Typically, when a game is updated in any form, the developers will release a series of patch notes detailing all of the changes that went on behind the scenes. Bug fixes, content updates, so on and so forth. And while we’ll certainly be including notes regarding bug fixes and the like in our patches, what you won’t see are patch notes for updated or new content.
There’s a reason for this. Well, a couple of reasons, really. One, is because we want to keep players in the dark regarding content updates and try to avoid, for as long as realistically possible, a full-fledged Wiki from being created.
Now, obviously we can’t control what players put out there on the web. At some point, the content of our game will get out there. While we don’t have in-game maps, players will create them, and put them online. While we won’t tell players where advanced trainers are located, eventually they’ll find them and put them online. They’ll mark NPCs, towns, outposts, cities and the like, and eventually the game experience will be watered down.
While we anticipate it taking a couple of years for a detailed Wiki to be created given the size and scope of what we are creating for Volume I, at some point we have to face the reality that all of our hard work will be trivialized and the immersive experience we want players to experience will be watered down for those who just want the fastest route from point A to point B, and to hell with the fun of just exploring and enjoying the journey.
That being said, we’re going to be doing as much as we can to keep things fresh for players, and to avoid EVERYTHING being known and available via a Wiki. Which leads me to the second reason we aren’t going to be including all of the little details in our patch notes: immersion.
Having many of the advanced trainer NPCs and quest NPCs with dynamic spawn points, pathing cycles, and events that affect them as actual characters, and not updating players on these changes so they have to discover them on their own, leading to increased immersion.
For example, let’s say there’s a Ranger NPC living out in the Mountains of Mist foothills. He teaches Advanced Tracking and has a quest for an epic bow. During the first few months of the Live game, he’ll be in location X. But then, due to a dynamic change, a scripted change, or a manual change, he might suddenly disappear and be located to a different part of the world. Family emergency down in Finglis Mirror, or he went North to help the Elenhi against some Wyverns attacking their foundlings.
And we won’t be announcing that change to players in the patch notes. So you very well might have players who found him in location X the first time, and when they return to him the second time to advance their quest, OR if they found his location on a Wiki, he might not be there. Instead, there might be a note that says, “Family emergency in Finglis Mirror. Look for me at the Weeping Willow Inn.”
Or, you might find a scribbled note that says, “Trouble with Wyverns up north. Speak with Gribald Terwin at the Mounted Boar Inn within the Terkinth Outpost.” And you’ll have to find your way to the mentioned outpost, speak to the innkeeper, and from there you’ll find your way to wherever the Ranger trainer is at.
While we plan on scripting some of these events into the game, others will be dynamic. Others still will be manual, such as the team deciding to run a world event for three months of the year, and during that time we manually change NPC placements, mobs, quest bosses, and the like. And we won’t be telling players in the patch notes what changes took place.
Instead, it will be up to the players to discover those changes and events just as they would in a real adventure setting: by actually going out, exploring, following the lore and the storylines, and actually immersing themselves in the world.
This lets us do two things: keep things fresh; and also keep things from being discoverable on a Wiki. At least for some content. And for a limited amount of time. Because let’s face it: we can’t be spending all of our time making these little changes just to keep players on their toes. We still need to be developing the content for Volume II, Volume III, and Volume IV (and potentially beyond).
Which means at some point, even if we have five or six or eight or ten dynamic spawn cycles and changes that take place over a period of several years, at some point that NPC may end up back at the same place, which means players will be able to refer back to a Wiki.
And some things will be static, so they’ll end up in a Wiki no matter what. Like the entrance to a dungeon. Or the location of a city or outpost. Although we do have plans via Live updates to change things on the map due to world events…which means dungeon entrances could disappear, or outposts wiped off the map, or etc.
The big thing to understand is that we won’t be including these changes in patch notes. While you’ll see bug fixes listed, you won’t see content updates included. Because for us, immersion is everything…and you can’t really experience immersion if you’re referring back to a Wiki rather than actually exploring the world through your character’s eyes.