Answers to your Questions!
Last week we asked for questions from the community for us to answer. Today, we've compiled the list of answers. Due to the number of questions (over 80 pages!), we weren't able to answer everything, but we've selected as many as we've had time to answer this week.
Some questions have been edited to remove typos.
May we please receive an official comment on whether or not the Flame Totem numbers are incorrect? At a high level, the numbers that currently exist in the game outright contradict the numbers provided to us as the 'expected' numbers from the 2.1.0 patch notes. I am concerned over the fact that there exists an inconsistency between what was stated and what was delivered.
The patch note was accidentally based on earlier iterations of Flame Totem balance. Further changes to the skill had occurred after these changes which has resulted in the patch note being incorrect. The changes were intended. It's now about 10% less damage at level 20, rather than no change at level 20.
When is Femurs of the Saints getting fixed? Can't play on that character anymore :(
The next patch will likely contain a fix for this item. The item is being changed so that it has 1.5% to 2.5% life regeneration per second rather than a number that scales per raging spirit.
Do you have plan for new map tiers or to raise the level cap in near future?
We do not plan to raise the level cap in the foreseeable future. We may add new tiers of maps, but we don't want to interfere with the level cap of 100 at the moment.
Who is the highest level GGG member in the Talisman league at the moment? And what core are they playing?
Some members of the quality assurance department are in the 90s in Hardcore Talisman. I'm 79 in that league currently.
Although trolling seems to produce the best results for myself, which fishing techniques are working best for the GGG team?
Hiding stuff in screenshots.
Are Talismans planned to be added to the core game? If yes, do you think it's about time to cut down on the wide variety of randomly spawning league mods?
We haven't made a decision about Talismans being added to the core game yet. In order to cut down on the variety of randomly spawning league mods, the weightings were substantially reduced when The Awakening came out last year. That's why you only run into corrupted side areas infrequently. It's great to have all this extra content, but we have to be careful to not repeat it too often.
When will you get around to fixing Shackles of the Wretched not reflecting Blasphemy?
Shackles was only intended to reflect self-cast curses, but the team find this idea "intriguing".
How many of you were there when Grinding Gear Games started? How long did it take to build your own engine, and when did you know your own engine was entirely called for?
Our four initial founders were Chris Wilson, Jonathan Rogers, Erik Olofsson and Brian Weissman. Jonathan worked on the engine continuously, but it was several years before it had all the features we needed. There are multiple people working on the engine now. We decided to make our own engine because the game has special requirements (highly random layouts, limited scene depth) and because commercial engines were too expensive in 2006.
Will the Labyrinth be reasonably traversable for players that don't use Deterministic Lockstep Mode?
Yes. Traps are like monsters that don't do unpredictable things. We test with lockstep and predictive mode, and the Labyrinth is fine. The improvements to predictive mode were necessary for us to undertake the Labyrinth as a project.
What new MTXs are in the works? Are there any new ones for skills?
The guys have a variety of new microtransactions in progress, such as ones for the new chaos skills introduced in 2.1.0. I heard a rumour about Ghostflame Wings, but I wouldn't dare reveal that kind of thing.
When do we get to see the rest of the Ascendancy class specializations? Is the Ascendancy patch going to bring another skill tree reset?
We'll be revealing them in the weeks leading up to release (i.e. mostly in February). Yes, there will be an optional passive skill reset for all characters with the deployment of 2.2.0 (Ascendancy).
How many recipes (excluding The Goddess Unleashed) are currently undiscovered (or not widely known, as in not on the wiki or the forums)?
We don't want to say the number, but I keep getting surprised by ones being added that I thought were public. We'll get some more in for you guys to have more to hunt for :)
Do you guys have a set amount of acts in mind for the game? Or are you just "winging" it?
There's room for a lot more acts, and we're gradually working through them. As you can see, though, many expansions don't introduce new acts. Ascendancy's new Labyrinth isn't technically an act, for example.
How's it been to have a server in Brazil, did you guys notice an increase of accounts and chars?
We had a reasonably sized Brazilian community playing Path of Exile already. The local server and localisation doubled the size of this community. Many English-speaking players may not realise but we post all the news in Portuguese as well over on br.pathofexile.com/news!
Are you planning on letting us invite Tasuni to our hideout?
He's not a Forsaken Master, though!
When is Guild love coming?
There are a number of guild features that we'd like to add, though they haven't been sufficiently prioritised. I apologise for that.
I recently found out how well summoner builds work and have managed to climb the ladder pretty high. However, it is really frustrating to get new spectres every time you start the client which has made me never close the client. I've heard that there would be some changes in the future - any updates on the subject?
