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BETA TEST August 17th; what's new?

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Our next stress tests are scheduled for:
Wed. August 17th @ 8pm central
(Thurs. August 18th @ 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?
The World Breaker II event provided a cornucopia of bugs, crashes, and performance metrics for us to work with. Not to mention feedback, tons of fantastic feedback! Thank you all for taking the time to respond and share your experiences.

This week brings a number of design changes, quest updates, and smaller bug fixes. I personally have spent the last two days digging deep into performance issues associated with building a humanoid character. There's a lot of issues that need to be fixed to alleviate some of the CPU overhead and it's going to take a bit of time to sort through it all. However, I am confident that we can make significant improvements here to reduce load in times and crashes for situations where there are many humanoids involved.

I enabled something called "Deep Profiling" on the server for this evening's test. I humbly request that we all pack into a single zone for 5-10 minutes at the start of the test and run around (not necessarily clumped together) so that I can take some profile snapshots. :hugs:

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

Bug fixes / improvements:
  • Hot Fixes from the previous weekend:
    • Fixed: death icon tooltip for other players will no longer say "Right click to forfeit"
    • Fixed: a number of holes in the floor and walls in the new dungeon
    • Rebaked new dungeon nav mesh and cleaned it up a bit.
    • Removed some unused rooms in the new dungeon to help with performance.
    • Fixed: issue with spider death animation
    • Fixed: audio sources should now reference the correct mixer group. This "should" fix the issue of entering an Emberdrift and having the static audio blaring
    • Fixed: a number of typos and grammatical errors in various NPC dialogs.
    • Added: the new quest "Missing Apprentice"
    • Added: Transmission toggle in the video settings.
    • Krenner found his clothing.
    • Updated dialog for the crafting quest
    • Fixed a typo in Dante's dialog.
    • Fixed an issue logging in if your username had special characters
  • Tech
    • Fixed: lasting effect applications should be more consistent in how they overwrite or do not overwrite an effect that was previously applied. If an ability has both an instant damage component and a lasting effect, yet the lasting would not take hold the instant damage will still apply.
    • Fixed: Unbinding a key was not properly saving.
    • Added: tech to allow NPCs to execute abilities while in pursuit.
    • Added: "/help" and "/list" commands to well...list available commands! Improvements still to come here.
    • "/afk" command now toggles your afk status on/off.
    • Fixed: You can no longer crouch while an input field (chat) is active.
    • Fixed: Specialization level now "catches up" to your base level once they hit the same level.
    • Adjusted: Npc observer distance bands in Central Veins & Dryfoot Stronghold to ease the load on the navigation system.
    • Added: Ashen spawning tech. We hope to start filtering these into the game next week.
    • Fixed: partially resisted DOTs were adjusted to the wrong values.
  • Environment / Art
    • Decreased the ambient light strength in central veins.
    • Spider entrance rooms in central veins have been decorated with webbing.
    • Decreased max view distance in Central Veins (should improve performance without noticing any other differences)
    • Fixed: texture issues on Tin nodes.
    • Increased texture resolutions on Copper & Tin nodes.
  • UI:
    • Overhead nameplate height should be more consistent. There are occasions where the first spawn of a creature has the incorrect nameplate height but subsequent ones are fine - something I am looking into.
  • Design:
    • Webs in Northreach cave are a bit stickier.
    • Ridgebacks have learned to trample.
    • Fixed: properly enabled "Missing Apprentice" quest.
    • Lay of the Land can now be used while holding a torch.
    • 1H hammers have been merged with maces for flanking bonuses and general availability. These will be phased out as unique weapon types except in rare cases.
    • Supporters can now use 1H blunt weapons as their main hand weapon.
    • Refactored 1H weapon damage; average damage was reduced on most 15+ 1H weapons.
    • Short Swords and Curved Swords now share damage/delay stats but continue to differ on flanking bonuses and visuals.
    • Dagger damage profile adjusted for a larger range of damage.
    • Added new visuals to some uncommon weapon drops and quest rewards.
    • Fixed issue where certain quillbacks were only spawning during the day in Redshore.
    • Fixed issue where some tools were incorrectly named "Rusty"
    • Chitin Helms are now Chitin Masks to fit the visuals.
    • Distract has been renamed to Distracting Strike to be clear that it also deals damage.
    • Fixed an unsorted potion recipe on the Northreach merchant.
    • Tool progression and quality has been revamped
      • Crafted tools can now have "Imbued" versions with flux just like other equipment.
      • All tools have a required gathering level to use.
      • Merchant quality tools have less durability than crafted tools.
      • Merchant tools and non-imbued crafted tools no longer have a bonus to harvesting speeds.
      • Imbued tool durability and harvest speeds are derived from material properties similar to how imbued equipment works.
      • Filled out 1-50 tool progression. New level 30+ tools can be found in Redshore.
    • Runners now run.
    • Northreach Dungeon Entrances have been scaled back in mob density.
    • Reduced Central Veins mob density.
    • Reduced Central Veins 3-chevron presence.
    • Mire Exploding Pods ability now has a longer cooldown.
    • Food and equipment regen values have been refactored to account for new regeneration rates.
    • 1 Chevron humanoids will no longer equip longbows.
New stuff:
Humanoid Optimizations
This past weekend gave us a ton of great info on crashes and general performance bottlenecks. One area which was causing a lot of performance issues is our memory overhead - which seems to grow with the number of humanoids visible on screen. When we build a human character we merge textures that use the same material into an "atlas" in order to reduce the number of draw calls required. One drawback of this method however, is that each humanoid now requires a unique atlas residing in memory at any given time. And as you can imagine, the more humanoids you have, the more memory required.

