Saturday, October 29, 2011

Upcoming: World Events & Faction Territory Control


Greetings everyone!

So Free2Play happened, which was awesome.

Even while we sorted through the server issues, lots of fun things that get industry types in suits get excited about like "concurrent users" and "unique logins" and whatnot all decided to climb high enough to set some records. Then when we finished sorting through the server issues they went up (of course). But I'm sure you're not here to read about that! You're probably interested in what's next content-wise.

To that end, guest posters AFFA and Neverender have decided to drop some knowledge on y'all re: World Events and Faction Territory Control that should be coming soon (once we have a PTS up). From here on out divest yourself of all but your scrollin' finger and your sense of amazement, because they're all you'll need!

World Events

Hey, it's AFFA, and I'm here to talk about World Events.

Have you ever seen waves of rotters attack Kristo's Rest?
Have you ever protected Chemtown from a CoG invasion?
Have you ever seen El Cadejo escape from Brigg's Point and go rampaging across the wastes?

Well, as Microsoft used to say: you will.

Types of World Events

The World Event system is Fallen Earth's answer to dynamic content. The system itself is very robust. We can create an event anywhere in the game and we have several types of events that can be combined to do almost anything.

There are currently three basic kinds of World Events: Node, Attack, and Effect. Node events spawn harvest nodes at a random location. Attack events can spawn a creatures in a random area or creatures that attack a specific point. They can spawn creatures in waves, as regular generators with a respawn time, or all at once. Effect events can apply an effect to all players, all NPCs, or just certain NPCs. This could be used to temporarily lower merchant prices in a town (Social debuff on merchants), start a disease spreading, or give all players in an area a buff.

We also have a more advanced World Event which we call Goal events as each one can have five separate goals that players must complete. The good news is that these Goal events can do almost anything. And if they can't do something yet, it is very easy to add new features. They are limited only to things available in the Scripting API, which is not much of a limit. The bad news is these events are extremely complicated and time-consuming to set up, and we don't have as many of these in the game yet as we'd like. In addition to spawning nodes, spawning creatures, and applying effects, these events can create objects, create buildings, change NPC behaviors, add new mission givers, and much more.

World Map Icons

The ability to draw on the world map, called the Objectives system internally, is something we've wanted for a long time but were only recently able to implement. World Events require map icons since they can occur at random, but there are other systems in the game that will benefit from the ability to draw on the world map, such as Conflict Towns, Progress Towns, and Town Events. We have plans to add more systems that make use of this feature, such as Territory Control (keep reading!).

All players in the game receive the icon, name, and position for every Objective on the map. All players should be able to see at a glance which faction owns a Territory Control keep, where a random boss has spawned, or where additional resource nodes are. You can see all the Objectives in the game on the map, not just the ones for your current sector. If you mouseover any Objective icon, a more detailed description will pop up.

Rewards

World Events track player participation. When a World Event succeeds, all players who have participated get a mission that instantly completes itself and offers rewards. The rewards can be anything a mission can give you: experience, items, AP, faction, chips, defense tokens, etc. The rewards are scaled based on your participation. Someone who killed 50 rotters will get a larger reward than someone who killed just 1. If you stop participating for too long or go offline, you may not get any reward. And of course there is no reward for failure.

Future Possibilities

Any World Event can chain to another World Event on creation, on success, or on failure. With this capability, we can eventually build chains of events and make Fallen Earth a much more dynamic game. Currently the event for Kristo's Rest above is just waves of rotters. But in the future, if you kill all the rotters, perhaps that will chain to a World Event to fix the LifeNet pod. And if you fail, perhaps that will chain to a World Event that makes all the NPCs go indoors and rotters roam freely in the town. There are a few examples of this working internally, but they are minor. For instance, if you finish one of the Papermill  World Events, it chains to a Node event that spawns crates of paper as part of the reward.

The World Events we have written so far are very modest and don't use the full capability of the system. We also have some additional work to do before we can make mission givers, merchants, and other town NPCs react to World Events. The first batch of World Events will be mostly random harvest nodes and creatures attacking a single town, but we have big plans for this system in the future.

Territory Control

Hey guys, Neverender here. I've been busy working on the upcoming Territory Control system. Here in the office we've started to have some early play tests of some of the mechanics, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I have to say, the area looks amazing. Our artists have done some excellent work and I am pumped for this stuff to go Live so I can run around and kick some ass in this war zone they've created. You probably want to hear some more about the mechanics of Territory Control, so I thought I'd share a few things.

