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Topic: Progress Updates (Read 10133 times) previous topic - next topic

Progress Updates
Greetings,
In this thread we will be doing regular updates on what is being worked on, on our progress and what the next steps are going to be.
This will be a small format, not large or in depth enough to be worth a bigger news entry, but still good to keep you guys updated.

Just like the Server Status thread, we recommend clicking on the notify button to get a warning when a new post is added.
Have a great day.
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Progress Updates
Reply #1
Now that we've done a good part of the hotfixes we needed to do, we can move on to more feature oriented work.
We are mostly working on follow up and simplification changes to complete our stabilization period.

These changes aren't listed in any relevant order beyond they progress state. We'll deliver them as they get completed.

Currently in QA:
- Server restart optimization.
- Loot splitting being stacked by party/clan instead of by individuals.
- Adding crafting stations to hamlets.
- Regeneration and Cantrips schools.
- Anti-blue blocking features.
- Improving spawn scaling values for large monsters.
- Various bug fixing.

Currently being worked on:
- Radical simplification of the market places:
    - Listings lasting 30 days.
    - Listing fees paid on sale at the single rate of 10%.
    - Drag and dropping of multiple items to sell at the same time.
- Encourage contestation of VCPs:
    - Goold rewards for individual characters are changed from hourly to instantly given into the character's backpack, if online within the VCP at the time of capture.
    - The main factor that impacts positively individual character's rewards is now the ongoing modifier. Breaking a long chain will provide the reward the previous owners would have received.
    - Rewarded members of the wining clan reduce the individual rewards of each other. Overall gold gained by the clan is still increased, just slower than before.
    - Individual base rewards are now calculated compared to low/medium end PvE rather than based on high end PvE.
- Clearing last respawn selection after a timer.
- Rework of existing schools.
- Correcting in-game map bugs.
- Rebuilding of loot tables.
- More spawn scaling values tweaking.

A medium term roadmap with more juicy features that are coming after these are delivered will be published early next week.
Stay tuned on this thread for regular progress updates as we complete/start various projects.
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Progress Updates
Reply #2
Tomorrow there will be a patch with:
- All spells are in their final schools.
- Completed Infliction magic and raw magic, at the exception of missile fury.
- Preliminary spellchanting changes, heals are done but hymns still need to be altered.
- The grounded state: This is a modification of the physics engine to flag a character as "grounded", where no displacement effects can impact them.
- VCP chain breaking tweaks as outlined in the discussion on alts, with a reduction of rewards to be perceived closer in value/effort to dungeon dailies.
- VCPs will also go on fixed timers of 25h, no longer based on capture time. They will slide through time zones and no longer stagnate in off hours.
- There will of course be a new randomization of the VCPs as we deliver the patch.

In the next couple weeks:
- More magical changes, delivered as they get completed.
- Contextual gray: The first use being a radius during sieges allowing attackers and defenders to kill any interfering parties without being free targets themselves. Mutual allies will be allowed to kill mutual allies as well.
- Declaring war on ARAC/Evil/Racial enemy clans changed to a low flat price.
- Tweaks of the siege rules to make them more engaging and understandable.
- Remote view/purchase from a marketplace to other marketplaces. You will still have to move to get the item.
- Remote withdraw of gold for an extra fee.

We realize that on this last point there are a lot of concerns.
There is a real risk of increasing the global price homogeneity, and this is why we've been reticent to implement it.
However, it reduces the barrier of entry which should hopefully increase traffic of localized resources.

Being worked on:
- Moving of nodes out of holdings is completed. We're now improving/adding walls and reviewing node regen.
- Solo friendly skinning: We're redoing skinning tables to be quantity based and to never fail skinning. Less RNG and less frustration.
- Downtime equalization: Most spawns will have more monsters by default with shorter respawn rates, but respawn rate will become slower proportionally to size and difficulty increase. There should be less downtime differences between scaled or non scaled.
- ARAC clan and alliances being perma-grey.
- Making holdings more valuable and tied to the racial wars. Most of the framework is already done for this.

To be started next:
- Once remote views are implemented, we'll go straight into implementing buy orders, later followed by a transport contract system.
- Once magic and balancing changes are out, we'll focus these resources towards crafting, most notably enchanting.
- Once racial war changes are done, we'll start implementation of the watchtowers.
- Once holdings related world building is done, we'll either start on adding more quests or adding more overworld objectives.
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Progress Updates
Reply #3
Next week patch:
Skinning and scaling overhaul:
- A new even more frontloaded curve for scaling. This should feel like a slight buff to groups, but a major buff for solo and groups bellow 5 players.
- RNG equality: Scaling will no longer increase probabilities, everyone will be equal when facing the odds.
- A vast majority of skinning material will now be a guaranteed drop. Should be a buff in many cases.
- For those where we couldn't make the jump to 100%, we favored higher probability while lowering the quantity per skin. Output should be more consistent.
- Skinning skill, wisdom and title will still impact probabilities, but the numbers shown on the map will be the rates for a lvl 0.
- Skinning will be faster for all.