Retaining spectres would be a great QoL feature for summoners. There's no implementation for this yet, so it's viewed as a medium-priority feature. I don't have a timeline for it, but once really important stuff is sorted out I'll try to put some resources in that direction. Note that there may be technical limitations that I am not aware of.
It is nearly impossible to build your character correctly when your spectres don't show any base stats (min dmg, max dmg, crit chance, etc). My build is far from perfect and one of the biggest reasons is because how very little GUI tells me information. One good example is when you use revenants as spectres, and you don't know if sixth gem link would be "Controlled destruction", "Critical damage" or "Added lightning" damage - we know that revenants deal lightning damage, but not how the range or critical hit strike chance goes. It would be insanely helpful to have some general idea what damage to boost, what curses and what jewels to use.
Noted. I'll bring this up with the team.
Are there any plans to make trading easier without needing to rely on third-party websites and programs?
There are several stages to our trading improvements. We're hoping (but not promising) to deploy the first stage alongside Ascendancy in March. The goal of this stage is that searches on community tools like poe.trade are more accurate and show player online status perfectly. We'll go into more detail as soon as things are locked down. Thanks for your patience!
When we choose an Ascendancy class? From level 1? Or 50?
You can choose your Ascendancy class upon completing the Labyrinth. It's in Act Three, so that's around character level 30 or so.
I want to keep supporting Path of Exile when Ascendancy comes out. Will there be new supporter packs when Ascendancy releases?
The Ascendancy supporter packs are already for sale! We'll be releasing more microtransactions over time, so there will be plenty to spend the points on if you want to upgrade your pack. Future expansions will have their own supporter packs.
Now that it's been out for more than 1 league, are you guys satisfied with where you left the state of the game after 2.0.0 in regards to difficulty? I remember a quote from GGG saying the game would be noticeably more difficult after that patch, and you weren't lying. Any chance we see another monster/defense re-balance in ascendancy?
Balance changes may have to occur to accommodate the new Ascendancy classes. At the moment, getting an Ascendancy class makes Act Four a lot easier. We're still working on this.
I would like to know if the Rigwald's Unique Items are gated by item level or something similar to this.
They are gated by the level of Rigwald. The ring requires a level 60 Rigwald, the Quiver 70 and the Sword/Axe 75.
Has anyone in the offices ever dropped a mirror and if so, what was their reaction?
Yeah, someone dropped a mirror in the bathroom at the last office and there were long shards of glass everywhere. It was a disaster. They were very apologetic.
At what point is PoE going to be "done" and you all move on to other projects? What's the picture look like for the game after this?
That's so far in the future that we can't even picture what it'd be like. We have a multi-year plan, and as long as you keep playing, we'll keep expanding Path of Exile.
Any tips for someone that is starting to study programming for games? and what type of code do you guys use to make the game? Like C++, C#, etc
We use C++. I'd recommend making as many small and simple games as you can. It's really useful (both for practise and for getting a job) to build up a portfolio of games you've worked on. It's okay if they're tiny.
What would the end-game application of the Labyrinth be? Only to craft an implicit mod on 1 item, or will there be any loot as well? Something special maybe?
Higher difficulties have different enchantment mods, and you often want to craft them many times to get the right one. In addition, there are leaderboards to compete on for Labyrinth runs.
Darkshrine was originally a rejected league idea. What are some other ideas for leagues that you have had that were rejected and why? Do you think that if you ran ideas for leagues by the players that you would get a better idea of if they would be good even if you all would reject them otherwise? There might be some league ideas that you all either did not give yourself enough credit for thinking of or just didn't think through enough that might just work out if implemented after players heard about it and gave you feedback.
It was a rejected league idea but still needed to be actually made as a league (which took several weeks of Jonathan's time). We feel that the best way to judge a league is to experience it, rather than read a description. Generally, we're able to see where leagues are going to fail ourselves. Our previous schedule didn't give us the luxury of killing some leagues, but with one league per three months, we're now able to. We focus on finishing only the really fun ones like Talisman.
Will this game be hard again, like in the old times?
We feel that there are places for it to be hard, and maybe it needs to be harder in those places, but hard everywhere was pretty fatiguing.
What do you personally think about top players reaching level 100 after ~13 days or achieving 32/32 challenges after ~18 days in a new league?
In order for the average player to have a good experience, it's necessary that the top players complete these objectives in a few weeks. If it took months for the top 0.001% of players to complete them, then it may take years for average players to.
What is the timeout when the connection is lost (client side)? It's NOT GGG fault if connection is lost client side but I would like to know when the character is no longer considered connected, as of now the timeout seems too long in my opinion.
