Work continues, all hell breaks loose, more survivors at the gates. But before we jump into all that, a word from our sponsors.
Evil Village Residents
This is the level of humor you can expect, yes. Now, daft puns aside, I’d like to offer you a glimpse into the future through our “Forest Village” test map.
This video should be worth a thousand words, but ideally I’d like to keep these entries briefer than that (unlike the last entry, yes). So let’s cover the basics of what exactly this is, and how it relates to development.
The Forest Village map is our changing test map, which intends to emulate future PvE challenge levels. You may have noticed odd monster combinations, Imps armed with unconventional weapons, and odd map layouts. These, along with new Champion affixes and inherent abilities, are exactly the factors through which we’re trying to increase difficulty further. Stat inflation, level difference multipliers, and map difficulty multipliers can all have similar effects, by all means, but we find those cheaper and less sustainable – and going by the communication we’ve had with players over this time, you seem to agree.
Of course, such challenges will be reserved for future endgame expansions. We can’t have any solid dates for those yet, but work is being done. It’s fair to say it’s becoming a part-time job at this point, with one particular team member scoring an impressive 12 work hours over the weekend alone.
Endgame slugfests aside, then, let us return to the promised shady benefactors. First, a picture:
This lovable squatting fellow is Baker. Soon, Baker will meet you in Holborn Station and lend you a helping hand, just like Murmur. He also knows things, just like Murmur. And you’ll probably not know exactly what he wants from you before the final battle… just like Murmur.
Now, this much-discussed shady bunch is nearing completion. But, both to explain the delay and provide some insights into our work demands, let me share the latest fun times we had with them.
- In mid-2019, a plot was crafted, and quests were written. NPCs, items, and monsters were designed. Over time, they’ve all seen updates and redesigns, up until last night.
- Some time ago, NPCs for it were created. This process isn’t just creating characters, dressing them up, and clicking “save as”, no no. It took hours upon hours, and getting these bums to put on clothes took a while, for the wardrobe is a multi-layered beast.
- Then, just the other day, a modest batch of items was created. No, these won’t dilute the global pool, rest assured. This process too took some ~10 hours, just for the drafts that would most certainly see changes after being tested. For these items are not simple, you see; they’re a special bunch. Ordinary items don’t quite cut it for this role.
- Finally, just yesterday, we realized there was an unforeseen technical limitation that threw the whole plan off. Here we go; restructuring quests, which had us make multiple specific changes to quest texts, and tweaking items (which of course yielded different results to what theory would suggest), because a somehow never-expiring Fear state is really not quite desirable… Oh, look at the time. That’s another whole day of intense work, just to work around that sudden obstacle. And these well-dressed bums still haven’t taken their seats!
So that’s a regular process, for anything that’s not as simple as a new global item or a straightforward fetch quest. If Robostevarry’s custom butt explosion script takes a while, such ambitious projects take a looong while.
And what about those “distant lands”?
Now this part is, fortunately, less rocky so far. We’ve settled on mechanics that will work for the entry point to these distant lands, and have finally gotten a firmer, more interesting grasp on the valuables this journey will yield. Rather, one that satisfies us more and ticks even more boxes.
Also, have I mentioned the final boss of this journey already exists? Why, yes it does - we’ve created it. It’s even on the live server – just homeless and lonely down in Data St., waiting to be pulled out. When it is, you can expect it to be understandably pissed… so do bring company. It’s not a solo challenge, despite the low level.
…I must bid you farewell. I hope you found this shorter, sweeter entry more digestible and informative, as much as I hope you may now understand why things are taking as long as they are. Our team size aside, the game really, really does not like us fiddling around in its backyard – so the seemingly simplest things can take very bad, time-consuming turns.
Until next time, all the best