Conan Exiles Dev Stream - Update 2.3
Funcom Full Youtube Link: 03/12/2021 - Written Summary
Funcom staff sightings for this stream were:
- Nicole Vayo (Community Manager) - On stream
- Andy Benditt (Community Manager) - On stream
- Marcin Polaczyk (Lead Programmer) - On stream
- Scott Junior (Project Director) - On stream
- Dennis Douthett (Lead Designer) - On stream
- Ignasis (Community Support) - In chat
- Mayra (Community Support) - In chat
- Natascha (Community Engagement Director) - In chat
Youtube link is now available, and I’ve updated the recap to include relevant timestamps.
Here are relevant links for this stream.
Testlive Patch Notes: (Final update to Testlive was posted Friday, 3-12-2021)
Special thanks for this recap go out to @Testerle for his usual supply of the Twitch chat logs so that relevant quotes can be included in this recap. Additional thanks go out to @Spynosaur_Nicole for her efforts in making this process just a little bit easier. And finally, special thanks goes out to @Narelle for some additional information into a few things discussed during the stream.
Andy and Nicole were on seen on stream together in the same office (gasps!) Don’t worry though, they were both tested for Covid the day prior and came back negative.
Making his debut, Marcin (Lead Programmer), made his first appearance on a developer stream for Conan Exiles. Marcin is originally from Poland, and currently resides in Oslo, Norway. He has been working in the game industry for 8 years, with the last 4 years being with Funcom, and the last 2 years being lead programmer. His scope of responsibility is leading a team of coders for Conan Exiles.
Marcin described working on Conan Exiles as taking care of or raising a living organism, such as a small pet or a baby. The team’s responsibilities include fixing crashes, exploits, bug fixing, and taking care of other patches if they had issues after they were released. He also had the responsibility for recruiting other coders and risk assessment.
This is Dennis’s second appearance on a dev stream. Dennis has been Lead Designer for Conan Exiles since June of 2020. He has worked for Funcom since 2008. He has been really happy working on the Conan Exiles project and it’s a game he loves to work on.
Release Dates for 2.3
At the very end of the stream, Scott said that if all goes well this weekend (in terms of any last minute critical bugs found on Testlive), they hope to have 2.3 out on PC on Tuesday. If you would like to get an early look at the upcoming changes, you may try out the patch on Testlive right now, as well as you may refer to all of the patch notes on this link ----> Testlive Patch Notes
There will also be a very large parity patch for both consoles with an eta by the end of this month. The patch will bring consoles up to the same version as PC. The parity patch for consoles is currently going through a “full certification.” A full certification is different from their normal certification process, and this takes longer. This is required since they are adding device profiles for the Xbox Series S and X.
Consoles will have every non-Siptah related feature added as part of their parity patch. This means things like the Void Forge found on Siptah won’t be on Consoles, but features such as the new sprint attacks, new crafting stations found in previous updates for PC, and others will be part of the parity patch.
For further details on the console patch, refer to the section of this recap for consoles.
The parity patch for consoles won’t include Siptah. They will announce a release date for that at a later time.
Console Platforms and Performance Improvements
Marcin started off this section by stating that Funcom was well aware that the quality/stability of consoles was not the same as PC for Conan Exiles. As anybody who plays console can attest to, there are many crashes on consoles, often relating to being out of memory (RAM). There are also problems with dashboarding, and various levels of performance issues.
The last patch released for Xbox was targeted to address the major reasons behind the dashboarding Xbox players experienced. A brief history lesson: For a long while, players just joining an official server would lead to a dashboard crash. The workaround, as players discovered, was to go into Single Player first, then join the server you were intending to play on. Marcin made sure to point out that this was a very annoying problem for players to deal with.
One of the reasons this was so difficult to fix and why the problem lasted for as long as it did, was that it wasn’t something they could reproduce in their internal developers kit. Marcin described these developer kits as a version of the console prepared for developers. It’s essentially the testing environment for console updates. Not being able to reproduce a bug makes it very difficult to fix (as any mod author or game developer can attest to).
Another major issue was the lack of automated reports. Standard with any game on consoles, if a game crashes, a report is automatically sent to the developer that contains useful data to fix the problem. For that particular dashboard crash, they weren’t receiving any automated reports. They knew something was happening, because players were widely reporting it on all social media platforms. But in terms of the vital data they needed from the automated reports, they weren’t getting anything.
