Podcasts (2012)
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Summaries

(See bold text for potential spading ideas.)

Podcast #25

(Year in review: Last year was a mix - beginning part of the year was a bit rough, a bit burned out. Feeling a lot better this year - getting lots done on Metroplexity and TH. Sick for a bit but getting better. Big goal for this year is Oldtown. Also trying to keep the unearthly stuff to once a month and a couple world events, but Oldtown is the priority. Cool new item coming out on the 15th.)

Q: How about the now-traditional end of the year unearthly item spading roundup? Kicking things off, there's the antique floor mirror. I don't think anybody doubts there's plenty still to find in here.

A: That's true.

Q: Each zone seems to have some kind of barrier we can't get past yet, like Erenoth's nemesis, the smug tree in the Winter zone. Just how huge is the amount of content we're still missing?

A: I'm not sure if it's as large as you're thinking, but there's still quite a bit to be found. Content-wise, about ~1/4 haven't been found. Rewards that you're talking out of the mirror: ~1/2 hasn't been found.

Q: Looks like we only have a few weeks left of using this in-run. Are there things that can only be unlocked while in-run that we should be hustling to find?

A: There's some stuff that is useful in run, but nothing locked down. Some stuff specifically not-in run.

Q: Next up is a pair of one coin items, the shield of scales and the spacious cargo pants. I think these really hit the sweet spot in terms of balance, theme, and ease of use.

A: Thanks, good to hear.

Q: The shield is tricksy. Just when you think you've got it all, somebody finds Numbing Neurotoxin. Or even yet still more interactions with the special techniques it grants. And there's still the possibility of interactions with the snake minigame in the Summer zone. Are you sure this was a one coin item?

A: It's a bit more complicated than some 1-coin items, but still some stuff to find. Looking back, it might not look like a 1-coin item. There are some techniques that haven't been found that it interacts with, but had to make sure it was interesting in the interactions that are known.

Q: And there's got to be more to those knuckle strands, but have we otherwise checked every pocket of the cargo pants?

A: I think you've found everything…maybe? I know there's at least one major thing that is missing.

Q: This year's sole two-coin item is the wolfskin belt. You've said there's more awesome here to be found. Since then we've found out a bit more about some of the techniques, but somehow I doubt that's everything. Any hints on where to look for more?

A: It all does sort of tie-in to the techniques and their relations to other stuff in the game.

Q: Last but not least we have the Rag Man's cape, another nice utility item. I'm guessing we have found most of the content here, but probably not all. For example, is there a way we can learn the cool "razor cape" technique the Rag Man uses?

A: There's actually more left undiscovered with the cape than the shield of scales. There's one major block that's undiscovered and one other major use. If capes rotated out of Zack's permanently, I'd say "buy buy buy" now. (The "major block" was probably The Rag Man's More Powerful Ultimate Form and the "other major use" is probably clean rags getting rid of the Rasping Teeth effect.)

Q: Speaking of prototypes, what is the prototype vest a prototype for? Was it a prototype for the containment suit top that was rejected when Midgard discovered a full, airtight seal was important? Or is it a prototype for newer, less bulky gear that we have yet to encounter?

A: They're experimenting with the same sort of technology. (Salvages to metallic powder). Containment suits have uses beyond surviving the slags, so same deal here.

Q: I looked for a way to alert Hawk to the punks' plans to burn him and his ilk up, but couldn't find a way to do it. Did I just overlook something, or is there some reason why he's so nonchalant about the punks tossing firebombs around on his turf?

A: He should probably say something. Might have to reword that to say that they're going after hipsters and not the third-eye.

Q: Is there some path through the quest that doesn't involve the player supplying explosives to the punks?

A: The quest really only starts once the punks are supplied, so wouldn't expect to find much before then.

Q: In other Blind Legion news, where are the flamethrowers? I mean, if you can't believe guys on TV ranting about "flamethrower-wielding cultists stalking dark terrors", who can you believe?

A: You almost assuredly will run into people with flame throwers, but not quite there yet.

Q: Snipers are cool. Are there hidden depths to the Sniper skill, or does it pretty much just do what it says on the tin? Maybe it's like the Servant of the Mask skill, which is relatively easier to get than other skills from the same quest, but is correspondingly less powerful?

A: I would argue that it's not less powerful, just different. None of the three are earth-shattering, but they definitely have very different uses. Eg. if you're not planning on using Fire techs, Sniper is the best.

Q: Thinking about the new quest has really brought home to me how ambitious the quest design for this game is. I mean, players can be potentially be aligned with or against some or all of the following: the Fae King, the Ocean King, the Ghoul King, the Herald of Flames (the Four?), the Third Eye, the Blind Legion, Dr. Thomas, one (but only one, after The Survivors quest!) of four survivors; someday probably, the Mafia, the Yakuza, the Renegades, only you know what all else. Seems like as the main quest line progresses, the number of potential interactions increases exponentially. How do you manage to keep on top of the content hydra so that it doesn't overwhelm you by growing too many new heads?

A: It's important to choke it back down. If you think through the main quest line, Southside: you can align with Fangs or the bums ("The Golden Glove"). Docks: Squatter king, mushroom people, locals. etc. Some of those associations carry forward more than others. The survivors quest is interesting because it reaches back and interacts with a lot of those. Oldtown will carry some forwards, and some not. Obviously which survivor you choose will matter. Downtown will be a whole new ballgame with some big power players.

Q: Why do so many choice encounters have a rest/heal option? If you're too beaten up to adventure, you won't be able to use these. If you're not completely out of HP, gang hideouts or your apartment in Southside generally provide more amenities. Should we be looking for more interactions like the one in the Empty Breakroom, or is there some other kind of rationale for that option being so common?

A: I think you might be underestimating their usefulness to some extent. If you're resting with that energy, there's no chance to get the encounter you want, but there is a chance if you want to rest. Some of it is just giving people more options. Similarly, because so many encounters have a walk away, not because you'd want to, but because the option should be there.

Q: How close are we to getting the Devilish Flames technique legitimately? Do we need to find a whole new quest/quest-y block of content, or do we already have most or all of the moving parts we'd need? From the image, I get the sense that some kind of boss fight might be involved…

A: You are missing a pretty sizable block of content which Devilish Flames is part of. Once you find it, it'll be fairly obvious.

Q: Is the Better Part of Valor conduct the one you had in mind in your devblog post about adding some new conducts, where you said "I make no promises anyone will ever get one of them, you’ve proven your resourcefulness in the past and it seems a shame not to include it."

A: No, that's not the one. It was added at the same time, if I recall, though.

Q: Is there any way to hack into the buried lab computer system and disable the Omega order? Seems the Midgard Special Officer would have some cool drops if only we weren't unconscious after winning.

A: Not to the best of my knowledge.

Q: Is the new punk quest leading to bigger things in Oldtown or is it more of a sidequest? Either way: very cool content.

A: As you can probably guess from some of the content, it's not entirely stand-alone. It's something that had been planned for a long time though. Not specifically in preparation of oldtown.

Q: Can items have negative drop rates? Ie. you only get the item if you have a big enough perception bonus to offset it?

A: Not explicitly, but the same system that handles encounter unlocks also handles drop unlocks so I can put in arbitrary stuff in there.

[30:00]
Q: So we have another -Eyes skill, with a -Sight effect to go along with it. How does this (narratively) interact with the fae/fish pairing? Will we see legionary food to go along with primordial/sunless stuff? Any plans for more -Eyes skills?

A: I would be surprised if there weren't more skills of that nature. The fae/fish pairing is not the only division like that in the aether, so there could be just as easily be a Ghoul Eyes skill. It's just a question of how you perceive the world.

Q: How do the number of unearthly items sold compare with each other? Are there large swings in sales or is it fairly steady month-to-month? Was there a particular item that stood out as a great or terrible seller?

A: More or less, it's just how long the item has been out. Pretty steady, regardless of cost. The best is the puzzle box, the worst are the two most recent ones. Reintroduced stuff has done a lot better.

