Early Access Schedule

Discussion in 'Community Announcement Archive' started by DarkStarr, Nov 6, 2013.

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  1. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer

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    Hello Everyone,

    We are incredibly excited to get Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues on your desktops very soon! As you have seen via our updates and progress videos, we have been making steady progress since our successful Kickstarter earlier this year. We have built out sections of the world while also developing housing, combat, crafting, conversations, AI, story and inventory. As our backers, you have a critical role to play in our development by providing feedback on design and soon the game itself.

    As a crowd funded and crowd sourced project, we feel it is incredibly important that we provide our backers with information and access well before game studios would normally do so in a traditional development model. Traditionally, the players are given information and access only after the development team has already decided exactly how things will be done and even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public has access to the product, there is usually no time to meaningfully react to the public feedback.

    Shroud of the Avatar is different than the traditional model, as we intend to offer our backers extremely early access to information and even the game itself. With that said, we also want to be very careful that we only provide access to portions of the game when they are ready for a wider range of feedback. If we can play it internally and we know it is not ready, then there is nothing to be gained by having a wider audience come to the same conclusion. In fact, it could be quite damaging to do so.

    Our strategy over the next few months is to provide you with focused and iterative releases of content. Your feedback during these releases will be critical to making the final product the best it can be and we appreciate that you are all so willing to devote your time to helping us. With each release we will have specific tests we will ask you all to make. As we get closer we will send instructions on how to download, install, report bugs, etc. The first few releases will be very tightly scoped so access will be confined to a few days. After each release we will review the results and reevaluate the plan including the duration of availability of each release. With Release 4, we will have a representative game loop and we will increase access time. Please note that game data will be wiped periodically during early access.

    Below is the currently planned schedule for releases over the next few months. It is important to note that all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change.

    RELEASE 1: December 12 - December 14, 2013
    • Install / Patching system: Step one for you guys to play the game is for you to download the game and then patch the game. Since this is the first hands on impression of the product, it is critical.
    • Login / Registration: Players should be able to log in using their existing accounts and if they have not yet registered, they should be intuitively led to the steps to register.
    • Character Creation: Players should be able to create and customize their character. Creation / Customization options for Release 1 will include: name, gender, head shape, skin tone, hair style, hair color, and eye color.
    • Single Player Online: All public releases prior to commercial launch will be online only. For Release 1 and 2, it will be constrained to single player online only.
    • First Town: Our first town (perhaps Owl’s Head) will be open for business. This is important for testing purposes so we can better tune our performance metrics on real user machines. For Release 1, exiting the town will just funnel you back into the same town (anyone see Groundhog Day?)
    • Conversation: Important that players converse with the townsfolk so we can start expanding the dialog system. As you talk to NPCs, we will be tracking your conversations and using them to add more content based on your input.
    • Bag Inventory: This is a hot topic in the forums so we want to get it in your hands for feedback on preferences. Immersion vs. ease of use, let the battle begin!
    • Equipment: Players will be provided with several chests full of “ph@t lootz” (armor, clothes, weapons, etc.) for trying on for size.
    • House Claiming: Players will be able to select a house from the entire list of player houses (even Lord of the Manor!) for free so that we can test out the various size houses on the lots and allow players to test drive the various houses so they can have a better idea of which they ultimately want to own.
    • House Decorating: Chests full of furniture and decorative items will be provided so you can stress test the decoration system and try out various styles of interiors. Help us figure out all the ways you can break things! (Look forward to screenshot contests on this!)
    • Metrics: All the while you are playing, we will be stress testing our metrics system. This system is critical to maintaining a balanced economy, tracking exploits, and gathering data to improve the experience.
    RELEASE 2: January 23 - January 25 2014
    • Crafting: We will be opening up crafting for testing with more than 100 recipes. Chests full of crafting resources will be provided. Crafting will initially focus on refining and production for smithing, tailoring, and carpentry.
    • Shopping: Shopkeepers will be open for business for selling and buying.
    • Town 2: An additional municipality (likely village sized) will be open for business! Exiting one municipality will take you immediately to the other municipality.
    • List Inventory: For those who prefer spreadsheets to immersion. The inventory battle royale continues!
    • Character Customization++: Characters will be wiped, but you will now have even more options when creating your character to make it look unique including: facial features, scaling, and more content (hairstyles, head shapes, skin tones, hair colors, etc.)
    RELEASE 3: February 20 - 22, 2014
    • Open Multiplayer Online: FINALLY we will let you see what the other players look like BUT we’ll be taking away your house for the month as we prepare housing to have persistence in the multiplayer space for Release 4.
    • Chat: You know, so you can talk to your friends!
    • Emotes: More than 30 emotes online so you can look like a clown with your friends.
    • Town 3: A third municipality opens up (perhaps the lovely oceanside village of Kingsport).
    RELEASE 4: March 20 - ?, 2014
    • Hidden Vale: A hidden island north north east of the mainland with numerous biomes to explore via the overworld map system
    • 10 Hidden Vale Scenes: With the opening of the overworld, we need something to do between the cities so we will be turning on the first 10 scenes including wilderness, caves, and dungeons.
    • Combat / Magic: Those first 10 scenes might have stuff in them, so we’ve decided we should give you a way to fight back! A wide array of combat and magic skills, along with the ability to assemble these skills into decks, will now become available.
    • Advancement and Skill Trees: Players will start earning experience points for fighting, crafting, and questing. This will lead to level increases and skill points which can be spent to learn new skills or improve existing skills.
    • Quests: Players will be able to participate in quests that will send them around the world and even change game state in the scenes based on quest flags. Testing this early is important because our quest system operates differently than the current standards (e.g. no exclamation points or convo trees).
    • Loot: Creatures and quests will generate loot including gold and resources.
    • Crafting: Resource Gathering will be added to crafting including resource nodes placed in the world. Item wear begins happening and in turn, Repair will now be available. Item enhancement will now also be possible, allowing upgrading of items to more powerful versions. On top of all that, more recipes will become available
    • Player Housing: The housing system will be relaunched with persistence in the online space. Housing choices will now be based on backer level, add on purchase, or what can be bought in the game. Waterfront housing will also come online.
    • Wearable Dyeing: Clothing and Armor will now be dyeable
    • Social Systems: The first social systems will come online including Friends and Parties. Safety in numbers!
    Thank you again for being such an amazing community who has selflessly given us so much. We are humbled that you have faith enough in us to provide us the financial backing we need to make this game. We cannot wait to share more with you when it is ready.