Previously we had reduced the atlas resolution (which reduces the memory footprint) of far away characters, but any character within the closest distance band (which is roughly 30m) was rendering at full res. This week we are getting a bit aggressive in how we handle atlas resolution scaling. Now only the 5 closest humanoids will render at full res, the next 5 will render at half res, and the next 5 will render at quarter, etc. This still only applies to humanoids within the closest distance band, as anything outside of that range will render at a significantly reduced resolution. Note that there are a few bugs (that have been plaguing me for ages) causing the distance bands to not properly update so you may run into a few humanoids up close with complete potato texturing. Please let me know how frequently this occurs.

Works in progress:
To see a full list of what is currently in progress head on over to this thread. I will do my best to update this list on a weekly basis and highlight the differences from the previous week with bold font. Below I will highlight some of the upcoming changes in more detail.

More Humanoid Optimizations (timeline: 1-2 weeks)
Humanoid creation is currently a very CPU intensive process which can cause severe frame drops when entering a humanoid heavy area. I will continue my quest to optimize this process and relieve some of that overhead - which may also fix some random crashes some are experiencing.

Ashen Creatures (timeline: 1 weeks)
Ashen creature spawning tech has been fully implemented and testing. In addition, a first pass at ashen VFX & lighting has been made along with packing the new textures appropriately for deployment. Next week we hope to start spawning these creatures in the world!

Mob Leashing Updates (timeline: 1-2 weeks)
As it currently stands every mob has a "soft leash" distance. Outside of this distance if a mob is in the idle or wandering state they will elect to return to their point of origin before resuming their idle/wander. Implementing a "hard leash" or a "reset" state for an NPC is something we are considering, but it has a few extra complications. Some of which are for those who like to kite and issues with different zones/regions having different average leash distances for NPCs. In fact, we already implemented this tech, but it is currently disabled because it causes some funny business in a number of the above described scenarios.

