August 29th Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid studios shares development feedback on the recent apocalypse test of the MMORPG.
- Account services update that happened this month. Check the site for info.
- We put out a lore article on the noble steed.
- Collected some great data with the 20th Apocalypse test.
- We’re working on getting the next test up soonTM.
- Preparing for the move to the new studio on Nov 22nd.
- The new studio can hold upto 180 people.
Engineering Team Updates: Aaron Bartholomew (Senior Platform Engineer) is brought on Stream. Aside from the CS tools and support, the platform engineers are laying the groundwork for the fancy stuff that’s planned for the account services. The goal of providing an account services section is to give players 1 spot to interact with everything relating to their account. We’re also working on being able to share player characters and other data through the website and these things require laying the groundwork for early on. Besides the account services stuff we’ve been scaling the game infrastructure. The big goal of the apoc test is to ensure infrastructure for the mmo is ready. So long term for the mmo we want the infrastructure to be in a spot where its stable for everything. During the 20th test we were able to get a live production look behind the curtain of “how does this hold up”. Initially we saw some issues and were able to implement a fix about an hour into the test and now we’re able to take these changes and ensure that the scalability is ready to go from the get go for the next test. After that initial fix, we saw some issues with client freezing and disconnects which we’ve got the fix ready for the next test. It was good to see how fast we were able to respond to issues and pump out fixes.
We learned that we have a lot more to do on the level scaling due to the heavy profiling on the backend. The performance increases we saw due to the optimizations were huge. The client freeze/crash was due to the socket connection timeout, we’ve been able to fix that with Unreal Engine. We definitely have a lot of work to do on the horizontal scaling of our servers. So the more bandwidth we have to funnel players through our matches is where we saw core issues, but we’ll be rolling out some changes before the next test. One of the big changes you would have noticed in the recent test that loading into the staging area was incredibly quick, this is due to the new method we’re working on with spooling to spin up the area beforehand to prepare it for the players coming in. This directly contributes to the MMO and ensuring that load times for instances and dungeons etc. are much more streamlined.
Our new account services handled the last test really well, we were able to identify issues before players even came across them and patch them in quickly. So we had like a single fail error throughout the whole test whereas back in December there were loads of website 503 error issues. Usually players assume account services are easy to set up, but we’ve got to ensure the various pieces that go into it work as intended. Most of our efforts went into ensuring the middle and back end worked properly.
Environment Team Updates: Michael bacon (Lead Environment Artist) is brought on stream. This whole month was a lot of optimization and fixes. We’ve also been working on other things that we cant talk about like the castle siege. We had a playtest lask week which was a lot of fun, Krojak killed me on the bridge, then I got killed many times by Cambiguous. Players did discover both the sandal shrine and the sandal hidden in the staging area. We did put some little animals on the map, the quarrior and the little creepy crawlies.
There are traps available to the defenders primarily while attackers have siege weaponry. Devon has been working on a new terrain for the castle siege. The animation side is working on changing the way how the lunge attack works. So moving forward if there’s no player in front of you, you’ll do a better more parkour-like lunge to get more ‘jumpy-movey-ness’. Stream is invaded by random baby spider.
Gameplay Design Team Updates: Brian Ferguson (Gameplay Designer) is brought on Stream to share updates. Right now we’re working on combat, itemization and destruction – all the fun stuff. We’ve been looking at the balance to ensure fights go better. We got to see how the balance all looks when players duke it out. Seeing the melee interaction with ranged players, seeing how it feels, the projectile speed/drop, all of those things carry forward into the MMORPG. So we get to take different approaches towards the hybrid combat, and the opportunity to go through the whole process with apoc before we put it into the mmorpg is going to be the second iteration and the more polished version. We saw some places where loot didnt feel as good, so we buffed those places up, also been adding some easter egg chests. We’re tracking which weapons and abilities have the highest usage and accuracies and then using that to add them to class skills for the MMORPG to see where they fall and work on the augment skills that we plan to incorporate and test them out in Apoc.
