January 06, 2017
I know itís an overused cliche at this point, but 2016 has been a beast of a year, filled with tragedy and turmoil, but quite a lot of productivity. This year we saw the launch of BioBeasts which was a triumph for our small team. We experienced many highs and lows in the post-launch aftermath as we wrangled with trends and tried our best to improve the game and help it gain traction in a clogged and bloated marketplace. This year was a triumph for Artix Entertainment as AdventureQuest 3D entered Open Beta. There have been some snags along the way, but itís unbelievable how far the game has come in such a short span of time.
We entered December with modest expectations for the gifting release. December is typically a strong month in terms of player population and sales, but itís been challenging to fight the downward trend of browser games. These past few months we re-dedicated ourselves to EpicDuel in an effort to address many longstanding issues. There are some insurmountable challenges concerning balance, but we took in all of your feedback and did what we could with the time we had and the constraints of an engine thrice rebuilt.
Overall, the releases have performed surprisingly well, once again leaving us in a state of wide-eyed astonishment at the enthusiasm of our players. You definitely surprised us with your passion when servers came back online after the update on December 1st. You sent a clear message that you still love EpicDuel and wish to see it thrive in the new year. Weíre constantly humbled and inspired by the fervor of our little community.
Of course, not everyone was overwhelmingly pleased as some balance issues were not thoroughly addressed. Some major changes, like the NPC fill system, are controversial, but necessary for the challenges EpicDuel will face in 2017.
Some of those challenges weíve been harping on for ages -- It seemed like Flash was going to die in...2012? 2013? 2014? True, itís still here and kicking, but itís utility is constantly eroded as other platforms and web standards consume its market share and browsers discontinue or limit support. Flash will probably still be running in 2075 on whatever hacked-together browser exists in the blasted Wastescapes between the shattered Megacities.
The persistence of Flash in the face of extinction doesnít mean weíre not still concerned by this threat. We mentioned we were experimenting with executable clients, but that approach has some challenges weíre not sure we can overcome. We even looked into porting to Steam, but the fact is that while EpicDuel on Steam would be a boon to our current players, as an aging PvP MMO it would fail to attract the new players it would need to grow and justify continuous development. The only EpicDuel-related project that could break out on the modern market is perhaps a reimagined or completely new game, but such a project would be a massive undertaking and probably at least years away.
If a direct port is not feasible, could a new or rejuvenated product be born from within EpicDuel? Weíve said many, many times that Omega is the last phase. There will not be an EpicDuel Zeta or EpicDuel Gamma 2. Even if we wanted to, we canít simply roll back some of the massive engine changes that have been accrued over nearly 10 years of development. The inherent flaws of the engine and platform are also reasons why returning to full-time development is not a viable solution either. We want EpicDuel to succeed, but weíre also facing harsh realities of aging technology, a rapidly changing the marketplace, and the current position of our company.
ďWhat about BioBeasts? Wasnít that supposed to be the great salvation of EpicDuel?Ē The fate of BioBeasts is covered in a post over at its homepage. The summation is that it didnít reach the heights we hoped it would, but weíre still proud of it and wouldnít trade the experience gained from working on that project for anything.
In the face of these challenges, what does the future hold for EpicDuel? In the new year, you can expect the systems of the game to function normally with the continued return of seasonal rares and the reactivated war cycle. In the new iteration, the wars will run with a one week cooldown in between to keep them moving faster so thereís less downtime. Each war region will continue to have unique war prizes. The servers will remain online as long as long as Artix Entertainment can afford to do so, even if the population dwindles to one lone player battling NPCs.
ďIf you canít make a new phase or EpicDuel 2 or return to EpicDuel development full time, then WHAT ARE YOU DOING?Ē For the EpicDuel team 2016 was more trial than triumph, but 2017 will be a year of exploration and expansion -- Exploration of new technologies and expansion of our technical knowledge and skill. This will be done in an effort to look beyond the scope of our limited team with the goal of working to secure the future of Artix Entertainment. Currently, the best way to help AE in the very near term is for us is to bolster the development of modern, interesting projects like AdventureQuest 3D.
Thank you everyone for all youíve done for EpicDuel, supporting it throughout these many years of development. It hasnít been easy and we havenít always made popular decisions concerning the direction of the game, but youíve stuck with us in spite of everything. Because you believed in EpicDuel. You believed in us and helped the game endure as long as it has. How long can it last? Ultimately, itís up to you. The lifeblood of EpicDuel has always been itís players. As long as there are players eager for a duel, Delta V will be open for business.
< Message edited by Battle Elf -- 4/14/2017 16:33:38 >