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BETA TEST June 1st; what's new?

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Our next stress tests are scheduled for:
Wed. June 1st @ 8pm central
(Thurs. June 2nd @ 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?
Welcome to June! A lot of back end work was done this week to support upcoming changes (see WIP section). However, we were able to sneak in a number of bug fixes, QoL updates, and minor design improvements for your enjoyment.

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:
  • Redshore:
    • Tagged wooden bridges as wood so they play the proper footstep audio
    • Rebaking Nav Mesh to fix issues in the North Eastern corner.
    • Adjusting large tree colliders to more appropriately represent the geometry.
    • Adjusting tree collider layers so they no longer block your camera
    • Fixing environment bugs
    • Fixing lighting bugs
    • Adjusting borders. Swimming to the edge should no longer teleport you to the default spawn point.
  • Tech
    • Movement via holding left & right mouse buttons now prevents auto-afk.
    • Reducing the maximum foot rotation angle for humanoids. This should reduce ankle breakage at the cost of feet not being entirely aligned with the slope.
    • The sun should now rise in the East and set in the West.
    • Adding triggered effects to tooltips. Tooltips improvements are moving up the priority list!
    • Reducing the "max job count" to 75% of your CPU count (previously this was 100%). This should result on less stress on your CPU with minimal performance impact. However, let me know if you notice any significant difference in performance from last week.
  • UI:
    • Adding Redshore to the LFG/LFM tags
    • POIs on the map can now "highlight" when you are near them. This mostly applies to Ember Rings for now, but will expand in the future.
    • Slightly increasing the size of the loot roll window which should provide more space between the need/greed/pass options.
  • Design:
    • Rebaking nav mesh in Meadowlands to fix some issues in the spider area.
    • Respawn rate reduced in Meadowlands spider cave
    • Rallying Call now stacks with Focusing Chant
    • Ant Hill loot tables updated past level 30
    • Terrors of War reduced stamina cost
    • Updated skill descriptions for always triggering effects like Follow Through and Serration
    • Added progression tiers for Fury, Follow Through, Viper Toxins, Serration, Quillback Spines, Acid Strike, and Sharpen Edge
    • Increase cost of higher level smelling salts.
    • Updated role and specialization bonuses. Defenders now get an increase to out of combat health regen.
    • 1H Weapons have quicker delays
    • Follow Through proc damage reduced.
New stuff:
Ember Monoliths
Strange new monolithic structures have started appearing throughout the world. It is rumored that they are all somehow connected to each other; some even claim to have found a way to manipulate the energy to their benefit...
my8e9vI.png

In this week's build ember monoliths are now discoverable points of interest. Each zone has a single monolith; once you have discovered 2 or more you can use them as a means of fast travel. Simply right click on them and select your destination from the context menu.

Some things to keep in mind for the future regarding the monoliths:
  • Locations are a first draft. They may be moved in the future.
  • Locations are not necessarily "safe" and may have dangerous creatures around them. Nearby spawns will likely be adjusted.
  • They are currently free to use. Be aware however, that we fully intend to add an ember essence cost when that system comes online. These costs will likely be proportional to the distance between them (i.e. South Newhaven --> Redshore would be more expensive than Dryfoot --> Redshore).
  • To reiterate: IN THE FUTURE THESE WILL COST RESOURCES TO USE.
  • Context menu text is still a WIP

Works in progress:
  • Zones: 3x additional overland zones have had an initial art pass completed
    • 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. This is the snow capped mountains you can see from Redshore.
    • Highlands - accessed via Meadowlands. Hilly region with sparse vegetation and water features. Mid level range (approx 30-40, likely to come after Redshore and Grizzled)
    • Gorge - accessed via Dryfoot. Large canyon-like area. Mid level range (approx 30-40, likely to come after Redshore and Grizzled)
  • Dungeons: All of central veins has been delivered from the art team and is now awaiting integration into the game. This includes the starter dungeon currently found in S. Newhaven, and a larger more difficult area for N. Newhaven. Spawning tech for dungeons is mostly complete so we just have to iron out the details in the spawning workflow. Will likely need to reorganize all of the dungeon prefabs for easier usage moving forward. Will likely start this soon.
  • 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.
  • Quests: a number of quests are in the queue for implementation/testing. Quest data structure and likely needs a refactor.
  • Tech: npc improvements, npc merchants.
  • UI: quest dialog redesign, tooltip improvements
  • New clothing & armor is still in the works.
Stat Consolidation (timeline: 1 week)
As mentioned in previous patch notes we are in the midst of cleaning up player stats. This includes resists, damage, hit, penetration, etc. The goal of this cleanup is to make adding/removing/modifying stats less of a pain in the future, along with cleaning up some of the odd complexities with ability stacking, resists, etc. The code for this consolidation is 90% of the way there. The remaining tasks are fixing up the stat UI, migrating the data to the new system, and validating the migration. Ideally this will be ready for next week. The new layout of stats reduces a lot of complexity on the backend which should make things a bit easier on Adric and more clear for the player.