Q: Chemical Mixture seems to ignore reactive defense for the end-of-round burning damage. Bug or feature? (Sorry if I just ruined everyone's go-to snowman killing trick.)

A: Bug. I tried to fix it after last year, but didn't catch that somehow.

Q: Any way to learn the Mushroom Scout's Spear or Throw Spear techniques with a fungus spear?

A: Maybe? I'm pretty sure there is a spear technique - no, nevermind I'm thinking about something that's entirely unrelated. It might be.

Q: Are custom/unlockable titles still something you're considering adding someday? I'd like one. :)

A: As long as we don't have people requesting the same titles as unlockable ones. Might do that over the next couple months. Been trying to do little bits of content to throw in here and there to keep things moving.

Q: Does the existence of the Gang Scuba suggest we have an underwater gang warfare area to look forward to?

A: Maybe, with a couple of caveats. With the different rules for underwater combat, it might not work so well. A while ago, I tried to make a system where each individual player can only control one area, which was not very popular. It's complicated to implement. Probably going to be a new area in Oldtown. I would like an underwater one eventually. Might have to wait til it gets more people participating.

Q: There's a new big skill gap (64-67) that came with the Punk Uprising quest. Tell me spirit, are these the shadows of things that are, or things that will be?

A: They are implemented but not available in game yet. They are sort of a side-quest, similar to the punk quest. I considered putting them in with the new neural recordings, but decided not to.

Q: So the Spade Strike technique was just discovered. Are there any other easy to find but easy to miss techniques like this that have just been overlooked?

A: I'm almost positive. Looks like there are 177 techniques that have been implemented for player use. Some are pretty hard, some are easy. [For comparison there are 143 listed on techniques by id as of the podcast.]

Q: Are there any undiscovered items in the Lake Exploration (metallic oil) / Squatter's Refuge areas?

A: Yes, at least one between them.

Q: Any other items that can be crafted with the Mislit items?

A: Yes, there's at least one that's pretty tricky.

Q: The greatest mystery of Metroplex: Will we ever find out what Arthur J's last name is? And what of Watson? Does he live in Oldtown? Is his boss a cocaine fiend?!

A: More than likely. Doesn't live in Oldtown. Wouldn't be surprised if Watson's boss did a lot of stimulants. Most high-up Midgard people are either Downdown or in gated suburb communities.

Q: So, I thought because it is possible to avoid the Snowmonstrosity swallowing you, that maybe something special would happen if it is defeated without being swallowed. I, once again, am unsuccessful with my holiday spading endeavor. My skeptics cackle at my ineffectualness, and my benefactors seethe. So, please, that I don't end up like the hapless bums to those Fangers, say there is something to be had for defeating the Snowmonstrosity without being swallowed up.

A: You would have received some rewards, but I don't think it would have worked. There was a lot of stuff that was missed over Christmas, but nothing missed for that.

Q: I hear there's a hidden ranged technique to be found in the second iteration of the Charnel House! Hints? Does it involve messing around with the Improbable Gun?

A: It sounds like you're talking about the same thing twice there. There's another one that's similar (which has been found?). There are still quite a few techniques to be found regarding the Charnel House.

Q: Does the protein reader do anything else besides serve as a coding module to make the protein hijacker?

A: The answer is yes, but it's subtle. So won't be surprised if it's never found.

[1:00:00]
Q: In May 2009, you added a skill so hard to find that it is almost an Easter Egg. You also said it gives a new option to an old quest. An old quest in terms of May 2009. What makes this skill similar to unlocking an Easter Egg?

A: It's not an easter egg in the traditional sense, but there are some skills that in retrospect will make sense, but you have to be well outside the box, looking back in, to see why they're there. You have to take a leap of faith. Once you find it, it's not hard to replicate.

Q: I've discovered that you've allowed the elegantly torn pants to function as part of the Bum Raiment for Hel's quest. That's pretty cool little interaction you've added into the game. One of the big reasons I like it so much. I did, however, discover that the Rag Man's cape does not count towards the Bum Raiment. I'm wondering, how come? Balance reasons? Because the Rag Man's cape is one coin rather than the two coiner elegantly torn pants?

A: No, it's more of a stylistic concern.

Q: Now that we've seen the Silhouette in Flames, is there any chance we could see a fire evasion technique in the future?

A: If you're using a fire-evasion technique that uses your Fire Power, I wouldn't be surprised to see one in the future. If you're talking about a technique that evades Fire, those are out there. [eg. Dive for Cover]

Q: I frequently find myself bartering or trading items with other players through the gift system when I'm short on credits. Will we ever see Trade Offer system (like the one in KoL) in Metroplexity?

A: No, probably not. Easy for item dup bugs to sneak in there, and not very good for the in-game economy. […]

Q: Any hints on what the red fluid in the unreal drip is? I'm hoping we can get some inspiration for something to look into, since we've got a big block of unknown items there, taunting us.

A: No. If the description of the unreal drip included what it was made of, I might have had to un-implement it. If you find an item through a bug, don't put it on the wiki. The unreal drip is similar to finding the wall of the vig quest. You're six steps from getting to the drip, and the first step is really hard - so if you try to work backwards from it, you're going to go crazy. Asking too much about bugged items will likely result in bans or un-implementation of the item. You're a lot closer to Devilish Flames.

Q: Is it possible to permanently get rid of the punk combat on the quad once you've made it past that point in the Punk Uprising quest?

A: There is a lot of stuff on the quad that you can do to change the encounters. I don't think there is an encounter on the quad that doesn't have a requirement.

Q: How long has Midgard been around for?

A: Depends how you count it. They've been operating under that name for ~70 years. Rose to prominence during the Orbital Wars and again during the lead-up/aftermath of the Incident. They have the best drones in terms of intelligence, target recognition, etc. Omnitech and Zaibatsu still have some role in the drone market, and some Midgard drones are made with Omnitech parts. Also "companion" robots.

Q: Are the students that we know at the University ever going to graduate? There's an unending supply of hipsters and punks, but as we get farther down the road, particularly with Halloween, it might start to seem a bit odd having the same students talking about stuff that happened years and years ago.

A: I think it was mentioned that it's Emily's last Halloween. There are some other people that might not move on (eg. Arthur). Timelines are kind of weird. Main (reset) content will probably stay more or less constant, but holiday content will come and go.

Podcast #26

(Special Easter Edition!)

Q: Are there ways to not die to the reflected wolf in the stand, fight, or run options? If not, why have three different options that all result in death from a design perspective?

A: There's probably something more than you're seeing, but I'd have to double check. From a design perceptive, there are a couple reasons to have options that lead to deadends. I try to give options that people would want to take. Assuming they all did the same thing, you have to add a couple choices structurally too. If everything that looks like a deadend isn't a deadend, that's okay in a game that doesn't have the spading focus that Metroplexity does. Having it a rule that obstacles are obstacles and not walls is not good. If you try some stuff that doesn't work, players would just assume it's a deadend, and go on to other stuff, instead of getting frustrated.

Q: The two known wolf teeth craftables seem rather lacklustre for having to go through the trouble of getting a fish and then, you know, having you hand bitten off. One of them is a weapon that has no power bonuses, and the other is a small bonus when unopposed (which i feel is a wolf theme sort of thing so I do like that). Is there something to these that we're missing? (Incidentally, I believe there is also a third item yet to be crafted.)

A: There are some missing crafting stuff in the mirror, but before anyone goes through and checks all the combinations again, you won't find them that way. As far as the wolf teeth that have been found, I think they're situationally useful. Perhaps not worth the effort in run.

Q: Each zone seems to have its own technique, covering the range of attack types, except that one would be missing its ranged tech.

Blazing torch -winter, fire/etheric, will, mislit torch, chain 5
Clashing Blow- spring, melee, reflexes, mislit rusted sword, chain 4
Behind the Mask- autumn, evasion/stealth, strength, mislit mask, chain 3
???- summer, ranged?, perception?, item? chain 6?

