Alpha - Key takeaways
After the end of our first Alpha test, we wanted to come back to you with the lessons we learned and how they'll affect our priorities moving forward.
But first, a huge thank you to everyone who played, watched, commented on, and encouraged us! We're designing Pax Dei to be a social sandbox, and the game has never felt as alive as it did with thousands of you roaming the world. Thank you for being there for us!
Now, let’s dive in!
Our two main goals with the Alpha were:
To test and stress our tech to improve and fix issues,
To test the exploring, harvesting, crafting, and building gameplay.
Beeps and boops
We won’t go super deep into the tech, but the test was extremely helpful! We fixed several performance issues we had been unable to catch before - like the issue with buildings becoming invisible, which was related to chopping down trees! And we validated our world layering system - the system that creates a new layer of a part of the world when it reaches a certain capacity.
The main difficulty for us was to be able to replicate your buildings in real-time across layers - i.e. if someone is building in layer 1, people in layer 2 can see the building being raised. The system works pretty smoothly and is very robust (so far ^^).
Building & plots
We were absolutely blown away by what you all built! We knew the building system had potential, but we did not expect all these castles and villages, along with so much creativity with some of the pieces!
To foster creativity, the Alpha granted the freedom to move plots without constraints on construction. This newfound liberty empowered small teams to build stunning castles and numerous creative buildings.
However, as we progress, we’ll need to refine this freedom. Our upcoming building restrictions serve multifaceted objectives: they safeguard constructions from random destruction through plot permissions and strive to maintain a harmonious and balanced world area.
Additional notes on buildings, in no particular order:
Refining building snapping: the snapping mechanism for placing building pieces requires refinement to enhance functionality.
Balancing building recipes: achieving balance in building recipes poses challenges, especially in creating advantages for group efforts (without making a castle something trivial to erect) while remaining accessible to solo or small group players.
Expanding building content: plans include introducing new building block content incorporating new progression tiers, block types, and props to diversify the existing structures. However, the next test phase may include the same pieces as the building won’t be its focus! And we don’t want to spoil you! ^^
Building system improvements: this Alpha test revealed and addressed multiple issues concerning building and plot systems, enhancing robustness and overall performance. The networking for buildings still consumes some unnecessary bandwidth, and the performance in larger villages could be better. Our tech wizards have already done a fantastic job, but are confident they can still improve performance.
Resource spawning on plots: resource spawns within plots are being fine-tuned to prevent overlaps with building blocks.
Signs and plaques: we’re looking at adding plaques and or signs which you’ll be able to write on, to make signs, label chests, etc. This won’t come soon, though.
Resources & crafting
Resource balancing: we're assessing resource quantities and their locations, aiming to add more resources to the Wildlands. Certain resources were either too abundant or scarce, and some had no purpose, prompting changes.
Recipe adjustments: we're reviewing every recipe's difficulty level; some are overly easy, while others are excessively challenging.
Progression & skills: some of the crafting skills demand excessive grinding (who said linen?), and some are missing or still need a lot of work. We are adding a lot of content for the next test, which we hope will give you many more reasons to explore the world. We're also evaluating which recipes should belong to processing versus regular crafters to prevent players from being stationary for extended periods during crafting (you know the main offender!)
Failure on craft: right now, if you fail to craft, you lose all the resources from the recipe. This is not how we intend to have the system work in the long term - we are looking into giving you part of the resources back when failing, based on how badly you failed. And there will eventually be mechanics that reward you for succeeding perfectly, allowing you to create “master-crafted” items. But these systems will take time.
Stamina: we probably won’t remove the stamina cost from resource harvesting loops, but the system needs tuning. We want to scale the mechanics with your skill level, so once you’ve raised the skill and are using higher-tier equipment, you won’t be stamina-gated when harvesting. This is one of many avenues we intend to use to provide progression goals for dedicated gatherers.
Inventory management: we are taking a careful look at inventory management. This is hard, as we don’t want to trivialize needing to keep things organized, but at the same time, we’re very aware that some aspects of inventory management can be very tedious. We’re not making fundamental changes to the inventory system right now, but we will definitely improve these flows in the future.
We can’t wait to show you all the changes and improvements we’re making in our next test phase, which should be available before too long, in the first quarter of 2024. As time flies by, ensure your account is ready for the next test!