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All Posts by JC-Smith

All Posts by JC-Smith

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Originally posted by Mkilbride

To be fair, you put "Expected release date" Q4 2013" on the Kickstarter. Now, true, you used the qualifier "expected", so that can be used as an escape, but it doesn't change peoples feelings.

For future deliveries Kickstarter requires you give an Estimated date. Not expected, but Estimated. You have to specify something there. We've only ever officially announced two dates: Start of alpha and start of alpha 2. And we delivered on both of those dates. We're not going to give any firm dates until we are fairly sure we can meet them.

Originally posted by Atrocitus

This game will be delayed until at LEAST spring 2014, if not Summer.

In order to have a delay, you need to have a release date in the first place. And there has never been one. The game will be done when it's done.
Originally posted by Atrocitus

And to further back the original claim that this game will fail,  look at the recent F2P announcement.

If your going to troll you should at least do your homework. There was no "recent F2P announcement". This game has been free to play from the get go. That was clearly written on the Kickstarter a year ago.

 
May was a month busy with constant content updates along with some bug fixes bringing us further along. Most of the content updates this month focused on the Plymouth area in preparation for the recently started Alpha 2, but we also found time to sneak in a number of new features.

A lot of effort went into improving the Rogue features of the game this month. Thievery saw a number of improvements, and we introduced several new mission templates that center around Pick Pocketing NPCs or stealing from shops. We also introduced a new locked container system. These containers or inventory items require Hacking skill to unlock. The mission system also received a significant number of improvements. This includes improved mission chaining, generated mission selection, mail event notifications and prop interaction features. It also includes several new types of generated mission templates. We also made headway on the Work Order system which we expect to go live next month.
 
As mentioned in last month's report, we added in a few more alpha testers to the fold. We will be opening a few more slots this month, so be on the watch out for news about slots being filled and of course check out your email for invites.

Audio

  • Audio Options are now fully functional. There are filters for Music, Combat Music, Sound Effects, and GUI. 
  • The following species have all new sound effects: Malagion, Lesoo, Elkar, Drake. 
  • Mechs, Robots and Cyborgs each have their own unique sound effects now, rather than sharing audio between them. 
  • Introduced new random ambient sound effects (chatter or noise when idle) to a number of species including: Drakes and Lesoo.
  • Added a runaway audio timer to prevent cases where leaves combat mode on and is forced to listen to looping audio for long periods of time. After a few minutes it will automatically fade out and allow itself to be replaced by something else if your status changes.

Combat

  • Robots, Mechs and Cyborgs no longer emit blood when gore is enabled. Instead you will see oil splashes and spills when they are killed.
  • Reduced the energy cost of handgun abilities. 
  • Damage and absorption adjustments were made across the board.
  • We now support server side combat filtering. This allows you to (by default) disable combat updates from characters other than yourself to prevent combat spam and reduce lag.

Crafting and Harvesting

  • Harvesting nodes now uses a similar setup to how extract works unifying the behavior of both systems.
  • Harvesting region nodes now support options to return higher quality results.
  • Ores and minerals added to the harvester system so they can be found out in harvesting clusters in the world.
  • Introduced 70 new crafted items and 23 new recipes.
  • Added new training manuals/recipe books for: Logging, Fishing and Mining. 
  • The following training manuals contain new recipes: Armor Crafting, Melee Crafting, Chemistry, Culinary Arts, Foraging, Firearms, Robotics, Fishing, Mining, Logging.
  • The Foresting skill has been renamed to Logging.
  • Wilderness Gathering has been renamed to Foraging.
  • Added the following resources to the Oasis Valley Water Basin: Calibrite, Fallon Trees, Chromite and Hok Weed.
  • Added the following resources to Hole-Plymouth Trail: Kupletskite Deposits, Morgun Tree, and Maeglium Deposits.
  • The following resources were added to Payton’s Peak: Geel, Kosha.
  • Added the following resources to Plymouth-Hole Trail: Abandoned Bundles, Multi-hued Yano, and Mika Berry.
  • Added the following harvestable resource Plymouth Hills: Byna Berry, Lilac, Rue Tree, Calibrite, and Niurevium. 
  • Coal can now be harvested in Fool's Sanctuary.
  • Added the following harvestable resources to Plymouth Hills: Fish, Takayura Tree, Azul Flower, and Calibrite
  • Added the following harvestable resources to Oasis Approach: Hok Weed, Pyrohemalite, Saverous Tree, and Abandoned Bundle.
  • Juro Trees have been added to the Outskirts of Plymouth.
  • Automated harvester regions were added to many areas around Plymouth including: Plymouth Pond, Falls Trail, Torn Mist Valley, Plymouth Hills, Ammann Village, Plymouth-Hole Trail, The Hole on the Hill, Mid-Plymouth and Plymouth City.
  • Added the following resources to Northern Plymouth; Sarnium, Lesapen Fruit.
  • Added Cayro Tree and Ngooberry harvestables to Northern Plymouth. 
  • Placebo Plants and Cree'it Trees can now be harvested near Plymouth Pond.
  • You can now harvest Melanko Leaves in East Plymouth.
  • You can now harvest Morgun Trees along the Plymouth-Hole Trail.
  • Added Crafting Workbenches to the following locations: The Hole on the Hill, Ranger Station 56, Camp Taak, Aemar Hydro Plant.
  • New harvesting missions were introduced.
  • You can now purchase Small Harvesters from NPC crafting vendors.

Dens

  • Introduced two new generic den types which are meant to provide content filler over larger areas. Where our typical dens target smaller spaces and often change mob types randomly, this type of den is intended as a replacement for more traditional spawns, which also have their place. The largest advantage over these types of dens rather than a traditional time based spawner is that they can have escalating waves of difficulty and spawn rates can be adjusted based on the number of players inside of them.
  • A new type of Arrvor den has been introduced to desert areas. It culminates in a very large boss mob who will give birth before dying. The offsprings are easy to kill but quite poisonous.
  • Hokfig are now supported in the Den system with new multi-wave den types. 

Engagements

  • Engagements can now specify the Cause of NPCs dilemmas, where previously this was only doable through the mission system. This allows us to have more player focused NPC chatter. 
  • Improved AFK player detection in engagements to reduce the chances of players soaking up rewards while not contributing anything meaningful.
  • Introduced a new Hokfig Mating season engagement. During mating seasons the Bulls tend to get a little ornery, often trashing anything that gets into their paths, structures included. Buiding barricades around structures is recommended. This engagement provides both combat and crafting opportunities.
  • Reduced the number of NPCs in the ambush portion of the Samples to the Convoy engagement, as it was overwhelming.
  • Doubled the size of the explosives in the Bombs in the City engagemnt to make them a little easier to spot. 

Environment

  • Improved time of day transitions.
  • Desert environmental improvements including enhanced dust storms. 
  • Fog Optimizations were made which have shown a reasonable boost to frame rate on fogged objects.

