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Messages - Ub3rgames

1
General Discussion / Re: Ub3rgames - Status
As a quick update after today's appointment:
It is less bad than expected.


The person in charge of the liquidation seems willing to help resolve the situation.
In the short term, all former debts are frozen, and all new expenses regarding running the business can be paid.
It just has to go through supervision and a plan has to be formulated to work on the frozen debt while not creating new ones.
Appeal may not even be necessary, as this new plan seems far more desirable. Further meetings will occur on Thursday and the coming weeks.

However, for the players, there should be almost no changes.
The server will continue to run, we'll continue our work on the game, however we'll have to start being "greedy" at some point.
After Thursday's meeting we'll know how soon that will be. At the very least the paid race change is planned for next patch.

Thank you all for your patience and calm during these few days of uncertainty.

@makaveli
We'll address your comment in a few days, once time permits. We're trying to catch up lost time this issue caused us.
However, we wanted to already thank you for your effort, especially if you hate communicating.
2
@Battle Smurf
To be blunt: You are wrong.
NA population has never been even close to a majority on New Dawn.

Not in terms of actives, not in terms of accounts and not in terms of interest pre-launch when even ourselves thought NA would make it.
Essentially, making just basic research into similar games shows that EU is a better location for a game like this.
Yes, Netherlands or Ireland would be better than Paris, but on that, great rates and years of trust won.

@Rimamok
Everything is done remotely, as we explained back then, it would not have been an issue to move.
As said above, it just didn't make much sense to do so.
3
General Discussion / Re: Ub3rgames - Status
@Nataz @Asdrael
Once the judgement is gone through, a lot of options are shut off, but the procedure is extremely slow, especially in case of an appeal.
We can obtain a full authorization of operation during that process and we've read of simple cases lasting months to years.
But again, too soon to tell how it will turn out.

However accepting the liquidation and carrying on under a different tag would be seen as tax/debt evasion. Not really an option.
Maybe for the employees, but Marc would be out for sure.

@memes @Rimamok @IsilithTehroth @Wyverex
Our previous answer was more of a matter of "what is worse/more urgent for the NPE".
In our case, we believe a bit of hand holding via self generating goals will help the NPE the most.

Ideally we should redo/expand the tutorial and add many more features.
An help button in game could direct to a website, like it used to. A "getting started" page would maybe alleviate these issues a bit.

@Bloodtest
Unfortunately, we cannot give any ETA on that. More racial stuff will be worked on after the bindstone quest patch.
As for 2.2, it is mostly a patch to address frequent community grievances.
It won't be breaking much new ground, but it should hopefully please many.

@hecate355 @SomeBK
From what we could gather as to why there is no need for confirmation of reception is that there are so many companies being created and completely disappearing that they would never solve cases if they had to wait.
We doubt we have a case on that one, as it is assumed it is our own fault for not knowing.

@allibobba
We have never been only 2. Even at the very start we were 3 doing full time work.
We reached 8 employees at some point, then went down to 6, 4 of those being devs.

It was not a one month vacation, but a rotation, and it was sorely needed.
Remember we've been running the server since summer 2016. We have people here who had not taken a day off in 2+ years with 60h+ weeks.
It was either that, or burning out before what was supposed to be a big push.

@JagoTadali @SomeBK
Please read again. What we were not aware of was the liquidation procedure.
There would have been a problem regardless, perhaps even worse, because we would not have been made aware until too late.

@Rigan @Rimamok @Nuyur
We have been trying to gain good will from a part of the population we, in hindsight, had no hope of changing the perception.
It was a mistake, and a reaction to a vocal minority. The past few months has taught us that.
We cannot fight the beliefs of the 1%. Best just to power through for the sake of the 99%.

4
General Discussion / Re: Ub3rgames - Status
@fitteslim
We cannot pay the debt without charging people more aggressively. If we did, it would be a matter of a few months.
We were riding the tail end, and if Bindstone Quests were delayed again, it would be worrying.
Hence the efforts placed on 2.2 as a "community request" patch and working on 2 fronts.
Just to edge our risks and promote the Champion System and other "long to read" patches.

