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Dev Diary 11 :: 2015 :: September
What a crazy last couple weeks....fraud, blackmail + attacks on the game (lol), Yahoo server issues, and other fun party-worthy occurrences. I have been absolutely bombarded with unfortunate events, but excuses or not, more communication will be made now. Alas, we keep on moving forward Smile

First thing's first...please don't take any silence as a way of thinking the game's development is stopped - I am officially and contractually FULL-TIME on this project until 2017 and beyond....this game will continue to evolve time and time again over these years.

I'm sure a lot of you are getting impatient with wanting to know what's in the works, and rightfully here's the new short-term road-map!
  • Card Pack System
  • Soul Stone System
  • Support Level Updates
  • Halloween Event
  • New Challenges
Here's the long-term road-map:
  • Global Beasts
  • Challenge Trials
  • Guild Beasts
  • Guild Challenges
  • Guild Buildings
  • Weekly 'Activities' (Smaller events)
  • Complete customization supported avatar system
  • Complete crafting system (with visible gear on your avatars)
  • New game mode/content expansion for late inferno
  • Mobile support
  • Battle ship game-play system
  • more..don't get ahead of yourself!
I was actually anticipating working out global beasts with the upcoming updates, but unfortunately I have to put it on the back-burner while stability changes occur.

It's a continual effort to get things organized for further growth, and further updates. More than occasionally, that takes away my attention from the community - this is why we have a community manager to help with those efforts when I simply am drowning (and loving it) with work, but I will continue to make as much effort as possible to connect with you guys as often as I can.

Herro! I suppose it's time for some updated info on development...

I've been on and off communicating with a lot of people, but obviously that's not centralized. If you haven't caught wind yet, here's what's up:

Incoming Features
The event & bonuses are coming down very soon...that's not a feature!
  • New Card Pack System
  • New support level overhaul (with daily & weekly card pack bonuses)
  • New Soul Orb system (shortly after the next patch)
  • Ability to log onto iou account on Kongregate (purchases not supported from there though, and this may be a temporary thing)
  • Fxes to long-standing issues
What's up with server instability?
Lately i've had to roll my eyes so hard that I swear i've made them spin in a full circle a few times with people saying things like "Just get better servers! It's not hard!".

With that being said, i'll explain everything I can...

The game is built on a yahoo backend service that handles a lot of the server-side and web-hosting management, allowing me to directly focus on game interaction features, instead of trying to maintain the servers themselves. The service in theory is among the best out's absolute genius, but unfortunately the service has been hiccupping constantly, and since I don't host or manage the servers myself, I can't possibly resolve and pin-point the issues as they aren't fixable on my side.

Then what can you do, and what are you doing to resolve this?
  1. I'm having a major meeting with Kongregate and Playfab to discuss the potential transfer of service. A transfer on its own will probably take a month, working non-stop on a grind to transfer the entire game service over, but it could be worth it in the end....i'll know more after this meeting and will discuss it with the community after.
  2. I'm keeping contact with Yahoo on these issues and my concerns. I've worked directly with the people in charge in the Yahoo Games service to work out these issues, and they are doing the best they can....
  3. I'm constantly spending hours and hours testing workarounds to these issues, to try to cheat around the architecture issues on the current service until a more permanent solution is met.
  4. I'm spending a lot of time working on individual user issues to learn more about the issues, and to avoid players from being further plagued by the issue
  5. Offline progression overhaul - Disconnect, server issues, etc? An improved offline progression system should assist with lost progress, especially during any server hiccups or if lightning takes your power out.
This is not a case where we can take the server code and just transfer it over to another host and hit the Easy Button, or obviously, with how incredible IOU has done, I would have done that regardless of the costs already. The issues as of lately are my main focus but they also aren't breaking the game for the majority of people, so I still need to also focus on features while multi-tasking the focus of solutions to these problems with these other companies. My haste is their haste.

