The Celestial Throne, Zenith: The Last City’s first major content update, went live earlier this month. Ramen VR’s co-founder Andy Tsen has a response to the community’s feedback on the update, as well as changes made that broke some liked elements, as well as long-term design philosophy for Zenith.
The huge content update had a positive effect on player numbers and playtime spent. Peak concurrent player numbers roughly doubled, and he says that players are spending 15 to 20% more time in the game. New users are also joining. Zenith is still having a great post-launch.
Yet, some community members are unhappy with recent changes. Tsen notes that some changes were done, especially with a noted gliding glitch that was exploitable, in the name of strengthening the game and because this in particular was affecting the way the world felt and worked.
The glitch, “destroyed any semblance of the scale and distance of the world -- allowing people to go anywhere almost instantly”, and he notes that the motions required to perform it were not intuitive and even half their internal team couldn't really get it. They removed the glitch but also made changes to regular gliding, including increases to max gliding speed and take off velocity, a reduction in the jumping stamina required to glide and consumption while gliding.
This is one example, but in the transparency on removing it, he also goes into detail about the design philosophy that the Zenith team is working with:
“It's an evolving game (some would say an entire digital world), not a singular artifact. As a result, unlike other games that become stale over time, you can expect core systems within Zenith to continue evolving over time, to be sleeker, better balanced, and more well thought out.”
While there are also some aspects of The Celestial Throne that do need additional fixes, Tsen says that the team is listening and will begin to address them, like tuning dungeons and addressing cheesing and crashes.