Before I begin, I want to reiterate that all of this is subject to change at any time. Any systems or specifics we talk about are accurate for today, but may change or be cut in the future. That’s the way things go in software development.
Like many games companies, we operate in an agile environment that allows work to be rapidly specified, iterated upon, and finished. That means that we meet every day for a brief standup where we go over what we accomplished, what we plan on accomplishing today, and whether we have any impediments to our work. Larger projects are broken into discrete tasks that we can make progress on every day. For myself, writing blogs and keeping in touch with the community are part of the tasks I take on in our standups. For reference, this blog post came out of the Gameplay standup on August 15th. We want our players to know what we are working on, so they know where our attention has been focused lately.
After our updates a few weeks ago, where we fixed many bugs and performance issues, we did some deep thinking about what we could do to make long-term gameplay more compelling. This would go beyond the reincarnation, adventure, and crafting work that go into hatching your dragon. The root cause of a lot of churn in Game of Thrones Ascent can be directly linked to the lack of goals at the end of the game. The singular focus on Adventures and PtP means that any issue with those systems becomes larger than life.
In the early stages of playing GoTA, the story and the work of building your holdings takes up your time. Once our players get used to the game and storyline, completing Volume One and Volume Two takes up their time as they progress into triple-digit levels. But after that, players have a limited number of options.
- You may PtP / Adventure / Bonus Goal as much as you want.
- You may join an Alliance and do Alliance Challenges.
- You may reincarnate and experience the story from a different perspective.
- You may go for the dragon.
- Or you can play in any way you choose.
Both our analytics and our own experience as game developers tell us that there needs to be something more to our end-game. That’s why we have been working on two large systems for Game of Thrones Ascent:
Item Enhancements: The first system allows our players to make changes and modifications to their own crafted and acquired items. Called Item Enhancement (though that may not be its final name), this system will allow players to apply modifiers that add to the item’s attributes. Item Enhancement modifiers increase the capabilities of your items, and potentially gives them new abilities. What does that mean to our players? You’ll be able to improve your items beyond their current stats. You’ll even be able to turn these improved items permanent through the shop, so that they will come with you through reincarnation. Lastly, in the spirit of Longclaw, Ice, and other named swords, you may assign a unique name to your item. Your items can become like family heirlooms: each with its own set of abilities, a unique name, and passed down from one reincarnation to another.
Alliance vs. Alliance Combat and Diplomacy: These are really two features put into one, but they work together. In short, with Diplomacy you’ll be able to forge bonds or declare war between Alliances. This goes hand in hand with our proposed Alliance size caps and inactivity timers. In short, we are looking at capping Alliances to 500 members, and booting inactive members from Alliances after 60 days of inactivity. We know that several of our largest Alliances will have to split up, but our goal is that through Alliance diplomacy, you’ll be able to continue to Roar together, while keeping Alliance sizes to a manageable level. We would appreciate your feedback on our Alliance size caps and inactivity timer.
With Alliance vs. Alliance combat, we’re coming up with a way for our players to create their own Alliance camps, which Alliances may upgrade and use to launch attacks against other Alliances they are at war with. Those attacks will drive Alliance power gain, and reward rare items and ingredients that you may use. Each camp can be upgraded to offer combat benefits for one of the nine types of attacks and allows Alliances to pool resources to wipe their enemies off the map. This will complement the existing Adventure system and PtP system, giving our solo players the chance to adventure and PtP for items and achievements, while giving our Alliances something to fight for that also rewards their members with new items. In total, you’ll be able to create and level up over a dozen camps. Each level of the attacker’s camp and the defender’s camp will increase the chance of getting rare items from attacks.
We’re still deep in the development, balancing, and design of these new systems – Diplomacy, Alliance vs. Alliance Combat, and Item Enhancements. We hope to have them out to our players in the next few months. As we finalize more aspects of the systems, we’ll let you know, and give our players a chance to offer feedback.
Thanks for reading!