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BETA TEST March 2nd; what's new?


Stormhaven Studios
Our next stress tests are scheduled for:
Wed. March 2nd @ 8pm central
(Thurs. March 3rd @ 2am 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. This is not a test of the full game; we are continuing to build a solid foundation before moving forward with additional features.

What's new?
Welcome to Beta! Stormhaven Studios would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this entire process. We honestly couldn't have made it to where we are without your continued feedback which continues to improve the game. Looking back over our work from the last year it's crazy to see how much we've been able to accomplish with a small team in a relatively short amount of time. Here's a quick recap of some of the more impactful changes implemented throughout 2021-now:
  • Consistently provided weekly patches, content, and test session access
  • Established an entirely new IP
  • Formed partnerships with Hammer Creative for the creation of a trailer
  • Overhauled the spawning system. This includes day/night spawn tables and destructible spawners.
  • Overhauled loot table tech to provide designers with more flexibility.
  • Overhauled the interaction system. Unified interaction settings across the entire game, interactive chests, multi-interactives.
  • Overhauled the combat system. New role system with specializations. All new abilities, reagents, interrupts, flanking bonuses, haste improvements, and heal threat improvements.
  • Overhauled the crafting and gathering systems.
  • Rewritten login server capable of handling far more requests asynchronously.
  • Rewritten social server. This includes friends, grouping, and a LFG/LFM system.
  • New maps and discovery system.
  • New nameplates and targeting indicators.
  • Overhauled the equipment, skills, and crafting UI.
  • New in-game menu
  • A number of new custom creatures added including the firefly, spider, raccoons, quill backs, bears, elks, and ants.
  • New custom art props including ember rings, ember drifts, hallows, "the wall", and modular dungeon set pieces.
  • An entirely new humanoid character system including custom models with 5 different body types, custom hair, face paint, makeup, complexion, armor, and clothing.
  • Rebuilt all zones from the ground up. This includes Newhaven North, Newhaven South, Meadowlands, and now Dryfoot. More on the way!
  • Converted the project to Unity's High Definition Rendering Pipeline or HDRP.
  • And much more...
And that doesn't even begin to touch on some of the fantastic design work from @AdricLives such as zone population, itemization, recipes, etc. But enough patting ourselves on the back, on to the patch notes! Oh and before I forget - yes characters were wiped so you'll all be starting fresh.

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.

Bug fixes / improvements:
  • Reducing the clutter on Ability tooltips. The requirements section will now only show items when a requirement is NOT met. If you would like to see the full compliment of requirements this can be done by holding alt while the tooltip is active.
  • Updating some male shirts to prevent clipping
  • Fixed a bug in the effects system that could allow for someone with 0% avoid/parry/block to trigger avoid/parry/block
  • Added some code to prevent crafted items from being sold. This may change in the future.
  • Resource nodes no longer use level 100 as the maximum level. This should reduce the likelihood of gathering junk material as you level.
  • Design:
    • Potions are now crafted using mushroom oil and seed oil
    • Reagent drops more frequently
    • Added two new abilities for each spec at levels 14 & 18
    • Rearranged ability order for Marshal to give them a second strike sooner
    • Non-humanoids no longer drop coin
    • Merchant purchased equipment has been removed (inner armor, outer armor, weapons).
    • Ammo is now available from the "general" merchant instead of the weapon rack
    • Item level requirements have been standardized
  • Crafting UI:
    • Fixing an issue whereby output tier markers would become offset
    • Fixed an issue which would cause the downscale slider's minimum value to be inappropriately reset to 1
    • Backend fixes for stability and protection against misbehaving UI and/or criminals
    • Misc. fixes for some recipes
    • (hotfixed friday) Crafting failure messages now show in the chat log
    • (hotfixed friday) Fixed output tier markers not updating properly when selecting different materials
    • (hotfixed friday) Amount input field no longer allows entry of negative values
    • (hotfixed friday) Craft all will now set the amount to be crafted to the maximum craftable amount instead of crafting until failure
New stuff:
Abilities no longer level individually
Spurred by discussions with the community abilities no longer level up as they did before. Instead, things are broken into a "base" and "spec" level. The base level represents your overall character power level and never decreases. The specialization level however, will drop back to level 6 if you forget and learn another spec.

To more clearly convey this information I have made some adjustments to the skills UI. Before level 6 the spec selection icons will have an overlay with text stating when they unlock.

After a specialization is learned a new experience bar shows up displaying your specialization level separate from your base level. Any abilities appear below this experience bar are evaluated at your "spec" level, while any above are evaluated at your "base" level.

Bank Updates
The number of available slots in your starting bank has been reduced from 36 to 6. Don't panic! I started working on purchasable bank slots but simply ran out of time this week - the ability to expand your bank should come next week. The initial plan is to allow you to purchase subsequent rows (6x slots each) at 1sp, 10sp, 1gp, 10gp, & 100gp which would bring you back up to the previous 36 slots (6x6 grid). However, once this tech is in and working properly we can adjust how much you start with & how much it is expandable. To prevent having to potentially wipe characters I set the bank at the minimum of 6 slots for now. Again - the starting bank size may expand in the future after the purchasing tech is implemented.