To ultimately fix the problem, they used automated testing. That is, additional software to run numerous tests on the consoles. They linked 8 consoles together and let builds run overnight. Using automated testing, they ran countless tests for about 2 months. With the additional help of their QA (and all of the vital information that QA discovered, Marcin and his team were able to reliably reproduce the issue and ultimately find the cause. The problem wasn’t technically a crash, it was the game being terminated by the “external library.” Marcin said they found and identified around 4 other issues that were similar in nature. They released this patch on it’s own, and Marcin said that they were really thrilled to resolve that particular problem since it had been such an issue for so long.
Andy and Marcin added some additional thoughts on identifying bugs and fixing them. Receiving reports from players tells them something is happening. But receiving reports is entirely different from the why or the how. Dashboarding, as players refer to it as, is a symptom of what could be potentially anything causing the problem. They needed real data to find the underlying causes, and that’s why it’s been such a difficult issue to resolve.
Quick Note: While the emphasis on this discussion was for Console, the performance improvements made for Console are also coming to PC. The only exceptions to this rule are platform specific problems, like the previous discussed dashboarding issue. PC also receiving the discussed performance improvements was given clarification at the very tail end of the stream (01:12:30).
Marcin said that the upcoming 2.3 and 2.4 updates were really important for performance in terms of memory usage (consoles especially). He estimated that approximately 90% of true crashes that occurred on consoles were due to out of memory issues. Memory allocation is required when you build large castles, place many placeables, or have many types of followers. While the game doesn’t have a limit to what you are allowed to build, the console (or PC) still has to handle it all. Which means for Conan Exiles, Funcom needed to identify yet more ways to optimize the game further.
For the past 6 months, optimizations and improvements have been a major focus for Funcom, with a special team of coders devoted to specifically memory issues. 2.3 is the first patch that contains significant improvements to memory, with the following 2.4 patch containing yet more performance improvements.
To help identify ways to fix or improve performance, Funcom used some of the largest database files they had access to. Marcin gave some numbers from one of their largest servers in terms of buildings and traffic.
- 909,000 building instances
- 80,000 placeables
- 750,000 items
- 60,000 inventories
- 7,000 player accounts
- 900 guilds
- 8,000 Player NPC’s
- Database is 800mb’s + in size
- The server requires 22 GB of RAM to start
If a player attempts to join that server, their client has to still handle that huge load of information (or at least the area in the vicinity of the player character). For a PC, while that is a ton of information, a player has the option of upgrading their PC to handle more. For PS4 and Xbox One, they have 5.5 GB’s of real RAM the game can use (with the rest allocated to the consoles systems).
There were several areas that Marcin and his team focused on for improving performance of the game. Some of the topics covered by Marcin during the stream were already listed in the past Producers Letter. For convenience, I’ve listed them here.
Updated game item object which will result in a memory saving of up to 100 MB when playing on heavily populated / built on servers. On the server side this will result in a savings of several hundred MB.
Modified Animation blueprints which will result in server side memory savings of up to 850 MB.
Changed how Inventory, Feats and other menus open so they are less likely to trigger Out of Memory (OOM) crashes. Also increased the speed at which they are garbage collected so prevent them from causing OOM crashes after you open them.
Updated the fixed object pool which was incorrectly set high on clients. This will free up ~150 MB of memory on the client.
Updated several textures/materials that were not using our texture streaming system.
A lot of minor tweaks that will save a small amount of memory on the client and server. By themselves they are not large savings but all together they will add up.
Here are the topics or additional relevant information that Marcin discussed during the stream that I took the liberty of summarizing (to the best of my ability, as a lot of these topics can get quite technical).
They cleaned out a lot of deprecated code left over in the engine that was no longer used.
Funcom removed non-needed features for the engine like touch interface (for the use of things like IPads). Touch interfaces come integrated with all versions of Unreal Engine 4. Marcin described it as very low level, and also very dangerous to remove. But since it isn’t needed, removing it will help benefit performance overall.
