Two weeks ago we asked the community for questions for our developers to answer. We answered many of the big questions in a post last week, and have the final set of answers today.
Can you please make Betrayal per-league rather per-character?
The question resulted in a long discussion and the eventual answer was Yes. We're not yet sure whether the change will be in 3.7.0 or 3.8.0 yet.
Can you please make Sulphite per-league rather than per-character?
Surprisingly, this actually became another Yes. Again, we aren't sure which expansion it'll go in, as there are a bunch of things we have to change at the same time to resolve our concerns with Sulphite being shared across all your characters in the league.
Master content such as Incursion and Betrayal can be distracting and disrupts the flow of just grinding maps. Do you have any plans to change this?
We have an idea for a potential change that we are quite excited about. We want more time to think about it before committing and so we aren't going to explain it here but we will follow up in a few weeks if we decide to go ahead with it (and if not, what other steps we'll take regarding this issue).
Players feel that map sustainability is tied up with Betrayal and other master content, making it non optional. What is your stance on this?
We also have a plan for this that we are considering at the same time as the changed mentioned in the answer to the last question. We'll hopefully post about it within a few weeks.
Have you guys considered allowing us to trade maps of a tier for any other map of that same tier for a small cost at an NPC?
Our current plan is to add Orbs of Horizons to the main drop pool so that it's easier to perform the transformation you want to do here.
As a follow up to the DX9 question, do you have any intention to implement newer faster APIs such as Vulkan?
You indicated that knowing a monster could drop something that improves your character could be a good motivator for playing one more level. It feels like item drops don't compare anymore and the focus is on crafting systems with most rares being used for the Chaos Orb recipe. Do you think changing item drops could improve the trading environment?
Absolutely. I think big improvements are needed here. As I mentioned in the past Q&A post, improvements in this direction will take time across a number of releases (with some systems changes in 4.0.0 doing a lot of the heavy lifting).
Would you consider creating a SSF version where you can't migrate back to the trade league but would have increased drop rates?
We feel that providing permanent access to a version of Path of Exile where players progress more quickly would be a mistake. Sometimes we run special events that have mods that make the game more rewarding, but these are not available perpetually.
Why can't we hide fractured items on our item filters?
The reason why we have new items like that unhideable at the start is so that people's existing filters don't hide them. If you have a filter that hides a lot of rare items you don't want to see, and we introduce a new mode of rare item that technically would be hidden if it wasn't special, then players wouldn't find the new content. So we default it to on for a league until filters have updated.
I believe that in 3.7.0 there's a change that makes the fractured items filterable. Having said that, Synthesis isn't going core any time soon so it's a bit of a moot point in this case.
Now that your console player base is bigger, do you have any plans to make the official website more mobile-friendly?
We do plan to improve this, but it's a slow process. We make sure that important new pages we add such as the trade site and expansion announcements are as mobile-friendly as we can make them.
Will you make console trading easier like it is on PC?
There is internal discussion about opening up the trade API for console realms, to allow support for trade sites that find items in your premium stash tabs. Currently we haven't reached a definitive conclusion on this. One thing to note is that text chat on consoles (which isn't yet finished) is probably necessary for this system to work well.
Do you plan to add extra mods for private leagues? For example, would we ever be able to pay for a private league with infinite Delve?
We will add more extra mods in the future. We are not keen on adding mods that make the game easier, though. The purpose of private leagues is a place to play in a clean economy with your friends, with optional additional challenge for players or groups who think they can take it on.
We are likely to add a Custom Race system in the future which will allow us to add fun modes (like infinite Delve, but no promises yet). Custom races will be a lot shorter and don't have long-term character or economy progress.
I think there is a huge difficulty spike between T15-T16 Maps and Shaper Guardian bosses, to the point where I feel forced to get a character specifically designed to tackle these bosses. Do you plan on reducing the difficulty on these bosses, or maybe add an extra Map Tier to lessen the difficulty spike?
We don't plan to reduce the content of the ultimate encounters, because a lot of our top players are able to complete that content and are looking for even harder challenges. While we don't see anything wrong with players feeling encouraged to make specialised characters for certain fights, we will consider the feedback about the difficulty ramp here.
