Last week I promised that I would do my best to have a more detailed update on the issue about Male vs. Female attack speed/damage ready by today. It's quite possible that not everyone will be thrilled by what this update contains but you as a community deserve to know both what's causing it, why it's taking us this long to fix it, and how we plan on fixing it.
Let me begin with saying yes, we here at Funcom agree with you; this is an unacceptable bug. We never intended for any character to be stronger/weaker than another based on its gender, and we have been working on making the necessary adjustments to correct this issue for quite some time already.
Now, in our game, we have two primary sources of damage; normal' damage, commonly referred to as white damage, and combo' damage. Making the white damage equal for both Male and Female characters is, in this context, a fairly simple task and something we've already done and which should already have been patched out to Live.
For future reference, when I say that it was a fairly simple task to fix it, we're still talking about modifying, either through actually having an animator work on the animation resource itself or by having a BCC designer adjust the speed-scaling of said animation resource, of more than 150 unique animations. In addition, these animations are fairly simple; by which I mean that they are your ordinary attacks and don't contain any flourishes, sequential blows or other complicated stuff.
However, if we move onto combo' damage, which is what is causing the notable part of this issue, there are suddenly several factors that come into play when determining the final damage. I won't be wasting too much time in this update to go into detail about every factor, but to quickly list a few they would be stat/modifier/multiplier (which in turn depends on class, level and weapon equipped), length of animation and, although irrelevant to this exact issue any longer, amount of steps in a combo sequence.
The main reason for the discrepancy in damage output that you're seeing is that the length of an animation isn't equal for both Male and Female characters in many cases. This is what we're currently fixing, but there's roughly 800 to 1000 animations in total that are involved here, and that they are significantly more complex than the white damage' animations mentioned above this naturally takes a lot more time.
Of course, once the length of the animations have been fully corrected/tweaked either by an animator or BCC designer then every rank (of every combo for every class) has to be re-balanced by the System Designers because, as I mentioned above, one of the factors that come into play when determining the combo damage is animation length.
I guess I should begin wrapping this up by now. I'm afraid I won't be able to give you an exact date for when this issue will be fixed, but we're working internally towards a goal of having everything finished during the next two to three work-weeks, depending on how much we need to re-adjust after the initial tweaking. This is including the majority of QA testing, which can be performed during the process as we're working on a class-by-class basis. That being said, and even with on-going testing during this process, everything still needs to be verified by QA once more after we merge our changes into the system data to ensure that we're not breaking anything else.
We will however not be patching this out to Live on a class-by-class basis, but rather in one big collective fix to all classes. I will make another promise right here and now though; I'll be investigating whether or not we can introduce these changes to the public Test server (which Famine has promised everyone a bigger update on soon) at the earliest possible convenience.
I know that many of you will probably be disappointed to hear that it might take us as much as another three to four weeks to solve this issue, for which I can only apologize, but we want to make sure that we devote the amount of time that an issue of this magnitude and importance deserves rather than rush out a quick fix that might not work as well
And finally, I have to stress that even with our internal goal set and everything currently proceeding on schedule I cannot currently promise that this will be patched to Live at the projected date. There's a lot of stuff that, while totally unrelated, might cause a certain patch to be delayed or even pushed out without containing this data. What I can promise though is to return with another update about a more specific patch date as soon as possible.
I hope that this information is what many of you have been asking for, and that I've been able to present you with answers to many of the questions you've had about this issue. On behalf of myself, everyone else directly involved on fixing this issue and Funcom as a company; thank you for reading!