The various UI windows (feats, recipes, attributes, inventories, moving items between inventories, etc) can be expensive. Expense, in this case, is defined how it costs in terms of performance. They were able to reduce the cost 2 or 3 times through new methods. Marcin said that the UI was still expensive overall, but the performance gains were considered a nice gain.
Every animation blueprint for each NPC costs about 250KBs. Going by the 8,000 listed in the giant server database, that comes out to 2,000MB’s, or 2.0GB’s. That doesn’t include the number of NPC’s on the map either. Marcin said they were able to also reduce this by 2 or 3 times.
Various item improvements (I couldn’t quite understand Marcin here, so I was unable to provide a proper tech summary).
Marcin described the overall process to all of these improvements as very long and grinding. They would find ways to save a few mb’s here and there, but often felt like it wasn’t enough. Marcin and his team kept at it for 6 months to ultimately improve stability and performance by finding savings in a variety of areas.
By automating the testing, they were able to set up a cloud of Xbox’s to test things overnight to see how their improvements were doing. Depending on how aggressive the testing was, they were able to improve the uptimes for the Xbox by 3 or 4 times. As Conan Exiles is a sandbox game, giving as much freedom to players as possible, while staying away from that threshold where a crash occurs, is very important.
GPU performance of a game is measured differently then memory, often seen by players as their FPS counter. Marcin says that the difficulty with Exiles Land is all of the biomes offered (he said 12, though he is perhaps referring to a more technical term for a biome then the 4 that players are used to. Siptah he believes there are 6). Different volumes of grass, trees, water, shadows, etc, all add to the complexity of rendering for GPU’s. Adding to the complexity is all of the different variations of hardware/consoles.
To tagert performance improvements for the GPU, like the memory optimizations, they are targeting a widespread of different areas to focus on. They are doing things like optimizing materials, decreasing poly counts, shrinking textures, and etc.
They also have added two modes or presets for Consoles, quality and performance. Quality mode will prioritize visuals. While Performance will prioritize frame rates. Marcin gave an example where the Series S will see 60 FPS in Performance mode, while in Quality mode it’ll only be around 30 FPS.
Marcin said that they are working on building optimizations as well for performance. The intended release for the building optimizations will be in the 2.4 update.
Content Update for 2.3
The Isle of Siptah is getting a very big overhaul. This was first announced in the Isle of Siptah Producer Letter, posted back in December of 2020.
Dennis talked about feedback for initial launch of Siptah made it clear that it wasn’t resonating with their core audience. In the previously linked Producers Letter, you can see the various breakdowns of that feedback. Dennis says that it was in everybody’s best interest to take the systems that people enjoyed about Siptah, and integrate the parts of the Exile Lands they found fun and engaging that they missed when playing Siptah.
One of the key areas targeted for revamp was the overall game loop. They are changing the game loops so that they are more in sync with features and gameplay that players enjoy in the Exile Lands.
Another important part of the feedback provided by players of Siptah is the lack of Thralls on the map. Players largely felt the map was empty, not a lot to do, and a had a frequent lack of access to Thralls. Funcom has addressed that feedback by adding NPC camps to the island, along with activities you can do in many of the camps. These new activities include a new Thrall rescue system, floating loot crates, gravedigging, unique companions, rare bosses and loot, hidden areas, and a “bunch of lore.” They have also added the Purge to Siptah.
Funcom has added many new building blockers to various (marked) areas on the above map. This map can also be found on this Announcements page. Each marked area on the map designates where a new NPC camp is going, and thus players will need to move their bases if they are located in those areas.
There is also an automated system that will destroy any buildings in those areas. This setting on Private Servers is disabled by default, so Private Servers can decide for themselves what situation is best for them. However, this will be toggled on for Official Servers. Funcom made this decision because they didn’t want any content blocked from other players, or have enemies spawning in player bases.
Nicole asked Dennis what his favorite new camp or area on Siptah is. To avoid spoilers, Dennis didn’t name the area. But he described it as a “band of pirates” next to a camp of undead pirates. These two factions will engage in battle with each other between their two designated home bases.
On the topic of factions, there are three new factions. The first is the ‘Stygian Mercenaries’, led by ‘Kraxus the Bastard’. Kraxus is basically a bastard of the Stygian throne. In the time of Conan, bastards could earn the throne via combat, stealing, and doing popular deeds in the name of their country. Kraxus is on the island to retake the island and gain the Sorcerer’s power in the name of Stygia.
