Monthly Development Update - March 2011
With the Dreamworld update now deployed we are gearing up to start getting the new content updates flowing out onto the live servers.
We have been just as impatient as you folks to be able to start getting these great new additions out there.
We have talked in previous letters about the solo content, and the new PVP server, so this month it is the turn of the new team content, and a little more on the upcoming faction progression improvements.
New team instances – Paikang Districts
There are two new team instances coming up, both aimed at level 80 players, these instances will be found in the Imperial capital of Paikang in Khitai.
The two instances take the form of two separate outdoor districts of Paikang – The Ai District and the T’ian’an District. While both are areas of the same, once proud, Imperial capital, they have been effected by the corruption and evil that has spread throughout Khitai in very different ways, and likewise the pace and style of the gameplay is also different between the two areas.
The Ai district plays more like an outdoor adventure zone for you and your friends to fight through, with two set-piece boss encounters for players to discover, as well as the odd secret to be revealed from careful investigation.
The T’ian’an District is all about the boss encounters, and is effectively also a speed challenge to see how many of the half dozen encounters you can complete before your time runs out. The developers claim that you will have to choose which order to take the bosses, and that it will take a good and co-ordinated team to even have a chance of clearing the zone in one attempt…sounds like a challenge to all of you out there to me!
These areas don’t have obvious hard modes in the same way as the other Khitai instances, but there are added rewards for finding the correct approach and being able to complete all the challenges.
Speaking of rewards, the rewards will be aimed around the same quality and level as, or maybe just a little higher than, the Kara Korum dungeons, so you will be suitably rewarded for completing the Districts.
Quest wise, the instances will come with both story and repeatable quests that are linked to the Insurrection faction in Paikang. Those who have already completed the solo quest chain for this faction will be able to further explore the storyline behind the Insurrection and their struggle against the emperor. The quests are not compulsory though, and you will still be able to head into either district simply for the rewards and boss loot should you wish!
Faction Changes incoming
Following up from the recent addition of new faction progression veteran items, will come the major restructuring of the Faction progression. The intention here is two fold. Firstly to help smooth our and significantly improve the speed of faction progression, and then, just as importantly, to open things up, increase the rewards, and allow you to do more different things, rather than repeat the same thing again and again.
So, if you feel the only reason you did 'X Content' Y times was to get Z reward, we want to avoid the 'Y times' part. What we will be doing with this change is to give you a much larger reward for doing it once, thus meaning you don't have to repeat it for that same reward, which in turn means that you can use your time on more varied activities. (Which also have their own rewards, and that means that overall you get much more for your time).
The quests will lockout periods to ensure that you don't have to repeat that one piece of content again and again, and have that feeling of 'grind'. We will, in effect, be significantly raising the reward, and, at the same time, forcing some variety into your play sessions.
So the lockout is more about the variety of your play than the level of reward, as we will be raising that anyway. While this is a little 'artificial' to a degree at least, we think that having you do, for example, five different things a day rather than the same thing five times makes for a more enjoyable game experience.
The end result though will be, very clearly, that you get a much higher reward for less time invested...and it has the bonus of then opening up the rest of your play-time to enjoy other elements of the game (that in turn also progress you)
These changes will be coming to the test server shortly.
Blood and Glory server update
Off the back of last month’s announcement, things are progressing nicely with the internal work and testing for the new rule-set. With the interest in the possible permutations for rules on this server we opened up polls on the PVP section of the forums (that can be found here and here depending on your territory). These will allow you all to give your input into the creation of this server. Where those polls show a clear majority favouring a choice, then that is the choice we will make for that feature.
The polls are going to remain open for another couple of weeks, so make sure you check them out and take this opportunity to help forge the rule-set for the new server.
So what order will you see the new content in on the live servers? The current schedule (and as always, this is subject to change, the version numbers especially, depending on hotfixes etc) looks like this:
2.01.7 - Refuge of the Apostate (Level 80 solo instance)
2.02.0 - Paikang Districts (as above, 2xlevel 80 team instances), Faction Progression Revamp, and the Crowd Control Revamp
2.03.0 – The Breach and The Forgotten City (ACG content)
2.04.0 – The new Blood and Glory PVP server
We hope that there will only be a couple of weeks between each of these releases so that all of them should be deployed by the end of May, and will bring us up nicely to the summer and fall schedule which we will talk about a lot more over the coming months.
Now that the Dreamworld update is complete we are really looking forward to being able to roll out all this new content to the live servers and start to release these great new additions to the game, and continue to expand upon the game content and also improve the existing progression and add even more variety.