Generally, six seconds. It's a bit more complex than that though.
Will there be more incentive to play permanent leagues? As of now playing permanent leagues seems quite pointless.
We don't feel we need to add additional incentives. More than 100,000 of our players play in permanent leagues as their main leagues and don't play the challenge leagues. They like the permanent leagues because their progress is not interrupted, there is potentially easier access to certain items, and they may have interesting legacy stuff from the past they can enjoy. We try to roll content back into the main game and make sure that actual expansion content (like The Awakening and Ascendancy) is available in all leagues, of course.
Are you guys planning to do something about the actual and future state of pvp? Ascendancy will bring some incredible buffs to our characters and the community are worried it will turn into a one-shot fest again and make some spec less interesting (CI would be crit 100% of the time using the Assassin subclass for example) and some would be way too strong (Crit templar ignoring resistances).
Some core team members want to spend some time improving PvP balance. This is a good goal, though we want to make sure that PvE content comes first.
Regarding Ascendancy, how hard will the merciless labyrinth be?
Quite a lot harder than the Normal one. This is something we're working on at the moment.
Also do you have any future plans to open a merchandise shop on the site? I would love to buy artwork prints or originals. Even posters would be amazing. I know you can get random artwork from the $220+ supporter packs but the cost is too high for myself.
Yes, I'd like to. There are steps in progress here, but they're not the highest priority issue. I found a few thousand Chaos Orb keychains in my cellar :D
My question is where is the area/place that "1998 items were hidden in a specific location that no one has publicly noticed yet as far as we know" that Bex_GGG mentioned in 'Darkshrine Event Winners!'?
The map slots that are used to choose a tag for your guild!
How fast can you make a Ghostflame MTX for Firestorm and Flame Surge? I wants it.
This has been passed on to the art department :-)
Will there be an option again to create your own unique in the (near) future?
We're hesitant to sell more of these while there are still ones being worked on from the past. If you're willing to wait, then you can get into the queue. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange this. Thanks for the support!
Seeing how the latest patches introduced, fixed and reintroduced significant performance issues both client, and server-side for a boat load of people, is there any plans to optimize the game in any way in near future?
Yes, this is something we're working on in 2016. There's always more to improve in this area.
It's a pity the Scion only gets one Ascendancy class. I guess it's quite general, giving general damage/speed bonuses etc instead of bonuses for a single weapon etc? As a result, will it be less powerful, but still good overall?
The reason the Scion gets only one Ascendancy class is that it's impossible to define three specific playstyles for her with specific skills for them. She's about tree mastery, and her Ascendancy class represents that.
Hi, can you guys make a passive/skill that turns my character into a werewolf? If you guys can, then why don't you make it?
This is a popular request, but it has extremely high art requirements. Such a werewolf would need to be animated doing every current (and future) skill in the game.
Why did you go the direction you did with the design of Highgate, why make it look more Chinese than Roman the way Sarn was?
Sarn is for the Eternal Empire and Highgate is for the Maraketh people.
I would love to know what is needed for a professional to join a company like GGG.
A New Zealand work visa, lots of game development experience, and a portfolio of awesome games/code/art.
Do you think it would be feasible in the near future to have a "QoL patch" focused on meta-game features such as social integration, rather than mini-expansions?
We try to fit Quality of Life features in when we can, rather than designing an update around them. We completed a big list of popular QoL features in The Awakening, and have plans for more over time. We aren't going to stop releasing core content though. We need to release new content periodically to keep journalist and player interest in the game. This also helps pay the bills.
Why the last minute change of heart regarding the reservation cost of Blasphemy? Are you satisfied with its seemingly underuse as of right now?
The reservation cost was changed in the balance process. The skill is not underused at the current value!
(It's interesting to note that some people say we don't do enough balance testing, but then people complained when we changed Blasphemy as a result of its balance testing).
Will there be an MTX for Arc? Pretty popular build, but it seems all the popular ones get MTX right after they fall out of the FOTM position.
There probably will be, but I don't know when. We generally don't try to create new microtransactions specifically for FOTM skills, but maybe we should :P
Will eternal orbs stay legacy?
For now, yes. We feel crafting is better without them.
Will there be huge sweeping changes/additions to PoE when Ascendancy is released, and if so, what would they be (that you can divulge now)? eg. Entire passive tree changes, entirely new forms of gameplay (shapeshifting), specific active skills only usable by certain classes, all skills re-balanced, etc?
We've announced the core contents of Ascendancy already. It has a few small unannounced things and a challenge league, but nothing of the scope you're saying. We're only human!
Any plans on expanding the skill bar, to give us a few more skill binds?
