Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome to blog number 2!

Since we briefly covered free2play last week I figured I’d give the floor over to Marie to discuss upcoming developments, and the possibilities that moving to free2play will open up in terms of development. This will all build into a clear roadmap of where we intend to take the game as a result of our working together, but for now go ahead and bask in the warming glowing glow of some upcoming contenty goodness.

Without further ado, Marie, take it away!
Hey guys,

First things first - I know everyone has been eagerly awaiting the release of Alpha County, the combat changes and Progress Towns. Right now, we’re targeting a release date of July 6th. I know this is later than the intended Q2 release date, however GamersFirst has given us the resources for additional testing and polish so we wanted to take full advantage of that.

For all the newcomers to the Wasteland, Alpha County is a new county that raises the level cap to 55, introduces new recipes and gear, missions, crits, as well as a new conflict town full of rare resources to fight over. While I don’t want to give too much away, the storyline of the Grainway starts to dig into GlobalTech’s shady history as well as looking at some of the deep dark secrets of the factions. We really start laying the ground work here for some later events that will have serious consequences across the entire world.

Progress towns are found in sectors 2,3 and south of Deadfall. These are areas where you can clear out hostiles and craft buildings with different benefits, such as access to merchants, vaults, questors or buffs. You’ll also have to place defenses for your towns, landmines, guard bunkers or other things that will prevent the raiders from taking their land back.

Past Alpha County we have a full production schedule going into Summer/Fall. With the support from G1 we’ve been able to accelerate the dev time on some of our already in progress projects.

Our first priority is looking at the player’s ability to socialize and move about the world. So along those lines we will be making some improvements to the Fast Travel system as well as smoothing out the new player experience and giving players some more direction for major features such as vehicle crafting and factions. We’re not dumbing anything down - just putting emphasis on the features that drive the game.

After that we will be implementing some major dynamic features starting with World Events and then…Faction Territory Control!

The World Event system will allow us to add a different type of content than we have previously used in Fallen Earth and better create the feel of a true post apocalyptic world, one under siege while rebuilding. Adding this dynamic will add another layer of participation, defending towns from hostile creatures and people, saving towns from rampant viral outbreaks , and defending merchant caravans and other wasteland fun.
Faction Territory Control will come shortly after the world events. We will be carving out parts of the world for factions to claim and craft resource stations then defend and fight over them. To fully take advantage of your faction territory you’ll need to get your crafters and fighters involved. The resources found in these contested territories will be in high demand in the world giving factions solid motivation to take and hold the land. To drive that demand we will be addressing some of the economic and rarity issues currently found in the game. We understand that, given the way factions work right now there will be a lot of questions about how this might work. That’s a really good thing – rather than explain exactly what’s in development, we’d rather you do ask those questions so we can explore all angles together.

Along with both of these new features we will be adding a system to display these and other existing world goals on the Strategic map so players can see what’s going on across the canyon and get to the action quickly.

We’ll be getting you more info and screenshots as we get closer to the release dates for everything. If you haven’t added the Fallen Earth page on Facebook yet, do it!

See you in the wastelands!

M

We’ll be going into detail about each a bit more in the future. Before we go, a couple of quick notes:

PTS – PTS is still being built out, and will come back Sometime™. As Marie mentioned above, the G1 QA team is helping out with testing based on the results gleaned from the last PTS push. We’ll of course still be keeping an eye on the forums and Facebook for reports of things we need to check out, so let us know if anything crops up once Alpha County’s out the door.

Server performance – New monitoring tools are being put in place to keep track of some of the weirdness going on. We see the reports, and understand that these issues exist for some, so now we’re in the mode of definitively identifying why they happen and then stomping them out.

And finally, we noticed that there have been, since the beginning of time it seems, requests to add a Full Respec Injector to the Fallen Earth Store. This introduced a bit of a quandary, as it’s a good idea to add things to the store that can fuel further development of the game—especially when they’re requested by the community—but on the other hand, we are of course going to give one out for free when the combat changes go live and thus didn't want to make everything think we're going to do the combat changes then force you to buy one. Eventually we decided it would be OK to put it in the store just so long as anyone who wants to purchase one understands that we WILL be giving one out for free soon! If you want to pick one up, you may go to the store and do just that, as well as the new Two Chupacabras perfume that will reset your faction (though I don’t blame you if you don’t want that, as who really wants to smell like a Chupacabras?). We haven’t made a big deal out of these items yet so that’s why you haven’t seen a lot of mention of them, but they certainly are there if you find the need to avail yourself of their functions.

- Linus

11 comments:

  1. Good to see you're communicating frequently :)

    How are Progress Towns going to interact with (a) Housing ,(b) timezones and (c) PvP ?

    The Progress Town mechanic seems to be clear out baddies in PvE, then craft the town, then hold the town against enemy PvE raiders.

    You *are* going to put the Housing in Progress Towns, right ?

