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Dev thread Coming patches and the path forward.

Discussion in 'Design Discussions' started by kilrain, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. kilrain

    kilrain Shadow Knight
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    I wanted to take some time to give an update on where we're at with the next few patches and I noticed there have been quite a few remarks about needing a target audience, direction, or path lately and I would like to address these here as well the best I can to shed some light on the reasoning behind decisions the team makes and about the future direction of the game.



    What is our target audience?

    It's a good question and though some will not agree with what we have to say on this, this is our belief and what contributes to decisions being made and the direction of development. To start we need to break down what the game is and isn't so we can determine what we need to do moving forward.



    First, let's take a quick look at what Rise of Agon(RoA) is not.


    RoA is not an arena.

    Arena games do not require leveling, farming, harvesting, and crafting to compete. Arena games have a set number of friends and enemies, an objective or two for each match which only last a short period.


    RoA is not a survival game.

    Though RoA, like other sandbox MMO’s, shares a lot of qualities it is not a survival game for several key reasons. Survival games have many small instances of the world where each one can, and typically do, have very different rulesets and different mods to the gameplay. If you're not happy with the current 'political' outcome of the world you can switch or create your world, there’s no reason to continue in a world if you’re not the top dogs. If you don't want PVP you can create your pve world or join an existing one.


    So what is RoA?

    What ROA is is a persistent sandbox PVP MMORPG. Everyone must share the same world, same rules, same spawns, same everything. If you're getting dominated and losing a war you cannot switch worlds to start new and there is no matchmaking for even fights. Any type of focus that would push RoA to be like any of the other genres would require an extensive revamp to the world design, server architecture, character development, and in the end we would be creating a completely different game. This is not an option for us as a team, nor is it even something I would want to partake in as it is not what we set out to create.



    What does this mean for the type of players we want to attract?

    Well, we want people who want to play an MMORPG, are interested in a sandbox, and who are interested in non-instanced PVP encounters and full loot. The problem, as history has taught us, is that even if many players are intrigued by the idea of open-world PVP and even full loot, the majority are not willing to stick it out for long if they lose too much. The most successful pvp mmo's with or without full loot have areas within the game for players to chill, relax, do pve without the worry of pvp, or at least not losing all their stuff when they die. While the hardcore nature of DF has been something many of us have dealt with over the years, myself and the team feel it's extremely important to make that shift not just for bringing in new players, but also because many players have less time than they use to and making changes in lawful areas will only help them be more competitive with their limited time.



    What do we focus on to achieve our goals?

    We have a lot of different options, but each has its caveats. If we look at the different options and break them down we can attempt to see what kind of an effect focusing on any one of these might have on the game and hopefully give us a better idea of where the main focus should be. PVP is the main draw to the game for many players, so let’s first look at some aspects to PVP that we could focus on improving. We've seen and had discussions about factions, arenas, clan warfare, and more. These three are the most talked about so I'll address those.

    The elephant in the room for many at the moment is an arena, so let's take a look at what adding an arena right now might look like.

    1. Server architecture: To have an arena that makes sense we have to instance it in some fashion. People don't want to wait for players A and B to get done before they can fight so we can't limit the number of arenas. We need to take the time to build it properly for scale and allow it to run on cloud servers so that they can be spun up whenever necessary. Otherwise, we’ll be paying for servers we aren’t using or require manual intervention to add/remove servers depending on current activity in arenas.

    2. We need the area itself so we need to build it. We can cheat and use existing assets or areas by breaking up the world, but will still need to do some building to make it feel right instead of some cut-out pieces. Still, creating new areas would be the best option to "do it right" in my opinion.

    3. Simply allowing people to fight another in an area isn’t enough, there needs to be supporting mechanics to make the feature work properly. We'll need to create the ladder system, matchmaking, and whatever else this requires to satisfy that goal.
    All of this is doable of course and we have spent time working out how to handle it in design discussions, but it will still take a decent amount of time to complete if we work solely on it and nothing but it to get it out quickly due to the sheer amount of design, programming and asset creation, let alone testing and tweaking. During this time nothing new could be added to the game as it would tie up pretty much the entire dev team. This is a huge negative and as we've borne witness to through previous months of no patches. We seem to get better feedback from you if we’re patching more frequently, unfortunately, this means larger projects will take longer.