General

  • The reputation system has seen some significant improvements. While we still hide reputation/faction adjustments from players, we do now provide information at stages to players so they have an idea when they are heading in directions they wish to head.
  • If players drop to a certain extent with their parent faction they will receive a warning via the in-game mail system from one of their factions officials, to stress to them that they are heading down a dangerous path. If they ignore the warnings eventually they may find themselves exiled, in which case they will lose their OWON or FPR membership and become a Rogue member.  
  • Memory usage has been significantly reduced in the Plymouth area.
  • Increased the range at which NPC chatter can be heard, allowing for players to hear more of it.
  • Upgraded our internal NPC development systems to make it much easier for our content team to implement the more advanced NPC features in a completely GUI oriented fashion. This should improve our productivity with regards to NPC AI.
  • Reduced falling damage by 25%.
  • New rare spawning corpses have been scattered thoughout the wilderness. These work similar to chests and have a chance at loot or new collectible items which you can turn in to bounty collectors or the lost and found. 
  • Added Skill Imprinting Stations to the following areas: The Hole on the Hill, Camp Payton, Camp Taak, Aemar Hydro Plant.
  • Added Rest Areas to the following areas: Aemar Hydro Plant, Ranger Station 56, Payton's Peak, Ammann Village, Camp Taak.

Graphics and Animations

  • The following areas have received visual upgrades: Upper Oasis Valley, Plymouth Hills, Outskirts of Plymouth, Oasis Approach, Timbertol, Plymouth Northwest, Oasis Watch, and the OWON Training Facilities. 
  • Added 48 new combat animations including rest positions.
  • Low Cut and Bald hairstyles have been added for males.
  • Introduced several new harvester models. 
  • Rifle fire now has a secondary spark particle.
  • We have switched to a new font that better suits the game.
  • Implemented a new run cycle.
  • Improved laser glow effects.
  • Upgraded some armor pieces to include mesh belts. 

Items

  • Bartenders now sell a highly intoxicating drink called Devil’s Brew. It has very little benefit, incurs some serious penalties, but some find its visual effects enjoyable.
  • Introduced a new Hokfig Fluid item which can be spread on your body to attract the attention of the Bulls during mating season.
  • Cloning Supplies vendors sell very low quality regeneration and adrenaline stimulators now, as well as a Pharmaceuticals Manual, and Medical Scanners.
  • You can now receive locked containers as loot. You will need to find someone with some Hacking skill to unlock them.

Missions

  • Generated missions now keep a list of recently completed templates and stop generating them for your character for a short period of time. This should help prevent players from selecting easier templates over and over and rejecting everything else, and also should ensure that players see a wider variety of missions.
  • Added improved support for mission clickable props and numerous new mission templates to take advantage of it. Improvements include support to have different reactions based on mission step, support for time capped interactions without needing to hide the props on use, new features to make it easier to test these objects, and an easier to use design interface for supporting step based clickables.
  • Missions now have the option to immediately add or chain to another mission during any mission action. This includes through a response option, visiting a location, completing a goal, completing the mission, etc. 
  • Added a new mail indication icon which will pop up on your screen whenever you have mail. Clicking on this icon will automatically open your mail without having to go through any other windows. This should make it easier to keep up on new generated missions.
  • Implemented several new mission templates that cater to thieves. This includes missions that require you to pickpocket NPCs or steal items from stores. It should be noted that if you get caught doing these activities, it will affect how NPCs view you. 
  • Introduced numerous new missions which are themed to ongoing engagements in the area. For example if the Numbskulls begin spreading heavily along the Hole-Plymouth Trail, they will increase their crime rate and new missions become available to retrieve stolen items. 
  • New long range patrols and delivery missions were introduced to help players learn how to get from one town or outpost to the next. 
  • Introduced a new type of generated mission template where you act as hired security in a heightened security setting. This requires you to find and interrogate potential saboteurs.
  • Implemented new mob collection missions which will appear if players happen to be in the proximity of the NPCs when they are doing their collections. This provides players with many differnet routes of completion, but each route has its own benefit and consequences. 
  • Introduced two new Entertainer tutorial missions which will teach you the basics of Dancing and Storytelling. 
  • You can now progress an additional mission step on The Cult epic mission series.
  • New Trap Removal generated mission templates have been added for those with sufficient Trap Knowledge. 
  • Reputation adjustments on missions have been adjusted across the board, as well as adding many new character trait adjustments to pre-existing mission templates. 

NPCs

  • NPCs can now have one or more pets. Our pet system is not like a traditional MMORPGs pet system however. Pets will not die with their master, but they will obey them so long as they are alive.
  • A lot of NPC work was done to Plymouth City to showcase the advanced NPC systems that were added last month. This includes NPCs with randomly forking branches who will chatter with each other as they walk, new Timed Mission opportunities based on advanced NPC interactions, gangs and more.
  • Introduced another batch of new generated boss abilities and effects.
  • Lesoo now support all-new armor sets, facial morphs, and tintable eyes.
  • Added the following new NPC professions: Miner, Geneticist.
  • Introduced a slew of new NPC profession, mood and dilemma based chatter.
  • Faugea now have their own boss and raid boss abilities.
  • Malagion and Cyborg animation scripts have been brought up to date with recent changes for other species.
  • Fang Cultist now have longer ranged attacks and energy shields.
  • Vultures are not quite as deadly as they used to be. They are still dangerous in numbers though.
  • The Brainwashed Mutants in ALT Labs now attack significantly faster.

Thievery and Hacking

  • New locked containers are now available throughout the world. You can open these using the Hacking skill. 
  • Stealing items from shops now has a chance to skill up based on your skill level and if it was successful.
  • Stealing items from shops will now give you a warning of the repercussions before you attempt to steal.
  • Added multiple new thievery related missions. These require you to pickpocket NPCs or steal from shops. 
  • Reduced the successful theft timer for shops by 30 seconds.
  • You must now be careful not to lose too much reputation with your parent faction or you may find yourself in exile. You will be warned via in-game mail a while before this happens to allow you to correct your actions. 

User Interface and Options

  • Buy Back is now functional. You have 15 minutes to buy back your items, but can buy them back from any vendor. 
  • The Chat Window Settings options now support an option to Enable or Disable Combat Filtering. If this is enabled (the default) then you will only receive combat messages related to your character. If it is disabled you will receive it for all nearby combat activity.
  • There is now a Video Option which allows you to set the time of day shadows to update in realtime or to be blended every minute. Some players prefer the realtime updates, while others do not like the artifacts they can produce. This setting allows you to determine which method you prefer. 
  • Added a new mail indication icon which will pop up on your screen whenever you have new mail. Clicking on this icon will automatically open your mail without having to go through any other windows. This should make it easier to keep up on new generated missions.
  • The Trade Window is now functional. 
  • NPC Portraits have been updated and all species are now supported.
  • The group window has been updated to better suit the current user interface.
  • The Player Finder window now supports filtering of over 20 areas. 
  • Improved area name displays at Character Selection. 

