A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

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Tarvas
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A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Tarvas » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:54 am

This post was in response to why there are so few AAs in the new expansion.
Dzarn, post: 3721626, member: 170 wrote:Strap in, it's a long post...

Obviously communication has been lacking on the systems front lately and I hope to offer the community a little insight. I'll lead with the main question and expound from there.

TLDR

Scheduling is tight and we don't have enough people.

Why so few AAs this time?

For the better part of 3 years I have been working as both a systems designer and and programmer, with the last 1.5 years of my time being split at approximately 70% code hours 30% design hours. The opportunity to gain experience working on larger code initiatives in addition to the smaller bugfixing I was previously doing to keep the game running was something that made a lot of sense. Not to mention the financial incentive to move onto the engineering track from the design track.

Going back to last year, in the 2-3 months leading up to the previous expansion I clocked in approximately 754 hours, coming into the office most weekends and putting in very long weekdays. Far less awful than the war stories many of my colleagues in the industry have suffered through, but we get to make games, which theoretically is something we want to be doing.

By the time the last expansion launched my communication with the community was obviously lacking but I was relatively happy with the systems work I was able to implement, or at last as happy as any developer can be. The team and I share the sort of driving passion that tends to carry us through the rough work days. So for all the anonymous negativity that gets projected at the team and company, we still derive fulfillment from what we do. We get to work on EverQuest, that's a big deal, it's something important and meaningful to us.

Unfortunately for our team EverQuest does not exist in a vacuum here. So when it came time for bonuses, which traditionally account for 15-20% of my annual pay, despite year over year strong performance from a passionate and consistently engaged community, I took a 7% pay cut from the previous year. Granted I remained employed, while a lot of incredibly talented and equally hard working people, through no fault of their own, did not.

That financial stress would have been fine if not for my banal human desire for family. So while working myself ragged so that I could be proud of my work I put an unfair burden on my fiance because I was never at home to help care for the puppy we adopted; or more importantly, be a partner to her.

So when I took stock of the important things in life I realized that sacrificing everything outside of work for the sake of pride and polish simply isn't sustainable, which hurt me a lot. I am someone who takes considerable pride in my work. I wear that Norrathian Martyr badge proudly. I was 12 years old when I started playing and have dedicated nearly all of my life to EverQuest since, first as a player and now as a developer. So to see the sum total of that dedication result in yet another year that I struggle to provide for the ones I love, it did some considerable damage to my motivation to give more than can be expected to keep the ship afloat.

After that revelation, I've striven to be a better human being. Foremost by being home on time to walk our dog in the evening so that my incredibly patient and understanding fiance doesn't have to ask at 11pm whether I'll be home for dinner or not. It wasn't feasible to go beyond the hours scheduled for AA development given the enormity of the engineering workload the team has slogged through this year.

So I more than fully understand the community's disappointment with the scope of AA development and while my post count has decreased substantially from earlier years I do honestly read just about everything posted here on the forums. My ever-expanding to-do list (in bullet point format) is 21 pages long.

Class AAs?

With the time that was available I made the decision that the more important part of AAs to get finished were passive ability upgrades. These take considerably less time than the activated abilities both because they're shared between more classes and because there is less spell implementation, which takes considerable time given the lack of tools to expedite the process.

Within the 30% of my work-year that comprises design work I also had to complete the implementation of achievements and their rewards, serve as a knowledge-base for all the strange arcana that defines how any-and-everything gets implemented, and I'm currently scrambling to ensure the design work for the faction window that the engineering team and I are putting the final touches on now will get done in time for launch.


More later?

I don't expect that to fit into the current schedule. The design team is already working on about 3 major initiatives for next year and the programming team on several more than that; much of which is mandatory behind-the-scenes efforts to fix services like the login servers, character data, stability issues, etc.

I want to be able to say that the EverQuest team is aware of community sentiment. We want to be able to do more for you but I feel there's a misconception on the size and scope of things. I would strongly encourage everyone to peruse the current credits and understand that the scope of things that get put into a release are done by people with the titles "Artist", "Designer", "Programmer".

This is not in any way meant to belittle the efforts of all the other shared services people that contribute to the game, but with 4.5 artists, 5.3 designers, and 5.7 programmers, there is only so much that is humanly possible. Not to mention the fact that the EverQuest team has been continually begging management for 2 additional content designers for multiple years to no avail.

So?

So that's the behind the curtains view of why AAs look like they are. I certainly wish I could paint a better picture but I feel like I owe you, the community that has given me so much, some sort of explanation. Please see TLDR version if you skipped this essay.
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Derdarr » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:43 pm

If you watch the credits from Any of the early expansions it's amazing how many people were working on The game. A large portion of the playerbase still believes there is that much money that it should still be supported that way. They Are very wrong lol.

