State of the Game 2014-2015
This year had a lot happen and there's even more planned for next year so we wanted to take this time to share a little bit about what's planned, what we learned, and what's going to happen moving forward.
Recap of 2014
This year we've done quite a bit from old content revamps to introducing the start of the new story line to laying down groundwork for future background updates. While we weren't able to do everything we wanted to, we still were able to do a lot that you all were able to play. Considering there were very few releases at the start of the year to now we have something every single week that's tremendous progress and we're glad each and every one of you have continued to support us!
Story lines for 2015
Next year we're going to focus on finishing up any of those hanging story lines like Liath. It took a while to get up the momentum to do quests almost every week and, by that point, we had already hit the holidays and had to focus on those. We were able to close out a few hanging story lines, like the beard saga, but we know that there are a few that weren't finished and need to be.
We're also going to slowly move forward with the new story line that was introduced. There won't be a large number of these until we close out the older story lines but there will be a few. You'll start to learn a little more about the Grand Admiral, her plans, what the Artifacts are being used for, and much more!
Stats and Engine Updates
While we weren't able to get everything ready for this year we do have plans to update several parts of the game. We're going to be taking a look at the main stats and tweaking those if needed. Vivi is also hard at work on an engine update that was teased at Dragon-Con for Swordfighting. This is a large project with a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration so these won't be a quickly implemented after the new year.
"Grinding" and the time it takes to level
This is something that has been brought up many times and something that we've talked about changing. "Grinding" is a part of the RPG experience, but it shouldn't be the only thing you have to do. The experience curve can be a bit harsh and prohibit decent leveling rates and that's something that causes issues when we try to make "intended" level ranges for things like the Soluna Jobs or certain planets. While we don't have a for sure, "this is what we're adjusting it to", answer, this is one of the things we're going to be talking about and making a decision on moving forward. This also affects credit rewards and how they drop because if you level more quickly you'll need to get more credits to make sure you can still afford to replace items at appropriate times. That will also be looked at and adjusted accordingly depending on what is decided.
Item and Enemy Re-Balancing
Several of you have noticed that there seems to be some issues with item and mecha strengths. We've also noticed and are going to be working on that going into the new year. We're going to be taking a hard look at items and mecha that are performing better than they should be as well as any that are performing below what they should be.
This doesn't mean we'll be buffing everything below a certain point. Some things are only intended for a certain character level and power level. For example, the job rewards in Soluna are only meant to get you out into the universe, not last you till the level cap, and the specials and levels reflect that. There's a gradual progression of power as you move from Soluna to the various planets and that needs to remain, but there are some that are too good and need to be toned down, as well as others that aren't all that good and need to be brought up.
That brings up the enemies that you fight. The earlier enemies haven't changed while most of the items and mecha you receive, even ones that are meant to be used at lower levels have, leading to a power gap that isn't intentional. We're going to be buffing and adjusting a large majority of the enemies that you face to make it so that the power gap isn't as noticeable. Between this change and the item change you'll start seeing a game that's more in line with how it was intended.
Why power creep is here and how it is going to be mitigated
Power creep is a natural part of any game, especially one that has a static level cap and limits. Players want better and better items to make up for not being able to progress their characters further in terms of leveled power. This isn't a bad thing, and is a natural part of the games growth over time, but it needs to be toned back. Part of the item re-balancing will involve nerfing some of the incredibly powerful items and we understand that that may cause some anger or confusion. Before any changes to those items, and we are aware of the more liked and “OP” items, we will make sure some sort of notice is given about what the stats will be changed to and you can give feedback on the changes. Some of the changes we may not be able to alter too much based on feedback but we will try and be as open as possible as long as it's done in a way that is backed up with math and shows how it would benefit the overall balance of the game.
This isn't going to happen immediately either as there is a lot of math involved, as well as a lot of issues such as if the item was purchased with real currency (Nova Gems) and what the appropriate compensation should be if we have to nerf something. Those will be the last items we tweak as those will take the most amount of thought, but you will see some changes to Non-Star Captain and Star Captain items as early as January.
This is not to be confused with Natural Progression though. Natural Progression is what I mentioned above, it's the natural power gain as you move from planet to planet. An easy way to show that is, "Your first mecha -> a Soluna job mecha -> a Westion, part 1, mecha -> a Lagos mecha -> a Romero mecha -> A Yokai mecha." As you progress through the storyline you get better and better equipment. What Power Creep is is when the equipment from something LOWER or in the SAME area is BETTER than anything else around or above it. This is kinda difficult for MQ as we've gone back and done "Part 2's" and "A new chapter!" for almost every planet but we're going to try and rank everything based on those and have a very long, and very specific chain of A -> B -> C -> D -> C2 -> E -> F -> G -> H -> I -> G2 -> J -> K etc, until we've figured out where everything sits and THEN balance it all accordingly. This is partly the reason why it's going to take a while to get right, other than the really obvious outliers.
Questions that you may have and answers
If you have any questions about anything feel free to post them and we will do our best to answer them. Here are a few of the more common questions that may be asked though and answers to them.
Which stats will be the focus of the stat tweaks?
Efficiency mainly. It's not performing as originally intended and is seen as a “useless” stat. All of the stats will be looked at but that is the one we're going to mainly focus on either tweaking to be useful or figuring out a new effect for it.
Is MechQuest getting a “sweep” like AdventureQuest where all the items will be adjusted?
No. Only items that are over or under performing will be adjusted.
Static level cap? Does that mean MechQuest isn't going to have any more level cap raises?
While there isn't one planned in the immediate future, the "final" level cap is still planned to be level 100.
Will beginning enemies become so tough I won't be able to beat them with my older mecha?
No. We're going to do extensive testing of any enemy changes to make sure even someone who is using the newbatron a bit outside the intended level range can beat enemies. If there is an issue that we missed we will go back and adjust but it's our intent to catch any issues before you see the changes so that it's as seamless of a transition as possible.
I like my *insert name of item or mecha here*. Why can't it stay as strong as it is? One hit killing things doesn't affect anyone since this is a single player game.
While MechQuest is a single player game, being able to one hit kill things or kill things in a way that makes the game a boring button clicking fest means the strategy aspect is gone. MechQuest has always been a game about choices and picking the effects you like or the effects that make the best sense in a specific situation. That's why you're able to customize almost every mecha in the game with hundreds of items to make each "your mecha". Being able to beat everything that comes your way with no thought isn't the intent of the game and giving you those choices. While you will still be able to beat most things using your favorite mecha or equips, there won't be the “push one button and win” type of play style as best as we can balance. We don't want to remove the fun aspect of being able to play your way, but we do have to take steps to ensure that the game is viable as a game.
You said you're going to try to place every item. What about Holiday items/mecha or Staff Birthday items/mecha or even the SCEM's?
They will most likely end up at the top of the list, within reason, so that they can be used for the rest of the game. Most of those in question are seasonal, and usually have cool stuff attached, so we want to make them last a long time and make them a nice reminder of the event. It's also cool to use a walking Gingerbread House forever right?
Hopefully this has answered any questions you might have as well as giving you a little bit of insight into where MechQuest will be headed moving forward. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have further questions!
From the entire MechQuest team, thank you for reading and thank you for playing!
< Message edited by Ash -- 12/23/2014 9:57:41 >