World Improvements

  • Payton's Peak: This recent addition gets its name from Reginald Payton, OWON's foremost researcher on the Lesoo species. This mountainous area is crawling with dangerous Lesoo who would like nothing more than to capture Payton's most recent incarnation. While Lesoo make up the bulk of the population, Numbskulls, Rhinoc, Drake and Malagion are also available in smaller numbers. The military post here is fully featured, with supplies dropped in by air. It provides many mission and engagment opportuntities, as well as a turret and mech guards to fend off the Lesoo. The battles here can get pretty sketchy, making it a good place to earn medals. 
  • Aemar Hydro Plant: A large population of Hokfig have moved in near the Aemar Hydro Plant and Mines, be careful during mating season! As is often the case this brings out Lesoo Hunting parties. Lurkers have also been coming out of the basin depths at night time. Security levels have been increased and the security officers are more dangerous than ever. Many new generated mission opportunities are now available revolving around espionage, machinery upkeep and research.
  • Plymouth Hills: Plymouth Hills is now a significantly more dangerous area at night time (when the Elkar and Malagion come out) than during the day. The Lesoo in the area will also attempt to take control of the roads and platforms if you allow their numbers to grow signficantly enough. If they manage to take them they will occupy them permanently until ousted, providing additional boss opportunities, and also increasing the number of Lesoo throughout the area. The Mysterious Cave inside of the area has also seen its difficulty level increased.
  • Hole-Plymouth Trail: The S&B Supply Post has opened shop along the road to the Hole in the Hill, which features mission, engagement and crafting opportunities. Long-term engagements in this area revolve primarily around the Numbskulls, a local gang. As their presence increases in the area they will become more problematic and will begin building more camps throughout the area. The main camp rewards a boost to your Thievery skill the first time it is explored. 
  • Camp Taak: A new bridge and Landing Pads has been added above the military outpost. Turrets were also added to both the military base and the landing pads. A pond has been added within sight of the outpost which features a predator/prey relationship between the night spawning Elkar and a herd of Okolat. Scaed'ecoo, Rogue forces, Setlang and Rhinoc also have dens or a presence in the area.
  • The Hole on the Hill: The Hole on the Hill has been completely redesigned graphically. It now features a much larger bar and casino space, and many new seatable stools. Lights will now also activate or deactivate based on the time of day.
  • Northern Plymouth: This mountainous area features a number of dangerous areas targeted primarily at groups. This includes several den types, mobs spawning from the death of other mobs, and some tougher to reach locations. 
  • Camp Kjell: This mineral harvesting station and military base is located in the northwestern portion of Plymouth. Its mineral deposits have made it a target of the FPR who are present as a result. Occasionally they will attempt to raid the base, stealing what they can and doing as much damage as they can before retreating. This provides some spin off engagement and mission opportunities, as well. There are also some harder to find locations which rewards players for exploring them with achievements and bonus skill points.
  • Oasis Approach: A recently added desert region on the edge of Plymouth and Timbertol. It features Arrvor, Yellow Setlang, Lesoo and Raxin Dens, and some interesting new fauna. 
  • Plymouth Pond: You can now access more of the mountainous area behind the pond, and foliage overgrowth has been removed from the trails. Mob distribution has been improved and more harvestable resources are now available. 
  • Training Facilities: Numerous graphical improvements were made to the areas. New Entertainer tutorials were added, and the pubs are now considered rest areas. 

Bug Fixes and Minor Improvements

  • Corrected the vehicle pathing in the caravan escort engagement in Plymouth Canyon.
  • Fixed a deprecated graphics option issue with directional shadows. It has been updated to a new format.
  • Repaired the beacon positions on the Plymouth to the Hole on the Hill patrol mission as some of them were under ground after recent terrain changes.
  • Fixed a skill gain issue in the extraction code.
  • Removed the high detail option from terrain in the video options as it was obsolete.
  • Fixed improvement issues with blood splatters.
  • Female pupils should no longer look glossy white.
  • The We've Been Poisoned generated mission template now properly asks for Geel Flowers rather than Yellow Poxies.
  • Fixed an issue with the player count modifier for harvesters
  • Corrected many cases where grass had overgrown covering up trails.
  • Fixed the Level of Detail on the lamps on the back side of Plymouth City.
  • You should no longer receive Protect Plymouth or Defend Freedomtown missions during peacetime.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue with the quest tracker and showing up rather than the proper mob name. 
  • The mail subject for the Special Delivery and Eviction Notice generated missions should no longer be a run on sentence.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs related to switching in and out of action mode via mission dialogs.
  • Repaired some cracks and positioning issues in the male armor sets. 
  • Fixed a long standing issue with stun, knockback or knockdown getting locked until a relog.
  • Corrected some UI bugs related to window size changes with the latest incarnation of the GUI.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing your quest tracker to use your last logged in character’s quest tracker data when you first logged in.
  • Rogue Nation members can no longer use /activemilitary off to disable their active military status flag.
  • Fixed dialog related issues with the following mission templates: All Apologies, Medical Scanners, Harvesting Parasites Taming, and Training Chits.
  • Your minimap should now properly update old quest waypoints after you die. 
  • Repaired an issue related to character creation on new accounts.
  • Fixed some animation related bugs when using dancing skills.
  • You can no longer attack Dr. Bateman in the OWON Training Facility
  • Fixed an issue with the Purifying Water tutorial.
In my opinion, the sooner developers start realizing that they can never create static content as fast as players can consume it, and turn to generation the better the genre will be in the long run. MMO players consume content quickly, and game studios approach to that problem is to throw more people at it. Where it should be let's build a system that can produce content for us with less effort.
Originally posted by gervaise1

Average revenue per month was higher in the c.4 months of F2P than it was before going F2P. They didn't say they were making money and the c.4 months included the revenue from Makeb. And increased revenue doesn't mean they are making money.

They are definitely making money. Servers don't cost that much to run.

One other thing I'd like to add along the lines of the original post. I just wanted to mention that we are pretty happy with Hero Engine in general. Every engine has its strengths and weaknesses but overall, even if we had an unlimited budget I think our choice would be to stick with Hero Engine. The only thing we might change if we did would be to use a deferred rendering engine with Hero's core.

Hero Engine isn't a cutting edge graphics engine, but it can produce graphics competitive with other MMOs. But the other areas of Hero Engine really shine. Productivity wise, it's fantastic. Being able to make script changes and have them working in game immediately is a huge productivity boost, as is the collaberative editing tools. Some of our alpha testers can attest to how easy it is to change things on the fly while people are playing. Where in an engine not designed for this sort of thing your looking at restarts and patches and losing a ton of productivity in the process.

While many players might look at things like Unreal Engine, Crytek, Unigine, and wonder why we didn't go those routes instead. They are after all better graphics engines. But they don't tackle the MMO specific issues that Hero Engine does. Seamless world design and on-seam proxies is a complex feature that most single player or small group games don't need and do not invest time in. As is spatial awareness (which allows things like phasing), and being able to introduce data easily on the fly without causing issues to players. Parts systems and character customization. Client side caching, communication between many types of servers where most single player engines are really designed with a one server (the game or zone server) in mind. Those are all things that take time to develop and test properly. So using an MMO specific engine such Hero Engine is a huge time saver for developers.

Originally posted by hfztt

I find it worrying that The Repopulation have not even let all of the 700 kickstarter backers onto the game yet. Suggests to me that they have serious issues with handling load as well.

There's quite a few more than that with the Early Adopter program. But us not letting more people into testing has nothing to do with server stress or load. It has everything to do with keeping testing small until we are comfortable with the product being seen by the masses.

Alpha testers generally understand what an alpha test is. And in the early MMOs beta testers generally did too. They understand things like some animations or models being placeholder, or certain areas being under construction. But in this day and age beta is synonymous with open beta. Most games keep very small betas of experienced testers, and then when a game nears release they start giving away beta keys and letting in thousands of players. That is typically in the couple months just before launch. As a a result, that is the perception of beta testing to a modern MMO player. While many of those backers probably would completely understand a game being in a testing phase, many other players do not.

Repop is in alpha, it's not ready for a large number of eyes on it at this point. While almost every major gameplay feature is working (exceptions being sieges and vehicle upgrades) it still has a lot of animation, FX, and content work that needs to be done before it begins opening the door to larger numbers of players. Alpha phase 2 begins next week, but it will still be a small number of players. Each phase from this point on is aimed to double the number of players as the last. They'll be coming much more quickly and each will be focused on a specific area of content until we feel comfortable with the game moving on to beta.

