May Development Review – Alpha3, Invasions and other stuff!
Hey everyone! Guess the biggest topic this month will be the next alpha test, so let’s get right into that!
The next playtest is right around the corner!
Loads of things have changed internally, and I’m really looking forward to launching into Alpha#3 together with all of you to see how things will turn out and if we’ll finally manage to crash these servers! :)
Right now it looks like that will happen in the second week of June. The test will run for about two months and feature content for levels 1-40 – on my end this time will mostly be spent balancing and fluffing out existing content whilst also adding new stuff (hopefully before you manage to outlevel what’s already there :P) and keeping an eye out for potential issues within the economy. I really hope that this will be our last closed alpha test and afterwards we can finally enter the open beta phase after a small break! (I’m going to need it… xD)
As last time, since there’ll be another reset at the end and Patreon supporters will receive a couple days headstart. Afterwards everyone who participated in the last Alpha will automagically gain access and Alpha-Keys will start working again. If you haven’t been lucky enough to get your hands on an alpha key in the past or did not want to join in on the hunt, I also got good news for you:
Waiting Queues to the resque!
Let’s be honest, the way I gave out alpha access so far wasn’t really optimal – just throwing alpha keys into the group chat and announcement channel forced some people who really wanted to play into regularly checking those, only to then be let down because the keys that have been posted that where already taken. On the other hand side I never knew how many people would be really interested into participating, because lots of them just didn’t join the Group Chat. In a nutshell, this wasn’t the best experience.
Therefore, I spent a couple of hours adding a Waiting Queue into the Game – when you interact with the Game Bot after the next update without having alpha access, you are presented with an option to join into the queue in a first in first out manner. This will be possible a bit before the playtest starts – I’ll post something in the Announcement channel for it when it happens.
I hope this will make things better for the next test! :)
Automated Patreon Access & Keys!
For the sake of scalability (and because I love automating things) I’ve automated the way how players receive their Patreon-Alpha-Access and extra keys. You can now use then new
/patreon command to send your Patreon E-Mail to the bot, and it will check the Patreon API if you donated anything, then store your account ID for future reference. It will also add a little supporter badge into your
/playerInfo. Right now this is pretty bare-bones, but in the future I might flesh it out more. I don’t even check if someone’s subscription is active right now… :D
Some people asked for PvP, and while I didn’t figure out a way to make this work directly yet (don’t get your hopes up, that’s still in the “far in the future” bracket on the roadmap) in a fun and balanced way, I got a little crafty and added a new sort of encounter simulating PvP with another player.
To make this work and even fit in lore-wise, I’ve reworked the infamous Infernal Darkness. Using it while idle now stores a “shadow” copy of your current party which will then haunt and invade other players during certain adventures, engaging them in battle controlled by the AI. For the sake of simplicity and balancing, this will only work with parties consisting of one player and three companions, no more, no less.
If your shadow party manages to defeat a player, you’ll gain their loot. On the other hand side, if the invaded player successfully fends off your shadow, they’ll receive a big chunk of experience. After your shadow interacted with another player, it will go on cooldown for a while before returning to the pool of possible invaders. I might also add a leaderboard for the most effective shadow parties at some point in the near future.
For now this encounter will only occur in certain adventures, and I’ll keep an eye out (and the nerf hammer ready) in case they end up being too hard or easy. In general your shadow should already only invade parties around its level range already and later on I’ll add some scaling to increase that range, but I simply lack enough data regarding party compositions. :D
After adding statistics tracking last month, all that was left to improve on that was to add individual leaderboards for the stats – so here they are, a whole bunch of them! While the previous leaderboards all had a unique command, like
/topBow, these are implemented in a way that allows easy expansion in case I ever add more stats, so it’s all done through
/topStatistics accompanied by an identifier for the stat instead. That’s probably also better than having a
/topStatisticsTimeSpentHarvesting command. :D Another special thing about those: it’s possible to filter for weekly, monthly and lifetime stats, which should give newer (or just more active players) an immediate feeling of achieving something… if they value such things.
On the note of Siege weapons
I initially planned to implement these immediately after reworking Guild Buildings in general, but so far haven’t come around to do so. I don’t know why, but for some reason, something just feels “off” about them right now, and whenever I feel like “now would be a good time to implement these” I discover a new bunch of open questions to which I haven’t found an answer yet, mainly in regard to ammunition – how should that stuff work? Should it come in tiers? Then how do the building tiers affect it? Where should Damage values be defined, in the ammunition item or in the Building? Should I bake some cake instead?
Yeah, questions over questions. I hope I’ll figure it out eventually. :)