Dawn of War II Live Chat with Relic -- May 11th, 2009.
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Hello Everyone and welcome to the chat with the team at Relic! I'll let them introduce themselves, then they'll start taking your questions! Take it away guys!
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Hello everyone!
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I'm Graham "Thunder" Somers the Community Manager at Relic
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I work on all of our websites and forums
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): really looking forward to taking questions from you all
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Hi I'm Dan Molina, I'm an Associate Producer for the Dawn Of War II team and happy to be here.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): I'm Clint Tasker, TASK3R on the boards, Balancer with a little Design on the side
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: For Thunder: Of all the development studios, what made you come to Relic after leaving Ensemble?
Answer: [Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Thanks Hirm
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I was a huge fan of Relic's games
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): from HomeWorld onwards
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): and they were in Vancouver which is where I'm from
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): they were a natural fit for me I'd say :)
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: (canterous): Are there plans for expansions or contect updates for Dawn of War II that will add new campaigns and races?
Answer: The Dawn Of war Team is hard at work supporting the franchise. We are always looking at what we can do to improve the existing game and look to the future with new products. But I can't comment on what specific plans we have.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: (Lord Lokgar) says (smdhell): First off, thanks for doing this live chat. Here is my first question: As a nid player since beta, even I have to agree that spore mines are OP. Are there any plans to make them anti-building only (Their supposed intended role), and how do you plan on achieving that? Along those lines, is the bug where you can't melee spore mines fixed yet?
Answer: I wouldn't say that Spore Mines are too over powered but they are a bit of a binary unit. We are looking at changing their role but we're not entirely sure how to proceed. The ravener tunnel fix should change the current Nid mechanics a bit and we'll see where the Meta rests after that.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: (razgrizdemon): If you decide to release the Imperial Guard as a playable army in Dawn of War II, how will the Leman Russ Main Battle Tank fare with the other tanks and units
Answer: Thanks Raz -- we can't really talk about Imperial Guard or other possible future races that might be added to the game right now.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: (iskeetinyaeye): DoW2 was really different from the original game. What sparked the change from the original?
Answer: The change from the original was really sparked by a hard look at what we thought were problems in the RTS genre. The thought and depth that went into that is really too great to get into details here, but ultimatley we realized a number of things>
There was no real reward/progression structure for playing RTS. You just went from map to map abandoning the progrssion. Starting all over from scratch on a new base.
Once you unlocked the tech tree you saw all that was left to be discovered.
Also we felt that most people were just throwing their units into the fire to be killed, without much thought. We didnt want nameless facless "toy soldiers", but actual characters who grew and developed with you through the campaign.
I could talk on this for a long long time, but I'll leave it at that for now
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: Dawnofwar.de|Toaster (toaster85): Could you tell us something about the way how you work on the patches? So how do you get the information you need and how serious do you take the user posts about balance problems or any suggestions about the game? Features that you can add?
Answer: We take user comments very seriously regarding balance. But it always needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Some players have legit concerns while some are a little upset that they lost a match. We weigh this information with the stats that we gather and of course our own opinions on the subject.
As for features, the players have a lot of input on this. Some of the main things we choose to address are chosen because of how high they are on most player's 'want list.'
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: The Fury (sladecro): "When will it be made so that the last commander played is the one showing next to the title menu?"
Answer: I'd really like this change to be in the game too -- bothers me! No ETA though, there's other stuff ahead of tweaks like this in our priority list
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: ロクガルさま (Lord Lokgar) says (smdhell): Any plans on adding a "Retreat to teleporter" button, so that you dont' get your whole army slaughtered cause of a stupid TM building a relay right next to the enemy's base?
Answer: Yah, I understand this concern. We're looking at changing this. The ideal fix would be to toggle which point you would like to retreat to. In the mean time we may add a scuttle function to buildings. So at least if you build it in a bad spot you can destroy it at your convienence.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: Sokota (sokotakatashi): Considering the fact that you turned even closer to squad based combat in DoW2, is it possible that at some point in time we could see a FPS anytime soon, set in the Warhammer universe?
Answer: I know that there is not a single person at Relic who would not buy that game. Ultimatley Games Workshop may decide that that is a game they would like to licence, but wether or not they come to Relic to make it is hard to say. Right now we are licenced to make WH40K: RTS's
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: magicswordz (magicswordz): While CoH was great, why did you decide to leave out the building aspect of base building in DoWII?
