March 8th Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid talks about the letter, state of the game, FAQ, and answers questions regarding development.
Introductions – Steven, Margaret and Jeffrey. Steven talks about his past as a player and how that encourages him to have a connection with the community. There’s some FAQ questions they want to address, followed by a special video and a QnA. Content roadmap is exciting.
Updates regarding the Studio:
- We are growing and have a lot of growth to do. We’ve added over 15 people since the start of the year. This is a process of bringing people on board and training them to bring them up to speed, but this is a valuable investment.
- Were not able to meet the hiring goals of 2018. But we’re doubling down and are working with head hunters to get the right people that we’re looking for. One of the key points is their experience in an MMORPG perspective and their love for for MMORPGs.
- Plans to have a new pimped out stream room. The new location is being worked on. We looked at 2 other locations, but it did not go as planned. One of the locations sold their portfolio mid-discussion and the new owners had different plans. The second location was a sub-lease, middle floor of a labratory, however they decided to lease the entire building instead which is not what we wanted.
State of the game and the MMORPG
Leading into December we were moving into our new website as the old one was on wordpress and wasnt built for large traffic. Unfortunately some of the systems we had built for that website did not stand up for the traffic. Unfortunately due to 2 million visitors, it did not hold and we onboarded a new team to sort things out. New migration took place a few weeks ago and went smoothly to AWS (Amazon Web Services). Part of the new website is getting CS tools up to respond to people faster. Once we get our Customer Support Lead in-house, things will go a lot faster.
The Future – Moving forward, regarding development, we were able to take back end things from December’s testing and we’ve been able to rebuild and focus on the architecture to facilitate the large servers for the MMORPG and to ensure that it meets the standards that the players expect.
Expanding on the Architecture Issues: A lot of these issues had to do with population on a battlefield. Initial target was 500 players on a battlefield and we will go higher than this, but this is goal for now. And making sure hitscan/projectile based mechanics and whether the server can handle all the data. Having a high population within an area is what we’re trying to achieve. A lot of work goes into ensuring all the data and information that goes into this is top notch. It’s about optimizing what the backend is doing and getting it right for what we want to achieve. The data provided through Apocalypse was fundamental to help us move forward. When we look at data we look at how the data comes in from the server. As such as certain level of performance is needed (making sure its not laggy etc). So we implemented a replication graph in specific zones to ensure the server doesnt have to replicate data of a player far away or behind a mountain/wall. (Replication refers to providing info to a player’s game client) There’s a lot of work goes into it.
Apocalypse Data: We went from doing kinda-sorta 100 players, but we can now push it to 250 stable. And we will continue to push higher to hit the numbers we want. It’s a lot of work to go through that data and figure out what we can and cant do. We can automate what we want, however we cannot get the kind of data that players provide. We also had to test our data gathering mechanics so we can gather data on what weapon is used the most etc. as it is essential for Alpha 1. We see every single shot a player makes, we see ability activation, whether the shot lands or not, and all of it gives us data to align with our core principles to judge whether X or Y is working the way we want it to. When pushing Apocalypse out, all of this design data such as accuracy etc, when is included in the MMORPG under the hybrid combat system, it helps us work on it.
Action and Tab Combat: The goal is if you want to go 50% Hybrid 50% action, we want it to be a viable option. It’s not necessarily about one or the other as tab and action have different tempos and speeds. We take this data, each of the designers comes up with their ideas and then we take a shotgun approach to test each prototype to see which feels like what we want, and then that is put into Alpha 1 to get community feedback and data.
Release Dates: Originally we announced Alpha 1 in Q2 2019, which was a decent projection, however we had to re-align. The delay is not in a number of years, but in a number of months. However going forward, when we give a date, we’re going to be confident about meeting that date. ALL PRIOR DATES ARE OFFICIALLY WIPED. Also we do not want to disappoint people as pushing dates is not fun. Our ideals –
- No Pay-to-Win.
- Not going to throw away effort by putting it in the cash shop.
- We’re going emphasise risk vs reward.
- AAA quality MMORPG.