Favour points are difficult to get and are too focused on us getting our daily missions done. Do you plan on reducing the cost of Hideout Decorations? Maybe lower the cost as Masters level up?
This is an ongoing topic of discussion internally. We don't have anything to announce at the moment, but please know that many developers are sympathetic towards your thoughts.
What video game character would you be?
Before I lost some weight this year, people suggested I could do a convincing Hargan cosplay.
How many employees does the company currently have? Do you still have (physical) space for more in your office?
Almost 140 at our office in New Zealand, plus some overseas translators and art outsourcing companies. We have some room at our office still, and are gradually expanding within our building as we can.
Do all employees work on site, or are some remote?
All of our core development staff work on-site.
Who has the most outrageous battlestation at work?
It's about keyboards. There's just so much competition between developers to have the craziest keyboards.
What games are popular among GGG staff besides Path of Exile?
This answer is going to vary massively throughout out team, but both Jonathan and I are really enjoying Dead Cells at the moment. I hear Anno 1800 mentioned constantly at work also.
How many of you have written your own books?
Several, actually! Our co-founder Erik Olofsson wrote an industrial design textbook before we started GGG, and one of our level designers has released both fiction and non-fiction books.
Do you hold birthday barbeques or similar events at GGG? If so, do you have somewhere special in New Zealand where you like to meet?
While we don't have a barbeque at our current office, the team like to host events on Friday evenings for birthdays, game competitions, challenging other development studios, etc.
How do you keep your mindset fresh when thinking about Path of Exile? I can imagine that sometimes - much like the players - you get stuck with a certain point of view about a game design issue.
It really helps that our development team constantly challenge our assumptions and surface issues that we haven't considered. Also, taking a break and playing another game for a few days over a weekend can really help prompt new solutions to problems that we were at an impasse on.
Does GGG hire interns?
Generally, no. We prefer to just hire the person fulltime as a permanent employee if they have the skills we need.
Do you have relationships with N.Z. schools, Universities, Colleges for sourcing talent?
Yes, we do help out some local universities with their courses and visit them to talk to the students about their work. It's quite useful for finding new talent.
Does GGG as an entity, or individual developers mentor other people from other organisations?
Not formally, but we encourage our developers to share our learnings by presenting talks at local game development meetups, conferences, etc. We'll have a few of these talks at ExileCon for you to enjoy.
Regarding getting into the game industry as a programmer. Do you guys recommend learning many different languages, or mastering a single language?
The most important thing is experience with programming. Focus on making hobby games in whatever language you can, and always explore other tools to find the right one for the job. We use C++ at GGG, so significant experience in that language is also required to work for us, but when we ask to see hobby projects and examples of your personal game programming, it doesn't matter much what language they were written in.
I work as a Server Admin/Engineer and am interested in what you can tell us about your back-end servers? Particularly in regards to virtualisation, load balancing, and clustering.
Path of Exile's backend infrastructure and main realm database run on dedicated bare metal hardware in Texas. The actual servers that players play on (the game instance servers) are spread around the world, in as many local regions as we can get access to (to reduce latency to players). These servers are also bare metal dedicated servers, though we have recently started small experiments with virtualisation for handling emergency spikes of activity. Load balancing is simple - the game instances get spread among the available machines in the region and if there aren't going to be enough, we order more as quickly as possible.
Hello, I'm a first-year student in Game Design. I hear that joining a video game company is extremely difficult. Are companies that selective? If so, what are the fields (programming, art, etc.) that are the most sought-after?
It's generally pretty difficult to get hired at game development companies. We receive hundreds of applications for every interview that we grant, and only hire a fraction of the people who are interviewed. But don't give up! Keep working on building a portfolio and honing your craft. Hard work and determination will show themselves in the quality of work. Even if you don't manage to get a job at Grinding Gear Games, there are plenty of other great studios out there.
In terms of most sought-after fields, it honestly depends on the type of company and what their current requirements are. For example, we find ourselves needing a lot of Visual Effects Artists and C++ Gameplay Programmers.
