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  1. #1
    Lead Developer PurpleFooz's Avatar
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    Default Epic 3BC Dev Diary

    Hello! This is Lead Developer PurpleFooz, and I’d like to talk a little more about our plans to “epi-fy” Three-Barrel Cove! Many details are still being worked on, but we wanted to give you some idea of what to expect when Update 22 arrives.

    The Story:
    Rumors have surfaced of a giant treasure cache, hidden somewhere in Three Barrel Cove by the pirate lord Ahraatz-Ri before he was slain. For those who might not remember Ahraatz-Ri, he was the ogre-mage boss and leader of the Blood Tide pirates in the Sentinels of Stormreach adventure pack.

    The remnants of the Blood Tide pirates believe that if they can find Ahraatz-Ri’s treasure, they can use it to restore themselves to their former power. Rumors of treasure have also attracted other pirate crews, and Epic Three Barrel Cove is now crawling with competing pirate crews looking for treasure, and who are willing to fight for clues!

    Cydonie will be the questgiver; it’ll be a new instance of her in Three Barrel Cove. There are some complex Argonessen politics going on – while Cynodie is still the ambassador, she’s out of favor for siding with the lesser races when Argonessen wanted to raze Stormreach. Cydonie has numerous motives, and is choosing to have adventurers do work on her behalf, at least for now.

    Monsters:
    We’re also completely replacing the old heroic monsters with a new list of epic monsters. There is some overlap between the old list and the new list, because some monsters make ideal pirates at any Challenge Rating. For example, warforged are on both lists. However, they’ll feel more like airship pirates rather than the original Three Barrel Cove warforged, and will be used both in different combat roles and different locations.

    A number of new “native” monsters are planned to be added to 3BC’s landscape: harpies and yuan-ti. We discussed a number of possible monster additions with the Player Council. The dev team had a short list of monsters to meet particular gameplay goals, and we narrowed it down to those two through PC votes.

    Pirate crews will use slightly different line-ups of monsters from each other. For example, we’re planning on a crew that uses a lot of artillery, using rune-arms and explosives. Another crew might only have a small number of monsters which use rune-arms. A completely different crew might specialize in undead pirates.

    Most of the pirate types are individually weak, and are meant to work in conjunction with each other in order to threaten high-level players. They support the airships, which are the real epic monsters.

    Airship monsters:
    Each of the pirate crews are based on a pirate airship, flying about the 3BC landscape. This is a new thing for us, but we’ve been able to prove out the concepts in our prototypes – each airship will be a single attackable monster, with several attacks, including:
    • Magefire cannon broadsides: Different airships will barrage you with different types of magefire cannons, i.e. deal different types of damage.
    • Grapping hooks: Airships can shoot grappling hooks down to the ground, allowing their crew to zip down. Airships will typically try to drop their crew near to players they plan to fight. For some types of pirate ships, the monsters will just be the generic crew. Other pirate ships might specialize in this, and drop off much nastier pirate marines.


    And because a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth a thousand pictures, here's some early footage from Eberron of airships in Three Barrel Cove:


    Players with powerful ranged attacks can directly attack these airship monsters. Melee players will be great against crew and marines, and in particular against the grappling hooks that allow those monsters to continuously spawn. There will also be large Ballista Turrets in the landscape that can be used against airships, giving all characters the chance to hit a ship in the sky. The turrets are expected to be similar to the kobold crossbow turrets in Haunted Halls that you may have already encountered. Clever players can find ways aboard some airships, fight through the crew to the lower decks, and destroy the airship from the inside.

    Quests and Adventuring in Three Barrel Cove:
    The landscape will have different slayer and rare objectives on epic and heroic. It also won’t have the exact same list of explorer points. All the monsters on the landscape will be replaced on epic. It’s likely that at least some encounters will be on the Random Encounter system. But one of the realities is that 3BC has a ton of tight cliffs & walkways, without enough space for random encounters to spawn. Those areas will get new statically-placed monsters.

    Yes, we’re planning on adding free teleport points across the landscape!

    The small town and ship dock that’s currently part of the adventure area will be converted into a public area. We want to do this because it makes it easier for us to set up and place the new epic quest arc.

    The epified dungeons have their monsters completely replaced, and as well may have some different objectives. Their layouts and main critical paths are probably going to be similar to the old ones, but the nature of the new pirate monsters should make them feel different. We’ve tentatively chosen 4 dungeons to be epified as part of a new 5-part epic arc: Prove Your Worth, Ghost of a Chance, The Legend of Two-Toed Tobias, and Garl’s Tomb. These are partly based on the responses to the “favorite 3BC dungeon” thread, and partly based on our internal evaluation on how much effort it would take to epify each of the 3BC dungeons. We also considered how well the new story and pirate monsters would work in these dungeons.

