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BETA TEST April 20th; what's new?

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Our next stress tests are scheduled for:
Wed. April 20th @ 8pm central
(Thurs. April 21th @ 1am UTC)
The developers will meet in Discord and test for approximately one hour. However, the servers will remain open for roughly 4 hours. The most up-to-date client can be retrieved via the patcher found on your account page.

What's new?
This week brings improved experience rates for groups, improvements to ground torches, and some revamped audio! We have additional made some LFG/LFM tool improvements, adjusted a number of npc camp difficulties, and expanded potion making. @AdricLives is going on a much needed vacation this upcoming week so @sand32 and I will be hunkering down and working on some much needed backend improvements. In other words: content updates will be light for the next week or two but this should give us a bit of time to address some of the larger ticket items.

REMINDER: the servers will be open for 4hrs Wednesday evening. The servers will open again on Friday @ 12pm central and close on Sunday at 11:59pm central. See events in Discord for timezone translations.

Bug fixes / improvements:
  • Tech:
    • Making some adjustments to the connection process in an attempt to prevent "cloning" from happening.
    • Fixing an issue with NPC alerts expiring immediately. NPCs who are notified via our call for help system will be much more inclined to investigate regardless of range.
    • NPC behavior disable delay time (when everyone leaves a zone) has been doubled.
    • If you change stances while looting it will no longer revert your stance upon closing the loot window.
    • Adding a number of null reference checks to prevent client exceptions.
    • Material category backend work has been completed. More to come at a later date.
  • Audio:
    • Cleaned up and consolidated footstep audio triggers for humanoids. They should be more consistent and no longer player multiple steps at the same time.
    • Ensured that all attack animations had proper animation events to trigger weapon audio. Weapons should now "whoosh" properly when swung on a more consistent basis.
    • Adjusted how "get hit" audio is played to line up more consistently with "get hit" animations.
    • Target dummies now have audio controllers and will play audio when getting hit.
    • Updated audio controllers with new audio clips for bat, bear, boar, wolf, rat, and spiders.
  • Art / Environment:
    • Adjusted animation layers so that Ability Animations take precedence over Auto Attack animations and both of these take precedence over Get Hit animations.
    • Fixed Crossbow animations when moving backward and to the right
    • Fixed Sword & Shield animations when moving forward and to the right.
    • Adjusting far distance tiling parameters for Newhaven terrain texturing.
  • UI:
    • LFG/LFM tool level ranges updated to be more granular.
    • Individual LFG entries now show the player's exact adventuring level
    • Controller removed from the LFG/LFM tags.
    • Fixing some issues where world space UI was sharing materials with UI space causing text to occasionally not render on macOS.
    • Added some code to cleanup any leftover item icons in loot before they are populated. I'm not sure how this is happening, but this code should prevent it from happening again? Let me know if it does!
  • Design:
    • Hay piles are a bit itchier
    • Webbed trees are a bit stickier
    • Removing ember ring from the North Newhaven exile camp & in the middle of Dryfoot Stronghold. This is a friendly reminder that respawn points are always near an ember ring, but not every ember ring has to have a corresponding respawn point.
    • Level appropriate threat added to abilities Weaken and Dread Bellows
    • Significant threat added to Daze.
    • Minimal threat added to Hidden Strike so that it could be used for pulling.
    • Increased the threat for Halt.
    • All mob spawns have had another pass. This includes changes to levels and difficulty ratings (chevrons)
    • Crafting quality now starts at 50% instead of 2%. This results in bonus stats appearing earlier into a material's level range.
    • Level 1 potion bottles are less expensive.
    • Potion crafting now relies on different cost bottles. Costs increase as the potency of potions increase.
    • Fix to banner required levels
    • Various fixes to rats nest in the Central Veins. Moved away from walls, reduced the range that rats were called to defend it, and the rats now consider line of sight for defending.
    • Tool merchant added to the first camp in South Newhaven (located between the bank and anvil).
    • Reduced chance of encountering ranged mobs in Dryfoot Stronghold
    • Carcass types and their refined leather have had their bonus types rearranged to be more intuitive based on their new naming.
    • Deer antlers removed from loot tables
    • Wolf, Bear, Crocodile, and Basilisk skinning no longer requires an additional +5 hunting skill until later levels. At which point the carcass type you obtain from them will differ from other animals.
New stuff:
Adventuring Experience Adjustments
When we recently revamped experience bonuses we focused on "balancing" them. Our idea of balance was that killing a white 1^ was roughly equivalent to what you would get as if you were in a full group killing white 3^. Thanks to the continued feedback and discussions from our community we have realized that this "balance" does not do enough to incentivize group play. We took a step back and revamped grouping experience once again to provide better incentives. Our "baseline" is a solo player fighting a white 1^ mob. In relation to that we have the following changes:
  • 2^ mobs yield more experience than the baseline for groups of 3 or less
  • 3^ mobs yield more experience than the baseline for groups of 6 or less
To clear up any confusion, the group bonus shown on the group window now simply tells you the number of players that are nearby providing a bonus (+5 is the max). The percentage values detailed previously were a lie anyway as there was a lot of hidden math that did not tell the entire story.