Answer: Thanks for the question, I think this is one that we have received quite a lot. Some fans of the original game were surprised to see how different Dawn of War II really was. The focus for DOW II was really placed on your units, their upgrades and abilities and how players used them as opposed to building up infrastruture to support those units. That's where we felt the fun was, in the action...not knocking players who enjoy building bases, that's just where the focus is for DOW II.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: MWM|Joker (mwmslay3r): To me, the Tyranids seem overpowered by a large margin. Was this on purpose because they are a "new" Xeno race to the Space Marines and they really don't know how to deal with them or is it something that will be address in future patches?
Answer: It's never intended to over power a race because it's the new thing on the block. I would say nids are a strong race have some issues within the race. We're taking steps forward to balance this. According to our stats the Ravener was the only Nid hero out of line with the average win loss ratio. Based on the live game we felt this was because of his exploitable tunnel ability and took steps to correct that in 1.3. We added a lengthy build time and weak initial armour so that enemies will destroy it if built too close. After 1.3 we'll re-evaluate where nids stand and if there are still issues we'll take steps to correct them.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: 5ronin| ïmķřǻžịә (imkrazie): What was your favorite 'Oh Crap' moment during singleplayer or multiplayer?
Answer: I started on DOW2 when it was in early production. Honestly, when I first saw the ASMs leaping onto some enemies and cover, crushing it all. I thought that was pretty bad ass.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: (shasla117): Are you guys ever planning to add more options to the replay viewer thingy? Like a rewind or a forward
Answer: The replay view is certainly something we aren't entirely happy with with what we shipped. A lot of the community has asked for improvments and we are looking at all the ways we can make effective improvments. I think people would be happy with some of the idea's being thrown about.
We feel you on this one, for sure.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: What was your favorite 'Oh Crap' moment during singleplayer or multiplayer?
Answer: Everyone has one of those, going to throw my two cents in. The first time I saw the Orks use their ROKKSSS ability...not only was that an Oh Crap moment because it was being used on my by one of the guys here at work, but it was also a funny as hellmoment...it seemed to fit with the Orks so well.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: strife412 (strife412): What percentage of the developers for DoW2 play the actual miniature war game, Warhammer 40k?
Answer: I would say that even outside the DOWII team a very large percentage of the people at Relic play 40k. There are some really impressive long term, territory control campaigns running on a regular basis.
The boardrooms are always filled with terrain and mini's as people are playing
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): I play Warmachine, personally, but these campaign make me envious
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: kharrakmon (kharrakmon): Has the team observed any habits and/or tactics through observing how players play that has taken them by surprise? Are players doing some things that pleasantly surprised them, or are some players doing things that the team feel unhappy about?
Answer: Obviously there are exploits that are found that we aren't pleased with so we try to address them ASAP. Stuff like the Mekboy nades, I mean mines.
On the other hand there are some players that have pleasantly suprised us with certain tactics that we quickly fold into our personal play styles. My personal favourite was ironicly involving the Mekboy mines and the Ravener tunnels. Where a Mek threw the mines on a tunnel and when the nid exited his army lost the entire thing. I lol'd
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: iGame.1MMORT4L-NFNF- (senstarfire): What, for you, sets the storyline out from any other RTS game?
Answer: Thanks for the Q iGame
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): There's a lot of other RTS games out there! ;) But for me it was the characters. A lot of other RTS games try to focus on character but throw you into the game and then you forget all about them. In DOW II, I thought the focus on characters in the story worked so well with the gameplay...it actually worked.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: (killer8543): What do you think of Games for Windows LIVE?
Answer: GFWL is the thing that allows us access to provide features in DOWII that we feel are critical to the success of the game and were not available through another service. Primarily Leaderboards and Trueskill automatch. DOWII is a competitive RTS, afterall.
Microsoft has been extremly supportive with everything we've wanted to do and very flexible with us.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: MadJackal (madjakle): are you planning on adding vehicle wrecks and hopefully, an option to toggle corpses?
Answer: Alright, I know everyone wants answers on this. Vehcile wrecks are something we want to do. They require a lot of work though because they were cut pretty early and we only have a little work done on them. Right now we have some other higher priorities so we're not sure how long it will be untill we get to them. But it is something we want to do.
