Ahoy, Captains! It's that time of year again!
For those that missed it, let's have look at what was discussed on the Q&A stream with Legends' Development Director, Kirill Peskov!
Thanks to RowanHKC from the Legends' Subreddit for creating this transcript!
Q: Will we get the ability to choose our own Ports?
A: In this case, I would say, "Never say never." We don't have it in the backlog, but I think next year, in 2022, we will pay attention to this request for sure, but no strict date commitments yet.
Q: Are there any plans to add dynamic weather?
A: We will try visual versions during the next events, be that for Halloween or April 1, then we'll see how it goes and if we should bring it to the game or not. As for non-visual effects that will impact gameplay, no. It would make the game really hard. Just imagine you get turned around, or here comes a big wave—and you have a new third dimension to the game—what happens to aiming? Your torpedoes, and stuff like that? So, no. That's not our way.
Q: What plans are there regarding Operations, Scenarios, Historical Battles, etc.?
A: I'm afraid our position is still the same [as last year]. It's really hard to make a good and replayable Operation, so it's better that we put our resources into current and new gameplay modes versus other players, and not into Operations at the moment.
Q: Will we ever see expanded player statistics? Be it performance playing specific ships, solo versus in a Division, or even a player skill score you can compare with friends?
A: Yes. Again, no strict deadlines here, but we started a stream of work to make players' lives easier in the Port, and expanded statistics is one of the features we would like to implement.
Q: What's the current progress on cross-platform Divisions and the Clan feature?
A: To be honest, we're behind the initial schedule we planned for ourselves. We started development on crossplay Divisions maybe 8 or 9 months ago, but the team had to shift to the new platform generations, so Xbox Series X and PS5 support, which requires more-or-less the same skills of the development team, and that was prioritized to launch platforms and to provide them with post-launch support. So, currently, both Clan features, and crossplay Divisions and crossplay friends, are in-progress, but I cannot promise you any dates yet. Development is ongoing. Hopefully we will be able to update you soon, but give us some time to have stable and working solutions for both. The Clans feature will be delivered in two big parts: first we'll have Clans and Clan management that will allow players to get into Clans and start getting some economic bonuses from Clans; and the second iteration will bring Clan Battles. The reason for this separation is quite simple: the first stage will allow players to get into Clans, because if you don't have people in Clans, what's the reason for Clan Battles? Matchmaking will suffer. So, we will have some lag between those two deliverables.
Q: Will there be improvements to PS5 4K?
A: There will be. The reason performance improvements are not there yet is that the render and tech teams are working on RTX support, so raytracing. That's a big chunk of work. When that's done, our next big thing will be performance for 4K for PS5 and Xbox.
Q: From the above question, will PS5 get raytracing?
A: It will, at some point.
Q: Are there plans to improve the sound in the future?
A: We're not just planning, we're developing. To be honest, there were a couple of sessions of Supertest for a new sound system and new sounds—[and] reworked sounds. We've collected a lot of feedback and are currently close to the finish to get all the feedback sorted and fixed. We'll probably have one more Supertest session to finalize, and that's one of the features that is huge and should be approached very carefully now in our opinion. Yes, we understand that the sound can be inconsistent at the moment, but in this case, we would rather be very cautious and very slow and make sure we don't ruin our sound picture, but deliver good quality with the reworked sounds. So, it will be this year, but I won't say what month.
Q: So, this basically means every gun caliber will have its own distinctive sound?
A: Yes! So, big calibers won't sound like small ones. Battleships will sound like battleships.
Q: How does a ship line come to be? Why do we choose certain ship lines first, and can you give us some insight on the thought process from the start of development to final implementation?
A: First of all, I need to mention, we share content with the PC game. That's why we start with looking at what ship lines—what content—is available for us to re-export, to polish, and to put into Legends. Secondly, we look at the year and the roadmap, and events like U.S. Independence Day will give us reason to address U.S. ships, so this year it was the alternative battleships and last year there were alternative cruisers, and that gives us some milestones as to when we want what—why they're put there or not. Specifically, talking about this year, we slowed down content delivery a bit, for two main reasons. First of all, last year was very quick in terms of new lines and new nations and so on, and the second reason for that was carriers. That took some attention, both for the team and for the players, and that is why we slowed down the ship lines and ship nations for the first half [of 2021]. Starting from September, we will continue new alternative lines, and full lines, and so on. The basic rule here is, I'd say, that we don't want to deliver, for example, destroyers after destroyers after destroyers, and make battleship players unhappy, so we try to keep balance and to release lines—destroyers, cruisers, battleships—in some kind of a sequence. The other things that are minor but can still affect us can be technical limitations—for example we have PC, and we have some, I don't know, underwater torpedoes that are not implemented in Legends yet, and so before we take them [the new lines] into consideration, we need to have the mechanics.
