Developer Stream Recap: November 7th, 2019

Funcom Full Youtube Link (Starts at 10:37): - 11-7-19 - Written Summary

Hello everybody. Here is the written recap for the latest stream. As usual, if something during the stream was covered, mentioned, hinted, or any other thing of substance, I will have it written here to the best of my ability.

Today’s Funcom Staff Sightings were:

  • Jens Erik - Community Manager, on stream
  • Alex - Lead Designer, on stream
  • Ignasis, Community Support, in Twitch Chat behind the Funcom tag
  • Andy B, Community Manager, hung out in Twitch Chat
  • Robert, Senior Designer. Not in chat this go around, but offered some post-stream clarifications. Robert was also the source for much of the Q/A that was asked towards the end of the stream.

On Tuesday November 5th, Funcom went into more substantial details of the previously announced Pet/Thrall/Mount (and hereby now referred to as Followers or Companions) leveling system in a News Forum Post. Here is that link.

The stream today was all about those changes and answering various questions gathered from the Forum over the last couple of days. A lot of what was covered today can also be found on the above linked post.

On November 8th post stream, Jens also posted the full Q/A responses he discussed during the stream. Many of these answered are contained in my recap below spread throughout into appropriate sections.


Stream Introduction


Opening Statement (13:15):

Funcom knows that these new changes are going to be controversial and that there already has been, and will continue to be, lots of ideas, feedback, and concerns. It was also said several times during the stream, but the final numbers and decisions are not to be considered final. All of it is subject to change before the official patch drops, or after. That will be based on the results and feedback that come in as time goes on.

Alex late in the stream also said they will be conducting playtests very soon, and hinted that “people” could be involved in that process as well.


Follower Changes - General Info


Crafting Thralls - Unaffected (14:24):

The upcoming leveling system and max Follower count does not impact Crafting Thralls.

Current Planned Rollout Date (15:55):

The current plan is to roll out the Follower changes at the same time that the previously announced Mount system will be implemented in “Early December.” This is subject to change in case any issues arise (or “stuff” happens) that cause this window to be delayed or pushed back.

Stats Shown on Stream - Subject to Change (25:00):

The stats shown on screen in today’s stream are not to be considered final. In particular, later in the stream, a Thrall was shown with over 20,000 hit points. This is not intended, and Robert had this to say:

The hitpoints for the thrall displayed in the stream is not representative of the hitpoints we will have in the final build. Some (very rare) Thralls may have more hitpoints than 10,000, but those are rare finds indeed. The thrall present on the stream is likely from a build with old data, and we will investigate.

Feeding System Isn’t Coming Back (27:30):

Alex gave the audience a bit of a jolt when he mentioned feeding your Followers. It was clarified here that they did not mean that the original Feeding System would return, as it won’t be. He meant in terms of keeping them alive and giving them food so that they would regenerate health faster.

Followers still have a diet table that will give them 1 hour long buffs (the strength being determined by their diet table) and will regenerate health as previously mentioned.

Breaking Bond of the Follower (31:36):

Also coming with the various Follower changes is the much requested ability to disband, delete, or dismiss existing Followers who you do not want part of your base. To do so, simply interact with your Follower, and select “Break Bond.”

Once selected, you will receive a “Are you sure you want to delete this Follower” message.

Confirming your decision will result in the Follower instantly vanishing, with all of their stuff in their inventory appearing in a typical loot bag.

Question: Can you remotely Break Bonds of your Followers, or do you have to interact with them?

Answer: You must interact with them.

Question: Will Server Admins be able to use the “Break Bond” command on non-owned Followers?

Answer: No, you must own the Follower to initiate the Break Bond sequence. Server Admins can use Admin delete to destroy a non-owned Follower though (Shift + Delete on PC).

Moddable - Yay for us Modders (28:40):

As Alex described, significant amounts of the system are moddable for mod authors to play around with as they desire.


