State of the Game - November



  • As November soon comes to an end, I've decided to take some time to put together another state of the game post. I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to focus on for November's post, but ultimately decided on problems with communication, but I'll get to that in a moment.

    • October Loot Crate - Yay that we finally received the autoloot reward, but boo on it being a no-stat trinket. To me, this just really shows the glaring disconnect between the player base and the developers. Itemization issues have been present from day 1, so adding in the reward as a valuable trinket slot with no other stats really makes me wonder what the overall itemization strategy is from IG. I also assume that since we didn't receive October's crate until November that we won't be receiving one for November proper. This is communication failure #1 on their part by not telling us they were aware of this and would be compensating in some other way.

    • No New Content - November was another month that rolled by with absolutely no new content added to the game. I completely understand IG focusing on stabilization and pricing updates to bring in new players, but without regular content updates this game will have a difficult time retaining players. Just look at what's happened to EU before the pricing slash.

    • No Itemization Changes - One more month rolling by without the update to itemization. I think by now we're nearing the three month mark between hearing about the planned updates and still not having received them. To me, this is major communication failure #2. Not only that, but John's last post on the steam forums regarding the status update on itemization didn't make any sense, and no response given when I asked about it.

    • We did receive updates to the weapon elemental effects and some changes to spells. This was a nice change, but not nearly enough for an entire month.

    • Still no new Races, Classes, Class Changes, Character Progression, etc. etc. As I said, November went through a patch and content drought, and I doubt it'll get any better for a busy December.

    Lastly, I'll give my thoughts on the break down in communication. When the game first released, there was a lot of back and forth between players and developers, ranging from bug reports, patch feedback, content feedback, etc. November continued the trend of less and less communication on IG's part, and we saw the least amount from them to us during this past month. Checking the post history just in these forums, it has been 16 days as of this post since John responded to any kind of feedback thread, and that was a single sentence concerning the autoloot trinket.

    With so little communication taking place overall, and even less on these forums, I must first wonder why these forums were even established. There has been a lot of discussion this month regarding build customization, itemization, and combat, and virtually no developer response. I think our expectation is that there would be more communication going on just as there was during the initial release, so this overall lack of presence has been very disturbing.

    We the players have a core of things we want you to be working on to deliver. You as the developer have a core of things you want to be working on to deliver. I totally understand that your priorities are on things like stabilization and bringing in new customers, and I think that's great. But I would highly recommend you take a moment to figure out what our priorities are so that the development time you do spend on content is focused on the wants and needs of your players.

    For example, I see a lot of people asking for dungeon updates, class updates, itemization and crafting updates, long term build customization updates, and things of that nature. I hardly ever seen solid discussions taking place regarding world content and generic kill 10/gather 10 quests. So I would be very curious how much time your spending developing things you want that align to your vision of the game vs. what your players are asking for.

    I understand that as a developer or designer you get busy and may forget to take the time to read through what your community is talking about and set aside time to respond, but you need to understand that we are your greatest asset, and also your greatest resource, so treat us as such.



  • Well, it appears as though IG only posts on the Steam forums and not their own. I again have to ask what the point is of these additional forums if the developers aren't even going to be bothered to read and respond to them.

    The Update thread in Announcements hasn't been updated since October, but they continue to make updates on the Steam forums. They respond to the Steam forums, but not their own. I will be reposting and linking to this thread from the Steam forums.

    I also just want to point out how ridiculous it is for them to state that they will be releasing the Itemization update two weeks ago, then update the thread saying they'll release it last week, then update it again this Tuesday with some bug fixes and changes to matchmaking, with no mention of the itemization updates.

    It's fine if you're going to focus on bug fixes and optimization improvements, but don't tell us we're getting something in September, then tell us we're getting it in October, then tell us we're getting it in November, then just decide to not address it.

    There are very few of us left from the early days and apparently that doesn't really concern you. Getting fresh waves of a handful of players that haven't yet reached max level to experience the complete lack of progression or to experience the horrendous itemization isn't a solid strategy for growing the game.



  • @Trup said in State of the Game - November:

    They respond to the Steam forums, but not their own. I will be reposting and linking to this thread from the Steam forums.