The next faction is a pirate band called the ‘Black Corsairs.’ The Black Corsairs roam the southern coast of Hyboria and do pirate things (shocking, I know). When Kraxus came to The Isle of Siptah, the Black Corsairs were blockaded by the Stygian Mercenaries. The Black Corsairs invaded the Isle of Siptah with the intent on wiping out the Stygian Mercenaries to regain their piratey ways.
The third faction is ‘The Accursed.’ These are people who fell through the portals found on the Isle of Siptah and had their minds corrupted and darkened. They now ally with the monsters that attack players when in the Maelstrom.
Here are some quick screencaps of various NPC camps that were teased on the stream.
Coming in the 2.3 update is the new rescue system. If you encounter a Jailer NPC, you can kill that Jailer and take a key from their corpse. When you open a nearby cage containing a Thrall, an Exile Thrall will come out and join your clan.
This feature something similar to what they originally wanted to do for Conan Exiles original launch back in 2018. Basically an alternative, more moral way to gain allies. However, the system they are introducing in 2.3 is a more slimmed down version of what they envisioned. They may improve or add more depth to these systems in the future, though there are not any immediate plans. Future updates to this system will largely depend on player feedback and popularity of the feature.
Vaults have been rebalanced to be level 60 content, with more end-game loops and rewards in them. The cooldown for running a vault is also lower, with only needing 8-12 minutes before a reset.
Sigils have been changed as well. They now have unique qualities to them, instead of increasing damage to storm monsters. For example, there are Sigils that remove poison, bleed, or corruption, health restore when you kill an enemy, extra endurance when climbing, extra resources when harvesting, one will let you climb when you run out of endurance but will instead drain health, and another will let you sprint really far.
Dennis said in the stream that you do lose the Sigil effects when you die, but you can also get another Sigil to where you only ever lose that specific Sigil on death.
Added Note: Narelle added some more details about this that she discovered during her Testlive testing.
On player death, there is a chance that a Sigil in the player’s inventory will drop, a chance it will be destroyed all together, or a chance the player keeps it.
The “Fiend Sigil” that Dennis talks in the stream is always destroyed on Death, but it fully protects all other equipped Sigils.
Originally, Purges were not added to Siptah because of lore (with NPC’s originally only coming to the Isle of Siptah via the portals). But because of the changes to the map with new NPC camps, they decided to also bring the Purge over as it was another system that was missing that players wanted from the Exile Lands. The Purge behaves the same way as it does in the Exile Lands. As you play and build, your Purge meter builds until a Purge is initiated.
For those who are not a fan of the Purge, the Convergence Trap has been changed. Instead of generating resources in the storm, you can build the Convergence Trap anywhere. There are two recipes on the Convergence Trap. One will let you summon a purge for the cost of ??? essences, while the other will empty your Purge meter.
Like the Exile Lands, the Purge can contain high tier and unique Thralls. Enemies seeing during the Maelstrom event can also be part of a Purge invasion.
It was later asked (01:18:00) if the Convergence Trap would be available on the Exile Lands map.
Dennis said that the current plans are to make this tool exclusive to the Isle of Siptah. However, like the Thrall Rescue system, they want to hear what players feel about the feature and other feedback. If players feel strongly about it as a general feature, then Funcom will visit adding it as a game wide feature (either by adding the Convergence Trap to the Exile Lands, or by changing the system so it can be utilized regardless of which map the player is on).
The Maelstrom has been altered a great deal. The sound effects are a lot quieter, the visuals are less intense, and you can build inside the storm without any damage to the buildings. The storm is also less frequent, with Dennis estimating it to occur 30-40% less.
A big factor in changing the storm was to open up the building spots on the map. The storm originally took up 1/3 of the current map size. Enemies will also no longer spawn and target player buildings inside the storm. Enemies will continue to attack players in the Storm, but they have been given new rewards as well.
If there are certain aspects of the Maelstrom that you enjoyed originally, you can adjust those settings for Single Player or on a Private server via the available Server Settings.
