Ver Verso Completa : Relic Q&A January

30/01/2009, 16:56
In the middle of the Dawn of War 2 beta, Thunder managed to find some time to devote to Company of Heroes and here are the results. 10 questions by the community, 10 answers by Relic. Enjoy!

Gamereplays: What is going on with all the media from Relics community day, the pictures and videos and what not, Why has that not been released yet?

Thunder: I dont know what happened to that media or what the plans were for it. One of the casualties that comes with having some newb come in as Community Manager I guess. Sorry.

Gamereplays: The servers are incapable of handling the large amount of people that is online sometimes. Are there plans to improve the server's capacity?

Thunder: Yep, weve been working on server capacity/performance at high populations. We made some recent improvements to the system and promptly set a new record for the number of players online, almost 9000 players without a meltdown like we have seen in the past. Well continue to monitor performance.

It can be challenging to fix something like this on a live system as you could improve performance and then suddenly find a new ceiling for your hardware or code as more and more players log on. We're very excited to see so many players logging on to play so many years after the original game shipped.

Gamereplays: With the exception of ToV, what are Relic's plans after the beta patch is released to retail? Is another beta planned to address the outstanding balance issues or will Relic go back to regular patches directly into retail?

Thunder: We still have some balance work to do, no doubt, but were focused on shipping the patch to retail and then shipping TOV right now. Whatever balance changes we make in the future we will be pushing out to the beta server, as this is now part of our patching process, so players will be able to play with the changes there.

If we hold another balance playtest for a patch, Id like it to be more focused, with a specific timeframe to make changes so that it isnt such a long drawn out process.

Gamereplays: When are we likely to receive more information on the new multiplayer features ToV will introduce?

Thunder: February. Information will be doled out leading up to launch as usual so well be talking about each of the three new multiplayer modes in turn.

Gamereplays: Would it be possible to add 2v2 AT ranks so you can see the team level your up against?

Thunder: Ill bring it up with the team.

Gamereplays: Currently, when wishing to report a cheater I must go through GR.org or 1337. As well, Relics response to cheaters is at a point where most players do not fear retribution for their actions. Does Relic intend to make cheating a bigger issue, such as making their a more direct method of reporting cheaters and/or making their stance better known within game? Ex would be using the news column to send out regular public service announcements about cheating, what cheating is, how to report it, what actions you will take against it, etc.

Thunder: community@relic.com is our e-mail alias that many players use to report cheaters directly to us. Thats something I could see us making more players aware of. Other than that, actions speak louder than words when it comes to cheaters I think. Suspending or banning accounts helps best to address the problem and is something I do.

I often ask if a player who is complaining about a drop hacker in a game he just played reported the offending player to us, and the answer is generally no. Please, send us the recorded game and a screenshot to community@relic.com.

Gamereplays: Given the huge size of the next retail patch, will Relic be ready to hotfix quickly? As it is it extremely likely at least one unit/ability/etc. will be broken when it goes live.

Thunder: Our policy on hotfix would apply here. If theres a game breaking bug, wed need to hotfix it. If a single unit is broken but the game is otherwise fine, thats not something wed hotfix.

Gamereplays: How many man-hours are devoted to balancing? How are issues identified, addressed and how do solutions gain favor? There have been many questionable and downright counter-productive changes to the game throughout it's history and maybe something about how the game is balanced may influence these questionable decisions.

Thunder: Company of Heroes has been nothing if not a giant lesson in the patching process. We are constantly evaluating and reiterating on this process in order to meet the needs of our community.

Currently there are three balance testers on the COH team and three multiplayer designers. Issues are identified by me reading the forums, the more detailed the forum posts the better, as well as any concerns that crop up from in-house play testing. For issues found in the community I compile key points from discussions in the forums that detail the specifics of a balance concern, as well as any solutions that the community has come up with. The multiplayer design and balance teams take a detailed look at each issue to make sure they uncover the precise cause and then move on to consulting suggested fixes for the most acute and feasible solution. For issues found in-house, the method changes slightly. The older that COH and its community gets, the more removed from the meta-game our multiplayer team becomes. Issues found in-house need to be corroborated by community experience this is where I go back to the forums to look for these specific issues, and delve deeper for detailed analysis when necessary. The solutions need to be signed off by the MP designer responsible for implementing changes, the balance team, and myself, before being implemented into a patch. We have found this new process to be an encouraging one, and will continue to iterate on it as the beta hits retail.

Gamereplays: Apart from the new campaigns and the direct-fire mode, will there be new units/abilities available to the armies?

Thunder: Yes, there will be two new vehicles for each of the four Armies in the game. You can choose to swap out old vehicles for these new vehicles, or not if they dont fit your play style, its up to you. There are no new abilities for existing units for classic multiplayer.

Gamereplays: Any idea yet when the patch is going to be applied to retail?

Thunder: No, as it is going to spend quite some time in the QA process. We intend to release the patch to retail before Tales of Valor ships.