    I also just want to point out how ridiculous it is for them to state that they will be releasing the Itemization update two weeks ago, then update the thread saying they'll release it last week, then update it again this Tuesday with some bug fixes and changes to matchmaking, with no mention of the itemization updates.

    There is really no point to this board. I'd rather just have one board to check to see your posts :)

    There are very few of us left from the early days and apparently that doesn't really concern you. Getting fresh waves of a handful of players that haven't yet reached max level to experience the complete lack of progression or to experience the horrendous itemization isn't a solid strategy for growing the game.

    From a PR standpoint, it makes sense to move Max'd players here and not have detailed posts there. It maintains a certain appearance as EA.

    Lazy Lion also pointed out the over-promise issues.



  • It's pretty sad either way. I wouldn't have an issue coming over to some separate forum to directly discuss design ideas with them (like they proposed), but there is no moderation nor involvement on their part, so I don't see the point.

    IMO, nothing contributes more to an online game's success than the community it's built upon, and regular communication between players and developers is an easy way to strengthen that community. Lately though, they've just been taking a dump all over it.



  • @Trup said in State of the Game - November:

    but there is no moderation nor involvement on their part, so I don't see the point.

    Lately though, they've just been taking a dump all over it.

    Agree. Something has changed.



  • I think there are a few things going on. Just off the top of my head:

    I think there is something going on internally that has to do with their initial vision of the game vs. what has made them successful to date. So far, the game's entire success has been based upon the dungeon experience. My opinion would be to seize that market and deliver an amazing co-op dungeon experience that mashed together all of the great things of an arpg with the great things of this kind of mmo style they have going.

    This would be mean forgetting the traditional open world mmo sub-game they seem determined to deliver, even though nobody is really asking for it. They could condense down the open world into an act based system like in Diablo, with a progression of path hubs offering progressive dungeon experiences and do something great. Or they could be the 10,000th company to make a generic mmo open world. This isn't going to be Witcher 3, so I just think its a total waste of their time.

    I think the other big problem going on is they are doing a poor job of managing fixing problems with delivering new content. Every time I release a software update, I know I'm going to have a small number of people that my software isn't going to work for, and I'm going to have to work with them individually to fix their problem. Now, I could spend a development cycle trying to reduce that number, but in the long run it's far more efficient for me to continue delivering content than it is to try to fix the problems for a very small percentage of my user base. Instead, I slowly work on those problems so that over a long period of time I reduce my backlog of known issues. I can't just halt development because I need to fix something that affects a small number of users.



  • @Trup

    It could be any number of things that may not be for public digestion.

    I don't think anyone aims for failure or to let people down. The best we can do is provide feedback so they know what is the perspective from the player side and leave it up to them to decide what they can or will do with it.

    You've done a great job of compiling and articulating the issues. I am just not sure what else we can do to help them at this point.



  • You're right. I shouldn't be trying to guess what's going on. Just disappointed that nothing is being communicated to us.



  • Hi Guys,

    Let me get through some things today and I ll provide an update. It will be tonight and it will be in depth regarding all the issues you address. There has been a lot going on both good with the game in terms of content, and challenging in terms of stuff in our lives. Being a small team, changes that affect us can effect players and while I've always tried to be very proactive on communication its been challenging lately. I'll be on tonight and have a better update for you this evening. I appreciate you guys posting. Even though I've been fairly poor lately.

    John



  • Well I logged on for the dev chat and I guess it starts an hour earlier now. I'll be looking forward to your post.



  • Hello and Good Evening,

    Thanks for joining in. We wanted to write a post to address the concerns that you and many of the long-time players of the game have had. We also wanted to catch you up with a large amount that has gone on at Industry Games to improve and make the game better. It’s been a rough road the last six months but as a company we have learned much.

    Since launch we have had the team split between working optimizations, on the world and working on dungeons. As the need for improvements on the performance of the game came up, this pushed back a lot of the content we were working to implement. Things took longer than anticipated and were delayed for a variety of reasons. We tried very hard to have excellent communication but as time went on and the depth of some of the changes needed became unclear, our communication wavered. We hear you regarding better communication. We hear you about hitting milestones. We aren’t like a normal game company. We are very small (if someone goes on vacation, there is often no redundancy and a system or change is on hold, sometimes for a week or more). These delays add up, but we can be clear and consistent with communication and deliver what we plan to.

