Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Combat Changes and Merge Questions

Two things on the agenda today! Later on in this post I'll address a lot of questions I've seen regarding the transition to using G1 accounts, but first off Maenad has some notes she’d like to pass along regarding revisions to combat in the upcoming patch. The main thing we want to stress here is that we ARE currently looking at everything and taking feedback into account.

Hello again!

In the last version we had up on the PTS, combat was too fast…
But on live right now it’s too slow. We’re trying to get a bit of the Goldilocks solution going here. With that in mind, here are some of the changes for this coming patch:
  • The extra player health from last patch is going away. Given the base formula changes to mitigation, health is just too high. We don’t want you to spend a lot of time getting patched up out of combat though. As a downtime reducer, if you are in any resting stance (Sleep, Lounge, Squat, Sit, or Sitchair) your regeneration rates will be greatly increased. In a relative sense, this increases the speed of combat WHILE still calculating mitigation of each point of damage taken in the ways intended and providing for little time out of combat.

  • After re-evaluating Precision, critical hit damage is being increased, and precision will provide a greater increase in critical hit percentages for the same number of spent AP.

  • Armor debuffs in support and non-passive lines are getting boosted.

  • There has been a lot of debate over the usefulness of power. One of the cool things about the new system is that thre are no mandatory skills, and some skills have more noticable benefits for different types of weapons. You will notice a bigger difference using power with slow large damage weapons. Sniper rifles and two handed melee weapons are greatly benefited by power, where someone using a faster wepon may see a more noticable benefit to maxing precision.

And now, questions regarding the transition to using GamersFirst accounts to log in to Fallen Earth:

Will we get to use our old accounts when Fallen Earth transitions to Free2Play?
Absolutely, hence the account merge. The first time you log in to the game following the transition, you will be directed through a short merge process where you verify your characters, and then voila, you're done. From then on, you'll log in to Fallen Earth using your GamersFirst account (create one here for free so you're ready when the merge happens).

Why is this change being made? Why can't we just keep logging in with our Fallen Earth accounts forever?
GamersFirst is a universal service and uses a single log in across all of our games. This may not concern you terribly if you only plan to play Fallen Earth, but what's more relevant in your case is that everything that makes up GamersFirst -- logging in, payments, customer service tools, and everything else -- requires a GamersFirst account in order to function. Thus far, Fallen Earth has existed sort of on its own in mostly the same state as it had been before it came under our ownership. When the transition requires a GamersFirst account, it will have completed its first big step towards becoming a Free2Play game.

Can I merge my account before August 1st?
It's likely, given the pace of work right now, that we may roll the transition out earlier than the originally schedule date of August 1st, but you will have to wait until this day to perform the merge.

What if I don't have the game available but I want to merge? Can I?
The process you're directed through when you log in to the game is web-based, so when that process is available it will be linked to here, on the forums, and through Facebook and Twitter.

What will happen on the day of the merge?
The Fallen Earth game and website will go down for a period of maintenance. When the game comes back up, you will log in using your existing account as you already have been doing; from there, you will be prompted to complete a short process for merging that account with a GamersFirst account (which you should already have created by this point). From then onwards, you will log in to both the Fallen Earth game and website using your GamersFirst account.

Will I have to do anything to make sure my subscription transfers?
Credit card payments will continue to recur without your needing to do anything. This is something we wish we could implement across the board, while transitioning payments, we must undergo slightly different processes for various payment providers. If your subscription is paid with PayPal you will need to go into your subscription settings and reinitiate recurring payments. Please note that doing so will not immediately charge you -- it will just set things up so that your subscription will successfully recur on the next day that it is scheduled to. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to initiate recurring payments through ClickandBuy; in this case, we would encourage you to pay directly with a credit card, or use PayPal.

