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Top 10 Priorities for Launch (September 2017 Edition)

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by DarkStarr, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer SOTA Developer

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    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 like visual polish, combat balance, or content that helps us raise funds.

    Until now we have only used this list internally and we have not shared it externally with you, our backers. However, we felt that as we approach launch we definitely should share this list, especially because our current Top 10 list consists of everything we need to address BEFORE we are ready to launch.
    1. Reduce Load Times: There are a lot of positive benefits to being a game that is divided up into multiple scenes, including everyone playing on one server and the ability to dynamically update scenes at will. However, being a scene based game means that our load times MUST be mere seconds or the entire experience of playing the game is destroyed. Right now scene loads can take several minutes on physical media drives (HDs) and tens of seconds even on solid state drives (SSDs). Reducing load times to seconds on both drive types is our number one goal for Q4 because the entire game experience depends on it.
    2. Client Performance (FPS): Once we have reduced load times we can focus on improving client performance. We will work on improving framerate, minimizing hitching, and lowering memory footprint.
    3. Improved Reward Cycle: Right now our reward cycle for play is completely unsatisfying. The loot is infrequent, not exciting, and requires multiple steps to gain a reward (ex. salvaging followed by crafting). We are going to add more immediately gratifying items (artifacts and gear with stats that can be salvaged for unique components). We are also going to slowly increase the amount of resources available in the world while carefully monitoring the game balance. Finally, we are going to add more unique quest rewards, especially items related to the virtues (ex. banners with virtue symbols).
    4. Clearer Player Direction: Currently we rely on some very subtle and “immersive” indicators for information in the world (ex. piles of skulls to indicate scene difficulty). We are going to provide much clearer indication of information. For example, on the overworld all towns will have clear indicators of their town type (POT, NPC, etc.). We will also indicate whether you have a quest in a scene, a clearer label of the scene’s difficulty, perhaps even an indicator of what services a scene might provide (bank, mail, blessings, etc.). We will also start providing more on screen indicators of this information, so that while you are in a scene you will better know what kind of scene it is, what difficulty it is, whether you have quests in the scene, etc. We will also work hard to polish the maps and compasses to better guide you to and from your quests, homes, services, points of interests, scene exits, etc.
    5. Story Polish: As of now the story does an adequate job of telling you what is going on, but it does not really make you care, nor does it tell enough about the virtues. We will be working hard over the next several releases to provide 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.
    6. 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 you fight them.
    7. User Interface Polish: While our user interface allows users to access all the current game functions, it can be counter intuitive, not informative enough when needed (ex. very little feedback when you are stealing), and sometimes even shows incorrect information. We hope to incrementally improve the intuitive usability of the various interface elements while also adding more feedback for the user's actions, and of course fixing any errors in information display.
    8. New User Experience (NUE): While we have made various improvements to the New User Experience, including the addition of the Outskirts maps, polishing the Isle of Storms, refactoring of the hints, and tips on the loading screens, there is still much work left to do guiding new players during their first time in the game. We need to provide much stronger and clearer direction in these opening moments than we currently do.
    9. Localization: Now that we have publishing partners that represent territories spanning the globe, we need to spend more time on localization including detection of system language, fonts that work for multiple languages, websites that work for other territories, and of course translations.
    10. Launch Readiness: As we prepare to move from Early Access to a truly live state post-launch, we need to make sure we have everything in place to truly support the product 24 / 7. This includes ensuring we have all the proper Customer Support Tools, Network Operations Center escalation / troubleshooting procedures, and security audits.
     
  2. MrBlight

    MrBlight Avatar

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    Sweet.

    Is launch date still predicted to be end of this year? Or is it being pushed back being discussed?
     
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  3. GrayFog

    GrayFog Avatar

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    Good priolist. Nothing wrong with it imo.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
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  4. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer SOTA Developer

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    We will talk more about launch date when I post about Q4 next week.
     
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  5. Dereck Visaard

    Dereck Visaard Avatar

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    Thanks for sharing this! Very happy to read #3 :)
     
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  6. Solazur

    Solazur Avatar

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    @DarkStarr

    Great list!

    I would respectfully submit there are two items I think should be added or perhaps specifically articulated as they could be consider incorporated in #10.

    1. Weapon balancing.
    2 Fleshing out of the crafting system to include refining and balancing of the mat reqs.

    As to Weapons I think it's kinda well known I beat a drum for my beloved but beleaguered polearms. While I may be one of the loudest mouth there and while I appreciate the sometimes joking manner in which it's discussed I think this would really open the game up and eaddress commentary such as we often hear about everybody being a skill clone. I'm sure @Baron Drocis Fondorlatos could articulate that one better if I didn't hit the nail squarely enough.
    It would make the entire game, including PvP much most interesting.
    I don't wanna type a wall of text in response to a good post so I won't go into the facets of crafting here but I think we all realize crafting, particularly in a game where we want to focus on a player driven economy needs some serious <3.
     
