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0.23 and What We Learned

In reading through the reactions from our community regarding the recent 0.23 update, we’ve gained some valuable insights. 

Before we talk about the changes we’ll make in our processes going forward, let’s get back to the fundamental reason behind the update itself. What we did in 0.23 is at the heart of the vision for a game where a society of players is interacting directly or indirectly with each other through an elaborate network of exchanges, cooperation, competition and markets.

As it was, the current state of the game consisted mostly of isolated islands of players playing in almost full autonomy. A single-player game where players happened to share the same game world but with little interactions.

It’s hard to imagine how the appeal could last for more than several months for most players once they feel they have “finished” the game. It is also a missed opportunity to try something of larger proportion, a society of players growing in a fully persistent virtual world. For this to work, you need more than isolated gameplay. Players need to have viable reasons to interact and need each other.

In many single-player space games, you have ways to make money, and the game then offers you ways to convert this money into whatever you need in the game to progress, mostly via markets. This is the state in which we should end up for Dual Universe once all the necessary ingredients are in place, You get into the game, you farm a bit of money in fun ways, and you buy more and more powerful ships, equipment, weapons, etc., to help your character grow. The difference is that here, the ships or equipment you buy have been made by other players, instead of the game company. On the surface and during the first hours of gameplay, to a new player it would look similar to any of those other space games, but it would in fact reveal itself to be much deeper once you spend a bit of time in the game. Everything you would do would be part of another player’s or organization’s plan, everything would have a meaning. And soon you would realize that you too could be part of the content creation and, somehow, drive the game in the direction you want.

In its current beta stage, DU doesn’t have enough ways for people to make money because we haven’t yet had the opportunity to implement all of the necessary features. There’s mining, of course. Trading is not as good as it will eventually be because markets are not really used to their full potential. As a consequence, players rightfully turned to a solo or small org autonomous game mode. 

We tried to nudge people out of this with the changes introduced in 0.23. While necessary, many players expressed that the changes of 0.23 came too soon because it lacked a variety of lucrative ways for people to make money outside of mining.

What We’ll Do Now

The vision expressed above still holds. We want people to consider going through the industry specialization only if they intend to become industrialists and not necessarily to sustain their individual needs; however, we understand that it’s too soon to press for intense specialized gameplay considering the lack of sources to earn money. 

Here’s our plan for now. We will modify the formula of the schematic prices to make it considerably more affordable for Tier 1 and still challenging and worth a commitment but less intense for anything Tier 2 or above. 

This will allow most factories focused on T1 to resume their activities rapidly while keeping an interesting challenge for higher tiers, spawning dedicated industrial facilities aiming at producing to sell on the markets. We will also reimburse players who have bought high-priced schematics since the launch of 0.23 (please give us some time since it may take a few days as we go through the logs).

We will keep monitoring the price of schematics to see if it makes sense to increase or decrease the costs. The right approach to set such a price would be to evaluate how much time it takes to recoup your investment by selling the products that the schematics allow to produce. It should be a few months so that the investment is a real commitment and it makes sense to plan for it.  We currently lack the metrics to properly assess this return on investment time. We need a player-driven market price for the components and a market price for the products to assess the profit made by each run of a schematic. This will come when the markets start to work as intended, and we can gather more data about them. 

Feedback and Testing

The release of 0.23 also taught us that we need improved ways to test new features, both internally and with community participation. The Upvote feature on the website was a good start, but it’s not enough. 

To address this, we have two courses of action that will be taken. The first will be to set up an open public test server, hopefully with shorter release cycles, for players to try out new features. This will also allow us to explore ideas and be more iterative. If all goes according to plan, this test server should be introduced for 0.24, the next release. It will mirror the content of the production server with regular updates to sync it. 

The second important initiative is to revise the role of the Alpha Team Vanguard (ATV), getting them more involved in early discussions about new features and the evolution of the game. We are still defining the framework, so more information will be released as available. 

What is to Come

In the short term, we will push a few corrections to improve 0.23, which include:

  • Ships will now stop (be frozen) when their core is destroyed in PvP, making them easier to catch.
  • Element destruction will impact the restoration count only when it occurs through PvP, at least for now (not when the ship is colliding/falling as we want to avoid having players penalized simply for crashing their ships because they’re learning how to maneuver them, for example).
  • Recycling of un-restorable elements through a recycler that will take an element as input and grant a small amount of the schematics required components as output.

The next major release is already in the making and will be about the mission system, a first step toward giving players more fun ways to earn quantas. We will reveal about it shortly so that we can get as much feedback as possible.

We also want to reassure you that the mission system is not the only answer to offering more varied ways to earn revenue in Dual Universe. Things like asteroid mining and mining units will be introduced in the next few months. 

This list is by no means complete, but should be a good jumping off point that gives players reasons to fight and to explore, opportunities for pirates, new ways of making money, and a plethora of other activities our creative community will think of even if we didn’t. 

That’s it for now! We want to thank you again for your support and patience as we progress along this beta road! See you soon in Dual Universe!

Want to discuss this announcement? Visit the thread linked below:


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