Q2 2018 Schedule Update

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by DarkStarr, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer Moderator SOTA Developer

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    Greetings Avatars,

    After several incredibly successful years of Early Access, we have launched into full Live mode! Now we will move fully into acquiring new users with a dedicated marketing campaign and a steady slate of press and public appearances.

    As we have stated previously, we intend to publish quarterly schedule updates detailing our monthly releases and those monthly releases will continue just as before, on the last Thursday of each month. Even though the goals outlined in these schedules are likely to change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to periodically provide you with an updated roadmap.

    [​IMG]

    Our priority continues to be to deliver new content to our players regularly, so that you can give us feedback that will help us to iteratively improve Shroud of the Avatar. This collaborative process continues to benefit the game, and often results in sweeping changes such as the recent balance passes to combat. As you have seen in previous releases, the flexibility inherent to this process means that we sometimes push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

    Q2 Top 10 Priorities: As mentioned previously, we keep a running list of our Top 10 priorities at all times that we use when building our schedule and prioritizing where to allocate our team's resources. We often refer to it when making decisions about the project. While it has a VERY strong influence on what we work on at any given time, it does not mean that we only work on something that is on the list. It just means that if someone can assist with something that will help address an item on the list, then we will make sure they do that first before working on anything else. Sometimes team members cannot assist with anything on our top priorities, so they work on other tasks such as visual polish, combat balance, or content that helps us raise funds. Q2 will focus on performance, localization, loot, and shipping the physical goods.
    1. Performance: In Q1, we made huge strides forward in performance with three steady months of frame rate improvements. While the game is much more playable now, we feel there is still more to be gained so in Q2 we will continue making code and content changes to improve performance.
    2. Localization: In Q1, we made significant progress in all our languages but we were unable to get fully localized versions. In Q2, our goal is to complete this work.
    3. Physical Goods: We made the decision in Q1 to spend more development time to increase the overall quality of the physical goods promised during the Kickstarter, including the cloth map, manual, runic card, etc. We now plan on shipping all physical goods no later than the end of Q2. The components have now all been designed, we are just working on final fulfillment.
    4. Improved Reward Cycle: In Q1 we added lots of new in-game rewards, including Virtue Armor, Virtue Banners, barbarian armor, recipes, patterns, emotes, and more. In Q2, we will significantly expand these rewards with more decorations, more armor, and most importantly, player-crafted items as part of the loot tables.[​IMG]
    5. User Interface Polish: In Q1, we polished various UI elements, and we will continue to do so during Q2 with a focus on consistency across UI elements while also improving merchants and vendors.
    6. User Acquisition: Now that we have moved out of Early Access, we are ready to start our campaign to acquire new users through marketing, press, and convention appearances. To maximize the impact of these efforts, we will be optimizing our website, store, and other first time experiences for the user.
    7. Clearer Player Direction: We will continue improving the in-game mapping service with Linux support and Localization.
    8. Story Polish: In Q2, we will continue to add more compelling experiences that put you in situations that will hopefully make you care more about the world, and at the same time provide you opportunities to either fulfill or turn away from the virtues.
    9. Improved Enemy Behaviors: Most of our enemies have very simplistic and repetitive behaviors that can be easily gamed and do not require a high level of coordination nor planning. We hope to improve on this so that enemies have markedly different behaviors, resistances, and also weaknesses. For bosses in particular, we want to introduce patterns of behaviors that change over time as the battle progresses.[​IMG]
    10. Repeatable Content: Right now there are not enough good reasons to revisit areas in the game, nor are there enough repeatable activities, especially for high level players. In Q1, we started to address this in small ways with things like the reward blessings. In Q2, we hope to start solving this with dedicated features like Castle Defense Scenarios.
    As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our players.