Follower Level System Details


Attributes for Followers (16:23):

The attribute system for Followers should be pretty familiar to most existing players at this point. Everything the player already uses now for their characters will also be used for Followers. The exception’s, currently, are Grit and Encumbrance, in which neither impact Followers in any way.

In total, Strength (Melee Strength), Agility (Armor Bonus), Vitality (Total Health), Accuracy (Range Damage), and Survival (Reduces impact of negative effects and debuffs) will be the attributes that affect Followers.

During the Q/A, it was asked to elaborate on this decision:

Question (49:57): Elaborate on the decision on why Grit and Encumbrance were not chosen as a stat for Followers?

Answer: Historically, Followers and NPC’s have never had to rely on Stamina and they didn’t feel it was wise to throw that in too. It was discussed internally, but ultimately there wasn’t enough time to implement it properly had they decided to go that route.

As far as Encumbrance, that would open up a bunch of other issues that they wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for and to deal with. For the moment, they chose not to handle Encumbrance and Grit for Follower stats.

Stats Tab (17:23):

When interacting with your Follower, a new tab will be available called the Stats Tab. Here are a couple of screen grabs below, though this can also be viewed on the original announcement I previously linked as well.

All freshly converted followers will start at level 0 with base stats on placement in the world. The maximum level that Followers can currently acquire is level 20.

Further, Followers that are stored in chests, storage cabinets, fridges, etc, will inherit the new leveling system so long as they are placed after the changes go live.

Legacy Thralls (29:39):

Existing Followers that are already placed in the world prior to this update won’t receive any of the new leveling mechanics. Here is a screen grab of what their stats will look like.

Their growth chance, as you can see, is 0. They are also unable to gain EXP, Perks, or any of the functionality of the leveling system. Once again, this applies to existing Followers already out in the world. If they are stored in a chest or other storage container, so long as they are placed post update, they will inherit the new leveling system.

They didn’t do a deep dive into the tech explanation into this decision, but basically Funcom explained that they would have to put in additional resources and time into maintaining both new Followers and Legacy Followers. Value wise, they felt their efforts were better spent on adding new content and systems into the game then it would be to take those resources and spend it on Legacy Followers.

Faction Stats (18:48):

Different factions also have stats that more defined in certain roles. Examples used in the stream were:

  • Darfari will typically have a higher survival attribute

  • Votaries of Skelos will typically have a higher vitality attribute

How Do Followers Level? (20:15):

Followers must be in follow mode with your character in order to receive EXP from a killed enemy. If on “Guard”, they will not receive EXP on a kill. At the time of the stream, it is unknown if distance between the Follower and the player’s character is a factor. Jens at first thought they had to be nearby, but Alex much later commented that he didn’t believe distance was a factor in whether or not a Follower on Follow will receive EXP on a killing blow. Testing will be needed to fully determine that.

Followers will not receive crafting or building exp, their entire leveling system is based on combat. They will also not steal EXP on the final hit (28:54): If an enemy awards 1,000 EXP, both the player and the follower will each receive 1,000 EXP individually (not split). Knocking something out with a Truncheon does not contribute to the EXP pool.

Single Player and Private Server Admins also have admin commands available that will let players level a Follower as desired that way.

Growth Chance (20:45):

Growth Chance is viewed in the Stats screen. Different followers and factions have different growth rates than their counterparts. The faster growth followers are able to level more quickly, but aren’t able to achieve the best and highest stats. While the slower growth followers have a higher chance at hitting the highest peaks for a given stat.

Post-stream, Robert gave me this as an example:

Darfaris will level fast, while Votaries level slowly. Kappas level quickly, while Elephants level slowly in comparison. Thus, while a Darfari will hit that level 20 faster, the slower Votarie will have a higher likely hood of ending up as the higher quality Follower of the two.

The Growth Chance is displayed using percentages. This percentage represents how likely that particular stat levels up when your Follower does.The growth chance will vary based on the faction, tier of the Follower, and a bit of RNG randomness. For example, while a Darfari will typically have a higher survival growth chance, you may find a fighter who is higher in strength than usual.

