Game Development: Prelude

Announcements about major changes in Haven & Hearth.

Game Development: Prelude

Postby jorb » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:42 am

We've been developing, and here's what's new.

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This Monday we started working on the map generator, and as of yesterday it generates coherent river systems...!

What I'm saying is that we feel that the time has come to do a World Reset, and here's why:

  • Fix some bugs discovered in the map generator and generally improve upon it one iteration. Coherent rivers, stalagmites in caves, cave halls, water in caves, some localized resources, &c.
  • Significantly reduce the size of the world with the new map.
  • Clear out and set straight the metal quality values from the Cuck-Hombre patch.
  • Run an experiment with level caps.
  • Change the payment model.
Originally we had hoped to have a better Siege paradigm in place before moving on to a new world, but as we are still somewhat in the dark on how to best proceed with that, and as we have some ideas related to the reset which affect siege, we figure that we might as well move on, as this world seems to have otherwise run its course in many ways.

Payment Model & Level Caps
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We have for some time been dissatisfied with the payment model, and the incentives it creates, chiefly in that it makes players look at the clock and count the hours they spend in the game. Increasingly we have felt that this isn't fun, against the grain of the game otherwise, and I would wager a guess that it reflects in the user numbers. Our intention when creating the model was that subscription should be more or less optional, but in hindsight, that hasn't been the case, and that isn't as it should be.

What we want to do instead is to, rather than limit player time spent in the game, limit player ability. We, thus, want to introduce three ingame levels of level caps to both player stats and qualities -- 50, 125, and 200 -- corresponding to free play, verified account, and subscribed account.

We looked around at some other, similar MMOs, and this model seems to be closer to what others are doing. When we first contemplated limiting player skill, back when we first implemented the payment system, we decided against this solution, as it seemed to "sell power", or whatever, which we didn't want to do. It has since occurred to us, however, that the most important resource a player has at his disposal is his own time and effort spent in the game -- power -- for which reason we now instead feel that we do not want to limit time spent in the game. Character ability in game is, arguably, much less important, as most qualitative goals in the game can be reached with very low stats, and this model also allows a new player unlimited time in the game to derp around and decide whether it's fun or not, hang out with friends, try it out indefinitely, or simply skip subscribing a month, but still play, if money is tight, or whatever. The solution also "taxes", hopefully, the right people, i.e. those who take the game far too seriously for their own good, and play it competitively, or at a high level, while others can play relatively unmolested, which hopefully makes it more attractive to invite new people, and such like.

The present payment system also has the added drawback of appearing needy when spamming the player with messages about how he/she is running out of time, and, well, we don't want to be needy, and would, upon reflection, rather sell you comforts inside the bar, than charge you at the door.

Level caps are as such a thing that has been widely touted in some of the discussions we've had on the game, and some seem to imagine that removing the infini-grind would lead to a healthier game climate in various ways. We ourselves frankly doubt this, but there are at least enough unpredictabilities in it that we want to run the experiment, and what better time than now to try it out.

Correspondingly, we think that the shift between worlds is also the time to change the payment model.

The End of the World
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In order to not let a good crisis go to waste, we have decided to, instead of simply resetting the world, let you guys do it.

Or not. If you don't want to.