We’ve been improving our destruction system, moving to a new one that looks and sounds much better. Players will get the first chance to see the destruction mechanics in castle sieges and node sieges. Previously in mmos you have sections of structure that have a health pool that when it changes it swaps out meshes or a decal/layer over the material for false destruction. Whereas our destruction is real and has legitimate pieces that fall off. Performance wise it has also been going well when the node changes and the walls fall. We’ve been optimizing the assets, range differences, LOD’s and making a beautiful environment with a large number of players that also performs well. We’ve also been working on new summon and interaction sounds, we’ve tweaked the movement and added a freelook camera for the mounts.
Lieutenant Toast is brought properly on stream for the first time. I serve as the handhold between the community and Steven. Each time there’s a playtest or FAQ, I help set up the questions, including those for the livestreams. Before Toast, Steven was the one who had to handle all the community side of things, after toast being brought on it has reduced Steven’s load.
Q: Will the hardest raids be persistent across all realms?
A: Each realm will be specific to the region. So as a company we’ll give a shoutout to those that manage to clear the raid first and maybe even include them in the lore.
Q: Can per say one side poison the other side’s water source to gain an advantage?
A: With regards to the MMOPRG, there will be certain missions that people that are odds against one another, like one of those narratives could be to hamper things, but no you cant free will go around poisoning water. Perhaps you can poison the mana reservoir as a quest objective maybe, no promises.
Q: Do we have any news on the remaining 4 classes? (Summoner/rogue/fighter/bard)
A: You can expect to have blogs on those classes in the future, we plan on releasing info on that once it’s ready. We plan to make it incredibly presentable through a blog.
Q: Do you currently have some kind of plan to adjust the forward movement on the lunge attack?
A: We did come away with some changes we plan to try out. Its the difference between exciting and fast, but also rooted and relatively realistic. It’s been the primary topic for the past few design meetings. This is the primary purpose of apocalypse, to collect data and feedback to prepare for the hybrid interactions and movement for the MMORPG.
Q: Are there plans to have similar apocalypse tests with squads? And will you be using steam?
A: Yep, its a big part of apocalypse. We did say there would be squads last week, but we were really focused on the horizontal scaling we needed to address and the server crashing/client disconnects. We do have squads ready to test. Yes we will be using steam for apocalypse.
Q: Will there be positions of power within religions such as apostle/pope to influence religion?
A: 100%, there will be titles that you can achieve within the religion system. With those benefits will come certain powers, unique access, unique quests, certain items and more. Regarding the extra player agency stuff will probably come later in an expansion. You may see cult leaders come in during the future divine node article about counterplay.
Q: Did enough people participate in the recent test to hammer the servers?
A: Yes. We actually gathered more data than we can parse through.
Q: How do you feel the testing on the 20th went and will it help the MMORPG?
A: It went fantastic, a lot of things went well. The things we were looking for that we werent sure about and we got answers to those things. It went exactly as we wanted it to go and it gave us things we want to work on and all of it goes into Alpha 1.
Q: How do you feel about content so hard that only a small % of people can complete it?
A: Yes. We like it and we want to see it in game. When that content comes in, when its incredibly hard to do, eventually new chapters take place and levels get higher and what once was the hardest content, gets trickled down and becomes more accessible. One of the components of a game being very interesting is the drive or chase to achieve something that is difficult to achieve. When you make the experience bland and achievable by everyone, it doesnt mean as much. We want it to feel like you’ve accomplished things. We also want to create content that the majority of our players can experience. So what was once the limited audience becomes the broader audience. We want to make sure we have content for all the different types of players as all of the different players together make a big community.
Q: Will I be able to minimize my selected tab target abilities to focus on action combat?
A: Yes, that’s the goal. Its why apocalypse became so important to test action combat. We need to collect the data from all the action based skills to make sure its fun and engaging and not cumbersome.
Q: How much of action combat will require manual aiming in the MMORPG?
A: What you see in apocalypse will be near the final output of what you see.
Q: Do you plan to add any improvements to fighting enemies?