@Bionicpt
Revealing the numbers is not possible for various reasons.
That's why we've always only talked about trends.

@memes @Rimamok
Regarding a tutorial, a wiki page on the help button would be great and something we had in mind.
However that's not where the drop off is. Usually, people are confused in any MMO and are accepting of that, even enjoying the discovery.
The biggest drop off we've observed is once they understand and get to the "Now what?" step.
Hence champions, bindstone quests and then racial wars related content.

@Xipos
We had a few questions to ask for what we consider the more controversial changes.
Otherwise, most of it stems from either stalking or directly probing players. And of course long standing stuff on our internal lists.
We could tentatively open discussions, but we want to focus on this discussion here before moving on.

@Nataz
That lack of material assets may actually help us from what we've gathered, but we have not had any proper council yet.
On that, more info next week.
5
General Discussion / Re: Ub3rgames - Status
We tend to always think long-term, and what has the better chances to make the game go big in the end.

We had a good launch, solid retention afterwards and multiple hundreds new users per months.
We also knew by experience during InDev that the game had a natural tendency to grow after its initial drop-off.
That period started in June for Live. We stabilized and have had more and more concurrent users since.

So the plan was to give the final blow pretty soon by capitalizing on the Bindstone Quests and promote the game again.
Those who spoke to Marc early this week know how good we were feeling lately.
6
General Discussion / Re: Ub3rgames - Status
To clarify once again:
We were aware of the debt and in touch with collectors about it.
To our awareness, the situation was under control. We would have had additional late fees, and they could eventually come to this.
While not entirely innocent in the matter, we expected to at least have a heads-up.

As we said, we had an almost friendly call with the collectors earlier this week and even had good news for them.
They were happy to discuss an over time payment of the debt. This is why this is all so weird to us.

One point we forgot to address in the previous post is the payment platform.
We either have a badly timed technical issue on it, unlikely, or the issues on it are linked to this case.
We shut it down but left PayPal up, as it covers customers well in case things do turn sour sooner rather than later.

Before making any push, be it marketing wise or with the community, we want to know more about the situation.
The last thing we want is to worsen things by panicking. We'll operate as planned for now, and remain conservative.
Either way, paid race changes are planned for the next patch. We can even move it up by having Marc sleep less and do it manually. :p

Note though that one way to make a good appeal case is to get a decently sized influx of funds after/during the court order.
The option is considered, we just do not want to do it inconsiderately. Refrain from donating unless ready to accept eventual consequences.

For investors, we have been in touch with potential leads and brokers.
The plan was/is to raise what was needed to do a graphics overhaul, cover other debts/expenses and top it off with a marketing campaign.
With how launch went and with the last few months, we had a pretty good case.

This might complicate things, or some may see it an opportunity to get a better deal out of us due to our situation.
Too soon to tell.
7
General Discussion / Re: Ub3rgames - Status
TL;DR/
We have to unfortunately confirm the situation:
There has indeed been a court judgement concerning the company.


We initially did not believe it because the website had inaccurate/outdated information and, in our mind, it was most likely a troll.
We were not aware we were even assigned to court, and we learned it through you guys. Yes, we know how that sounds.
Marc has an appointment with the liquidator on Tuesday.
We will keep you posted as things evolve.

This is not necessarily the end, as thankfully, there is an appeal procedure.
As we understand it, this judgement is essentially: "this company will never be able to pay up, so better close it down.".
We can contest that and make a case that we can indeed end up paying the debt.

Our plan is to essentially lawyer up and fight.
This process may take months, and we have no intention to go down.
Not after all the sacrifices we've done in the last 3 years.

In more details:
Had @Xipos not found it by chance, we might not have learned about it, and they might not have known we still existed/operated.
Apparently they didn't even know we were running a game called New Dawn.

We received neither paper mail, online mail, nor phone calls regarding the court order.
However, as we learned, it is not required to get a "confirmation of reception" for these kind of courts.
Meaning that even if they did not reach us, it is considered our fault for not showing up.

The debt is real.
It was a debt that could be absorbed with only a few months of subs, and we were gearing up for that thanks to the recent activity growth.
The irony is that we received a paper mail AND a phone call on their behalf earlier this week.
They knew how to reach us and didn't seem aware either... That fed our incredulity too.