Surges continue to work the same as they did before, except you can summon it anytime a Leyshrine is available (even if the Maelstrom is currently active). This gives players access to high tier Thralls via two total methods, the Surge, or the Purge. Each game loop will have unique Thralls that the other does not. Swirling chaos also cooks a bit faster than it did before, thus allowing the player to summon the Surge faster.
Surge bosses are the primary source of Fragments of Power, with rare bosses that spawn in the various NPC camps being another source. Fragments of Power can be used to unlock new recipes, similar to the Exile Lands map (more on that in a bit).
Wild Surges were a mechanic to gain thralls when there was a lack of NPC camps. When Funcom decided to implement NPC camps on Siptah, they felt like more camps would be more worthwhile then the Wild Surges. All Wild Surges have been replaced or removed in place of a NPC camp in the coming 2.3 update.
For a fun little development story and a peak behind the curtain, Dennis shared a system they had developed that never saw the light of day (and won’t since the Wild Surges are gone now). They worked on it just before they decided to completely revamp Siptah in 2.3.
Players were building entire structures around Wild Surge spawn points, and preventing others from gaining access. So Dennis and his team developed a system that would enable a Wild Surge to detect if they were surrounded by a building. If 90% of the building pieces belonged to one person or clan, it would nuke the structure.
But there were some downsides to that system for players, especially new players. They could be innocently building in an area, and a Wild Surge appears and nukes it. Or they may not understand why you can build in a certain spot but later find their building nuked, and wonder why not just block off the area entirely like any other spot in the game.
Scott said that all of these changes are a result of player feedback they have received. Players felt like it was a very large investment or grind for only a small gain, and that they were missing a lot of their favorite game systems found on the Exile Lands. The changes make the systems of Siptah more accessible, and not require nearly as much grind as it did before.
More feedback provided by players was about the tower itself. Players wanted to explore the giant tower found in the middle of the map, and Funcom didn’t (at the time) have a way to let players go in to explore.
They decided to bring in one of the more popular end-game loops from the Exile Lands, a system similar to the Library of Esoteric. Instead of the Library of Esoteric, it is called the Void Forge. Players can now bring Fragments of Power to the base of the Tower to get unique recipes, just like the Exile Lands (except with its own unique rewards to the Isle of Siptah).
Spoiler Alert!!! Skip this part if you want to find out for yourself what rewards you may find in the Void Forge.
Here are some of the rewards you may find in the Void Forge.
New Dragonbone Armor Sets (Dennis said that all 3 sets are coming in 2.3, however he later sent me a message and corrected this by saying that the Heavy set is coming in 2.3, and Medium and Light are in 2.4)
New Silent Legion Armor Sets
A ton of placeables, ranging from items like pots you see around the Siptah island, to ruins, and etc.
New Legendary Weapons
Faster Elevators (Dennis estimated on stream that they are 25-30% faster. However he later sent me a message and corrected this number to 2x.)
Here are some screen captures of some of the new armors.
Andy asked the opinion of the Funcom staff members on the stream on which of the new armors was their favorite. Dennis and Nicole went with the Dragonbone armor sets as their favorite. Scott went with the Silent Legion sets.
Dennis talked about how they did a lot of work on the new legendary weapons and he feels they are more unique than a legendary weapon typically would be.
For the stream, the only weapon which he directly talked about in terms of what their game mechanic does is the Red Crystal Shield (Pictured below). Dennis said that the shield will damage the attacker when successfully blocked.
Narelle Note: The Red Crystal Shield adds bleed to the attacker when successfully executing a block
Here are some screen captures of some of the new legendary weapons.
As the name suggests, these are new attacks that can be done while sprinting. Dennis says that sprint attacks are something “everybody expects to be able to do.” Whether you are chasing down prey or attacking an enemy, many player’s natural feeling is to use some sort of sprint attack when attacking out of a sprint. This new attack fills that role.
This is also meant to help shorten PvP fights, chasing down an enemy and clipping them as the other player is running away. Forward momentum will allow players to catch up to other players when using the new sprint attacks.
Here are some gifs to showcase some of the new attacks.
Funcom gathered a list of questions prior to the start of stream from the Forums and Reddit. They answered as many as they could in the time allocated (and still went a bit over).
Q: The Purge: Any improvements to it for the future? People are asking about what happens to the old Exiled Lands purge. Has it been improved for Siptah?
