Shroud's Status, Criticism, Healthy Debate, & the Future

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by DarkStarr, Jul 25, 2018.

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  1. 2112Starman

    2112Starman Avatar

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  2. Mirjhaf Uth'Mathar

    Mirjhaf Uth'Mathar Avatar

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    is that Sentence, that's what caught my attention:

    It makes me sad, when I see phrases like that by people who work very hard.
    Portalarium, you do not deserve this state of mind.
    You're done hard, to endure so many negative people in the community

    Thanks for all again @DarkStarr and Port Team
    We love you

    Mir
     
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  3. Galadriel O'Sullivan

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    So lucky to have you guys as a team. Thank you for everything you do.
     
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  4. Cypher Black

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    With that in mind, can we unban everyone from the boards and give them a fresh start. :)

    Cypher Black
     
  5. Lesni

    Lesni Avatar

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    Of course he is AWESOME...
    He is from LSU :cool:

    /royalsalutation @DarkStarr
     
  6. Ellrynn

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    DarkStarr, thank you for your explanations, your honesty and for your game ....

    I wish you courage !
     
  7. Daxxe Diggler

    Daxxe Diggler Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    @DarkStarr - I know this is a long post and your time is very valuable, but I hope that you read it in it's entirety.

    I have been playing online games for many years and have been in "Beta" programs for several of them too.

    I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the SOTA crew is by far the most transparent game developer that I have ever seen. Was everything you guys promised actually delivered? No! But not because you didn't want to. Limitations in performance and/or lack of manpower prohibited some of it from materializing.

    However, anything that you couldn't give us was not only announced publicly, but was replaced by something comparable in just about every case. Sometimes what you gave us instead ended up being much better than what we were promised! In fact, all throughout the Early Access campaign, many extra things were added to the pledges to make them better values. All of the extras that were added were retroactive too, so those who bought before the new stuff was introduced still got the extras!

    Some houses were redesigned multiple times due to customer feedback. Keep walls were changed several times from static to optional... just because the customers had mixed opinions on whether they wanted them or not. I think the final solution was to make them an optional placeable item in lieu of the lot coming with them already placed. My point here is, you did all you could to satisfy your customers.

    There were a few cases where replacements were not considered "acceptable" (ie. the custom avatars in-game) but I believe most of us got way more than we originally expected when we made our pledges.

    OK, my praising session is over. Now, here are a few things I think you could improve upon to help regain customer loyalty:

    1. Stop introducing new content! I know, this sounds like the opposite of what you should do. It's really nice to get new scenes added to explore and new monsters added to fight on a fairly regular basis... but you are also introducing new content that is susceptible to bugs and exploits that will add to the already growing list of things that need to be fixed.

    2. Spend a great deal of time on fixing existing bugs and improving existing systems before adding new ones. For example, you guys just added brewing. [Yes, we've been begging for it forever, I know!] Within a week, you had to nerf the merchant buy prices though because the ability to make endless quantities with no limitations was a possible exploit of gold flooding the economy. People who wanted to use the system "as intended" were preparing to use it as a steady flow of income, but instead will not want to do it now because the price change can actually net a LOSS of gold for beer and wine unless you gather your own water and grow your own ingredients!

    Meanwhile, things like:
    • Elysian Illumination no longer damages undead, and has a broken range for applying heals.
    has been on the Known Issues list since Release 52 (Launch)! This spell used to do damage to undead before it was broken... and the combo skill - Cleansing Rain - does what Elysian Illumination is supposed to do. Why couldn't this be fixed in the 4-5 months it was broken? Just change it to the way cleansing rain works and get that one off the books.

    Another example is how AOE spells sometimes don't work in confined areas still. This problem seems to have existed in almost forever and it frustrates players when the same problem persists for months and months on end.

    So, clean up what's already broken before adding new stuff that can break (which will only give more people reasons to complain how the game sucks).

    3. Concentrate your efforts more on the NUE. Although I really liked the hardcore approach when I started learning the game, it seems the new generation of gamers have gotten used to certain "features" that show them how to play the game in a bubble before they get into the "real" game world.

    The written guide books that are now given to new players simply aren't enough. Some people need an on-screen visual that shows them "how to play the game", "where to go to find an NPC", or "how to craft something", etc.

