Adventure Balancing, World Events, and what is a hackathon?

Hello Bannermen! Last week, Disruptor Beam had our first-ever hackathon.

 

What’s a hackathon?

Jon Radoff, our CEO, introduced the concept of a company hackathon a few weeks ago, after we got back from the holidays. Many of us have worked on game jams, hackathons, unconferences, and other minimally-structured events in the past. From those experiences came a desire to do the same in Disruptor Beam, and Jon kicked off our first one last week.

The core concept of a hackathon is for team members to work on the projects that they never seem to have time for. As you work on a game (or any project, for that matter) you start to build up a backlog of stuff you want to get done, but never seem to get to it. A hackathon is designed to allow you to work on anything you want, either singly or in a team, and address those projects that you have had sitting in the back of your mind.

 

So what did we work on?

The hackathon is designed to be extremely flexible, so what we were working on changed as the week went by. However, we do have some projects we’re finalizing this week, and will make it into next week’s build.

The hackathon projects that made it into next week’s build:

  • A complete rebalance of adventure loot, drop rates, difficulty, and duration for the first three volumes of adventures.
  • The creation of new common, uncommon, and peerless versions of blue and red gems.
  • Adventure Party performance improvements.
  • New cutscenes between volumes.

There are other prototypes that won’t make it into a new build anytime soon (if ever), but were cool to see:

  • New mini-games based on your Sworn Swords.
  • Revisiting the GoTA Inn as a place of romance.
  • GoTA in-game trivia.
  • GoTA emoticons and chat improvements.
  • Shop and gold purchase UI improvements.
  • New buildings, recipes, and items.
  • And a bunch more stuff!

They all need a full pass before they could make it into the game, but it was great to stretch our creative wings and try out new things.

So what are the details of the new changes coming in next week’s build?

 

Adventure Rebalancing

Adventures have never been well-balanced, and as we added on more volumes, that became even more apparent. Our Senior Designer on GoTA has wanted to do an Adventure rebalance for ages, and this hackathon gave him the chance to finally tackle it.

First, the loot changes:

  • Volume One: Drop rates evened out and in general, much better. Also, added 1 new legendary and rare item drop.
  • Volume Two: Major updates to item drops. Rare and uncommon resources are re-balanced among the adventures. For instance, you can now obtain Sacrifices in the level 59 adventure.
  • Volume Three: Major updates to item drops. Rare and legendary items are re-balanced among the adventures.

Second, the difficulty and duration changes:

  • Volume One: Slightly decreased difficulty and duration for levels 1-20, moderately increased difficulty and duration for levels 21-100.
  • Volume Two: Moderately increased difficulty among all adventures. Slightly decreased duration for levels 1-84, and moderately increased duration for levels 85+.
  • Volume Three: Slightly lowered difficulty for levels 1-21, moderately increased difficulty for levels 22+, slightly decreased duration for levels 1-81, moderately increased duration for levels 82+.

Slight difficulty changes mean between 0 and 5, slight duration changes mean between 1 and 4 minutes, moderate difficulty changes mean between 5 and 65, and moderate duration changes mean between 6 and 17 minutes.

Overall, the adventures are much, much fairer when acquiring items and resources. You’ll find that adventures make a lot more sense now. You’ll also find that the items and loot drop more often, more regularly, and in better proportions than before - which should make your crafting efforts that much better.

Lastly, I know the question burning in your minds right now is, “What are the loot tables and loot drop rates?!” We’ll leave that for you guys to discover and play with on your own - it’s no fun if we tell you everything!

 

New Gems

Back in my blog post here, I went over what gems do, and how they affect your crafting. Well, our Senior Designer took the time to fill in the gaps, and made some new gems for you!

Red Gems now have three variations:

  • Common Red Gem: Adds 25% to affix chance.
  • Uncommon Red Gem: Adds 50% to affix chance.
  • Peerless Red Gem: Guarantees an affix (though not necessarily the one you want!). Costs a few gold.