This has nothing to do with server specs or Hero Engine though, and is entirely tied to how quickly we can finish the content necessary to move to each new phase. 

Hero Engine is a quality engine. The problem is it takes a long time to build an MMO (5 years typically). Star Wars: The Old Republic was their first license. They were building it for their own game, Hero's Journey. Bioware wanted an early copy so they licensed it and eventually they wound up cancelling Hero's Journey and focusing on Hero Engine. The engine has been licensed by many other companies (Zenimax for example). But MMOs typically have a much longer development cycle than single/small multiplayer games, and some of the people who license Hero have chosen to bind it with a high quality rendering engine and use the other features of Hero Engine. 

The important things to note on TOR are that:

  1. They used an early version of the engine. I can tell you in the 2 1/2 years we've been using Hero Engine it's improved by leaps and bounds, and that version of the engine was already much improved over the last version Bioware took updates on. That having been said some of the things Bioware said have been taken by players as negatives towards Hero Engine, where they really shouldn't be. For example, one of their employees complained that they couldn't get some things done because the  engine didn't have Timer support. I know it's had that support since we've licensed it, but it is very possible the early version didn't yet have it. It also didn't have Seamless 2.0 support at that point, and many other things. But assuming it did lack Timer support at the time, that's a feature their techs could have built in less than a week. Engines are shells to build upon. Hero Engine provides rendering, physics, networking, etc. All the basics that an MMO needs, but it doesn't provide a game. It's just a shell that you build your game upon. I think that's a common misconception by players. They think that because Hero Engine was used by TOR that it's an engine to build theme park MMOs, for example. That's not the case, it could build a racing simulator, a first person shooter, etc.
  2. TOR's graphics performance issues are largely in part to their own design decisions. The game runs well with a moderate number of players doesn't run well on Ilum when you have 50+. Players see that and are quick to blame the engine. But the truth of the matter is TOR's character models are much higher polygon than most MMOs before it (may not look like it due to the cartoony shaders, but they are), and their models used specular and normal maps which many of the older MMOs did not. That combined with higher resolution textures and your pushing cards far more than WoW for example. They also had a huge amount of customization. All that customization comes at a price. You can't easily batch render characters in MMOs due to the many parts used. So that already is slower than a single player game's rendering significantly. But then you add to that the fact that each character has 5-7 different parts, facegen morphs and textures and you have a lot of state changes, a very slow graphics operation. Players love customization they want a zillion different textures. But the more textures that are in a scene the slower it's going to run. TOR had a ton of customization. It worked great for their small group target.It doesn't work as well when you have 50 players all in different gear. Developer's need to make the choice. What's my target audience. If it's PvP you go with lower polys and less textures. If it's small group PvE you can get away with more texture choices and higher polygon counts. Ilum was something they stressed post-launch (the launch version was very different and looked partially complete to me). It is not within the framework of the rest of the game. I think for their game, they made the right choice. If they were say making Camelot Unchained, I'm sure they would have made very different decisions.
Now I can't speak too much about the games you mentioned, as I am not completely in the know about everything that went on behind the scenes with them. Faxion appeared to be built on the Hero's Journey core. They basically took an in-development version of Hero's Journey, themed it to their game, and gave it stylized graphics. It was stable and solid, but it had a few marks against it. The art was very stylized and I think that and the setting turned off a lot of players.But it was also very much a Pay to Win title, which I think also hurt their chances of retaining the players they had. I don't think their failures had anything to do with the engine though.
 
Dominus was a promising title that was built in short time using the Hero Engine. It was a PvP focused game, and had a pretty large sized beta. They ran into publisher issues, there are things discussing it. Had they been created in the post-Kickstarter era they probably would have shipped. It's unfortunate that they didn't.  But again this had nothing to do with the engine.
I see your message on Facebook, it's only about 90 minutes old. Josh will fix you up when he gets online today, though it's pretty early in the morning still in America, give it a few hours.

@Akerbeltz:

We feel like the market has expanded over the years. There are more people playing MMOs than ever before. But many of those players are tired of the theme park treadmill. I don't think we're alone in those thoughts, there's a number of sandboxes on their way now. That wasn't the case when we began development though.

Repop is a very different game. It certainly isn't going to be for everyone, and we're not trying to make it be. Much of the PvE game is driven by our generated mission system which is very different from any of the other quest systems to date. Some are going to enjoy that some will not. While public quest type systems have become more prominent, we're doing a lot of different things with our engagement system which may or may not appeal to some players. Longer term content shifts based on player reactions and such. Crafting is very complex and intertwined into multiple trees, which will also not appeal to everyone as it is very different from the crafting in most other titles.

The fact that we don't have a large budget combined with those things definitely points to a more niche audience. We're not hoping for 15 million players. But at the same time we're be disappointed to only have 2000 players. The market has expanded over the years, so that a tiny percentage of it is still a reasonable sized number. Yet if you go through the sandbox titles in that time the only one which has been able to sustain any substantial numbers is Eve Online. Eve is certainly a niche title. But that niche is larger than what would have been the market leader pre-WoW, in the west at least. But Eve grew slowly over many years, and with less competition. Star Wars Galaxies also fell in that category before closing, though it never really recovered from the NGE. Most other sandbox titles have had under 10,000 players. We feel that is a mixture of a few things. One being that the games are generally a lot more hardcore and don't appeal to most players (a very small niche) and the second is that most of them are subscription only and players aren't willing to pay money when there are so many free alternatives.

We feel we have a product that can appeal to more than just a few thousand players. I think there's a lot of old school players who miss games that were a bit more social oriented, and not on rails. We also think there are a lot of new school players who are simply looking for something different. There is a huge number of MMO gamers who have never played anything other than Wow-style theme park treadmills. But many of those players wouldn't be willing to try the game with a barrier of entry. A free trial is one way to go about that, but it's not the same. Players don't look at it in the same way. Some players simply are unwilling or unable to pay, but that doesn't make them bad for the community.

So we feel we can hook enough players who will enjoy a very difference experience. But in order to maximize that we need to get those players to try the game. We do that with true free to play. There aren't level restrictions or caps for free players. You can play and do almost everything that a paying player can do. There's a few small restrictions such as you can not form or lead a nation without paying a one time fee or membership, and it's not going to be as convenient (free players have less bank slots, inventory slots, mission slots, etc). But you are able to play and be competitive without ever spending a penny. That's our pitch to players. Why not try it. If you don't enjoy the game, move on with no risk, and no credit card entry to sign up for your free trial.

So our hope is that players will do just that. Give the game a try. And even if it only appeals to 1% of MMO gamers, that's still a significantly larger number of players than what we could expect from a subscription game.

It should also be noted, that while Repop is certainly going to be very different than your average MMO in a lot of ways, we've made a lot of design decisions that are meant to appeal to a more casual audience than your typical sandbox. We do a lot to encourage grouping and make it easier for players to find groups, but it's not forced on them. We also use a lot of generated content so players who need something to keep them focused and moving forward (probably a large percentage) will always have those opportunities. Where most recent sandboxes catered primarily to more hardcore, old school gameplay mechanics, we've taken a middle ground with most of ours. We want to expose players to sandbox features, social content, non-combat options, and the like, but we are also trying to appeal to a more casual fan base than most of the other sandbox titles in recent years. We do feel that more casual players will be able to enjoy the game, but also think that the only way to prove that to them is to get them to try it in the first place.