    In each dungeon, you’ll be vying against Blood Tide pirates and other pirate crews to locate clues to the location of the treasure. The clues might be as simple as a piece of a map, or something a bit more complex. Once you’ve completed the 4 dungeons, you’ll be able to find the location of the treasure on the 3BC landscape.

    We’re also planning a 5th dungeon – a brand new epic-only dungeon. It’s something of a spiritual replacement for Guard Duty, where you are fending off pirate airships which are attacking the airship carrying the treasure back to Stormreach. Rather than the static nature of the original Guard Duty, we’re planning on something much more dynamic and interesting by building on top of the technologies we developed for the “bed ship” in Acute Delirium.
    Thank you for reading!
    PurpleFooz
    Last edited by Cordovan; 04-30-2014 at 03:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Community Member rest's Avatar
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    Harpies and yuan-ti? If those were the ones that were deemed "the best" I'd really hate to see what didn't cut the muster.

    Still completely underwhelmed by the epicifying of 3bc. Hopefully the loot isn't btcoa and I can just buy what I need (if it's not awful) from the ASAH.

    Also, fix sagas.

  3. #3
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    Looks interesting actually, as someone who has only run three barrel cove once, 3 years ago, this should be fun.

    Have a few questions if you are allowed/able to answer them.

    Are the named items split into en/eh/ee? Or are they all just epic? (honestly will be a little upset if they are all just epic based)

    Is the loot based off previous loot that comes from three barrel cove? Or is it entirely new loot? (I assume the first since you kept the same quests, but just curious)

  4. #4
    Community Member Visual_Nobu's Avatar
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    Great! I really like 3Bc, but i'm scared for the loot. many 3Bc loots are awensome, pleaso don't nerf them or make them usefull. And don't make just Epic, but EN/EH/EE. I think: if u wanna do something do it right, if not... don't do it...
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  5. #5
    Community Member rest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moo_cow View Post
    Looks interesting actually, as someone who has only run three barrel cove once, 3 years ago, this should be fun.

    Have a few questions if you are allowed/able to answer them.

    Are the named items split into en/eh/ee? Or are they all just epic? (honestly will be a little upset if they are all just epic based)

    Is the loot based off previous loot that comes from three barrel cove? Or is it entirely new loot? (I assume the first since you kept the same quests, but just curious)
    It's been said that they abandoned the EN/EH/EE loot tiering after eGH.

  6. #6
    Community Member Tinco's Avatar
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    YARRR! (I guess.)

    Nice to see some fresh game systems making it into DDO, I sincerely hope they provide a nice experience. 3BC is one of the few packs I don't own because frankly I was less than impressed with the heroic version at that time and so I actually haven't run the quests since DDOEurope days but this might rekindle my interest.
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  7. #7
    Bwest Fwiends Memnir's Avatar
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    Sounds and looks interesting, the teleporter idea is long over due and I hope it makes it into Heroic 3BC as well.

    I just have a sinking feeling that there is just nothing that can be done to make me interested in Epic 3BC, nor lure me there once it's implemented. I admire and appreciate the attempts to reinvigorate the area - but I just do not enjoy it at all. It's like having a bad culinary experience at a restaurant. Yeah, they may change cooks - but it's still unlikely you'd want to go back and sample the food again. For me, I've just had too long of a time not enjoying anything about the new 3BC to get excited about it anymore. The reboot killed the area, which sucks because I used to really enjoy it. It's one of the best looking outdoor areas in the game - but the hits that gameplay took as a result of the makeover, and the ensuing time it took to address things like the need for teleporters, have engrained it as a Must-Skip chunk of the game. For me, at least.



    I'm happy for the folks who are looking forward to this, and will find entertainment value in it. I simply don't anticipate being one of them, and the news and video above has given me no real hope that my stance will change. Maybe next time.
    Last edited by Memnir; 04-30-2014 at 03:38 PM.
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  8. #8
    Community Member rest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinco View Post
    YARRR! (I guess.)

    Nice to see some fresh game systems making it into DDO, I sincerely hope they provide a nice experience. 3BC is one of the few packs I don't own because frankly I was less than impressed with the heroic version at that time and so I actually haven't run the quests since DDOEurope days but this might rekindle my interest.
    Actually, having them introduce MORE systems scares the beejesus out of me. The game is littered with too many abandoned, half-finished, only partially functional systems already. We don't need any more. All they need to do is introduce new collectables and an additional crafting system, and this pack can have all the DDO tropes together at last!

  9. #9
    The Hatchery dejafu's Avatar
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    Looks like this could be a lot of fun - I always thought that DDO has underutilized airships as plothooks, it's good to see them being used as something besides buffing and fancy teleporters! I'm also glad to see that Eberron is still getting some love.