For new nations, it's really hard to bring a new line because we need the Commanders to be in place first. So, to give an example, this year, German carriers came first, after the American and Japanese carriers, because the content was ready. The ships were ready, and the planes were ready, and that's why we chose to do them first and then proceed with other nations. It’s that simple. British carriers are confirmed, but for carriers, there are two pieces of content: the ships themselves and the planes. For British carriers, we have ships in place, but we don't have planes ready yet. When we have planes, we will put them into production. Before that, we just play around in the Supertest and the Internal Test and try to balance them, but they're not production-ready yet.
Q: What influences the changes for some ships when they are translated from PC to console?
A: Two things. First, Legends' specifics. We have a closer battle distance and we're 9 versus 9, so that requires us to change the balance a bit. The second reason is the game designers’ visions, as they're responsible for the gameplay and how this or that ship can be played. And again, some technology limitations, for example, we don't have a good solution for secondaries. There is no big point to build a ship around secondaries. This is just an example, but it is shows how this [tech limitations] has an effect as well.
Q: What are your current thoughts on the efficiency of battleship secondary armaments? Could we see manual secondaries in the future?
A: Currently, secondaries are not great. They're not awful, but they’re not great either. So yeah, of course manual secondaries are the best solution, but we're still looking for the way to implement it. I wish game controllers had more buttons, then we could just implement something that is easy to understand, easy to learn, and easy to use. But, so far, as our [controller] presets are pretty tight, we're still looking for the good solution to match all types of players: new players, mid-core players, and hardcore players.
Q: Will players get the option to disable or toggle their AA?
A: There is a request, so it may not be too far away. As to the [tracer fire coming from] smoke, I don't think this is a huge problem. Imagine you're sitting in smoke in a Belfast or another cruiser. Skilled players can shoot at you and maybe get a couple of citadels on you. The same should go for aircraft carriers. As to the second part [tracer fire being spotted outside of destroyer air detectability range], yeah, you're absolutely right, and the issue will have to be addressed. You won't be waiting for a long, long time. It will come, but yeah, some[time], it will come some[time].
Q: And now for the juicy Italian question! Why didn't the Italian Cruisers come with semi-armor piercing shells? Will SAP ever arrive in Legends?
A: Okay, let's start with a bit of historical retrospective here: when we introduced the Italian cruiser line, the game was pretty new, and introducing new mechanics like SAP shells didn't seem like a good idea at the time. That's why we just balanced them around HE and AP like normal cruisers. To be honest, looking at their statistics, they [Italian cruisers] look fine. The whole Italian cruiser line looks fine, except for Montecuccoli, which has to be buffed, and buffed severely—anyways—that's another question.
As to SAP, I will spoil a bit: we're thinking how to bring it. Not for the battleships, because SAP will probably require us to have bigger cooldown numbers [reload times], and nobody likes them—it ruins the fun of the gameplay. What we think, and this is a huge spoiler, with no strict date commitments: we will probably test SAP for Italian Premium Ships, rebalance those ships around HE shells, because they will definitely need some tweaks, and if it goes okay, then we will see how it goes and whether we want to—or don't want to—bring it to the whole Italian cruiser line. But we will start with the Premium changes and then we'll see how it goes. One question from the bottom of the chat: Paolo [Emilio] with SAP? Maybe. Maybe no. But let Paolo have enough battles to [allow us to] make decisions about her. Paolo has just 1 week on the Production Server, so not enough statistics.
Q: Are there any plans for further HUD customizations or UI controls? Customized button mapping?
A: We hear the request and have features in the backlog, but they are not planned for the foreseeable future for now.
Q: Is there any plan for customizable mini-maps, or anything in the UI in-game?
A: Yeah, things like the carousel, ship lists, and all the elements, are all in the backlog but are unassigned to any [upcoming] version [of the game] yet.
Q: Are there plans to show ship statistics such as HE penetration, sigma values, etc. in-game?
A: Unfortunately, I am afraid I will have to disappoint some of you guys. We don't have it planned for this specific version. It is, again, sitting in the backlog. We hear the requests, but we still need some time to do that.
Q: Before we continue, would you be able to explain what is meant by the backlog?
A: Yeah, the backlog is a really big list of features—requests, ideas, improvements—just anything that can be implemented into the game. So we don't forget any ideas or improvements, we'll put literally anything in the backlog. Every idea that sounds okay—that's not too stupid—is put into the backlog and sits there, and then, from time to time—we have a cadence to prune the backlog. That means to look into, and shuffle the features, depending on the rate of requests we are getting on the similar-ish features that are being planned and link/unlink to prioritize this or that feature. And that means when we see we want to implement something, we assign it to a dedicated version, and say “Okay, that's our target version for this new implementation,” and then kick it out and go to production, testing, delivery, whatever.
