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AE Should Re-Think Release Schedules

 
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11/1/2018 13:43:51   
PD
Member

I think it's frankly time that we talk about this policy of AE's that they have to push content for games on a hard release schedule (typically, once a week for their active games). Many of us have experienced AE releases where the content has often been delayed or bugged. Now as a developer, I completely sympathize with the developers whom are often crunched for time. However, as a customer, this can lead to frustration when we realize we're not getting a good release to play on. I understand that AE makes promises that they regularly update their products, and that's fine. But it comes at the price of as said above, subpar releases, or delay after delay.

I don't play the other games, but with AQ, with releases being planned for thursday, the last few releases have been delayed a day or two with increasing regularity. Now because of my perspective I'm understanding of delays, and many others are too, but you have to wonder how many delays are going to happen before we start to need to re-think about the release scheduling. A simple solution to this is to go with a bi-weekly schedule. Or even more radically, the solution across AE would be to stop committing to its hard release schedules. With the weekly release schedule, it probably takes about 2-3 days just to draw and animate, probably a day or two to code, and by the time that you get to the release day, there' hardly any time to test releases properly. With a no-promises release schedule, you could probably have time to properly test releases, and be able to add more content each release. Either way, I think it's time to re-think the idea of AE having hard release schedules and possibly discuss loosening them.
AQ MQ  Post #: 1
11/8/2018 17:16:02   
dragonfire1423
Member

It's sad that this thread kinda died on arrival, but I agree completely. Go to the official discord and ask basically any channel if the weekly releases are a good idea, and with AQW/AQ3D especially, you'll hear a resounding no. As for me, I only sometimes play AQ, and otherwise steer towards DF/AQ3D, and more recently back to AQW to give it a shot.
AQW fairs fine enough because it has the biggest team of the games of course, but releases are still not without problems, and since the game basically revolves around an even harsher grind than most mmo's, the team has enough padding to say "Ok, people will definitely not be starved for content since this would take a while to complete."
AQ3D barely seems to GET a release that isn't either broken or bare-bones, because the game isn't even finished being created and yet AE insists that releases have to be weekly as opposed to bi-weekly, or even monthly. Even in game, any room you step into you'll be able to find someone saying "Man this sure is a promising game, shame we keep getting outfits and cosmetics instead of an actual mmo's worth of either content or quality changes."
DF is a case, as with the other single-player games, where the tiny team isn't as big a disadvantage, and they hardly ever miss dates, but that's because of a strict Release Type schedule that could only really work for the single player games, where only one or two weeks a month are big story releases, and the other two are either a balance patch, or an Inn Challenge.

None of this is to say that the teams don't work extremely hard, and I think we're all very grateful for their work. Talking with some devs, you really can feel the exasperation as they try and hit deadlines, and it's inarguable how much love and effort they put into their job, but I think that for most games, especially those with smaller teams (Like AQ)/more expected content (Like AQW/3D), the weekly release just isn't realistic anymore. Maybe it was once upon a time when Bean Twilly and broken war counters was the norm, but now that the expected quality has increase, perhaps the time taken to assure that quality should as well.

< Message edited by dragonfire1423 -- 11/8/2018 17:20:54 >
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 2
11/10/2018 3:35:44   
Wizardlife
Member

I'm glad someone made a thread on this.

Maybe once the weekly releases were more do-able, years and years ago when there were more staff around to help, however, this is absolutely no longer the case. DragonFable's team is mostly comprised f two people, Tomix/Dove and Verlyrus. They still manage to do incredibly well with their own weekly releases despite that, but they do sometimes have to (presumably) resort to filler Inn challenges, but at least with DF, story and filler are pretty balanced. There have also been a few times where they ended up delaying the release by a day, or sometimes more than a day, with the release ending up being amazing and sublime in quality.

The only other AE game I (sometimes) play is AQW, and I'm not sure how many team members they have (definitely less than they once had, though), but almost all of their weekly releases fall flat. Poor writing, more filler "farm for items" releases, etc. It's a significant portion of the reason why I'm nowhere as active as I used to be on the game. That, and the fact the QoM Arc is more or less nonexistent now.