Will there ever be a merchandise store?
Hopefully, but probably after ExileCon.
When are you planning to sell the Shaper T-shirt from the T-shirt competition?
We have included it in the lineup of merchandise available at ExileCon. We haven't made a judgement call yet about which items could be exclusive to the convention and which we may sell extra stock of afterwards on our website, so there's a chance it is available for public sale later if we have enough stock.
Will we ever get the option to purchase microtransaction points in smaller amounts?
The tricky part is just that credit card processing fees start to represent a larger portion of the total for small transactions. We are working on some improvements here but I don't know when they'll be ready.
Why do weapon effect microtransactions that you buy directly from the cash shop apply to a single weapon when dual wielding? Compared to a supporter pack's weapon effect microtransaction which will apply to both weapons.
This is because historically the weapon effects affected a single weapon. They were priced so that players who needed two (for dual wielding or multiple characters) could purchase a second one. When we introduced supporter packs that contained weapon effects, they were too expensive to expect users to buy two copies of the entire pack to dual wield, so the weapon effects applied to both weapons. I'll discuss this situation with the team more.
Is there any chance we might see microtransactions for quivers?
There have been some cool ideas suggested for this.
Do you plan to make another game in the future? If so what genre would it be? What do you think about making a Path of Exile board game or card game?
We don't have any plans to make other games at the moment. There's so much we want to explore with Path of Exile, so all of our work is focussed on expanding that. In terms of genres, our core expertise is in Action RPGs, and we feel that Path of Exile was successful because we knew exactly what type of Action RPG we wanted to play. We'd only attempt another genre in the future if it were something we knew a lot about.
A Path of Exile board or card game would be fun, but at the moment it'd probably be a distraction from core development.
Have you thought about doing another Twitch drop event, like the one you had with the helmet microtransaction a couple of years ago?
Yes, it'll happen.
Will the upcoming league be friendlier to Flicker Strike fans in terms of league content and the reworks to Melee?
Yes, though we can't be specific about changes related to this build at this stage. I can assure you that the league currently doesn't have patches of black stuff that you don't want to accidentally flicker into.
Are there any plans to add new slots for the Harbinger currencies that are now part of the core game to the currency tab and/or rearrange it to make crafting easier on the item slot in the middle of the tab?
As those exotic currency items are now given out as rewards in core game content pretty often, we will most likely integrate them into the currency stash tab at some stage. We'll have a look at the layout concerns you mention also, but that might be in a different update to it.
It seems to be a widely held desire to have a death log showing the last few damage sources prior to death. Is this something you have plans to add to the game? If so, are there any software/hardware limitations getting in the way that you could describe at a higher level?
For simple scenarios, this isn't too hard to do. If a boss walks up to you and cleanly kills you in two hits, that's not too difficult to track or display to the user. But the reality of modern Path of Exile combat is substantially more complex, with dozens of complex debuffs dealing (or reflecting) small amounts of damage 30 times per second. It's a technical challenge to track all of this data constantly and would introduce additional server performance overhead. I'm not saying we can't/won't do it, just that it's hard and we have a lot of other pressing priorities.
A few expansions ago you mentioned that Curses would be changing substantially. Has that change already happened or is there another big change coming to Curses?
That specific change was to Temporal Chains and Enfeeble having less effect on rare and unique enemies, while lessening of curse reduction on bosses. We're going to keep an eye on it to see if more changes are required, but have no immediate plans.
You mentioned a while ago that Elemental Equilibrium and Elemental Overload were way too powerful for an individual node. Any timeline for those changes?
Elemental Equilibrium and Overload changes come with a whole host of associated re-balances, especially to Burning, Ignite and Cold Damage over Time. We'll be doing this as a major balance pass alongside a future league, but we've yet to decide which.
Are there any plans to release Path of Exile on Google Stadia when it's released?
We're open to investigating this.
Are there any plans for a Nintendo Switch version?
There is no Nintendo Switch version of Path of Exile in development at the moment and no plans to start a port in the near future. We are just too busy.
