Development Blog 0.2.9 May
It has been roughly two months since release of Journey Online and I gotta say it was an amazing experience. I still remember the adrenaline that was spreading through my body as I saw the first people installing and opening the game for the first time. I was very satisfied that about 20% of all alpha and beta testers came back and started playing the game. Some even joined discord or sent emails with their feedback regarding the game. All in all, I was extremely satisfied that the feedback was mostly positive and that everyone either wanted to help with finding bugs or giving their valuable feedback as suggestions and ideas for future development of the game.
In the first few days I noticed that a basic referral system was needed and as such I rushed into some speedy development. While implementing the new features of a referral system I received a ton of feedback regarding bugs and QOL changes that are really needed. As such it increased my development time of a feature that could make be done in 3-4 days to a full week. While doing the referral system I had in mind two things. One, it really had to be so good that players would like to use it and two, it needs to be implemented in a way that it would never be »finished«. The reward itself … Well … I wanted the players to really see the value of a few simple interactions. Meaning players can get both Rare and Epic tickets by inviting other players to the game. While it was a rushed development I feel like it got a good ending to a solid small feature. The two things I plan to improve in the future is the ability to also »Send« invites to players either through email, or a limited social media and when each milestone from your friend is reached in the referral you will get a notification about it. The notification will come through the in game mail system once the game gets a mail system (Already in the infamous tracker :)).
After the first week I gathered enough information to start the next two patches in the same time. The first patch after referrals was a quick 3 day one just to get Google Login enabled (Listening to the community!) and to fix some critical issues that were bothering players. At the same time while I was hammering out the details of the Google login I was already preparing a big algorithm that can change the entire balance of the game with one execution. After creating it, I redid all the »monsters« stats and adjusted the loot drops to be more specific to the type of battle (fields, adventures, etc …). Pretty much working on the numbers game/balance for the entire week did not prevent me to push in a secret and flashy new feature. I called this feature A shiny feature as it literally shines up adventurers at recruitment. Players would now be able to recruit shiny versions of adventurers. Each shiny version got a static improvement to the talent that is well suited for it. Ah yea … I almost forgot the fact that in Shiny adventurer patch I was finally able to destroy the bug that was plaguing the battle system which was the so called »Turns don’t end and Enemies don’t die bug of hell and pestilence.«
The three patches that came out after the release of the game were all focused on improving the core of the game. Meaning, balance to challenge the players and create an overall picture of the game, referrals to add social concepts and fixing and a ton of bugs and issues. At this stage I really liked where the game was since the entire concept came together well and it had a nice rotation of things to do for players. At this stage I was finally satisfied and was able to move further on the plans that I had in the previous blog post.
The next plan was simple, I wanted to create a powerful gold sink while at the same time giving players a fun way to gain a lot of gold. For creating a gold sink I decided to finalize how item upgrading was concepted from the start. This would add the item augmentation feature. Now the item augmentation would bring two things to the game. First the adventurers would be able to gain a much higher stat level due to items having way better substat. And second, it creates a solid gold and an item sink due to items being used as food for augmentation. Before I could implement the augmentation feature I first implemented the location raids, which I wanted to do like … From the start of Journey Online. Location raids, or Depth raids, are suppose to be one of the end game contents for players to battle. At the moment I was only able to implement the Depth raids. While in the future there will be multiple tier of raids with unique gear drops and monsters.
So the gold sink is there and the gold gain is there from the raids. The only problem now that was still pestering me was that the Item augmentation is going to bring in a lot of stats on adventurers. Meaning the difficulty will automatically go down in Journey Online. And believe me, I do not want that. From the start I stated that Journey Online will be hard at endgame gameplay! So due to this it was only natural to push up the development of AI Behaviours. In the first year of developing the Alpha I created this awesome system for AI that works on behaviour modules that act depending on the situation around them. But due to time constraints I only ever developed one simple behaviour that only urged the characters on the map to find a random target and smack it!
So this brings us to patch 0.2.9 which will bring us a lot of new behaviours to Journey Online. This is one of the many AI improvements that will come in the future. Each time new behaviours will be implemented I will try to focus on the following ideas:
- Give players the ability that once they learn the secrets of each adventurer and their behaviours they will be able to strategies with their battle formations
- Units on the battle map will begin to cooperate much more. (Example: A unit asks for a certain debuff to be placed before he attacks.)
- Units will start predicting future turns and will prepare for the continuation of the next turns. (Example: 2 AOE units will retain their energy and prepare to wipe a battle formation. While at the same time waiting for a third unit to get his AOE debuff ready.)
- Difficulty, Pure Difficulty.
Ugh … I went already way to long on what happened in the past, so a few more words about the future. There are three small things I am aiming for and two a bit larger ones. First thing on the agenda for the next patch is Monthly Quests and A bit of an improvement to how Squads are working. The squad improvement will be focused on how players can find eachother and the addition of the core functionalities that are currently missing, such as Change leader and kick. Oh almost forgot, the third small one is of course the continuous creation of new adventurers. Now the big changes that will come are a bit more difficult to implement.
The first feature I wish to add is the Ability Combo feature. This concept will allow players to create combos with their abilities. The more players in a squad the more powerful of a combo that can be executed. Ability Combos will only work in non auto play, so the focus of these is more for harder battles. Not going to spoil much, but it will be up to the players themselves to create and execute chain combos that they need. The second feature I wish to start on is the beginning of the Crafting event System. In the start I want to create the Expeditions and Cooking as the first two. With these I wish to define how adventurers can participate in these events and what kind of new features they will need to get (Will they get proficiencies and levels, Like … An elementalist with a lot of AP can be a great herbalist, while a goblin gunner with a lot of HP can be an awesome cook). I am still not certain as to how I wish to proceed with it. All I know is I want to create it and with it I want to further increase specialization and customization of adventurers. Expeditions will allow formations of adventurers that will be send on unique hunts and cooking will allow adventurers to create Food. Food/Feasts will be used to boost squads in unique ways and give them a bit of an advantage for the next fight. But more on this in the future.
Also lets not forget about the future, future things:
- Ascension Talents and level increase to 30
- Pet System
- Guilds, Guild crafting and Guild dungeons
- Tavern Defense (Static PVP battles)
- PVP Location Castle Sieges
- Weekly, Monthly, Annual, etc…, Events
Right! So I need to stop this blog somewhere! Lets stop it on a nice hype of what is to come.
At this stage I would like to thank all players of Journey Online that are joining me on this amazing adventure and are making it possible for me to cover the costs of having this game running. Without you things would be much harder and I am really happy that the first new adventurer, the Pixie, was already funded by the community.
Alas! Off I go to write more code!
Jure Veler, the Creator of Journey Online