Ground Torches
Ground torches have received some love this week. Hopefully they become a bit more useful to you and your groups. The biggest change is that you can replace a currently burning ground torch to "refresh" the expiration. In order to do this, you simply place a new one within the vicinity of the old one and it will move to your current position and reset the timer. The rules for replacing/refreshing are quite simple:
  • you can refresh a ground torch at any time, so be conscious of how much time is left before throwing another out there
  • you can only refresh your own, or a group mate's torch
  • you can only have 1 physical ground torch active at any given time. this means that if you place a ground torch, move far enough away to place another, it will destroy the old one.
  • execution time to place a ground torch has been reduced to 2s
  • cooldown on ground torches has been reduced to 60s

Works in progress:
  • Zones: 4x additional overland zones have had an initial art pass completed
    • Redshore - accessed via Meadowlands & Dryfoot. Large tree forested region. Mid level range (approx 25-40). Nearing ready for population
    • Highlands - accessed via Meadowlands. Hilly region with sparse vegetation and water features. Mid level range (approx 30-40)
    • Gorge - accessed via Dryfoot. Large canyon-like area. Mid level range (approx 30-40)
    • Grizzled Peaks - accessed via Highlands, Redshore, and Gorge. Mountainous region with a number of tunnels. High level range (40-50). Has a one-way exit to Newhaven North.
  • Dungeons: 2 additional "large" dungeons have been laid out. Before implementation we are working on a general method for spawning these rooms so that they can be populated far quicker than we were able to do previously. This includes NPCs and gathering nodes. This spawning tech is next on the list to tackle.
  • NPCs: fully custom Bear, Elk, and Spider models are complete and integrated into the game. Spider is currently the only one implemented; elk & bear will come soon. Ashen creature varieties have also been integrated into the game but are not yet populating the world.
  • Design: implement high level abilities, loot table adjustments/population, advanced crafting recipes.
    • Considering giving a native "bonus" to each of the roles. For example, maybe a base defender gets +10% damage mitigation, and if you take the defender flavored specialization as a striker/supporter you get +5% damage mitigation. Still working through what the bonuses would be for Striker/Supporter/Controller.
  • Quests: a number of quests are in the queue for implementation/testing
  • Tech: npc improvements, npc merchants, smoothing out sit/stand animations.
  • UI: quest dialog redesign, tooltip redesign
  • New UI notification system is nearing completion. This will make it easier to notice friend requests, group invites, or any other potential notification.
  • New clothing & armor is still in the works.

NOTE: the following two line items are still in progress. This past week I worked on the new dungeon content tech, this upcoming week will be spent ironing out the workflow to put that tech to good use. These tasks are taking priority - once these are complete I will swing back around to Stat Consolidation & Reagent Upgrades.

Stat Consolidation (timeline: ...)
We are planning to drop the per-damage-types for HIT & PEN which would clear up a number redundant feeling stats. The rough plan is as follows:
  • DMG - split this up into 1H, 2H, Ranged, Ember, and Mental
  • HIT - universal - applies to all damage types
  • PEN - universal - applies to all damage types
The overall gist is switching from Slashing/Crushing/Piercing to 1H/2H/Ranged and stripping the subcategories for HIT & PEN. More details on this refactor when it gets closer to deployment.

Reagent Upgrade System(timeline: ...)
  • NPC's will drop a single type of Ember Essence (name is a WIP) that will "fill up" a permanently equipped Ember Stone. The amount of essence per creature will vary and it will be automatically split amongst group members similar to how coin currently is. Specific ember creatures such as ashen variants will likely drop more of this essence than others.
  • The ember stone is not something you traditionally "Equip" - it is a permanent fixture to your character that cannot be removed, traded, banked, etc. In order to obtain ember essence you must earn ember essence through adventuring.
  • Ember Stone's will have a maximum amount of essence they can hold. Later on down the line we may allow the player to unlock/earn an upgraded Ember Stone with a greater capacity via questing or something similar.
  • Ember essence can be spent at special crafting stations to upgrade your reagents. The current rough plan is to start with two variants: a) make the reagent do the same thing but more powerful, and b) have the reagent change in some way to provide a different "flavor" which will vary contextually depending on the ability. As time goes on we will add more variants.
  • We are also considering allowing players to spend their Ember Essence on the following (please note that all of these are CONSIDERATIONS and still up for discussion):
    • use ember rings and/or hollows as a summoning stone (which could be a summon from within the same zone, or maybe across zones depending on the # of people involved)
    • hearthstone like ability that would return you to the nearest ember ring/hollow (which would come with a long cooldown)
    • adding a temporary "aura" to ember rings that would provide longer-lasting temporary buffs for those near the ring
This design allows the player to collect ember essence naturally as they play. Capping the amount in which they can collect at any given time prevents hoarding and forces the player to make a decision on what to spend it on if they want to continue collecting. The considerations mentioned above would allow the players additional ways to spend their essence for the good of others which is something we are always striving to provide.

