The third phase of the beta proved highly successful. We addressed numerous bugs and collected valuable feedback on several mechanics. This will allow us to refine and entirely revamp certain aspects.
After each phase, we distribute a feedback form to our players. This enables us to collect their insights on the beta and compare responses across phases, ensuring we’re on the right track.
I’ve touched on the feedback questionnaire before, so I won’t dive back into it. What stood out was that players felt the game ran smoother and noticed improvements in several mechanics. But there’s still that nagging issue with the battle system. We’ll get to that soon.
So, without further ado, let’s just dive right in and see what has changed.
The combat levelling system turned out to be a bigger headache than we’d anticipated. The character’s combat level was calculated from the average of four attributes: strength, defence, speed, and dexterity. On paper, it sounds uncomplicated, but in actual gameplay? It felt tedious. Players essentially had to boost those four attributes just to nudge your combat level up a bit. It’s no surprise that many felt this made progression extremely tedious.
We’ve revamped the combat level system to align more with traditional MMO/RPG mechanics. Now, it has its own dedicated experience bar which you level up by engaging in battles, taking on world bosses, and embarking on dungeon expeditions.
However, we didn’t do away with levelling individual attributes. Now, these stats are enhanced through skills. For instance, Woodcutting rewards the character with a bit of strength EXP for each log, while Smithing boosts speed EXP, and so on.
This also addresses a related problem: being restricted to levelling up specific attributes based on the class. Prior to the upcoming phase 4 update, classes were distinguished by how EXP was allocated across attributes post-battle. For instance, a warrior would gain more strength EXP than a shadowblade. This posed a real challenge in terms of balance, especially since attributes influencing damage output naturally had an edge over those emphasising speed.
Beyond phase 4, we will be rolling out specialised skills solely for attribute levelling. This will offer players greater EXP rewards compared to the general skills. As an example, we’re considering an ‘Agility Course’ skill where characters can idle for up to 2 hours, exclusively earning speed experience.
We’ve implemented this change to make the levelling system more gratifying and rewarding. Moreover, it empowers players with greater flexibility in their gameplay, rather than confining them to the constraints of their chosen class.
As for the class system, we are still working on it it to ensure that each class offers unique utility and remains distinct yet balanced. We aim to prevent any single class from becoming disproportionately dominant. Therefore, during phase 4, the classes will have minimal differences as we continue to work on this mechanic.
One of our top priorities is delivering a seamless and satisfying user experience. Lately, we’ve devoted countless development hours to fine-tuning in-game mechanics, ensuring that everything feels intuitive and rewarding, rather than like you’re wrestling with a bear.
One of the most significant updates is the game’s interaction with the UI. We’ve introduced a dynamic module that adjusts elements on the user’s page based on their actions. For instance, when a player lists an item on the market, their inventory updates automatically, eliminating the need for a page to refresh. This enhancement reduces friction between the game and the player, as it minimises full-page loads for most actions.
The market had the most significant changes in terms of UX. We dedicated countless days solely to refining it.
The market page now displays a filter on the right-hand side of the page. This filter allows the user to search through all the various market listings so they don’t need to perform any full page loads. The process of filtering through the market happens synchronously as the player types.
We’ve got rid of the usual paginated navigation (with next page/previous page buttons) and replaced it with an infinite scroll system. Now, the user can now simply just keep scrolling down the list until they find a listing that they are looking for.
Once the user has found the item they are looking for, they can go ahead and purchase it. The UI will automatically register this purchase and subsequently update any elements related to the purchase. Again, this removes the need of another full-page reload and thus further reduces friction between the user and the game.
Mobile Web App
The 4th phase of the beta will be accessible through mobile browsers, allowing you to play on the move. However, I’ll be upfront: this feature wasn’t high on our priority list. As a result, the mobile browser experience might leave something to be desired. For the optimal experience, our native iOS and Android apps will be the way to go.