Guilds (timeline: 1-2 weeks)
For the past month or so @sand32 has been hard at work on adding guild functionality to the game. This includes creation/disbanding, inviting, roles, role permissions, and chat channels. This is nearing completion and ideally you should see it within the next 1 to 2 weeks.

Crafting Updates (timeline: 2-3 weeks)
Adric has started working on some of the design tasks for crafting improvements, and hopefully this week I can start working on some of the minor tech tasks. The current changes we are aiming for are:
  • improve progression by unlocking recipes as you level up rather than giving them all to you right away. this can have the added side effect of not giving you a bunch of gear to wear at low levels when you maybe cannot equip it all due to armor weight limitations.
  • add an augment system for equipables
  • loosely tie crafting level to adventuring level
  • make some equipment slots only obtainable via crafting, and some only obtainable via adventuring (at least during the early levels, this may change at higher levels)
  • if the we implement the above point, then we can bring regular crafted gear (no flux) back up to par with common drops. the issue has always been crafting stepping on adventurer's toes and vice versa - so by segregating the slots (again, at least at early levels) then we can avoid this and allow non-flux crafted goods to be roughly equivalent to dropped gear.
  • make the experience of a craft proportional to the number of materials required to craft it
  • increase the number of materials required for some items (which would also increase the xp gain)
  • re-evaluate the role of "quality" in the make of an item - this will likely be converted to only impact the durability.

Reagent Upgrade System (timeline: after the above tasks)
Ember essence collection and spending is on the list of things to do SOON, but is taking a back seat until we can iron out crafting, Unity 2021, the above mentioned stat consolidation, and reorganizing and prepping of the new dungeons. The first step for getting this in will be allowing you to collect ember essence. Now that we have something for you to spend it on (see above regarding the monoliths) there is more of a reason to get this in the game.

Unity 2021 upgrade
We are nearing the point of finalizing our move to Unity 2021. Before we can make the switch official however, I need to update the server build to Unity 2021. This itself comes with a few challenges as getting our server build machine up to date is not straight forward. I will spare you the details, but I am hoping to get a 2021 server build out for the weekend to make sure nothing terrible happens. The whole process should be transparent for you, but either way I'll let you all know!

Known Issues:
  • Terrain textures have a bit too much tiling. This will be resolved when we finalize our move to Unity 2021
  • 2x lights in a redshore cave have artifacts when volumetrics are enabled. Actively trying to fix this.
  • Character creation & editing camera on Apple Silicon MacOS is bugged. I isolated the issue and submitted a bug report with Unity.
  • 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.
  • Redshore has no map
  • Ember Monoliths do not have POI icons on the map.
  • 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)
 
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Dalton

Well-Known Member
I really like the fast travel idea being that it is a physical place we mist travel to. Having the mobs around it and the resource consumption feels like a good balance.
 

Kaeolin

Well-Known Member
Kind of surprised to see Portal Stones in game. Travelling about the game wasn't bad and we got to see the beautiful world you built.
 

Nfab35

Active Member
Any update on when rare or named spawns and good loot is going to be coming to Redshore?
 
