By sominator @ August 21, 2013 at 3:00pm
State of the Game
Andy Velasquez, Neverwinter Lead Producer
Neverwinter friends and fans! Lead Producer TheSquez here, reporting in.
It’s been a few months since we previously checked in about the State of the Game, and I thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the things we’ve been working on leading up to Module 1: Fury of the Feywild. We’ve had a sensational Open Beta and launch, with over 2 million players and a ton of other milestones that we love to talk about around here. What gets me even more excited, though, is seeing all of the great things happening in the Neverwinter community, receiving awesome Neverwinter fan art, and watching people livestream the different things that they like about our game. These things really make my developer heart swell with pride; so a big thank you to all of our fans out there!
Like we talked about in the previous State of the Game, we spent a lot of our time throughout Open Beta squashing bugs and doing around-the-clock updates, getting the game ready for our live launch in June. I’ve certainly got more gray hair now but it’s been worth it! Importantly, we also introduced the NeverwinterPreview test shard to make way for future testing and updates. It’s already been instrumental in helping us work out solutions to various crashes, bugs, and feedback points before pushing new updates to the live servers – those of you who helped us iron out Gauntlgrym during Open Beta know what I’m talking about! Keep your eyes open for more events on NeverwinterPreview, because we’ll always have opportunities to help test new content and make the game better.
Since launch, we’ve settled into a more reasonable rhythm of updates, and have put together a new dedicated exploit team to combat cheats and hacks. Their job is specifically to use our understanding of existing exploits to protect new content while also looking for new ways to break the game so that we can make it better. Tracking down and squashing exploits is not always an easy task, and I’d like to give out special kudos to all of the folks in the community who have written in to us about bug reports, exploits, and abusive Foundry quests – your care for the game and assistance has been immensely helpful!
Moving on to Module 1, I really only have two words to express how I feel about Fury of the Feywild: so pumped! Fury of the Feywild feels special to me because with it, we’re able to put a ton of effort into a smaller slice of content than an entire game. Our new companions and mounts, for example, are going to be super cool and iconic for fans of the genre, and we’ve been able to dedicate a lot of time and resources to focus on content in the new region of Sharandar. We’re learning from our base game and catering to our fans who are into new systems, new stuff, and of course, Forgotten Realms lore. If you love advancing through lore and seeing new content – we’ve got a whole new storyline for you in the battle between the Fey and the Fomorians. If you’re a power player, we’ve got new rewards and Boons that will increase the power of your characters. If you’re a collector, we have tons of new companions and mounts for you to grab, and if you’re a creator, we’ve got new assets and things to tinker with in the Foundry.
Speaking of which, I want to express how critical the Foundry is for us. In our eyes, if the Foundry is experiencing an extended downtime, the game itself may as well be down, and you’ll find us running around trying to get it back up as soon as we can. You may have noticed that since those first couple of weeks when we were having issues with the Foundry, it hasn’t been down at all, because it’s extremely important to us that it’s working just as smoothly as the rest of the game. Additionally, as much as we can support it, our goal is to have new features and assets to support the Foundry with each module so that authors can keep creating cool quests. For instance, right now, as we’re scoping Module 2, we’ve already got line items set up for what should be included in Foundry updates, so keep your eyes peeled!
One question that often comes my way is about how we approach gameplay balance changes. First of all, while we have an ongoing development squad that is busy creating new content and updates for the game, we have an equally important live squad that continues to address bug fixes as quickly as possible, and this live squad includes a combat team that is always eager to dive through all of the feedback that you send to us. When it comes to balance, we take a little bit more time to make changes because we want to make sure that those updates work for every class involved. When we see a bug as simple as “this quest is broken,” we just go ahead and fix it, and are dedicated to making sure that similar things are squashed quickly. But with balance, we care more about really vetting the changes that we want to make, instead of singling out one issue and immediately correcting it – without first considering if it’s more of a larger issue between, say, a class power and an item set.
Finally, I know two things are on people’s minds that are worth bringing up at this point: when are we going to see new classes and Paragon Paths! Our goal is to have another class and more Paragon Paths for all classes by the end of the year. I played the new class myself in an internal playtest last week, and it’s amazing. Similarly, Paragon Paths have had their first development pass, and we’re now working on them further and making them feel polished before introducing them to NeverwinterPreview. Our feelings about classes and powers are similar to those about balance — we’re making sure that we take the time to make them amazing and iterate on them correctly.
Thank you as always for being an amazing community. If you have any questions or feedback to share, please feel free to do so on our forums!
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