Cookies Disclaimer

I agree Our site saves small pieces of text information (cookies) on your device in order to authenticate logins, deliver better content and provide statistical analysis. You can adjust your browser settings to prevent our site from using cookies, but doing so will prevent some aspects of the site from functioning properly.

The Big Chill

August is the Coldest Month

This week marks a big milestone in our Alpha testing program. When players log into Zog starting on Thursday they're going to find that the River Kingdoms have become a harder, harsher place to thrive in than ever before.

Discuss this blog on the forums!

The Cold(ish) Start

When you begin play of the game "for realz" after Early Enrollment begins your characters will start with simple peasant clothes and a club. They'll have 1,000 XP to spend on initial Feats. And that's it. We call this "the cold start". Everything that your character acquires, every ability they gain, and all the wealth they accumulate comes from those meager beginnings.

(In actual Early Enrollment play characters will gain 100XP an hour.  For Alpha 7, characters will gain 5,000XP an hour.  This will allow us to have characters test a wide range of character power quickly. Players are advised to visit the statue of Seoni in Sotterhill after creating a new character to receive a special Achievement that will give them a massive number of Achievement points to enable unlimited training.)

The Player Character Economy

We've said from the start of the project that the bedrock of our game design is an economy where almost everything characters use will be crafted by other characters. That starts with this week's Alpha. To understand how that will work, here's a quick overview of how the economic game loop functions.

Rocks, Trees, Middens and Essences

Scattered throughout the world are "resource nodes". There are four types, each of which produces a specific kind of resource when harvested. Rocks produce minerals, ore and gems. Trees produce wood and herbs. Middens produce random resources of all types, and Essences produce magical components.

Characters harvest these nodes by standing near them and activating their harvesting abilities. All characters start with a minimal level of harvesting capability and they can train Feats that make them more efficient harvesters.

The resources gathered from these nodes form the basic input into the economy.

Loot and Recipes

When monsters (human or otherwise) are defeated in combat they usually drop some loot. They may produce coin, salvage, beginner gear and recipes.

Coin will be the medium of exchange for markets - the buying and selling of goods and services. Salvage is a low-quality substitute for resources that could otherwise be harvested from nodes. Beginner gear is starter-level equipment that characters can use to access the initial features they're training with their starter XP. Recipes are the most valuable and rarest loot. Recipes allow a character that has trained the appropriate Feats and who has access to the appropriate structures in Settlements to turn resources into crafting components and finished crafted gear.

How Gear Works

The starter-level gear that characters can find in monster loot gives them access to abilities they earn from training Feats. Upgrading from peasant clothes and wood clubs to starter-level gear will enable the characters to become more effective adventurers. A "cold start" character in peasant clothes wielding a wood club will find a 1:1 fight against low level monsters to be a tough fight. A character equipped with starter-level gear will be able to engage larger groups of monsters - 2, 3 & 4 opponents and have a good chance to survive.

Player Character crafted gear will enable characters to start taking on tougher monsters and engaging the largest groups and the Escalation encounters they find while exploring the wilderness.

Keywords

Gear has Keywords. The more Keywords a piece of gear has the more powerful it may be in the hands of a skilled character. Starter-level gear has the basic Keyword associated with that type of item. But crafted gear can have even more. When gear is crafted using crafting components that have "+"s, the resulting crafted item gains a keyword for each "+". So a "+2" sword has a basic starter Keyword, and 2 additional Keywords which are conferred by the recipe used to craft it.

Resources don't have "+" values. When a resource is converted to a crafting component by a character using a Settlement facility like a Smeltmill, the Character may have the ability to create "+" versions of those crafting components if they have the necessary recipes. The more "+" values a crafting component has the more basic resources are required to create it.

Keyword Synergy

Characters can train Feats which confer various abilities on the character. When a player "slots a Feat" (characters have a limited number of slots for various Feats so players will have to make choices about which Feats of which type to have active on a character at any given time), the Keywords on the character's gear may become active.

For example if a character slots an armor Feat that "looks for" the Keyword "Military" on armor, and that character is wearing armor that has the "Military" Keyword, the character gains additional resistance to damage. Just slotting that Feat, or just wearing that armor doesn't provide the bonus. The Feats and gear must have Keyword synergy.