Any improvements to the Purge will apply to any map that contains the Purge (Exile Lands, Siptah, modded maps, etc). Dennis said that they do have a major change coming for the Purge, but it won’t be until the 2.4 update. It changes the way the Purge targets your base, and makes it more likely to target the outside of the base. They are hoping to improve the Purge so that there are less cases of instances of where a Purge spawns on the player’s roof, and be more likely to attack where they are supposed to.
Scott added that there are improvements to the Purge in 2.3 and that it should behave a bit better. But there will still be instances of the rather annoying Purges spawn inside the base when they shouldn’t. The major improvements to address those types of bugs will be in the 2.4 update to help resolve a lot of those cases.
Q: Working remotely for a gaming company in the midst of a pandemic must be challenging. Has there been any positive take away or valuable things you have learned from the experience of working during Covid-19 over the last year? (01:00:10):
Dennis started off by saying it taught him how much he appreciates being in the office and not being stuck in his house every single day. He further added that it’s given the development team the opportunity to prove they can be responsible and productive without having somebody peeking over their shoulder. They have also had to learn and change the way in which they communicate with each other, while keeping everybody on the same page. Dennis feels that they have done a really good job of that.
Scott added his answer next. He said that he felt like the team has done an excellent job, though he said it makes certain aspects of the job a lot more challenging. Such as doing a dev stream would be much nicer if they were all in the same room and a more professional environment, whereas during the pandemic it’s more like a Zoom or Slack call.
There are also instances where you miss communication, both socially and productivity. When you are in the office, it’s easier to understand the intent of ideas being proposed when you hear various conversations. Working during the pandemic remotely requires the giving and pulling of information from each team member to be more purposeful.
In a coincidence, Andy said he believed that the day of the stream was the 1 year anniversary of when Funcom switched to remote working.
Q: Are there any plans to change how Exiled Lands recipes are obtained on the Isle of Siptah or will it still be mostly through random drops from vault chests and NPCs?
Dennis answered this question saying that they don’t have any plans to fundamentally change those systems.
As previously announced, they are adding a system to allow server transfer of characters. This will allow access to recipes that are not found on certain maps to be accessible on other maps via transferring between. Dennis didn’t specify if you could go back and fourth infinitely or any other specific features. He simply said that a player could go from The Exile Lands to the Isle of Siptah, or vice versa.
This system will not be ready for 2.3, though the goal is to have it ship with the 2.4 patch. They are purposely keeping some of the Siptah and the Exile Lands recipes different since they know this feature is coming.
Q: Will we ever get to pick grey-flower lupin, mine obsidian, obtain sand beast bile glands, or brew the Potion of Bestial Memory on the Isle of Siptah? (01:03:00):
Also previously announced, the plan is to add more land mass in a future Isle of Siptah update. Dennis said that the intent is to add this new land mass in 2.4.
They do plan on adding grey-flower lupin, obsidian, and sand beast bile glands in 2.4 as well. The Potion of Bestial Memory is already part of the Isle of Siptah, which is a drop from Alpha creatures (Alpha Rocknoses, for example). However, the recipe for the Potion is obtained via the Exile Lands, and they expect players to have to find that recipe and bring it over to the Isle of Siptah for that intended use.
Q: Will the follower cap ever be activated on official servers? (01:03:50):
Scott said yes, and that it would probably launch as part of the 2.4 update. They will announce all the changes they are doing, and the exact maximum amount of followers players will be allowed to have.
This announcement will come at a later date, but will be done well in advance to give players plenty of time to adapt. Scott added that it is one of the various performance issues that servers have. As always for Private Servers, this is optional, while it will be enabled for Official Servers.
Q: Do you plan to add more vanilla buildings on Siptah and maybe some where you can build inside or on it? (01:04:40):
Dennis wasn’t sure exactly what the question was referring to. Nicole surmised that perhaps they meant world buildings (maybe such as Sepemeru on the Exile Lands map?). Dennis said that there are some small camps and structures that are not “blocked” in the upcoming 2.4 patch. They originally planned on turning those areas into NPC camps, but decided not to later on. They then left the structures behind for players to use.
Scott added that there will be more information for 2.4 around the end of March, or around the beginning of April. But he added that they’ve added specific areas to Siptah that are really nice for building.
