We made it! Whew! The Skyshrine Game Update went live and was well tested thanks to the community at large as well as the internal teams. We are all really proud of it and it seems like a good bunch of you are enjoying it too.
While we are still watching Skyshrine and responding to any issues that come up, we are obviously marching onward to our next big projects. Also, as we've said many times, we are looking at the existing game and how to make improvements to what we have. We've jotted down a few things below that are in progress this month to give you an idea of just some of what we're working on right now. We hope to release them in May but won't until they are ready:
- Remember in December 2011 on Test server we offered the ability to play as your character in Dungeon Maker? We took a look at the results and it was pretty clear we needed to make some significant improvements. Our team of engineers took to doing some research and experimentation and has come up with a great solution that we feel will have other applications as well. We are calling it "Level Agnostic" game play. What it means is that no matter what your level, you will be able to go into Dungeon Maker as your character and be effective. While that's a bit of a no brainer, this goes for groups in Dungeon Maker too. We have already done early tests of groups of level 90s with level 50s and lower and it's really fun! There's a bit of tuning we need to do here and there, but there are definitely other ways we can use this. We are still in testing and want to get this one right, so we are going to do a lot of testing before we go live. And of course we'll have it on the Test server when we feel it's ready.
- On a more practical side, the team has been looking at low-impact solutions to improve the game experience for everyone. One of them was to be able to target an NPC and have an indication of what quest they might update. The engineering team already has this working for simple quests. The challenge now is to make sure we get every quest in the game flagged appropriately. That's going to take some time, but the functionality is already there and it's been great to see it working in game. We are hoping to get the first phase of this out to the Test server soon.
- Another challenge the team faces is being responsive during testing during our Beta periods. It's very frustrating for designers and engineers to be testing raids and group content and have to stop due to a bug or difficulty and have to wait a day for another build. Not anymore! The engineers are already well into developing a testing tool that allows developers to make changes on the fly in real time. This is HUGE news for us and those players who help us test certainly will recognize the value. We certainly hope to start using this during testing for our next update.
- We are also starting to push through a list of historical bugs and prioritizing those and we'll give updates on those as we go forward.
So from all of us, to all of you, thank you for the amazing support and playing the best MMORPG around!
Holly "Windstalker" Longdale