Summer has came to an end and the release of IdleMMO is still out of sight despite our claims that it would be released this summer.
In an ideal world, that would’ve been true. However, our plans slightly changed after we announced the game. We have received an incredible amount of interest in the game – way higher than we originally anticipated. We’ve garnered over 2,100 pre-registrations and attracted over 1,200 members to our Discord channel. Remarkably, this growth is entirely organic, stemming from word-of-mouth referrals. We’ve invested no marketing efforts into the game, aside from a few occasional blog posts.
Originally, our plan was to launch a polished, albeit minimalistic game and expand on it over time. However, given the unexpected surge in anticipation, we’ve chosen to delay the release to further refine key mechanics. We now aim to have pet battling and the guild framework in place at launch. More importantly, we are committed to ensuring balance and stability, learning from past oversights in our previous games.
We cannot provide a definitive release date at this time, and it’s possible we may never announce one in advance. As previously shared in our blog, we’re inclined to ‘shadow drop’ the game once we believe it’s ready. This could happen without prior notice. Setting a fixed release date would place unnecessary stress on us and could inadvertently shift our focus from the primary goal: creating the best game possible.
That said, in an effort to still ensure we remain on a timeline (despite us being incredibly flexible), here are the chances that the game will be released publicly within the next few months:
Before October 1st: 0%
Before November 1st: 60%
Before 2024: 95%
We’re aiming to launch the game ahead of the Halloween season, aligning perfectly with our desire to introduce its first seasonal campaign (i.e event). This timing would be ideal.
However, that said, I want to make it clear that we will not hesitate to delay the game even further if we feel like it is not ready.
From now until the official release, we’ll be conducting several closed beta tests, available to our Discord members. While our initial plan was for three phases, we’ve decided not to set a limit on the number of beta tests. Instead, we’ll conduct as many as needed to ensure a smooth release.
To participate in our beta test, join our Discord server and select the “Beta Entry” role. When the closed beta is live, individuals from this role will be randomly selected for an invitation.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 beta tests
Over the past few months, select members from our Discord community were invited to join the first two phases of our beta test. While the first phase closely resembled an alpha test, we simplified terminology and called it the initial phase of the beta. Consequently, we reset all progress as we transitioned to phase two.
Overall, the feedback was very positive. Although it’s still early days, we’re pleased with the game’s performance.
After each beta phase, we asked participants to share their insights through a brief form. We’ll delve deeper into the changes prompted by this feedback later in the post, but first, here’s some data:
The total amount of responses we got from the form was 42. Not every participant completed every question hence some discrepancies.
Question 1: On a scale of 1 to 5, how much did you enjoy playing IdleMMO?
27.3% said 5
57.6% said 4
12.1% said 3
3% said 2
Thoughts: We are cautiously optimistic with these results. Having the majority of the votes rate it a 4 is a huge boost to us. That said, we recognise that some players might still be in their initial “honeymoon” phase, so we’re approaching these responses with caution.
Question 2: On a scale of 1 to 5, how smooth was your experience?
39.4% said 5
24.2% said 4
36.4% said 3
Thoughts: We are extremely happy with this. This is the very first iteration of the game at its earliest phase and we are already at a point of feeling like the game is stable.
Question 3: Do you see yourself playing IdleMMO after it has been publicly released?
93.9% said yes.
6.1% said maybe.
Thoughts: What a relief! I had genuine concerns that players might engage with the beta but then decide not to come back.
Question 4: What are your thoughts on our approach to an idle game with a short expiry limit for an action?
The general consensus was that the participants were happy with the approach due to it feeling “different” than other idle games as it feels more like a game rather than a daily task.
Here are some highlighted responses:
I like it because it’s unique [compared to] other idle games, which makes it more fun to play. I feel like this feature is unique [compared to] other idle games.
I enjoy the different approach in having to check in more frequently.
I like it a lot, the hunts a little too active/too many clicks. I wonder how this will effect the longevity/endgame since the progression is a bit quicker.
I’d personally like to see a longer idle time. It would accommodate folks with busier schedules (work, school, and whatever else comes up). It would allow them to not miss much on gains, etc. I’m all for a longer idle time, [perhaps] 5-8 hours.
I like it. [What’s the] point of an idle game that you login [to] every 24 hours or so? I like the activity aspect, even if it’s an idle game.
I would prefer if it was longer. I mean, there is not much difference between clicking once every 2 hours [and] every 12/24 hours. Most people play idle games because they can relax [with] it, but also play actively when they have the time.
This was one of the reasons I stopped playing the beta. The limit needs to be raised substantially.
Thoughts: We recognize that our approach may not resonate with everyone, especially those with tight schedules. Yet, we aimed to bring a fresh perspective to the “idle” game genre. We saw little value in creating another title mirroring the countless ones already available. As highlighted in our previous blog post:
During our initial research, we discovered that many idle games allowed players to remain idle for extended periods of time, sometimes up to 24 hours or even longer, without requiring any interaction. However, we found ourselves disenchanted with the “set it and forget it for 24 hours” gameplay as it diminished the sense of active engagement and turned the experience into a mundane daily task rather than an enjoyable game. In developing IdleMMO, our aim was to incorporate idle mechanics that enable significant character progression in less time compared to typical idle games, but with the requirement of at least some level of player interaction.