    RELEASE 53, April 26, 2018

    • Story: We will continue to work on adding side quests and polish to the Paths of Truth, Love, and Courage. Also, we will continue to add and update maps for the in-game map system. We will also add backer NPC conversations to Northwood and Brittany Wharf. Finally, the scenes Tenebris Harbor, Eastmarch (town), and Penmawr Island will be rebuilt from scratch.
    • [​IMG]
    • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15 second load time target.
    • Looking for Group: A tool to help players find a group to adventure with will appear in the game.
    • Crafting & Economy: We will add more loot to the game like Worn Armor (to complement the Rusty Weapons) on humanoids. We will also introduce the system where player crafted gear sold to merchants will start appearing as loot in the game. Finally, in Offline Mode the drop rates for rare items like artifacts and rare components will be greatly increased.
    • [​IMG]
    • User Interface Polish: We will make various improvements to the in-game map system, including support for localization and Linux.
    • Combat: A pass will be made on combat balance looking at different combat and magic schools.
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
    RELEASE 54, May 31, 2018
    • Story: We will continue to work on adding side quests and polish to the Paths of Truth, Love, and Courage. We’ll continue to add and update maps for the in-game map system. We will also add backer NPC conversations to Brittany Central. Finally the scenes Shaminian Hills, Westend (town), and Upper Tears will be rebuilt from scratch.
    • [​IMG]
    • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15 second load time target.
    • Crafting & Economy: The crafting system will expand to include the ability to brewing alcoholic beverages. We will also continue to expand the amount of loot in-game with more patterns, recipes, and gear as well as a large amount of decorations as loot.
    • [​IMG]
    • User Interface Polish: Various elements of the UI will get polished for usability as well as improvements to information displayed.
    • Character: Polish passes will continue to be made on the Male Peasants and Pledge Servants.
    • Combat: Chaos magic will be expanded with new spells and better balanced against the other schools of magic.
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
    RELEASE 55, June 28, 2018
    • Story: We will continue to work on adding side quests and polish to the Paths of Truth, Love, and Courage. We’ll continue to add and update maps for the in-game map system. We will also add backer NPC conversations to Brittany Alleys. Finally the scenes Norgard Fens, Bramble (town), and East Vauban Foothills will be rebuilt from scratch.
    • [​IMG]
    • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15 second load time target.
    • Physical Goods: Physical goods including the cloth map, box, trinket, manual, lot deeds, etc. (and the signed versions of each) will ship.
    • Crafting & Economy: We will continue to add more loot to the game. We will also work on improving the controls for player vendors to better allow sharing of vendors as well as improving the entire stocking, restocking, pricing, and repricing experience.
    • User Interface Polish: Various elements of the UI will get polished for usability as well as improvements to information displayed with a focus on the quest journal.
    • Castle Defense Scenarios: New scenes will be created similar to our control points where groups of players can fight over control of a fortress in order to gain temporary ownership and therefore gain benefits from that ownership like access to special areas, merchants, and quest givers. Work on this system will also help improve the existing control points.
    • Character: Polish passes will be made on the Spiders and a new seasonal creature will be introduced: The Jingo!
    • Localization: All interface text and quest dialogue will be fully translated into our launch languages, including English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
    We continue to be incredibly thankful for the support we receive from this amazing community. While the financial support you provide makes all of this possible, it pales in comparison with the faith you have in us, the feedback you provide us, and the content you are making for everyone to enjoy. We are humbly grateful, and we are always excited to see you each month in New Britannia!

    Sincerely,
    Starr Long
    Executive Producer
    Shroud of the Avatar
     
  2. I'm done with this game

    I'm done with this game Avatar

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    Is there a point where you might decide that user retention is more important than user acquisition?

    For example, I'd love to be a retained player but the game seems to focus away from roleplaying and competitive pvp. So I'm not playing (or paying anymore).

    I feel like if we had more of a focus on roleplaying and building community, and less of a focus on grinding (i.e. we had a hard cap) we'd be a more popular game and it would be both easier to retain and acquire users.

    Something to think about.
     
  3. Bayard

    Bayard Avatar

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    While I agree that user retention should take priority over the next x months to polish the many areas that need attention, I would personally hate to see a hard cap. Would we have a more popular game with a hard cap? I don't know. BDF might be correct. But, I don't care for the idea and no hard caps is one of the things I like most about SotA.

    My personal experience is that grinding doesn't impact my community involvement or my RP. It might impact me if I were into competitive PvP but I'm not at this time so don't have anything to add to that discussion, pro or con.

    I do see many exciting things in the above post that make me wonder how I'll be able to work and not daydream about New Britannia instead!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  4. Kain Darkmoor

    Kain Darkmoor Avatar

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    I'm not sure you can ever say one is more important than the other.... but #10 on their priorities list seems to be aimed towards retention:

    Repeatable Content:
    Right now there are not enough good reasons to revisit areas in the game, nor are there enough repeatable activities, especially for high level players. In Q1, we started to address this in small ways with things like the reward blessings. In Q2, we hope to start solving this with dedicated features like Castle Defense Scenarios.
     
  5. Bow Vale

    Bow Vale Avatar

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    News on factions and your plans for them was put off from very early 2017 and we were told that we would be getting new information after the story was completed which was slated for end of July 2017. It is now March/April 2018 and there's been no mention, there has also been no mention within this document.....

    Many people are wanting and have been waiting for a system that allows control of areas/resources, land ownership by guilds or factions and have been hanging around to see the overall plan for E2. I understand this is not the total plan for Episode 2 and i'm sure players who have been waiting for news on pvp, guild wars and factions will likely be welcoming of this Castle Defence Scenario( better than nothing). However, it seems to me a little light in scope, likely one castle somewhere to fight over by 'groups' ( factions/guilds? or just a group?)of players. Similar to sieges which sounded great on paper before they were released but didn't quite match up to the story given and the dream imo.

    The wording scenario is what makes me feel it will be a little light in scope, id be much happier if wording indicating something more substantial would have been used. Anyway, i'm sure its just the first iteration of a deep and rewarding player controlled aspect of the world we have to look forward to..
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  6. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

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    Will this include what @Chris was talking about in the last tech talk, i.e. some change to crafting that will remove the punative nature of Masterworking and Enchanting? If so, it would be an EXCELLENT idea to note this.
     
