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Dev Diary: Volume 1

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:32 am
by Alicia

At the suggestion of several players, we'll be hosting a biweekly blog/dev/rambling post where we talk about the current state of the game, upcoming and future plans, and potential issues we're looking at for the immediate future. There is no set schedule for these posts, but you shouldn't expect them more often than once every 2-3 weeks; sometimes more often, sometimes less.

With that all said, let's get right in with the changes introduced in version 69.

(If you haven't already, check out the new Admin Discussion Threads.)

To start, the largest changes are the overhauls to the way enhancements work for Level 200+ (Sweetwater) gear and the new buffed Sweetwater Scrolls. For some time we have observed the meta and been dissatisfied with the way people are shoehorned into hitting attack breakpoints on their Sweetwater gear, because if they didn't, they'd lose out on a huge chunk of power in their finished items. The overimportance of breakpoints in the meta led to an overreliance on ICoG scrolls that was never intended to be a thing.

And so, with both these changes we aim to address this problem and allow people to scroll their Sweetwater gear normally without feeling pressured to reach attack breakpoints or be left in the dust. The changed enhancement formula reduces the importance of breakpoints by shifting some of the gain (not all) from scaling to flat, while the Sweetwater Scroll change makes them a viable alternative to ICoG scrolls.

However, several players pointed out problems and downsides with the remakes, and I'd like to briefly touch on them here as well as our response to them:
  • This change forces players to remake their Sweetwater gear: We understand that the transition will be painful for many players that invested great amounts of resources into the equipment and therefore will be providing a care package to players with finished Sweetwater items that will cover the majority of the remaking cost. It is not a 100% cost coverage, but it is as close as we feel we can make it.
  • These changes shouldn't be done in the middle of the game/should have been done at the start of the server/should only be done with a wipe: Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. However, we made it exceedingly clear from the very start of the server that we would never undergo a wipe and we have every intention of sticking to our word. Our own viewpoint on the matter is that, while the changes are great, we follow GMS's example in that they have had far worse problems in their long history and yet have never undergone a wipe. There are problems which necessitate a wipe but we are very very very far from that point and are of the opinion that things are still fixable now. There will be a painful transition period but we are confident the server will be better afterwards.
  • These changes make ICoG scrolls completely obsolete: At first we had intended for the new Sweetwater Scrolls to completely replace ICoG in the meta and phase it out altogether, but after several discussions with players we have revised our opinion slightly. We still maintain that ICoG has no place being a "mainstay" scroll and should remain an extremely rare trophy scroll, and in line with that we have slashed the droprate massively but decided to implement a very slight buff to place them just a little bit above the newly buffed Sweetwater Scrolls. We have also decided to allow them to remain tradeable for the time being, though we are still discussing this amongst ourselves and may change it later.
We hope that with these changes we will address the overdependency on ICoG scrolls to hit attack breakpoints and begin to combat the inflation problems present in the server (though the latter still needs much more work).

The other changes in this patch, which I'll go over briefly:
  • Class-specific changes: There were a couple other things I wanted to get done but didn't quite make it in like more Zero/Dawn Warrior fixes. Those will come at a later date.
  • DP cosmetic options: We have heard concerns from players that the new cosmetics are a last minute cashgrab before the server closes. We hope that with this patch as well as our new commitment to player communication that we can reaffirm that we have no interest in closing the server now, or anytime soon for that matter. We're here for the long haul.
Now, that about covers the important stuff for this patch, so let's talk roadmap and upcoming updates.

Loosely, we have the next major updates planned out as follows:
  • Class DPM Equalization Patch: We are taking a comprehensive look at the net bossing capabilities of every class and buffing up those we are seeing underperform while toning down those we feel are too strong. Unlike previous patches, in this patch we will try to address all classes at once with comprehensive damage adjustments to bring them all to an approximately equal level (discounting class identity/specializations). We will begin with a flat Final Damage adjustment to all classes that will bring them roughly in line with each other and then follow up with one-by-one class changes in upcoming patches as we see fit. We will open an Admin Discussion Thread when we have the first round of changes prepared to discuss the proposed buffs openly with players before implementation.
  • Material Update: After we consider class DPM to be in a decent spot, we will shift our focus to addressing the material shortages/economic issues that have surfaced over time as Sweetwater becomes more available to a larger percentage of the playerbase. It is still too early for me to say exactly what we have in mind, so look forward to more updates from us as we figure out a solution. Just like with the class balancing, we will open an Admin Discussion Thread with the proposed changes once they are ready.
  • Lucid: Once we are confident the material and class balancing are both in good order, we will proceed with the release of the final Sweetwater-tier boss, Lucid, which will allow players to create the long-awaited Sweetwater Weapons.
  • After Lucid is released, we will likely take a step back and focus the next few patches on "side content"/"stuff to do besides farming" before making the push to release the Arcane tier of progression.