Articles - AOU Interview with Genele

This month, we have been lucky enough to have some time with Genele. She gracefully accepted being next inline for the AOU interrogations following being nominated to go next by Kintaii. If you don't already know who she is, Genele is a Designer on the AO development team!

Hi Genele, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions from the AO Universe team. Firstly, could you perhaps describe what you are responsible for?
My job is to create quests, monsters, items, chat dialog and so on. As for the larger things I have created and been responsible for: the Dark ruins quest line and the daily missions. I’m also planning the profession balance changes with the help of Metaing.

Kintaii described you to us as the smartest person on the team. Does that mean that you are the least likely to run out of ammo ever on your player character?
The smartest person on the team? I don’t know about that, we have many very smart and talented people on the AO team. But! If I play on a ranged character I usually have a bag filled with ammo so I can help my teammates if they run out too.

How did you end up working for Funcom, and did you start in AO or in another Funcom project?
I basically sent an application for the lols when Funcom was looking for new designers for AO. That I actually got a job was quite surprising. However, I didn’t start to work on AO right away, I was on a couple of other projects first. Pets vs Monsters was one of them.

Before working on the AO Dev team, did you ever volunteer within ARK?
No, I have never been an ARK.

The new ICC Armour really is nice, what made you decide it was worth while investing your personal time into it? And are you that involved in what you do at work that sometimes you just find yourself starting to work on something at home and having to stop yourself?
I’m not really an artist. However, I always liked to draw things. Before I started working on AO, I drew things no one bothered to look at. Now, I can make textures that can be used in a computer game. And even better, my favorite computer game. So I don’t usually stop myself when I start working at home. If I had something better to do, I would have done that instead.

Have you ever developed any item designs that have reached live and then you have regretted creating them for any reason?
Well, I regretted that I fixed the token gun quest line when I figured out that it was possible to obtain one of the guns from a shopping terminal… *cough cough* but besides that I haven’t spent too much time regretting what I have done. It would just take too much brain capacity better spent on other things.

Have you ever created something silly that you perhaps wanted to just show the team, but then it got approved anyway?
I basically just make silly things. So this is a pretty hard question. I made the duck outfit for this birthday, and it looks horrible. Still it is in game and you crazy people even wear it!!

The annual birthday items and holiday items that are available as social items each year are really fun and appreciated throughout the community, however we wonder whether there is likely to be a less social and perhaps "useful" item that would be presented to long standing members of the community for the 10th Birthday. It was suggested that as the Pioneer Backpack was given out for those there in June 2001 that perhaps a Pioneer cloak could be considered!
We haven’t started planning the 10th birthday yet, so I can’t really tell you anything because I don’t even know yet.

The graphics engine question is going to sneak in here I am afraid!! Although we would love to ask you when.. instead, we would really love to hear what work you have had to do regarding the textures as preparation for this.
I just want to state that textures and the new graphics engine are two different things. I mean, yes we will be able to create better looking things with the new engine, but remaking ALL the old textures will be way too much work. However, I have spent some weekends on re-making some old armor textures in higher resolution, but this is not really related to the graphics engine its more of a Genele is bored and it's Friday night kind of thing.

Kintaii dodged our question regarding the Alien Dungeons as he said that this is something you are in charge of. Can you give us a brief insight as to what we can expect to see from these? Also do you have any images that you are ready to release that we could perhaps have a look at?
Well, I am working with two things right now: The new alien sector (Sector 7) (Level 150-200) and the alien daily missions.

From the alien sector, you can expect 3 or 4 new boss encounters and probably some phat lewt.

From the alien daily missions, you can expect solo missions that will scale with your level and team missions for already existing alien encounters. Completing these missions will provide you with a decent amount of alien experience.

Sadly I don’t have any new screen shots to show you right now. Give me a week or two and I might have something for you.

Continuing with the alien theme, when are we likely to see cloned alien mobs in quests that have a cyborg-ish look to them? (If you say never I think we will cope with it.. ) Will ever be any aliens using cyborg or other 'man' made items?
I must have missed out on something. Cyborg aliens? No, I haven’t planned to make any of those. Aliens will continue to use their own technology.

Some questlines are incredibly long. One that was specifically referred to within the AOU team was the Adonis questline of the rise and fall of Xan super civilization. The main reason it was referred to was that the reward takes so long to get for those at the target level to use the brain symbiant you receive as a reward. It is understandable that questlines should take some time and give people the chance to learn more about the storylines and the playfield that they are in, but some do feel on occasion a bit disproportionate. How do you judge questline content and length when you are planning them and is it likely (specifically with the Adonis questline mentioned) for the time taken to be reduced in the future if deemed reasonable?
I just want to say that I did not make the Adonis quest line and I don’t think it’s in my place to judge previous AO designer’s work. However, I can say that there are many things I would have done differently if I were to make the Adonis quest line today.

My main goal when I design quests is for them to be entertaining. I don’t think so much about the time it will take to complete them. As long as its fun, it is ok if it lasts a while. We have also decided to give out more xp/sk in quests, so the goal is not just to get an item at the end of the quest lines. Kintaii has been and is adding a higher XP/SK reward to old quest lines.

The new screenshots we saw of the new pvp area certainly look interesting. Can you give us any information about what players are likely to expect in this area? Also are there is any plans to rework Will To Fight, Macks Bar in Hope and Tara?
Kintaii is currently working with the PVP playfield, so you should ask him if you want more information about it.

We have no current plans of remaking Tara, Macks Bar or Will to Fight.

On rebalancing, there is a lot of information, discussion and consideration going into how it will affect PvP. With things like the much discussed heal "nerf", nano cost changes and alterations to whole perk lines, what is the vision for how all this is going to pan out in PvM?
Our goal is to let the profession balance have little effect on pvm. The main goal for pvm is basically to fix old bugs, and to make players more active in combat.

For instance, will we then need two doctors where previously one was enough?
No. The heal nerf will be more of a “if you are not fully focused on regaining your nano while healing, you will probably run out of nano” thing.

Will the difference between PvP and PVM setups be reduced?
In some ways, yes. We hope to make more weapon options valid in pvp.

Is parry/riposte going to make a difference in tanking?
It probably won’t be a make or break change, but it will probably be an advantage to be able to parry some hits if you are tanking.

How will Agent DD capabilities develop?
I want to increase agent’s pvm damage at higher levels.

Is there going to be a focus on giving back some of the variability in setups of "ancient" AO, like 2HE Adventurers, Shotgun Enforcers or even backstabbing Fixers?
All the way we have tried to open up for more different setups, by giving more professions full access to other weapon perk lines, we hope to increase the variety of weapon setups for each profession.

Is there was going to be any increase in the root/mezz/charm protection for Engineer pets in the new balancing system, or whether there would be any increase to the pets control range?
We will make sure to update the pets so they have a chance of resisting hostile nano programs. We haven’t decided in detail how we will solve this issue yet. Pets will not get a larger control range, however we will probably change pet warp to help pet users control their pets better.

As our final question to you Genele, and on a totally different note: When can we expect a rubber duck hand gun that's shooting lasers from its eyes and a sharp beak that can be used as a bayonet when in close range?
Lol. I would like to see that, but my “duck limit” has probably been reached already. You should ask MstrBstrd or Flaptoot if one of them can make it.

Thank you very much for the time you have taken to answer our questions Genele, especially as they spanned over so many different areas! We are very much looking forward to the screenshots that you might be able to send us to look at.. and we also appreciate that you nominated our next target to interview! Flaptoot best go and hide!!

Last updated on 12.07.2011 by Khuri
Article written by Ukblizzard
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