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ShippyLongstalking

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  1. IMO, the game is a lot closer to release than people might think. Months, not years. Demeter will (supposedly) allow them to scale, the next updates will focus on first time user experience, then it will be maybe a few iterations on polish, PvP, and bug fixes before they slap a "release" label on it. Be realistic: a company with 50+ employees and two offices, negative revenue, very little customer growth, and an investor as CEO....is not going to wait until the game is "finished" to release. Huge changes like this are definitely 'VERY ALPHA'...but tbh I feel it is driven by a financial need to release above everything...Demeter will fundamentally change the math on affordability and revenue per customer, which matters when you're about to scale up (or try to do so, anyway).
  2. In my opinion, this isn't so much a balance or design issue...it's a basic customer service curtesy. If you're changing so many skills, you need to give beta testers a way to reset them. Beyond good customer service, it's a basic case of "help them help you". Considering how many buggy talents they've had, you'd think they would want testers to be able to use them right away... 🤷‍♂️
  3. Probably 50% of prospective players will be turned off by this alone (maybe more). Demeter might be what some players need to finally try PvP....but will they enjoy it? Realism is all well and good, but realism isn't the objective of any game -- every choice has to be driven by game design, not "how would this work in real life". This idea has been brought up a few times in the forum's history. Since things like Avatar vs. Avatar and Territory War are still just myths, they definitely need some deep cycles on PvP beyond small tweaks...
  4. At that point we'd be talking about a product that has spent over a decade in the alpha/beta stage... If NQ is changing the game's design because they can't afford to pay their rented servers, there's little chance that they can afford another 3-5 years paying 50-100 people across two offices (on top of server costs). This isn't a great beta program. It's been pointed out many times that NQ doesn't really read this forum or listen to player suggestions -- this is something etched into the history of this forum many times over. Their philosophy of customer engagement is very poor; they only look at pics of constructs posted on Reddit (if anything). They resent beta players for finding exploits and "slowing them down", but that's literally the point of beta. If you expect the population of a release MMO to play "honorably" that's another point that shows their hubris and inexperience. Yeah DU's biggest issues are in the dev of the game itself...but the company culture and the whole philosophy of how this beta program is run (or not run) are also big red flags. They don't respect their players and it shows with how they communicate (or don't) and run their "beta" program.
  5. "How could they possibly know server costs would be this high? That people would use the tools to mine...?" Anyone that's ever played an MMO would know...NQ was supposedly "shocked" at how quickly players made it to space, too. It's like they never bothered to play an MMO and vastly underestimated their players. You know how we know that NQ never really understood how the game would scale....? Because they thought they could make a single shard game but didn't invent anything special to handle the idea of a ton of people occupying one area. The "proof" they made with bots running around was pretty laughable to anyone that understands benchmarking. You don't get credit for innovation if the thing you "innovate" doesn't work and the reason no one else has done it....is because it doesn't work. Besides that, it's hard to say that DU is "innovative" running on an off-the-shelf engine and off-the-shelf servers -- that really matters, because it shows how they can't optimize low-level details for either the engine or server infrastructure. Even without mining, will the game really scale...? We'll see. Besides, what exactly is so innovative about either their design or tech? It's a very good building sandbox with a crappy combat model strapped on...and a vague promise of more. I agree that the game they pitched in their adverts is innovative as all hell, but that's not what DU is today. If the game does get popular, you can be sure that Demeter won't be the last design change driven by scale and cost.
  6. How could any professional game studio not understand something as basic as how the game's costs would scale...? They talk about cost like it's some unknowable thing that snuck up on them. The pricing for AWS is not some mystery. You'd think at least once over the past 7 years they would have...I don't know, run some projections? No one bothered to do any math as they were designing the game to understand the cost of their product...? No one tested their prototype to understand how costs would scale? No one cared about cost when they created their subscription model? How did they even understand what to charge players if they didn't bother doing projections? Beyond the change itself....it shows that NQ's dev philosophy is still 100% reactionary -- they don't test or plan in advance. They don't design in advance. They throw things into production then figure out what to change. There's a reason it's taken them 7+ years to not even finish a beta...they have to keep going back and changing things because they don't have a design. No one really believes that NQ really understands what this change will do. They'll throw it into production then figure out the next problem... I'd be really surprised if this game ever approached anything near "feature-complete".
