In this letter we will try to sum up the results of playtest #1, address a number of common reports & questions, and also tell about our plans for the following weeks and playtest #2.
But first we want to thank everyone who participated, reported issues, told their friends about the game, streamed it, and shared their opinion.
Over 1800 players took part in the playtest. 1600 joined via Steam Playtest, the rest with the help of keys acquired earlier.
We should remind that the primary objective of this playtest was to test the backend and game server (namely the game server, not the physical machine).
The backend did great: controlling of player statuses, queuing, creating game server mirrors (Tavern), and rebooting a crashed server in case of a critical error.
Game server (original Rivulet Island) was overloaded for the first 2 days (before the evening patch of 10/01/2023). It had to do with too many AIs. 400 mobs simultaneously walking the island was too many for our optimization in that regard.
After the patch that decreased the number of animals and shortened their respawn time, we managed to stabilize the server.
Server crashes: in these 3 days, we found a single critical error that occurred on the Rivulet Island and caused a crash. It took place when for some reason, players stopped meeting the attribute requirements of equipped items. Reentering the world as such a character would cause an immediate server crash. The player who was the first to equip heavy armor and then redistribute attributes in order to be able to carry a two-handed weapon was Lucifer. In the 2nd day patch, we addressed this issue by prohibiting redistributing an attribute if any equipped item has requirements. In the next patch, we will fix this error completely.
II. Reports and Questions (by popularity and criticality):
- Tutorial map
- The main issue we found was a long delay before assigning personal rooms for a quick stream of players.
- The tutorial map caused a good deal of resentment. That’s why we are planning to simplify it, cut the number of additional stages, and partially refactor it by the next playtest;
- Respawning items in the Tavern is an intentional decision. That’s why they are weaker than T0 items and have a zero price. There’s no problem in players helping themselves with them and selling to other players. Except for Tabula Rasa which we will make weaker, giving it only 5 points to redistribute.;
- Magical Attack and Defense had an error in their formula, while heated powders gave no attack bonus. This error has been fixed, and we won’t see it in the next patch;
- 2+ level powders were not planned for this test, that’s why they gave fewer stats and had smaller requirements. By the time of playtest #2 we will add more powders up to level 3, including their bonuses, requirements, and crafting recipes;
- Besides server authorization and a limited list of mobs, we faced the issue of not so random walk paths. They caused the mobs to accumulate in certain areas of spawners instead of dispersing equally across them.
- We will also completely turn off the ecosystem logic on the island, since it caused complete disappearance of certain kinds of mobs (e.g. Stickmen near the village) and them being replaced by other mobs;
- Mob “difficulty” that manifests as exaggerated stats is a temporary decision that will be replaced by revisioning mob behaviors and adding more game logics to them
- Named mobs will be rebalanced;
- Regular mobs respawn time will be decreased by 3–5 times;
- Material wealth on Rivulet Island
- We will fix the lack of resources by decreasing respawn time since players cannot choose alternative sources of raw materials or fight for influence do to the rules of PvP-safezone unlike in Dwarrhan;
- We will fix the lack of recipes by increasing their drop chances and those of animal trophies;
- Lack of herbs will be fixed by increasing the number of spawners and by adding a Herbalist NPC;
- With all that in mind, we will prohibit players to leave the island with resources/materials/herbs in inventory, since acquiring them on the island is substantially easier than in Dwarrhan;
- To help players get acquainted with magic, we will add cheap T0 powders, including DoT HP/MP restoration spells (that are only found in one quest and have high requirements);
- We will add a trader who will sell higher capacity pouches, recipe books, and a Tabula Rasa;
- As much as we’d want to make players acquainted with these mechanics, we will nearly completely turn DVB and DQB off, since they only work when players are free to choose what to do and where to go. They will only be active for a couple of secondary quests and NPCs;
- Blocking and dodging
- The prohibition to block and dodge during cooldown will be shortened by the time of playtest #3 for better dynamics;
- Getting hit in the shield will no longer drain energy;
- Dodges caused PD and MD to be displayed incorrectly in the character window on the client version. We have already fixed this error;
- Map & Compass
- Apart from fixing several issues, we will add more navigation details on the map to help find certain NPCs;
- Since we have not yet added a Map item, the map with maximum details will be available for everyone;
- Graveyards & Portals
- Because of the issue with respawning near the castle instead of the village, we will delete the castle graveyard, and make the token leading there significantly cheaper. The token will also be available for purchase in the village;
- We will add portal tokens leading to different locations on the island, and some portal leading back to the village;
III. Plans & Playtest #2
There will be 20-30 day intervals between tests. You will receive notification about the next date at least one week before the start.
We decided to hold playtest #2 on the same Island.
Apart the things described above and through bug fixing, we will add to the island:
- Several more named mobs with different respawn times. Among them, only the troll will remain manageable for a solo PvE player;
- Several new quests that will reward players with enchanted items in exchange for ancient coins;
- Banger NPC that will register guilds, with a limited DVB system;
- Storekeeper NPC to store personal items;
- Real estate to store your personal items;
- Item balance, 1-2 lvl, 1-3 lvl for powders;
- A number of other things. The complete list will be available in the next patch note.
In playtest #3 we are planning to let the players out from Rivulet Island to Dwarrhan with 1 or 2 eastern counties available. During this playtest we plan to check:
- Vocations (with a limited number of unique abilities and without vocation items);
- Castle siege and management;
- Castle taxes;
- Karma and World PvP.
Again, we want to thank everyone who took part in the playtest, for their critique and positive feedback. Despite the abundance of technical issues and lack of content, some of you played for dozens of hours. Our team is satisfied with the result and will try to show as much progress as possible by the time of the next playtest.
Stay tuned and see you on Playtest #2.
ROG’oms up, friends!