Originally posted by Yalexy

Look at the feature-list of The Repopulation and then tell me that it's not going to be a P2W-game if it isn't subscription based but F2P instead.

Your certainly entitled to your opinion, but our vision from the get go is very much against Pay To Win, which we've stated time and time again. We feel that free players are important to a games success. Because some other developers don't feel that way, the F2P model often gets a bad reputation.

There's really two ways that developers approach free to play.

1) They cater to the paying players and make it difficult enough on the free players that the free players either start spending money or move on to another game. This maximizes the amount of money you make on each player, while not having to foot as much of a bill for players who are not paying as most non-paying customers will find another game. This method often involves a lot of locked content that you can subscribe in order to unlock, and the free to play is a mechanism to get you to subscribe.

2) They view free customers as being important. Not only can they convert into paying customers, but they can bring in other players to the game, some of them who may become paying customers. They understand that while these players may be costing them a tad of money, they may also be making the game more enjoyable for others as they may be friends, family members, etc of paying customers, and because the more players they have the more enjoyable the game will be for those playing (its no fun in a barren world). 

We fall into category #2. Your not going to find stats items in the cash shop or require to spend cash to unlock a chest or wear good gear. Too many people make assumptions based on some other game they played which tried to nickel and dime their customers with 200% experience potions, gear for cash, lockboxes that you can buy an unlock for, purchasable rare resources, and making game mechanics stacked so that it's miserable to play without paying. It's true that most F2P games to date fell into category #1, but not all. Because that is the route the majority of developers have taken, players often erroneously assume that's all there is. I think in the coming years we're going to see a lot more developers go to option #2. We're already seeing a lot of games that went with the first option slowly shifting towards #2.

This game was designed as free to play. It's been a free to play title since before the Kickstarter campaign, so there is no reason for anyone to act surprised by this. It was clearly mentioned on the Kickstarter page. For the sake of argument, let's say for a minute we agreed and decided F2P was a bad idea, we wouldn't be able to change the model after it was already a selling point on Kickstarter. Now we certainly don't feel that way, we feel strongly that F2P is the correct approach for Repop. But it's pointless to try to convince us otherwise at this stage, it's in writing. Once you start leaving promises unfulfilled your heading down a slippery slope. The business model isn't something that we took lightly. We put a lot of thought into the direction we wanted to take, what we did and did not want to support as part of the memberships and cash shop, and at our overall approach to not create a huge gap between free and paying customers.

My advice for anyone who is against the idea of free to play would be wait until the game opens, and then make your judgments.

@DarkCrystal: Defiance, TSW, GW2 had huge advertising campaigns running, pre-existing IPs, and were on store shelves. You don't see the difference between that and an indie company with online distribution? Putting a barrier of entry on this game would prevent many gamers from trying it in the first place. There is a stigma against indie titles after many disappointing games over the past few years. 

My background is also in the MMO game industry since 1997, starting in the media and database development, and moving on to more of a technical and development role in the later years. To say that the industry is moving away from F2P is highly debatable. Yes, a handful games have begun moving to box + store. Not so much to keep out the free to play players though, but because the box sales are a quick injection of cash, and then they can use the store in place of subscription. It should also be noted that TSW did not start as a box + store model, it started as subscription and moved to free like so many games before them. T

I don't think you can say that the subscription communities are much better than free to play communities at this point. Have you tried using the Group Finder in WoW recently? When you have a large number of players who will often never see each other again and do not need one another, its easier for people to be jerks. That happened when games all became very soloable. In the old days people had to be relatively social due to the forced grouping mechanics. If they were jerks they would only really have other like-minded players willing to group with them. Those players have certainly always existed though. Subscription or no subscription. Now it's easier for them to get away with things like power looting, clicking Need on things they just want to sale, or generally just acting in poor manners. Because even if their group boots them, they are just one group finder or one battleground away from a new one.

There is more to lose from being a problem player due to the up front cost, but that doesn't seem to stop trouble players. It is only really a problem in entry level areas, because while players may not be investing $50 up front, they are investing time. Nobody wants to have a character they have spent, weeks, months, years progressing get banned, even if they never paid a penny. And it certainly doesn't stop gold farmers. There are other avenues that can be taken to fight things like spammers. An option to block global or area chat from non-members, for example, as well as the normal ignore options.

We don't want to put up any barriers of entry on players. The more players we can get exposed to our game, the better. If the game doesn't meet up to their expectations, they can move on with zero risk. That puts the honus on us to retain those players. That's all we can ask for really.

Originally posted by Cryomatrix
This is akin to making $50,000/year putting it all towards a house with no money left over and then you make $100,000/year, upgrade to a bigger house putting all your money into it and you again have no money left but a bigger house. Then you make $200,000 and upgrade to a bigger house with no money again.
It's actually even worse than that. Because every time you get a bigger house, everyone else gets a bigger one to match it.
I don't think a game being F2P gives it a higher chance of having douches. Maybe at lower level but once players have invested sometime they don't want to be banned. Even if they can just create another free account they have lost a lot of their time. There's always been jerks in MMOs, but in this age of group finders, cross-server instances, etc it's a lot easier for guys to behave selfishly. In the old days that type of behavior would see them exiled by anyone who wasn't like-minded.

I personally am not a fan of anything that allows players to buy power in a game (armor, weapons, with stats, etc). But I don't generally have a problem with things like experience potions or convenience items like removing your experience debt, etc, so long as players don't feel like they have to purchase those items to be competitive. It's obviously more meaningful in some games (PvP especially) than others.

My main problem with allowing players to buy items of power is that part of your status as a player is the gear that your wearing. After a while you are capping out or you are hitting a soft cap in a skills based game and the experience doesn't really matter, but the gear makes a huge difference. In the old days you saw a player with awesome gear and you wondered how they got it as a starting player. Or you envied them if they had more than you as a veteran. That gear was part of their trials and tribulations as a player. I don't like allowing players to simply buy their way past that. One of the aspects of MMOs is the competitiveness. I don't like the idea of thinking that the players who are the best equipped are simply the ones with the most money.

With experience potions, you get similar boosts from things like rest experience which most games feature anyway.  After the initial race for power it really doesn't mean much.

I have no problem with the free to play model though, in fact I prefer it. It lets you try the games, see if it is something you want to invest money in and then go from there. But there's a big difference between some of the models. If I feel I have to spend an money just to be competitive, I'll find another game. If I like a game though I have no problem unlocking things like account perks or the occasional experience potion if I have a day cleared out.

Originally posted by sigreth
Open worlds have everything to do with WoW as it was the first largely popular MMO with an open world (meaning very little instancing). I agree that an open world works to keep the player immersed in the world. However, Neverwinter is not a traditional MMO and shouldn't be. The instancing helps keep the zone population down so that you do not have 3 to 4 hundred people in one area. Even in WoW they cull players into groups of "phase" so that people do not lag out. But really the instancing helps make the player feel as if they are 1 of few instead of 1 of many. This is simply my opinion, I don't expect everyone to feel the same way.

I think your confusing instancing (private instances of zones/areas) with open world (seamless loading in between areas shared by everyone). But even if you meant open world, there were a few before Wow. Asheron's Call was a large seamless world and one of the first MMOs.