As for corpses. There will probably never be persistant corpses because it just destroys hardware. Even if you make it a toggle, people with low end systems are going to try and use that option and lower the quality of online games for others. That being said we may be able to introduce an option to set the time a corpse stays on the battlefield.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: Clonesa[ModsRUs.com] (clonesa): Does Relic want there to be a large mod community and do they want to actively encourage modding like for example developers Valve and ID?
Answer: [Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Tough one...we're had it a lot
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I think any developer wants to have a large and active mod community, counter-strike did wonders for Valve and Half-life...wonders! There's always a balance between securing the game and allowing fans to edit the game files. It's really not an easy question to answer... As an example, our editing tools aren't available for fans to use right now because of their ties to other third party tools. Just one aspect of this complex issue.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: broady81 (broady81): How much input do Games Workshop have on the game itself? How early on would they, for example, play-test it?
Answer: Games Workshop works with us very early in the pre-production cycle. They provide a lot of input into the especially where Canon (40K universe story) is concerned. They also provide a lot of suggestions and resources when we are trying to come up with stuff to put in the game.
They get to see stuff all the time, if it's not a play-test iteself of the game, then its a model or a level or even the script for example.
They have also been very easy to work with and very helpful. We have a wonderful relationship. We are huge fans of their games and they are huge fans of ours... what more can be said.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: -23-Fishwish9 (fishwish9): Why only 100 population in custom games?
Answer: 1) That's what the game is balanced for and 2) That's what the game is designed from a performance standpoint to handle...we need games to run at a minimum set of hardware.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I hope that answers your question1
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: MWM|Joker (mwmslay3r): How important is the Warhammer 40k "fluff" to you Devs when it comes time to sit down and start/continuing working on a DoW game?
Answer: Fluff is really important to us and GW. We realize that a lot of the fans of DOW are also fans of Warhammer 40K. So it's important to represent the universe as best as possible...
...which makes multiplayer balance really tough. As many fluff fans know, a SM is an ass kicking Jedi super human that can kill many, many things. Trying to put that into a multiplayer environment is pretty tough. We thought we did a good job in DOW2 portraying the races as fluffy but also balanced.
This was the major factor when we decided to make SM have 3 man squads. The designers just felt that while the unit size isn't quite aligned with the codex it was more important to get the Ass Kickery quality of the SM right.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: MadJackal (madjakle): what was the one of the major bumps you guys ran into while making dow 2
Answer: I can easily say that the bumps we ran into often are the hardest parts of game development.
In each one of these we ran into some pretty serious “bumps” that required some stepping back and analysis.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: kharrakmon (kharrakmon): In one of the new 2v2 maps, one of the more interesting aspects was indestructable walls. Will we be seeing more of these in future maps? What advantages do you feel they bring to the gameplay?
Answer: Yes for sure! This is a design choice that was directly related to player feedback. Not everyone liked that you can completely glass the first 3v3 desert map so we decided that with this 2v2 map we were going to use some permanent walls. This also keeps a limit on how effective artillery is and gives melee a chance to approach without dying.
I designed the Medean Cliff Mines map and helped with Ruins of Argus. I'm pretty proud of both and think fans should be happy with them. If not, then I guess direct all hate mail to Thunder.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: ロクガルさま (Lord Lokgar) says (smdhell): Should I keep holding my breath for Homeworld3?
Answer: Homeworld is very near and dear to our hearts. Which is probably why THQ bought the rights from Sierra.... Need to keep that one in the family. Everyone at Relic prays for the day we make Homeworld3.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: MadJackal (madjakle): have you considered this idea: There have been some lengthy discussion about removing the custom badges&banners feature, and many of us are still quite unhappy with that decision. But are there any plans to add any customization to the banner/badges via dlc or anything else?
Answer: Yeah, I heard an ear full of that one on the forums. No one is ever happy when you take out something from a previous game. Custom badges may be out, but I'd be surprised if we didn't add more banners/badges to the game in the future. ...might be a neat idea for a contest, badge/banner design, winner gets added to the game. Probably discussed in the forums already.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: Bogger|ESL (bogger2006): Rumours are abound that Relic are considering broadcasting tools for dow2, Would these be browser based or in game like WaaghTV?
Answer: I haven't heard these rumors myself, but that sounds like a really cool idea.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I started no such rumours
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: Hirmetrium (hirmetreus): Bolter or Chainsword!?!? Come on guys we need to know your killer preferences!