Am I just paranoid and seeing imaginary patterns where i want there to be one?

A: I tend to do a lot of cycles. (See Mark Rosewater's column on MTG.) It's fair to assume that there's probably a summer technique, but definitely not as easy to find.

Q: What are your design opinions on morale? It seems to be used almost exclusively on limited time content with a little unearthly stuff and one skill. Further, it is nearly useless in most situations, being less useful then other easily obtainable items in equivalent slots for most attack types. Why is it so limited in both availability and use?

A: To answer the first part, it's intended as a bonus for items which are significant and cool, but would not otherwise directly impact your stats. Kind of like the Will bonus on some early items. It ends up being on limited time content because that's what it is, not because it's for. If you're using it for Etheric techniques, might not be so useful. If you're looking for a Melee Hat, might be more worthwhile.

Q: What is your opinion on what subversion testing has developed into?

A: As far as the path it's taken, I'm pretty pleased. There's still a bunch of stuff that hasn't be found. To some extent, there's some strategies that people haven't found yet. So what it looks like now isn't what it'll look like in a year, probably, even with noo code changes.

Q: OOOOOOOOze Despite having this available for a second time and finding a new message (by feeding it limited time content…) we still haven't managed to figure out what any of it means. Im not sure what Im actually asking, perhaps I'm just hoping for some vague musings.

A: The messages aren't there for your health - I'd look into the differences and why that's going on.

Q: How has Twilight Heroes impacted your development (both in ideas and time)?

A: I've talked about this a bit before. I don't really run on time, more on energy. Eg. I have three hours free tonight, and trying to design something. In practice, I'll be excited about x, and then I'll get x done and still have more time. Having things to switch back and forth between helps. Other the past couple weeks, I've done a donation item for each game, some skill stuff for TH, some Oldtown stuff here and still had time on top of those to screw around and watch A New Hope and read seven books [Wild Cards/George R. R. Martin tangent]. As far as ideas, there are some limited fingerprints you'll see on both, but the idea transfer, if anything, has slowed. I had originally considered making Metroplexity consider time of day.

Q: Will there later be a possibility of removing cybernetics and keeping them (perhaps for a fee)? (Oldtown or somewhere) If not, what is the rational behind making sure that all cybernetics are destroyed? Does it have something to do with not being able to have certain ones in our inventory to begin with?

A: I don't like cybernetics feeling too much like equipment. I don't like being able to swap them back and forth. There is the body cost there, but making them being destroyed on removal makes them a lot more their own thing. They're in practice, a drug that keeps running until you want to turn it off. It's not because I didn't want the experimental parts in your inventory. Ideally, cybernetics should be custom made.

Q: Is there an end to the lake in Winter Wading, was not able to get there with 316 hp.

A: If there is, there's not anything amazing waiting for you there. Probably just a "you are a winner" message and some XP or something. It wouldn't surprise me if it's impossible to get there. At any rate, past some point, there's nothing more you want from it.

Q: How happy are you with the changes to Gang Warfare?

A: Pretty happy, people seem pretty pleased with it. I mean, there's the fortifications half, which seem to be working pretty well for people, and the having to patrol in one place half, which should have gone in two years ago. Glad to have that off my to-do list.

Q: What do you think of our progress on the helmet of great spelunking? I'm trying to get a sense here of how fast or thorough you normally expect spading on these sort of things to progress.

A: I don't really expect too much exactly. Which isn't to say that I think you're all terrible, just that I don't map it out. When I release an item, most of the functionality gets spaded out pretty quickly, and then there are some holdouts. Cloak of feathers is an example of that not happening (took quite a while to get even basic stuff figured out). But, I've not been particularly shocked by what's been found out or not.

Q: What gives metallic powder its special properties? Type of metal? Type of processing?

A: Composition, if that makes sense. Type of processing sounds weird from a chemical perspective - most processing would change what type of metal it is. You'd end up with an alloy or galvanize it or whatnot.

Q: Should Reactive Defense always reduce damage by the same amount? I get consistent results if I test something a dozen times in a day, but then go back a week later and get a different number. (Most often 7 vs. 8 damage.) Is there a formula we should be looking for for reactive?

A: There obviously is a formula, and I'd hazard a guess that there's a variable you're not accounting for. I don't believe there's a random term in there at all, other than the initial damage.

Q: Would you be willing to tell us how many Shorted TV messages there are?

A: Depends on how you count them, but somewhere between 25 and 40ish.

Q: What about how many neural recording memories of a previous life there are? Considering how long they've been in the game, I assumed we found them all but Barton26 discovered a new one just recently.

A: I would assume you have them all, but I would have assumed that earlier too. I think I'll keep my lips shut on that for now.

Q: The old mushroom man mentions drawing a Midgard logo in the dirt - what does this actually look like? Is it the same as the Midgard Player? Is the standard Omnitech logo the same as the O with a T in it we've seen in the gift catalog?

A: The Midgard Logo is most often what's displayed on their Midgard Defender enemy. Same sort of pattern as on the Player. Some sort of oscilloscope M worked around the object. The standard Omnitech logo is indeed the O with a T in it, also shows up on the learntop and cola can, I believe.

Q: Is there anyway to get the Spectral Damsel's Parasol Block technique? Seems like we should be able to use the gauzy parasol somehow, but I can't find anything.

A: That seems reasonable. I believe there are two or three undiscovered techniques down in the subway.

Q: The Ghoul King didn't seem to be interested in the Royal Orb at all. Wrong area to be barking up for finding more Survivors skills?

A: Certainly not a bug, he's just not interested in it.

Q: How did the virus choose which sites it targeted?

A: Largely random. Some restrictions, eg. had to not be infected already.

Q: Which came first: Roy's One Stop for Software or Roy's Secret Sauce?

A: I waited to see the final boss, so to speak, and then named the item.

Q: What's the ideal [vague answer] to [direct answer] ratio?

A: I'm thinking, 1:1, maybe, 5:1 maybe. It's like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, if you ask a broad, vague question, you might get the answer by accident, but if you ask a direct question, you may not even get an answer.

Q: I was also going to ask about mysterious Hungry Ooze messages, but Erenoth beat me to it. What makes the massive stone talon so special that it gets it own message when eaten? Are the feeding messages key to unlocking missing stuff from the ooze, or do we need to find missing stuff before the feeding messages make sense?

A: There's nothing special about the stone talon - have not updated it since the talon went in. There's not really a chicken or egg thing. If you understood what the messages where trying to tell you, you'd have some good leads on finding stuff.

Q: About feather chains in the feathered cloak: Is doing the same feather twice in a row important? It gives a different message when stroked, but doesn't seem to ever lead to anything.

A: Even if it doesn't have its own chain, there are still places where it's functionally important. May not be good, but good to know.

Q: How's Oldtown going? (Not trying to rush you or sound impatient, just curious and excited!)

A: Been working on it. The bones are in. You could take the Metros there now, if you had access. The quest areas are going in now. I've got one path through the first quest area in, so a ways to go. Really happy with how the design is going. I think people will really enjoy the new areas. Definitely still aways off.

Q: How accurate would you say the "remaining secrets" ratings are on the Unearthly Item Buying Guide page?

A: I think, the only one that jumps out at me is Rag Man's cape, but I think that just hasn't been updated since stuff was found. So yeah. I mean, there's some stuff where the question marks mean 'how does this work mechanically?' vs. 'how much missing content?', so there's that.

Q: Would it bug/disappoint you if several years into the future, some of the cool stuff you put in now isn't even close to being discovered?

A: Naw, not at all. It's almost a design goal, in so far as putting in enough diverse content that even with people poking at it constantly, not all of it will fall out. Eg. there's stuff from the original PvP launch, there's a bunch of Survivors stuff, Ghouls II quest, etc., etc. Some of it pretty major. I'd like it if you signed up in five years, you can still find new stuff.