Combat

  • New Anti-aircraft, Machine Gun and Heavy Machine gun turrets were introduced. This includes new player-deployable turrets. Turrets can be crafted, or bought from military vendors when you attain the rank of Major. 
  • Muzzle flashes now include lighting effects. 
  • Added new Blood Splurt effects that will splurt blood when a creature is damaged. They can be disabled in the options.
  • Created a new Blood Pool effect that will grow out of an NPCs corpse if gore is enabled.
  • The full screen blood splatter effects have been improved and will only occur when you are low on health. They can be disabled in the options.
  • Partial Cover no longer reduces your movement speed, and now slightly reduces your detection modifiers.
  • Melee animations should no longer step forward when used. This was causing issues for players in first person views.
  • Fixed an issue with npcs moving along paths and then attacking and not properly updating this state change to the client.
  • NPC Turrets now generate aggro on par with a normal weapon, and had their damage reduced somewhat.
  • Significantly increased the damage on the Brute Slap random boss ability.
  • Failing to deploy a robot now gives a text banner as well as the chat text.
  • Introduced new charge abilities for NPCs which make things like the new stampedes possible.
  • Weapons are being moved into the parts system rather than the current item visualization system. This will allow us to have better control over their animations. This is partially implemented at the time of writing.
  • Numerous improvements were made to the NPC stealth system to bring it on par with the player and pet stealth changes. The player stealth system also featured some internal improvements.
  • NPCs who are flagged to use melee combat will no longer try to crouch.

Crafting and Harvesting

  • New harvester system was implemented. This allows for larger quantities of resources to be harvested from a harvester region node using a harvester. These nodes are more rare than the normal harvestable nodes and require a harvester to extract the resources. The system support monitoring the number or spawned out nodes as well as player count to help balance the yield rates for the system.
  • Harvestable nodes now have a mastery level that works the same as species mastery. Harvesting resources will increase your mastery level. 
  • Species mastery now included mastery for extracting resources as well.  4 catagories were added: Deposits (ore/minerals), Tree (Trees), Plant (plants/herbs), and Fish (fish).
  • Extraction code updated for NPCs to add in a bit of a time adjustment for the process for those who are skilled at the process and know the enemy well. The more difficult the creature the better chance for higher grade results (while still maintaining a possibility for less difficult npcs). An auto option was added as well, but will kick back into manual if you land an A grade resource as it might take longer to extract it out than the auto attempt would try.
  • Adjusted some harvesting chances as the numbers were off.
  • Added 17 new types of wood, 16 harvestable plants, and 12 new minerals. 
  • Numerous crafting mission related improvements. See the mission section for more details.
  • We went through the species mastery system, adding many new resource types that can be extracted from the various species. Those will be documented below.
  • You can now obtain tissue and blood samples by harvesting Hokfig. 
  • Arrvor can now be harvested for poisonous stingers and venom.
  • Eggs can now be harvested from Vultures.
  • You can now harvest Eggs, Tissue and Blood samples from Brachura.
  • Tissue and Blood samples can now be harvested from Malagions, Nacoot, T'Seef, Rhinoc and Lingmaa.
  • Eggs, Blood samples, Tissue and and Meat are now harvestable from Scaed'ecoo.
  • Elkar can now be harvested for Hide.
  • Sangicum resources are now available in Mid-Plymouth.
  • Iron can nopw be harvested in Blood Valley. 
  • Abandoned Bundles can now be found in Torn Mist Valley.
  • You can harvest Albus near the falls. 
  • Alluvium can now be harvested in Torn Mist Valley.
  • Created new Tungston resource areas at the falls. 
  • Calibrite can now be found near the falls, on the Southern Range, and along the Falls Trail.
  • Harvestable Oudomni Trees are now available along the Falls Trail.
  • Thorium is now harvestable in Blood Valley.
  • Harvestable Pechum Tree resources are now available in the Southern Range.
  • There are new harvestable Cayro Trees in Blood Valley.
  • Added harvestable Alluvium resources in Torn Mist Valley.
  • Copper resources are now available in Ammann Village and Falls Trail.
  • Rezzo Trees are now harvestable in Torn Mist Valley.
  • You can now harvest Azul Flowers near the Falls Trail.
  • Beryl Deposits are now available near the Plymouth Pond.
  • Jessup resources can now be found near the falls.
  • You can now find Green Leaf resources in Torn Mist Valley.
  • A variety of Fish resources are now available at the falls.

Dens

  • T'Seef have been introduced to the den system. This fast-breeding and passive livestock species make for an easy prey, but is also prone to mutation. These dens have been set up in many small towns around the world. 
  • Introduced a new Scout Den system which is similar to the Raid Camp den system but targeted at solo players or small groups. Similar to the Raid Camp system these dens can offer missions and spin off missions. 
  • Created new types of Lingmaa, Malagion, Okolat, Rhinoc, Raxin, Lesoo, Setlang, Vulture, and Lurker Dens.

Engagements

  • Added a series of engagements to Ranger Station 56. This includes escorts, air raids, FPR conflicts, and more.
  • A new series of engagements has been added in the Outskirts. This includes a long-term peace agreement with the Faugea that will open up new mission oppportunities if players hold to it(including the Faugea language series), or cause an escalating conflict if players slaughter too many Faugea, eventually culminating in attacks on the village. 
  • Introduced our first weather based engagement. This engagement provides new spawn types and a more dangerous overall environment with bonus rewards if players manage to defeat all the new bosses before the weather clears up. 
  • Stampede engagements are now available. These will sometimes be tied into longer term engagements as a mini-engagement to mix things up and will work just as expected with a type of herd animals stampeding from their previous position to someplace else. Players who get caught in the stamped could be in for some serious trouble. 
  • Introduced a new town fire engagement which rewards players if they can help put out the fires before they engulf the town. If players can not put the fires out in time, the engagement will mutate into a rebuilding the town engagement allowing them to provide crafted resources to help rebuild the area and get the town back on track.
  • Plymouth City now supports a hidden engagement that ties into an epic mission line. This engagement will not give any indication of what it happening, but it will be spawning opportunities when it occurs. It is the first of its type, but we'll likely see more of these in the future.
  • Engagements now pass the full engagement data to custom scripts, providing support for more functionality in OnStart scripts on a per-engagement basis. 

Environment, Graphics and Animation

  • The weather system has been improved so that it is easier to share and set up across multiple areas. This includes cross-seam fog fixes and a better overall look and feel to environmental effects.
  • New and Improved snow effects which include a wave of mist mixed in with the snow, and when the snowflakes hit the ground they create a small poofing effect. 
  • Thunderstorms now contain a lightning effect.
  • Introduced some new particle effects which hug correctly to rocks for sandstorm effects, providing a more realistic feel.
  • Introduced new foot splash effects when walking in water.
  • Created new waterfall and splash effects. 
  • The sun has returned to Rhyldan.
  • Fixed rifle sheath position visualizations.
  • Many new types of props, tents, walls, rocks, platforms, bridges, particles, buildings, trees and foliage were introduced.
  • Many new particle effects have been added throughout the world to liven up areas in a subtle way.
  • Some NPC species now have a saliva dripping effect.
  • Improved Raxin animations.
  • Added new rifle and handgun firing animations.
  • New and improved robot textures.

Housing

  • Housing plots now have a visual indicator letting you know which plot is yours.
  • Housing plot distance everything loads in to the client was increased a considerable amount as it was set low for testing.

Items

  • Electrical Discharge, Energy, Acid Release and Heated melee weapons have all new particle effects.
  • New trophy items for T'Seef and Faugea have been introduced.

Miscellaneous

  • Rewrote much of the swimming code in-game to correct some issues and make it more reseponsive. 
  • Added Mock, Ridicule and Ponder emotes.
  • Victory music effects (played when you complete missions or positive events) will not happen as often as was previously the case.
  • Added new titles: Chief-Slayer, and Honorable. 
  • Internal improvements to more easily allow us to batch add or modify large groups of data. 
  • Particle optimizations.