What do I get out of all this?
If you complete the merge process by August 5th, you'll receive some free G1 Credits the following week to familiarize yourself with the new environment. There is also, of course, the Subscriber Appreciation Gifts being given out each month for having an active subscription the previous month, the Veteran Reward Item being given out to all Fallen Earth players that have ever subscribed prior to the Free2Play transition.

Thanks for reading! Got a question? Post it in the comments.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Subscriber Appreciation Gifts detailed


Have you been wondering what the Subscriber Appreciation Gifts will be?
Check them out here!

If you are allergic to pictures, here they are in text form:
  • Having an active subscription or game time code at any point in July will get you some Fancy White Boots and a Skindog pet in August
  • Having an active subscription or game time code at any point in August nets you a Snazzy White Hat and a Chupacabras pet in September
  • Having an active subscription or game time code in September means you'll get the Sexy White Jacket and the Old Creeper pet in October

As long as you're currently subscribed to Fallen Earth, you won't have to buy these or do anything out of the ordinary to get them; they will gravitate towards you like mosquitoes to freshly exposed skin. It's our way of saying thank you, and we appreciate your support during this transition process. These should not, however, be confused with the Veteran Reward item which we'll be giving out to anyone who has ever bought the game or upgraded a trial. That is a separate thing altogether, and will be going out when the transition to Free2Play is complete.

All signs point to it being super nifty.

As mentioned in the last couple blogs, we're also currently working on tweaks to combat here and there based on all the feedback we're getting. Maenad is putting together a list of the changes being made, and a new post will be available later this week detailing the upcoming changes. We're looking forward to another round of feedback once these changes drop.

Also, there are seven Earth days left until the Fallen Earth/GamersFirst merge process is available. Make sure you have a GamersFirst account now so that you are prepared!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Upcoming Transition – You Need a G1 Account!

This is an exciting time for Fallen Earth. Things are Changing! Notice the capital C, and the deployment of glorious italics.

August 1st will mark the conclusion of Phase One of the transition process, which was basically “move over all the hardware and pretty much keep running things the same as they’ve always been.” It also heralds the beginning of Phase Two, where we fully integrate Fallen Earth into the GamersFirst publishing platform.

This mostly means we’re making a lot of back-end changes, and I’m sure it sounds rather vague, so here is a breakdown of the actual changes that affect you!

On August 1st:

  • You will need a GamersFirst account to log in to Fallen Earth (which is no big deal, because we give them away for free so you should make one now)
  • You will need to merge your Fallen Earth account with your G1 account Voltron-style to keep all your characters, reward points, and account history intact. This process will be available on August 1st. To active subscribers who complete this process by August 5th, we'll be handing out some free G1 Credits as our way of saying thank you for undertaking the transition! Which will be useful because...
  • The Fallen Earth website is getting an eXtreme makeover! The Fallen Earth Store will now be integrated with the GamersFirst marketplace. From this point on you'll be able to use G1 Credits to purchase Fallen Earth Store items.

Some payments and subscriptions will be affected. Read on if you pay PayPal or Click&Buy.

If, as of August 1st, your subscription is paid directly with a credit card it will automatically recur without your having to do anything. If your subscription is paid with PayPal or Click&Buy, however, your subscription will not recur in August and you will need to resubscribe. This is not optimal, and we’re sorry :(. We would prefer to allow accounts paid via PayPal and Click&Buy to continue recurring, but certain things prevent us from doing so and we must make lemons of this lemonade. Note that characters and items will of course not be affected if your subscription lapses, but any reward points you’re currently accruing for having a continuous subscription will revert to the default 10 if there is a gap. To prevent any gap in service, please make sure to resubscribe immediately following August 1st (more reminders will of course be sent out closer to this date).

