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Founders' Update: Soft launch strategy

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People can go berserk, but this is a no-brainer.  If the game needs a lot of optimization, it will fail in today's game market.  I'd rather be too patient for a game I love than be too eager for a game that is broken.

 

I'm certainly left with questions about the launch process, but I'll presume not all the details have been worked out.  To me the core of the game is:

 

  1. combat
  2. seiging/building
  3. 13 archetypes (promotion classes can be delayed, since they are behind a time wall anyway/maybe consider a two-tiered promotion system, too so the combatants diversify even more over time)
  4. 20-30 disciplines
  5. crafting
  6. 1 workable rule-set
  7. win/loss
  8. embargo
Edited by mctan

Mic MWH, Member of Mithril Warhammers since 2003,


Hammers High! http://www.mithrilwarhammers.com

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The good: I agree you guys have gotten a lot of work done in a relatively short amount of time. The game is becoming more and more fun.

 

The bad: I agree here also. There's still a lot left to do.

 

The ugly: Once again, I agree. Combat is decent, but not stellar. I think all attacks need to be able to be done "on the move" whether that's at strafe speed if charging up an attack or full speed like a standard left click attack. The animation locking just has to go. It HAS to go. Siege mechanics are decent, but not stellar. People still get stuck in rubble, vehicles are still a little wonky, etc. 

 

I guess the timing of this news seems weird to me. We're not approaching any promised or even hinted at date that I can recall. I guess in the spirit of transparency you're starting to realize these things and want to bring them to our attention?

 

"Soft Launch" to me sounds like "early access" or releasing a game that's not quite ready to be released yet and finishing it as you go. Is that the plan? Is it because of the delays and things taking longer that you're afraid of running out of money and rather than seek additional investors you'd rather push the soft launch to get a little more revenue flowing? Again, the timing of this "soft launch" news just seems weird to me. This is something I would expect to see closer to the target date (late 2016 or early 2017). 

 

Overall I'm happier with a soft launch because the sooner I can get in and start playing a persistent version of Crowfall the better. I'm just wondering how outsiders who aren't sold on the game will perceive it. It's also following a trend that I'm not so fond of and that's "early access" games. I'm sure you will hear a lot of folks screaming of yet another "paid alpha/beta". I already signed up for a paid alpha by pledging to support the game via kickstarter so again, I'm fine it it. Not everyone will be though. 

 

I guess I'm left wondering what made you give us this news right now? What realization did you guys come to recently?

Edited by blazzen

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It's all good. I think everyone believed that there would be some sort of delay after SP got pushed back. It's a lot to get done in a short amount of time. As long as the rest of the backers get to test within a reasonable time frame, another 3 or 6 months won't really matter.

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I thought about it some more and I like this decision even more. 

 

"Characters" not being wiped just means the skills we train over time won't be wiped. Vessels will still come and go as they always do. 

 

Campaign worlds end. As new features are implemented, as things are tweaked and improved, new campaigns will arise with these tweaks/improvements. It's not like they're going to be disrupting an ongoing server/shard. The campaigns end and that allows for new things to be implemented without a hitch.

 

That really is the beauty of this game. 

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This is why I feel like small indie game Dev made MMOs are the way to go. If this was big budget big name Dev, the good enough move on mantra would be the main philosophy and like we've seen countless time the launched product is just an empty shell of what it should have been.  We'll have to wait longer to play the "full" game but IMO it'll hopefully pay off ten fold in the long run. If they can deliver the game they promised during KS I have no doubt its something I'll play for years.

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Selfishly, I'm stoked for the promise that they are getting us in and playing asap - while we test, and even using characters that won't be wiped.

I'm excited for the time that non-wiped characters are a go as well.  Now just for clarification, how many wipes during Alpha/Beta do people see us having, or are the characters we are testing with now, going to be permanent?

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I guess I'm left wondering what made you give us this news right now? What realization did you guys come to recently?