Unity Upgrade (unknown timeline)
Unity finally got back to me about my bug saying that it is "by design". I honestly have no idea how that is an acceptable answer so I will continue bugging them about it. I may just have to suck it up and deal with macOS having random 10ms cpu spikes so that our product can move forward. I'm frankly sick of dealing with these kind of issues...

What do we get out of upgrading to Unity 2020/2021? Here are a few ideal gains:
  • Engine bug fixes
  • Rendering bug fixes (black screen no more?)
  • New decal tech
  • New skybox tech
  • (2021 only) New dedicated server build target. This lowers the memory footprint of the server which should yield better server performance.
  • (2021 only) Potential for a native Apple Silicon build.
  • Improved code & rendering performance
  • Improved editor performance which would result in more productivity from the team
  • Better performance analysis tools

Known Issues:
  • Not all ember rings and/or POIs are proper map discoveries. This is especially true in Dryfoot & Dryfoot Stronghold. Discoveries and map uncovering is a WIP and will be revisited soon.
  • Deconstructing crafted items returns junk 100% of the time.
  • No, we are not yet entertaining a compass. There are some plans to help you navigate in a more organic way, but those are waiting on a new skybox that will come with Unity 2020/201.
  • your screen may at times turn all black. to fix open the options menu, toggle reflections on OR off for a moment, and then toggle them back.
  • cannot roll on loot while unconscious
  • not all clothing/armor has visuals
  • Dragging a group-nameplate in the group window will set the wrong pivot point for the group window and the whole thing will drag a bit weird.
  • typing chat text may occasionally become invisible. unfocus your chat window and trying again a few times typically resolves this.
  • Sometimes when you respawn you don't end up at the proper Ember Ring --> if this happens please report the position where you died via the "/report" command or "/debugposition" (if using debugposition you'll need to paste the value here)
 
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Asbo

Well-Known Member
Nice to see some love in the torches and also on the potion bottle they needed some love for sure. Deer antlers should of be able to be used for crafting bone only items as I have mentioned in game before imo. Will be happy to continue to give feedback on the group exp as this was very low and not worth the effort so looking forward to smash that tonight. No news on chest improvements or what your planning if anything still frustrates me. The continued, they are working as intended line sucks, make them fun again please.

Continued support and thanks to you all for your hard work and dedication!

Regards,

Asbo
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
No news on chest improvements or what your planning if anything still frustrates me. The continued, they are working as intended line sucks, make them fun again please.
Not really sure what you mean by this? Chests were never meant to be anything other than a bit of an extra reward for exploration and taking a risk here and there. They turned into an easily farmable primary reward - which is exactly what we didn't want them to be (which is what I think you are referring to?).
 

Vularin

Member
Not really sure what you mean by this? Chests were never meant to be anything other than a bit of an extra reward for exploration and taking a risk here and there. They turned into an easily farmable primary reward - which is exactly what we didn't want them to be (which is what I think you are referring to?).
I think the changes to chest rarity is fine. The fact they are now rare makes it special when you find one. A "Woohoo" moment. Until you open them. the contents are really quite poor.
Rare chest, Rare item maybe????
 

Randy Magnum

Active Member
I don't like chest farming for various reasons. Can you put a timer on chests like other games have, for example, you loot a chest and then you can't loot another chest for a week or 72 hours?
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
I think the changes to chest rarity is fine. The fact they are now rare makes it special when you find one. A "Woohoo" moment. Until you open them. the contents are really quite poor.
Rare chest, Rare item maybe????
We have "regular" and "rare" chests so they do exist, they're likely just more rare than you would hope for.
 

RazorBrains

Active Member
First impression on 3^ camp difficulty.

I only had a chance to hit a few camps, here is my impressions so far for a full 6 man group.

I really like this change, in upper exiles our group level average was around 13 everyone was able to fight mobs from entrance through the entire camp. It was nice everyone was able to participate and get XP. I think our group was 11-15. It might have started 10-14. Either way was fun stuff.

Difficulty (1 being WoW leveling EZ mode, and 10 being WoW mythic)

Upper Exiles NNH
Difficulty Rating 7
Average group level 13
Multi 3^ pulls, white/blue 3^ exiles. I think overall the upper exiles difficulty would break down like this for a upper loop.

Hardcore players, with good group composition (somewhat challenging but doable)
Average players, or ok group composition (very challenging but doable with practice, might have to camp a little)
Below Avg players, or bad group composition (probably would need to camp (stationary), or move to lower camp, or hit exiles camp at a higher level group average 15ish)

I personally think the difficulty was great, amazing groups can hit this when they are yellow, and below average groups can hit these when they are blue/green.

XP was fast (maybe too fast).

______

Crocs/Rabbits in Meadowlands near city,
Difficulty Rating 5
Average group level 14
Mostly single pulls, Crocs where white, rabbits were green all mostly 3^.

Hardcore (not challenging, would be better doing yellows)
Average (challenging but doable no problem)
Below Avg (challenging but doable)

XP was OK, mainly because they were just single pulls and we was waiting for crocs to respawn, so had to grind on green 3^ rabbits.

________

Overall this patch, I thought XP was a bit fast from level 12-14. But challenge was nice, and finding 3^ was not hard. Nice work on this.