Attribute Rolls (22:38):

On a leveling up event, every Attribute with a growth chance will run a roll. If the roll is a miss, that particular Attribute does not go up.

If the Attribute scores a success roll, then a second roll will run for a chance to score a bonus point for that Attribute. The value or chance of the second roll is hidden to the player (for now) in-game. Alex went on to explain that the second roll number is typically around 40%, but can go higher for specific stats (which is up to around 75% according to Robert) with special exceptions for rarer Followers.

Perks (24:00):

The Perks are displayed on the right hand side of the Follower Stat screen. Perks are guaranteed to be awarded at the level shown on this screen and are always awarded at the same levels (level 9, 14, and 19). The type of Perk is what is defined as “controlled random” and is based on the same factors as Attributes. That is faction, tier of the Thrall, type of Follower (pet vs Thrall), type of pet, etc.

Finally, Perks only give stat bonuses currently. They will see how things go from there on that front as far as expanding on the Perk system for Followers.

Weapons and Clothing (26:11):

As has been the case, armor and weapons equipped on a Thrall will impact their stats as usual.

Potion Impact? - Unknown (26:30):

At the time of the Stream, Alex couldn’t recall if potions had any impact on Followers as far as boosts to stats.


Relevant Q/A for Follower Leveling and Stat Systems


Question: How many Followers will I need to farm in order to gain the stats that I want?

Answer: That’s hard to estimate, but worthwhile Followers will still be worth the effort in obtaining. If you want the absolute best possible stat bonuses and attributes, it will take a long while to score close to perfect rolls.

Question (51:17): Can you get a perfect Follower? Meaning, full growth and all stats?

Answer: No. You can gain followers with very high growth rates in stats that you care about though.

Question (51:48): Will Purge Followers be a different or better tier then other Tier 4 Followers?

Answer: Not to start out with, but they may do this later after the system has been live for a while.

Question (52:14): Currently Pets are underpowered compared to Thralls because of equipment slotting. Will the new leveling system help balance this out?

Answer: On average, Pets are on par with Thralls that are given equipment. Pets are given more armor to compensate for the lack of being able to equip armor themselves. But Thralls still have the added ability to be further customized for specific situations because of their ability to add equipment, so Pets still have their weaknesses in certain situations.

Question (53:22): Will a “regular” pet be able to evolve into a “Greater” pet?

Answer: No. However, basic pets can become on par with a Greater pet, and in some cases with a lot of luck, even better. There could be instances where a Normal Rhino beats the snot out of a Greater Rhino, though that example is admittingly rare.

Also fun fact, somewhere there will be a what Rober coined, a “Chicken of Doom” somewhere for players to find. Alex went onto say that the bird perks for pets were given a lot of thought into and flavor.

Question: Will Potions Reset Follower Attributes?

Answer: No

Question: Are Followers susceptible to temperature?

Answer: No. Though they are still susceptible to poison, acid, etc.

Question: Will Witch Doctor Pets still have bleed and poison immunity?

Answer: Yes, the survival stat bonus will contribute in other ways, such as reducing the amount of time crippled.

Question: Will there be an increase to the number of Followers that a player can bring?

Answer: No, there is still only one Follower.

Multigun Additional Comment: For PC, there is a mod that lets you customize this on your Private Server or Single Player playthrough called Better Thralls, by Testerle.

Question (59:02): Can a Follower follow you while you are on a Mount?

Answer: No. Mounts are considered a Follower.


Follower Cap Limit - General Info


Follower Cap/Limit (36:11):

An obviously very big change is also coming with the Follower leveling system, and that is the introduction of a hard cap on Followers.

First off, Thralls that occupy Crafting Stations (Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Alchemists, etc) are not affected by this change. You may continue to put as many of these Thralls out in the world on their favorite crafting stations as desired.

The hard cap does affect any type of follower that is placed out in the world. Thus, pets, dancers, fighters, bearers, archers, and mounts are all affected.