But yes, I concur. Weekly releases are a very bad idea at this point in time. All it creates is more stress for the developers, less time for polished, proper writing, more bugs, useless filler releases, and an unsatisfied player-base. I believe splitting them up into bi-weekly releases might be a good compromise, although some people will undoubtedly start complaining about it, most likely on Twitter, and it does seem like AE (at least the AQW staff) seem to check Twitter a lot more frequently than they do the official forums, which means our own feedback might end up getting overshadowed, and this may be true for the other games as well. But whatever the case, it is definitely beyond time the weekly schedule deadline is rethought.

< Message edited by Wizardlife -- 11/10/2018 3:36:45 >
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 3
11/10/2018 13:53:39   
Nessa Ellensse
Member

I think it's time for AE to slow down their release schedule asa well and put out qualiy releases. There are people who play multiple games for example I play Adventure Quest Dragon Fable, AQ Worlds and AQ 3D I don't have tiem to play the latest weekless release of all three games all the time so I get behidn and it' gets frustrating/ I missed so much on Adventure Quest because of this .
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 4
11/12/2018 16:46:26   
  Captain Rhubarb
Deuteranope


The weekly releases are very important. It's our "secret sauce" to have survived so long as a small game company.

The AQ team plans out months in advance for their weekly releases.
It may help to plan for 1 week a month to be a "catch-up" week or a time to do stuff that is suddenly added to the workload, like the Moglin pets.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 5
11/12/2018 17:50:35   
PD
Member

Captain,

I understand that it's one of the appeals that apparently draws players to play the games. However, I think the main takeaway from all of this is that being mandated to release every week, especially with how much time is used to make seasonal stuff drains the teams. There's a difference between plotting out a roadmap of things to do, and being able to actually stay on schedule. The last 8 releases in AQ have been delayed (and if they did manage to release on a Thursday, it wasn't the whole thing), and there's still things they haven't been able to do. The devs across all the games I've seen seem to have very little time to be able to talk to the community and all seem to be burned out on a regular basis from being able to push things out every week or so. Most of the staff across the older games (like AQ, DF, ED, ect) don't have the staff numbers they used to have, and telling them to make new things every week with the reduced staff usually means you'll get delays, buggy releases, smaller updates, or all the above. But I'm sure you know this already

I think it might help what Oda does for One Piece where he still draws manga every week but takes at least once a week off. AE could do the same where there are 3 releases a month, and then the last week of the month could be used to "catch up" and do other things, or just unwind as you proposed. But even so, I'd like to see what the other developers at AE or the A-man himself thinks about this. I'm writing from the perspective of a developer myself, and the most reason for most product failures or bugs usually happens due to lack of testing and the forced rush to market/release. And while I like a lot of what AE does I cannot ever imagine myself as a developer working in such an environment. I can't say for sure bcause I haven't seen the internal research, but I don't think that people will necessarily be less motivated to play the games if there aren't releases every week. In fact, I'm pretty sure people get angrier when the releases that they look forward to every week are getting worse in quality and size as budget shrink and deadlines approach.

Just something to think about.
AQ MQ  Post #: 6
11/12/2018 18:53:51   
Aura Knight
Member

While it may be nice to stick to tradition, the tradition in this case being weekly releases, I don't think that's necessary. By only allowing 1 week for every release there's always the risk of having less than ideal updates. Now, this isn't apparent in the single player games but for multi-player ones, the lack of quality is obvious. There may not be enough time in a week to do a good release. And many releases end up being no more than filler so we could certainly do without those kinds. I appreciate all the effort put into releases but I am not opposed to the idea of moving away from the weekly release schedule.
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 7
11/13/2018 7:13:38   
AliceShiki
Member

I think the weekly releases for most games are actually healthy for the company in the long run... So even though I think it would be wonderful for the devs to not have this crazy work schedule, I think it's a necessity to have something that the players look forward to every week...

That said, it seems kinda crazy to make weekly releases in AQ3D, the game seems a lot harder to code and animate than any of the others... I don't think it would be a bad idea to reduce the release pace of that one.
AQ  Post #: 8
11/13/2018 17:06:19   
Skurge
The Dealer


Don't they have a considerable amount of staff for AQ3D? 🤔

Surely that makes it easier to keep up the pace.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 9
11/14/2018 17:06:16   
Nessa Ellensse
Member

I'm grateful the released for AQ3D aren't weekly
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 10
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