Additional changes that generally don’t affect current subscribers but will also be in place as of August 1st:

  • New subscriptions will continue to come with one additional “Buddy” product key, but will no longer come with an ATV or Classy Feathered Top Hat (we feel that the new player experience of building your first ATV is valuable, and don't want the initial purchase to bypass that)
  • The base price for upgrading from a trial will be reduced from $19.99 to $14.99

In summary, on August 1st before you log in to the game you will be prompted to merge your Fallen Earth account with a GamersFirst account. Once you’ve completed the merge, from then on you will log in to Fallen Earth with your GamersFirst account. If you have a credit card subscription from then on you’re good to go; if you use PayPal or Click&Buy, you’ll need to resubscribe. Accounts that complete this transition by August 5th will receive some "thank-you" G1 Credits. New upgrades will only need to pay $14.99, and will receive a Buddy key, but no hat or ATV. The full Free2Play transition is currently still underway, and we’re making good time.

A couple points not addressed in this blog are the Subscriber Appreciation Gifts (what subscribers will get each month leading up to the Free2Play transition), the forthcoming Veteran Reward (what you will get if you have ever purchased a copy of, or upgraded, Fallen Earth), and the upcoming gameplay changes. These will be addressed in the next few blogs!

As always, thanks for reading, and remember to post a comment if you have questions!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hi everyone! Today's post again comes from Maenad, with some suggestions about how you might try approaching combat since the revamp.

There have been a lot of discussions lately, many suggesting that defensive builds are stronger than offensive builds in PvP. We are evaluating the full picture of offense versus defense looking for possible issues to address. For now, here are a few tips for running an offensive build against a defensive one.

Use those armor reductions!
Use heavy damage attacks such as Precise Hit when you have an armor reducing ability on your opponent. This is also a good time to use Perfect Timing, or other abilities that increase your chance of getting a critical hit - more of that bonus damage will get through since their armor is lowered.
Always run your most offensive stance. Attack Posture is a good choice.
If you have suppression, removing your opponent's gamma can be good to keep them from healing as quickly.
Try and keep up a DoT: the damage helps counter their healing and regeneration, and can force them to use gamma or stamina clearing it.
Use offensive consumables – extra damage or snares that don’t cost gamma or stamina and are on a separate timer from weapon attacks are always useful.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Of Alpha County and Hotfixes!

Thanks to everyone who stood by while we sorted through the NPC health issues that managed to sneak their way in with the latest patch! We're glad to have that behind us now; everyone may now look forward to stomping giant post-apocalyptic mud-holes through the swathes of NPCs that stand between you and level 50 55! Keeping a live MMO updated is a tricky business though, and even if we may not be perfect 100% of the time, we're endlessly thankful to everyone for standing by and knowing put things back together :)

All that said, we have a guest writer on the Fallen Earth blog today! Everyone please welcome Maenad, who will be going a bit more into detail about builds following the combat revamp, and dropping some knowledge Re: Power and Precision!

Hi everyone!

Now that we're all settling into the changes, a few major questions have emerged. The most common seems to be "How do I make the build I want?"

As in most classless systems, it's best to start by figuring out what you want to do, and going from there.

For a heavy damage build, start with your preferred weapon skill, then look into Power, Precision, Dirty Tricks, or maybe even an extra weapon line for versatility and more abilities. For mutations, Sonic, Thermal, and Telekinesis all offer extra damage options.

If you like all that heavy damage stuff but want to be able to take care of yourself a bit when things go wrong, picking up some First Aid or Empathic will give you some healing, as well as status removal. Escape Artist offers status removal, but no healing - but it does have Dash, for getting out of sticky situations.

If you like being the one who can take all of the hits, try starting with Dodge and Armor Use, then look into Primal, Empathic, First Aid, Escape Artist, or Enhancement for additional survivability.

A good start to any medic-type support build is Empathic and Nano-Manipulation, though you have to aim Nano's primary heal. Adding First Aid for a stamina-based heal gives your gamma bar a break, and Illumination or Group Tactics provide auras with faster gamma and stamina regeneration, so that you can keep going longer. Patho-Transmission and Suppression offer ways to support your team by reducing the enemy's capabilities.