  7. Paladin Michael

    Paladin Michael Avatar

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    Thank you very much for this information :)
    Watching the bug and feedback threads and information from new and old players, please consider to focus on quest journal earlier ... it's what new players get in touch from beginning and how they experience the story ...
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  8. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer Moderator SOTA Developer

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    It will involve completely rewriting the quest architecture so sadly it cannot happen sooner and even getting it done by end of Q2 is aggressive.
     
  9. Ishel

    Ishel Avatar

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    Please, please, please put improved chat UI towards the top of this list. I love the game, but the chat system is very lacking.
     
  10. Echondas

    Echondas Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    FYI - if you didn't know, they opened housing in Blood Bay, and I hear it's been a bloodbath!
     
  11. Sir Cabirus

    Sir Cabirus Avatar

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    I think SotA needs more players to survive. If Port does not very quickly attract a lot of new players to SotA, the end of SotA is sealed. Therefore I believe that user acquisition is very important.
     
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  12. Ishel

    Ishel Avatar

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    @Sir Cabirus Seconded. This is actually the thing I worry about most.
     
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  13. Paladin Michael

    Paladin Michael Avatar

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    Thank you @DarkStarr for this information!
    Reading this is giving great hope for a well structured quest journal.
    You're right: it should be done carefully. Next Episode stories will benefit from.
    I hope we will be informed about progress on coming livestreams :)
    One of the best news for story fans - thank you so much!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  14. Duke Gréagóir

    Duke Gréagóir Legend of the Hearth

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    What games do you like and do they have a public forums area?
     
  15. Bowen Bloodgood

    Bowen Bloodgood Avatar

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    I can tell you from practical experience that introducing an XP cap will not encourage RP.. Players would just log off for the day until they could grind some more. RPers will RP.. it's their nature.. likewise.. those that don't want to won't. A better approach would be to create a centralized location (or locations) were RPers will run into each other without going out of their way.
     
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  16. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

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    Also, content for them to consume that is not xp-based. The future plans, like the Theatre, costumes, and specialized emotes (/clap), will be a great way to do this. Gustball and similar in-game sports is another. Almost everything that players want to RP, assuming they get the underlying systems in place, will be player created anyway.
     
  17. Pawz

    Pawz Avatar

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    The game needs higher level tamable pets! :) As well as some more active skills in the taming tree! :)
     
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  18. Sara Dreygon

    Sara Dreygon Avatar

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    Surprised you haven't noticed how big and active some guilds are getting. You been catching Andar and my radio shows...? We go over a lot of this.
    • The last 1.5 months I haven't leveled and have increased very little in skills because the cost is super high. Looking to save up another 1.5 months (87 mil XP) to gain one level and increase blades 10 levels for 3% damage... not exactly a game-changer.
    • Players at lower level than me continue to close the gap. Over the last 3 months that I've leveled from 120 to 121, a player has joined, became good, and is now a top PVPer who has killed me multiple times. Antax is still a top PVPer despite not grinding and is relatively low level compared to many... he's just good. Others have gained many levels over this time. They're now outpacing and catching up to me because I'm "hard soft-capped"
    • Specializations have made it so my friend who joined a month ago is already good at something and contributing even though he's level 60. My other friend is level 75 but his fire is amazing so he can give me a run for my money and is very helpful in groups.
    I see the system working and gap continues to even out... pretty soon we'll all be L130.0, L130.2, L130.8 and I'll be getting .4% more damage from someone I have 400 mil more XP than. Things are getting more even but you won't notice these things if you're not in game so come back.
     
  19. Lord Andernut

    Lord Andernut Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    I just want to point out that the goal Chris seemed to say is for people to hit level 80 for full efficiency and crazy people can do GMs or higher damage etc. Everyone who is pro-soft-cap seems to point to these incremental gains. 3% is certainly minimal.

    But to my uninformed non-math opinion, it depends on how many skills are 3% better and how many times they're 3% better.

    So if someone at level 80 is "1", and there are 3 supporting skills to say, thrust, and you're at level 120 in those 3+1 skills, and every 10 levels is 3% better you have:
    80->90->100->110->120 for 4 skills

    At level 120 your Thrust is 11.255% stronger. But if your 3 supporting skills are also all 11.255% stronger and equated to 11.255% damage increase for each of those, then you have (1.11255)^4 = 1.53.

    So someone who is "insane" who leveled their relevant skills to level 120, vs someone who has the expected level 80, hits 50% harder with the same Thrust.


    This is just napkin paper math with no back-up. But I'm just wanting to illustrate how quickly "3%" for 10 levels can add up depending on how the math works.

    Your defense, regeneration, hps, dodge, str, int, dex, etc. will all be somewhat higher at level 120 vs 80 as well.
    ---------------------------------------

    I think it would be interesting to test how various skills perform with +6 equipment with other skills at levels 80/90/100/110/120 and simple test with: Multi-shot, Thrust, Fireball, etc. I only have the time to speculate fearfully about the perceived powergap whether or not it exists.

    I just think it is perhaps slightly higher than 3%. When comparing fire vs fire, sword vs sword, healing vs healing, etc.
     
  20. Sara Dreygon

    Sara Dreygon Avatar

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    Bladed. All my stabs will do 3% more damage.
     
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