Thomas "Hanse" Eidson, designer on the SOE title Star Wars Galaxies, has released another developer diary detailing his latest efforts to improve the game. The upcoming Game Update 5 will tackle the Beast Master expertise system, a sort of alternate advancement path every class can use to tame and train fearsome beasts. It was introduced in Chapter 6, and in this newest patch will see a number of usability and game design tweaks. Many of them are simple quality of life issues; you'll be able to call you beast in combat, for example, and there's a new dye system in place the will allow you to recolor your pet even after it leaves the cloning vat.
Eidson also notes some major 'under-the-hood' revamps. The way a beast's happiness worked was arcane and hard to understand, both from a player perspective and in the code. Beast happiness has been refactored, with the end result being that beasts can be made happier, more easily. From the player perspective, this will result in beasts doing more damage and earning experience more quickly - a much requested feature. Additionally beasts can now be stuffed, their movements should be more in-line with player expectations, and eggs and enzymes are more informatively named. An interesting look behind the scenes - expect Game Update 5 on the live servers soon!