A: Yep, there’s lots of feedback and we want to work on many things. People were asking why BETA was applied to apocalypse. We consider BETA as something accessible to all. While ALPHA is a restrictive test. So we used BETA term for apocalypse even though the project is in a pre alpha state.
Q: Will the mmo feature any hover cast (mouse over) compatibility?
A: So the action side of things will involve reticle based, while certain AOE’s you’ll be able to select an option to auto cast an AOE at your mouse pointer location instead of having to click twice.
Q: Will the estimated TTK be longer in castle siege than the BR mode?
A: Yes, each class will have its own health pool, some classes will have a much higher TTK. In castle siege each class will come with pre-defined HP/armor value stats.
Q: Will we be able to find hidden locations/view points on the map?
A: Yes. There will be other things too. We’ve thought about cartographers guild to bring information to the library. Steven is an exploration player too, he just prefers to conquer what he explores.
Q: How will you handle armor for the special skins like fire/frost/demonic/angelic?
A: What will happen is those skins will have a base race mesh that they are similar to. So ice/fire skins will represent a character model of a human, so the armor donned on the model will represent a human mesh, while the renkai would be renkai/orc in size. We’re not too sure, but probably one of the older meshes.
Q: Will there be an auto-walk/auto-run?
A: Yes. Not such as click on shoe icon to track quest, but Numlock to auto-run.
Q: Can necromancers revive allies when healers are being poopy?
A: They cannot revive but they can utilize corpses around you to summon something based off of that.
Q: Will we be able to move while dancing?
A: No. Dancing will be a root animation.
Q: We know taverns on a freehold unlock buffs for players, will there be an option to make it a store?
A: The tavern is already kinda like a store that players/their family can list goods on it.
Q: A while ago citizen tickets were mentioned as a one off, is that still planned for?
A: Citizenship tickets were to get citizenship without owning land. Its too early to tell right now. We’ll give you an update on that when we have it. That’s the first time steven has been stumped by a question.
Q: For the bladecaller class
A: Weapons or Weapon creatures. The fighter doesnt get the summoner skills, so like forward strike attacks with the summoner augment will summon a cage of swords, also the blade golem.
Q: What are your current thoughts on resource management in combat, combat regeneration plans etc?
A: Your action economy is based upon what balance we determine we would like you to have. Do we want you to be able to kill a player with your entire stamina bar? Yes. So when utilizing your mana bar in the mmorpg, do we want you to kill it with what % of your mana bar, and that’s the type of perspective we’re going with for it. We dont want you to sit down after every fight.
Q: Will there be a class that uses fists or gauntlets to brawl it out?
A: Our weapon system isnt tied to classes. You can use any weapon on any class. We do want gauntlets, it depends on the resources we have to make that happen. If we have time to do that, we will.
Q: I like the 3rd person action camera in apocalypse, will it be in the mmo too?
A: It will be in the action combat stance for the mmo.
Q: How will you respond to exploits, new things that happen in systems that you dont plan for?
A: It depends on the imbalance we’re talking about. Like the node system unless something goes catastrophically wrong, it’ll be fine. The goal is to let the emerging gameplay live and breathe and not constrain it. We would get involved for like exploits or duping or if the node system melted down. But for example if people come up with new builds, thats on a case by case basis.
Q: Will the MMO hybrid combat be skill based or gear based in terms of who will win a fight?
A: The goal is to emphasize skill over gear. But gear will be a VERY important role in your ability to perform. But ultimately the player with the higher skill level is going to have the edge in combat so to speak. Like level 1 will never take on a lvl 60. But relatively within 5-10 levels, we want that to be where the skill takes place. There’s 3 components when it comes to balance when it comes to 1 on 1’s which we arent balancing for. We are balancing for group vs group. We look at level progression, gear progression and class choice. Those 3 things play together the largest role to determine your efficacy in battle. Skill is the weight that tips the scale in people’s favour. So a high skill player below 5-10 levels would be able to tip the balance due to skill. But below those 5-10 levels, it will be extremely difficult to balance things out. Some classes will be better than others, your raid composition will play an important role.
Q: Will it be possible to revert/reset our artisan points?
A: We havent discussed how we want to do it.