So the beta goes, and I think I should first thank the people who have been giving us feedback. As David has alluded to, much of our consideration over the past months has been toward things that internally we’re comfortable with only because we don’t have new sets of eyes telling us what we *should* be doing, so it is extremely helpful to our goal of making a fun and exciting game for you all! =)
One of the things that is currently whirring in the backs of our minds is what some people refer to as the “tangibility” of a game interface. You know what I mean if you’ve ever played Megaman or World of Warcraft. Everything clicks, thuds, blinks, flashes, and makes you aware that every time you click or press something, you know that it’s working. These sorts of tiny queues are imperative to game immersion, and something that I’m slightly ashamed that we’re only now really addressing in earnest.
After that, we’re hoping to have an online store up. I’m currently investigating the ability to sell lutefisk online, but it might just be illegal.
A lot of little stuff is getting fixed right now, but mostly gameplay balancing is resting heavily on my mind. It’s unfortunate how much getting the game in a state of balance and polish seems like a give and take between balance and polish (not necessarily of course, but many polish ideas remove balancing elements, and vice versa). Here’s an example…
On the outset, melee characters had a problem: not only did they not have any magic (which was bad because magic is really fun), but if you run around and just hit everyone with your sword, you get overwhelmed by baddies because you can only hit one guy at a time, while that wizard in the corner with his awesome magic can fireball ten guys at a time.
One of my early ideas to combat this was really bad for polish, but great for balance: the characters got what I was calling “maneuvers”, which would allow them to attack large swathes of area with their weapon. The balance issues were dealt with: it was like a fireball of sword! But then I got a little carried away, because I saw this as an opportunity to close the gap between casters and fighters: I wanted the fighters to be able to queue attacks that they could stack on top of their big area attacks so that they could do cool combo maneuvers, but while it seems cool in theory it was awful in practice. The system was totally confusing, there was a ton of ghastly code that needed to go into the game, and players didn’t even use it. So polish lost this battle big-time.
We’re trying new ways of incorporating these ideas. There is no more “attack queuing”, which was the worst part of that idea. Not only is having multi-step processes something you want to avoid, but there was no instant gratification, which is also an issue. Instead everything happens as you click it. The ability to combine abilities still exists as well, but I’ll leave that to you guys to figure out =)