Known Issues:
  • Terrain textures have a bit too much tiling. This will be resolved shortly.
  • Characters can get stuck in any looping animation if they do not properly complete. This is most noticeable for strikers using a bow.
  • Not all ember rings and/or POIs are proper map discoveries. This is especially true in Dryfoot, Dryfoot Stronghold, and Redshore. Discoveries and map uncovering is a WIP and will be revisited soon.
  • Deconstructing crafted items returns junk 100% of the time.
  • 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)
  • MacOS:
    • Character creation camera is bugged on Apple Silicon macs. The issue has been submitted to unity.
    • Zooming the camera while holding the right mouse button can cause your chat window to scroll. This is not intended behavior.
    • At some camera angles the sun may go dark. This should not happen frequently but is readily reproducible at some locations. Investigating a fix.
 
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Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Hot fixes for the weekend:
  • Fixed: visual issue in a cave room
  • Fixed: resists are no longer combat only stats
  • Fixed: adjusted humanoid texture atlas LOD parameters
  • Fixed: dragged icon showing up behind other icons sometimes
  • Fixed: can no longer select a quest reward if your bag is missing or full
  • Fixed: a per-frame allocator in the cloud code (performance improvement)
  • Adjusted a number of texture resolutions to reduce memory pressure
 

CypherWulf

Member
I was able to find a gently used 3060 for a very reasonable price, so I'm looking forward to testing your performance improvements!
 

Dalton

Well-Known Member
World Breaker / August 17th Feedback:
Feedback:

- Performance at load in of world breaker was rough and often dropping to less than 1 FPS and complete freeze (beachball). Was able to increase performance by waiting until I believe enough of the models were loaded, got better each time I came to visit the first ember ring.
- Quest worked for me and the interface was clean and understood. (more newbie/teaching quests needed)
- Group play felt great, the couple levels still feel very slow for some reason if killing things solo.
- The gathering bag worked and did not experience any issues with gathering or crafting/moving items around.
- Transmission [unchecked] so there are shadows appeared to only slightly help, but overall did not see much of a performance change even on the low end.
- First death should not result in loss of bag, but a pop-up explaining what will happen next time. This would reduce frustration for new players if they happen to die by accident/while learning.

Suggestions:
- Ensure players know about the LFG tool from a starter quest (a pop-up window, for now, would work on the first login).
- Starter gear should lose durability but not break. If you are a new player and keep dying you do not have the money to repair your armor or buy new armor/weapons. So you will eventually have ZERO gear and ZERO money to repair it to kill things. Then you either must start new or beg for money.
- For chat, there are currently 3 [G] channels. /p is the party so chat should show [P], /g is guild should stay [G]. /go is global should be [Go]. To reduce confusion when looking at chats. Colors are not always clear enough.
EmbersAdrift_2022.08.18.13.11.23.png
- Title+Name+Guild+Health/Mana has gotten very tall and upwards of 40% of player's model, making full-size characters take up large amounts of screen space. An option to [only show name+health/mana] would be helpful. The setting could be called [Remove social name plates].
EmbersAdrift_2022.08.20.19.07.22.png

Bugs:
- Logged in and turn around to see a man fighting a rabbit that was not near him, could have been an issue of loading in while they were moving and fighting.
EmbersAdrift_2022.08.14.02.55.56.png
- The nameplate is cut off randomly once the resolution is below 95%. (you know this already)
- A buckler that dropped at Ravenrock was not added to the loot-table for the group to roll. (lvl 10)
 
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CypherWulf

Member
Performance is much better IME this weekend over last, but I'm not sure if it's because of lower population, optimization, or my new video card.

Grouping (General):
This week's lower population is problematic. The game felt much more fun and alive when there were 75+ people on at any given time, but looking for a group for over an hour is an issue that will cost players. I WANT to be grouping, because that's where the game is fun, but right now it's a serious hassle trying to get 6 people in a group and in one place. Without something to bring up population, it's going to be tough to get an honest assessment of the game since we won't be able to consistently party for 3 chevron content.

- Ensure players know about the LFG tool from a starter quest (a pop-up window, for now, would work on the first login).
I don't know if a quest or a pop-up will be enough. Perhaps some sort of incentive for joining a group through the LFG tool might be necessary to encourage its use, like a small experience bonus, or a coupon for X silver worth of free repairs (especially for defenders)?

