Posted Mon, Apr 22, 2013 by Martuk
Wrong: We launched without server Browsing and Matchmaking
Technically this is part of the “launched too early” category, but it is something we should have made a priority early on and launched with, even back in December. Our first generation of players, the ones who had been with us since beta launch, have become badasses. Just really amazing players. On top of them we also had professional players in our community and they just smacked around any new player who came in to learn the game. It was a massacre. This is especially problematic because we built Forge to be a session-based PvP game that would allow gamers to play for 15 minutes to an hour, have a great time and get out. It’s hard to accomplish this when you are being tooled by 15 hardcore Forge vets. You know it’s a problem when many of the games developers can’t get a kill in.
We recently included server browsing and skill matchmaking and it has changed everything. We really wish we would have launched with it, but it’s there now and not a second too soon. The pros have a good challenge fighting other pros and the newbies have a chance to get better together.
Wrong: We didn’t focus enough on the tutorial
For us, the tutorial was an afterthought, as oft is the case in games. This was a big mistake. Forge starts you off with 8 abilities and unless you have someone walking you through each one and explaining what they do, you end up relying on 1 or 2 the whole time. This seriously limits your depth of play, and you can forget all together about the subtleties of a healing class. For us to achieve our goal to make a game for those of us without a lot of time to grind, but who want to jump in and play a session, we needed that tutorial to be as clear and concise as Team Fortress 2.
For this April launch we are including a very thorough tutorial that walks you through every single class and ability. We did look to TF2 for inspiration, as Forge is closer in spirit to that twitchy gem than it is to WOW or Guild Wars 2. Thanks to our new tutorial, even the most inexperienced players stand a chance in the battlefield. This is no small feat.
Right: We built for no grind or pay to win
This was very important to us. We believe we achieved it. Our lead designer had a very particular vision for Forge and much of it had to do with the fact that he couldn’t invite friends in to play the games he was into. They would join but he was so far ahead of them, no amount of grinding would bring them up to where he was at, and visa versa. The easiest fix for that is to let people buy their way up, which just doesn’t fit with our gaming ethos. We wanted Forge to reward those with skill, not money. This is, and always will be our vision for the game.
Our next biggest goal is to build the progression in a fashion that rewards players for their time and skill. This April we are introducing armor swaps which is really our first true DLC launch. The first set is the “Divine” armor which will allow players to mix and match the classic armor sets with the new ones. Divine is the first of many sets which we will mix up between rewards and purchases as well as special unlocks for achievements giving certain players exclusive access to rare sets.
Along with armor sets we are introducing a brand new map called Den of Fenric. Den is the culmination of all we have learned in the making of Forge maps and emphasize vertical gameplay. It is just the right size for maximum action and keeps players oriented with huge hero objects like temple ruins and statues. Plus it’s gorgeous. We are really proud of this one. Future DLC will involve tons of new maps in new locations that reflect the style and personality of the factions, which we also have big plans for. Again, these will be available as both rewards and purchase items.
Right: We launched with a good variety of classes
The 5 classes we launched with made for a balanced set and it was more than enough for players to be introduced to Forge. We have 2 more classes for the current faction – the Ravager and the Tinkerer - which will be released in the April re launch. This brings the total number of classes to 7, with 9 being the goal. We feel 9 is an ideal number of classes per faction, although we don’t want to limit ourselves this soon out of the gate.
The first class, Ravager, is a vertically challenged ball of pain. Think Yoda covered in razor wire on a PCP bender. The Ravager is pure offense and gives the more aggressive players a healthy outlet for their rage. The second class is the Tinkerer. She is a brilliant, but slightly deranged inventor of dangerous objects built from scraps of metal and the discarded bones of animals. The fact that her inventions never quite work the way she intends makes her all the more fun and dangerous. She reminds us of a Myazaki character raised in the pits of Thunderdome. Players can expect interesting interpretations of all these classes in future factions.