  7. Baron Drocis Fondorlatos

    Baron Drocis Fondorlatos Avatar

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    Great List.

    THIS I like, as it provides a secondary use for artifacts you may not need or want. Hopefully by "component' you mean that it could be a special/new reagent for high level spell casting or rare recipe.

    This too is very much welcomed, but I hope you will consider making these items more appealing to a broader population of players. Do I want virtue items? No. So I'm not going to be motivated to complete these quests. But if you could turn virtue items into something else that might be of value? Well then I might really be motivated to collect those!

    Just to reiterate a bit from Winfield's thread...I'm very concerned about further use of artifacts. As much fun and interesting as artifacts can be, they have a negative effect on the player crafted economy. Artifacts are VERY good weapons, necklaces and rings that players can't duplicate. This creates a marketplace where crafted items can be ignored. I'd really like to see you guys address this issue in conjunction with providing short term "instant gratification".
     
  8. GrayFog

    GrayFog Avatar

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    I think you somewhat misunderstood the priolist here.
    Balance, crafting and a lot of other stuff is being worked on, so don't worry.
     
  9. Waxillium (Kvow)

    Waxillium (Kvow) Avatar

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    I'd flip #1 and #2. I just quit playing a few minutes ago because of the hitching/ mem leaks. I can wait a bit on scene loads but hitching kills gameplay.

    #6 Historically this has not been done in a very player centric way.

    Control Points a problem? Ok lets just make them so nobody does them. Could have just titred down the exp they give per hour based on group size and make the chests lootable to people who have killed a CP mob in the last 10 min.

    People are grinding Rise mages? Let's decimate the loot and make them back to back crit heal themselves and their peers (the death field, death reaist, health buff, and teleport are pretty cool). It's demoralizing to watch them stop taking damage so they can finish a crit heal.

    Would be nice if Chris didn't look at a pie graph and see a problem that needs nerfing into oblivion vs. see an area that players are interested in. Those busy areas should be celebrated and replicated cause people are having fun.
     
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  10. Baron Drocis Fondorlatos

    Baron Drocis Fondorlatos Avatar

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    I agree with you that these should also be a high priority. I'd say combat balance (not just weapons) is extremely under served. But as you'll see there's no shortage of competing interests. This list simply represents what they will focus on satisfying, I don't believe it's comprehensive in any way.

    The real question here though is since Chris it the only one that seems to work on combat balance, and bzus is the only one that seems to work on crafting balance, how are they going to do that if they're always working on this top 10 list. Luckily for us, that's Starr's problem. :)
     
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  11. Ancev

    Ancev Avatar

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    Awesome priority list! The game will continue to get more polished and responsive as we push forward.

    A few things I'd like to see improved if possible:

    Would like to see more crispness of the mob animations.. when I stun a mob it shouldn't turn with me as I'm circling around it's back. (trolls, wolves, etc) Also when I fight the trolls sometimes I have no clue what animation state it's in because the troll is already performing it's next action and I can't see it. It still looks stunned on my screen, then I get hit by a boulder or get stomped on, etc.

    Also.. I had an idea of a quest teleport feature.. maybe it could only be used once a week. Quest Teleport - Love? Truth? Courage? And it brings you to the location of what you need to be doing on that quest line. You know.. for lazy people! ...and people who have taken a break from the game and aren't sure what to do, or folks who are playing multiple characters, or new players, etc. Maybe the teleport feature could be accessed through the Oracle.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
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  12. Sir Leonard

    Sir Leonard Avatar

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    Thanks for sharing Darkstarr! As for localization it would be nice if our voluntary team (me included :p) could at least get briefings of the plans more frequently and what will be our role when the partners get into work. Nowadays i see Russian team (Black Sun supposedly) uploading big chunks of translated data into the system, followed by large pauses, and i am not sure if other languages will work in the same way (hence we incurr in the possibility of being doing duplicate work).

    Currently i'm still recovering from a surgery, but i intend to return hard on my translations in about one month or so (was in the middle of translating the largest book ingame yet).

    Thanks.
     
  13. Koldar

    Koldar Avatar

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    It's nice to see some long standing issues getting prioritized, but what about the rest of the items on the KS list?

    Are these being prioritized in Q4 or are they going to be addressed in 2018? I'm just trying to set my own expectations on the delivery of KS items. TYIA!
     
  14. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    As part of this, please consider making the enemy AI follow some of the same limits as players have to. An important application of this is that when its dark, its harder for enemies to see you unless there's some reason why they would be able to. I didn't see this on the 2-year plan either. But I think its an important thing that will make many aspects of gameplay work better.
     
