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Shroud Vision

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Chris, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord Moderator SOTA Developer Ambassador

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    Greetings avatars! We wanted to start off the new year by sharing our plans for the future of Shroud of the Avatar. After a crazy year, and plenty of time to digest and reflect on Shroud over the past year, we’ve come to the conclusion the best thing we can do for Shroud is to focus largely on fixing bugs, improving quality of life, improving many systems that already exist, and balancing rewards and systems. There will be new content and systems in 2021, but they will not be the top priority.

    Our vision for 2020 was an insanely ambitious, highly detailed, multipage wish list of everything we ever wanted to see in Shroud. This was largely done because that is how we had done things in past years. While plenty of new content and features were introduced over the past year, our belief is the overall quality of the game for both new players and existing players did not improve as much as we wanted. In an effort to fill lots of bullet points on updates, we sacrificed polish and quality.

    The shift in focus to quality over quantity started in the last quarter of 2020 and we’ve had almost unanimous agreement from fans and team members that it is the right move for the future of the product. So without further delay, I present our vision for the future of Shroud of the Avatar.

    Priorities for the team going forward in order are:
    • Bug fixes - While we’ve been making great progress on getting these counts down, we still have a long way to go. Bugs annoy existing players and make the game less “sticky” for new players. This also includes making sure we continue to keep QA up-to-date and active while continuing our new, more aggressive testing policies.

    • Quality-of-life improvements - This is a large category that includes rethinking dated designs, removing superfluous tasks, and—probably most importantly—improving or rebuilding existing UI to be more user-friendly.

    • Improve the Risk vs Reward equation in content - This translates into improving loot rewards and making more (existing and new) content feel like the reward matches the effort. In many cases, this will mean making creatures more interesting and challenging rather than reducing the reward.

    • Skill and combat balance - Shroud is supposed to be about player choice in everything. The more unbalanced that certain aspects of the game are, the less it feels like players have a choice in how they play. When one combat strategy is completely overpowered, it limits or removes the player choice. We’re going to be more aggressive on improving balance going forward.

    • Performance - We still have LOTS of work to do on performance and this will remain a priority going forward. Bad performance sucks the fun out of otherwise good situations and reduces the audience size by making the game intolerable for players on weaker machines.

    • Expand player-created content opportunities - This largely involves new features and content, which is why it is closer to the bottom of the list. Adding new tools and other means for players to create stories of their own and customize their own play experiences, using Lua and other options, continues to be a big focus for our team.

    • New content and storylines - New scenes, creatures, items, and quests will continue to be added frequently, but at a pace that allows us to make sure it is high quality. Most of the bugs, quality-of-life, and performance items that are listed as higher priority are largely the burden of the tech team, which means even though this is low on the list, artists and world builders will maintain their focus on delivering content each release, especially scenes and quests related to Episode 2.
    The tl;dr version really could be summed up as “We will continue adding great new content, but we will also maintain an equal focus on improving existing content. New content and features will arrive throughout the year, but our new focus means we're not expecting to complete Episode 2 in 2021. We'll improve existing content, systems, rewards, and balance enough so that players will enjoy returning to older content again."

    Thanks for reading and we’ll continue to be as open and forthcoming about new stuff as we always have. While polishing and bug fixing isn’t as sexy in bullet points as new features and content, we strongly believe it is both what new and old players want as a priority.