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Bolter
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Bolters are for sissies
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I'd rather have an enemy drop at a distance :)
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): I remember a girl walking into a GW store with her boyfriend... he was all excited, she saw the chainsword and freaked out! "How can you like a game where people kill each other with a chainsaw sword!!!"
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I guess I'm a sissy
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Funny story, I showed my Grandmother the intro to DOW2 yesterday on Mother's day, she was not impressed.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: Sparkwind (sparkwindz): what is the future of relic games and xfire - does relic plan on more events with xfire?
Answer: I don't know of any plans right now, but I'd certainly be in favor of having more events for our games on Xfire. I love chat events like these. Anyone remember the old MSN Gaming Zone? Reminds me of the Age of Empires chats with the devs way back when...awesome.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: Leo (leo3010): Hi there, Its noted in the Patch notes that there are some improvements to the replay system, like the retreat icon and wargear used by Heroes are now shown..etc. I was wondering if theres anything else being implemented into the system for the future patches. The reason for this question is that I do alittle gamecasting (commenting on replays via video recording) and I was really happy to see the latest patch for the very simplistic replay system. Would there be a voice recorder or anything like that to record our own voices into the game ?
Answer: I commented on our thought about the replay system earlier and I'm glad that people are looking forward to the improvements we made in 1.3. I know a lot of people are enjoying gamecasting and we are looking into ways to support that. Specifically voice commentary in-game? I’m not sure. There is a long list of things we’d like to get in there, unfortunately not everything can, but we weigh in on the requests and make goals based on them.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: Gorb (gorbster): The fans of DoW 2 (and of DoW 1) often complained of issues with the game's pathing. Are there any steps you can take to improve pathing, and in particular vehicle pathing, without having to carry out a lot of work on the game engine?
Answer: Yes. Pathing is something we are working on currently. It's a beast of a problem and takes a programmer with much code-fu. Two specific things we want to be better is units getting hung up while retreating and vehicles pathing near other vehicles.
As for other issues related to vehicle pathing: From what I have observed, some of this can be a bit of PEBKAC. But most of the time there are objects on that map that should be crushable by the vehicles but aren't. I know I have run into them and it has cost me a Falcon or Pred on occasion. Every time I see these I try to fix them. If you find some let us know :)
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Who let Gorb in?
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: Rodamus Zero (rodamus): Have any members of the DoW2 team been taken from other Relic games?
Answer: Yes! Although I think the DOW II team may have taken them from other teams to begin with...
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): In all seriousness, people here at Relic move between teams in some frequency. The DOW II team expanded a great deal towards the end of development and now that DOW II has shipped, some testers and artists etc have returned to the teams that they came from.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: Darczz (darczz): Will there be observer mode in the future?????
Answer: Hmmm... replay improvments, observer mode... I'm spotting an e-sports trend here. Sounds like that would be a really great idea :p
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: Bogger|ESL (bogger2006): Assuming that the next patch is to be a balance patch (hypothetically) and considering your previous statement that any balance patch will have a closed beta beforehand, how long would this beta last, and how would you select the participants?
Answer: A beta server is something we have been trying to get going. There are a lot of technical matters that need to be resolved but we're confident it is something we can get up and running. Like I have said before, community input is valued and if we could foster that on a private server and evaluate new balance changes it would help the game a lot.
Selecting participants is always tricky. You want the input from the pros but also the average gamer. Maybe having a closed test for the top players and then opening it to a more broad audience after? Regardless, it's something we really want to do and may have more details on it in the future.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: 5ronin| ïmķřǻžịә (imkrazie): What is one feature that you really wanted in DoW II but weren't able to implement it?
Answer: Personally, I'm a huge fan of 40K. I played in high school and loved the flavour of the universe. I have to say that I would love the painter to have many more options. Options the community wants as well. It's all a matter of priority though, so hopefully we have time to get around to it.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): I'm pushing for you guys.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: MWM|Joker (mwmslay3r): Action RTS games seem to be the wave of the future with games feature tradtional base building and resource gathering going the way of the dinosaurs. Personally, I don't mind this, but to other hardcore, and admittedly older, RTS gamers this a big put off for them. How do you respond to that?
Answer: I don't think they're going the way of the dinosaurs because as you say there is still a group of RTS players that like that type of game, so there's still a market for them.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: 5ronin| ïmķřǻžịә (imkrazie): What is one feature that you really wanted in DoW II but weren't able to implement it?