Q: Any clue as to hints for fishing mechanics? Namely, the difference between fishing yield and fishing modifier.

A: Fishing Modifier, boosts your effective rank. They do totally different things. I'd suggest get your fishing skill really high, and see what happens as you adjust your modifier and yield. The yield increases the number of bites.

Q: I've been suspecting that there is an inverse relationship between an item's combat bonuses (compared to items that require similar effort/cost to obtain) and its ability to teach new techniques. Less optimal = something hidden. How true would you say that is?

A: Sort of speaks to the same sort of thing that I was talking about at the start. Some things need to be bad because they are bad, some amusing, etc. If everything that is bad has a secret, they're not really secrets. But overall, you're not barking up the wrong tree. It's not a hard and fast rule though.

Q: Any reason why the Slags Lab lets me walk around nilly-willy with my hall pass even when I'm murdering guards and scientists left, right and center?

A: Security in the Slags lab is extremely lax compared to other facilities, mostly because who would go there? There probably should be a counter in there, but it would be large enough that you wouldn't hit it very often. It's not a complete oversight. I might do something about it after I fix the slags gate, which is way weirder. They have no reason to be secure. Plus not everyone there is necessarily well adjusted.

Q: Any backstory relationship between the cloak of feathers, the rag man s cape and the "raven" that MSO Thrivaldi mentioned? All related to, you know, ravens.

A: I mean, in a very distant way, yes. I would be surprised if you found the raven that Thrivaldi is talking about picking out the Rag Man's eyes. There's connection if you dig back far enough.

Q: Does directly using the burning ectoplasm do anything useful? Or are the third-degree burns just for flavor?

A: Well, who knows when you might need third degree burns?

Q: Why does a baseball bat with stuff written into it cost as much as an smuggled-in high-tech rifle?

A: Taking a step back from there, KZR's are not super expensive. But what's you're buying there is like going to buy a pair of Nikes. What you're buying isn't the bat or the rifle, you're buying the image associated. And this works in game too, and marks you as a gang warrior.

Q: Have we yet met any of Matsuo the Demon Slayer's enemies, other than the Rag Man/Ultimate Rag Man? If not, will that be part of future content?

A: Keep in mind for a moment that Matsuo is not real, even in game. But it would not surprise me to run into some stuff for a variety of reasons.

Q: To get the ball rolling I'm curious about the Rag Man's cape. With the discovery of the limited effect removal of the clean rags and his Ultimate Form how much still remains to be spaded?

A: It's fairly spaded out.

Q: Next there is the red lensed goggles. Way back in Podcast #12 you indicated there were two things remaining to be found. I'm going to go ahead and assume the easy but not encouraged part is the two considered techniques which leaves the buried part. I'm just wondering if you would be willing to give a small clue or is part of what it requires obvious?

A: I don't think it would surprise people(…) I guess, it requires a couple different things, and each part has some feedback, it's just very very subtle. Not even like the second paragraph text changing subtle. And once you have those lined up, you'll find it. You just have to be looking in the right place to find when you're halfway there, and keep looking. Pay a lot of attention to detail, would be my advice.

Q: Bonus red lensed goggles question. Of the four armory produced clips it looks like two of them count as science techs but the others do not. I'm curious about disruptive shot also not being scientific. If it not counting is intentional though feel free to disregard this question.

A: Disruptive shot should, I believe, but Shotgun Blast should not. (fixed) Shotgun blast should not because you can get it from drops as well.

Q: This next one is likely wonky RNG mixed with a confirmation bias but the only way I'll know is to ask. This pertains to the hungry ooze with regards to the trigger for Toxic Lash. It looks to me like if the total melee and ranged power of the item fed to the ooze meets or exceeds a threshold value 1-2 instances of Toxic Lash are queued. Additionally as more instances of the technique are learned the threshold value increases. It also looks like some items appear to have a bonus to the value assigned to them based on total energy to craft them. Where data collection would take a fair number of resets and good chunk of time I figured asking if I was at least in the ballpark would be prudent.

A: I would say that you are… in the ballpark. You're sort of in the 'over there' ball. Need to refine your process.

Q: Is there any way to fight the Midgard mining drone?

A: I don't want to jump on too many questions about the mining helmet yet, but I can say, unrelated to the helmet, that that's not the last you'll see of those drones.

Q: Is there some special reason why Chance of Mining Encounters doesn't show up on the "Bonuses" tab?

A: [hyponotist voice] No, I am not updating that script right now.

Q: Any chance the links you get to other sites when you relay somebody's site could be listed in alphabetical order?

A: I don't see why not… actually, might be harder than it sounds like. Don't think that'll be trivial.

I'll mostly be working on Oldtown, might be some other stuff coming up. Some little dips and dabs here and there.

Podcast #27

Q: The going rate for unearthly coins is somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 credits in Omnimall. This translates to around 7500 credits per US Dollar. The best credit farmers can currently earn around 12,000 credits per day ($1.60). What do you consider to be the optimal exchange rate? Should it be higher? Lower?

A: That's surprising but makes me happy. Ideally, it shouldn't take more than half to 2/3rd of a month to farm currency so that you can spend half your time farming and half your time playing if you really want to. And seeing out the average month is ~$7.50 so five days means that people are valuing their play time pretty highly.

Q: Is it possible to hit the maximum integer value for items/credits in your inventory in Metroplexity, or is it some insanely high number? As I recall, KoL stored item values as a 32 bit integer, meaning the maximum number was 2^32, or 4,294,967,296 items.

A: I believe those are the same for items, and then credits are 64 bit. Could get around it but not really worth it.

Q: Suggestion: Would it be possible to get longer New Sellers/New Buyers lists? Like, maybe an option that just says "Expand" and allows you to see the last 20 or something. Just a thought.

A: I could probably do that. Maybe 25.

Q: If you're feeling generous…. Got any tips for that Amulet content? I'm still trying to decipher your last clue :P

A: Not really. There's still a couple really sweet things for the amulet to do so I'll leave it at that.

Q: Does the "black stone" composition of various monsters have gameplay or plot significance, or is it just flavor?

A: It's sort of a head's up to various things to the player about the monsters, some plot significance, but they're not flagged as anything. Like how the ghost ship or ghouls have a theme/approach, there is probably some plot significance.

Q: Most human opponents have negative Etheric Defense. Any reason? Could it be the link between confidence and Etheric Defense, or that they're unaware of the etheric world?

A: Two different directions there - it's definitely linked to confidence and also linked to the type of people you're dealing with (bums, third eye, people on campus); not really people keen on keeping their brains on lock down, having your shit together. Also using etheric things to fight etheric things. Hel, for example, if you're using etheric powers against her it wouldn't work very well.

Q: Why do slags guards have needlers and normal midgard sec doesn't?

A: The slags guards are a sub-division, more internal security. When you run into their internal security (especially Downtown) they'll definitely have needlers and not to be taken lightly. They have a lot more facilities elsewhere which are more under lock and key. You'd see more people like the MSO from the buried lab.

Q: Why are gas grenades so much weaker than punching?

A: They're nominally non-lethal. They're intended to subdue and scare people off rather than kill. Wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if I coded in some responses from campus people there, maybe. There's just a lot more chance for things to go wrong with punching.

Q: Why do dock security guards drop batons despite only shooting?

A: Well, they do carry them.

Q: I noticed there's a lot of references to gold's inexplicable appeal despite the economic situation in Metroplexity. Any plot significance?

A: Well, it's not saying that gold's appeal is connected to the ether, but there's not a ton of use for the stuff anymore. Kind of like the commentary on petrol. But people still like gold because people are people and there's that tradition factor.

Q: Why so little good swimming gear? We can find wetsuit fabric and rebreather masks, so someone must be swimming.

A: Some people were swimming obviously, but there is so little good swimming gear because you're not really anywhere where there are people swimming or the place where people would be diving. If you had access to a Caribbean Island zone, there'd be all kinds of stuff. Cybernetics can do all kinds of stuff for diving.

