It’s always a difficult time when you are starved for information during a “dark” period. Waiting for Mass Effect: Andromeda to launch was sooooo painful in terms of wanting to see more leading up to the release. So when we went dark at the end of 2016 for holidays and prepping the spring build (a tradition of sorts for us over the past two years), everyone was waiting for us to come out of hibernation.
We hope we delivered something worth the wait!
Early Access #7 was a landmark build for us. We now have the foundation layers of much of the combat and adventuring system in place, and from here we will be tweaking things, refining things, working out kinks, and then eventually building up to the point where we are going to start adding content on top of things. But there’s a journey to get there, and we’ve got a ton of features that we have to add, like banking, the mail system, trading system, camps & caravans, and so much more.
What’s new in this build compared to the last early access?
Where to start? Well, our actions bar is back, and with it we’ve got a few masteries that players were able to work on leveling up this time, along with the bind wound feature, sense heading feature, and a couple of basic attacks. While there weren’t a lot of masteries in the game just yet, this is the foundation layer. From here, we’ll be able to start adding more masteries to the game, and in future builds you’ll be able to more fully flesh out your characters. This is actually one of the biggest features of this build, as the Mastery system is an integral component to how you enhance your character over time in our game.
Remember, your base stats will almost never change over the course of the game. You don’t “level up” in Saga of Lucimia. But your masteries do get better over time, as you become more skilled, and our entire system is based around that. So seeing this system functioning was a great step for us.
Also working this build is our basic armor class and absorption system. Also a “big deal” in terms of our combat. I’m not sure if any of you noticed, but did you see how items dropping from mobs weren’t at 100% when you looted them? The damage you do to the mob = done to the gear they drop. This will become a strategic component in certain fights as we flesh the system out, where armor class is just as important as the health of mobs…and you as a player, especially if you are tanking, considering you only ever have X amount of hitpoints since you don’t level up….
Combat chat makes a return. And this time we’ve got the world chat back in the game (it wasn’t in the last build, despite being in previous builds), as well as grouping, with players able to invite up to 8 players into their group. That’s right…we’re doing 8-person groups rather than the traditional six. Group-based game, remember?
But perhaps the biggest feature of this build was random loot dropping from mobs, full item looting, dropping items to bags on the ground, items with bonuses and stat restrictions, as well as weight, and the full paper doll + basic inventory and equipment system.
We still have a long road ahead of us. The last two builds we’ve pushed a larger zone for testing purposes, and without optimization it’s made some people’s frame rates fairly low (my laptop was 20-25ish when not recording, on fastest settings; I was in the 10-15 range while recording, as shown above, and in the video below), though those with desktop rigs and Titan or beyond cards were seeing 40-60 frame rates. That’s to be expected, as we’re testing, it’s unoptimized, and zero polish. The next build or two will be a smaller zone so we can test performance there, and then we’ll be leveraging that data to analyze and make decisions. So far we’ve tested a 1k base zone, the current 4k zone, and next a 2k zone. Those numbers are squared.
So for us, a thrilling notch in the “win” category! We received tons of feedback and data (which is why we run these weekends in the first place), and seeing everyone’s comments on how much fun they had as they roll in from social media and Discord is the ultimate compliment.
Thanks to everyone who came out for testing, and until we get our official EA #7 video out, here’s something I put together from Saturday’s session (and yes, the frame rates are icky as I was recording from a laptop in an UNOPTIMIZED ALPHA BUILD! As always, we document and share everything, not just polished results.). I’ll update this thread accordingly with the EA 7 video once we have it up on YouTube in the coming days!