MailBag 10-06-08

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The MailBag got a record 300+ questions (and a few offers for performance enhancing tablets) this past week. Gophur dove head-first into the pile of virtual letters and selected a few for reply. Read on and find out why the nature of a shooter MMO means death isn't what it always seems and why CRS is in love with truck drivers.

I've a question on gameplay - most aspects of this game I love as I've been playing for many years.  The one thing that annoys me most is the swapping deaths scenario - you wait around a corner and riddle someone with your SMG but the lag still allows him time to shoot you back and you both die. Can anything be done about this or is it something we have to live with ?
-Dotslash

That is our ultimate nemesis in making this game. This is a big technology problem that is difficult to solve due to the nature of our huge seamless world and the less than perfect connections that our clients have. In an RPG type game or a small scale shooter you have a lot more server adjudication but these things still happen a lot. The time it takes for you to tell the server that you are shooting and the server to tell him he's dead might be very small but it is never zero and in that time he can see you and shoot. We can and do work to improve this mechanic often at the cost of having less fluid world movement but at the end of the day it isn't something we can solve 100%.

****

Any way to recognize the effort put in to those that truck and haul?  Nothing worse than seeing guys dodge aircraft and Mgs for hours re supping the tanks and AT /AA guns and at the end of it all, no points. Oh my GF and I recently broke up, how long should I wait before diving into the dating pool again?
-Exgrunt

We do need to get that back on the front burner. When we put the feature in we realized that the truck isn't technically doing anything. The vehicle that is getting resupplied is actually resupplying itself because it knows it can if there is a truck nearby so we didn't have a way for the guy driving the truck to know if he was resupplying anyone or not. We kinda hit a roadblock and didn't get that resolved. That's something we need to revisit because trucks play a huge role in the game and need some more scoring events. Speaking of scoring events, I believe that the proper amount of time to wait before dating again is 15 minutes for every year of your life wasted. Rounded down. Anything less might appear disrespectful and callous.

****

I would like to see more damage when bombing a factory.  A column of smoke, raging fires, etc. when you reach a certain level of damage.
-Papo

The Gophur is a HUGE fan of fire and smoke and destruction and chaos! Cities burning in the night while the masses huddle in their shelters with their mournful sobs barely heard over the droning sound of the air raid sirens continually reminding them of their unavoidable crash course with mortality. I like the cut of your jib Papo. Unfortunately most of our video cards are going to disagree. Fire and smoke in quantities to see from several thousand feet up are pretty fill rate intensive. But, we do have a minimum spec upgrade coming with the Unity engine improvements coming up and with those improvements we plan to be able to redo a lot of our effects and make them better and more efficient at the same time. So we might just be able to get our wish on this one. I'll talk to Martini. He likes fire too =]

****

Are there any plans to eliminate the enemy's abillity to track our strategic bombing raids using AWS from the moment we lift deep in our own territory? It doesn't seem historically accurate for the enemy to be able to monitor our air movements deep in our own territory. Perhaps limit AWS to the front lines?
-Grumet1

What? you didn't see the guy down at the pier with the binoculars? You know, the one who lives on Canal street just down the road from that field the RAF is using. Yeah that's him. I saw him one night up in his window, he'd left the light on you see. He was talking into some kinda radio. I dunno for sure but I think he might be a spy. Or maybe a disc jockey.

While the historical accuracy of the feature can be debated until we're all blue in the face the point in our opinion is basically moot. It has no pretensions to be historically accurate. Historically accurate radar at this time period would only be one part of the story and not a particularly compelling part for the game. The problem here is that you want to limit the AWs to the front lines, or only over enemy territory. It sounds like a good idea, I know, I wanted to do that too, at first. Then I came to realize that the whole point of AWS was not about simulating the types of mechanics that were historically used to give intelligence about air raids any more than the way air raids are played in the game is historical. No, the point of AWS is twofold. First we want to create encounters between players and second we want to stop lone sneaky bombing runs that skirt the map. Map skirting dramatically reduces encounters because it takes a lot more players flying around all by them selves hunting for something that might or might not actually be there. It also dramatically increases the feeling that players need to spy in order to create encounters and that dramatically increases the feeling of other players that they are being spied upon. So, AWS then can't just be on the front line unless we want to take all of that baggage with us. The trade off is that you only have so many minutes after take off before you start being a target for someones encounter.

****

Dear Mailbag. I hear you've been lonely, so I thought I'd send you a message. I am a low rank in WWIIOL, a mere corporal, and was wondering what would be the best and quickest way to rank up? Even just to sergeant.
-Wamack26

We get this question a lot and the answer can be a torrent of academic discussions of strategy and tactics that could keep a room full of generals up until the wee hours of the morning in bitter debate. But the answer always boils down to this: Shoot stuff. Don't die. Return to base. Repeat. Silly officers. What are they teaching you boys in OCS these days? This is war fella! It's not all dancing with the girls from the WAAF don't you know!

****

GOT A QUESTION FOR THE MAILBAG?
GOPHUR answers some of the questions sent to us each week by players.
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Comments   
+1 #9 Aussie05 2008-10-24 23:07
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+1 #8 Gunnerrr 2008-10-14 00:08
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+1 #7 Piattoni 2008-10-13 10:28
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+1 #6 OzZyRaT 2008-10-12 03:21
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+1 #5 Prangs 2008-10-07 19:12
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+1 #4 Zebbeee 2008-10-07 14:38
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0 #3 Tuckeye 2008-10-07 11:12
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0 #2 huzarowu 2008-10-07 10:31
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0 #1 Redmanti 2008-10-06 23:23
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