Monthly Development Update - April 2011

Monthly Development Update - April 2011

These are busy, and exciting, times around the offices here as we keep up with the current content push there are also a few important announcements just around the corner, that didn’t quite make the cut for the deadline on this text.

So this month we will take a look at more detail into the schedule for the next few months, mention some new things, and not mention some more…so what does all that mean you can expect to see over the next few months?

The end of this month finds us right in the middle of the deployment push. Lots of new content being released and the proverbial ton of updates, tweaks and adjustments that are either already on the test server, on their way to live, on their way to the test server, or in the final phases of internal testing.

With the latest recruitment drive almost done, (although we are still looking for a few key roles at the time of writing this letter, check out the job section of the website for details!) we now have a lot of new faces on the project, and a great new live producer in Per Storløkken (who some of you have already noticed has been lurking with intent on the test server forums), all of whom are putting a lot of energy into ensuring we keep improving and adding to the game.

We are very excited to see that everyone is enjoying the new content, and looking forward to the rest of this current content push. It really is a lot of new additions and changes that we have stocked up while the Dreamworld update was being deployed. The great part for us here now, is that with the majority of the technical integrations done, we can now focus again on the content delivery, so this will be a very, very, busy year for the game.

The schedule

So let’s start with an update of the schedule, as always bear in mind that some of this will invariably be subject to change, and there are also a few additional important things to slot in that haven’t been mentioned yet…so let’s take a look at the current slate, because it includes a few of those new bells and whistles that will be added over the next few updates.

Next version - Paikang Districts

  • The Ai District - level 80 group instance
  • The T'ian'an District - level 80 group instance
  • The Faction revamp – significantly improving the faction progression in Khitai
  • The Crowd Control revamp – balance adjustments for all classes

This version is currently on the test server, and is in the final phases of being prepared for the live servers.

Following version - Solo dungeon content, server improvements

  • The Forgotten City - level 40-80 solo ACG
  • The Breach - level 40-80 solo ACG
  • Khitai dungeon balancing – Another major alteration we haven’t mentioned yet, but is inbound relatively soon. We have reworked the normal modes of the Khiati dungeons to offer a more balanced option and hopefully make them more interesting and rewarding for people to attempt. The earlier instances have also been made more accessible for those arriving in Khitai for the first time, and will not require AA investment to be worthwhile options.
  • Load balancing improvements – These are designed to improve server stability by ensuring the playfield are distributed better across the server infrastructure. Not something you should notice externally, but allow us to better support more players online.
  • Item Database optimisations – This is another important new element that we haven’t mentioned yet. While this one will require an annoyingly lengthy downtime, in the long term it will allow us to expand the inventory space available to players. Something we are currently restricted in.
  • Network message compression – This should improve the performance in situations when there are many players in a confined area, as in sieges or outdoor PVP
  • Server-side PhysX implementation - This is one of those things that gets the tech folk excited, but hopefully will be invisible to players. In essence it should greatly reduce the server overhead required per playfield, which means a more stable environment for everybody. It will, if successful, reduce the load on the servers by over 30%

This version is going through internal testing at the moment and should move to the test server pretty soon after the current version there graduates to the live servers!

Then we also have the new PVP server ruleset as well to come during the summer.

Blood and Glory PvP Server ruleset – The new PvP server ruleset will go live at some point amongst these updates. We haven’t set a final date yet for the live release as it isn’t specifically linked to any of the above.

To be honest that would be a lot on our plate even under normal circumstances, but we have not stopped there, and the team have even more on their plate right now…

Summer / Fall Updates

This is where we get to the stuff we can’t quite talk about just yet…yes, a little teasing I know, but trust us, it is far more frustrating not being able to talk about what is coming just yet. These will be important updates, with two new and important elements incoming. We were just a little shy of announcing things as this letter had to be written unfortunately. There are important events in the world of the great barbarian this fall, and you can be sure that we will be a part of that!

A lot to digest…and more to come…

So there you have it, a fairly packed schedule ahead for the game over the rest of the year. With both new content and some further tech improvements upcoming we aim to keep things interesting for those who walk the dangerous lands of Hyboria.

See you out there