    As others have already indicated, though, the loot will make or break these quests in terms of their success. The dev team has proved repeatedly that they can make gorgeous and interesting landscapes, innovative quest designs, etc. But loot has been a sore point for years now (and a REALLY sore point this last year or so), and while the last update was a step in the right direction, much of it was still mostly underwhelming at best.

    Start planning loot NOW if you haven't already. The whole plot of this update revolves around looking for treasure so amazing that epic pirates are hunting it - be ready to back up those expectations. Pull devs from other duties to put together the loot if necessary. Put treasure proposals up on Lammania as soon as the first testing begins, and don't start with your lowest possible bid - aim to wow us with treasure again. Please. Pleeeeeaaaaase.
    Last edited by dejafu; 04-30-2014 at 03:44 PM.
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  10. #10
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    The airships could be interesting. It has the potential to be really awesome or hilariously pathetic (see Fly spell in Reaver's Refuge).

  11. #11
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    I personally look very much forward to this. I've always enjoyed 3BC, I think it's a great area, but unfortunately the XP has always been horrendous and so I haven't run it as much as it deserves.
    Still I think the loot will be the deciding factor in this success of this, so I hope they're done right

    The airship battles sounds like a lot of fun!

    P.S.: Please don't return to tiered loot, it makes it very annoying having to run quests on different difficulties just to get the items you want.
    I personally mostly run EE and having to run EN/EH just to get a lower ML item is just a bother, especially when you combine it with random stats.
    Last edited by Madja; 04-30-2014 at 03:49 PM.

  12. #12
    The Hatchery CaptainSpacePony's Avatar
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    Looks great! Very excited.
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  13. #13
    Community Member Gywiden's Avatar
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    This looks awesome so far! I'm glad it's not going to be a simple rehash.

  14. #14
    Community Member Tinco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rest View Post
    Actually, having them introduce MORE systems scares the beejesus out of me. The game is littered with too many abandoned, half-finished, only partially functional systems already. We don't need any more. All they need to do is introduce new collectables and an additional crafting system, and this pack can have all the DDO tropes together at last!
    That's why I carefully worded the second part of the sentence. But seeing new uses of the engine at least shows some life beneath the game's rusty bones.
    The best days are the days you don't have to wear socks or shoes.

  15. #15
    Community Member Qhualor's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting so far. The quests must take longer than 2 1/2 minutes to get too because that's the longest it takes to get to the heroic quests. That must be why for the teleporters? Loot will be the obvious hit or miss to get people to run the pack, so hopefully some good brainstorming is going on. With a new map and monsters, hopefully don't have a problem with monsters getting confused with the difference between heroic and epic like the problem we had with GH slayer after release.
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  16. #16
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    The monster list sounds dull, but I'm looking forward to airship combat, especially ship-to-ship (or ship-to-dragon!) fights if you can find ways of making it work. I keep having Skies of Arcadia flashbacks.

    Might I suggest letting guilds bring their airships into battle? Or at least replicas thereof; it would probably make no functional difference in terms of how the quests play out, but I'm sure lots of folks would get a kick outta fighting on the decks of their own airships.
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  17. #17
    Community Member TPICKRELL's Avatar
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    Default Not sure what to make of this.

    It sounds kind of interesting... But I have no idea if it will be fun after the first time through or not.

    As others have said, the loot will be critical. The story is built around loot, so there needs to be a good loot payout for a wide variety of toons.

    XP will also be critical. Especially XP/Time. 3BC is not one of the most popular packs now, so you need to make it attractive all the way around.

    It needs to be Interesting to do over and over again, needs to provide solid loot that has some longevity, and competitive XP per time. If its not extremely good on one of these dimensions, it needs to be competitive on all dimensions.

    Also, it would be very useful to know what level the area and quests will be...
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  18. #18
    Community Member Gywiden's Avatar
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    Some questions:

    Does this mean we'll be able to reach Honored Argonnessen status?
    What level is the content going to be? 28?

  19. #19
    Community Member TPICKRELL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gywiden View Post
    Some questions:

    Does this mean we'll be able to reach Honored Argonnessen status?
    What level is the content going to be? 28?
    Good Question... Those quests are Free Agent favor currently, and they have never given extra favor for EPIC versus HEROIC quests before.
    Khyber -- Grubbby, Grubonon, Gralak, and all the gang of *grubs* in the Homeboys of Stormreach.

  20. #20
    Community Member shadowowl's Avatar
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    please make this into a SAGA with the sentinals chain it would be really nice to have more SAGA's (assuming you can get them working again)
    and as a SAGA it would likely be more people would be interested in it

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