    We also need to look at the effect it will likely have on the game like the fact that it will remove people from the open world rather than put them out in it. Sure people will need to farm more gear, but in reality, any activity will do that so I don't believe adding something that will take people out of the world for most of their playtime is the best solution right now. It will be a fantastic addition once we've added other components that give players things to do in the open world and population has increased. Also, like we're doing with TCS right now, we can work on it over time while adding in other smaller additions more frequently rather than having long waits in between patches.


    What about a faction system?

    Factions are another way to accentuate PVP and encourage team interaction. A true faction system has never been in the game as the “racial wars” that were in place were mostly meaningless shortly after a new player joins. So creating a meaningful faction system requires building it from scratch. The list of requirements to create factions isn't nearly as daunting as an arena, however, because it is a part of the existing world.


    What do we need to create a faction system?

    1. The lore needs to be written. While not everyone requires lore for things to happen, it is an important piece for most and a good driving force behind how the mechanics are put together.

    2. We need goals, objectives, and purpose for the factions to contest over.

    3. Then the development needs to be done, though arguably it would be the least time-consuming piece of these 3 requirements.

    What kind of impact will this have on the game?

    Well, this would be optional, so players are not forced to partake. It gives a reason to fight if done properly. People work together that wouldn't normally work together. The negative is it also has the potential to take away from one of the games founding features, clan warfare. I believe that is the only true negative, but there could be more.



    Ok so what about a Territory Control System?

    Territory control is something we've been designing and working toward implementing with some supporting features and backend work already completed. It does require work on components that we didn't think it would originally like the clan and journal revamps that are taking place, though admittedly slower than we had hoped. This is similar to factions in the level of work required. The final design is pretty much complete outside of final changes possible during implementation and what is left will be determined as we progress.


    What kind of impact will this have on the game?

    This takes one of the core components of RoA, clan warfare, and gives more reason to participate, more regular objectives outside of just sieges and supporting systems to exert varying levels of control over regions of the world. One of the biggest attractions of a sandbox game is the ability to affect the world and other players. Part of TCS includes clan city upkeep, so clans will have to spend increasingly more resources to control multiple holdings and areas. Smaller siege-like battles will be had daily demanding more resources to be used up which stimulates the economy and gives purpose to “builders” who don’t necessarily like to PVP. What kind of negative impact does it have? It's clan focused so it doesn't directly add anything for people who choose not to partake in clans.


    What about open world pvp?

    That too can be fun and sometimes it's more fun than sieges or pre-arranged fights. I remember stating very early on that pvp is already there, we just need to create pve, points of interest, and other activities to get people into the world. We've been discussing pve ideas literally for years, but for the most part, they either require just as much development time as some of the components above, or they just don't quite tick all the boxes and don't feel like a good fit for the game.


    We have come across some ideas that do fit and would be great additions, and the best part is their development time is relatively low for the value we'll get out of them.

    What effect do these pve improvements have on the game? It gives players something to do while at the same time putting them into the world and ultimately increasing the chances of open-world pvp encounters. The only negative is that these changes will take a small portion of time away from "full time" development of the bigger features above, but in the end, we'll have new features being implemented while we wait for the larger clan warfare, arena, and faction elements.



    So, what is our goal and what path will we take to get there?

    Ultimately everything we've discussed here is a piece of Embers of War, but with a few extra additions and our goal is to get them in the game. I think the biggest difference is what path we take to get there. We are no longer going to wait until EoW as a whole is complete before we patch. Instead, we'll call EoW complete once all of the components are in the game. I believe as long as the additions we put in can stand on their own we need to put them in and not wait until the entire expansion is complete. We will utilize as much of the team as possible to complete new pve activities while we continue working towards Territory Control. Once territory control is complete we'll likely move our major focus, either factions or the arena, we'll see where we stand at that time to determine the best option.



    With that said, here is a sneak peek at the next few pve patches we have coming up:



    Armor Dyes:

    The system is in place and we only have a few more updates and it will be ready. I expect to have it patched in by the 30th. Details will be in a separate post shortly following this one.



    Lawful Zones and Looting Changes:

    This is a controversial but necessary change for the future of the game. We plan to introduce this within a few weeks and will include changes to where new players spawn and new player quests. More details will be in a post devoted to this.



    Oblivion Cards:

    A new system some of you will be familiar with from other games such as Path of Exile. We have a good portion of this complete, the base card design is done and we expect to get this out shortly after or possibly alongside the lawful changes. More details about the system, some screenshots, and expected release will come in another forum post.