I also ran into a problem where we had one character respawn in a different location than the rest of the group, since they had previously discovered an ember ring that the rest of us had not. This led to a significant loss of time, and our entire group needing to abandon our bags, since we were unable to fight back to them without a complete group. When giving up and respawning, the entire party really needs to end up in the same place. Perhaps the entire party should go to the Ember Ring that the party leader will be sent to?

The loot rolling system is functional, but it could use more options. Greed/need on everything is inadequate. If it had a "smart loot" mode, where vendor trash and reagents that you don't use are automatically rolled for greed, and gear/crafting materials and reagents for your class are displayed for you to make the choice on, that would be great.

Grouping and gathering:
The way that gathering skills function while in a group creates a social dynamic that discourages joining groups if you're interested in gathering, but at the same time, the best gathering options are in group-focused ares. I would like to see gathering loot spread fairly across group members capable of performing the gathering. For example, if a party member mines a tin node while in a group, then the item should go into the group loot pool, with people who do not have at least level 10 prospector being ineligible for it.

Accessibility:
- For chat, there are currently 3 [G] channels. /p is the party so chat should show [P], /g is guild should stay [G]. /go is global should be [Go]. To reduce confusion when looking at chats. Colors are not always clear enough.
Especially for the 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women with color deficiency. Differentiating between varieties of green, especially in peripheral vision is one of the hardest visual tasks possible for your brain.

Items/economy:
The reagents for class skills are a neat part of this game that I haven't seen in other games. Unfortunately, without any means of meaningful commerce, they end up becoming vendor trash or simply thrown away for the other 8 classes. Having some form of centralized reagent market, where the prices fluctuate based on supply would make the items more available to players who need them, and potentially profitable for players who don't.

Some dungeon drop items are either worse than crafted items of signifigantly lower level than the dungeon, or outright detrimental to use (looking at you chitin set). Item balance may need a pass if this isn't intended.

Dungeons:
In addition to the issue with respawning, I experienced a party member being attacked by a spider that none of us could see while in the Northreach Central veins, and when we moved it pulled a huge wave of spiders onto us, so there's definitely still work that needs to be done on the pathing map in there.

The mob Density in the dungeon is very high, which is great for pushing careful play, but the mobs respawn so fast that clearing an area to take a boss was nearly impossible, and when we did pull the boss, we ended up getting respawns on top of us during the fight. When it's impossible to clear a room and then have even a few minutes of relative safety, it becomes an exercise in futility.
 

Dalton

Well-Known Member
Additional feedback.
- When you die and (Give up) camera should reset to behind your character when respawn, it keeps being directly overhead once respawned.
- Bag when you do not have it, should have a red outline of the bag inventory screen to indicate you cant interact with it.
- Auto loot option is needed, when auto-loot in settings is active player can use ctrl or shift + right click to not auto loot the corpse. Currently when you are looting and skinning something depending on how much they drop you can upwards of 7 right clicks per mob to fully loot/skin/loot it.
- When you drop a class and pick up a new one in [J] skills screen it no longer is at the top, you class should always be the top tab.
- Base low level potions should be 50c-75c, 1s seems high at lower level.
- NPCs that are quest givers should pull out a [LATERN] at night as a way to easily identify them. Vendors [Torches].
- If [Torch] is out prior to combat stance, when exiting combat stance you should automatically take it back out. Similar to how it put away when looting and brought back out. When fighting at night it has an extra button to press after each fight.
- If I try to heal and have no target selected it should auto apply to myself without needing to further target myself.
 
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Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
- Starter gear should lose durability but not break. If you are a new player and keep dying you do not have the money to repair your armor or buy new armor/weapons. So you will eventually have ZERO gear and ZERO money to repair it to kill things. Then you either must start new or beg for money.
That's an interesting thought I'll have to churn on for a bit.

- For chat, there are currently 3 [G] channels. /p is the party so chat should show [P], /g is guild should stay [G]. /go is global should be [Go]. To reduce confusion when looking at chats. Colors are not always clear enough.
View attachment 2248
I know you all want customizable colors - but until we get to that point I'd love a color palette suggestion for the different channels.