Q: Did you choose the 1984 country names "Oceania" and "Eurasia" for flavor, or is there some greater significance?

A: I like the reference, but I like that it implies that national borders have largely broken down. You have a few large nations and a handful of tiny tiny nations. Corps have stepped in for the nation stats. Small nations are either entirely controlled by a corporation or in the middle of extreme political intrigue. Metroplex is pretty different from them, since most Midgard employees only have to worry about their boss. Hong Kong is full of corp spies.

Q: Similarly, hound drones-Fahrenheit 451 or Hound of the Baskervilles ref, or are they just there?

A: I do not remember hound drones in Fahrenheit 451. They're in fact inspired by the hounds of Tindalos from Lovecraft lore. Well, backing up, the drone hounds are kind of a reference to the Sony Aibo.

Q: Ship of the damned quest- is the ghost (okay, zombie, same difference) of the navigator an iron maiden reference?

A: I am not familiar with Iron Maiden at all. I don't think it's a specific reference to anything. [Zombie Mythos]

[29:00]
Q: Why does wild shooting with cover fire deal so much damage?

A: I'd have to look at that.

Q: Any reason why Dave the Hipster's death gets special consideration from Midgard Sec? They don't seem to give much of a damn about what happens to the students, if tolerating the worse punks is any consideration.

A: I think that you will find that Midgard security is always going to be disproportionate for various reasons. Their motivation is only minorly for keeping the peace.

Q: I understand this is a dystopia, but why isn't Metro U set up like a warzone at this point? Between the Herald of Fire, Happy Hour brawls, the missing artist, Quad Psycho, crazy magic bums, the Third Eye violence, Midgard police brutality, the punk uprising, and of course, us bloodthirsty psychotic player characters, the students seem surprisingly relaxed and complacent sorts.

A: To some extent, the Midgard security folks and students don't really care about the inter-gang violence (including punks). As far as the Herald of Fire, there will be some more answers coming eventually.

Q: Will Oldtown have ninjas?

A: You'll probably not notice the ninjas in Oldtown.

Q: Why does Omnitech need special forces? They just make stuff, I thought. Surely they can rely on hired guns when it comes down to force?

A: Omnitech doesn't really believe in outsourcing. Assuming you have enough work for them to keep them on hand, not a good idea.

Q: Midgard's scientists are arguably better armed than their attendant guards. I'm pretty sure it's against common sense as well as lab safety, to regularly carry around explosives, acid, neurotoxin syringes, poison sprays and wrenches at the same time, so… why do they?

A: For one, they are not entirely stable all the time. Also, I sort of imagine that a lot of that is grabbing stuff from their environment through the fight.

Q: Will the puzzle box be rotating back in once we've had 12 seasons?

A: Yes, it'll be back in for season 13, which in my brain is season 25.

Q: How's Oldtown going? Upcoming events?!

A: I'm not going to promise the upcoming event, I might have to put it out of its misery if I run out of time. I'm not going to discuss it though to get people's hopes up. Oldtown is coming along pretty nicely, things are nicely mapped out, just need to fill in a lot of content.

Q: Andrea sidequest? I like the sound of that!

A:

Q: Unlockable titles?

A: I could pretty easily do that.

Q: Pets?

A: Pets are a larger scale than I really have time for right now. I do have art for them.

Q: Any hints on what to do with the collapsed integrator? I can't find anything on electronics sites, software sites, Prof Evans, Midgard labs, old bookshelves or anywhere else…

A: Unless I did something very very wrong, you'll feel silly when you figure it out. It should be the first thing you think of.

Q: We spent a lot of March finding out a lot of cool new messages for Mirror Gazing. Are we closer to fully understanding this skill or are we still missing something significant? Are we missing a fundamental mechanic of it or just a few more messages from the remaining opponents we haven't tested?

A: You're definitely doing a lot better. There's some stuff you can't do right now, similar to what happens if you have both fae/ocean eyes.

Q: Is there a hacking avatar and any hints as what you need to do to unlock it? Wearing mimetic gear in gang warfare didn't seem to do the trick.

A: There's not at the moment. I should probably put one in there at some point. Probably won't involve mimetic gear.

Q: Are we missing many effects that are from when PvP opponents use techniques against you? (Numbing Neurotoxin from Striking Shield for example) We've only found a small handful but I imagine they're not very well spaded since they require PvP cooperation.

A: I don't think there's anything that requires cooperation per se, as in both players need to do something at the same time, but there's at least one of those that I was expecting to be found, but with the way people was using the content didn't get found. Probably a few more. If you've found 3 or 4, there's probably 3 or 4 more.

Q: A few more questions about the hungry ooze:

There seem to be some items that are blacklisted from being fed - most of these make sense to be blacklisted (unearthly items, quest items, some old holiday rewards, etc). But there are a few that don't show up for any reason that I can see - notably the protest sign, navigator's glasses and stone spider leg. Are these hinting at anything? Why can't we feed them?

A: I think you could figure that out looking at the items - there is a common factor there. I think if you just stare at them it'll make sense. There's not a particular blacklist.

Q: Why does the quivering rifle give the bizarre configuration message but not the quivering needler?

A: I think that if you answer the previous question, this one might also start making sense.

Q: Is there a conditional for how many turns of ooze symbiosis we get, or is it random?

A: It is at least partially condition. If I recall correctly, it's completely discernable from stuff you are seeing. One of the variables is invisible and random, and one is visible and not random, which added together give a number from 1-3 if I remember?

Q: Would you be willing to remove the encounter to leave a clone in an empty zone when you will not actually leave one, right now it just wastes energy and discourages participation in gang warfare.

A: I could make that not cost energy?

Q: Last podcast you implied that cybernetics would be best if they were customized. Would this be possible in oldtown with access to fancier toys, either generated based on what we use (ala smuggler) or perhaps even with a player design your own piece (mixing costs and disadvantages somehow, with slot based limits and possibilities)?

A: There is slightly more chance of choosing from dropdowns with cybernetics than anything else, but that is difficult to code.

Q: How much mystery is left in the splunking helmet?

A: It is mostly spaded, not sure if you've gotten all the techniques out of it yet, I'd have to check.

Q: Are there any hidden avatars with a crown? Since I haven't found the cyborg avatar a royalty avatar seems like it wouldn't be that unreasonable, with the gear available and many potential cases of regicide in this game.

A: I don't think there are any avatars with crowns.

Q: To get the ball rolling I have some questions about the feathered cloak. More specifically there are some things I'd like to know a little more about Raven's Eyes:

Q: First, given the possible cascades so far is it reasonable to speculate that melee &/or evasion cascades could exist? Second, are there techs that can bridge a cascade without disrupting it or am I now on the hunt for some new melee/evasion techs?

A: If you're the hunt for 5+ chain techniques, you could probably stop since that's kind of the opposite of melee techniques.

Q: Third, the interaction with Ragged Dodge & Tendrils has me wondering if there are any specialized cascades lurking around or is that a unique case?

A: There are a lot of interactions like that.

Q: Quick question about Hawk's Talon. Compared the the other techs from the cloak it really gets overshadowed. Is there some interesting use with a trigger we're missing or is it just a vanilla melee tech?

A: I'm guessing there's probably something interesting that you're missing. [evil laugh] Yeah, there's some cool stuff there.

Q: Bonus cloak question! Are we any closer to the feathered cloak avatar or is there still a long way to go?

A: You are definitely closer than the last time this question was asked, yes.

Q: Moving right along onto the Midgard player. When using the various recordings it produces there is a bonus to the XP gained if the recording used matches the base seed you have playing. I'm curious if the "tapping along" message for the first recording is just some flavor text or is there something more in play beyond the XP bonus?

A: There's quite a bit going on with the recording's if I recall. *checks* Yeah, quite a number of interactions there, one of which might lead you to discover fabulous things that I totally forgotten about.