    So, there needs to be a real Tutorial that holds your hand and shows you everything from how to move around to how to talk to NPC's to how to build a deck and use it in combat, etc. When people are left on their own to figure it out, they can miss a great deal of what this game has to offer.

    For example, I was just speaking with a long-time player who is well over Adv. Level 100, has well over 50 GM skills, and for some reason he did not even know that you could charge up a locked skill by clicking and holding it down before releasing it! Being a long-time player, he doesn't always read the release instructions so he didn't even know that feature was introduced.

    Now, imagine a new player who is just starting out. How will they know they can charge up a skill to make it stronger?

    4. Improve the FUNCTIONALITY of the UI. - The visual improvements recently made were liked by some, not liked by others. I know Scotty spent a great deal of time on them but to most people I talked to, it was nothing more than a skin change that didn't really make anything better.

    We have been begging for simple improvements like being able to resize the elements or unlock/move/lock elements to our preferred locations on-screen. If we can already do this with some elements, why can't we do it with all of them? Why is the need to keep things locked in certain spots so important? I think if these simple changes were made to the UI, you would make many players happier about playing.

    Again, sorry for the long post, but I wanted to detail some things I thought were driving people away.
     
  8. 2112Starman

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    Excellent example of how to properly bring issues up.
     
  9. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer Moderator SOTA Developer

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    Great feedback and in line with almost everything we are working on.
     
  10. HoustonDragon

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    I appreciate seeing this. Not all criticisms are trolling, and not all complaints can be fully addressed. Long as the lines of communication remain open, that’s important.
     
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  11. Dinsoo

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    Very tasty post @DarkStarr

    I still cannot eat avatars but I love this game!
     
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  12. Jaanelle DeJure

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    Thanks for your post @DarkStarr it is commendable of you to share your hopes and dreams for this game, while remaining open and vunerable about your human side too.

    I wouldreiterate and ask you to deeply consider @Leinad Laurelwreath 's insightful feedback that loyalty and criticism are not mutually exclusive.

    I would also underscore another point he made about adding new features. While trading promises for new features in exchange for more backer dollars has worked well enough to get us to this point, I must say at this particular juncture it makes me very leery about continuing to financially support the project.

    Speaking for myself, I'd rather have a single, fully functioning episode, than two partially finished ones.

    To my estimation, the game is very close. And I believe you and your team are fully capable to do the job.
     
  13. CatweazleX

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    Agree to that, the game need to be stabilized before throwing in new objects. Also some mechanics/system needs bug-fixing and polish. Especially economy and crafting.

    New objects can still be brought in, by using items already in game. Eg. there are many deco items in game that can neither be bought form NPC or crafted. From time to time it would be nice if we got a recipe to craft this items. Also there are flowers already in game. If we are able to harvest them to get seeds it would also be good*. Re-use items already in game and introduce them as "new", so people have their new toys.
    The "make the already in game objects craftable" can also be used as a stretch goal for the telethons.

    Currently SotA feels more like a free shard. Low population but many work has been done to make the shard interesting and unique. The game is not ready for the masses, yet.
    But low population also means loyal population. Once the game is stabilized and defined you can open it to the masses.

    And may expand the optional subscription model for a more steady income. Instead of an income you have to create and create and create new items.

    Oh and before i forgot it. It is available for Linux !!!!111!!!one!one!!11


    *to be precise: my wife wants a sunflower in the backyard.
     
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  14. jammaplaya

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    Very well spoken and elegant as usual DarkStarr.

    Thank you for the clarification, and I as well hope we can bridge the divide and unite towards the common goal we all must share, or at least once shared; prosperity for Shroud of the Avatar!
     
  15. Paulie Walnuts

    Paulie Walnuts Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    Hang in there guy. It's hard to walk the tightrope when people are shaking it from both sides. There's going to be stumbles. Some want you to fall, some want to catch you. Chin up and don't look down too long.

    There's a lot of us at the other side waiting, cheering, critiquing, supporting and not going anywhere until you make it across.
     
  16. Rufus D`Asperdi

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    My take... based on my assumptions of what's happening...
    • They had a major system that they some time ago recognized was insufficient.
    • They, reasonably not wanting to scrap completely a major sub-system, spent more cycles than they should have attempting to make it sufficient.
    • They have now recognized that the system cannot be made sufficient and have bitten the bullet and are going to rebuild the TECH from the ground up using their recent bad experience and deeper knowledge of the Reality of the Requiements as Lessons Learned to make the new system more than sufficient.
    As they are replacing the TECH and not the Data for the Quests themselves... the conversations and the decision trees that make up the quests... the onus is on the Tech team to develop the new system and the requirements for new writers is minimal.