  • Added Altar of Ruin. Build an Altar of Ruin, and sacrifice yourself upon it. Your character will stand prostrate before the black void of the beyond, as the altar becomes active, and begins sucking life from the world.
  • Two weeks after an Altar of Ruin goes active, the world will end, and a new one be generated.
  • Only one Altar may be active at any given time.
  • While a player stands upon an Altar of Ruin, any other player may attempt to take his place by challenge. Whoever wins the challenge -- has the higher sum of base attributes -- becomes or remains the sacrificial lamb upon the altar, while the loser simply dies.
  • Whoever remains standing upon the Altar when the world ends, will be the victor of the world, and receive a statue in his or her name, to be carried across future worlds.
  • As soon as the first player sacrifices himself upon the altar, and the altar becomes active, all other players, and new characters from then on, will receive an experience informing them that the world is about to end.
  • While an Altar is active, you may craft a Cruel Lodestone. The Cruel Lodestone can be used to guide you to the Altar, and to find out how much time is left until the world ends.
  • If the Altar is destroyed, the world-ending process is aborted, quite simply.
  • The altar has a maximum cap -- 1500 -- on how much damage it can take, before it needs to cool off for 8 hours, before it again becomes destructible.
  • The last 12 hours before the world ends, the altar will be possible to destroy without cooldowns.
  • The altar has 50000 HP, and 5 soak.
  • The altar itself cannot be claimed, and nor can claims be extended over it.
  • Thus: The idea is that you can damage the altar for some amount, and perhaps even destroy it, if no one is guarding it, in the two weeks leading up to the final 12 hours. In the final 12 hours of the world I then hope to see a good slaughter fest around the altar, as people fight around it to destroy, protect, or to challenge the reigning King-of-the-Hill Ritualist.
  • The soak of all walls, globally, is gradually reduced from baseline to zero, over the course of the final week of the world, i.e. from (full soak) one week after the altar was first activated to (no soak) when the world ends. Chaos and slaughter hopefully ensues.
Incidentally, we figure we need about two weeks to fix all the stuff we want for the next world, so if you get cracking on this right away, we'll hopefully be ready when you are.

If no one is up for playing this game with us -- the altar is not free -- I guess we'll reconsider our options. If people are having fun fighting over altars I wouldn't mind letting the world actually run its course until someone does manage to trigger the end, but if everyone is bored and hates us I suppose we'll just reset anyway. Y'all's call, really.

Whether we keep this mechanic around for the next world depends on how it plays out, of course.

Sketches and Subscription tokens
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  • With this patch it becomes possible to put subscription tokens (back) into a Hearthfire, regardless of whether you bought, stole, or traded for the tokens. Any subscription tokens in your Hearthfire when the world ends will carry over to the next world. Any subscription tokens lost in the game world when the world ends, are forfeit.
  • All Sketches bought in this world will be redistributed to those who purchased them, and be available again in your Hearthfire in the next world.
  • With the world reset we will change how sketches work. Any player will, in the next world, be able to craft a pattern using the game determined materials for it, while a Sketch from the store will allow you to create patterns without that hassle.
  • Any active subscriptions will, of course, be unaffected by the end of the world, quite simply.
It'll in any event be a while until the reset actually happens, so feel free to throw any and all reasonable feedback, concerns, thoughts and questions at us, until then, and we'll try to modify the plan to take reasonable feedback into account. I assume there'll be a lot of mixed emotions about this, and we want to be as considerate as we can.

Enjoy, or tear us to shreds, whichever seems appropriate!
"The psychological trials of dwellers in the last times will be equal to the physical trials of the martyrs. In order to face these trials we must be living in a different world."

-- Hieromonk Seraphim Rose
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby Shrapnelx » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:43 am

jorb wrote:World Reset

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last edited by Shrapnelx on Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby Eemerald » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:45 am

but we just terraformed our area ;(
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby Kaios » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:46 am

Pretty dumb, you're no where near that point if you ask me. Looks more like a scramble to get players back because you have no clue what else to implement.
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby loftar » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:47 am

Kaios wrote:Pretty dumb, you're no where near that point if you ask me. Looks more like a scramble to get players back because you have no clue what else to implement.

Near what point, though? We did state what we wanted to implement.
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby simimi » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:47 am

Lol, and people were afraid of another "chair" update :mrgreen:
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby jorb » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:48 am

Kaios wrote:Pretty dumb, you're no where near that point if you ask me. Looks more like a scramble to get players back because you have no clue what else to implement.


We have plenty of things we'd like to implement, but regardless of what we implement we seem to get very little mileage on it, and I think the payment model is a chief reason for that. We want to move away from that and try something new.
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby stya » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:48 am

What we want to do instead is to, rather than limit player time spent in the game, limit player ability. We, thus, want to introduce three ingame levels of level caps to both player stats and qualities -- 50, 125, and 200 -- corresponding to free play, verified account, and subscribed account.

The day this happens I quit, until then no more money.
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby Kaios » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:48 am

loftar wrote:Near what point, though? We did state what we wanted to implement.


Well you've done nothing for siege, mid-game, end-game. After the beginning of the world why would the late game be any different just because you did a new map generator?
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Re: Game Development: Prelude

Postby overtyped » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:49 am

thisll be great
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