- Title+Name+Guild+Health/Mana has gotten very tall and upwards of 40% of player's model, making full-size characters take up large amounts of screen space. An option to [only show name+health/mana] would be helpful. The setting could be called [Remove social name plates].
Added a nameplate scale slider to the options for you. This should help in this area a bit.

- Logged in and turn around to see a man fighting a rabbit that was not near him, could have been an issue of loading in while they were moving and fighting.
This "should" be fixed this week.

- A buckler that dropped at Ravenrock was not added to the loot-table for the group to roll. (lvl 10)
This one is difficult as we haven't been able to reproduce it locally.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
I also ran into a problem where we had one character respawn in a different location than the rest of the group, since they had previously discovered an ember ring that the rest of us had not. This led to a significant loss of time, and our entire group needing to abandon our bags, since we were unable to fight back to them without a complete group. When giving up and respawning, the entire party really needs to end up in the same place. Perhaps the entire party should go to the Ember Ring that the party leader will be sent to?
This one is extremely tricky. I don't think this is so much of a problem in the overworld - would you agree with that assessment?

The discovery system basically takes you back to the nearest hallow that you have discovered based on the location in which you gave up. In the dungeon this can cause a bit of chaos & confusion given that they frequently loop back on themselves or have multiple entrances with multiple hallows. I'm still not clear on what the best solution here is. Part of me thinks that it should just return you to the last hallow that you visited, but you can still run into situations where the group gets split depending on who visited what. We also have to account for potential exploits that could arise from people attempting to abuse such a system. And we can't really tie any of this to "the group" because the spawning of players is independent of any group information. I'm wholly open to suggestions here because I don't think anything good has surfaced as of yet.

Grouping and gathering:
The way that gathering skills function while in a group creates a social dynamic that discourages joining groups if you're interested in gathering, but at the same time, the best gathering options are in group-focused ares. I would like to see gathering loot spread fairly across group members capable of performing the gathering. For example, if a party member mines a tin node while in a group, then the item should go into the group loot pool, with people who do not have at least level 10 prospector being ineligible for it.
This is an interesting idea I will stew on but comes with some technical challenges. But we also recently removed the 'dense' nodes from group locations to kind of counter this as it did provide an unfair advantage when it comes to gathering for some.

Accessibility:
Especially for the 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women with color deficiency. Differentiating between varieties of green, especially in peripheral vision is one of the hardest visual tasks possible for your brain.
I have a color deficiency so I am very sympathetic to these issues. Which greens are you speaking of specifically? The chat channels? As I mentioned above I am open to color palette suggestions! Please, send me chat channel color suggestions!

Items/economy:
The reagents for class skills are a neat part of this game that I haven't seen in other games. Unfortunately, without any means of meaningful commerce, they end up becoming vendor trash or simply thrown away for the other 8 classes. Having some form of centralized reagent market, where the prices fluctuate based on supply would make the items more available to players who need them, and potentially profitable for players who don't.
This is certainly something on the todo list, but likely won't make it in for launch. I've always dreamed of having a separate "economy" server on the back end that was playing god with all drops, prices, etc - but that dream will have to wait for a bit :(

Dungeons:
In addition to the issue with respawning, I experienced a party member being attacked by a spider that none of us could see while in the Northreach Central veins, and when we moved it pulled a huge wave of spiders onto us, so there's definitely still work that needs to be done on the pathing map in there.
When this kind of stuff occurs please send me a /report so I can dig into it a bit more. It's really difficult to nail these down without places I can reference.

The mob Density in the dungeon is very high, which is great for pushing careful play, but the mobs respawn so fast that clearing an area to take a boss was nearly impossible, and when we did pull the boss, we ended up getting respawns on top of us during the fight. When it's impossible to clear a room and then have even a few minutes of relative safety, it becomes an exercise in futility.
Another pass at easing these spawn times and densities was made this week. Let us know your thoughts!