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Kaeolin

Well-Known Member
You still can. Try it!
How does this limit you from seeing the world built?
Because typically, people sit at these teleport stones and don't explore. And before anybody says it, yes I know I don't have to use them. Just like I can make the nights darker and turn off Fog.
I also didn't expect to see new features added in Beta. Beta is usually test existing component. As far as I'm concerned, many of the features added over the last few weeks were to make the game more modern, and silence the folks who cried it was too difficult.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Because typically, people sit at these teleport stones and don't explore. And before anybody says it, yes I know I don't have to use them. Just like I can make the nights darker and turn off Fog.
I'm not saying don't use them. I'm suggesting you try them out. Given the size of our zones and the locations of these monoliths they likely don't make things as easy as you think it does. Not to mention the cost that will be associated with using them once ember essence comes into play.

I also didn't expect to see new features added in Beta. Beta is usually test existing component.
As I'm sure you have noticed we run things a bit differently around here. We're constantly adding, tweaking, removing, and adjusting.

As far as I'm concerned, many of the features added over the last few weeks were to make the game more modern, and silence the folks who cried it was too difficult.
Again, you'll have to be a bit more specific on which features in particular you are talking about. If we look at the last few weeks (let's just say the month of May) what features have we added? Looking over my patch notes the main changes are:
  • Unity upgrade: not a "feature"
  • New skybox: large visual improvement. One could argue that this made the nights "brighter" but we've been over this 1000 times as to why this was necessary and how we are going to recreate that atmosphere of being "lost" via other methods (fog etc) - but we just haven't gotten to adding that flavor to the zones yet.
  • Auto-AFK: not really a "feature"
  • Adding Ember Flux: an iteration on an already existing design
  • Adding Line-of-sight checks: design improvement
  • NPC call for help updates: makes pulling a bit more chaotic and more difficult
  • Added Redshore Forest: this is just content, not a system.
  • Reduced the number of 2^ & 3^ mobs in regions between POIs: as I mentioned in the patch notes - larger more difficult wandering mobs will be sprinkled in to add back in a larger sense of danger when exploring.
  • Adding Ember Monoliths to support limited fast travel: to me this is the only thing on this list that can really be considered something that makes the game "easier". But again, I stress that you try it before passing judgement. And again, while trying it you need to keep in mind that there will be a resource cost associated with using these.
To me we've actually made the game more difficult by updating the NPC call for help tech. Outside of that, we have done nothing outside of thinning out group oriented mobs in solo-friendly regions. Please be specific on which features we have added to "silence the folks who cried it was too difficult". You of all people know that I don't do knee jerk reaction designs. If there is a problem I discuss with others on the team and determine if it is actually a problem that needs to be addressed. And if it is, we try and fix it, or at least do what we can to ease the pain. We don't care who brought the problem up or why they brought it up.

Our solutions to problems are not going to fit everyone's tastes. Some will think we didn't go far enough while others will think we went too far. The bottom line is: we are doing what we think is in the best interest of our game and we rely on the community to provide feedback. If you don't provide actionable feedback then we can't quite act on it.
 

Rev

Well-Known Member
Will there be a way to "gate to your bind spot" kind of mechanic so you can get out of a dungeon if you need to leave? That to me is a bigger issue than not wanting to run across a zone.

IMO, I would make a "gate to bind" mechanic that consumes Ember, has an hour cooldown and will return you to the city. In the city add a "master portal" of sorts that are one-way ports to one location in each zone. This would solve the issue of being stuck deep in a dungeon and need to leave while also keeping the player base centered around the city. I haven't tested it yet, but it sounds like there is no solution for getting out of dungeons and there is less reason to go to the city since you can port from anywhere to anywhere.

To me, this would be a decent compromise.
 

Kaeolin

Well-Known Member
I'm not saying don't use them. I'm suggesting you try them out. Given the size of our zones and the locations of these monoliths they likely don't make things as easy as you think it does. Not to mention the cost that will be associated with using them once ember essence comes into play.


As I'm sure you have noticed we run things a bit differently around here. We're constantly adding, tweaking, removing, and adjusting.