Blue Gems now have three variations:

  • Common Blue Gem: Adds 2 luck to a single crafting attempt.
  • Uncommon Blue Gem: Adds 3 luck to a single crafting attempt.
  • Peerless Blue Gem: Adds 7 luck to a single crafting attempt. Costs a few gold. (the gold cost and luck amount may change before Monday)

What this means is that, for specific crafting attempts like Pyres, you may find that buying a Peerless Blue Gem for 4 gold makes more sense than buying or using your black gems, while persistent crafting attempts, like the peerless crafted items and your dragons, may benefit from black gems more than blue gems.

NOTE: Your existing Red and Blue Gems will be converted into Uncommon Red Gems and Common Blue Gems. This does not change the bonuses they gave you - the name will change, but the bonuses they convey stay the same.

 

Adventure Party Performance

Our CTO spent the week looking at a persistent cause of frustration among our community, and among our team as well: Adventure Party performance. For players with 50+ Sworn Swords in their parties, performance could be pretty bad, and if you had 100+ Sworn Swords, it could be close to unbearable. Our CTO spent the whole week digging deep into what made Adventure Parties so poorly performing, and his optimizations resulted in some significant performance gains for Adventure Parties. We expect anywhere from a 20% to 85% increase in performance for your Adventure Parties when this goes live Monday.

This does not mean that Adventure Parties will be instantaneous or process instantly, but it does mean that they will perform better for all our players.

 

More In-Game Cutscenes

Ever felt like you weren’t seeing enough of Westeros when completing a volume? Well now you’ll see more than ever! When completing a volume, you’ll be treated to a cutscene going over what you just accomplished. These cutscenes will only play when you’re in the Lorebook and move from the end of a volume to the beginning of a new one - they won’t play when you use the volume selector to select a new volume.

 

Changes to World Events

Specifically, we’re not having World Events anymore. The team sat down and discussed the amount of effort that went into setting up and running the World Events, and compared that effort against the participation rates, engagement rates, excitement, and the overall feeling of World Events. We decided that they’re just not that exciting in their current form, and they take up a lot of our time, so we’re scrapping them in their current form.

What this means is that we’re doing our “old” AvA format for at least the next few months, until we can re-work World Events into a more fun and exciting system - potentially into a completely different system entirely. This changes our schedule, which will now look like this:

  • Week of January 26th to February 2nd: Last World Event (Faith cycle “Full of Terrors”)
  • Week of February 2nd to February 9th: Off week. No prep week for AvA - camps will remain locked.
  • Weeks of February 9th to March 2nd: AvA weeks.
  • Week of March 2nd to March 9th: Off week. No prep week for AvA - camps will remain locked.
  • Weeks of March 9th to March 30th: AvA weeks.

What does this mean for AvA rewards and World Event rewards? Well, we love the evolving items that you get for World Events. It’s possible we’ll be putting those items into AvA rewards instead of World Event rewards. We may also put it in as a participant item. We'll discuss and determine the best way to handle rewards.

Over the past few weeks we have been discussing AvA VP changes with various Alliances, and listening to and reading your feedback on the AvA changes. Since next week is now an AvA off week, we’ll be posting the specific VP changes that we’re making next week.

 

Moving Forward

Expansion planning and implementation is well underway for our next major features. We’re also working on incorporating hackathon projects into the live game where it looks like they’ll fit. Expect some more blog posts going over the changes in the future.

The hackathon was a good opportunity to address those back burner projects that never quite bubbled up to the surface, but were always in our minds.. It also surfaced some interesting ideas that changed what we were doing for the expansion, ultimately changing the direction of the expansion in a more interesting and exciting way. We’ll likely do this again in a few months, when we have more ideas we want to capture.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

 

Don't forget - the Faith Cycle isn't over! Complete the cycle for the best reward. And make sure to congratulate all of the winners of the Faith Cycle of AvA!