    Almost by definition, a group of people who took a Progress Town will regard it as 'theirs'. I'd suggest emphasising this with some sort of permanent record of the killboard in taking that town, with the names of every player who was involved in clearing the town, and some stuff about how many kills, how much healing or whatever. This will make players feel Good and Special about what they did, and you can even think about making a memorial plaque available via the Cash Store (an actual physical certificate, issued by the Progress Town and posted to the player).

    Crafting the town is pretty straight forward, and frankly just put reinforced concrete blocks or whatever in the Store to help reduce the grind in this.

    Holding the town is where it gets fun. Im assuming you'll do a model of constant little raids on the town, probably tweaked to the number of players currently in the town and their level, with the occasional scheduled and notified big raid.

    I would suggest that taking, building or defending the town get you 'citizenship rep' for that town.

    Managing the zerg of players will be fun. I can see everyone and their dog wanting to turn up for these, which will strain servers and possibly make the events underwhelming. Can I suggest that non-residents (those who dont have citizenship rep for that town), while not actually prevented from participating, get debuffed in these fights - if it's not your town, its fundamentally not your fight.

    Also, put a mechanism in so players who play on 'off' timezones can get involved in these raids. Its ok to Alarm Clock Op, but *having* to alarm clock op to see a World Event when you're a Euro or Oceanic isnt what you want. A mechanism whereby so much citizenship rep can request a raid would be a neat way of doing this.

    Finally Progress Towns, while PvE areas, could be huge fun places to RP-PvP in, especially if you can flag up on a clan-by-clan basis.

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  2. Oh yeah, nearly forgot. Clan Lockbox. Basic version buildable at X town friendship, advanced model in Cash Shop at X town friendship, or advanced model buildable in play at X+Y town friendship.

    The Clan Lockbox can be placed in a Progress Town and stays in existance even after the town is overrun, giving Our Heroes the chance to counter-raid the now unfriendly ruins to get their Neat Stuff back.

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  3. very good, thank you for giving us an estimated release date. now i feel my decision to pay another 6 months was right.

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  4. wait.. "Eventually we decided it would be OK to put it in the store just so long as anyone who wants to purchase one understands that we WILL be giving one out for free soon!"
    one? is that one per account or one per char? the latter i hope :P

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  5. Anton they already stated that the towns and housing are not the same or will be made together so we just have to wait to see what they got plan on housing...in short the towns are pve content

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  6. Aika,

    Well, yes, Progress Towns are PvE content, and the Designing for Awesome part of making them Fallen Earth's raids is that, unlike most MMOs, you dont organise on the forums to arrange for a 3.30pm EST formup for 4pm start and then begin clearing trash at 4.30EST like most MMOs.

    Instead, if the do what I hope they are planning, at 3.30pm EST the trash comes to you right here in New Hope Springs, and at 4pm the Boss Mob is laying down heavy fire on Ratchet's Garage, and if you and yours aint there to defend your town, then I guess Ratchets Garage is going to be a smoking wreck for a bit.

    *That* is what I call Designing for Awesome - dont take the players to the fights, take the fight to the players.

    And thats why their housing needs to be in a Progress Town - sure, let em dig a cellar for their valuables, so they dont permanently lose em (and/or have NPCs who for in-game money or real cash will rescue or ransom their Precious Stuff from a lost Progress Town). But by making a Progress Town *their* town, by gosh and by golly will they fight to keep it free.



    http://henerkin.fileave.com/Catalog2.pdf

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  7. I think Anton should be hired as a Dev, he has great ideas, much of which I share, and puts them in better words than I could.
    Kudos to you!

    The whole fighting for towns and owning it thing reminds me of the one thing I adored in Warhammer Online, the Keeps. You'd pvp for them and your guild would own them, with guild banner and all.

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  8. Than you for comunicating guys.
    I made 6.07.2011 red on my calender:-D

    And...doo i see right, we are not talking about combat changes in THAT PACH with s4? just a simple question...

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  9. This is, in my opinion, the alpha test of what Progress Towns could be - Hope Springs.

    Here's the little town's newspaper.

    http://fallenearth.rp-haven.com/forum/jeri-bell/hope-springs-eternal

    Incidentally, from a marketing point of view, theres going to be a bunch of SWG refugees showing up just when FE goes free, by the way.

    Therefore, enable one of the great SWG features, player-run Vendors. Make em cost chips to maintain, and either grind or cash shop mats to build. They get loaded with both a verbal script ("I work for and he makes the best damn shotgun ammo in the wastes, friend") and with the products for sale and prices, and offers for buying mats (both prices and total maximum quantity to be bought. Needless to say, sell 4 slot, 8 slot and so on Vendors).

    Players can and will run your economy, if you give them the tools - after all, Ratchet's Garage is Awesome, but it would be more Awesome if the player running it could hire an NPC offsider to sell his stuff when he isnt around.

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  10. Where's Runes of Magic (Aventura Eterna, here in Brazil), GamersFirst? We would like to know...

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  11. Good post! Needs a title for RSS feeds though =)

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