Question 5 to 8: We polled players on various aspects of the game, including their favourite and least favourite features. The responses concerning favourites were diverse, a fact we found both surprising and heartening. On the other hand, the hunting and battling system was almost universally singled out as the least favourite features. We fully grasped the reasons behind this sentiment and implemented changes to enhance it. We’ll delve deeper into those adjustments soon.
As a result of both the feedback and the slight change in our plans, the game has shifted slightly towards providing a more rounded gameplay with deeper features and mechanics. Let’s just dive right in!
Originally, players had to first hunt an enemy, then manually initiate and actively watch the battle to finally collect rewards. This process was cumbersome, unengaging, and contradicted the core idea of an idle game. Both we and the players found it unsatisfactory, signalling a clear need for change.
We’ve divided battles into two categories: hunting and dungeons. While we intended hunting to be a more “active” aspect, requiring player engagement for progression, dungeons were designed to be the true “idle” feature, letting players progress through a dungeon over extended periods. However, we realize we made the hunting aspect overly “active”, turning what should have been a fluid experience into a cumbersome one.
We’ve revamped the system to make the transition between hunting and battling much smoother. We implemented two key changes to this system:
– You don’t need to wait for the enemy to be hunted before initiating a battle anymore. Battles will now start automatically, even when you’re offline.
– You don’t need to watch battles unfold anymore. The hunting and battle mechanism operates like typical idle mechanics, where you don’t need to actively play for events to transpire. However, there’s a twist: your health decreases gradually as the battle continues.
Let me demonstrate how this works.
First you select which enemy you want to battle. This can be any enemy within your level.
Before you battle an enemy, you must hunt it. Once the hunt is initiated, a countdown will appear until the enemy can be fought. The hunting time is dependent on your movement speed and your movement speed can be increased with mountable pets.
Immediately after the hunt has finished, the battle has begun. Over the next 40 seconds, your character will continue to battle the enemy until it has been defeated.
During this time, you will slowly lose health as the battle progresses. It’s important to keep an eye on your health and refill it with food when necessary. You are able to refill your health mid-fight.
Once the battle has finished, you will automatically get the rewards. From the point of hunting the enemy to defeating it requires absolutely no action on your behalf. It is all done for you. However, you must manually hunt another enemy if you wish to do it again (thus fulfilling our wishes of making the battle mechanic more” active” than dungeons).
During the first phases of the beta, the benefits were strong. We were fully aware of it as it was our intention. It was also immediately noticed by the community. I’ve always attached myself to the idea that its better to release something initially that is slightly too powerful/beneficial and dial it down than vice versa.
Given that the membership subscription is our primary revenue source (enabling us to eliminate gacha systems, energy systems, and the like), launching a lacklustre membership would be extremely detrimental. This is why we initially offered it with strong benefits and, after collecting sufficient data, made calibrated adjustments that balanced it.
Initially, in our original scope, our intention was to provide a subscription system akin to Runescape with locked out skills, locations, etc. Essentially, our goal was to make all paying players on the same playing level.
Since our initial plan, we’ve delved deeper into monetisation strategies and sought feedback from our community on game monetisation. This exploration prompted a significant rethink of our membership system. While Runescape’s model has proven to be successful, it’s a dated approach that tends to sideline free members. After all, those who play for free but engage daily are equally valuable as their paying counterparts.
As a result, we’ve redefined our membership system. We aim for it to offer significant benefits, ensuring value for subscribers, while not alienating or disadvantaging free players.
Our preliminary changes are as follows:
Alternative (Alt) Characters
– Alt characters were a member-only benefit but now all players can create 1 extra alt character for free regardless of membership status.
– You can unlock another alt character level slot once one of your characters has reached a combat level of 60.
– You can purchase 2 additional slots for tokens.
This allows for 5 alt characters overall. We’ve transitioned this from a purely membership-based system to one where it can be unlocked solely through gameplay. Tokens can be readily acquired in-game, either by completing campaigns or through daily rewards.
We’d also like to clarify that trading between alternate accounts is not permitted. Hence, users with multiple alt accounts won’t have any inherent advantage over those with fewer.
Originally, idle durations were set at 30 minutes for free players and 60 minutes for members. This allowed free players to set an action and be away from the game for half an hour. While we had emphasised our goal to create an idle game that demands slightly more engagement than others, we identified two problems with this approach:
– We felt like 30 minutes was too short (even by our standards).
– By allowing members to have double the idle time, it created a larger gap between free and paying players.
During the second phase of the beta, we made the following changes:
– We increased the idle time from 30 minutes to 60 minutes for free players and from 60 minutes to 120 minutes for paying players.
However, that only tackles one issue. That is why we will be introducing even further changes so the idle time for free players will increase from 60 minutes to 80 minutes
We are still open to adjusting the idle times for both members and free players, but we want to wait for more data before making any further changes.