Is there any word on a Mac port?
Not yet, but I really personally want this because I use a Macbook as my current laptop.
Do you have any plans on implementing Ubuntu support? Currently it's too hard to run PoE on it.
I would like to add Linux support for the game client (the game servers actually already run on Linux, as it's what we use for our online infrastructure). It's a difficult project to prioritise because such a small slice of our playerbase runs Linux on their desktop. I switched from Linux to Windows in 2006 to work on PoE, so I appreciate how important this would be for those players.
Will you add 2-factor authentication on the website?
The tricky part of this is the policy for what happens when someone loses their second factor and has to prove account ownership to customer support to have it removed.
Currently, the safest way to play Path of Exile is to have a strong, unique password backed by an email account (that has a different, strong unique password) with two factor authentication enabled. That, combined with our unlock code system, should provide protection because the password isn't reused and the email account can't be attacked to take over the PoE account.
Are there any plans for introducing more "tag team" boss fights like Uber Elder? It seems like a perfect opportunity to re-use existing phased bosses.
We have a lot of interesting boss fights coming up in the future, and the team are very aware that that fight is popular. No promises, though :)
Will items such as crossbows, flails, and javelins ever be added to the game in a similar capacity to how they were utilised in other Action RPGs?
We'd like to add more weapon types in the future. We don't have a firm timeline for this as it has significant animation requirements. 4.0.0 seems like a logical place, but that expansion already involves the largest amount of animation work we have ever attempted before.
Are there any plans to once again have colourblind friendly sockets?
This is something that we want to improve but have not managed to do yet.
Are there plans to make standalone players be able to track how many hours they have spent playing the game?
It's difficult because we track the playtime by character, and that's lost when you delete a character. So if we started tracking it on a per-account basis now, it'd potentially be missing historical data.
Why does a dead hardcore league character get transferred to Standard instead of the softcore version of its league?
We want hardcore deaths to have consequences. If we had the characters transfer to the standard version of the challenge league, then many people would feel heavily incentivised to play in hardcore despite it not being the right mode for them, splitting up parties of friends at league launches, etc.
Why do so many items drop from the game even though we're just filtering them out?
That's a good question, and one we hope to very carefully fix over time. An example of a reason that we don't just suppress white items that would almost certainly be filtered out is that some are needed for obscure builds and vendor recipes (it'd be bad if we culled Stone Hammers, for example).
Do you think Path of Exile could be successful with a different camera perspective, for example, in third person?
Not really, no. We feel that it's important for players to play the game rather than play the camera. In addition, being immediately recognisable as an Action RPG at first glance was an important part of how we gained awareness when initially marketing Path of Exile.
What are the chances we could get a map editor so that we could create our own quests/races for submission to the game or inclusion in private leagues?
Pretty low, but I appreciate the enthusiasm. Making our developer tools accessible to the public would be very difficult, but we are hoping to open up more options with private leagues/races in the future.
Have you ever removed something from the game because it was too gruesome to stomach?
There used to rarely be dead babies washed on up on the beach of the Twilight Strand. We removed them a long time ago.
Are you continuing to work on sound improvements in game (environment sound etc)? Will you add more talking weapons like Oni-Goroshi or Jack the Axe?
Absolutely. We have scaled our internal audio team up from two people to four people in the last few months. The community really love talking weapons so we're keen to try more experiments with that in the future.
Any news on regional ladders?
No news, but this is still a fun feature we'd like to add.
Will we ever know more about Kalandra?
She is an area of Path of Exile lore that we haven't explored yet, but it would be a spoiler to answer this question directly.
Dialla mentions something called the Twist in Act 3. Will we ever find out what it was/is?
That's the Cataclysm, isn't it?
I'm excited for ExileCon in November! Do you have any recommendations for places to visit on my first trip to New Zealand?
It's time for a road trip! We called out a few awesome places on our ExileCon page and we strongly recommend them. In addition, there are some awesome beaches and bush walks around the Auckland area that you can check out while in our city for the convention.
on May 8, 2019, 9:04:02 PM
Grinding Gear Games