Alongside our latest Developer update over on YouTube we wanted to create a written version of the update for those who cannot access audio content and/or prefer to see things written down so they can refer back to points made. On August 25th 2023 we released a glimpse into some of the upcoming projects the team are working on, alongside some technical advancements we have made as well as elaborating further on the Ability System's progress. This thread will summarise the points made in the video.
Please note, as also explained in the video, these changes are not in their final form(s) and release dates will be made public closer to the date.
A few weeks ago, we shared a post outlining the ongoing rebuilding of our ability system. This post highlighted the steps we have taken, the tools we’ve engineered, and the current stage of development. and wanted to provide some additional context to this.
Several months ago, we conducted tests integrating our new ability system with Mythics 1.4.8 ability data —as a benchmark of our new systems functionality. The ability data on the current RoR build had a lot of problems, rendering it pretty much nonfunctional. We had to reimplement the Return of Reckonings changes on top of the good 1.4.8 data, which has taken a couple of months.
It's important to highlight that abilities tied to Monsters, Keep Lords, Fort Lords, Items, Dungeons, and other elements saw minimal attention during this period. Now, this has shifted, as our focus is now on addressing these components to ensure a release-ready system.
Our current phase includes testing of the ability system as a whole. For player abilities, we've asked our testers to partake in evaluating the system's performance on our test server, and progress is going well.
It's important to acknowledge that this is a dynamic testing phase. The noted changes are by no means set in stone; they're already evolving, with fixes actively being implemented. We will be posting an update to the patch notes possibly this week.
Our goal is to have a way to transition this rewrite to the live game server, wherein players can seamlessly log in, engage in RvR, participate in Scenarios, run Dungeons, and more. Presently, we find ourselves working across two workstreams, maintaining changes in both the old ability system and the new one.
It's important to note that while we've dedicated significant efforts to this project, comprehensive large-scale testing of combat remains a vital step. This testing phase is pivotal, as it will provide us with an assessment of each career. We will be able to see how they all perform in the new ability system balance wise. We can then use this information to inform us of any changes that need to be made and what direction we move with the career.
Our goal here is to bring a more streamlined development process for our internal team which in turn should result in faster changes, more bug fixes, more frequent balance changes and more reliable abilities in the long-term.
We have been seeing a number of frequently asked questions on the forums surrounding the ability changes, so we’ve pulled together a few to go through. So…
Is anything changing about how defensive stats work?
We haven't done any balance benchmarks of the new ability system in 6v6 or Warbands settings. We expect the new Ability System to change how things work on its own in small ways. We need to do some 6v6 or Warband testing so everyone can get a feel of how well careers perform in the new system.
In a recent update we shared a glimpse into our automated ability test system, and now we're excited to present a video that demonstrates its capabilities in action.
This system has proven to be a significant asset in our development journey. By watching this video, you can get a firsthand look at how it contributes to our mission of ensuring a bug-free experience when rolling out new content. Not only does it facilitate smoother content releases, but it also allows us to confidently make substantial code changes in the future, knowing that our testing procedures will prevent regressions.
We are working on a complete rewrite of the Scenario Queue system.
The current state of the scenario queue system has its problems as I am sure everyone is aware.
Scenarios being created with weird archetype combinations and people being able to join games in unfair ways.
The main problem we have is that testing the scenario queue system is really not possible.
Without going into too much technical detail the small scenario system which we had written years and years ago had been continuously built upon and it has become a very complicated bit of code with many moving parts.
One change could cause problems but we didn’t really have a way of tracing it down without doing all the calculations in your head.
The new system will allow us to apply fixes and changes without needing to restart the game server, meaning we can implement new features throughout the week.
The primary focus of this redesigned system will be on optimizing team formation.
We want to ensure that teams aren't repeatedly matched against opponents that are repeatedly winning without them standing a chance.
To achieve this, we're implementing a diverse set of metrics to prevent any attempts to exploit the system.
We are also hoping to improve the scenario grouping if for any reason a premade is put against a pick up group. Although we want to mainly not mix pugs and premades.
