Open Alpha Feedback Synopsis

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Bosses Proved to be a tad too powerful, but very impressive!

15,293 players were split between four factions four factions in a contest over the world. Some fought for rewards, some for pride, and others to simply test out new ships and forms of battle.  Regardless of the reasons, the remnants that you left behind have already begun to shape the story and world of Guns of Icarus.  The Chaladonians pushed aggressively into the mainland from their isle homes while the Baronites defended against their advancement.  Despite the Anglean’s devastating plunders in the north, they were cornered and contained.  It looked like the Chaladonians would be victorious but a stalwart last stand from the Merchants propelled them to the finish line.  It was clear that with passion and perseverance, even the greatest odds can be overcome.

We heard so much positivity from this event, players excited about all the new and exciting things, but just as importantly we heard the parts we can and must improve for the game. Guns of Icarus would not be possible without players giving us amazing feedback from 11,000 word dissertations to short emails on enjoying a single map. We hope to continue to hear everything you love, hate, and everything in between as we continue this humbling journey. At the end of this piece you’ll see a summary of many major points and our plans to tackle them.

The Open Alpha conflict will probably be remembered by many names like “Death to the Chalanoobs” or “Merchants, Merchants, MERCHANTS!”.  However, as some astute players have already noticed, things are not always as they seem.  This event begins to reveal the motivations behind factions.  This time, the threat came from across the the eastern channels.  Something deadly luked in the “Shadows of the Black Channel.” More on this will be coming out very soon. We want to make sure we put as much passion into lore creation as all of your did playing and fighting for every scrap of land. Expect some epic tales commemorating your time in the skies!

When all was said and done, every able bodied man and woman came to this conflict and permanently scarred this land with blood and scrap. They defended that factional homes with honor, attacked enemies with utmost ferocity.  Some won gloriously, and others were left behind.  Do not fret, because there will be more.

Follow the jump to see our feedback, results and plans.

Feedback, Results, and Plans

Just as important as the results of the battles was the feedback that was sent in. We asked for it and our players delivered hundreds of emails, hundreds of thousands of words, both encouragement and criticism.

I’m going to bring up some of the major points to show off some of the feedback that was brought up and our plan of attack, but just because something you raised wasn’t mentioned don’t think we’re ignoring it. There is way too much to just cover here.

Smaller Factions are too strong
-With Chaladon’s early rise and lowest population it looked like our algorithm was heavily favoring smaller factions, but the numbers behind the scenes weren’t reflecting this. The top players of Chaladon in those first days were out playing the top players of other factions by a large magnitude. The fact this system felt unfair though means we need to find better ways to show the information that makes it feel fair, that your efforts are worth putting in no matter what your factions size.

Larger factions are too weak
– Due to the Republic’s poor performance and large population this was definitely criticism we received. A big call for inactive members to not count against was made and it’s already in, but since the event was only a week long, they were never removed. On Alliances release you will see inactive players not count toward the population algorithm.

New ships are awesome, but…
-Our artists were showered in compliments for the new Alliance ships, but there were some points that were cluttered or suffered from collision issues on the ship. The Crusader specifically has some points that need a pass and the Shrike has some railings that are reportedly causing more tripping than protection.

The rise of the Lens Array and the fall of the Lightning Coil
-The Lens Array saw the most use of any of the new alliance weapons and with its destructive power we could see why. On the flip side the Lightning Coil was bemoaned as fun, but feeling ineffective. We’re definitely going to toy around with all the balance for these peoples.

I fight for my friends
-Not earning credit for joining friend lobbies was fiercely frustrating for groups with a multicultural slant with some members earning no points in a lobby due to their friends faction choices. We did this originally to try to keep theme, as earning points for murdering your own factions ships felt off, but ultimately we believe friendship and flexibility should take precedence.

Choice, Conflict, and Agency
-This was our first pass on the faction war and while we’re really proud of all our players and their passion, we definitely recognize we want to do more to make people feel more involved. Only 3% of all warchest points were used which means we need to do a better job showing that off to players and improving players interactions with the map.

A plane problem
-We had numerous reports of planes not being a satisfying enemy  with many pilots not prioritizing and sometimes completely ignoring them. We are going to do more to try to make them feel not only like valid enemies, but interesting engagements instead of passing nuisances.

Boss difficulty
-An issue we tried to tackle as the week progressed was boss difficulty. They were basically impossible at the start of the week for many players and with some shifts became slightly more manageable as the week went on, but we are taking a deep look at these boss fights to make sure they strike the right balance of difficult, but interesting.

What’s happen’ Capn’
-A complaint we received from crew members feeling overwhelmed and out of the loop when in an Alliance battle. This problem doubly bad when the pilot wasn’t communicating made many crews feel completely unaware of their surroundings. We definitely want to fix this and are looking at numerous things from enemy numbers to the UI. We will find the best way to make sure everyone feels engaged even on the least communicative crew.

Item Upgrades, Captains loadouts, and you
-This is a back to the drawing board situation for us and Eric is already hard at work finding a system that matches our unique ship hierarchy and planning. As we test out some major overhauls we’ll definitely release more information to you.

There was definitely more feedback and lot more we’re going to do, but these were the major points I wanted to make sure you knew we not only heard, but were tackling in a serious way.

This open alpha was major success for us. We got to experience player’s excitement first hand, learn so much about our game in a real player situation, get checked out by a couple big youtubers, and watch our world fight and struggle in real time. We can not thank everyone who joined in enough for the time and effort they put in.

Lore will be coming very soon. We want to make sure we put as much passion into its creation as all of your did playing and fighting for every scrap of land.

We are looking at doing a beta in the end of October and can’t wait to show off more content, massive fixes, and even more faction conflict!

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