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Goofydoofy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:57 pm

Yes, I feel for this guy. My boss used to come in my office and say you need to do this and this and that and I finally said, Fuck off. If you think you can find somebody else that can do half the job I do in 3x the time for as much pay, knock yourself the fuck out. You've got the best. And after 8 years of basically carrying the company, fuck yourself if you want to try and replace me. Oh yea, and good luck with that! Hasn't said shit to me since. But, I work in a small 6 person company. Daybreak obviously doesn't give a shit. They think they can work their employees to the bone and it won't matter. Daybreak is just lucky they are committed to the job. I'd almost love to see them all walk out and let Daybreak say, oops. But corporations don't say oops, they say fuck it. They either hire half assed replacements to try and keep things going or they shut everything down. Seems to me, this isn't far from the beginning of shutting down. Although, they talk about all the work they need to do for next year, already. Eventually it can't be sustained. Like he said. Fuck AAs anyway. I'll just get to retire the Druid and Enchanter early this year and finally work on the Paladin. They could stop expanding the game today and I'd probably still play on the same content for the next five years or more trying to get all three all the achievements. Doubt that would be typical, however. I give these fuckers a lot of credit for what they do. I couldn't do it. Somebody should sends these fucks a gift basket on behalf of CN and let them know they are appreciated.
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Mattmarr » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:58 pm

For a comparison from another tech company (and a much simpler type of development), my company has 5 Android developers (including myself, a very junior dev) to add new features and maintain a consumer parking reservation app. That's equal to (if not greater due to the context switching some of the people on the EQ dev team are doing putting on more than one hat) the number of people they are using to create the new content. That's absolutely WILD to me.
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Glauri » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:15 am

I feel badly for this fellow, and would certainly not want to be in his shoes.

I don't need more AA. I'm happy with a few new raids (not that we have even come close to beating the old ones yet) and some group content. For a game this old, with limited possibilities w/o a complete re-code, I don't expect a heck of a lot. I'm just happy that it's still here at all!
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Farrens » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:28 pm

I'm mostly hoping for some non-scripted group instances. The ones where its zone in and kill X mobs. Really missed that in RoS.

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Qmaus » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:13 pm

I agree, give these folks a break. My take...I get as much entertainment time as I want for $20 a month (two accounts at yearly rate). Compare that to just a few hours of entertainment for about the same price (or more, depending where you go) just to go see a movie. EQ is very budget-friendly entertainment, even when we pay a bit more to buy the new expansions. We get a lot for our buck.

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by oneyedranger » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:11 pm

My take is this I spend almost 800 bucks a year on this game if not more. give me a damn break I am not the only one. I spend years deployed overseas away from my family for my job...boo fucking hoo. don't sell me shit at an outrages rate if it doesn't have content. and lastly never never complain to the customer. Jebus...feel sorry ...fuck them.

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by oneyedranger » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:33 pm

You expect an eq player to put in 110% yet you feel sorry for this GUY!!! WOW

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Mattmarr » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:06 pm

??? Why wouldn't we feel bad for someone being asked to work 80+ hour weeks all while getting a pay decrease?
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by oneyedranger » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:34 pm

Welcome to my world..little or no concern!! I paid for a product make that shit happen?

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by oneyedranger » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:35 pm

they aint living in a squatter village in SAn FRAn give me a break

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by oneyedranger » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:37 pm

I worked those hours in and out of the military for half his wages in shittier conditions..I give two craps about his pain I would bet that is probably the most bullshit lie ever.

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by oneyedranger » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:38 pm

Oh and by the way for a hell of a lot longer supporting more than a puppy!

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Mattmarr » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:05 pm

To each his own. Thank you for your service though!
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by oneyedranger » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:12 pm

I think for one game that is established they have a fairly robust crew in my opinion. Sorry to vent to you matt and welcome back to the game

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Tarvas » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:41 am

oneyedranger wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:11 pm
My take is this I spend almost 800 bucks a year on this game if not more. give me a damn break I am not the only one. I spend years deployed overseas away from my family for my job...boo fucking hoo. don't sell me shit at an outrages rate if it doesn't have content. and lastly never never complain to the customer. Jebus...feel sorry ...fuck them.
Dzarn doesn't sale anyone anything. He programmer, not a soldier. Expecting him to give up his life for what seems to be a shitty paycheck is a bit much. I am actually glad he put some time into type that out. It kind of confirms some of the things I have been wondering about behind the scenes at DBG.
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Goofydoofy » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:14 am

oneyedranger wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:11 pm
My take is this I spend almost 800 bucks a year on this game if not more. give me a damn break I am not the only one. I spend years deployed overseas away from my family for my job...boo fucking hoo. don't sell me shit at an outrages rate if it doesn't have content. and lastly never never complain to the customer. Jebus...feel sorry ...fuck them.
$800 is foolish.
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Goofydoofy » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:15 am

OER have you been drinking?
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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Glauri » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:33 pm

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Derdarr » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:44 pm

All at the Austin studio, or so I've read and had been working on a ip for another as unnamed secret game. Austin studio is not closing also, but that had to be a good chunk of the people there.

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Farrens » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:43 pm

Yeah at least its not EQ. Class acts firing people in December tho!

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Re: A rare look behind the scenes at EQ

Post by Goofydoofy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:57 am

Bleak.
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