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  15. Trihugger

    Trihugger Avatar

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    So... Why isn't the 3+ months of solo grind in the mines to be able to craft (and I mean craft in general, ANY craft) a priority to make less painful? There's nothing redeeming about this miserable grind. Nothing. In fact, it's downright off-putting.

    In a game where players craft EVERYTHING until the absolute highest end of artifacts (and even then you can't artifact yourself entirely), this miserable experience needs to be looked at. The fact that I have ZERO choice to BUY my raw materials because I can't use them w/o the pooled experience I'd have gotten from mining them is total bullshit. Anyone that wants to be a crafter is 100% pegged into 100's, if not 1000's of hours mining to do it (or spending twice as long skinning dragons).

    That's not even getting into how HORRIFIC the crafting experience ITSELF is. Craft ingots /afk Craft more ingots /afk Craft EVEN MORE ingots /find movie .... Craft 10 of something with 30% chance to HQ, get 1 or none, usually none HQ. Try enchanting said something... get wrong stats/break said something. This can't be all stick and no carrot here @DarkStarr . This crafting system is even more punishing than Korean games, IN KOREA. This is by far the most glaring "in game" system by far and really needs SOMETHING done to AT LEAST one front.

    Currently as it stands I can't even feel happy about taking mats TO a crafter because I inherit all the risk doing so. They get free skill training at my expense/mats and if I didn't know them I'd actually be paying them on top of all that to give them that free skill training for a low % shot at something usable in the end (and far more often than not I get nothing as it was destroyed in the process). It's just all wrong man. Something's gotta give, somewhere. And hopefully in more places than just one when I've got zero alternatives to this system. It's not fun. I can't even convince friends that I've played games with for over a decade (hardcore HAVE to craft players, mind you) to give it a shot when they even hear half of what I just wrote.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  16. Barugon

    Barugon Avatar

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    I honestly don't know what you're talking about. I was able to craft everything I needed not long after the final wipe. No, I wasn't enchanting or master-working but I had no problem crafting basic gear, furniture, food, etc.
     
  17. MrBlight

    MrBlight Avatar

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    Stop asking hard questions.

    When is GVG going to be looked at? Is GvG even in the scope to be a real thing before release? ( not the omgweallflagpvplookatusgo current system) ?
     
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  18. Quenton

    Quenton Avatar

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    This is a great list, but I'm concerned that there is no specific mention of making any of the mechanics "fun".
     
  19. Solazur

    Solazur Avatar

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    Ya. and for the life of me I can't get the same mechanic to work in PvP as PvE. For example.. can NOT Body slam a mob.. say a Bear or a Wolf and have them stunned so I can get behind then for a sneak attk. Hell no.. the Flippers turn right around with me and I'm lookin the in the face again. Take Pull... When I was mentoring my pal the other night I looked up and I was like woah wait.. wtf was that? looked like the old "Get over here" from Mortal Combat. When I asked how they did it they said it was pull.
    I was amazed as I'd never seen it before as I generally have done like 99.995% PvE. So what up with that?

    No joke there. "Off Putting" is like the understatement of the decade here. I find it extremely difficult to motivate myself to hit the mines.. or my other spot above ground for skinning (which gives me more and more hides that sadly have no mkt value comparatively speaking) which really bores me to death. In all seriousness I look at my calculator and I see I need at a bare minimum another 20,000 nodes.. that's Twenty Thousand before it's economically feasible to go raise my skill level.

    Ohhh and one other thing while on Crafting...I'd like someone to explain this one to me: In what universe it makes sense that Base level Alchemy has no bearing on enchanting? Oooo but I have a nice artifact that raises my base Alch skill...For what? to make recall scrolls? IDk I've never not been able to make something with Alch due to a min skill req. This is supposed to be a player (in other words Crafter) driven economy; not an addon store driven economy. And ofc there is Agriculture where you get zero gain for your efforts which by the by you have to babysit with an alarm clock to make the yield make sense. And then...

    @DarkStarr you get our point yes?

    Great top 10.. but only if these things along with the stuff I previously mentioned are incorporated into #10.

    I also concur with @Kvow Triumvir re: #1 and #2. I can abide the loading screens a lot more than the hitching. At least I can go hit the bathroom during a loading screen.. (Unless it's on my laptop in which case I can go make coffee) but the h h h h hit hi hitching makes gameplay itself really unbearable and in many cases lethal. H H Hitch and die so I can re earn the lost XP due to being killed by a mob that didn't hitch kinda blows.

    I realize it's a WIP... but these things can be a real PITA and for many people I think enough of a put off to just say stuff it.
     
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  20. Max Bennis

    Max Bennis Avatar

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    Thanks for the list!

    I'm relieved to see devs are on the right track!

    Keep up the good work!!
     
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