We'll do all it takes to continue to operate, but there will be consequences and limitations that we'll have in the short term.
An appeal process will take time, most likely months, but we won't go down easily.

Yes we are still working on a patch, one we were hoping to start to QA next week.
It will be an Update 2.2: Community Requests.

Mainly frequent requests read in-game, on the forums and on discord.
Also some housecleaning of bugs and dirty shortcuts we made in the code to gain time.
Essentially, time consuming changes that don't require much collaboration or thinking to do.
Ideal for a period where people take turns getting some time off.
A "back to school" progress update about it and some input threads were meant to be opened.

We'll power through and aim for the patch to be before the end of the month.

Please, keep the trolling to a minimum during this time of turmoil.
We'll be fielding questions for a few more hours.
8
General Discussion / Re: Ub3rgames - Status
As a quick reply to this post:
No official order reached us as of this day.
This is the first we hear of this and we do not know how truthful this website is.

We will look into it and update you as soon as we know if there is actually something to worry about.

On our end, we're not going anywhere.
9
We doubt that your source is reliable or even talked to a dev. Let it be known that our devs do not go out enough to talk to people.
However, it is certainly lucky. There was a meeting 3 weeks ago, and others in the weeks prior and after.

To answer the question in clear and concise form:
Continuing has never been in question. We never considered giving up and aren't ready to do so.
What we did do is have a meeting on how best to continue, and follow up meetings to go forward.

In more details:
The game has done mostly as expected, better in some cases, worse in others, but it is "within parameters".
However, it is not enough to grow and recruit more, and definitively not enough to do any of the large overhaul like UI and graphics.
We can continue patching and it seems we could get a growing population over time. However that will be a slow process.

We had planned for slow, we've been realistic from the start, but today we feel dissatisfied. We want more.
So the past few weeks, the non technical staff has been working at acquiring contacts and getting in touch with people in the industry. Nothing concrete yet, but such an external meeting took place in the time frame of this post.
It was too soon for us to mention it, but we want to "get out of the garage", hence hinting at it in the progress update.

You most likely share our frustrations.
We have in our hands a game that ruins other games once tasted, full of potential and quirks.

Our recurring observation is that there is true wonder from new players, they see that potential and enjoy their time, up to a point.
That's why our focus is on things like PvE, bindstone quests, alignment, character diversity, marketplaces and so on.
These are the thing that will bridge the gap between infatuation and love. That's what we call NPE.

In short: We've been too conservative over the years. We want to be more aggressive.
We're working towards that.

That Brightlocker page is official.
It is something we worked on prior to release, but ended up not pushing too much because we didn't want to be greedy.
That has been our general stance on many things, as we said earlier, we tend to be too conservative.
We haven't thought about it in over 6 months as we got more preoccupied with the day to day work.

But now that's the cat's out of the bag, let's hear out what the community thinks about it.
We will be deciding what to do with it, either closing the page, or go full in on it.
How do you guys feel?
10
We're not justifying or excusing the fact we haven't communicated in a month.
The post saying "in a couple days" is a huge blunder. An example of why we don't post alone.
The simple explanation is that time flies when you have your head down rushing, and we got a big case of stupid.

Answering @cutsmyself 's post, but also addressing a general perception:
We either launched too soon or too late.

Completing "everything" for the end of InDev was never the plan.
Remember the context, and what we have actually announced and promised: Launching DFO as it was in 2012 and expand on it.
We have announced the direction well in advance, especially controversial topics, to let no one regret investing time in the project.

As a reminder, here is what we promised would be at the end of InDev:
https://forums.darkfallnewdawn.com/index.php/topic,164.0.html
Here is what we actually delivered:
https://darkfallnewdawn.com/roadmap/

We blurred the lines by feature creeping during InDev, and that was a rookie mistake.
While the game is objectively better for it, we squandered hype and are fighting against human perceptions.
Rather than getting a DFO++, people felt they were getting a DND--. hence our behavior since release.