All of this takes time. We’re incredibly invested in this just as much as you are. We had moved to a new payment processor ‘Xsolla’ however we listened to the community feedback and we moved away from it and plan to go to Paypal and Stripe.
Regarding the website and backend, we’re going to be re-designing the websites and make things better. These things are going to take time, to put blogs up and require some love. Regarding the forums, we cannot give you an exact date, however we are getting things prepped and will let you know a week in advance before it goes live. We’ll also have a proper FAQ set up for people to refer to. Concerns over old posts etc. will be in the FAQ.
Content Roadmap: It takes time to plan it out because we dont want to take away the time of people working on these various features and systems. However once departments have things done, we’ll share them with you. In march we’ll be focusing on nodes. We’re also working on a Dev diaries series to show you the people working on the project and what they’ve been upto. The first is the nodes system, it will show a lot of core systems. (Not nodes 3 yet) Art process, world building, level design, concept art process, all of these go into Dev diaries and will come out once every month to show you progress of the development. Initially everyone tried to share things but we all had our own work to focus on, however now with Margaret and Toast we now have people focused on sharing development with the community. Besides these, we’ll be doing livestreams once a month, these will happen on the last friday of each month at 11AM (Might change depending on community feedback). These will be uploaded on youtube the next day. And ofcourse monthly letters and fanart via fan-art-friday. More contests moving forward. GM events are fun and we’re looking forward to doing those with the community.
Regarding Events: We had originally decided to go to PAX East, however we decided it was best to focus on the game until Alpha 1. Going to these events is hard for us as it takes away from development as we have to take developers and then have a week to go there and a week of downtime. We will be attending events in the future that we’ll give you ample notice on when we are going to them. We are going to GDC, just a couple of us to meet handle business matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: With the delay for Alpha 1, what does this mean for the phases beyond Alpha 1?
A: It is very likely this will push us beyond 2020. We are no longer expecting to release the MMO before 2020. We will have an opportunity to catch up to speed later and we’ll take advantage of these. Moving forward when we are ready will give you a date. Alpha 1 will help you get a hands on and get a feel of where we’re from. We’ll be releasing a game that meets both our standards and the player’s standards. We’re working with bleeding edge tech and building a lot of features as we go. Each log in will be different, especially the node system. We as players have been there at the game’s launch and known instantly when a game felt rushed. We are not going to be one of those games. An MMO usually only gets launched once and this determines it’s life going forwards.
Q: Will you show us more in game stuff?
A: We want to share concept art, models and in some cases I might keep all of them to show it as a juicy leak. Even if steven leaks it, we will share it. Besides we cant stop Steven from leaking.
Q: What is the actual status on siege and the horde mode?
A: Obviously as we come across fundamental needs that require fixing, such as the architectural issue, it pushes back siege and horde, including Alpha 1. It doesnt mean other departments such as art/design etc stop, those keep moving. However sometimes engineering is working on something and it holds other things in the pipeline back.
Q: What’s the status on forums?
A: Already answered above. Working on it, will have FAQ and further questions will be added.
Q: Why did you not provide any concrete or specific dates on the letter?
A: Going forward we are going to give you dates once we have things ready and in QA, instead of when they will be ready. This way you can trust us to meet the dates. What the community wants is quality and we share this sentiment so that this will be the game we signed up for. And if this takes additional time, we will take that additional time. Our focus is not hitting a date, but to hit a quality of expectation.
Q: Will we continue to see a cosmetics on a monthly basis and if so, will they continue only being concept art?
A: Yes we will continue to do so because it was a promise since Kickstarter to release cosmetics up until launch. No power items or P2W mechanics, just skins and very little time to show you. However going forward we’ll introduce this pipeline to the character creation team and we’ll move into concept art and showing models in game.
Q: We know from previous info name reservation will happen in Alpha 1 and per server/per account. Does this mean we have to pick server as early as alpha 1 or can we pick it at release.
A: We will release the server names at launch and we will allow them to reserve names on specific servers. We will give you significant notice on these and a window to reserve them.
Q: Why is the currency called Embers?
A: It comes down to the core concept and idea of who the goddess of creation is and how embers and ashes correlate to the rebirth and death of the phoenix. Utilizing the soul of the phoenix that they represent. We wanted to make sure the whole thing is themed and feels right.