Q: Next up is the Rag Man's cape. Are there any other techniques that interact with it like Raven's Eyes? If yes are they as awesome as the murderous barrage of ravens?

A: I don't think that you can top murderous barrage of ravens. I want to say that there's another one that hasn't been found yet. Sometime's it's just a new message with a little extra damage, and sometimes it's a horribly difficult puzzle that no one will has even found let alone solve. I've been known to do that too.

Q: Just wondering if you might be willing to give a hint or two about the remaining thing on the red-lensed goggles. Could it have anything to do with ship wrecks we can fish up or the genius behind the eternal sparklers?

A: It will require some keen eyes and some experimentation. I could say don't try too hard. There are clues there and they're faint enough that I didn't put them in there expecting anyone to figure out. One day someone will be like, "why are there 4 there when there should be 2"?

Q: Last question I promise. It has to do with the Extreme tackle box. Recently I've been keeping track of my results and am curious as to if I'm on the right track. With no lines or lures active I've been receiving an average of 1 lure for every ~6 trips, and with just an Extreme lure active I've seen my average increase to 1 lure every ~3 trips. I know I still need more data for both these scenarios (and to check for other possible ones), but I'm wondering if I'm approaching this the right way.

A: There's a definite relation between the number of trips and what it's coming out with, and there's some fairly complicated interelations. I'm not honestly sure offhand if one of those is whether you have lures. It would be odd for me to give you more lures if you already have lures, but I don't think I would give it diminishing returns either.

Q: An Andrea sidequest sounds great. Yes please!

Q: You may have already answered this from Al's question, but if not: how will unearthly item rotation work when there is more than one legacy item that's been unavailable for 12 seasons?

A: More or less like you're seeing now, it'll be the last five items, the first season item and the puzzle box, so there will be seven available going forward. As enough items get sold some items would get sold out, but not there yet.

Q: Since it gets special mention in the quest log, it seems like having the ghouls spread to the Squatters' Refuge during the Problems on the Docks quest is significant. GoldS and I poked at it as best we could, but I get the sense we fell short. How much more is lurking there? Any hints on where to look for it?

A: I remember very little about the squatters' refuge. I don't recall having an entire sidequest or anything like that.

Q: Is the Better Part of Valor conduct like most conducts, requiring only persistence once you know what you need to do/avoid to get it, or is it like True Immortal where unless you succeed consistently at tasks that aren't entirely in your control you can fail to get it?

A: It's not like true immortal. It's harder if you're a fuckup, but you can't actually fuck it up. It's persistence, but it scales on your success. It's not like most of the other ones, it scales more.

Q: It seems like the last few unearthly items have been more about flavor and cool content than straightforward in-game power. Is the the result of a conscious effort to keep a lid on power creep and preserve design space, or is it more a matter of just following where the ideas for these items led you? (Or, is there serious power lurking in unspaded aspects of these items or implications we haven't fully thought through yet?)

A: As a whole, I just go where the items want me to. I'm still feeling out what I want to do with Oldtown going in. I imagine you'll see some powercreep with Oldtown going it, just cause there will be a lot more powerful items in the game, but what form that takes, we'll see. More scaling items, like the crystal flame.

Q: I've done practically everything I could think of to find new content in the second iteration of the charnel house. Fighting all the enemies with Broken World and Degenerate Mists active along with choosing with many of the choices in the choice encounters. Is it possible to lock yourself out of finding hidden content? Perhaps from an unfortunate choice of skills or knocking down Dry Riverbed walls?

A: You're trivially able to lock yourself out of the second charnel house, just be shooting the artist. But I don't *think* there's anything you're locking yourself out of within the house. There's obviously some stuff where you lock yourself out of one skill if you get another one, but not in the way that you are concerned about.

Q: With Serpent Pattern now found, is there anything left to find about Serpent Venom?

A: Yes, there is still some stuff to find.

Q: Are we missing anything significant with the goblet of bones, or are we on a pretty good track with it?

A: Pretty sure you're on a good track with it. I mean, it's a one coin item, so no endless mysteries, except for one or two. So there's still some. Whoever finds the thing I'm talking about though will be really excited though.

Q: Is there any way to unpoison the massive clam in Lake Metroplex without resetting?

A: No, somethings cannot be undone.

Q: I tried giving the bone scepter to the ocean king as an offering, but then capturing one of the lesser fae and giving them to him, just in case that might be another way of getting Blessed of the Seas. It turns out not to be, but at the cost of a skill would it be possible to get some different text in the response from the king? Unless I'm missing something, anyway!

A: It's not so much that… I don't think you're going to get new text in there.

Q: Since I seem to be on a run of water related questions… We've eaten octopus, shark, clam, squid, eel and a variety of fish… Any chance we'll be able to run into a lobster or crab at some point? Giant etheric versions that attempt to eat us first are perfectly acceptable.

[1:13:00]
A: I can't specifically speak to craps, but I wouldn't be surprised if you don't run into pistol shrimp. [pistol shrimp discussion]

[1:22:00]
Q: Read any good books lately?
[books discussion]

(I think there's some content I could add in, some updates and fixes.)

Podcast #28

Q: Why is Fae Sight so outclassed by Ocean Eyes? Is it thematic, or is there some major source of Fae content that we've missed?

A: You'd have to drill down and see why you think it's outclassed. Difference between fish and mushrooms, there's just a lot more fish in the game. And the crafting bonuses synergize quite well. If you're just looking at the food side of it, there'll be more sushi and mushrooms in the future.

Q: Is there still some hidden content lurking in the Black Book?

A: I think you've still got two things? One is insanely buried. One is just a little tricky, that wouldn't surprise me if it took every bit as long.

Q: Is there a finite number of sites in Subversion? Could a coordinated team of evildoers using "Trash System" completely destroy Subversion as we know it?

A: As we know it, yes. I mean, you won't fail to find a site (though perhaps one you already have).

Q: Are you surprised at the level of viral sites still active in Subversion?

A: Not particularly. It can still sort of get spread around.

Q: Will we ever see an unearthly item purely for hacking?

A: The Midgard Player was pretty close. If I did one, I wouldn't be surprised to see one around the hacking revamp (later this year?) ala Tackle Box.

Q: Why does the Rag Man have organs?

A: The ultimate form shouldn't but I think the Rag Man himself should. (checks)

Q: In a previous podcast you mentioned that we were missing something big with the toxic items (venomous angel, toxic crystal, toxic octopus eye). Any hints?

A: I think someone actually found at least half of that. The other half of that being a little less immediately obvious. THere's an underlying question about mysteries, in that there are a lot of interactions between equipment and techniques, a lot of which people don't use a lot. And depending on how those interactions line up, it's going to take some pretty dedicated spading to find. A lot are not planned in advance, it's just that there are so many interactions that some are hard to find.

Q: Why do we "shine with [our] own inner light" when we oppose a certain tech from the Dark Specter?

A: I wrote that a long time ago (looks it up). Hm. Okay, that is an explanation for why it isn't choking you, shouldn't be entirely strange. I think if you experiment and see why that is happening, it should be pretty straight forward.

Q: So what's left to find with the spacious cargo pants? Tried using 243 skeleton bones (next logical step), and nothing special happened. Are we going about this the wrong way?

A: There is still some stuff to find. A neat interactions, not unrelated to the bones. Fairly well hidden, I believe.

Q: Any more secrets with the Jade Amulet?

A: There is still some stuff there to be discovered. Obviously you've gotten a lot closer to it.

Q: Are there any "easy to get" skills that we haven't discovered yet?

A: Depends on "easy to get". There are a couple of branches off certain quests that I am surprised hasn't been found. They're sneaky, so I'm not surprised they weren't found right away, but there's a couple.

Q: Burning Ectoplasm: What does it do and who does it work for?

A: Mostly sets you on fire, if I recall.

Q: How will skills dependent on having a certain item equipped (Mirror Gazing) work when skill perming is a thing? Will the mirror appear in the player's inventory when they reset?