Solo Players at default values on official servers are limited to 55 Followers. When adding players to the clan, that 55 Followers goes up 5 more for every new clan member for a total maximum count of 100 with a clan size of 10 people.

Feedback and Comments on the Chosen Numbers (37:27):

Funcom understands that the numbers they chose are a bit controversial. There is already a great deal of feedback that has been presented by the community, and they are reading through all of it. The numbers aren’t considered absolutely final, and they will continue to discuss those numbers internally moving forward based on the feedback they are receiving. The current numbers do represent the type of goals Funcom is going for, however. It wasn’t really extensively discussed during the stream, but here is a quote from the original news post about this change:

We are doing this for multiple reasons, first and foremost of which are reducing lag and increasing server frame-rate, especially for consoles. In addition to this, a limit like this will make building enormous landclaim areas more difficult to defend, which is one of many steps we intend to take towards solving problems with sieges and PvP going forward.

While the quantity of Followers will obviously drop, it is expected that the quality of the Followers will also increase because of the leveling system.

Private Servers and Single Player (38:49):

Official Servers are the only servers in which this change is mandatory. Private Servers and Single Player can opt out of this restriction entirely as they choose, or are free to set their own hard cap numbers.

Day 1 - Restriction is Off (39:23):

On the day of the patch, when the leveling system is introduced, along with the ability to Break Bonds and cull your Follower amount, the hard cap limit will be turned off. For a still to be determined grace period, Funcom will be giving players time to take action to reach the intended amount of Followers for their official servers.

Automated Follower Removal (40:29):

The system won’t automatically remove every Follower that is over the set limit once it’s active. If you have 10 more Followers then the server maximum, every 30 minutes the system will remove 1 random Follower until the maximum of the server is reached.

Maximum Follower Warning (41:09):

When you are at or close to the maximum amount of Followers, the system will warn you that you are at the limit if you place that new Follower. This will serve as a last warning to place your Follower count within appropriate numbers before placing that new Follower.


Relevant Q/A for Follower Cap Amounts


Question: How were the numbers decided to limit a clan to 100 followers?

Answer: It was done by consensus amongst the developers that 100 Followers was a good target point for a decent sized base defense and still be viable for performance.

Comment (45:24): Based on the current numbers, if you split the Followers amongst a full clan, that gives each member access to only 10 Followers. This encourages people to disband from the clan in order to have more Followers for their individual bases.

Answer: Yes, but things such as Friendly Fire being an incentive, as well as the fact each other’s Followers will engage in combat with each other now becomes a concern for those players. In addition, as people start to disband from the clan, the maximum count of Followers will also start to dwindle, causing the system to engage in it’s 30 minute random removal.

Question: Will PvE and PvP servers have different Follower maximum amounts?

Answer: Official servers will all have the same maximum Follower capacity.

Question: Will there be a UI Tab available that shows the exact number of Followers in a Clan?

Answer: Not in this patch, but they have considered doing that in the future and something they would like to do eventually.

Question: Are the upcoming Mounts counted in the Follower Limit?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Will the new system alter decay for Thralls equipment?

Answer: No.

Question: Will the abandonment system of Followers change with the new system? If I reroll my character in Single Player, will my old Followers still be there for me to fight, or will the system count them towards my new player?

Answer: Abandoned Followers do not count towards your Follower count.


General Q/A


Question: Will we be given the ability to order our Followers to be “passive” or to “stand down?”

Answer: Not for this patch, but Alex says they would love to do that someday.

Question: Can we name our Thralls like we can with Pets?

Answer: Not yet, but it is something they want to implement someday.

Question: Can you knock out Followers of enemy players?

Answer: That should be possible now.

Comment: Followers are already overpowered, why make it a Follower versus Follower game? You seem to only care about PvE players.