We're trying to counter that feeling. We're keeping our heads down and focusing on patching.
Nevertheless, every extra week of InDev was a detriment to the game's chances of success.

By extension, this is also why people feel we are too slow, despite the work done per patch growing constitently.
We tackle more and more complex subjects, and yes, we will sometimes find some that are more complex than planned.
We really do need to continue this way, because only larger additions will be externally marketable.

That doesn't mean however that we're satisfied, hence our mentions at the end of the progress update of looking at opportunities.
Queue incoming reply in a thread about a meeting.
11
After stepping back a bit, it is clear that we tried to start a discussion that was not the discussion the community wanted us to have.
People who the post wasn't aimed at felt targeted, and maybe that was due to being too verbose and not conveying our point efficiently.

We are not justifying or excusing not posting for a month.
We are even more to blame for not following through after saying we would post.
Especially with Darkfall's history.

The simple explanation is that we had our heads down working on the game.
In these cases, time flies, and while it might be ok for a week, a month was way too much.

We clearly cannot communicate like we used to during InDev, yet we've tried to keep the same methods.
A unified front with all posts being validated and perfected was great back then, but no longer sustainable.
We'll expriment with other methods. We cannot guarantee it will be better, but at least it will try to address the concerns.

For what we intended with this topic, @Nuyur  summed part of it well, but that's a discussion we can have at a later point.
Eventually, we'll need to find a way to let the ghosts of the past go. As humans giving our lives to this game, we had hoped some of it was already gone.


Responses to @rawrgasm questions
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
12
@Camera One
Sorry if it was unclear, what we call 2.2 is only the title and player progression changes.
While it is a decent amount of time spent, it isn't marketable to people who don't know the game.
We could hold off on it and make a larger 3.0 we could push out more aggressively.

@CrucialUnit
We did make a mistake of having someone posting an ETA for an update and the team not following up on it.
For that we apologies. We deserve flack for it.

The rest is discussed in the other thread where we're opening a dialog with a segment of the population we do not understand.
There are mindsets that we cannot relate to and are trying not to ignore when moving forward.

@kingwae112
Brightlocker is something we were experimenting with prior to launch but didn't really get any follow up.
Can you please have your friend contact us by private message to see how we can remedy or deliver on the purchase.
Thank you for bringing it up.

@Kal Venom
On titles, we made a last minute change prior to launch where we tried to compromise with worries on the forums.
In hindsight, and given the feedback since release, it seems that we were too conservative on specific points.
The benefit is that it also serves to equalize the progression between physical/magical playstyles.

@Niburu
Unfortunately, we didn't have more news beyond "we're working on it".
We were in crunch mode to try to complete bindstone quests before august, but we didn't make it in time.
Though we had some side things to mention worth making an update.

@xsevenbeta
We tend to try to communicate once a week when given the time, but when in rush we will focus on the game first.
We cannot do a post like this every week because it will often be just "still the same thing as last week". That thread is meant to remain clean and always informative for the occasional reader.
With more free time in the coming month, we expect to be able to communicate more.

On moderators, we will take charge of the issues, but we do not want "civilians" with any powers, even if it is just of moderation.

@AshDoo
We miss that level of day to day interactions, but it wasn't sustainable with the increased support needs of post release.
We even started a weaning period late InDev, do get used to being more efficient with our communication time.
We may have underestimated how jarring it would be, despite having warned our InDev players it would drop.
13
On that quote about "in a couple days", we made a mistake and we apologies for that.
If your issue was with the quoted post, then our reply in this megathread was not addressed to you.
Tonight's post was addressed to the people who saw abandonment even before that mistake.

However, such a mistake is pretty much an example of why a single person should never post without editing/proof reading.
Which is sort of the point we were making: There is no room for error with a team post.
We are dealing with a multi-language community, every word matters for comprehension.
It will be quoted back to us if, like here, we make a mistake.

We generally read, write, edit and proof read with multiple people specifically to reduce these kind of issues.
Some go through the cracks, but with the amount of posting we've done in the past 3 years, it has proven to be a reliable system.
In that context, man-day means combined time of multiple people. If you have 2-3 people reading/merging threads and then replying to it, 4 real hours can become 10 hours for the team.