A: That is already coded into Mirror Gazing. That'll be handled on a case by case basis.

Q: So… how are you? Gory details please.

[12:00-26:00 ish]
A: 2012 sucked. […]

Q: How are halloween plans coming along? Art museum? Andrea quest? Oldtown? (hope that doesn't sound too overwhelming!)

A: Halloween - good. One thing I will say in advance, because of some of the content that is going in there is, hm, well… The halloween in Metroplexity has always been the showpiece of choice. And one of the things that is important in meaningful lasting choices is that they create ripples down the road. This halloween might more ripples than short distance choices. So we've got some interesting stuff going on. Lots of content. Lots of art from Puyo.

Art museum? - there might be something going on there.

Andrea quest? - I've stopped working on that for a while. Out of emotional energy for a while. But beyond that, I know that what Andrea can figure out will be very interesting, but need to make the player's rewards for the quest, since it's a lot of work for the player as well. Still waffling between beefing it up and granting a set of skills, or having it remain somewhat slimmer and give one skill or a repeatable use item.

Oldtown? - I was working on Dr. A's branch and realized that it's going to be very heavily hooked into the hacking system pretty significantly. And the hacking system has never quite done what I wanted it to, and I think I made some fundamental mistakes. Probably have to go back and scrap it. The problem is that that becomes more of a time commitment with more content added. So the oldtown stuff is probably on hold until after I redo the hacking stuff, which sucks because I really wanted oldtown out this year. But I don't think I would have been happy with it if I tried for this year anyway. I do think that it's going to be really cool (hope that goes without saying), just a bit unfortunate I need to loop back and do these little things.

Q: Will we have the option to bring the Emerald Gift back again this year? What about more dinosaurs?!

A: Wait and see!

Q: Now that Winged Hunter has been found, can we get some Tome of Binding techniques for chain 7 and 8? And then a Tome-master avatar for using all 5 binding techniques in a chain?

A: Hm. That is not the worst idea I've ever heard. The tome of bind is just one of those things that I just like, and enjoy finding terrible and strange ways to use.

Q: Nest Keeper is limited at 50 energy and then the spiders just start eating each other. Is this hinting at something more, or just a cool excuse for another spidery message. (Spiders are very cool.)

A: I almost want to say there's something terrible in there, but it's been a while. [ha ha ha ha] Oh man, I'm such a vile individual. There's something going on there, but you're not at a precipice of vast new content.

Q: Is there a technique that could be used to work out opponent's Strength stat? I think you said in the past that there was one planned. Is it available to us now? If not, can we get it soon?

A: I believe there's one in the game that does that. If not, I'm sure it'll come up eventually.

Q: Related, will we see a bonus at long distance soon? There are a bunch of chain numbers I want to spade, but they're all too high…

A: I would be surprised if that didn't come up. As a general rule, I feel that ranged just needs love sometimes. A lot of the etheric content has a melee bent, and a lot of the mundane content is for places like Oldtown and Downtown. But yeah, a long distance technique (Ranged, Etheric or Stealth?).

Q: Smooth nova seems suspiciously poor compared to other drugs (cut nova for example). Are we missing something there?

A: Hm. That cost is surprisingly high. I don't think there's anything super interesting going on there. Might want to remind me at some point to buff that.

Q: Do we know who gave the order to kidnap David and Dr. Amundsen? Hawk says that they're "the only one that can supply Eclipse"… which probably means Midgard somehow. But then Dr. Thomas can take over, and she's also Midgard (perhaps another division?) How much conflict is there within Midgard? How soon til we find out more details on the kidnapping?

A: Probably a while before finding out about kidnapping. As far as conflict within Midgard, as much as any huge corporation, that is to say a lot. With Midgard as an example, it's not so much that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, is that the left hand may not know that the right hand exists, so there's a lot of stuff going on in Midgard, so people don't know what's going on. In practice, that means that a lot of the divisions have carte blanche to do whatever they want. […]

Q: The festive knit hat is rumoured to be able to sprout tentacles and interact with Channel the Deep. Any truth behind these rumours or is Argeth just messing with us?

A: Oh man, can I retroactively make that true? Argeth is trolling you, but that would be awesome.

Q: I know this is probably still a long ways off, but want to give us any vague hints at how pets will work?

A: The intent is more or less the same since I've started working on the game, but basically pets typically aren't the follow-you-around, fight-beside-you type. More along the lines of really adorable furniture that you can interact with. Something gives buffs or direct bonuses like the brick figure. I do have a big weakness for a tamagotchi-like game, not terribly interesting on its own, but might work as a minigame here. I imagine it will come out before or after housing (being able to move to different places).

Q: If/when we move to bigger apartments in Oldtown, will we be able to build a gang hideout in Southside? Or will we be able to keep our old apartment there too?

A: I hadn't considered keeping your old apartment, but that is reasonable. What I would expect to happen, if I don't get a ton of screaming. I would expect that your primary residence would overwrite the hideout at your location. I would not be surprised if you could get a hideout in Southside eventually.

Q: Why a toad? Was it the +2 Fortitude bonus?

A: I'd have to say something like it came to me in a dream. It's a very roundabout reference/brain working. If you go deep on Clark Ashton Smith or Arthur Machen…

Q: Can I gut a helidrone and turn it into a private helicopter?

A: They're very small. If you cut off your head and wire it in, it might work.

Q: Why are so many people organized with questions in advance while I just wing it?

A: A lot of people seem to use the notes section of the quest log, which explains some of the questions here.

Q: The "Path" skills from the ghost ship aren't "obviously bad" (which would cause us to investigate further), but they do seem less deep than the other skills. Is there anything hidden here?

A: I seem to recall there's a cool interaction related to those. I think that they're strategically interesting and will be more interesting when skill perming goes in.

Q: Is there any significance to how you choose to deal with the ghostly navigator?

A: Depends if you're a jerk or not. I don't…think that there's a deep significant.

Q: I spent my morning eating green pancakes in dinosaur shapes listening to music from Warcraft II and Baldur's Gate. Why was your morning not this awesome?

A: I don't know! In my defense, we had pancakes yesterday. [Secrets of syrup, and other breakfast stories]

Q: I'm curious about the backstory (heh) of the crystal spine. Will we find out more in-game about its makers? What gave you the idea for such a bizarre item? Were you originally thinking of having it be a weapon?

A: I guess it could have been a weapon. The forms of it just ended up being very weapony to make it obvious what it did (form follows function). As far as the idea, good question. I mean, the crystaline-changing-item feels perfectly normal to me. The fact that it's a spine is related … the plain spine, rod and loop were what I was thinking of originally.

Q: You mentioned to me that you might be doing a hacking revamp after Halloween. What are you thinking of changing? How extensively will you have to re-code to make it happen?

A: All of it, basically. The way that hacking works now is always a choice encounter, and one option is a combat if you're not at top access level. The way that programs work will be totally revamped. It's going to be neat because I'll be tacking new functionality on to the old programs and then just flipping a switch over to the new stuff. The way that targets are tracked is going to have to change, kind of unrelated to other changes. They really need to expire pretty quickly (eg. 4 days). The way they work now is warping the way people play, irritating players and irritating Kinak. An important part of designing games is understanding that a non-insignificant portion of the players will do whatever is optimal, even if not fun. So it's important to design so that optimal is within the margins of fun. What basically happened, is that people for a long time, people were using not in a way that was intended. Keeping big lists and sorting through them. Not a server-side issue, but it's hard to track. Either leave that to suck forever or redesign it so that people can't hurt themselves from it. Just making sure that it's handled gracefully within the confines of the… It basically needs to be designed such that you can't… It doesn't make sense in-world to accumulate all these sites forever, that's not how it works, you'll only have a couple days to crack in there anyway. If not allowed you don't have to do it. The biggest change is that the hacking will be integrated into instead of choice with combat into one hacking encounter, which will work more like combat. On a high level, you'll start out with a pool of resources (based on your programs), and go through and allocate them, and that will be 1 energy worth of hacking. If you are "good" at it, you will be able to potentially be able to fight through several levels of defences or grab several files with one energy, (or not, if you're not). Just about the only thing I don't foresee changing is the programs and files, particularly the crafting ones. How the tools and encounters work will be totally different.