Territory Control area, with large central keep (left)

Territory Control Area 

When Territory Control goes Live, we will introduce a new area north of Blaine where everything--at least initially--will take place. We plan on expanding Territory Control after that, but to give you an idea of the size I'd say the whole area is around the size of Terminal Woods. The area can be reached by taking the road north from Blaine. Once there, you'll be able to activate a Fast Travel point at your respective Faction camp along the outskirts of the area.

Control Points

The Territory Control area has 13 control points that Factions can hold. These control points work a lot like the existing Faction Control system, but with some nice additions. Six of the points are out in the open and will be harder to defend and maintain control of. The other seven points are actually inside of keeps (including one bad-ass huge keep in the middle of the area) that will provide much better defense, as well as some other nice perks.

One of six smaller keeps
Keeps

The keeps will feature destructible doors and walls with defenses that can be upgraded and reinforced once your Faction has taken control. The keeps also come equipped with some out-of-service LifeNet pods, but don't worry-- you can fix those too! You may want to protect them though, as they might make a nice target for any attackers that have their hearts set on taking over your keep. There will also be Faction NPC guards and bosses that help add some extra defense.

The barriers and LifeNet pods can be upgraded by spending Death Toll. Some perks for holding a keep (on top of the much better defensibility) will include vaults, a mailbox, a crafting facility, and more. Players from the faction that currently controls the keep will be able to use a re-purposed LifeNet Pod to teleport themselves inside. 

One of the doors to the main keep getting destroyed. As an attacker, it's rewarding to see the keep's defenses literally crumble at your feet!

Rewards

If your faction holds any of the 13 control points in the area, you'll get a nice buff that will improve based on the number of points you control. That improvement will max out at 4 control points. The buff will increase death toll, faction, and experience earnings and will also give a nice boost to the major offensive combat skills.

And then there's what you're all really fighting over: resources. When you control a point, you'll have the ability to create and place your own harvesters that will generate some nice resource nodes in the area surrounding your control point. Be sure to defend your area though, because if another faction moves in and takes over you'll lose your hard work!

Capture Mechanic

Currently the capture mechanic works a lot like Faction Control Points. The control points each have a flag. If there are Faction NPC guards or bosses defending the flag, you'll need to take them out before you can attempt to take control. If the control point is inside of a keep, you'll need to breach the keep's door(s) before you can even do that. Whenever you take control of one of these points away from another Faction, your flag will be immune to attacks for a short while. We also plan to add exciting new ways to take control of an area in the near future.

Each control point will have an icon on the strategic map representing the Faction that currently controls it, as well as what state it is in. The 3 states that the icon will indicate are Controlled, Under Attack, and Immune to Attack. Each faction has 3 icons that represent each of those states, so players anywhere will be able to see how their Faction is doing at all times.

Well, that covers most of the basics. I'm excited to see all of this in action. Thanks for reading!

-Neverender

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Congratulations and Welcome to the Fallen Earth Free2Play Launch!


Welcome to new players and old to the Fallen Earth Free2Play Launch. With this Fallen Earth has hit new milestones tonight… Fallen Earth has succeeded in having the most players logged in simultaneously since the launch day. This is huge for us and for you as players.

We want to also assure you that we are addressing the server instability that has arisen due to the server load (more players, woot!) and will have this addressed in the next few days. As more players stream in we will do all within our power to keep the servers from bogging down.

Remember that we do have Game Master coverage 24/7. For game issues you can contact one of our Game Masters in-game directly, and for anything billing or technical related please email support@fallenearth.com

Thank you all again for making this a very successful launch of Fallen Earth Free2Play and in the next few weeks you will start to see many fun events happening in game as we move forward to a fun filled game for all.

The Fallen Earth Team

On Free2Play and Beyond!


In this issue: 
Inc. Free2Play! • Gifts Recap • Patch Notes / World Events Delayed • Economy Big Picture

Inc Free2Play!

We're on the cusp! 

Today marks the day we've been building up to for the last four months. As of today, everyone with an account will be able to log in and play Fallen Earth without buying a box or paying for a sub! Free players will be able to gain every level, craft every item, join and create clans, and visit every place in the world (including all instances) without paying a dime. Current subscribers will be upgraded for free to the Commander Premium Subscription (until their current sub or game time ends or re-ups), and everyone who has ever bought the game or had a sub will be receiving their Spiked Chopper. Check this page out for the full rundown on playing free or supporting the game with a Premium Subscription.