Again, you'll have to be a bit more specific on which features in particular you are talking about. If we look at the last few weeks (let's just say the month of May) what features have we added? Looking over my patch notes the main changes are:
  • Unity upgrade: not a "feature"
  • New skybox: large visual improvement. One could argue that this made the nights "brighter" but we've been over this 1000 times as to why this was necessary and how we are going to recreate that atmosphere of being "lost" via other methods (fog etc) - but we just haven't gotten to adding that flavor to the zones yet.
  • Auto-AFK: not really a "feature"
  • Adding Ember Flux: an iteration on an already existing design
  • Adding Line-of-sight checks: design improvement
  • NPC call for help updates: makes pulling a bit more chaotic and more difficult
  • Added Redshore Forest: this is just content, not a system.
  • Reduced the number of 2^ & 3^ mobs in regions between POIs: as I mentioned in the patch notes - larger more difficult wandering mobs will be sprinkled in to add back in a larger sense of danger when exploring.
  • Adding Ember Monoliths to support limited fast travel: to me this is the only thing on this list that can really be considered something that makes the game "easier". But again, I stress that you try it before passing judgement. And again, while trying it you need to keep in mind that there will be a resource cost associated with using these.
To me we've actually made the game more difficult by updating the NPC call for help tech. Outside of that, we have done nothing outside of thinning out group oriented mobs in solo-friendly regions. Please be specific on which features we have added to "silence the folks who cried it was too difficult". You of all people know that I don't do knee jerk reaction designs. If there is a problem I discuss with others on the team and determine if it is actually a problem that needs to be addressed. And if it is, we try and fix it, or at least do what we can to ease the pain. We don't care who brought the problem up or why they brought it up.

Our solutions to problems are not going to fit everyone's tastes. Some will think we didn't go far enough while others will think we went too far. The bottom line is: we are doing what we think is in the best interest of our game and we rely on the community to provide feedback. If you don't provide actionable feedback then we can't quite act on it.
all those things you named were great additions except the adding more Solo content. Game was never meant to be soloed. I saw a post in discord the other day about a guy who soloed a 3^ Red Con mob. Took him 30 minutes but he was successful. If I were to attempt a Red Con mob in any other game, I'd be dead very quickly. No abilities would land and 1 or 2 hits and I'd be finished.

The Skybox was a great addition, but it pretty much eliminates night. You state this is okay, when for months you were adamantly against changing the night appearance. The fog currently in game looks like Smog and is not immersive to the game for me. The fog in NNH was well implemented and when you entered it, you knew things were about to get dangerous.

The Compass (AKA Planet in Sky) wasn't really needed and the folks who were insisting on it now know the world maps very well.

And, as I've mentioned private, folks now level too fast. Prior to beta, if you got to 10 on the first weekend, it was a good weekend. Now, folks can be 20 between Friday-Sunday. Once all content is in game, how long will it take them to get to Max level? Max Level is a common milestone people keep track of. Ember's Adrift was supposed to be about the Journey, grouping with folks and exploring the world.

As you say though, you have a bottom line to meet. I accept that you are doing what you feel is best for the game.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Will there be a way to "gate to your bind spot" kind of mechanic so you can get out of a dungeon if you need to leave? That to me is a bigger issue than not wanting to run across a zone.

IMO, I would make a "gate to bind" mechanic that consumes Ember, has an hour cooldown and will return you to the city. In the city add a "master portal" of sorts that are one-way ports to one location in each zone. This would solve the issue of being stuck deep in a dungeon and need to leave while also keeping the player base centered around the city. I haven't tested it yet, but it sounds like there is no solution for getting out of dungeons and there is less reason to go to the city since you can port from anywhere to anywhere.

To me, this would be a decent compromise.
That is something a bit more involved than what we did with the monoliths. Still considering different options and this would likely come after ember essence implementation.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
all those things you named were great additions except the adding more Solo content. Game was never meant to be soloed. I saw a post in discord the other day about a guy who soloed a 3^ Red Con mob. Took him 30 minutes but he was successful. If I were to attempt a Red Con mob in any other game, I'd be dead very quickly. No abilities would land and 1 or 2 hits and I'd be finished.
We didn't technically "add" more solo content. We just reduced the number of wandering 2^ and 3^ mobs from those regions. If someone wants to kite a 3^ red con for 30 minutes then that's their prerogative. I'm willing to bet it was not worth their time and it's not something they regularly do. Any mob yellow or above has some heavy resists. I think the threshold for red is +3 or +4 levels above you, past that you will be 100% resisted. Just because one guy did it does not make that the norm. Also remember that killing reds nets you less experience than a regular white kill.