Q: Are the messages you get from toting around a preserved cell culture there to hint at the XP-skewing property of Writhing Flesh, or is there more to them? If so, is it something we can follow up on now, or are they a hook for eventual pet content or something?

A: That is not a hook for pet content. There are quite a few messages with that. The cell culture I believe does something on its own, even without writhing flesh, and I think it's hinting at that. It's quite subtle though.

Q: Was the jade amulet/Winged Hunter the "massive branch" of unfound content that you mentioned was lurking in Stolen Artistry, or is the content you had in mind still lurking out there?

A: Yeah, that is the big branch.

Q: I tried salvaging a Midgard MK11a to see if I could get the green fluid out of it, to no avail. Am I just not trying hard enough, or is it not possible (yet)?

A: I have thought a couple times about adding something cool in there, it seems like a neat thing as a non-explicit miniquest. It's not at the moment salvageable though. I want it to be more than just a collectable. Just putting a bunch of craftable results off it it is inappropriate in regards to what the fluid is, and also a lot of work for a small thing.

Q: So, Serpent Venom. I've got that it gives bonus xp to either Will or Reflexes if you use Will or Reflexes techniques. 2 bonus xp if you have the venomous angel equipped. But, I'm stuck at that. I've tried fighting every mob I've could in every location with no luck. I've used all the equipments I have in my Hat, Weapon, Shirt, Pants, and Gadget slot looking for another interaction. No luck. So… heh is this enough effort to warrant a hint?

A: Wow. The XP is the main thing that's hidden there, if I recall. I would not be surprised if there are some interactions with other serpent-related stuff because that makes sense. I'll assume you've tried all those. If there's anything else, it's probably hidden with techniques, nothing else hardcoded.

Q: Could you put someone leaving an area in the gang log?

A: That seems… reasonable. There's only a couple places where that happens so it shouldn't be a giant pain.

Q: When muffled sight was released there were various musings on the many ways individuals can see the ether (I believe ghoul sight was mentioned). Do any opponents have sight skills, possibly ones we don't have? (For example, the fish people could have ocean sight themselves, and the mushroom people could have their own sight that we know nothing of). Further, do you have plans for adding more sight skills (or sources like the pills), or are there any we simply haven't discovered?

A: There's at least one that's not achievable and several more that you'll see as you go through the game. There's a lot of material (not all in the game) about how people interact with the ether. You'll see that more that you plumb the depths of the ether.

Q: With all the effort our smuggler, the eurasian, the dock workers and so on go through to trade illegal goods why does the Omnimall just let us sell and ship pretty much anything?

A: The Omnimall is really just an excuse to have a player mall so I don't have to include any other trade mechanics. It's sort of for the same reason that when you get beaten up by Midgard Security, they don't steal all the illegal stuff you're carrying. Likewise, we don't have to deal with inventory limits. It's a tradeoff between realism and a vibrant player economy.

Q: Would it be possible to not have an agenda for gang warfare?

Q: So what are the odds of a conduct for killing or letting die every unique NPC who can die (although allowing david to die prevents killing some of the unique etheric individuals, could be an issue)?

A: In the distant future, there might be something like that, there might be something like that, but at the moment not everyone is killable. Might be a murderous psychopath conduct eventually.

Q: Why is it that concentrating spider venom before injecting it into an opponent makes it less harmful and prevents it from actually giving the oppenent any energy of spider venom? Or are we just missing some necessary trigger? (Also, why don't the spiders you summon poison enemies even though you can collect poison afterwards?)

A: Mostly because the code didn't exist when I implemented those. I could go back through and make those injection techniques work.

Q: I apologize if this has been asked before, but why if fire power so much more limited then other powers? For example, the highest weapon bonus is +4. I assume its some sort of balancing issue based on defense and encounters and npc opponents, but I would like to hear your thoughts on it.

A: Each of the technique types has its own flavour. Melee tend to have more to do with what your opponent is doing. Ranged techniques depend on chain position. Etheric techniques are easy to get power but have special requirements. Stealth you get from a lot of slots and can't be avoided much. Fire effectiveness depends a lot on who you're fighting, some opponents are very vulnerable.

Q: Does you ever discover bugs because we're not getting or finding something that you think would be easy? After all it would be very difficult for us to know that there was such a bug in the first place.

A: I do tend to check back over things that are not being found or if people are trying things that don't seems to be working.

Q: Do you know whats in the unopenable locked warehouse, or have plans for it? Or are its contents just as mysterious to you?

A: If I know, I'm not coming up with it. Every area has included some extra places drop new area in.

Q: Why is In the Jungle unsellable on the Omnimall unlike all the other specialty wares from the eurasian in the VIP room?

A: Because it gives the skill.

Q: I've been chipping away at +surface fishing for a while now among other things so this time around I'll stick to fishing. Firstly it looks to me like +surface and +deep fishing use a similar mechanic. It will be a good while before I get to +object and +actual fish, but I'm curious if they would be similar to +deep and +surface?

A: Mechanically, they're related yes.

Q: Next, using +surface as a basis it looks like the +surface modifier has a large impact and the +fishing modifier has a low impact and I'm wondering if I am on the right track with this reasoning or coming at it the wrong way. Additionally I keep running into ~25% as a cap of sorts and am wondering if there is an actual cap or if I'm hitting a bottleneck of sorts that looks like a cap.

A: With the chance of X (with adjectives rather than raw numbers), it uses diminishing returns. I'd be surprised if you're stuck at 25%, but probably takes eg. 4 times the effort to get to 50% vs. 25%.

Q: Recently I took a look at if the actual Fishing Rank had an effect of +surface and observed no notable difference between Rank 4 and Rank 8. I am curious if that is the intended behavior? If it is the intended behavior and Rank does something else that is nifty but unknown would you be willing to give a hint? In the event actual Rank doesn't do something else would you be willing to make it so Ranks over 4 count as a bonus to +fishing modifier? Something like +1 at Rank 5 up to a +4 at Rank 8 as a quick example.

A: Rank is what fishing modifier adds to, for all the places where you want it to. There's a couple places where that would be bad, which I'm sure you can figure that out.

Q: Is there anything else out there that has an impact on the various types of fishing? Is it a skill, effect, some equipment, or a secret? If it is a secret would you be willing to give a vague hint?

A: The fishing system is very complicated. There are some tricky things that unlock, eg. coin fishing and how that interacts with the various modifiers. Or how high test fishing interacts, or how certain baits might give you access to different fish options, etc.

Q: I also have a question about High Test. Presently +deep makes it trigger more often, +surface prevents it from triggering, and +object looks to adjust priority in some cases (like making it possible to hook lakebottom rocks while etheric on the Shoreline.). This brings me to +actual fish which I have yet to observe different behavior with. Would you be willing to confirm if it has an interaction with High Test? Along the same lines are there any other interesting line and lure combinations that have gone unnoticed?

A: To the best of my knowledge, no one has noticed much with the lures, but there is some cool lure stuff out there. I'm not sure that I actually used +fish with high test. I would not be surprised to be eaten by a giant sea creature with better

Q: Lastly, are there any other items missing from the known fishing spots with odd triggers or are the eyeless eels a self-contained oddity?

A: I don't think there are any items that you're flat out missing.

Q: Which do you think is cooler the vampire squid or the pistol shrimp? Why?

A: I'd have to go with pistol shrimp, but vampire squids might be nazis. [more shrimp discussion]

Halloween coming up. Some lead-up showing up as early as tonight, maybe. Lots of ripples to the future and form the past. Potentially very dark. A lot of new art. Might see another area or two during the rollout, depending on how everything goes (both depending on Kinak's time and our choices).

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