Get to Know a Dev

You asked him questions and he answered! Here are the answers to the questions you and your fellow players posted to Designer Justin Deeb.

BapsZerg - 1) Whats the theme of your own tabletop RPG (and what is the rule set like?)

  • It's a flexible roleplaying system designed for use in multiple different kinds of settings, much like GURPS in that regard. We've used it in various custom settings, as well as existing well-known settings including Star Wars, Fallout, Wheel of Time, and even a Pokémon one. One of my friends built his on-going custom steampunk-like setting using the base rules.

    The systems include modular features to add/subtract things like Attributes and Skills where the setting is appropriate, as well as adding custom abilities like maneuvers and spells. There are no levels or classes, and you use Experience to purchase upgrades in whatever area you desire to enhance your character. It uses modified d10's to determine success/failure, and character injuries and combat damage use different polyhedral dice.

Everwake - What traits do current MMOs lack that you would like to see added to EverQuest?

  • That's an interesting question: something current MMORPGs lack, that EverQuest also lacks, that I'd like to see in EverQuest? There are a couple of things I'd personally like to see added to EverQuest that unfortunately aren't technically feasible or would require some serious work. Not too long ago I would have said player housing, but now we've got that! Personally, I'd love to see some appearance slots, but EQ isn't really setup for that feature and adding it would be a massive amount of work at best.

    One thing I like to see in addition to on-going storylines (which EverQuest does have), is more "world" features. Interactable objects, environments, and furniture, events and items that spawn, things like that. I've always appreciated in EverQuest that you could drop items on the ground. Sounds like a minor thing, but outside of MUDs, there aren't many games you can do things like that in.

Tharkis – What's it like being a Dev working on EQ and interacting with the community?

  • At first, it was rather intimidating! I was with Vanguard from an early part of the project. Going into a game like EverQuest, there is so much to learn and become familiar with in regards to the nuances and intricacies. The community has been very friendly and helpful. It is very obvious they are passionate about the game, and some of them have been playing it since the beginning. That's no small amount of time!

    Overall, I'm having fun!

CrazyLarth - Have you ever been cut short one time on a project and could not finish what you envisioned? What do you do in these cases?

  • This is a common potential problem, and learning how to deal with it is an important part of the job. After all, there is always room for improvement. You can always add more, make it flashier, and create some more events or ambience. And if you have the time, that's great. But you don't always have time, and sometimes you need to work on other things. My personal approach is: make it function and make it fun, and then make it pretty.

    As long as it's functioning, you can always continue to grow it from there, or even come back and add more to it later. However, if you try to do something super complicated that could have a million things go wrong, you may have to rush to finish it, spend hours trouble-shooting you could have used to enhance it or add more content. You could get behind on other projects, causing them to suffer in quality.

    It's much better to make it work, and then grow it from there incrementally. A common mistake that I've been guilty of myself is trying something too complex to start with, and having it not turn out quite as I had hoped because I spent more time messing with minor details that waste more time than they are worth.

    When dealing with many problems, it is often easier to find a new approach than it is to bang your head against the desk on whatever you had wanted to do at first exactly as you had wanted to do it. By doing it a different way that works better and is just as satisfying to a player doing the content, you can find time to add more flavor and fun!

Robert5 - What did you think of your time working on VG diplomacy system and do you think anything similar will ever make it to EQ or EQ2?

  • It was a lot of fun! The best part was creating the stories and writing out the conversations, but making custom abilities for various NPCs to showcase their style and flair was great too. I'm not sure anything like it would make its way to EQ or EQ2, though. Adding a new system like that, potential technical issues and content concerns aside, would be quite time intensive from code, art, and design standpoints.

Nolrog - Are there any plans for more long and involved trade skill quests (e.g., Coldain Shawl 2.0, Aid Grimmel Earing, etc.)?

  • Nothing in the works at the moment, and no plans. But who knows what the future may hold?

Nolrog - What was the biggest challenge for you as you started working on the EQ Tradeskills?

  • Dealing with the massive amounts of recipes and getting familiar with the intricacies within each tradeskill. We're talking about a system with a legacy, and catching up on years and years of details and nuances is an on-going process. Needless to say, Ngreth's advice has been invaluable. Thankfully, especially compared to Vanguard, the actual creation and implementation of recipes is much quicker.

Nolrog - What is the biggest challenge for trade skills for the future?

  • Running out of adjectives for new cultural armor. Well. Actually Chandrok has the toughest part, since he has to balance the stats of the tradeskill items with all the other new items.

Thanks Justin!