    These are not the only updates coming, these are just the most notable. We'll continue to patch in new textures, minor adjustments to dynamic nodes, new skins, or other tweaks along with or in between these changes. We feel that having lawful changes, some new activities for people and both improved graphics and performance this would be a great time for a small marketing push as well.

    I hope this was informative and encouraging. We wouldn't be here without your support and if we can continue to get that support I believe we can not only keep ROA alive but also expand and continue to bring in new people for years to come, but we cannot do it without you.
     
  2. Fawley

    Fawley Infernal
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    Looking forward to see what these new loot changes entail.
     
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  3. The Red King

    The Red King Black Knight
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    Things to fix RoA immediately would be

    Revert combat totally to Beta - EVERYTHING and then start from there with WoF nerf - eye rot - pungeant etc

    I would love an Arena, but an easy way faster fix IMO is make 1v1 portals at the billboards / 2v2 portals at the billboards / and then the normal zerg v zerg - It would be much easier and would satisfy most. You can more 1v1 portals to villages if it becomes the thing to do.

    Fix the daily quests- add cool loot - something to do is necessary

    Add R80 mats to the trade routes - they are myth if you think they drop

    Add in rare epic loot from pve- people hate static loot. Remember how excited you got when you found a purple in wow?? Replicate that.

    Add relics - alah sockets for character builds - + 2% fire damage and they can all stack

    Fix transmutes!!!

    Make it so you can slowly level your stats to 120 via pve

    Give bonuses to the 4 closest tiles to where your house is

    No loot drop for Noobies in lawful - this is a must - make sure center / vcps / and lawless cities over ride this. But make sure the noobies can die - but they get stood up - this will make it so they can practice fighting back and feel the fun of combat without the loss of gear

    You need dura loss on gank - make it 1/2 each gank - nobody should care cause if you die the gear is not yours anymore

    Remove markets from cities - make it at the starter cities so they are populated

    Make it so you can port from capital npc city to the others

    Add some easy to add bow abilities - straight DoT shot / Maybe small Aoe shot - that only heavy hybrids can use - that would bring the archers here

    Last easy thing is VCP loot is X amount always - that amount is divided by how many people come


    All those things dont seem too hard IMO and would make the game poppin!
     
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  4. Jean-Claude

    Jean-Claude Spellgazer
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    Please stop suggesting more combat reverts.... Dev's have focused entirely too much time on it already and it has brought back a total of 0 players to the game who said it would bring them back.
     
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  5. Inositol

    Inositol Obsidian Golem
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    PvE is the life blood of every single MMORPG that has ever existed, and the PvE in RoA is abysmal, with the only scale for difficulty being bullet sponges.

    With more engaging PvE, PvP will happen naturally.

    There's a reason that every other MMO recycle a lot of the same mechanics, because they work. ie: "Don't stand in the fire"

    Mechanic #1: Monster casts ray at player, 100% chance hit(hopefully) (Enlarged) Earthquake animation appears at the feet of the player After a set amount of time, (~3 seconds?) A secondary animation triggers, either a very large Impale or Volcano animation Once the second animation triggers, any players in the area designated by the original Earthquake animation take a very large amount of damage(~400 damage?) The base spell would be any field AoE. The first set of ticks would do no damage, and would only serve as a delay / the initial trigger for the Earthquake animation. The second tick start time would be when the secondary animation triggers, and deals the large amount of damage.


    Mechanic #2: Monster casts a ray with a tracking animation (insect swarm, pungent, mana / stam / health leech, etc.) Replace animation if possible For the duration of the animation, there would be no damage dealt until the end, at which time, if the player isn't parrying, a large amount of damage is dealt. The color of the animation could be changed (red/blue?), for damage / disable. If the player is parrying during the off-color animation(disable), they receive a considerable amount of damage and receive the disable debuff.


    Mechanic #3: Monster becomes invulnerable while casting a very specific animation. During this invulnerablity, smaller mobs (Snowclan elder?) could be spawned, except they have no offensive capability. Instead, the only spell they would have would be Heal Other, modified to heal a much larger amount of health. They would all attempt to heal the main monster until killed, at which point the main monster ends its invuln stage.


    Mechanic #4: The Svartdvergir Doombringer and Ironbeard Heavyfist both employ a "stomp" mechanic. This mechanic could be altered for a stationary boss, with an altered delay on damage, where terrain allows for "hiding" from the damage. Coupled with mechanic #1, this could make for some very intense encounters. With the increased difficulty / potential damage, the health of these "boss" mobs would be lowered. The goal would be shorter, more intense PvE. With PvP in mind, these boss encounters would have to be put on a specific cooldown timer (longer than 1 hour). The result would be PvP over the spawn itself, instead of players getting jumped during a lengthy, tedious grind. Because the length of the boss fight would be decreased, players would be less able to camp these spawns with alts and slowly port in a force after farming begins.