Missions

  • Crafting missions are able to more properly assign orders to players, so they will no longer receive orders that are too easy or too difficult.
  • Introduced a new type of mission that allows NPCs to rarely spawn in locations such as Pubs or other meeting locations, tell a story, and for it to offer nearby players a timed mission based on their tale, before the NPC walks away and despawns. These missions provide new opportunities for a short period of time. An example of this is an NPC who was ambushed and lost something important, which will now have a chance of dropping for players who heard his speech for a short (generally 10-20 minutes) period of time afterwards.  
  • Crafting results are better parsed for missions so it will pick from multiple results for filters of they are available.
  • Added new static research collection missions to Dr. Rosa in Timbertoc and Dr. Spates at the Shed. These missions are repeatable collections, which will give rewards and faction, and also alter the moods and dilemmas of the scientists themselves, creating new mission opportunities. 
  • Introduced a new epic series which is initiated by players being passed some dangerous bits of information by an Alledged Thief fleeing persecution. Players must cross paths with this thief before Peacekeepers catch him. Like other epic series, this includes multiple choices and consequences of those choices.
  • The Lurker Species research mission series has made a return. This series was in the original Training Facility but had never made an appearance in the world after we revamped that section before the start of alpha. It involves researching the Lurker species and the first stage of it is found in the F.S. Research Center via a generated mission to those who qualify, culminating in small raid content.
  • Improvements were made to Escort missions so that the NPCs can hang around and perform interactions with other NPCs after it is completed, but will no longer offer an escort mission and eventually despawn.
  • Bounty Collectors will also now accept Lesoo War Plans items which are random drops from bosses in the Lesoo Scout or Raid dens.
  • A new series of Patrol missions were introduced around Plymouth to guide you to the new hubs.
  • Improved mutable Mood and Dilemma support.
  • Made adjustments to the Fitting Order crafting missions so that they require less time investment.
  • The Eviction Notice generated mission template is now tagged as a Diplomatic mission rather than an OWON mission, providing new rewards.
  • The Military Supplies generated mission is now tagged as a Miltary assignment, rather than Menial. This will provide different rewards and military experience.

NPCs

  • Introduced a new Advanced NPC Trigger system. Without getting too much into the technical details, this feature allows our content team to easily design advanced NPC behaviors that can happen when an NPC enters an area. They can be used formany things including offering missions, speaking or playing animations, spawning or despawning of other npcs, forking to a random path, altering the behavior type (to wander the area, stop, or walk a path). These can be configured with up to multiple timers to perform an advanced series of actions, and can be chained together to make an NPC walk to his shop, stay there for a while and randomly emote things, then 10 minutes later walk to the pub, stay there and chat for a while, before walking to his home 5 minutes after that and giving a mission to plays who meet certain qualifications right before he enters it. While this was possible before it, required custom scripts, where the new system allows our content team to rapidly produce these feautures with no scripting required. We're hoping this system allows us to create a livelier world than was previously possible.
  • NPC personalities can now be persistent. This allows NPC mood or dilemma changes to be long-term even after a server restart. 
  • Each NPC can now have it's own custom script with hooks to perform advanced actions when they spawn, despawn or die. These hooks allow us to create a greater degree of features that are well suited for generated content. Some examples of things you can see as a result of this include: Splitting mobs, chained spawned, advanced pathfinding choices, missions or opportunities that are only available for small windows, etc. Many of those things required other hooks such as an active mission or engagement to be performed previously. 
  • NPC personality can now change, in addition to mood, dilemma and cause. Personality changes will be more rare, but are possible and can be persistent.
  • Joseph and Sarah Fisher have assumed a larger leadership role in Ammann Village, and now have persistent personality traits. Their traits will change based on player actions in the area, and they will be more vocal about their feelings.
  • NPCs will now use mood or dilemma based chatter more often. This includes the bits where they talk about other NPCs or players based on recent activity. New phrases and filters have also been introduced.
  • New forms of mutants have been introduced to the Dead City.
  • There are now less drug dealers in the Dead City, but they are more combat savvy than was previously the case.
  • Setlang Alphas and Raxin Pack-Leaders can now influence the targeting of their pack, making their packs much more dangerous.
  • Setlang bosses now have their own generated boss abilities list.
  • Arrvor now have their own ability lists including poisonous sting attacks. 
  • Arrvor bosses can now have a new Control Minions ability which will spawn other Arrvor from out of the sand to assist them.
  • Okolat are now able to swim.
  • OWON Bounties can now be turned in at Ranger Station 56.
  • The following new NPC dilemmas were added: Fighting With, Ripped Off, Supply Post Lost, and Peace With the Faugea. Dilemma changes adjust the types of missions available and how NPCs speak to players or one another.
  • Many new world, den and engagement bosses have appeared throughout the Plymouth area. This includes a slew of group and raid bosses.
  • Trained Rhinocs can now sometimes be found in Lesoo camps. They are similar to normal Rhinocs, but loyal to their Lesoo masters.

User Interface

  • You may now enable or disable gore through the options.
  • The pop out menu window now features new icons which properly adjust for UI color changes and look better than the previous icons.
  • The lighting on your paperdoll model from the Character Window has been adjusted so that it more brightly lit.
  • You can now use the /timedmission clear command to clear out any timed missions that are active.

World

  • The Torn Mist Valley has been introduced. This area introduces the Lingmaa species, a small tree-dwelling species which will attack you from range. It also features a Ranger base, a group/raid hunting location, and a new cave. The first time you visit Ranger Station 56 you will receive a small but permanent boost to your Rifle Defense. 
  • A large waterfall area has been created in between Plymouth City and the Control Center. This area includes a variety of species, an underwater cave, and two OWON military stations centering around the research of the lurker species near the falls. While there are many research opportunities here for players, the lurkers do not like being used as test subjects, and will eventually take action against either of the two bases if things get too out of hand. If one base falls the other base will provide new missions and direction to retake it, and will become vulnerable to attack itself. The first time you visit the research center you will receive a small but permanent boost to your Genetic Engineering.
  • Ammann Village has received a significant content upgrade. The Villagers will ask you to not harm the Faugea from Tikt. If players are able to hold to the truce, an Ambassador will appear in the Village. Players can aid this Ambassador to eventually be taught the Faugea language, opening other opportunities. However, if too many players violate these agreements, relations will sour and conflicts may ensue. This is a longer term engagement, with it forking in several ways based on player actions. There are also other engagements also available in the area, including town fires, our first weather based engagement, and content offshoots.
  •  The valley below the Hole on the Hill has been completely overhauled and is now known as Blood Valley. It is a dry region that features Arrvor, Raxin and Lesoo dens, as well as a powerful new Arrvor raid boss which has its own special abilities in addition to some generated boss abilities. This is likely the toughest boss in the Plymouth area to date, so be wary.
  • Mid-Plymouth has received a major content overhaul. It now features a new crash site, new den types, raid bosses, a trail between the falls and Plymouth City, and a more visually appealing look.
  • There is a new trail that leads from Plymouth City to the falls. It features a number of engagement and den opportunities, including several group and raid areas along the way. The Lesoo have traditionally held a strong influence in this area, and they will attempt to gain a foothold. If players let them gain it, new camps will sprout up and grow, providing additional hunting opportunities, but will also make the area and roads more dangerous. This area also features a rhinoc herd that will stampede from time to time. 
  • New buildings and locations have been added to Freedomtown.
  • Added the following new map viewable points of interest: Ranger Station 56, Camp Taak, Blood Valley, Falls Trail, F.S. Research Center, and Plymouth Pond. 
  • The first time you visit the Plymouth Pond you will receive a small but permanent increase to your Swimming Skill.
  • Many new Dangerous Areas have been added throughout the Plymouth area. These areas are targeted at groups or raids, and will give a bonus to your skill gain rate while inside of them. Players receive a visual indication when they are inside of a Dangerous Area.
  • Upon visiting Blood Valley for the first time you will receive a small but permanent boost to your Survival skill.
  • General optimizations and decoration improvements throughout the Plymouth area.
  • Re-introduced seatable stools to the Shady Lady Pub in Plymouth City.
  • You can now sit down at the chairs in Kadence's shop in Plymouth City.
  • Added new sound effects to the Aemar Mine.
  • Disco lights have returned to the Mayflower Pub. They are only available when things get livelier at night. 