Answer: PvE players make the same exact argument, except that Funcom only cares about PvP players in their case. And Roleplayers have their turn as well. Funcom does try and cater to a large diverse crowd of players, and they know they can’t please everyone all the time. Alex and Jens continued to say that they encourage players to provide constructive feedback as often as players can so that Funcom can try to make changes to the game that is most beneficial and wanted by players across the board.

Emotes for Followers? (1:00:58):

Followers will shift and move around from time to time, this was introduced in the last major patch. It was scaled back from its initial amount, largely due to player feedback.


Future Content


New Building Pieces Or Weapons Coming (1:00:25)?

An eagle eyed commenter asked about the new building pieces in the feats tab of Jen’s play screen. Jens only would hint that there is possibly other things that they will reveal at a later date. Here is the screencap of when that interaction occurred, perhaps you can spot the possible new items :slight_smile:

Other Stuff Coming (1:01:16)?

Alex was pleased they didn’t let slip other things that are upcoming in the next patch. He believes though that those other things are “quite good” and sounded excited for players to find out what those are. He later hinted that internally they were having fun “throwing things at each other” with some of those new whatever they are.

31 Likes

Well done, yet again, MG !

Regards

jim

2 Likes

you’re an animal lol. A special magical animal. Like a white unicorn wolf. or a black unicorn wolf. an ivory or ebony narwolf hahaha. whichever is cooler.

so i mean thank you for this transcript,

4 Likes

All hail Multigun! Make shrines to his namesake in the game bring offerings to Gilum’tun, surround him with the finest of wares and candles.

Great job as always good sir very helpful.

5 Likes

Nothing about changing stuff on workbench thralls? (havnt had time watch youtube for it yet.)

Crafting thralls are not affected by the leveling or the max cap changes. It was mentioned a couple times during the stream and is in my recap.

1 Like

Will this horse be available when Mounts arrive…?

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While it was not answered specifically (where I heard it) there will be no opportunity to recapture released thralls as they disappear immediately upon confirmation.

I had to watch the “after-hours” version. Who had the idea of playing commercials (Twitch) in the middle of a sentence during the replay?

That wasnt their real answer… Their answer was, its not possible to distinguish between PvP and PvE…

But having a double harvest rate for official PvP server is possible, because its a server setting…
But the thrall cap NOT, even though its also a server setting. :confused:

Great job for review. At least I didnt miss anything in the stream.

Yet they only mentioned Archers, Fighters and Dancers.

Whats with Bearers? (Amzadi is probably the best Bearer then, as she is from the strongest faction. Then Pelor (Darfari) and the rest are Exiles).

It was more or less assumed that since Bearers are world added like the other Followers, that they would be impacted by the changes. But, you are correct in that they weren’t mentioned in the stream (I caught that too). So just to be sure, I asked Alex post stream and he confirmed that. Which is why I have it listed as an example in my recap.

I honestly forgot about that one. It felt more like a “guess” from Jens so I was going to ask for clarification later. The only thing I was certain of from that interaction was that there wouldn’t be any difference between PvP and PvE on the Follower cap, which is what I suspected would be the case to begin with.

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oh man, I just realized bearers are very close to looking just like the horses from the holy Grail! can we have equipable coconuts for them?

5 Likes

Great transcript, could not watch the video this time.
Everyone forgot to ask since they are being called followers now, are we getting a no slavery method of recruiting said followers?

Wasn’t brought up during the stream, sorry. There are methods in game now if you want to recruit via non slave means though. You can hire some NPCs from the pirate area, and of course the pet system.

2 Likes

Acually that is buying slaves from Pirates, they are still slaves, you just don’t bonk them yourself.

They’re named mercenaries, so I always tought that they weren’t slaves, but actual mercenaries.

1 Like

To be honest I never got one from the pirates but on the video I saw sometime back they where the same fighter and archer names as default thralls.

Maybe they changed then, but I still have faith Funcom will introduce another recruitment mechanic.

@Multigun
GHFGHFGH

4 Likes

Will there be any difference between “Stable” and “Unstable” Animations after the pet/thrall leveling system is released?