  7. Demeter is about NQ saving money, not about good design choices that will improve the game. Mining changes are designed to remove as much terrain deformation as possible, which is very expensive. Taxes are designed to impose a level of attrition so that they can reduce costs....which will also reduce the desire to re-sub to the game after leaving IMO. These changes are the result of them never really understanding or planning around the scale of the game as an MMO or its cost (and refusing to build their own servers, instead renting them from AWS) Betas are intended to give devs time to polish the game and fix bugs, not make sweeping design changes or test the product to see how much it costs -- all this should have been figured out in the 6+ years of development prior to "open beta".
  8. ☝️ This right here -- when JC was fired as CEO, I thought that they would get a real designer to look at the product and roadmap, but they decided to keep on keeping on as if nothing was wrong. There's fundamental issues with the design of this game...they greatly, greatly overreached with the concept and have so far refused to reduce scope, so the product is still missing huge features and feels incomplete and very unpolished... Making games is hard; anyone with experience knows this. JC didn't bother working in the industry before starting the company, so he didn't know. Yet after 5 years working almost exclusively on fundamental tech like building and basic MP mechanics (not in their own engine mind you) they still somehow believed they could get all these grand features working? Two years later and what's changed? Not the design...No apparent scope reduction at all, despite them having the experience of facing vast complexity and not meeting deadlines. They knew that this wasn't coming together years ago, but no one dared to challenge JC's "vision"? So the problem isn't just inexperience, it's hubris. Frankly....NQ had 7+ years and $22+ million in funding. I hate to be an ass, but they kind of deserve to fail. They engineered their own nightmare and refused to change course despite having ample opportunity and overwhelming evidence that the current direction was not working.
  9. Riiight, that's a good look -- banning people that discuss a valid topic in the forum. "Wipe" is among the most popular topic here after pointless arguments about PvP. I think you vastly overestimate the influence or visibility of discussions here -- it's a fact that very few people even view posts, never mind actually reading them. Any suggestion that people are quitting because some post talking about a wipe are anecdotal at best. The idea that they could get "thousands" of players if only they stop people from talking about a wipe is really baffling....most of these posts barely have hundreds of views; blocking discussions on an unpopular forum will not make any material difference. By the way, you just started this thread onto the topic of a wipe. So, what do you all think about a wipe? Yes? No? Yes? 😏
  10. The track record is easy enough to see in the years and years of history in this forum. NQ as a studio has no experience beyond DU. The most obvious issue with their track record is spending 7+ years on a product (as a new studio) that is still not feature complete....and doesn't seem close to being feature complete. That makes DU an alpha, and 7+ years on an alpha when you aren't even making your own engine or server architecture isn't good for this industry. Beyond the state of the product after a long, long time in dev....the forum history shows how bad NQ is at communicating with their customers. People have been speculating about how PvP will work for years and years because NQ either doesn't have a plan or doesn't bother to explain it. No one believes for a second that they listen to player feedback, even when players have called out obvious problems with changes before they go out. They have notorious slow support, glacial dev pace, and have made many 'knee-jerk' design choices that make it obvious that they don't really have a grand design, they are changing it as they go. That's not a good sign for most complex games, but especially for an MMO. They hired Eve Online's former designer but he left after less than a year...this is someone that typically spends 5+ years at a company. NQ was his shortest job in the last 10+ years...plus the CEO being fired...there's some internal turnover issues that are significant. I see improvement in these last few months, don't get me wrong...I just don't believe it is fast enough or dramatic enough to turn the product around...to do that, I think they need more dramatic changes instead of more or less following the plan that JC wildly constructed without much planning and with objectively zero experience.
  11. How long until "beta" isn't an excuse? It's been 7+ years of development...on an IP that hasn't created its own engine, server infrastructure, or even billing system...This isn't a baby or a toddler, it's a 2nd-grader. It isn't like they have some plan to fix the fundamental issues with some of this tech or this design. I would understand the "it is only beta" claim if they did, but many of the issues facing DU aren't "part of the plan" where the only issue is that the devs haven't had enough time...they have had enough time. Don't get me wrong...I see how the product is improving, but will it be fast enough and dramatic enough? Will the game actually perform at scale? Will it be anything close to the game they advertise? I'm not convinced based on their track record and current state of the product.