Q: Will we get imprisoned thralls and buried treasures for the Exiled Lands? (01:05:30):
Dennis said that they currently do not have plans at the moment. For the time being, the two systems will be a feature difference between the Exile Lands and Siptah. If Funcom ends up doing a more in-depth Thrall Rescue System later on (as Dennis talked about earlier), it would be a system that would be found on any map.
Scott added that if players really enjoy the Thrall Rescue System and want it added to the Exile Lands, he asked players to speak up and add their feedback. If there is a high demand for the feature on the Exile Lands and a more fleshed out system, they will see what they can do from there.
Q: Have you ever considered a TLC update for non human creatures? Like a makeover for hyenas and wolves or just a general rework of the A.I? (01:06:13):
Dennis said that they are doing some pretty big updates for Spiders and Rocknoses in particular in the 2.4 update, with additional plans to continue doing monster updates over time. They are working on those monsters first, and will do something else next. Perhaps Wolves or Hyenas in future major updates following 2.4. The intention is to take what’s there and to improve it further.
Q: Named artisans: any updates? Since Siptah got its own Purges, will we somehow be rewarded for getting rare Thralls? (01:06:50):
They don’t have any specific plans to add more hard requirements to obtain specific Thralls (such as it used to be in the past where there were unique recipes depending on which Thrall was obtained). Dennis said that they moved away from that system intentionally in order to make the Thrall system more accessible.
Q: “Elder Things” as trophies? (01:07:30):
It isn’t something they are currently working on at the moment. It is possible, and something they could consider in the future.
Q: Any plans of adding fast travel on IoS? (01:07:56):
Dennis said that it is still “to be determined,” and has recently started to explore that idea. He thinks considering the amount of land mass that has been added in 2.4, it may be a good time to add a fast travel system. They may also use a fast travel system that can be used regardless of which map the player is on. Dennis said that they don’t want to invalidate the map room, but it might be nice to give explorers more ability to explore.
Scott added that they need to see players play test the new lands that are being added and how that plays out. If it takes a significant amount of time to get to various places on the map, then they will evaluate a fast travel system or a method to help out with that.
Q: Are you happy with the changes you have done to rocknoses and elephants? Are they where the developers would like them to be? (01:08:45):
Other than the topic that Dennis just covered with their intention to improve many existing monsters (including Rocknoses), they can always take a look into issues players may be having with specific monsters and do a balance pass on them. He said that they are never truly happy and that they always want to find ways to improve or make things better (such as how people view their own art), but they can never truly make it perfect.
Dennis reiterated that they could do a balance pass on them, noting that the Elephants and Rocknoses have very high armor, and that Elephants also have a lot of HP. He also suggested that players adapt their weapons in their inventory based on specific engagements. For heavy armor fights, utilize weapons and buffs to enhance the armor penetration.
Q: Any plans to revert the i-frames on light armor to their previous values? (01:09:45):
Dennis said that they don’t have any plan to do a full reversion of their previous values for i-frames. However in 2.4, they are planning on making changes for them. Scott added that there are other PvP changes coming in 2.4 as well.
Dennis, to the delight of the crowd, goes on to say that they are nerfing horse combat. He basically emphasizes that Horse meta will no longer be a thing after the 2.4 patch.
As far as dodge, they aren’t going to nerf the i-frames. They are, however, going to make changes to the i-frame window. The intention is to have i-frames scale with the level of encumbrance instead of the armor type/class. Funcom wants players to spec into specific attributes and use various gear that allows for different builds instead of having the best dodge always when using light armor.
The dodge window is currently .4 seconds for the i-frame. It’ll be going down to .35. The distance of the dodge is currently 3.7 meters, with the intended change in the 2.4 patch being 4.4 meters. Neither of these will change based on your armor. Encumbrance level will dictate your roll speed and your recovery speed out of the roll. The more encumbered you are, the slower your roll and recovery speeds will be.
Recovery is still modifiable by the level of agility. The base recovery speed has also been increased by 30%. Dennis concludes by stating that dodge will once again be a big “comeback mechanic” again. He claims that a highly skilled player will once again be able to take on a group of lesser foes, instead of being defeated every time by mob tactics.