 

We had to decide whether we could call combat and movement "done", and move on.

 

The answer is: they aren't, and we can't.  The ripple effect is that we need to spend more time on them, and that means NOT moving on to the other stuff.  The other stuff will come in later as a result.

 

Todd

ACE


J Todd Coleman

ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

[Rules of Conduct]

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Selfishly, I'm stoked for the promise that they are getting us in and playing asap - while we test, and even using characters that won't be wiped.

 

I think I'm reading this a little differently.  The game will have a "release" and that will constitute the last wipe, and everything in the game to that point will be optimized.  What this post is saying is that not everything in the vision will be in the game yet: maybe many of the disciplines, some of the rule-sets, some of the other ideas.  What I hope this post is not saying is that the game begins its persistent characters before it ships.  That would be disastrous, in my view. 

 

All people invested in the game, and people waiting to buy the game at release need ample time to know there will not be any more wipes.  My guild would be really disgruntled if only those of us who kickstarted get to start the game.  Please, do not follow the current trends of "early access," just follow your ideas of "core game release."

 

Then - make a test server and roll out the new features over time.

Edited by mctan

Mic MWH, Member of Mithril Warhammers since 2003,


Hammers High! http://www.mithrilwarhammers.com

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A soft release is fine, as long as the game is both playable and fun when you decide "no more wipes, this is retail."

 

Persistence for alpha testing makes sense.  Wipes are likely only needed when you make changes to character systems (skills in particular), so really, you can soft launch when you've got skills set to the point where you're not going to have to change parts that people have already spent on (since you have no way of refunding time spent raising those skills).  The CW's already reset.  EK's can be rebuilt as necessary.

 

Really, what you need for soft launch is:

  • character persistence (skill persistence, really - that's all a crow is, is a set of skills that gets applied to a vessel)
  • perma-banks that we can import into a CW from, and export from a CW to (doesn't even need to be a full EK to start with, but if you can do a CW you can do EKs)
  • crafting system and resources working in CWs
  • guild structures
  • Combat working well for a good subset of the archetypes.
  • VIP membership perks to encourage us to pay monthly so you can afford to finish

 

Disciplines, additional archetypes, promotion classes, funky rulesets.. all these things can be added after the initial release.

 

That said, the game needs to be fun and playable without issues at whatever point you say to the public, "ok you can pay and play now."

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We had to decide whether we could call combat and movement "done", and move on.

 

The answer is: they aren't, and we can't.  The ripple effect is that we need to spend more time on them, and that means NOT moving on to the other stuff.  The other stuff will come in later as a result.

 

Todd

ACE

 

is the 'soft launch' in reference to retail release or more to 'beta'?


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I think a soft launch is a bad idea. There are people who will play the game for the first time and be turned off at its unfinished state. I am all for pushing the release back until the game is done, that doesn't bother me as I, like you, want the game to be as best as it can be.

 

The only reason I can think of doing a soft release is that ACE realizes they are going to need those VIP subs sooner than they thought.


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/snip

Disciplines, additional archetypes, promotion classes, funky rulesets.. all these things can be added after the initial release.

 

That said, the game needs to be fun and playable without issues at whatever point you say to the public, "ok you can pay and play now."

 

I'm with you on everything but archetypes.  I would argue it would be a nightmare to put in a new archetype a month or two into the game (respec, accelerated training, etc).  The 13 are the core combatants of the game, IMO.  

 

Yes, I am arguing from a "if Dwarves are not in, most of my guild will not play," but I expect we are not alone in having people sitting on the sidelines until their characters come in.

 

Also, JTC and Gordon hinted that (edit: most) archetypes should be coming online faster and faster.

Edited by mctan

Mic MWH, Member of Mithril Warhammers since 2003,


Hammers High! http://www.mithrilwarhammers.com

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I think this is the right call. I would really shy away from calling it a soft launch or any other time of launch. Just call it what it is...Open Beta or just Beta. 

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