IOU is starting to fail!?
Here's the other eye-roll, there has been a few ridiculous comments with zero merit which have raised questions. Players quit every day, and new ones are born every day...I hate to see great long-term members leave sometimes, but it happens. I however haven't seen a drop in the average daily active user even with these issues going on, so don't listen to people without the facts. 
The issues have increased in the last week, and while there are a hundred occasionally experiencing the issue, there are usually a minimum of 5000 players on at any point in time. The rate of these issues outside of our experience on the weekend, is usually around 2-5%...but that can seem like a lot of players if you do the math. 

Plenty of games are on the same service and are having interruption of service, and don't run into any sincere issues with the community, however this is an idle game that is BASED on progress, and intermittent issues like this can harm the goals of individuals, so it's expected to have angry folks here and there. I think all day about solutions to every problem in the game though....see #5 above for how I intend on avoid this in the future.

Patch is looking like a Monday thing. A time will be decided tomorrow when it's entirely official.

I've been tracking down a work-around to the guild investment issues...however this patch is required to gather the rest of the details I need to make that possible. This means there may be a 1-2 day delay after this patch on significantly reducing that problem, but it's definitely going to get a hard boot into stability this week.
Upcoming Patch:
  • The soul orb feature release is looking like a next week thing
  • For the most part, pets are going to get a significant boost (beyond the last patch), with further pet arena balancing
  • Card pack window will have a few additions of information to assist players
  • There will be a few back-end fixes now that I have information that is starting to be logged since the last patch
  • Card milestones will be receiving their boost, along with an inferno-level-based increase
  • Inferno monsters are going to get an increasing boost to their max hp based on inferno tier. Major increases will occur at 10's and 25's (and 100's)
Big Picture
The game lost a ton of balances with Card Milestones and Pets after the inferno mode auto damage upgrade expansion. Because of this, these changes are necessary. As i've mentioned before, I can handle peoples complaining/rants if it makes them feel better. It's impossible to avoid tens of thousands of peoples differing expectations from being disappointed, so I apologize if you are one of those, but i'm focusing on improving the game for the long run, not to reduce disappointment for the short-term.

A lot of the changes right now are keeping in mind some things for the future:
  • I'm thinking of capping inferno leveling at some point in preparations for the next major game mode
  • Avatars, Gear, Gems, Trinkets and other features will become a major part of the game down the road
  • The next game mode will likely take a slight turn in terms of game-play. I don't think we need a second alternative inferno mode here.
  • Offline gains are going to change up the game a fair bit
  • The game hasn't had any real push on publishing yet - the big picture is for both existing players and the future of new players on places like AG, NG, Steam, Mobile, etc.
  • The Soul Orb system will add some strategical investing, but will be similar to expeditions in that diamonds/ap will not play a role. 
  • Call me p2w all you want, but I'm looking at ways to reward all dedicated players progress towards support levels, regardless of spending. Likely based on active days, potentially on referrals and other things as well down the road. 
I had a few other points but myBB trashed the page and i'm running short on time to get things prepared for the next patch until next time!

Hey Folks,

As it was suggested, i'll communicate the changes regarding Inferno Monsters Max HP boosts, that ended up reducing progression by a large margin for many.

There were groups of players already able to defeat Inferno Tier 100, and this was not intended to be possible at this stage of the game yet, so the answer was not to increase the Inferno Tier cap yet. Some of the progression was growing a little too significant due to the lack of difficulty growth per inferno tier, and this was rectified in this patch.

This WAS intended, and unfortunately not every change can be a progression enhancement, where the better balance of the game needs to take some developmental focus.

It's no major surprise, there will be a delay on this patch after the server crap-outs yesterday. I've been spending a lot of time on the backend trying to clean up and prepare the server code for (hopefully) further stability when the servers act up. This is also slow and slight preparation for the service transfer, which unfortunately I have no major news for just yet otherwise.

The soul orb patch is still definitely planned for this week, just not likely to be released for tomorrow.

While working out numbers and final structure for the soul orb system, I think I've finally discovered a way to make use of 'Fishing' sooner rather than later.

I'll be trying to work out the designs for fishing in the next few weeks Smile

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