WTS / WTB

"Want to Sell" and "Want to Buy" are going to become common messages in local chat in the Settlements. Some characters are going to specialize in harvesting and crafting and some characters are going to specialize in monster killing. The crafters will be producing gear that makes the monster killers more effective. The monster killers are going to be recovering loot the crafters need to make better gear.  

This is the core economic game loop and it is what we are going to be testing with the Cold Start this week in Alpha.

This Week at PAX Prime

Seattle is host this weekend to the Penny Arcade Expo, aka PAX Prime. 70,000+ gamers will descend on the Washington State Trade & Convention Center for 4 days of fun and meaningful human interaction.

Paizo has a room at the show where they'll be running demos for the tabletop RPG and the Adventure Card Game. Members of the Goblinworks team will be there at various times during the show to answer questions and record interactions with the community. Bonny our community manager is armed with our digital camera and she's on the prowl for likely interview subjects!

Ryan will be speaking at several events this week. Wednesday at 2:30 (Pacific) he'll be talking about Life After Kickstarter at Pax Dev, PAX's sister show at the Westin. At 6pm on Friday in the Sphinx Theater he'll be joining the all-star lineup for another round of MMORPG.com's "Future of Online Games" panel. At 4pm on Saturday in Sandworm he'll be speaking more about Kickstarters and their aftermath at "It's Complicated: Developer's Relationship With Backers".

Because of PAX there will not be a structured Adventure Time with Bonny this Friday but the players are talking about organizing a group to "strip mine" a hex to test resource depletion mechanics. Keep an eye on the forums for more details.

GENCONPAX14

We're continuing our sales promotion this week! If you purchase Early Enrollment or Explorer Enrollment through the goblinworks.com shop and use GENCONPAX14 as the coupon code at checkout you'll get a special discount on these packages. $15 off Early Enrollment and $10 off Explorer Enrollment!

Release Notes for Alpha 7

You will need to update your client this week (for sure!). Click this link to get the new client starting Thursday at 3pm (Pacific).

Updated Quick Start Guide

We have updated and revised the Quick Start Guide for the Cold Start in Alpha 7.  Click this link to get the new Quick Start Guide (2.2MB PDF).

Advancement

  • Adjusted all rank 4 trainers to train at 16th level. Previously some were set to 15th level.
  • Removed role-based achievement requirements from Armor, Defensive, and Utility feats and added more feat-based requirements.

Character Creation

  • Cold start has implemented. New characters begin game play with clothes and a club, and are not differentiated between classes.

Characters

  • Corrected XP costs for attack bonuses and defense bonuses.
  • Corrected XP costs and ability score bonuses for harvesting skills.
  • Starting XP has been returned to 1,000, but players now earn 5,000 per hour the server is up.
  • Removed alpha character starting options and replaced them with basic male and female appearance variations equipped with only a club and clothing for the new tutorial experience.

Combat

  • Added preliminary version of Sneak Attack.

Crafting

  • Placed Weaver trainer in Osterberg and the Tailor building now functions as a Loom.
  • Removed Spellcraft trainers, placed Spellcraft on Arcanist's Workshop Trainer.

Effects

  • Doubled the duration of target-delivered buffs (testing whether this compensates for the present difficulty of targeting allies).

Environment

  • Gender of NPCs has been randomized.
  • Increased the the odds of encountering single low-level monsters in the starter hexes.
  • Thornguards in all settlements now have one minute respawn timers. (Try your takeover NOW Cheatle!)
  • The entire world terrain has been replaced. It now includes improved detail, roads and a substantial amount of new area.

Escalations

  • Added Nature's Wrath escalation cycle.
  • Blocked escalations from infecting the three hexes neighboring Sotterhill.

Expendables

  • Expendables are now available! They show up in the All tab in your inventory, and can be learned by right clicking. After you have learned it, it goes to your Active Feats expendables tab. You must have the appropriate type of implement (spellbook, e.g.) equipped.

