It’s been a few months since the last entry in the Developer’s Diary. Back then, we were still in the Closed Beta and I had written: “Wow! Those were a few breathtaking weeks.” However, at this point in time I didn’t know what was awaiting us…
Since August 8th, Drakensang Online is in Open Beta. And the interest in the game knocked us off our socks.
Soon, we will have 2 million registrations.
Wow! THAT (!) is breathtaking!
Actually, we’d planned on writing a diary entry every month. But the last few months have been so busy that we had absolutely no time to make an entry or even write a short summary. Unfortunately, we also seem to lose track of time – events that occurred only a few days ago suddenly seem like they happened a long time ago. Because the minute a new release has hit the market, internally the next one is already being tested and the one after that is already being planned. Some features take weeks to complete, others only a few days. The work pace is very quick and it’s easy to become confused while jumping from one version to the other.
The year 2011 is slowly winding down and there simply must be time to take a deep breath and reflect: What have we accomplished since August? I won’t be able to list everything…
1.) The go-live of the server on August 8th almost led to the immediate crashing of our complete server. The incoming traffic was immense so that our systems were not able to correctly process the volume of registrations. We were prepared for many things, but not that the number of registration per second (!) would be an issue. We spent two entire weeks trying to somehow get the problem under control. The exciting thing about this was that the deluge of registrations arrived (and continues to arrive) from all over the world. We see that thousands of players not only come from Germany, France and Poland (countries were Drakensang is especially popular), but also from countries on the other side of the world – from Australian, New Zealand, Asia or South America. This never ceases to amaze me.
2.) The assembly and disassembly of the PvP arenas and modes and all the other related things occupied us for quite some time. The inclusion of the important functions that had initially been missing, such as buddy windows, guilds, PvP modes and much more eventually led to more and more server activity. We learned that a PvP mode is a very critical part of an MMO – but we also learned that not every player puts a lot of stock in it. We see that PvP and PvE are both fundamentally important aspects of the game. For this reason, we will of course continually work on developing PvP and offer new matches and improvements.
3) Our first content update TEGANSWALL with the Herald is not so long ago and the NORDLANDE update will provide the release of a nice second expansion package before Christmas. Since August we would then have – with over 100 quests, more than a dozen new levels and just as many monsters, two new bosses and numerous small champions and, with the addition of countless items and equipment – approximately double the content.
4.) The continuous improvement of the GUI is another important aspect. We were surprised at how well changes such as the combat texts, the buff bar or our new notify system were received by the users, and we still have a long list of things we want, can, and need to improve – thanks in no small part to your feedback.
5.) For quite some time now you have requested backup and it has taken some time: but now, finally, it has arrived – Rangers! They are very agile archers, but they can also pack a punch – and therefore they are my own personal favorite. The Ranger arrives accompanied by a whole new skill system that makes using the skills significantly better and, at the same time, significantly improves the fun. We were not very happy with the old system. No wonder, you weren’t happy either. The system just didn’t function properly and you made this abundantly clear to us. We were unable to fulfill my promise of creating a flexible, modular system in such a fashion that it was fun to use as well as easy to understand.
However, I am certain that you will like the new system better, and I can tell you that in the coming months we will roughly double the number of skills for all archetypes. The low number of skills was never our concept, but came about through production restraints. We will change this going forward; month by month and piece by piece.
The best part will be a skill tree that enables a real nice individualization that will also retroactively be made available to higher-level players.
6.) We’d promised to provide you with weekly updates and we’ve kept our promise. We only had to move our deadline twice, since both times a feature was not working properly. We will continue working hard to ensure that in 2012 you will receive the updates on a regular basis.
Our plan for 2012 includes a mountain of new content and exciting new features. Beginning in January we will be introducing a first, very cool feature which lets you adopt the player character. And, of course, we will add archetypes and countries …
7.) Of course, we’ll continue looking forward to receiving your feedback to help make Drakensang Online better and better. And we will respond to your feedback in a timely manner.
I would like to thank you for your bug reports, your cooperation in the forums and every type of criticism. It is truly appreciated. I can assure you that your feedback is very important and is taken very seriously. We register and record every one of your suggestions, complaints or comments.
Have fun with the large Christmas update and hopefully we’ll each other online soon.
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