Last time we spoke, it was about things we were getting done for our next major game release. The team’s work this month has been mostly on executing that same plan. Here’s some of the decisions we have been making and things we have been working on as we continue along the road to Steam!
We have been analyzing data throughout the beta and have determined that changes to market pricings need to happen prior to going wide on Steam. We’ll have more to say about this closer to launch, and rest assured, we have always been about making the game fun first. There aren’t going to be any increases in price or time-to-unlock, we are looking at some reduction in a few areas but we don't know to what just yet. The data we see indicates we should make some changes, for example, to the way bundles are sold or to how individual decals are priced. Our goal is always to give players the best “bang for their buck”. That all may sound a little vague right now and I’m sure some players have very particular questions about the market, we’ll make sure we are open with our plans so everyone knows what’s going on. Right now, we are entertaining a couple of different ideas and nothing is nailed down just yet.
Recently, I sat down with Nick Kay, art director, and The Beard to go through polish tasks we can get done in the time we have left to make sure the user interface is as intuitive as possible. The screens are all done, which is a huge milestone! Our focus now is on comfort; how many clicks it takes to do something or where there is some rougher UI interaction for the player. Where can we double-up on the functionality of a button to make it easier to navigate? Is the UI working as it should be? Everything right now is tweaking knobs and spit-shining the chrome. We have to both keep in mind our existing players who are used to particular interactions in Dreadnought now, but also for new players who have never touched the game before. There’s a couple of UI interactions in the game right now are sort of “trial by error” to figure out like what’s in your secondary loadout is for each ship in your fleet or how many modules you have left to unlock to progress to the next tier. These elements are being adjusted to be more “in your face” as a player. Everything you would need to come back from a match, tweak your loadouts, and hop back in the queue is done intuitively and with little downtime. Our designers are pouring over this with a fine-toothed comb in prep for the next update.
As a matter of fact, our playtest earlier in the week was on two particular areas - Kinetic Weapon Amp reworks and certain re-balanced Officer Briefings. The whole company hopped on an internal build to make sure these changes felt right. The dev team will go through our internal feedback and start making tweaks. That really sums up the stage we are in right now in development. We have the content we want in for the next major release, no new features are being added, and our focus is now on ensuring the build is as polished as possible. Regular internal playtests are making sure we are delivering the quality we expect from an update as big and content-rich as what’s coming with Steam Launch.
Speaking of balance, our team invited a small group of our highest skilled players to discuss our balance plans for Dreadnought over the coming updates. We got feedback on the directions the game was heading and identified areas our plans weren’t addressing. Here’s a brief rundown of the topics we covered, so everyone has an understanding of what our balance team is focusing on in the immediate future. Please note that just because an item wasn’t discussed does not mean it’s not important.
Officer Briefings are getting a lot of tender love and care. Many of the stat boosts offered are being normalized and are no longer ship-class specific, which should make it easier to determine what an OB offers. As we talked about OBs more, there was some confusion on the less popular Briefings’ actual benefits compared to more popular ones; this leads to less competitively viable build options. We’ll be working to better explain the value each Officer Briefing has so you can make more-informed decisions.
Some folks suggested that we maybe over-nerfed Adrenaline Shot, and the 30% health threshold could be raised. The team will be continuing to make improvements to this and all Officer Briefings. There should be no clearly better loadout choice that towers over all others.
A lot of players agreed that the game needs more Scoring Events. We started heading down the right direction by adding Tanking Events in a previous update and rewarding Dreadnoughts for drawing enemy “aggro,” but there’s still more work to be done. We agree! In particular, we will be investigating adding Scoring Events for defensive plays; saving an ally with Anti-Nuke Lasers, applying status effects to enemies, or providing buffs to nearby friendlies.
Thank you everyone who participated in the round-table discussion. Many of the points raised mirror the feedback we are seeing on the Discord and forums, we appreciate the honest feedback, and look forward to another one once we launch!
On top of all of this, we have a daily triage meeting where reps from each team go through and identify issues with one goal: get the bug count down. No game has ever released with zero bugs (except maybe the original Pong), but we can make so the bugs present in-game are few and far between. Bugs are constantly being addressed and fixed in every update, and I am honestly blown away at the work our team is doing here. Look for more info in August as we hone in on Steam Launch!
We’re almost there, go wishlist!
Game Director - Dreadnought
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