to get updated…that’s coming. There’s some pretty sweet ones, and some other stuff too. There’s lots of new Uniques and new Sets and new affixes that get dropped in all the time, and they all have to exist in the ecosystem of the game that’s already there but they all have to bring something new to the table that makes it more interesting and deeper. Not necessarily more complicated though because sometimes adding more complexity doesn’t actually help the depth or enjoyment of the game.
Q: What are your thoughts on Glyphs? It feels like their drop rate is so high that it just becomes extra clicks and diminishes their value.
A: Part of the problem there, first of all, is that there’s not enough different types of them yet either. I think we’re going to see a pretty significant change in Glyph rarity, use cases, and quantity – I guess that’s rarity. Once we get the new crafting changes in and updates there’s going to be lots more Runes and Glyphs added to the game – maybe not tons more. We want there to be more than there are now – reasonable enough that you can remember what they all are, but not so few that there’s only a couple options.
Q: The one thing I’m not a big fan of is that there’s no map quantity and the low mob density of echoes. Are you going to keep it this way or change it?
A: A lot of the map density stuff has to do with performance. We are improving that all the time. There was a post recently about adding lighting to skills now because we just found a huge performance wind that was causing lighting to just wreck framerates. So I can see that being something that gets added in and expanded upon, for sure, with more enemies. A lot of the newer ones have higher density.
Having a way in game to increase that density that’s stacking and potentially stacking really high has the potential to be very bad. We always have to look at the edge cases. If there’s a way that most players are going to increase density by 50% – that’s not bad, that’s not going to do a ton of stuff. If there’s that person who’s pushing high-end content and their build is really awesome and can increase density up a 1000% then it’s going to provide that worst case scenario, and be very difficult to deal with – framerate wise – and the whole quality goes down. It also becomes so chaotic that there’s really no consideration that goes into the combat. I’d rather have a balance of difficult enemies and the amount of enemies. Sometimes it’s nice if there’s a lot of them but I think there’s such a thing as too many [Mike laughs].
Q: Is there going be an offline mode for like Steam workshop to have mods similar to Grim Dawn with their custom classes and changes?
A: We don’t have any plans to directly support mods at launch. That’s not to say that is won’t ever happen, but it’s scope creep and we’ve got to keep scope creep under control so that we can get to launch as quickly and smoothly as possible. So for now there will not be specific mod support from us. But never say never [Mike laughs].
Q: Are you focused on trying to make a game with many “viable” builds or only a handful of “meta builds” that are required to get specific endgame gear?
A: I mean, ideally, I’d like to see there be ten awesome builds per class that are super viable and can beat the final boss and all that sort of stuff. So yes, I’d love to see there be a big variety of builds to can do all endgame content nicely. I would be foolish to say that I didn’t think that certain things will have an influence on what those builds are [Mike as the ladder window open as he says this, and laughs]. We’ll be working to balance the game such that there’s as many viable builds as possible. We want you to be able to look at a class and its abilities and say, ‘hey that would be really cool if I could do – whatever – and make it possible’.
Q: Will LE seasons be more akin to Diablo 3 seasons or PoE seasons?
A: I’d say they’d be more similar to PoE seasons, but I don’t want you to take that as everything’s going to be exactly the same. Given the choice between the two of them, we’ll be more similar to PoE.
Q: In most cases weapons have “damage/utility” affixes as prefixes only, and utility/status as suffixes. Will that change in the future at all?
A: I mean, it’s changed in the past so I feel like it changing again is possible. It’s one of those things where we look at the balance of affixes and distribution all the time. We don’t have any major changes for it coming in this patch so far – doesn’t mean it won’t happen – but as of right now most of them are relatively similar. The vast majority of them are the exact same, I should say.
Q: Do you plan on having different variations of the Arena (timed, challenges, etc.) to give variation to the meta and give more endgame time wasters?
Q: Will you replace the “white” art in the inventory panel by which you place your items atop?
A: Oh, remove your armour…the white art. Yeah…okay, these things [Mike removes equipped chest armour to reveal the white chest armour art that is displayed behind it]. Yes, that’s a really old image [Mike laughs]. It’s actually – some of you may actually have the old gear in your inventory if you played a long time ago – but all of these images are actually just cut-outs of gear that were or are in the game still. Yeah, I’m sure those will get updated at some point.
Q: Will there be a Dex/Crit form for Druid?
A: I mean, that’s kind of a gap in it right now…I think, right? [I believe Mike is hinting that the new form may be filling this gap upon its release]
Q: Do you guys work on the game and its future updates literally every single day of the week or?
A: Ah, yes…we try to strive for that work-life balance. I’ve got a new baby at home so I like to spend as much time with him as possible but I like to think we’re pretty dedicated to this. There’s lots of times you’ll see answers show up at random times. I sit on my phone a lot and try to answer as many questions as I can in the Ask-the-Dev’s section of our Discord. So if you are asking a question about a specific node or item it helps to include a screenshot of that node/item as I don’t remember exactly what every node/item does and the backend environment doesn’t show node names so it helps to include a screenshot so I know what you’re talking about.
Q: Have you analyzed how Wolcen managed to launch to such great success and get some ideas for your inevitable launch in the future?
A: Yeah, I mean, I’d say the vast majority of us played Wolcen when it launched and have played it since then. Yeah, we play and look at all the other games in the genre. There’s lots of good things that all of them do really well, and so we like to learn.