    Sincerely,
    Starr Long
    Executive Producer
    Shroud of the Avatar
  2. Seir

    Seir Avatar

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    I still have concerns about testing housing in ONE city with 1000's of players during alpha (since we will be online in SPO).

    Just sayin'
  3. Dame Lori

    Dame Lori Avatar

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    I was under the impression that while we are online, house placement is not taking place in 1 persistant map shared among everyone until a later release (see Release 4: Player Housing: The housing system will be relaunched with persistence in the online space.)
  4. PrimeRib

    PrimeRib Avatar

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    If you're in SPO, it doesn't matter whether there's 1 person or 1 million.
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  5. Dame Lori

    Dame Lori Avatar

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    In SPO when the game goes live, the map is still persistant (sharing housing space).
  6. Seir

    Seir Avatar

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    Good eye. Then maybe the current "online" system will be gimped so housing doesn't cross over into someone else's context. Guess I was reading too much into actually being in SPO mode.
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  7. Koldar

    Koldar Moderator

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    Single Player Online will be different from just Single Player [offline]. SPO will still have the persistent world, just not until release 4 (like Dame Lori mentioned).
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  8. Seir

    Seir Avatar

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    yeah, that's only true in the Single Player Offline mode.
  9. PrimeRib

    PrimeRib Avatar

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    Understood. And it still doesn't matter. You can be in the same town or on the other side of the world. The instance is running on your machine and you don't see anyone. Like playing Diablo online. Our GuildWars in your own instance.
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  10. Dame Lori

    Dame Lori Avatar

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    I think you may be misunderstanding what Seir was saying; that if there are 1000s of players, you likely would not be able to test placing a house in alpha because they would fill up immediately. I do believe we each get a private map/instance for the initial releases though, so if I place a house, you won't see it. In the live game, you would.
  11. Seir

    Seir Avatar

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    Yeah, that was my point. I was confused (and had asked this in Dev+ as well) when they said it would be SPO and in a single town, getting a plot would be tough if there was sharing between the player sessions (SPO). If there is not, then I withdraw my question :)
  12. Vyrinor

    Vyrinor Avatar

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    Since many people are planning to fall down the rabbit hole as soon as it starts, have the times for the release been set and not just the dates?
  13. Joviex

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    Excellent news. I am very impressed you have the confidence to release a schedule that deep for that far out.

    Thank you for listening to the community.

    Cheers!
  14. Bubonic

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    what that guy said.
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  15. Devoid

    Devoid Avatar

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    Oh my word!
    *Gets all jittery*
    Things are getting serious!

    *Gets all tingly*
    We now have a working schedule to refer to and plan our near-future lives by!
    My family won't, of course, have any understanding for this...
    ...I might have to divorce my wife and disown my children...
    ...or the other way around: she divorces me and they disown me...

    ...or...
    ...I'll wait until phase 4 to jump-in and put the death-and-resurrection system to the test by sacrificing myself... er, I mean, try out the PvP-combat system.
    I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!
    /glee
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  16. Devoid

    Devoid Avatar

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    Did you read that people?!
    DarkStarr IS USING ALL MY EMOTES!!!!!
    /swoon

    I'm ecstatic!
    You can read them here
    Oh! I still have a couple more to add, I just haven't gotten around to it yet! *Gets all anxious* I hope I can add them to the list before it's too late!

    Thank you devteam! You guys are the greatest!
    /diva
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  17. LoneStranger

    LoneStranger Avatar

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    Don't forget to get a good book. You might need something to read in the downtime when you get tired of reading freakouts in the forum. :)
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  18. Sperg

    Sperg Avatar

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    Very nice to have the answers to the questions I have been pondering, thanks for the post.
  19. mitchellhamilton

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    OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH!!! It's happening!! (immediately books off December 12th-15th from work)
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  20. DavenRock

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