Walk of Shame:
- Instant transportation across the map will not happen, but we can try to alleviate the pain upon death.
- The current respawn radius will be slightly increased, allowing for an increased "natural" range of operation for players.
- A single explicitly chosen bindstone will remain available at an extended radius.
- Owners and guests in houses will have the house as an additional choice in that extended radius.

VCP tweaks:
- We're increasing meditation points gains for both victors and other participants.
- All resources needed in mastery armors will have a chance to drop, similarly to rare ores.


Being worked on for the next few patches:
- We'd like to continue tweaking monster spawns. Please participate in this thread for spawns that you find too hard or still too slow.
- This applies to daily dungeon quests as well. Some have been made faster to complete and more enjoyable while some seem now too hard.
- The remaining announced magic and combat changes.
- We'll address the grind discrepancy between magical and physical playstyles. May look similar to how witchcraft is setup skill linking wise.
- A way to recover items from a holding after having been abandoned, kicked, or de-allied. No instant transport, just recovery.
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Progress Updates
Reply #4
Progress Update: Improving PvE and day to day activities

Greetings,
For the next patch or two, we'll be continuing our current efforts of making PvE more engaging and driven.
We want to finish and release what we've been working on before moving on to more PvP/meta related projects.
Players spend a vast majority of their time in PvE, especially newer players building up their character and banks.
That's where the game stands to be benefit the most by having players out there doing things in the open world.

The issues we're trying to address here are:
- Low incentives of high PvE performances
- Lack of control over title progression
- Inequality of meditation generation
- Obligatory long play sessions
- Poor player direction

To that end, we have been working on three mechanics:
- Champion monsters
- Combat Title consumables
- Bindstone quests

Champion monsters:
We've talked about them a while ago as a potential solution to bring the satisfaction of efficiency based scaling within our per player scaling framework.
A competing concept was to lower the loot of a monster over how long it remained alive, but we felt that might feel punishing to average players.
Instead, we're approaching this as a bonus and extra challenge for those that can really handle high difficulty spawns.

We're still experimenting/testing the best formula, and we may change/tweak this by the time we release it but the current idea is that each kill of a monster part of a spawn "angers" the spawn.
The amount a monster angers the spawn will receive a modifier based on the speed at which the monster has been killed as well.
This means that efficient players can really try to push themselves to anger spawns faster, but any kind of player will end up facing champions regularly.

Once the spawn has been angered enough, a champion monster will appear.
It will be a stronger version of the local monster, based on the scaling level of the spawns, and will have the loot that comes with it.
These monsters will also have their own loot tables, including chances of obtaining the newly introduced combat title consumables.

For a while, the champions will be the only way to obtain the title consumables, but they may appear as rewards in other content later on.
They will come with a max level limitation, like the current skill books, and will allow to progress combat titles only.
This should give an active way for players to raise their titles, be it by farming champions or trading for them.

Bindstone Quests:
Another system we've wanted to release for a long time is the concept of bindstone quests.
In short, each bindstone in the world, including holdings and chaos stones, will generate over the hours, days and weeks a selection of quests based on nearby spawns.
These will remain simple quests, in the first iteration, but should allow a choice on how to generate meditation points, even for casual players.
Since it is based on nearby spawns, this should reduce the duration of a play session by reducing travel time and always offer something to do to the players.

Another point this addresses is that for many players, it is still hard to formulate personal goals, or feel accomplished after a play session that doesn't have a definite end.
What we observed and received feedback early on is that newer players lost a sense of direction when they completed the starting and story quests, and dropped of.
We also had first hand experience when, as veterans, we would bring newer players to spawns they didn't know existed because they never needed to go there.
This aspect of quests as a drive to explore should provide play session variety to keep things fresh and to discover new monsters.

Of course progress on other aspects of the game, including the remaining balancing changes, is still ongoing, but we wanted to focus this progress update on what we think are exciting additions.
These mechanics should foster ongoing reconnection and online activity, with a clear purpose for both the casual and hardcore crowd.
You should see a good portion of what has been discussed here next week, and/or the one after, depending on QA as usual.

Have a great week end, and see you in game!
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Progress Updates
Reply #5
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!
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.