Q: Will we ever see less expensive ships or items added to the Forge?
A: Yes, we will. The Forge and Steel definitely need some love from our side. The initial intention was to provide more long-term motivation for players. However, we've seen that Steel income is not big enough, and we don't see anyone playing Missouri yet. So, yeah, we'll see how to change probably not the Steel income, but the goods in the Forge.
Q: Will there be some way to reallocate resources from one Commander to another Commander, maybe for some small fee?
A: That's a great question, and again it's sitting in the backlog without any strict plan for the implementation yet.
Q: How long does it take for a Campaign Ship to be approved and implemented?
A: Usually, we plan like 6 months ahead for what ships we want to see in the game. Tier VII ships are usually going to be Campaign ships, and Legendary ships in the Bureau. So it usually takes us about 6 months to get from the initial list of Premium ships we want to see in the game to the ships appearing in the game client, and starting from that point, we can either add them to the Campaign, or put them in the Supertest or the Store, and so on and so on. Six months is just a comfortable cadence for us. First, we log the ships by tiers, by names, by nations—and then 6 months is a comfortable period for the team to have them re-exported, to tune them—in terms of visual and game design—and go to the Supertest for the initial balance to be checked.
Q: What was the most difficult line, ship, or type, to develop?
A: At this very moment, I'd say carriers were, because, yeah… To be honest, the team started working on the carriers last July, and so you can estimate the timings for the first Airstrike event, and then to the carriers' launch and release. So, why did it become that hard? First of all, we needed to get the content done, and, while the ships were ready, the planes were not. So, we specifically reworked planes to provide them with more detail: the cockpit became transparent and we added more details and more polygons to the 3D models to implement, so we did a bunch of stuff.
The second big thing was to reimplement the mechanics from PC. We did not support the mechanics during the previous time—I mean carrier mechanics—because we didn't have the type in the game. And we test it, we support it, we polish it. So, we have to rework mostly from this [implementation]. It's not just a port [from PC], but it's specific to the content implementation—I just won't go deeper into the details.
The third part was UI and all the stuff about the controls—to make them play okay we need to get UI in place to make it understandable, to customize it for the console HUD implementation and the look and feel [of the game]. And the last, but most important part, was game balance. What we didn't want is to break the game with the new type. To be honest, in my opinion, we didn't. Carriers have joined all the other types more or less okay. So, yeah, the effort was enormous, and the team—the developers—in the last weeks of the development, implementation, and QA-ing, just looked like zombies. But, still, they managed to get carriers into the game.
Q: Are you happy and satisfied with the overall state of aircraft carriers?
A: Pretty much, yes. So, again, the big thing is that carriers didn't break the game balance—that's a good one. But we do realize that there are some issues like carriers’ concealment, like balance, that still need to be addressed, so we're working on these as well.
Q: We just added AP bombers. Now, a lot of players are asking about rocket planes. What are our plans for this mechanic?
A: Our plans are to just play it safe. We just introduced AP bombs, and then we'll bring British carriers, and when we bring those, we will sit and see how they are played and whether we need to make another ammo type for the carriers like rocket planes, or if we can wait for it. Just stay patient, guys. When we start the implementation, we will definitely tell you, but not now. It's not a big “No,” but there are actually no big “Nos” in the game - ( can literally name a few, but I won't. But we'll get there.
Q: Are there any plans to update anti-aircraft gun animations, similar to what's happened recently on PC?
A: Not now, but again, that's more of a technology issue. CPU consumption on the fourth generation of consoles [would be too high]. For the new generation of consoles, it can happen, but it's not the priority for now.
Q: Is there any possibility of getting Training Rooms?
A: There will be a possibility of getting [Training Rooms], but closer to [the launch of] Clan Battles, because that is a feature that is required for private Clan Battles. So, somewhere there, I guess, we'll give you guys Training Battles as well.
Q: What are your thoughts on skill-based matchmaking?
A: Skill-based matchmaking is great when you talk about it—not that great when you start thinking about the implementation. First of all, when we have skill-based matchmaking on every PvP mode, you should realize that if you play a lot, your win rate would be 50%, or close to it. So, I don't think that our player community wants to have 50% win rates—that's not what they're looking for. The other thing here is when you go to the downtime—the low matchmaking popularity—using skill-based matchmaking may keep you in the queue forever—literally—especially in the high tiers or unpopular tiers or so on, and so on. So, it really looks like a great idea on paper, but implementation is not good—not really what we're looking for. I would say that, probably, Ranked Battles 1 versus 1 can be the target for skill-based matchmaking, but we’re not quite sure we will do that.
Q: What's your opinion on how the Bureau works, and will there be another way for players to get Legendary Ships?
A: Well, the second question: yes, there will be, but I don't know in what way exactly.