This week we are introducing a new zone: Dryfoot, an arid mountainous region filled with craggy rocks and dangerous foes. There is evidence of a former civilization here as well as remains of some large forgotten beasts. The dust and the hot sun make life in Dryfoot difficult and the winding passes make it easy for adventurers to get lost. This zone can be accessed via the NE path in North Newhaven.

Note however, that this is a "first pass" at content and playable space. We fully expect this to evolve and change when we start getting some performance metrics and player feedback. At the moment the zone feels rather desolate in the "in between" spaces which is something we are actively working on. Some of the larger outdoor areas will likely be spun off into their own "zone" for the sake of performance - this will allow us to pack them more tightly and free up performance for more roaming mobs. Ember rings, discoverables, mob placement, and resource nodes are all a WIP! Another unique type of creature will be introduced here in the near future.

Crafted equipment strength adjustments
With the new crafted tech fully implemented and the shift to focusing on content we are revisiting how good crafted items are. "Basic" crafted gear is now slightly worse than dropped gear with the expectation that this gear is mainly crafted for leveling purposes. This basic crafted gear will still have stat bonuses (final values are still a WIP). "Advanced" crafted gear (in progress) will be equivalent to the previous crafted gear in regards to power - but will require more resources, have higher costs, and/or require rare components. And just to reiterate: these "advanced" crafted pieces are still a work in progress.

Crafting UI improvements
We have made further improvements to the crafting UI based on player feedback.
  • Reduced the size of the top recipe display
  • Improved the legibility of material counts in the component list
  • Added a checkbox to lock/unlock the downscale slider to max value (this comes into play if you level mid craft-all)
  • Made the output item preview more prominent

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)
    • 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.
  • NPCs: fully custom Bear, Elk, and Spider models are complete and awaiting integration into the game. Ashen creatures are nearing completion as well.
  • Design: implement high level abilities, loot table adjustments/population, more 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. Continued work on reducing the client's memory footprint.
  • Purchasable bank slots
  • UI: quest dialog redesign, tooltip redesign
  • New clothing & armor is still in the works.

Further Crafting Improvements (timeline: tech complete, some recipes have been updated, more to be done)
To really round out the crafting sphere we want specific components of a recipe to target specific stats on the output item based on the raw material properties. This tech has been implemented and some recipes now utilize it. However, more work needs to be done to bring other recipes up to speed.

Stat Consolidation (timeline: 1-2 weeks)
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 Improvements (1-4 weeks)
  • [DONE] Reagent's are no longer required for using specific abilities.
  • [DONE] Merchants no longer sell reagents
  • [DONE] Reagents dropped throughout the world provide substantially more powerful effects than the "fallback" ability.
  • 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 2021 Upgrade (timeline: another week? ugh - did not investigate this week, was distracted with Dryfoot)
In a recent Unity update (2021.2.8f1) some rendering tech we utilize for vegetation stopped working. This update fixed a number of bugs, but introduced a nasty one that prevented us from upgrade for a number of weeks. The bug has been fixed in the latest update (2021.2.12f1) but alas, Unity decided to introduce some significant performance regressions on macOS preventing the update. I need another week or two to continue performance testing before I can push out 2021 builds.

What do we get out of upgrading to Unity 2021? Here are a few ideal gains:
  • Engine bug fixes
  • Rendering bug fixes (black screen no more?)
  • New decal tech
  • New skybox tech
  • New dedicated server build target. This lowers the memory footprint of the server which should yield better server performance.
  • 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:
  • your screen may at times turn all black. to fix open the options menu, disable reflections for a moment, and then reenable them.
  • 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)

I need more details on the following issues/topics:
  • For those of you who have experienced the client eating a big chunk of memory: how large does the memory footprint get? How long had you been playing before it got that large (/played command will tell you)? Any idea at what rate it was climbing? If you load into a different scene via zoning does the footprint reduce back to normal?
  • For those who are getting the "Cannot interact while busy" message could you provide more detail on what you were doing just before this started happening? Does relogging resolve the issue?
  • For those of you who respawn at a location you suspect is incorrect: can you make sure to do a "/report" while standing exactly on your backpack? I need the precise location in order to debug these.
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Hotfix for the weekend:
  • feedback button now takes you to the beta forums
  • server performance fixes
  • adding colliders to some prefabs that were missing them
  • adjusting LODs for some props
  • fixing /stuck command throwing you on roofs
  • rebaking nav mesh for Newhaven N+S & Meadowlands. Trying to tackle mobs spawning inside of rocks/trees.
  • fixing some rogue colliders in the North Newhaven exile camp.