Answer: I would say some kind of machinima (spelling...) system. I think it would be awesome to be able to replay campaign with different camera angles, motion, and the ability to replay the same chunk of the battle over and over again without sitting through the whole match... but I might just be saying that cause I spent soooo much time re-playing replays from the start to make trailers.
that and chat lobby's :)
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): I'd answer, but it's getting patched in
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: MadJackal (madjakle): many of us would like a "helmet" option/toggle for our commanders. Not all of us appreciate a Farseer without a helmet, aswell for the Force Commanders. Do you have any plans on adding such an option or rank upgrade?
Answer: As we add more art to the game we can add more rank unlocks.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: [AGN] Wraith (wraith101): Will there be any walker vs. walker kill animations like there were in DoW I (and maybe even walker vs. monsterous creatures)?
Answer: I saw something about sync kills in the patch notes....
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: Azndemon (azndemon16): Favorite races? And what Clan, Chapter, Craftworld, or Hive etc. in the Warhammer 40K universe are your favorites?
Answer: I love Space Marines. My fav chapter are the Relic Marines, those guys are bad ass.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Orks for me...not sure I have a fav clan
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): okay for reels on the chapter thing, I like Ultramarines, which I get ridiculed internally for.
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: -=W.Fredkruge.T=- (fredkruge): will there be a patch to have 'stances' like in the previous dawn of war? ... like 'hold fire', and 'hold position' etc...?
Answer: We tried a ranged and melee stance before settling on the current system and it was a bit messy. We're trying to keep the controls as simple as possible but we understand there are situations where units don't act as desired. Stances may return depending on gameplay needs. Nothing more specific than that.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: iGame.1MMORT4L-NFNF- (senstarfire): I was wondering how does one structure the multi-pathed narratives in games like Dawn of War 2? How wide a road do you give your players, and what morals, motives, or other devices have you implanted in the game? For instance, is there an underlying message, or group targeted through the storyline/characters? Any or all answered would be great.
Answer: I pulled Philippe Boulle, our Senior designer out of his desk to provide the answer on this one. He says....
In a military-themed game like DoW2, we aim to give the player a clear high-level goal (defeat the tyranids) and then a fair amount of flexibility in how they go about that. It's always a balance, however, between the desires to give lots of freedom and to give direction enough that the player doesn't spend hours asking "what the hell do I do now?"
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Thanks Phil :)
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Looking to just take one or two more questions...
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Question: (strife412): As both Relic and Vigil are both studios of THQ, have any Relic devs moved over to Vigil for the development of Warhammer 40k Online? How much input have you been able to make on the MMO?
Answer: No, our teams are seperate in the sense that we work on our own projects. There are meetings amongst the higher ups between the studios though and our games are discussed at that level to make sure we're sharing ideas, since we are working on the same IP.
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): (Vigil and Relic have shared game assets)
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Question: foulbeest: Alot of higher skilled players dont like the auto-cover system. Are there any plans to make this a.i assistance toggable?
Answer: Auto cover is a bit messy we admit. We'll be improving the squad plans for the units over the next patches. If it still isn't good enough for players we may add a toggle for the feature.
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Alright everyone!
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): We've come to an end!
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Good news though, we have a few prizes for you!
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): THQ Game Packs consisting of THQ PC games!
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Question: foulbeest: Alot of higher skilled players dont like the auto-cover system. Are there any plans to make this a.i assistance toggable?
Answer: I have heard this also. the problem with making something like this toggleable is that when you add a toggleable tool like this, you widen a huge gap between the users that need the assistance and those that do not.
Greater than that it is a massive programming task to code both the assisted cover system and one without. We are looking at ways to improve the cover system (we talking about it just this morning actually) but any changes we make won't be toggleable
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): OOps
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): got that last one in there :p
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): No worries!
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): The 5 winners are:
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox):
(Lord Lokgar) says (smdhell)
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Err, that's 6. Well 6 it is.
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): PM me if you've won! I need some info!
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Hey guys, I just wanted to say it was a pleasure. I hope you guys enjoy 1.3 and stay tuned for more patches.
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): Congratulations winners!
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): and congrats!
[Relic]Thunder (relicthunder): Thanks for the questions everyone!
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Thanks for participating everybody! Keep playing Dawn of War II and have a great night!
[Relic]DMolina (chilean604): G'night!
[Relic]CTasker (ctasker): Cya guys