Bug Fixes

  • Corrected an issue with crafting missions where fitting ids were being used instead of item ids in some cases and causing some odd crafting work orders.
  • Fixed a character selection bug that could occur with characters with spaces in their names. 
  • Repaired a spawner issue that was causing some NPCs to never respawn after being killed. 
  • Fixed numerous room related issues in the Plymouth area.
  • Repaired and issue that was causing some areas near Plymouth to not spin up properly on the first visit. 
  • The crafting station in Ammann Village is no longer floating.
  • Fixed some pathing related issues in the Outskirts, Ammann Village, Outskirts, Timbertoc, and Koleyna.
  • Fixed an image/GUI issue with dialog that was left over from earlier builds.
  • Stitched borked patches of terrain in Timbertoc, Falls Trail, and Mid-Plymouth. 
  • Fixed a bug with NPC knockback that was allowing some NPCs to go into a loop of knocking themselves down.
  • Lurkers are now be attackable by engagement spawned NPCs or guards. 
  • Fixed a bug with the emote scripts so they now use the full command when outputting text.
  • Fixed an error with the disable tips option if the value hadn’t previously been set.
  • Switching between first and third person camera modes should no longer change the direction you are facing.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing it to play the starting FX of the previous engagement when chained to start a new one.
  • Updated several Speedtree types to correct lighting issues when billboarded.
  • Fixed a bug in Character Registry where characters were stored twice.
  • Fixed a bug in the mission achievement counters that was allowing players to get credit for exiting out of some static collection missions without completing them properly.
  • Fixed a floating hammer at the Ammann Village crafting bench.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing mission markers to not get removed from your waypoints and minimap after you turned in a mission.
  • The Military Supplies mission no longer displays both goals initially. It hides the second goal until needed.
  • Fixed a bug in the timed mission system which was causing timed missions to sometimes not abort properly.
  • Repaired a bug with Delayed Mail missions that was causing the first player to receive the mail to not receive the mission data properly after a server reset. 
  • Fixed an issue with looting corpses.
  • Corrected a bug in the Bounty Collection missions that was not giving full credit if you turned in 5 or 25 items as opposed to one.
  • Fixed an ability bar related issue that was causing bars to appear in the upper left hand corner the first time you log in if you had them disabled.
  • Fixed a mission reward related bug that was occuring when players used skill checks or random rolls and was not always giving them the proper rewards as a result.
  • Arrvor Stingers are now properly flagged as an Arrvor branch, previously they were producing craftable results as if they were Faugea stingers erroneously.

[quote]Keep in mind that they do have Membership packages that sort of makes it Buy to Play for people looking to have cities, etc. so at least those people will have put something down. [/quote]

That's actually incorrect, though the wording used in the quote is definitely confusing. What the memberships are required for is creating a nation, having leadership of a nation transferred to you or being a part of a city's leadership (mayor or council). For creating nations the problem is the alliances and relations. We don't want every free to play player being able to create a nation as there would be a ton of nations with the minimum number of free players having to be tracked in the system. But without some type of a leadership transfer restriction they would be able to have a person with a membership create for them and transfer, so there had to be some type of a restriction there.

The three largest reasons:

  • For an indie title, getting people to try the game is half the battle. You don't have a large marketing budget. You spread through word of mouth. It's much easier to gain players in a free to play title because there is no barrier of entry. If someone tells their friend to try a game, it's easy for them to hop right in and play together.
  • It's tough for any game to maintain a healthy audience long-term as a subscription title with so many free options out there these days. The result is games generally sell well, then die off more quickly than they did in the days when there were few options and trying each had a price tag.
  • Players generally will cancel old subscriptions to try new ones, which takes players out of your world and worsens the experience for everyone else. Free to play titles allow players to play other games, but check in from time to time, which aids the community as a whole.
  • Many titles now ship with subscription to get their box sales and initial profit, and then switch to free to play later when it's clear that they are hemmoraghing players. The problem in that case is that the perception is then that they are doing poorly which hurts customer opinion. Server merges create a similar problem.
I'm not saying that the subscription model doesn't work. It definitely does. But there is also a reason the bulk of upcoming titles are going the free to play (or the box price and no subscription) route. It's simply a healthier model for most games.
 
I think a lot of players dislike F2P simply because of the implementations in certain games they have played previously. It is annoying to have paid a box price and subscription for a game, to see it later turn free to play and you notice that you would have spent so much more to unlock all the classes, races or content than if you had just paid the box price and subscription. To see that it's free to play but the only way to unlock everything is to still pay a subscription. Or to find that the only way to play competitively is to spend money.

Those are problems with the implementation though and not the model. Developers are still trying to find what they can and can't do, and some are still trying to nickel and dime players for as much as they can get. That's certainly not the approach being taken with Repop though. We value free players. And the membership options are similar to just a box price with no subscription (with the lower end ones being cheaper). Aside from some skill gain bonus potions (which give a much smaller bonus than in many of the other titles out there), there really won't be any performance gain from cash shop items. You'll be unlocking perks (more bank space, more inventory space, more mission slots, etc), purchasing cosmetic items (purely cosmetic/no stat differences), and the like.

The difference really just comes in how developers perceive free players. A common way early on of treating non-paying players was to make their lives difficult so that they either quit or paid. Some games still use that same approach. But the approach Repop (and numerous other free to play titles) is taking is that free players are valuable to the game. Sure you need paying customers to stay afloat. But when you create a game where only paying customers can play effectively,  you drive away free players. And that is a bad thing. Those players add to the community. Maybe one day they turn into a paying customer, maybe not. But maybe they introduce someone else to the game who does. Maybe they have or become friends with players who are and their being around makes the other players happy.

Noone enjoys an empty world. MMOs are about being social. We'd rather have 50,000 players with only 5,000 of them paying than we would to have 5,000 subscribers. And the reality is with free to play, if you build it they will come. Getting a large number of players to try your game isn't difficult with a free to play title. They have nothing to lose except for download time. Free to play gets them in the door, and then it's up to developers to create a product that will keep them there. That's all you can really ask for.

That's not to say free to play is a perfect model. It is more difficult to get rid of problem players without a barrier of entry. But noone likes to use months (or years) of work. The problem players in free to play titles are generally gold spammers and things of that nature. You can circumvent them with ignore commands, report and auto-detection methods. Overall you just have to weigh the bad with the good. And there are more positive things to be gained from free to play than a subscription model for this title.

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