  12. Combat in this game is really esoteric...even if they can make it lag-free, I don't know that combat will ever really appeal to 8 out of 10 space nerds. The game desperately needs combat, 100%, but unless they completely scrap the current metaphor, I'm not sure it will ever really "get there". Let's remember this is combat at its lowest scale, too -- and even then is still often laggy. A huge part of the pitch of DU was single-shard...and they can't support cities, they obviously can't support large battles....so why not instance the game, again? As I see it, there's zero point to "single shard" with their actual execution. At least if they instanced it, they could throw all the "i only want to build" people into a PvE server and eliminate a lot of headaches related to first-time UX.
  13. One other caveat: NQ also didn't build their own billing system, so they get hit with about a 5% transaction fee from Xsolla. This is a really good exploration of NQ's decision-making. I feel like they did a lot to "save time": Xsolla, picking Unigen2 of all engines, AWS. For reference, a processor like Stripe is considered very expensive in the industry at 2.9% and is extremely easy to implement. It's sad because there are cheaper options that offer a far, far better user experience than freakin' Xsolla. Frankly, I don't get the feeling that NQ does care about financials at all. Or at least it didn't under JC, which makes sense....PhD academics with no experience doing real world work tend to not care about pesky things like financials. What CEO gives up 2.1% of their company's revenue to save a few days of dev...? Two offices? 50-100 employees? High AWS fees? High transaction fees? That's not an org that's making healthy choices IMO. @Zarcata Subs will bring money in, but they likely need something like 50,000 to 60,000 subs just to cover payroll alone...Refer a friend is a great test -- if referred friends churn at a lowish rate, it will encourage NQ to do more marketing in general. Any shred of positive ROI will allow NQ to scale the game fairly consistently if not quickly. It might not be as hard as people think, because a 3 month sub minimum gives them more to spend on acquisition per user. Even if they churn right away, it is plausible that NQ can achieve positive ROI and scale the game somewhat.
  14. NQ's latest (and largest) round of funding was in 2019 for ~$11 million. I personally don't see how they could attract more investors until their KPIs improve. Investors won't throw them money to "get their tech" -- because their tech doesn't work at scale and is tightly coupled with AWS. Several people have suggested that NQ is making DU as a "tech demo" and the "real" asset investors care about is their tech...but that doesn't hold up to basic scrutiny. Staff is hard to estimate but varies between 50 to 100 employees based on the site you look at. It's a surprisingly large indie, and arguably has too many people relative to the number of developers. They do have recent job postings -- if they were in such a dire financial situation, they wouldn't be looking to fill 3-4 positions (one would think). It's baffling they would spend money on two expensive offices, but yes they have offices in Paris and Montreal -- why spend all that extra overhead as a new studio making your first ever game...? Cuz JC didn't want to leave Paris...? So...all the public information we have suggests they spend a lot on staff and overhead, including high fees for hosting since they don't stand their own servers. AWS isn't that cheap at scale, especially for things like DynamoDB. IMO there's no immediate danger of the doors closing on the simulation because we'll likely see it coming, but there's no way NQ is "financially sound". They will push the product to a "1.0 release" and market it. They will see churning users in the month / months to follow and realize that the math isn't going to work. Before they shut it all down, they will likely scale the company down (they don't need two offices or 100 people) and keep it going as a smaller project. I'm honestly not super optimistic about the state of the game or its future, but I don't think there's any immediate danger of NQ evaporating just yet.
  15. It's almost like this idea is something extremely fundamental when understanding how the game scales as an MMO...something that should have been understood ~7 years ago maybe...? It's absolutely a catch-22 for them. If you churn, there's still a good chance you'll reconvert and sub again someday in the future. If you rejoin the game to find your shit gone? Probably won't continue your sub, especially if you were a hardcore player that invested a lot of time developing a safe zone home. Reconverting churned users is vital for a sub-based MMO. On the other hand....if you're a new player trying to get set up on one of the safezone worlds, the extra travel time and absurdity of so many dead and mined-out hexes will be a massive turn-off that only becomes worse over time. IMO the only "everyone wins" solution is to increase the size of game world -- add more systems and planets. Either they have to scale the game world or they need to become an instanced MMO. MMO instancing was designed to solve these design issues, but they didn't want to do that...which is great, if they had considered how to scale the game world to do what instancing does in traditional MMOs. It isn't the only concept where NQ "wanted to be different" without bothering to understand why traditional MMOs use the design they do. In this case, instanced servers -- but also for NPCs, game engine, server platform...each of these they picked something "different" without weighing why the industry standard is what it is and adjusting their design accordingly.
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