Following up on the question: "What prevents from doing short updates?"

The main point is that we have to be externally minded in all our communication.
A "Still alive, still working" every couple weeks is weird for anyone from the outside. "Why would such a post exist? Oo"
The thing is, to our knowledge, it is unheard of outside of our community. It is also why we're discussing this in off-topic.

In conclusion, if we post something:
- It has to be newsworthy or provide legitimate new information,
- it has to make sense and match the expectations of an external audience,
- and it cannot be rushed due to extreme scrutiny.


Which segue on to the main point:

We've hunkered down for a patch before, even for similar amount of time, and it is a sign that work is ongoing.
In this case, the plan has been outlined in a progress update, confirmed in a following patch note's "what next" section and so on.
Given the commitment and patterns shown in the past 3 years, the logical assumption is that we're working.

What has shocked us is that there are people who seem to have genuinely believed conspiracy theories we initially thought were jokes.
And that's before our mistake post, but still, it wasn't the first time that we get panic in less than a week or two.
Some people that we consider sincere have been on that boat. That is what doesn't make sense to us.

It is true that our posts are generally emotionless. In tonight's case, we wanted to try something different.
We decided to respond on a more emotional level because we did not expect our usual way to yield results.
It may have fallen flat, we're not used to that after all, but please don't fault us for trying.

It is important for us to open the dialog, because no matter what you believe, expansions are very much on the table.

As explained in the progress update we posted since, frequent small patches will not cut it in the times to come.
We realize the franchise has an history, and that has informed a lot of our choices, but we can't let it harm the game's prospects.
We will have to work on larger things rather than limit ourselves to 6 weeks max per feature out of fear to trigger flashbacks.
14
Greetings,

This progress update will be a bit samey to the previous one as we're still working on the same technical subjects.
Champions have been delivered and seem to have been well received, and the next big step is still getting bindstone quests in.
We have more details on some other features though and general information.

Bindstone quests:
This is a crucial piece of the NPE which should provide a bridge between infatuation and love for the game.
We usually take around 6 weeks to complete a feature in a new part of the code, but this one is proving to be a lot more challenging than initially planned.
it is sort of kicking our collective butt.

We've hunkered down to rush it before August, to avoid overlap with people's vacations, but it will miss the mark and still needs additional time.
Sorry, but we do not have an ETA as of yet, but most of the technical team has been drawn to work on it.

Race changes:
We took some time to work on that front and implemented a system for integrating external services.
This has not been sent to QA yet, and some web development will still be needed for it to be completed, but it is no longer in the inactive bin.
We'll be posting a reply to the InDev race change PSA once we've decided on a cutoff date for it.

Titles and magical/physical grind equalization:
As we mentioned in the 2.1 update notes, the work on that front has been nearly completed for a while now.
During the August period, while the team is not at full capacity, we may do a final push to release it as an Update 2.2.
Though we are hesitant to do so, with the reasons explained a bit later in this post.

For more details on the feature itself:
Titles will sort of go back to an earlier stage of their design where they were supposed to be a lot more impactful on utility.
Active skills and spells will now be linked in more intuitive ways, differentiating between damage and utility skills.
Note that as always, we make a distinction between grind and long term progression. The aim is to make it more organic to progress, not necessarily faster.
it should also reduce the frustration of getting to viability at a different pace between different combat playstyles.

We have not started work on that aspect, but we're considering also making title interact with the new player protection.
The title system the way it ended up being setup is made in a way that allows new players to change their mind in case they try and prefer something else and not be limited by cooldowns.
We'd like to extend that to not have penalties or perhaps even earlier unlocks when done during the new player protection, which is only once per account.

The path forward:
Talking about new accounts, we'd like to talk about our plans to switch towards new player acquisition.
We will aim to release mostly externally marketable patches from now on. this is why we're possibly going to skip 2.2.

Organic acquisition has been relatively good lately, but to help it out and make marketing efforts worth it, it is preferable to have newsworthy patches.
We've confirmed that smaller patches didn't perform well on that front, compared to something like the champion system.
Retention wise, we have reached our saddle point about 6 to 8 weeks ago. It happened later but is slightly higher than what was anticipated.
Since then, active population has been mostly stable, with a slight upward trend during July.