    I'm 99.9999% sure that EVERY SINGLE mechanic / animation exists already for re-purposing to introduce these new mechanics, and many more.
     
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  6. Shieldbreaker

    Shieldbreaker Deadeye
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    Arena better be coming in one way or another for this game to survive.
     
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  7. Sameog

    Sameog Crypt Guard
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    I wouldn't even flinch if you dropped everything and full pushed towards the arena, but I know that won't happen.

    Don't forget about the newbie experience... Default hotkeys are almost done. Simple tutorials! Get this in before your "small marketing push"

    I like the idea of adding 1v1/2v2 option in the billboard in the meantime while we wait for the full arena.

    I'm sure you guys are working hard. I hope that all of this time spent on territory control won't be in vain. Godspeed
     
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  8. Auron

    Auron Celestial
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    If you dont make changes to the pvp gameplay...You can do what you want guys ...i like the faction sistem idea ...the arena and territory control...

    New specs?
    New racial skills for pve?
    Replace gear bag from the banc?
    Buy ready bags from the market?
     
    #8 Auron, Aug 18, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  9. Sero

    Sero Gnoll Vilegaunt
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    I really hope its a flagging system and not this. This doesn't even fix the issue of harassment of newer players which the system is suppose to quell.
    --- Post updated ---
    Div Cards???

    Noice. They're half a meme at PoE but they still serve a useful purpose. Should brighten up loot tables and allow for "rare" drops without breaking the game.
     
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  10. Saeora

    Saeora Goblin Scout

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    I like this, and completely agree, my own notes: an easy way to do a simple arena, without adding anything new, would be the current Village Control system but have the billboard as a dungeon/PvP que to where you can't port into the villages until another enemy party/clan ques up at the billboard, and your party spawns on the North/East/West Control Point (and make it so that one party can't spawn in with overwhelming numbers, countering the mob tactic of current VCP)

    This would incentivise 1v1, 2v2s and the mix, and since there are 3 control spawns (N,W,E) have up to 3 clans/parties que, it's work but its less work than making an entire system and area around it. (if you have a party of 20 queing up just random 3* (Edit: However many players of the opposite side que up) of the 20 that que)

    With that out of the way, Ive been talking with my friends and they completely agree the game isn't new player friendly, but you kinda made all the points I was going to :x
     
    #10 Saeora, Aug 18, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  11. WithoutShame

    WithoutShame Infernal
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    1. Thanks for writing out the thought process behind development of RoA.
    2. I disagree on your assessment of building an Arena. You do not need to instance it. You do not need to go crazy with it. There is a ton of use-able tiles in the world already that no one ever goes to. A simple arena would be better than a super complicated arena that takes years to complete.
    3. It seems like from reading this the focus is on doing the PvE improvements while slowly working on TCS in the background. I highly disagree with this idea. TCS needs to be the number 1 priority. There needs to be motivation for people to actually care about the game world. You can adjust PvE loot as much as you want but it won't change anything if people don't care about the game.
     
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  12. streaml1ne

    streaml1ne Wildtribe Mage
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    If you really want builders to participate and be part of the system, even if solo, put random rare ores/timber/cotton back on nodes in lawless areas. They will leave lawful areas for materials. The crafter/PVE type are not always in clans, and clan nodes cannot support a player grinding a mastery regardless, and some of the mastery level materials are way too hard to farm for solo. Give people a slow way to acquire these materials while also exposing them to lawless areas so PVPers have another reason to go out and hunt as well. Removing the minuscule amounts of rare ore on nodes was one of the single worst changes for solo PVE/crafter players. Riding around looking for random popup nodes, while a nice added bonus, is an absolutely boring mechanic.
     
  13. The Red King

    The Red King Black Knight
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    It’s not a revert when it should never have been touched in the first place....
     
  14. kilrain

    kilrain Shadow Knight
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    Let’s not let this thread devolve into a combat discussion.
     
