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Road Map
#1
Hola,

Priorities have been tossed around like a hacky-sack, and I doubt that will change due to all the micromanagement that has to go on. This road-map is intended to express where I would like to go with the game.

Features, Rehauls and changes may be made outside of this road-map for various reasons.

Italics - Means just a thought
Requirements - This is what may be delaying, or what is required before this can be pushed forward


Features:
  • Expanded Expeditions System
    A much larger expedition style mechanic with several additional growth aspects.
    This system would be a partial tie-in to crafting (by performing expeditions on rare materials)
    This system aims to tie in a separate PvP style system by players utilizing assets to grow their space station and battle ship for turn-based PvP
    __
    The delays on this are due to needing time availability from the art-house, or having the time to micromanage this major major addition
  • Crafting
    A system that ties into Avatars, Classes, and a major new inventory system of materials.
    This system would be a partial tie-in to the Expanded Expeditions System
    This system would be a partial tie-in to post-inferno
    __
    This requires a Class system be implemented first
    This requires an Avatar system be implemented first
    This requires an Inventory system be implemented first
    This requires a massive amount of art and development focus
  • Classes
    A class-based system that allows players to pick a class that holds different strengths and weaknesses...including a stretch of passive skills and active abilities. A bit more team strategy would be expanded with this.
    Character Base Stats would be implemented within this system.
    __
    This requires a rehaul on the ability system at the same time.
  • Avatar System
    The ability to see yourself, and your party inside battles, in a more final-fantasy style manner.
    Equipment would alter the look of your character, along with apparel items for those that enjoy such a thing.
    __
    This requires a massive amount of art with a medium amount of development focus
  • Post Inferno
    Inferno is intended for the final idle element in IOU in terms of the primary gameplay. However this system would add a more active (but limited) component to the game for players to tackle monsters on an entirely new caliber. 
    This system would tie in crafting material drops/elements.
    This system would likely add several new planets
    __
    This requires a small amount of new art. I think this might be possible with existing challenge assets lined up used for this system instead of additional challenges. We already have more than enough challenges...perhaps for the rest of time given a minor rebalance of the challenge difficulties.
    This would require a bit of rework on the upcoming World Select window rehaul
  • Guild Buildings (Including Beast Challenges)
    Significant expansion is planned, with more interactive options and buildings to make guilds what they are supposed to be, instead of just a collection of players for unbalanced and stagnant bonuses.
    __
    This requires a significant rehaul. Some of this was discussed but it needs to be pursued further before we move forward. From discussions it appears players don't understand how unbalanced guilds currently are if they were to be expanded upon, while yet, the concerns are completely legitimate. This requires a lot of discussion and tuning before we can move forward with this. No guild changes/additions can be made until we come to a conclusion that fits the game best in the long-run.
  • Cohorts/Leagues
    The ability to challenge yourself against others in many different aspects, pushing a more exciting competition system than the classic 'Top Rank' system.
    __
    We have made strong plans for this system already, but they have been scrapped a few times. We will be more comfortable with this when we feel we have a more balanced approach.
    This requires a more balanced IOU scoring system
  • Daily Task System
    Perform your daily tasks more seamlessly, and track your progress in an organized manner.
    Go Fishing while battling monsters and monitor the progress external to the fishing window.
    Perform Fishing, Woodcutting and Mining tasks in a more automated manner, and view the results when complete.
    __
    As we progress with the new UI Rehaul, we should be able to squeeze this system in without any major walls
  • Bingo
    This system will allow players to play a social game of Bingo for Bingo Points, which can unlock an assortment of prizes.
    The prize packs you can purchase with Bingo Points will only start with common currencies, until crafting and other systems are implemented.
    Customize your card/dabber/etc
    Gain Bingo Levels for additional points for prizes.
    __This has been delayed countless times due to major changes required on our backend, however it's still something we continue working on every few days
  • Weekly Bonus & Deals
    Randomly generated deals and in-game bonuses (XP, gold, sarifices, cards, etc) to be made each week
    __
    This is pretty simple, but is somewhat tied to marketing, which we aren't quite focused on at the moment until the graphic rehaul is more complete.

Rehauls:
  • Cards
    Cards at this time give a static damage increase. I think we could add a more exciting percentage or milestone system that increases consistently like other systems, performing growth based on percentages.
    __
    There's nothing other major in the way of this rehaul
  • Trophy System
    This system is incredibly long overdue for a rehaul. I expect that we can revamp trophy points in a very different manner, by having them improve and unlock abilities.
    __
    Requires that the ability system be rehauled
  • Ability System
    The rehaul of existing abilities.
    The addition of new abilities, including abilities that affect your party
    The option to equip and change which abilities you have on your hotbar

    __
    Likely requires that the Class System be implemented to ensure we can provide unique abilities for the different classes, while keeping the general abilities for everyone.
  • Interface
    Already in the works, however many of the windows UI flow is quite complicated (Challenges, for example). The flow needs to be made more clear and simplified for the common casual user.

Misc:
  • Chat Improvements, Emoji Additions & Custom Chat Room Support
    We are looking at the addition of emoji's and other chat treats. We have Discord and Kongregate has their own chat rooms, however engagement does not expand in external chats. Additional Chat Improvements can significantly improve engagement globally for all players.
    __
    This requires a more final improvement & clean-up to the chat system. As we improve the chat over the next while, this can be done quite easily with minimal efforts.


Other Important Notes:
A year ago when IOU was growing exponentially from nothing (out of control practically from my perspective), development was a lot easier to throw together when Yahoo managed the back-end, and we didn't have to worry about that major management side of things.

However, IOU has had some pretty unique requirements, and being a game that many run 24/7, with quite a bit of data being tossed around (not a whole lot less than some FPS games and logic processing) it created some pretty complex challenges for us to handle. The cost of the hosting is pretty crazy, and to constantly hack at improvements/fixes to the back-end is incredibly time consuming...something I truly hoped would not be something I needed to maintain, but alas here we are....this year has been incredibly difficult as designing a game, and running your own full back-end are two very different tasks.


At this point however, as we continue to develop permanent events (1 final major event for each month of the year), and as the graphic re-haul progresses in preparation for major distribution plans, we are clearing way for improved development practices for content and balances. 

I didn't design AAA games before IOU, so this has been quite a learning curve running such a massive community and game, so mistakes have been made and will continue to be made, but i'm doing my best to ensure that this game isn't perfect today, but that it's alive in 5 years tomorrow. This might be a heavy burden with all the waiting and dealing with transitions for long-term players, but I intend on pushing through the development of this game until our goals are met and beyond that. 

Keep in mind these are not the only tasks I have to work on, between the major micromanagement of the team/design/life/publisher, there's an incredible amount to keep up with in between. 

TL;DR : This is the Roadmap I've put together containing some of the current/future plans, and I intend on hacking towards it full-time until the goals are met.


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Road Map - Ray - 09-20-2016, 10:12 AM

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