Or, is it possible to make it a bit easier and quicker to activate/turn on auras and heralds, without having to swap skills in and out every time you log in or resurrect? I usually fill up all my skill binds with active skills, so if I run with 2-3-4 auras or heralds, it's always a bit of a hassle to turn them all on.
There's a plan to have an alternative bar when you press Ctrl, but this hasn't been done yet. I believe the community were pretty positive about this idea.
Do you have any plans for any major updates to the game engine?
Senior people are working on the game engine. I don't have an ETA for when changes will be deployed, but 2016 should see some good improvements to our technology.
Chris, any ETA on the MTX stash sorting? It's getting more messy each supporter pack. Will the rework include more things than just sorting?
We're looking into a system that will remove the need for the microtransaction stash entirely. This is currently aimed for the Ascendancy expansion but may be a little bit later.
Are you ever going to come back with statistics like we had in the past, such as how many players allocated X keystone, how many are using a certain unique or what is the most deadly zone (or boss)? They are so rare these days. I would love seeing these once per month.
Good to know you liked these! I'll let the team know so that we can make some more in the future.
Why are vaal skills able to gain souls with kills? Thematically, it doesn't make sense and this allows powerful things such as the very famous Vaal Spark builds that are going around.
I'm attracted to the idea of Vaal skills not generating souls, but there are reasons why we did it this way. We liked the idea of people trying to self-sustain Vaal skills by almost getting enough souls from each one to fuel the next. There are also technical limitations to tracking whether souls should be gained or not.
Vaal Spark is being adjusted in the Ascendancy expansion.
"One of the major problems we've encountered with previous supporter packs was shipping physical goods out in a timely manner. Despite our best intentions, we were unsatisfied with how long people had to wait in some cases. We believe we have solved this issue with these supporter packs." - Have you solved this issue?
Yes. The current supporter pack items are shipping out very promptly. The Ascendancy shirts are shipped within a week (we're trying to get that down to 1-2 days). Art packs are going out in waves as they are printed (and optionally, signed).
What content are we to expect besides Ascendancy trees, the labyrinth and new crafting methods? I'm assuming there's more to 3.0 then what I just mentioned. Will several things we have been requesting ever since the begining be added?
The Ascendancy expansion isn't called 3.0.0. It's 2.2.0 and contains the Labyrinth and Ascendancy classes as its core features. You can read more here. There's also a currently unannounced challenge league.
(One thing that bothers me is the quantity of stacked items. It is ridiculous, for example, you can only stack 10 chaos or 10 alchs… That takes a big part of the stash, that is already tiny, when you have a lot of those items. Maybe your intention is to force players to buy more stash tabs. I would like to know if is there any possibility to increase the maximum limit of the stacked items.)
This is a good point. It's something we have discussed internally recently. We are looking at other options for more convenient storage of currency items.
Will there be an option to change your Ascendancy class, like with the full passive tree reset on major update?
I'm worried about skill mechanics (Cyclone or Leap Slam, etc), where the character doesn't move if it runs into a barrier (a wall, stone, tree, etc). Could you make the skill move to the location specified by the mouse click?
I agree and will talk to the team about this. There may be technical reasons for it.
Did you guys ever put up pictures of the new office?
Besides the Labyrinth in the Ascendancy expansion, do you have plans to expand on endgame content in other ways - such as new tier of ubers, raid dungeons, etc?
This kind of stuff would be very cool. Future expansions will expand the game in many ways, which could include things like what you're mentioning.
Are you still working on Lockstep performance? It's still quite jerky at times, such as in towns and heavy action on screen.
There is ongoing work on this issue.
Will I be able to enchant corrupted gloves/helm/boots in Ascendancy? Will the Enchantments override the implicits obtainable through corruption or can itens have both?
Ascendancy enchantments override corruption implicits. This is why we picked gloves/helms/boots, because they don't have corruption implicits as frequently.
GGG still has not updated the official weapons page at http://www.pathofexile.com/item-data/weapon, and you guys replied to my post on the last Q&A saying you would fix it. When will that be happening?
We still want to improve the amount of data we expose on the site, but this is not a high priority issue for us currently. I don't have a timeframe for it to give you.
If you're leveling a new character while using microtransaction effects on your armor and weapon, you frequently have to remove them from one item and transfer them to another. It's very annoying! Could you make a separate character window, where we can apply all these effects?
I very much feel we need to improve this process. There was actually an (unrelated) discussion about it in the office ten minutes before I saw this question.
Why don't you add at least the lowest-tier supporter packs to Amazon for those of us that have a hard time paying any other way?