Feats

  • Added the following feats:
    • Pommel (Light Knife, Skirmisher)
    • Sunder (One-Handed Axe, Dreadnaught)
    • Hew (One-Handed Axe, Dreadnaught)
    • Hammer Conk (One-Handed Blunt, Dreadnaught)
    • Lens of the Sun (Staff, Occultist)
    • Explosive Rune (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Protective Ward (Staff, Occultist)
    • Slippery Ground (Staff, Occultist)
    • Corrosive Rain (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Shard Storm (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Concealing Mist (Staff, Occultist)
    • Jarring Mesmerism (Staff, Occultist)
    • Fearsome Visage (Staff, Occultist)
    • Cacophony (Staff, Occultist)
    • Killing Joke (Staff, Occultist)
    • Daze (Wand, Occultist)
    • Quick Frost (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Instant Inferno (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Blinding Pattern (Staff, Occultist)
    • Shadow Blast (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Haunting Mists (Staff, Occultist)
    • Storm's End (Wand, Occultist)
    • Frightening Blast (Staff, Occultist)
    • Exhausting Burst (Staff, Occultist)
    • Deadly Proximity (Staff, Occultist)
    • Plague Storm (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Wilting Surge (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Wraith's Cry (Staff, Warwizard)
    • Carrion Strike (Wand, Occultist)
    • Searing Armor (Staff, Occultist)
    • Energetic Field (Staff, Occultist)
    • Break (Wand, Occultist)
    • Razing Smite (Focus, Seminary)
    • Bless (Focus, Seminary)
    • Inspiring Word (Focus, Seminary)
    • Bane (Focus, Seminary)
    • Lookout (Utility, Skirmisher)
  • The following attacks were adjusted to enable the intended effects that were not previously available:
    • Destructive Smite now does Razed instead of Bleeding
    • Deafening Roar now does Short Blast instead of Splash
    • Arctic Winds now does Short Blast instead of Splash
    • Wyrmling Breath now does Short Blast instead of Splash
    • Cleave now does Short Blast instead of Splash
  • All attacks with the Streak effect (such as Electric Brand) should now properly attack in a line instead of duplicating Splash"
  • Reduced bonus from Base Attack to match design (it was twice as good as expected).
  • Added Base Attack Bonus to Seminary, Occultist, and War Wizard trainers.
  • Corrected Base Attack Bonus taught by Skirmish trainers.
  • Added Basic [Weapon] Exploit attacks to the starter feats that all characters get with physical weapons. Each of these provides extra damage and precision on the common condition for that weapon (Opportunity or Flat-Footed).
  • Trophy Charm Implement Proficiency now requires Dexterity or Strength and rewards both Dexterity and Strength ability score points.
  • Changed progression on arcane weapons and cantrips so the more specific weapon-type keyword comes into play earlier (rather than the first two keywords always being Arcane then the staff or wand keywords). This should make specialization more important earlier for arcane weapons.

Gathering

  • Added achievement point requirements to level 2 crafting, harvesting, and refining skills.
  • Changed the categories of nodes that spawn in different terrain types so mineral nodes never spawn in coastland, woodland, or cropland hexes, while junk hexes never spawn in highland and mountain hexes. Also reapportioned the chances of different node categories spawning to better reflect the amount of resources in different terrain types.
  • Getting buffed no longer interrupts gathering.
  • It is now possible to walk through essence nodes.
  • Added Forester to Sawmill
  • Changed Tannery from teaching Nature to Forester.
  • Replaced Scavenger with Miner on Jeweler trainers.
  • Added Scavenger to Leatherworker trainer.

Items

  • Set recipe-learning items to the right quality ratings for refining recipes (i.e., they should no longer all appear with gray names).
  • Most higher tier armors now display properly.
  • Right-click dying of clothing has been added, but colors and suits in inventory need tuning - sorry about the pastels!

Login

  • The "Login Failed" error message no longer shows up routinely upon initial login attempt(s).

Recipes

  • Renamed Disciple's Arcane Charge to Disciple's Simple Charge.
  • Duplicated charge and charge gem recipes from Artificer on Iconographer (because orisons on foci will also consume charges).

Social

  • Added Emotes and Common Sayings - these are currently visible only in the chat window.

Trade

  • Trade window scrolling issues have been resolved.

Added Tutorial

  • Added version 1 of the tutorial covering:
    • Movement (basic, run, walk, stealth)
    • Combat (attacks, slaying goblins - found around Sotterhill)
    • Purchasing and slotting active feats (Thwack and Escape)
    • Purchasing and slotting passive feats (Toughness)
    • Crafting (Craft 1 item - Introductory Steel Bodkin Arrows)