Our approach is dynamic, with the match criteria adapting to balance games and expanding the player pool for those who've been in the queue for an extended duration
The mechanics of this scenario are still under design but it features a single hallway in which one realm must push the enemy realm to their respective spawn. We still have some finishing touches to do on the modeling of this map but we have in the game where we are planning mechanics.
We plan to release this along with a future live event.
Now, Scenarios are not the only element of PvP that will be seeing changes…
City Sieges are undergoing a fundamental transformation.
The goal here is to have a more immersive, strategic, and fiercely competitive environment whilst not ruining the experience for players who may be more casual. No longer will the progression carry over between stages; each stage stands as a distinct encounter. This means that facing a formidable enemy group in one stage won't deter you from engaging and conquering the next. Our inspiration draws from the original rendition of City Sieges in Warhammer Online.
The main feature will be the reshuffling process.
After each stage, instances will be restructured to ensure dynamic matchups. Imagine, for instance, the top-performing Order team from the initial stage facing off against the leading Destruction team in the subsequent round. This approach guarantees that each stage remains a challenging and unpredictable encounter, enhancing the overall excitement and balance for players of all skill.
With the release of the new Scenario Queue system we will be adding the ability to backfill players into a City Siege. The rest of the team isn’t impacted too hard if someone leaves or disconnects.
In addition to the changes to City Sieges, we do have some prospect plans for RvR.
We do not want to get too into this here as these are still in their infancy stage, but we have been hearing your requests for changes to RvR changes. With the new-found time across the development team after the release of the Abiltiy Ssytem we have more capacity to work on interesting changes to RvR. We have some smaller changes in the pipeline which you should hear about soon. We are looking at the longer term future to build a vision on how we would like RvR to evolve.
Moving away from PvP now we have some exciting news about Dungeons for the PvE folk.
We are going to be rebalancing some dungeons, especially in light of the ability rework. As part of the rework we have fixed a lot of mechanics which have broken over the years, as well as given a lot of monsters and bosses and a range of new abilities. It feels really nice to see all the monsters using all these abilities on you. Our primary motivation here is to deliver a consistent experience across all career runs and mirrored dungeons, including the City Dungeons.
The goal is to ensure that dungeon runs, regardless of career or realm, have a well-rounded sense of challenge and satisfaction.To achieve this, we're doing some data collection and analysis. The insights we gain will drive the subsequent changes. We plan for these changes to be implemented in the months following the ability system release.
Furthermore we are using all the things we’ve created and lessons learned into building out Lost Vale.
A quick note about Cosmetic Pets; They’re coming back!
Thanks to the new ability system, managing pets will be convenient, as they will reappear when exiting encounters or leaving RvR. A noteworthy distinction from the live version lies in that they are purely cosmetic. They won't have any statistical advantages. This means you can freely choose the pet that you want, without any obligation to select a specific one for a particular buff.
These may possibly appear in some Live Events or Quests in the future.
So we have also been working on a new Map Editor. This will enable us to modify the in-game world through terrain sculpting and terrain painting.
Here we have some images of the Map Editor being used taken a few months ago. As well as some of the changes appearing in the game.
As the tool progresses through its initial proof-of-concept stage, we're actively incorporating feedback from designers to integrate desired features they need to do cool things faster.
We are also working on an update to the Return of Reckoning Launcher. It is a complete overhaul of the patching process.
This update aims to make the patching process smoother and faster. You can expect quicker downloads, even during busy times, and the verification process will be faster as well.
Additionally the patch preparation and release on our side becomes much faster and more automated, saving us time.
On a last note we have also released a new bug tracker.
The existing GitHub bug tracker, which was initially intended as a temporary solution, has lasted for over 9 years. A lot of players were reluctant to create GitHub accounts for bug reporting. This caused us a lot of problems where bugs were not being reported or we would have to manage them in direct messages.
We've migrated all the existing issues into the new system.
It also features a convenient - one-click login mechanism. It will help us more easily manage bugs and address them faster. We will also allow people to vote for bugs that players feel are most important so we can easily prioritize issues.
That covers all of the upcoming plans for Return of Reckoning in this developer vlog.
We want to take some time just to thank each of you for your continued support and we hope to bring you more updates moving forward.
We are planning on doing more frequent updates similar to this in the future.
We’ll see you all soon!