Seccia Ravenloft, Destroyer of Worlds and Petter of Many Kittens: Many people are experiencing problems using Shader 3.0 on their machines, with things like video card glitches, reduced performance, and crashing. Will the team hotfix Shader 3.0, or would those type of updates require a larger content patch?
Dave Georgeson, Producer: We'll be doing fixes. In fact, we'll be hotfixing a performance update soon so improvements will be coming much sooner than having to wait until the next big update.
Why was the decision made to remove the option of starting in Freeport and Qeynos? It's still surprising to many players as to why all of that starter content was cut out. Can we look forward to the starting islands being re-added in the future, perhaps? Or are they permanently cut out?
Despite the fact that veteran players have emotional attachments to the old starter isles, the decision was made to remove them because the lore was outdated, the Qeynos/Freeport cities were extremely hard to navigate for new users, and the quest chains were often disjointed. It was going to be a giant task to redo all that work, and the newer starting areas (like Timorous Deep and New Halas) were doing much better in encouraging users to try out and stick with the game.
Additionally, we have plans to repurpose Qeynos and Freeport to do some really cool stuff with them later on. Moving new users away from these cities allows us to mess with their layout and content without having to worry about accidentally ganking newbies as they play through that same area. We're setting the stage for future developments.
The Far Seas Trading Company plotline concerning the starter isles being off-limits to trading will be fleshed out further in the future also.
Is the team worried about having the Qeynos and Freeport content abandoned as players are all funneled into the new starter cities?
Heck, no. For those folks that love Qeynos/Freeport, it's easy to just start in one of the other cities, walk over and click the World Globe object and transport straight to Qeynos/Freeport, if that's what you want. Plus the new travel system makes it super easy to move around now, so if you want to go adventure in Blackburrow (for example), it's easier now than it's ever been to get there.
What's next on the development team's plate? There are rumblings of Velious abound in the forums... Can anything be said, even a cryptic hint to the next expansion or major content update?
We're definitely still in "cryptic hint" phase. There have been enough leaks of info, so until we get closer to Fan Faire in August, we won't be releasing much more official info about the new expansion. There will be another big update of features before that expansion comes out though, so there's definitely a lot to look forward to in the coming months.
(But we really hope you all like snow and ice.)
Thank you very much for your time, Dave!
||Massively's dark elf reporter around town, Seccia Ravenloft, is a committed follower of the Overlord. When not adventuring, Seccia prefers a large ale and the company of kittens. She can be reached in Norrath via the Norrathian Express Mail (Server: Lucan D'Lere), or via her human friend, Seraphina Brennan, at seraphina AT massively DOT com.