    The decision was made a month ago to put the focus on cleaning up the dungeons and finish them. We would delay the world as the tech to support an active world was not where it needed to be without performance issues. The world tech has largely been improved and the dungeon transition is over half complete.

    When doing the dungeons, we felt the loot overall needed to be changed as just adjusting stats without making boss drops of value would diminish the need to run a dungeon. We also wanted to have drops for both players who want to craft as well as players who just want great boss loot. As we progressed over the last several months the workload of to-dos seemed to get larger while the limitations of what we could do in the time allotted increased as well.

    In short the scope at times got bigger when it should have gotten smaller. In addition to this, things that would have a clear impact on the players in the game (like a beginner experience of how to play, and loot) began to become more expansive so they fit with all content and not just one part of it. Going forward, internally we are more organized now than we had been in the past. It is helping us to get content 100% done and not 50%. Unfortunately, this adds to the amount of time it takes to get a dungeon or other content done. In the past we had thrown many items together and parts of the gameplay suffered.

    So, where are we now? Internally we feel good about a plan to get all the dungeons we have lined up working and in the game in the next month. This would be it for the dungeon content (available when sitting in the inn) for the game prior to our official launch. We are going to run up against Christmas and New year’s so it could run into January but that is the plan we have currently.
    Founders Items – The stat trinket is on the way, should be next week. We have a loot crate planned (we have not finalized it so any suggestions are welcome) and another potential mount for December. I’ll talk to the team on Monday about the status but these could be delivered soon and should be.

    New Content – The Lizardmen are being tested, converting them so that they could work with all previous and future armors was a daunting task. They will be rolled out along with The Mirefen Burrows cave dungeon. End game progression (talent or specialization system) is at least a month off from development. Finalizing the dungeons and lizardmen will delay that. New classes may come before end game progression but may not. We have spent little time on our quest system but it had been something we wanted to pass along a narrative and inject secrets into the game and without it we couldn’t do that, but it is very basic and will stay that way for the time being (no further development now).

    Itemization – This is probably personally my largest failure to deliver and it entirely has to do with the scope of the change. What started as a small adjustment to stats, became a large change that had the potential to change the way players view loot entirely. The system for crafted loot has been developed largely the way players recommended (Trup) with a static portion (3-5 consistent stats that only vary based upon quality) and then an addition 3-5 stats that would vary based upon and RNG grouping.
    In general, most gear in the game is overpowered. It will be corrected in the item changes. In doing this we took all the elemental damage and resists off current crafted armor and added it to faction armor. Meaning if you want Fire resistance you go run the dungeons that have those drops and get the fire resistance gear.

    The faction gear (think of the Branded as a faction dropping fire gear) would have a tier system (like wow) and would give you different drops based upon the level of difficulty chosen. One of the tiers of each faction drops a complete crafted set. All up, it’s close to 150 – 200 crafted items and another 300 non-crafted (very good boss drops). Changing all the current crafted gear without putting this in, would have the effect of negating many of the items you have spent a lot of time crafting without a “next” step for you to achieve which we felt could be a major issue. Basically, a nerf without a new goal to achieve.

    So, long story short, we made a big task really big causing a way to long delay. All the loot and items are done and made, we were just waiting on the first batch of dungeons to come online with the new loot to push more of these changes to not cause major disruption. At this point it is probably better that we just push the content and deliver the full changes as they come online with the dungeons.
    Where do we go from here? I think we need an easy means to communicate and get on the same page with players. I prefer the KH forums as it’s easy to respond and doesn’t have the noise of the Steam forums. We answer more often at times on Steam due to it being the marketplace but for implementing feedback I would prefer the KH forums. I will post a thread on the KH forums called Design Team – Player Priorities, please post your thoughts on what is needed in what order there. I appreciate you guys keeping us in line and playing our game.

    Sincerely,

    John



  • Thanks, John.

    Couple of follow up questions:

    1. Now that faction gear will have all of the elemental resistances, what has been done with the physical resistances? Currently, physical resistances are far more important than elemental resistances. So what exactly is going on with armor, piercing, slashing, and crushing?

    2. Along with the above question, assuming those values are still present on gear, where does an insane Crypts item fall into Lava's progression? Are we looking at parity, so that an Insane Crypts item is equal in power to an Insane Lava item, just with different elemental resistances? Or we we looking at an overall tiered system where Lava is overall more powerful than Crypts in terms of generic stats, but has an elemental focus on fire instead of whatever Crypts has?