Members get a marginal 15% EXP bonus
We’re still on the fence about this feature, and it’s undecided whether we’ll retain, reduce, or remove it entirely. Our goal is to offer a membership benefit that justifies its value, without creating significant disparities or disadvantages.
After our research and reaching out to some members of the IdleMMO community, it was agreed upon that this was the “lesser of the evils” so-to-speak in regards to monetising an MMORPG.
We believe a 15% boost strikes the right balance – significant enough to be noticed but subtle enough not to skew the game dynamics. In IdleMMO, progression is primarily driven by time spent playing, and this modest boost won’t change that.
Free players can access every area
As noted above, we originally expected to create the game that had a similar model to Runescape with locked out skills and locations. However, we realised not only did it fail to fit our vision, but it also severely handicapped the free players. Therefore, all players will be able to access every area of the game regardless of membership status.
More Inventory/Pet/Bank slots for free players
During phase 1 and the early stages of phase 2, the membership subscription literally doubled the inventory space, pet space, and bank space. Not just that but it was the only way players could increase their space.
We quickly realised this was a bad idea. That is why we made the following changes:
– We increased the free inventory slot count from 28 to 35.
– We increased the free bank slot count from 28 to 35.
– We increased the free pet slot count from 7 to 14.
– We decreased the membership inventory slot count from 49 to 42.
– We decreased the membership bank slot count from 49 to 42.
Not just that, we now allow characters to upgrade their inventory/bank/pet slots using gold.
Simply put, members now only get 7 additional slots (instead of double) and the remaining slots can be purchased with gold.
Further comments on the membership
Creating an MMORPG game is an incredibly expensive process and monetising it is a very difficult and sensitive issue to tackle. I want to make it abundantly clear that we are still open to adjusting every part of the membership subscription. We want to make sure that we get the membership absolutely right for both us and the community. The very last thing we want is for either:
- A membership so undervalued that it’s not worth purchasing, jeopardising our ability to continue game development.
- A subscription so dominant it’s perceived as “pay-to-win” or unfairly disadvantages free players.
As far as membership benefits go, the “big” hitters are what I have discussed above. The others are just small bonuses, such as having a cool gradient name and badge.
In essence, our system is in an experimental phase, and we kindly ask for your patience as we refine it. We’ve already committed to avoiding gacha systems, energy mechanics, character boosts, and loot boxes. This is why we’re treading carefully with our subscription model. While we will offer skins for purchase with tokens, we don’t intend to rely on them as our primary revenue stream by pricing them exorbitantly (*cough* Overwatch *cough*).
Pets were a big hit with the beta testers despite doing or providing absolutely nothing of value (yet). We have made a few changes to the pet system that we think everyone will enjoy.
We’ve added health, happiness, and hunger stats to the pet.
Health – Health will be used for battles. You will be able to send your pets on hunts to level them up.
Hunger – Your pet’s slowly get hungry over time so remember to feed them every once in a while!
Happiness – We don’t want you to forget about your pet so you must pat it to make it happy!
Also, when you tap the pet to give it a pat, it will leap with delight!
To feed you pet, you can use any food items. Food will increase both the pets health and hunger.
During our time play-testing the game, we noticed that it was difficult to find a very particular item, enemy or location. That is why we have added an easy-to-access global search bar that allows you to search pretty much anything in the game.
You will be able to view, in real-time, what other players are doing by visiting their profile. You can hide this if you want to remain incognito.
Helpful for those of you who wish to remain fully incognito so you can continue your progress even while working 😉
Updated Character Page
The initial character page, as showcased in our introductory blog post, was rather basic and didn’t fully highlight the character’s skin. We’ve revamped it, allowing the player to display their character in all of its glory!
Campaigns are our completely free battle pass system. We aim to make this as friendly as possible and for it to serve only as a system to encourage active gameplay. We haven’t fully fleshed out the system yet so we cannot demonstrate how it functions right now. However, this is our plan:
– Each global campaign will last for 2 to 3 months. (Subject to change).
– Once a global campaign “ends” and a new one starts, you will still be able to access any older campaign.
– You will be able to switch between campaigns at any time. Therefore, if you join the game in a few years, you will have access to every global campaign since its conception and can switch between them. We wanted to eliminate any fear of missing out. If you have played Halo Infinite, it will work similar to that.
– Seasonal events (Halloween, Winter Holidays, Easter, Valentines etc) will be incorporated as seasonal campaigns and will only be possible to play during the respective season. During this time, you will be able to seamlessly switch between global campaigns and seasonal campaigns.
– To obtain EXP for your selected campaign, you must complete daily, weekly and monthly tasks.
– The campaigns will be a completely free way for you to obtain tokens and skins.
And much more…
This is just a little teaser on the changes we have been working on over the past few weeks. We are heavy in development right now and we have much more exciting stuff planned that we can’t wait to showcase to you.
Please note that everything listed within this blog post is subject to change. Nothing is final.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below!
If you haven’t already, remember to pre-register over at https://www.idle-mmo.com.