Typically, the most convenient solo build will be a hybrid of offense and defense, with a bit of healing and status removal, so that you can handle anything that comes your way. Focus on taking a weapon, then at least one each of; Armor Use or Dodge; Power, Precision or Dirty Tricks; and Empathic or First Aid. Then add whatever fits your playstyle best!

And as always in this sort of system, there are any number of mixes out there to discover.

Another important question is "Why does it take so long during/between fights?" Usually it's phrased more as a hostile statement, but I'm going to respond to the question.

We fixed a number of bugs with NPCs, the end result being that their effective resistances were often increased. This was intentional. Unfortunately, when we increased health derivations for players, any NPCs who didn't have set health values got the same boost. So until today's fix, we had a bunch of NPCs who took too many clips to kill, forcing everyone to sit around waiting to take the next one.

Some of the common questions that have cropped up as a result of this are as follows:

Can you give us any hints or ETAs as to what the other changes that will decrease downtime might be?

We are looking into a number of possible solutions. There used to be a regeneration bonus for resting stances, such as lying down and sitting. This was removed at some unknown time for an unknown reason, but we are looking into possibly putting it back in. There has also been discussion of some kind of "rest" ability or item. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages, and the ETA is as soon as we can decide which one is the best idea!

Why does damage seem lower? I'm doing lower damage than the base on my weapon.

NPCs wear armor and have varying dodge values. Previously, many had neither, through bugs or setup issues. This was unintended; the damage stated on a weapon is base damage. NPCs should mitigate some of it, just as players do. Their increased health was a bug though, and should be fixed!

There is a also lot of confusion surrounding Power and Precision. I'll take this opportunity to clear some of it up, as well as tackle a couple urban legends that have surfaced.

Power, together with your weapon skill, affects your damage. Precision, together with your weapon skill, affects your critical hit rate. The benefits from these stack. Critical hits also stack with headshot damage; only Headshot is displayed in floating text, and only Critical Hit is displayed in the combat log, but both bonuses are applied. So even though you might not see it immediately displayed, you *can* get a headshot critical.

With Power, Precision, and a weapon skill at 180 at level 50, you will do roughly an additional 30% damage over time to opponents with no Dodge (Dodge here refers to Melee and Ranged Defense, which are derived from Dodge plus any buffs to them individually) but full armor. Because Precision is an increase in critical hit rate, this is not easily measured, and small changes are difficult to notice. Even large changes to Precision will not necessarily be visible over a small number of kills, but you should notice an increased critical rate over time.

Dodge opposes Power and Precision's bonuses at 1/3 rate, meaning that you need approximately three times the Dodge to nullify an opponent's Power and Precision bonuses ("approximately" because weapon skill is involved in Power and Precision's bonus calculations as well - 30 dodge will nullify the bonus granted by 10 weapon skill and 10 power, as well as the bonus granted by 10 weapon skill and 10 precision).

The only cap to your Power bonus is how high you can stack it, and the only cap to Precision is critical hit rate's maximum of 60%.

We also have a couple of things in the works right now. First, we know that you subscribe to Fallen Earth because its fun to play, but it behooves us to demonstrate our appreciation for your continued support. As we begin the march towards Free2Play in earnest, it's important for us to recognize everyone who is subscribed now. Within the coming days we'll be presenting the schedule of thank-you gifts we'll be delivering to subscribers for the next couple of months. Those of you who have expressed that you miss a certain long lost friend from the wastelands should be pleasantly surprised ;)

Second, we're still nailing down the actual values that the various levels of Premium subscriptions will confer once the transition to Free2Play occurs. Suffice it to say, as soon as we have those values we'll post them here! If this whole deal with the NPC health has demonstrated anything, it's that we want to make sure we overcommunicate things before we put them in place, so they can be torn apart in concept rather than in execution!

As always, if you have any questions make sure to post them here as a comment and we'll work our way through and answer them as we can.

Thanks everybody!