We realized, yes, the Bureau mechanic works fine. One of the big benefits of the Bureau is that players are returning to the game. Those who are interested come back so their progress will proceed, and those who aren't interested, their research will stop and be postponed. So, in these terms, the mechanic works as intended. Rewards-wise, players have a non-grindy, and non-monetized way to get ships, which is good. On the other hand, a mechanic without updates will get boring. I don't know when it will happen, but some people will get bored with that mechanic, so we will try to make it as easy to manage as possible. So, we introduced the Port widget for that exact reason, to make Bureau management not as painful, so you don't have to hit some tabs and go eight clicks there and ten clicks back.
But, still, we will pay some attention next calendar year to how the mechanic can be improved and what other ways we can provide players to get the Legendary ships.
Q: Do we plan on changing the way players are able to unlock Legendary ships?
A: For now, it's only the Bureau. For the other mechanics, next year—actually at the end of this year, we will sit and think how we can improve it, and when we have good ideas, we will definitely tell you guys.
Q: Is there anything regarding Legendary ships that you can tell us that might be interesting to our players? Like any insider information from you?
A: Let's keep some secrets here. So, we'll have at least a couple of [new] Legendary ships by the end of this year. One of them I spoiled last year, and the other one you may have seen in AI Battles at the end of June/early July. I won't tell any names, but...
Q: Will we have any audio/graphical updates similar to what PC had a few months ago?
A: It will probably surprise you guys, but we're doing graphical updates literally every second version. So, we've reworked the effects—fire effects, shooting effects, water splashes—and so on and so on. We improved the screen-space shadows, we introduced the underwater world. Water form and water variations were just introduced this version I believe—that is, to follow the wind direction close to the shores and make waves a bit more physical. We improved screen-space reflections, we improved dynamic shadows to eliminate blinking shadows on ships. So, all of this work is being done and is being delivered [throughout] this year, but we don't pack it into one big update. It's just easier to push feature after feature after feature.
Moving forward, I've mentioned RTX already. The team is also working on more physical waves—how they should look in the real sea—and we're trying some techniques like Fidelity from AMD to make the image sharper and more beautiful. So, work has been done. Features have been delivered. We can tell you more every update when we deliver them [new features] to production. The thing here is, when you go to the game day by day, you may miss something, but if you look at the state of the game half a year to a year ago, in contrast to now, you will definitely see an improvement.
Q: Are there any plans to tweak map designs or add more maps?
A: More maps, sure. More maps are always good. As for the map design, I'm not sure what you mean.
We do work on the maps, as for a complete redesign, I'm not sure we will do that. Again, we share content with the PC guys and the PC project, so we will just bring more maps to Legends.
Q: Will there be a way to melt Camos back down into Paint?
A: It sounds like a good idea to put to the backlog and implement in the not-that-far future, I'd say.
Q: Is there any plan to add Commander presets?
A: This is definitely a feature we are considering. Again, with no strict dates and no strict versions. Yeah. The downside of this is adding an extra layer of gameplay, not with the ships but with the Commanders. We want to find a way to make it where people who want to play this preset game will, but also for those who want to just set up a Commander and take them to battle, we'll have a more simple way. But, yeah, getting back to your question, the feature is in the backlog, and we know that request exists.
Q: Is there any way for us to get a Jolly Roger flag?
A: Yeah! Stay tuned! It will come.
Q: Is there some way to have a Development Blog like the one PC has? What about a public roadmap?
A: As for the public roadmap, I'm afraid we're not ready as a team to publish the roadmap for the public—for the player community. As for the dev blog, it's actually, Kris and Phil [T33kanne and Philigula], up to you, whether we need this tool in place. If we do need this, if we want to have it, let's do it, and we'll decide what the best format is to have the dev blog in place, so, up to you guys!
Q: From the dear French community—République, Bourgogne, or Henri IV for Legendary?
A: République for sure—Henri for sure—as for Bourgogne, not really sure it will fit the game balance.
Q: Des Moines when?
A: Ah, not this year.
Q: In the last stream, there was something about a water nerf. Is there any progress on a water nerf?
A: No progress. We're still looking for a great game designer who understands water balance well. Unfortunately, we haven't found this person yet.
Q: What's your opinion about pineapple on pizza? If you got a pizza with pineapple on it, would you eat it?
A: Not great, not awful. I would.
Q: Will we ever get a Toaster flag?
A: I'm going to address it again for you guys. So, Phil [Philigula] is one of the community managers who comes and makes requests for new flags to appear. So if Phil [Philigula] really wants us to spend our efforts on a Toaster flag, who are we to deny it?
Philigula: - To be honest, I'm against technology such as toasters. I would rather go for a Potato flag.
Kirill: - Potato flag would be good as well. So, yeah, it's decided—a Potato flag then.