    My take... seems reasonable to me... Might be wrong. Don't think so.
     
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  17. Rufus D`Asperdi

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    This is one of the things that confuses me... There are near constant calls for more communication and transparency... This is by far the most engaged and communicative development team that I've ever experienced and can ever imagine... I've never seen an explanation or proposal for greater communication or transparency... and I personally commend you for going above and beyond with this.

    I'm also very sad that someone might have actually cried in the shower, but I can't discount that as not an actual event, or even a regularly occurring one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  18. Vladamir Begemot

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    You were, and still are. It blows my mind honestly. Shroud is huge, and has so many things to do. Thanks for making a crazy huge game that doesn't feel like I'm stuck on a pre-designed path that I will never get to leave.

    Freeeeedom!

    By making the development so open you also opened a big can of worms that is us all seeing under the hood. It's a core part of the project now, I would almost say it has become the games "Karmic Destiny". Like it or not, now you're stuck with it.

    I like it. Getting to watch this happen and participate to a limited degree has been a wild ride.

    I think the ultimate success of the game is tied directly with communication now. You've got a solid game that has some things to fix but many, many things that are already great. Yet not many people know about it. Communication is now going to be the make or break factor (as well as the quest overhaul).

    Examples for expanding Communication:
    • Number of bugs fixed this release (in the release notes, just a number at the top without pulling out the specifics later)
    • Admitting mistakes/setbacks as quickly as possible
      • East Vauben Foothills big super secret as an example, I started a thread asking where it went last release, everyone was asking, wondering, conjecturing. As soon as a Dev came in and said "Wasn't ready, coming next release" we all said "Thanks!" and went about some other business.
      • If you see a thread that's mentioning something that is already on your radar, let us know you know. It puts our minds at ease, and lets the next guy posting about it get referred back to the message with a "Yep they know, it's on the list."
        • I quite often think to myself "I bet they are already working on this or intend to this year". But people need to hear it from the Devs to stop rehashing/panicking in the forums.
        • Even if you don't have specifics yet, and are just thinking about it, like "What's going on with selling gear to NPC's? I thought prices were going to be adjusted up?" Saying "still on the radar, but have to watch the economy a few more months" eliminates a lot of the need for us to complain about crafting in the forums.
      • And you really need a FAQ. Perhaps the community could help aggregate the last year of answers, but it's going to be on staff eventually.
        • This will save you a lot of time in the livestream repeat questions if it's easily found and all in one place. We know you hate answering repeates.
    • Tooting your own horn
      • Toot that horn! You have built a crazy huge game/toy/sandbox that gives us a million opportunities to play out our personal role. This is not just a big deal, this was an Epic Feat! I hope we see Shooter posts coming up in all the country periodicals.
      • We as players should be tooting too. :) Get out there and let people know that you play the game, and why. We all have such different experiences, and from what I've seen in the MMO communities, we have a TON of things that MMO players want, yet they don't know we exist. They literally don't know we exist, it's not that they've been turned away by reviews or mean people, they just don't even know about Shroud.

    And thanks for reminding us to be civil. I've been trying to keep it civil on reddit, but my hackles do occasionally go up. Pro tip to everyone, if you come over to reddit (please do, it's not so scary now) and someone constantly makes you angry because that just seems like what they want to do, Blocking them will make your life a lot more relaxed.

    (Also, for those who haven't seen me in game the last 10 days, summer busyness, I'll be back this weekend. :) )
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  19. Leinad Laurelwreath

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    Mostly agree with the analysis but

    Lum was in charge of both tech and writing (with some help, yes). If they want to replace the system, maybe Chris could do it himself (more work for him) and they'll need a writer for the Ep2 story, right? What i mean is they need a new overpowered Lum that can do both tech and writing right.

    Really i don't want to blame Lum because, although i'm not happy with what he did, i consider it's not his fault but the team's fault.

    WTH, yeah i want a Warren Spector here :D
     
  20. Rufus D`Asperdi

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    It's good to want things. ;)
     
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