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  15. Andrew

    Andrew Obsidian Golem
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    We are not looking at any other "revert" and will not be doing any combat reverts in the future, this was a one time situation. There will always be balancing and changes/improvements to be made to combat but we're not reverting back anything we will be moving forward. New high end armours for robe, leather armours are going to change the meta and once the models are complete they will be added into the game. We also have plans to add in additional skills for melee/archery style players which is going to give more abilities to non-magic focused players. Balancing out between light, medium, heavy armour playerstyles and melee, archery, magic focuses will be ongoing throughout all changes to ensure we keep a rough equality between the styles. However there will be always pros and cons to each style and depending on the engagement, terrain, etc there will be playstyles that shine better in different areas.

    If you want to discuss combat balance further, let's do it in another thread so we don't distract this one.
     
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  16. BeatIt

    BeatIt Obsidian Golem
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    tx for making it clear Kilrain and sorry u have to do all the work alone.
     
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  17. Not_Primetime

    Not_Primetime Winterbound
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    2323 words written by the main developer (what a waste of time and money). Why is he now the community liaison? Looking at the number of discussions threads he started this summer, he's definitely not focused on writing code. He's too active on the forums to be doing any real work. Oh well I digress.

    That said I agree with everything he said in the thread but let's see some code, get TCS on the public test server. Other wise I see vaporware and the main developer writing community polls and threads.

    On the Arena topic:
    It's funny though after what he said about an arena people are still like.
    [​IMG]
     
    #17 Not_Primetime, Aug 18, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  18. Raap

    Raap Gravelord

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    Not opting to do a major expansion is an even bigger mistake than the last patch. But I'm sure the 20 people that came back for it will come in here to tell me I am wrong.

    Drip-feeding updates isn't going to spark the interest of people and cause a surge of activity with the potential to stick.

    Look, I'm not going to tell a business, how to run their business. All I will say is that this path is not a path forward. Personally, I'd have considered the current RoA version end-of-life while working on a big game-overhauling update, which the EoW expansion originally seemed to try and aim for.

    Now RoA is just setting itself up to be at the complete mercy of other games.

    In our Discord, the hype is gone - no, the basic interest is gone. You had our attention earlier this year and you did absolutely everything wrong since then. The expansion was the only thing we held a sliver of hope for. This is now completely gone.

    So speaking of target audiences, it is evident we're not part of the small clique running the current show. Perhaps it is because we weren't offering as much money as others. That said, I wish the game and BPG all the best.
     
    #18 Raap, Aug 18, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  19. Auron

    Auron Celestial
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    Add new skills..specs...armours...ecc and dont change nothing to the old pvp gameplay... if you need to do some big change make a poll...and im sure you havent to do another revert...
     
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  20. Battle Smurf

    Battle Smurf Oak Lord
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    Thanks for answering some of my long asked questions @kilrain

    Sounds like I AM a part of the target audience for RoA.

    I still think it's going to take all your proposed changes being done + some economy and mob changes to slow item progression initially with hard caps on crafting (example the first 7 days of launch you can only make up to rank 20 gear then after 14 days you can craft up to rank 30 ect) as well as certain SCARCE resource mechanics that must continuously and PERPETUALLY be fought over (TC helps here SOMEWHAT). You MUST keep all players 'hungry' if you want them to fight over things and not become complacent bank sitters.

    MAYBE don't even have certain high end mobs or resources (example leenspar golems) dropping on launch and slowly add them over time in weekly patches to prevent people stacking resources too much for the next hardcap tier of crafting, while also creating new weekly hot spots. Start with like 1 leenspar golem and have it only drop 2 ore per kill then slowly add more golems and up skin/drop rates \back to current levels. I'd also adjust city node rare drops to start low and then scale over time or put other limiting factors early on.

    I'd also consider soft or hard caps the character progression with the caps raised each week in order to prevent early game power cliff gaps that lead to people being stomped out of the game early OR gaining huge snowballing advantages early.

    That way character progression can be quick to a competitive level , but delayed over time to keep people out farming to raise their skills WHILE STILL ALLOWING PEOPLE WHO JOIN LATE TO CATCHUP FAST!

    Of course this would also require a wipe 2 week shutdown and MARKETING CAMPAIGN (grass roots kind of stuff not expensive) and RELAUNCH as "Darkfall 2020 *insert expansion name*

    NOTHING brings new eyes and players (or old people back) to a MMORPG like a wipe relaunch with new features, the GOAL IS TO ACTUALLY KEEP THEM THIS TIME by fixing some of the things that made a lot of people quit, especially in the first couple months.

    Anyway good luck, hope the population rebounds after you implement your game plan and y'all make some real $.
     
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