The Skybox was a great addition, but it pretty much eliminates night. You state this is okay, when for months you were adamantly against changing the night appearance.
I was adamantly against changing night appearance because I thought everyone was experiencing night the same way I was. However, after moving my client to a different monitor and seeing the drastic difference I realized that was not the case. There are some things out of my control, and pitch black nights do not make for a compelling game experience.

The fog currently in game looks like Smog and is not immersive to the game for me. The fog in NNH was well implemented and when you entered it, you knew things were about to get dangerous.
We currently have no weather systems implemented. The the fog you currently experience would ideally only be present during dawn/dusk and maybe into the evening. The fog in North Newhaven is the flavoring I speak of - this is a different "thing" than the scene wide fog and something we hope to utilize more.

The Compass (AKA Planet in Sky) wasn't really needed and the folks who were insisting on it now know the world maps very well.
To me the existence of this planet serves multiple purposes. Not to mention it looks really cool. I've grown to really enjoy it's presence and personally don't think it took anything away from the game.

And, as I've mentioned private, folks now level too fast. Prior to beta, if you got to 10 on the first weekend, it was a good weekend. Now, folks can be 20 between Friday-Sunday. Once all content is in game, how long will it take them to get to Max level? Max Level is a common milestone people keep track of. Ember's Adrift was supposed to be about the Journey, grouping with folks and exploring the world.
Players have learned the zones; they have learned what to kill and when. The more familiar players become with the content the faster they will get through it. If leveling is indeed too fast, that is something we can very very very easily change - so continue providing that kind of feedback from your personal experiences. I want to know what your leveling speed experience is - not what someone else can do. I need feedback on YOUR experience and how YOU feel about YOUR leveling speed :)

As you say though, you have a bottom line to meet. I accept that you are doing what you feel is best for the game.
And this isn't about a bottom line. It's about making a game that people can enjoy and want to play. Our game is about going on an adventure with your friends. We are going to do our best to facilitate that goal.
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Game was never meant to be soloed.
I should also mention that this is a design holdover from the previous IP that does not apply to Embers Adrift. The game is most certainly soloable; it's not meant to be the easiest or most efficient route, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility. It's our job as designers is to provide enough incentives that players want to play our game in a group over solo. I personally find that's where our game shines the brightest.
 

Nfab35

Active Member
I should also mention that this is a design holdover from the previous IP that does not apply to Embers Adrift. The game is most certainly soloable; it's not meant to be the easiest or most efficient route, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility. It's our job as designers is to provide enough incentives that players want to play our game in a group over solo. I personally find that's where our game shines the brightest.
People though that chose to solo and do pretty much nothing but that will be limited.

The best gear will come from group content. So yes you can solo, but you'll be missing out on a lot of the good content and loot.
 

Asbo

Well-Known Member
Can I just say I am starting to feel that you guys need to start coming up with more mobs and variants because I am getting fed up of killing the same mobs in each zone and for me if this continues in the new zones you are currently working on then I am going to struggle to continue testing as it will just feel the same everywhere.

I understand like Elloa pointed out that you only have 2 artist, which must be because of the fund constraints on you guys. This is a concern due to the massive workload on these guys. However while she also pointed out that the previous SOL iteration were purley place holders. Then can I suggest you use some of them placeholders to make the mobs variants more diverse. I am not at all excited about Cameleon-men, but I will give them a chance to add flavor to the game.

So after bashing the mobs in the game literally, can I say credit where credit is due. I have to say that your zone/dungeon development and art an nothing short of amazing and for this you guys need a pat on the back. Sadly for me looks alone do not make a game, it has to be engaging and fulfilling to keep me interest. There has to be a reason to keep coming back.

Please make EA a reason for me to do this. If you want me to subscribe to your game in the future, then give me the things I yearn for, not the things you guys want. I will be paying to smack the face of them in the end or NOT!!!
 

Undone

Codemaster
Stormhaven Studios
Can I just say I am starting to feel that you guys need to start coming up with more mobs and variants because I am getting fed up of killing the same mobs in each zone and for me if this continues in the new zones you are currently working on then I am going to struggle to continue testing as it will just feel the same everywhere.
We are working on it. More unique creatures are top of the priority list right now and are in progress. The design team has their hands full with the upcoming crafting changes and haven't had the time required to design new abilities etc for new creatures. Once we get past this next "hump" this will be a much bigger focus.