Q: Will epics be epic unlike other MMORPGs? And feel epic?
A: We havent named our tiers yet, just legendaries etc. In terms of powerscale, we want crafters to be responsible for their creation and how they create them. More in the hands of the players to make that feeling known. Having an economy where items are present and sellable with legitimate decay and not everything is soul-bound. We appreciate the mindset crafters bring to the game. We loved Archeage crafting in Alpha, but the amount of RNG and tier-dependencies did not help and supported their monetization model.
Q: Will we have roleplay tools for chat in game like /e or /dance?
A: Cant tell you exactly what we’ll be giving you, however our system is built around roleplaying systems. There will be plenty of ways to do in-character stuff and the chat system is the easy way, but we’ll give you more tools.
Q: How important will CC (Crowd Control) tanking etc. work? And diminishing returns?
A: CC is important. However in past games, balancing diminishing returns and ensuring it works across both PvE and PvP. It’s a very fine line. There will be CC and will be important but it wont be an “I win button” you wont see stun locks or control effects that last until you’re dead. They wont be a go to win button. There will be types of CC’s with their own diminishing returns.
Q: In siege mode, will there be captains?
A: There are group leaders and the group leaders can set waypoint commands and map locations. Additionally in the MMORPG you will have custom raid formations to utilize and each captain will have VOIP for their respective groups. However with apocalypse you’ll have inter-party VOIP and not with the raid itself.
Q: Will there be RNG during upgrading gear?
A: There will be some RNG, however we dont want enchantments and crafting system to rely on it. We want it to rely on gathering and we do want to rely on a bit of RNG to keep things interesting. In other games you see RNG to take money from players, however we are not building around that exploitative mechanic. We wont encumber the system with too much RNG.
Q: Are we going to see more heavy style/medieval style armor?
A: We had some in Alpha 0, which is post apocalypse timeline. The apocalypse armor is before the fall which is not heavy armor. There’s a wide variety of armor types due to the different cultures and races.
Q: Will gear matter in PvP?
A: Yes. Gear will matter. Gear is vertical progression. Depends on how much power. Is it more heavily inspired by skill or gear or rock/paper/scissors or is the monster you’re fighting got specific traits (Bonuses/weaknesses). Lots of components go into it and gear will be a large chunk of it, but not all of it. PvP balance is based around the group not individual players duking it out due to content focused around large groups.
Q: How do the guild halls work? Is it a separate freehold or another system completely?
A: There are 2 types, static systems that exist in a node and one that exists on the freehold. One of the ideas is that a guild at a certain level will recieve a guild specific freehold plot and the guild leader has the ability to place it and have guild benefits and boons such as specific schematics for guild armors etc. If they dont have a freehold, and a static hall, then it’ll be available there. Freeholds can only be placed on nodes stage 3 or higher. The guild hall plot maybe can only be placed at stage 4 or 5, needs testing and is subject to change.
Q: How do you protect the city while the player is offline?
A: We have a system ready, when a node is sieged, there’s a period of declaration and takes prep days (Typically 1 day per node level). Additionally the time window where a siege may be declared depends on the server timezone. NA servers will have NA siege declare times.
Q: Long ago you talked about Apocalypse lobby being a house to invite over and customize?
A: We are going to re-assess that and look at it internally and we dont want to take away from MMORPG development as it is separate. And it’s not core to the game and more of cosmetic.
Q: Will the old referral system with the link still work?
A: The old system links will be forwarded to the new referral system’s code, in additional you will recieve a code to use and input into your accounts. Currently referrals only show if the user has migrated. However we will be syncing all data in the future so they wont need to migrate.
Steven: We appreciate you guys tuning in and our motivation is making you guys happy and meeting your standards. We watch discord/forums/reddit and read all the feedback good/bad/ugly. Margaret and Sarah turn it into reports that are easy to read which is great. Moving forward – Things are going very very well. The data from apocalypse is invaluable. Getting that data now rather than later is a huge benefit for us. Stay tuned for node stuff this month. Next stream on March 29th. We love you guys, appreciate the feedback and love the support.