Greetings and salutations friends,
This is one of those no-punches pulled, 100% transparent posts. Hopefully you will find it refreshing in the barrage of misinformation on the internet. (Also sorta hoping not to get eviscerated for actually telling the truth and owning up to my mistake.)
Prior to launch, we had received good reviews for the Tower of Necromancy from the PTR testers. Along with all of the bugs we were constantly squishing.
So I was devastated to read the feedback from the Tower after launch on Twitter. Especially from long time valued players that I am proud to know. New players seemed to like the Tower. But most of them had not played any of the Isle of the Dead yet-- as a whole it played through pretty solid. Long time players were disappointed with how quickly they completed the release. Frankly, we were shocked at how fast they completed it too. Despite being one of our most plot dense adventures with unique quest objectives... it was short. Way too short. Some players said they got the entire (freaking amazing looking) Lich Boss Set in less than 30 minutes. The tower had a bunch of multiplayer bugs which prevented players from reaching the top at launch.
When I hopped on the AE discord server last night, players gave me a deeper understanding. See, the tower was announced a year ago. Which in "internet years" was basically...
There was an unspoken expectation that it has been being worked on for an entire year. The truth is schedule conflicts, dev problems, deaths in the family, and other priorities/problems kept pushing it back. The joke internally is that this release was truly cursed. We ended up hiring a brand new team member. This was their very first map with us. Admittedly, with all of the complexity and new machines in this release-- we pretty much dumped him into the deep end with sharks. I take responsibility for that and all of the other issues with this release. I really wanted to make every floor special and unique for you. Also, after so long of waiting I finally wanted to get this live for you in time for Mogloween (Halloween). Thus we spent the past three weeks working hard on this together. If there is a bright side to this-- through the trials of fire and bugs we now have a new seasoned map creator who can build any type of mechanics for AQ3D.
I asked the players on discord what we should do-- do we spend our time fixing and improving the tower, or should we take the lessons learned here and apply it to the Werewolf and Finale of Darkovia a better experience? The consensus on chat is that we should focus on Darkovia and applying the lessons learned here along with an increase in the level cap.
This morning, we called an emergency AQ3D team meeting. We reviewed player tweets, posts, discord comments, and private messages. It was a lengthy meeting. Hey, when you have a problem, you have two options... you can stick your head in the ground and pretend nothing is wrong, or you can figure out what needs changed and start taking action. We listen to player feedback and share your messages in our dev chat. It is not like we have a magic wand to solve problems instantly-- but we are certainly listening.
Here is the result:
Today, we rolled an emergency fix for the tower. Not all of the problems will be solved. We also fixed and are rolling out the travel map bug and the /command bug. It will appear on the new app stores once it goes through the approval process.
We have been reviewing our scaling system. It was intended to be used with a minimum scaling values. For example, the Tower of Necromancy has a minimum level of 10. It will not scale lower than that. Items that drop will not be lower than level 10. We are now also looking at adding a Max scale value. This will cause areas to be good for a certain leveling range.
Many dungeons have recently been switched to scaling in preparation for the upcoming dungeon finder system. The goal of this, of course, is to allow players to play these dungeons together. I saw a lot of negativity on this. It is a double edge sword... we need all of the above: content for end level players, content for leveling players, and content that everyone can join.
So next, we will be releasing a FIXED, level 30 only, challenge Lich Boss Fight. It will offer some of the most powerful level 30 items in the game. Also, I asked Dagger if he would take over the boss fight design. So you are all probably going to die. (It will take an extra week to do this properly-- is OK?)
We also have more of the items created for the tower to release.
Moving forward, as a result of today's meeting, we are going to be looking at the end game. With Darkovia and the Sandsea coming-- it is important that your level has value. Using Yokai's boss fights and Ashfall as a model, we want to make these a memorable and ultra fun experience for you.
I would like to sincerely apologize if the Tower of Necromancy was not what you were hoping for. Taking what was learned from this, we will make the next thing better.
The 3 rules of Artix Entertainment
Thank you for your support and always giving your honest feedback and giving us heads up when you find bugs and problems. Game dev is an organic art. Sometimes you roll a critical hit, sometimes it takes more work. No matter what...
Artix & The AdventureQuest 3D Team