A recurring feedback from our beta testers centres on the battling system. We’ve heard your concerns: the system often feels unrewarding, monotonous, and demands excessive interaction. We completely understand with these sentiment, that’s why we have made necessary adjustments.
We received various feedback on how to improve the battling system and a lot of them simply revolved around either making the mechanic completely idle or by splitting off the system so that there are two types of battles: idle battles and active battles.
We recognized that many of these challenges could be tackled using existing mechanics, aligning with our core vision for the battling system.
Current issues with the battling system
We have two types of battles: enemies (which you need to manually hunt and defeat), and dungeons.
Enemies were overwhelmingly powerful and lacked balance in every respect. Most were virtually unbeatable unless players monitored their screens non-stop, healing after every hit. It essentially deviated from the very essence what we are trying to achieve.
Furthermore, the time it took to hunt down an enemy, especially entry-level ones, was excessively lengthy. For instance, hunting the first available enemy (a rabbit) took a whopping 40 seconds before the battle even commenced.
Dungeons were virtually out of reach for nearly all beta testers, save for a very select few. We recognized that dungeons encapsulated exactly what players wanted – an idle battle experience. Yet, the steep level requirements meant hardly anyone had the chance to engage with them.
How we have addressed those issues
Firstly, we’ve notably toned down the strength of these enemies. Now, a reasonably equipped character can tackle multiple enemy rounds without being glued to their screen for potential healing. Moreover, with the reduced enemy stats, battles should conclude more swiftly.
We’ve also greatly shortened the hunting duration for enemies. For instance, a rabbit, which once took 40 seconds to hunt, now only requires 8 seconds. This substantial time cut aims to alleviate the tedium and friction players felt during the hunting process.
As for dungeons, we’re rolling out four new ones designed for characters ranging from levels 3 to 60, with the entry-level dungeon opening up at combat level 3. By making them more accessible, players now have the choice to engage in combat through the traditional idling system or to actively hunt. Our goal is to offer both options, each with its unique advantages and considerations.
We’re undeniably nearing our launch date, but there’s still much to accomplish. Our goal is to ensure everything is polished and perfect before we go live. After all, making major alterations to mechanics post-launch would not only be undesirable but also time-consuming.
With that in mind, here’s the revised likelihood of the game’s imminent release:
Before November 1st: 20%
Before 2024: 95%
As we draw closer to November 1st, the goal seems increasingly elusive. While I haven’t entirely dismissed the possibility – especially given our significant development progress in recent weeks – our priority remains to be on the game’s stability and polish. We’re committed to delivering a quality experience rather than hastily pushing it out just to meet an essentially arbitrary deadline.
That said, we are still completely on track on developing it before 2024. In fact, my personal goal is to release it by the winter holidays because:
- In my opinion, winter holiday events are the pinnacle of seasonal in-game events and I don’t want to wait until December 2025 for us to have our first one. The thought of that depresses me.
- I have an extended break over the winter holidays and the very last thing I want is for this game to be mulling over my mind during this period. If it’s not released by then, I will constantly be thinking about it.
In our previous blog post, we hinted at having guilds ready for launch. However, we’ve decided to let it simmer a tad longer in the oven. As a result, guilds won’t be available on launch day.
Phase 4 Availability
The 4th phase of the closed beta will be available within the next week or two and we will be inviting more players to join us. We plan to run our first seasonal campaign (event) during the 4th phase for Halloween. If you are interested, you can join us in our Discord channel for a chance to participate in our closed beta!
As we inch closer to the game’s release, our focus is shifting from introducing new features to enhancing the overall gameplay experience. The updates in phase 4 stand as proof of this direction. While, on the surface, there might not seem like a ton of new flashiness to rave about, this update is, by far, our most extensive. That’s thanks to the countless tweaks and improvements we’ve implemented both behind the scenes and in the user experience.
As with all of these pre-launch blog posts, everything 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.