However, this is not enough for us to speed up, let alone tackle some of the larger overhauls we'd like to do such as UI and graphics.
We have focused predominantly on NPE features, and have not been able to branch in enough subjects to always satisfy all segments of the population.
Where we're getting at is that we'd like to get out of the garage, and the non-technical staff have been working on that lately.

In conclusion:
We're taking more time than we had hoped on Bindstone quests, and do not have an ETA yet.
Update 2.2 is still on the table, but we're hesitant to do it for strategic reasons.
The game seems to be ready to go on the offensive, and we're prepping up for that, and hopefully more.
While the past few months have been heavy crunch mode, especially July, we'll regroup a bit during August to have a strong Fall and Winter.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!
15
Announcements / Re: Progress Updates
Greetings,

This progress update will be a bit samey to the previous one as we're still working on the same technical subjects.
Champions have been delivered and seem to have been well received, and the next big step is still getting bindstone quests in.
We have more details on some other features though and general information.

Bindstone quests:
This is a crucial piece of the NPE which should provide a bridge between infatuation and love for the game.
We usually take around 6 weeks to complete a feature in a new part of the code, but this one is proving to be a lot more challenging than initially planned.
it is sort of kicking our collective butt.

We've hunkered down to rush it before August, to avoid overlap with people's vacations, but it will miss the mark and still needs additional time.
Sorry, but we do not have an ETA as of yet, but most of the technical team has been drawn to work on it.

Race changes:
We took some time to work on that front and implemented a system for integrating external services.
This has not been sent to QA yet, and some web development will still be needed for it to be completed, but it is no longer in the inactive bin.
We'll be posting a reply to the InDev race change PSA once we've decided on a cutoff date for it.

Titles and magical/physical grind equalization:
As we mentioned in the 2.1 update notes, the work on that front has been nearly completed for a while now.
During the August period, while the team is not at full capacity, we may do a final push to release it as an Update 2.2.
Though we are hesitant to do so, with the reasons explained a bit later in this post.

For more details on the feature itself:
Titles will sort of go back to an earlier stage of their design where they were supposed to be a lot more impactful on utility.
Active skills and spells will now be linked in more intuitive ways, differentiating between damage and utility skills.
Note that as always, we make a distinction between grind and long term progression. The aim is to make it more organic to progress, not necessarily faster.
it should also reduce the frustration of getting to viability at a different pace between different combat playstyles.

We have not started work on that aspect, but we're considering also making title interact with the new player protection.
The title system the way it ended up being setup is made in a way that allows new players to change their mind in case they try and prefer something else and not be limited by cooldowns.
We'd like to extend that to not have penalties or perhaps even earlier unlocks when done during the new player protection, which is only once per account.

The path forward:
Talking about new accounts, we'd like to talk about our plans to switch towards new player acquisition.
We will aim to release mostly externally marketable patches from now on. this is why we're possibly going to skip 2.2.

Organic acquisition has been relatively good lately, but to help it out and make marketing efforts worth it, it is preferable to have newsworthy patches.
We've confirmed that smaller patches didn't perform well on that front, compared to something like the champion system.
Retention wise, we have reached our saddle point about 6 to 8 weeks ago. It happened later but is slightly higher than what was anticipated.
Since then, active population has been mostly stable, with a slight upward trend during July.

However, this is not enough for us to speed up, let alone tackle some of the larger overhauls we'd like to do such as UI and graphics.
We have focused predominantly on NPE features, and have not been able to branch in enough subjects to always satisfy all segments of the population.
Where we're getting at is that we'd like to get out of the garage, and the non-technical staff have been working on that lately.

In conclusion:
We're taking more time than we had hoped on Bindstone quests, and do not have an ETA yet.
Update 2.2 is still on the table, but we're hesitant to do it for strategic reasons.
The game seems to be ready to go on the offensive, and we're prepping up for that, and hopefully more.
While the past few months have been heavy crunch mode, especially July, we'll regroup a bit during August to have a strong Fall and Winter.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!