    3. Along with the above question, if dungeons are tiered out, meaning Insane Crypts is equal in power (both in terms of difficulty and item power) to Hard Lava, will there be some measure in place to entice players to follow the prescribed progression?

    4. With the tiered system coming online, will we be looking at Lava - Easy dropping a Fire Mace +0 and Lava - Insane dropping a Fire Mace +6, meaning the same item, just the power level has been increased, or will there be entirely separate items for each tier? Along with that question, is the tiered system simply increasing stats, or can we expect higher tiers of items to start having additional effects or abilities?

    5. I think your community could help you out a lot more than you think. If you started to create moderators and permissions, we could create FAQs, move posts around, and centralize information for you to respond to. But that would mean our expectation for you to participate in regular discussions would increase. A lot of the noise you're referring to could be corrected in a living FAQ, and that's something your players could handle if it meant more regular communication regarding the new stuff.

    6. With the focus being on completing the dungeons, can you give us an overall idea of what we'll be looking at before the official launch? How many more end game dungeons will there be?

    7. My suggestion for the Loot Crate for November and December would be an experience increasing item. If you're planning to gut power leveling then this could be a nice item to have. I've leveled every class to 50. I fully intend on having a Lizardman, but I'm dreading leveling him up, especially in a non-powerlevel world. So an item that used your same class specific tech as the autoloot trinket, but with a flat experience modifier would be nice and could be easy to do. And you could just drop two of them to make up for Novembers crate. A crown with +10-20% and a cloak with +10-20% would be killer to have.

    8. I've been farming blacksteel on and off for months in anticipation of the crafting changes. Please tell me it isn't going to go to waste.



  • @John

    Thanks for the update. It sounds like there has been a ton going on behind the scenes.

    While I'm sure all the pressures, asks/demands and prods from the player boards can be exasperating to respond to, know that they are coming from a good place -- with players really wanting to see KnH progress towards a full, successful launch.

    Cheers.

    Mb



  • bump for questions



  • Have you considered surrounding Everdale by an energy shield to prevent players from getting outside? When crawling dungeons players would contribute to building a shield breaking device that eventually would remove the energy shield. That way you wouldn't have to worry about the outside world for now while still giving players something to do.



  • Hi Trup, Mb, Hirn,

    I ll try to get all of them answered but if I miss any let me know.

    Physical Resistances are being removed for the time being and potentially added in later, possibly through some form of specialization tree. In general, they are a bit too powerful in their current state. It might be possible that they are added through an item enhancement like a polishing stone, that increases slash damage, or something that reinforces armor. This would potentially be added to a tradeskill but the values will be much lower than they have been in the past.

    So regarding the new progression, it won’t be perfectly balanced but the idea is that the high level versions of all dungeons (some of which will only be a high level) will have equivalent gear and challenge. We understand some will be harder than others. Regarding the itemization, different bosses will drop gear per difficulty with each higher difficulty either giving additional gear options or higher drop rates of gear. Let me give an example.

    We would love to have moderators, great idea. I posted a thread about it.

    I’ll see about posting a progress plan on the dungeons for you and try to get it out this week.

    The player items will most likely be a mount. We had discussed exp boost items in the past but had shelved them due to the level curve. It might be time to dust those off.

    Your Blacksteel won’t go to waste but it won’t be the end all be all, just one of the options for end game materials.

    Regarding the Energy Shield, we actually just talked about that today without seeing this post. Our feeling is it would probably tick players off more that excite them. Our hope is with the new beginning experience we teach the players new to the game how to play and interact with the key parts of the game quickly and early on.
    Again, if I missed anything let me know.

    John



  • Interesting. I assume then that damage output has been adjusted to compensate, or are we going back to the days of getting one shot?

    The drop system sound a lot like D2's tc system, which I guess is fine. I think eventually though as you reign in the difficulty and push more towards higher content requiring groups that you'll have to address the actual boss loot drop system, but that can come in time.



  • Hi Trup,

    In general you should see NPC damage reduced. We hope to improve the boss AI to the extent that you will need a group for some bosses entirely and many bosses on harder difficulties.

    John


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