We know the ride hasn't always been smooth, but it's been a crazy fun journey and we're honored to be taking it with you!

Gifts Recap
If you're an existing subscriber, please check below to make sure you receive everything for which you've qualified. We've spent a lot of time on these, and we'd hate it if you missed out on them!
  • July Subscriber Appreciation Gifts: Fancy White Boots and Skindog Pet. Sent to anyone with an active subscription or game time in July. Keys sent out in August.
  • August Subscriber Appreciation Gifts: Snazzy White Hat and Chupacabras Pet. Goes to anyone with an active subscription or game time in August. Keys sent out in September.
  • September Subscriber Appreciation Gifts: Sexy White Jacket and Classic Creeper Pet. Goes to anyone with an active subscription or game time in September. Keys sent out in October.
  • Free2Play Transition Subscriber Appreciation Gift: Chest, Legs, and Groin Wardrobe Slots unlock item. Goes to all who had an active subscription in July, August, September, and October. Keys to be sent out today.
  • Vet Reward ItemSpiked Chopper. Keys to be sent out by the end of this week.
  • Commander Subscription Upgrade: Free upgrade to Commander level Premium Subscription on any game time/sub active when the game goes Free2Play. Lasts until the end of the current billing cycle.
  • Permanent Commander Subscription Discount: Permanent discount on Commander Premium Subscription ($29.99 to $19.99), available to all players who have ever purchased or subscribed to the game. Effective permanently as of October 12th.

As with all of the code-based gifts (Vet Reward Chopper and Subscriber/Transition Gifts), you can check your e-mail for the code OR find it in your account's "Codes" page.

Patch Notes & World Events Delay

Besides Free2Play, here are some changes of note:
  • Loot on many creatures fixed (drop rates shouldn't have been as low as they were)
  • Bridges fixed to lower incidents of people falling through them
  • Bandages back on merchants
  • Fastener count in recipes reduced (to reflect the fact that they are now rarer)
  • Bandages require less cotton
  • New items on Reward Merchants: "Commander's Best Crafting Kit" (can be used in place of any crafting kit) and Wardrobe Slot unlocks
We wanted desperately to release World Events along with Free2Play, but the realities of testing mean we've uncovered enough bugs and performance issues to have to push it. As a consequence, World Events will be added in next week. And they'll be awesome when they do.

Check out the full patch notes here.

Economy Overview:
Subtitle: Where are we going with all this??

We understand that before the last patch it was easy to run out to a waypoint and snag some components you knew would be there. Completely understated, it sucks to not be able to just do this now! This is the way Things Have Always Been, and changing it up is stressful to everyone that has been doing it since forever. There were, however, three huge problems with maintaining that status quo: One, it wasn't fun. Two, when things are easy to get (as they were), they don't matter as much. Three, there was no reason to interact with other players. At best, it was a simple way to get whatever components you needed with little challenge; at worst it was an unengaging pre-requisite to crafting that devalued both cooperation and final crafted products. Everyone got the resources they wanted whenever they wanted them and everyone could craft anything easily, meaning there was no real value to resources and not much of a market for components or products. Nobody needed to trade or cooperate to achieve goals, and there was never any competition for resources. While this was a fairly laid back system to participate in, it was not particularly good for Fallen Earth's long term health.

Now we're in the process of changing that up for the better, even if the changes right now seem like they make things a little more difficult. With the addition of World Events and Faction Territory Control, there will be more substance to resource gathering, and all the activities dependent on acquiring resources. Where before resource gathering meant going out to your waypoints and getting the resources you need, soon it will mean competing with opposing factions to control territory and cooperating with your faction and clan to harvest unique nodes from that territory, finding a suitable plot of land and placing your own resource harvester (and defending it), participating in dynamic World Events, hunting for resources in PvP areas, or just exploring to find resources on your own, using what you need and trading what you don't. 


You'll have to make a lot more interesting choices, and there will be more game there to play. All in all it should be a lot of fun, and we're looking forward to it -- and all the other new developments that the transition to Free2Play will enable!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Year Anniversary Events & Economy Patch


In this issue: 
Two Year Anniversary Events • Upcoming Patch Notes • Wardrobe Slots


Let's get business out of the way first: we're patching on Tuesday this week, rather than Wednesday. Servers go down at 8am PDT and will be down for approximately Three to Four Hours or As Long As It Takes To Patch...whichever comes first.

TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENTS

At Fallen Earth? Our events are fashionable. We have fashionable events.

How fashionable, you might ask? So fashionable that they arrive fashionably late. Sticklers will tell you that the second anniversary of Fallen Earth was technically, like, over a week ago, but you don't strike me as the kind of person that consorts with sticklers; you're a smart, funny, and/or beautiful individual who doesn't need gender-specific pronouns just to take a compliment. You're too busy jetsetting and rubbing elbows with high-society to let sticklers remind you that the actual specific second anniversary was like September 22nd or whatever.

And that, my friend, makes two of us.

So rather than focus on things we can't change (like extremely pessimistic cats) we're just going to turn our thoughts toward the positive. We're going to just dive right into what's going to happen during these Live Events (with a capital L and E, because pressing shift a couple times spices up a sentence and doesn't cost a thing).

Behold!

Inter-factional hostilities have been steadily growing alongside the voracious plantlife in Alpha County. Finally bubbling over the Wall, these boiling tensions between the faction alliances have heated the Wastes as far down as Northfields!  The Travelers have burned too many bridges, the CHOTA are out for a blood bath, and the Vista are evolving a new philosophy on life. The Enforcers have staked their order as peacekeepers and the Lightbearers have stepped in to enlighten their wayward “friends.” The Techs are just in it for the sociology. Now the faction heads have stepped in to lay down the law -- it’s a war they’re gunning for to settle it all, and YOU are their top recruit. Which faction will prevail when the six sides go head to head in New Flagstaff? And will the town be able to handle the destruction?
The faction leaders are in a tizzy, and looking to gather vets and last-minute recruits for an all out battle-royale in New Flagstaff. The recruitment drive begins in S4 and will make its way down to S1, with the various faction leaders garnering support for their cause and engaging in skirmishes along the way.

This will be a PvP and PvE event. Meaning, there will be PvP for those so-inclined (you foul-mouthed, min-maxing lot of tea-bagging miscreants!); for those not inclined, there will be plenty of NPCs for you to beat on whilst you and other similarly minded folks of opposing factions cast viciously admonishing glances at one another.

For more deets on the Two Year Anniversary Live Event Faction War, click this internet hyperlink.

PATCH NOTES

Find them here. Of interest:

  • Node placement has been rebalanced
  • Recipes have been rebalanced
  • Merchants that sell craftable items have either been yanked or had their inventories changed significantly. One step closer to a fully player driven economy!
  • Consumable duration set back to one hour, but will no longer persist through death. This is a direct result of your feedback, woo!
  • No more character build drop down menus on the skills/attributes window. This was done because as of July they were no longer relevant, and proved more confusing than helpful
  • Resist values in the gear window display properly (they've always been calculated properly, but weren't displaying right)
  • Various performance improvements
  • Wardrobe slots will show up on the equipment window...

WARDROBE SLOTS

There's a new system eventually going into place that will allow you to spend Reward Points to unlock Wardrobe Slots -- slots that will make whatever you wear in them appear on your character instead of whatever you have equipped in that slot. Hit the G-Key if you want to look-but-not-touch before the system is active.

In case it isn't obvious, this is awesome. As great as it is to see all the fantastic looks out there already, right now you're somewhat restricted from being able to really roleplay the character you want if you also want to be competitive. A small part of me died the day my newbie-self had to give up my beloved duster for some large awful breastplate. Wearing it didn't jive with how I thought of my character, but getting destroyed by NPCs in the name of roleplaying didn't jive with how I wanted to spend my free time. I thought "Hey, why can't I just wear this obnoxious-yet-protective-breastplate under my duster?" And now I can. And so can you.

When adding this system to the game, realism was a slight concern -- how can someone wearing full body armor soak up as much damage as a dude in jeans and a t-shirt? Then we realized that trying to mesh "realism" with the concept of "hit points" is silly, and we might as well give everyone an enjoyable experience by making their character appear how they want.

You won't be able to do anything with the Wardrobe tab yet except gaze at it until October 12th, when the unlock items will be put in alongside the other minor update we're doing that day. Oh, and some of you will be getting some of these slots for free; more details on that as the system gets closer to being ready.