This is a good idea and I'll see what I can do.
When will you get tired of pizza that keeps getting ordered and sent to your building by fans?
The team really enjoy gestures like this. Not all of them read the forums/reddit so they don't all know how supportive/generous the community are until the big pile of pizza arrives.
What are the plans for additional server cluster locations in the future? What is preventing additional clusters being provisioned? I imagine administrative overhead has a lot to do with it.
We open servers where our server host allows it (within reason - we don't need too many too close to each other). There's a map here: http://www.softlayer.com/data-centers
When will we be able to race at our own leisure, not being tied to a preset schedule?
I believe this is going to happen. Not in the upcoming Winterheart season, but probably this year.
When will the next race season be starting and do you plan on using the same one month long length?
We'll announce something in the news (within the next couple of weeks) once details are finalised. It'll probably be a month long, yes. Longer seasons generally tire players out more and result in lower race participation
Are there plans to further "grow" previous league content? For example, we've seen some new rogue exiles with each major update, but we haven't seen new Shrines, Nemesis mods, or Strongbox mods since those came out (with the possible exception of the Strange Barrel). Do you consider those to be completed content, or are there plans to add more to them?
It's good to add to them over time, but they're not really "marketable" features. Journalists don't want to hear about a new nemesis mod and it's not something that would cause a player on hiatus to come back. The team are keen to add to these old systems as they find cool things to slot in.
Wondering if any of you devs have any fun side projects going on that you'd like to share? I work in the mobile games space professionally, but have a couple prototypes/jam projects going on. Love seeing what others build out there.
Nikolaj is working on a boardgame called "Traderoutes" which is currently being reviewed by a publisher. Rory is working on a card-based tabletop RPG. Other team members also have small projects that they're working on in their own time.
Hi Chris, how was 2015 for GGG's game dev team? What did you guys learn - at GDC, through professional development etc? What are you still playing around with? What project management tools do you use? How has this aspect changed in the last 5 years? Is it the same workflow tools for art assets and programmers etc.? What advantages/disadvantages have come from the bigger premises? Is having the art team together as big of a boon as you'd thought? What does GGG miss having them separate?
2015 was a great year for the team. It grew in size and the premises move was very useful for getting some breathing room. The guys who attended GDC really enjoyed it. We learnt a lot about running our service more efficiently and improving our development process. We still use the same tools that we did five years ago - Redmine (for issue tracking), SVN (source control), and Buildbot (continuous integration). The workflow for artists and programmers hasn't changed much in the last five years - other than a substantial increase in the amount of quality assurance time required before changes are allowed onto the live realm. The bigger premises are so much nicer - the difference is night and day. We were previously cramped into three smaller offices, so it's great having everyone in the same space. We don't miss a thing, other than the peacock.
These questions were all from the first 16 pages of the thread. There are so many good questions left, so we're likely to follow up with some more in a subsequent news post once we find time!
There's a Polish translation of this Q&A here!
By the way, Rory Rackham (one of our designers) was recently on the "What's up Wraeclast?" podcast, answering questions. Check out the episode here!
Last edited by Chris on Jan 9, 2016 5:55:10 PM
Last bumped on Mar 4, 2016 8:48:38 PM
on Jan 7, 2016 8:41:04 PM
Grinding Gear Games
on Jan 7, 2016 8:42:07 PM
GGG the best.
on Jan 7, 2016 8:43:17 PM
Thank you for all of the answers! :-)
on Jan 7, 2016 8:49:45 PM
chr0s i socks your b00lls, nah, its a joke, THanks you all for this spectacular game! :)
SEE MY SHOP BECAUSE YES!
Last edited by k3nz0ry on Jan 7, 2016 8:50:48 PM
on Jan 7, 2016 8:50:19 PM
As expected none of my questions got answered and I was on page 14, guess my questions aren't considered good by the devs, shame, I really wish I got answers
on Jan 7, 2016 8:52:06 PM
Sweet, so the labyrinth will be in act 3. That giant green column/statue was a big hint....maybe.
Still waiting on my Ascendancy t-shirt, going to be a month next week. :P
Sometimes you can take the game out of the garage but you can't take the garage out of the game.
- raics, 06.08.2016
on Jan 7, 2016 8:53:43 PM
on Jan 7, 2016 8:54:13 PM
They say I'm an astronaut that laughs a lot.
on Jan 7, 2016 9:03:07 PM
You guys are awesome! Now let's start reading.
"GGG eternal love <3
"Yes, please. That would be great!
Path of Trade Chat
Last edited by Matterform on Jan 7, 2016 9:43:07 PM
on Jan 7, 2016 9:03:49 PM