2.4 is of course, currently not on Testlive, but when 2.4 is pushed to Testlive, these changes will be in the patch notes. Dennis is highly encouraging anybody with invested interest to come test out the changes on Testlive and give quality feedback so that they can fine tune it further.
Q: Exploit Discussion (Specifically the “Porking” issue) (01:13:20):
Dennis said that any existing and future exploits is something they want to address, yes.
Personal Note: This issue has been fixed on PC for some time (some players claim it isn’t, but I have yet to see real evidence that it isn’t fixed. If you have actual evidence the issue isn’t resolved, please submit your findings to Funcom). Console platforms will receive the same bug fix as part of their upcoming parity patch (also confirmed by Ignasis in Twitch chat, and later via a DM by Scott).
Q: Any thoughts or plans on how you might improve food and drink? (01:14:07):
Dennis said that they have discussed internally on improving the food and drink system. Right now they are talking about making hydration and starving a little bit more forgiving (so that new players feel less inclined to rage quit if they can’t find insects or something to eat when first starting out).
As far as the system as a whole, they don’t have any specific current plans to address it. They would like to make it a more “involved” system. But Dennis said that it’ll never go back to how food and drink was used before though, and that the existing/newer healing system is here to stay. Dennis said that they can make tweaks to make healing a bit better, such as making the healing potion animation faster (possibly in 2.4).
Scott added that they do not want to go back to the system of spamming eating food to heal in the middle of combat. He added that after they make some more changes to the healing mechanic in 2.4, if players have feedback or other ideas to provide to let them know via the forums. They will continue to look into ways to improve the system over time.
Q: Any plans to wipe The Isle of Siptah or Exiled Lands on official servers for any platform? (01:15:35):
For Siptah, there are a small number of areas where buildings will be nuked due to the new NPC camps (as previously discussed in the stream and on the available Important Links at the top of this page.) They tried to limit this as much as possible by using areas where their internal data showed not a lot of people built in the areas, or had a building blocker already there.
Funcom added a harvesting bonus for official servers for the past couple of weeks. This was specifically aimed to help affected players whose bases were in areas that NPC camps were being added. Scott said that they will continue to run that event for a little bit longer after they patch (he said one week after the patch, but he didn’t sound 100% positive at the time of the stream.)
But in terms on full map or database wipes, as they have stated numerous times in the past, the answer is still no plans to wipe.
Q: Undermeshing? (01:17:15):
Several patches ago for PC, Funcom added an anti-undermesh system to the Exile Lands (that it itself was publicly available for testing on Testlive for several months). Since the system went live, they have continually refined it to target any missing holes exploiters have found. Ignasis said in Twitch chat that they have lots of improvements coming for the anti-undermesh system in 2.3.
For Siptah, they will be turning the same tool on sometime “soon” after the official launch for Siptah. They don’t have the anti-undermesh tool switched on for Siptah yet since they are still in the process of overhauling and adding more lands and content to the map itself. But the plan is to turn it on shortly after official launch.
Consoles also will obviously see the anti-undermesh system switched on for the first time after they receive their parity patch.
Relevant Questions and Answered Pulled from Twitch Chat:
Q: Followers follow me too closely, we need a way to change this.
Ignasis: There are fixes for followers getting you stuck in places coming with 2.3! (Ignasis here is referring to the new setting that lets players set the Follow distance).
Q: Will we see more streams this year?
Ignasis: We aim for that to be the case.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Scott wanted to thank all the players who have played and given feedback about Siptah. When they launched in Early Access, Scott said he was uncertain about a few of the features, and having player feedback has been invaluable. They really appreciate all the feedback that has been given during the Early Access period and it has greatly impacted the development of the Isle of Siptah.
He asks that people continue to give feedback, including for 2.3, which has an expected release date for Tuesday (March 16th, 2021) pending any last minute critical issues found over the weekend.
Consoles, as previously mentioned, will also receive their parity patch soon after. Siptah won’t be ready for Consoles at the end of the month, but will of course be receiving access to the Isle of Siptah when it is officially launched. Scott says that the official launch for Siptah “won’t be too far off.” Nicole added that all official announcements will be posted on the forums and all the various social media platforms, so keep an eye on those areas for upcoming news.