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A Delicate Balance

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We’re generally working on changes to Das Tal in two week long iterations. After two weeks of working on new features and internally testing them we send a game build off to our staging server where it’s being properly tested by Eric who runs our QA. Then a couple days later the patch makes its way to our live server for development supporters. That server conveniently runs on a two-week schedule and so we combine the regular world reset with the new patch deployment.

Screen Shot 2016 05 07 at 6 52 4

In this iteration we’ve spent some time on improving the newbie experience of Das Tal. The newbie experience for sandbox games, especially open PvP ones, will always be a very hard thing to get right. There is so much to learn for newbies and so little hand-holding that your first minutes can feel very overwhelming. Additionally you face the problem that in an open PvP world you can get attacked by other players at any time. And that is totally fine for us, that is after all exactly why we play and design those kind of games. But if you’re in the first couple minutes of playing a new game then any fight will feel very unfair to you and many a new player has rage-quit before being able to get their bearings and find enough “proper fights” to stick around. So in this patch, we’ve addressed a couple issues:

  1. You can now see warning signs larger groups of players (who are not invisible) from a certain range. This makes it easier for new players to dodge larger roaming groups. And it adds an incentive for larger clans to split up into smaller roaming bands instead of one big stack. I’ve seen this mechanic in Albion Online and enjoyed that it adds more interesting decisions to the game of roaming PvP. Do you keep all your players close together while being clearly visible from afar? Do you split up into smaller groups instead to be more sneaky and get better engagements but with lower numbers? Do you keep everybody out in the open while being mobile or do you hide a larger part of your army in a brush to lay an ambush?
  2. Since new players and semi-veterans currently share a lot of common buildings for crafting and leveling up (that will change soon), it was quite common for fights to start where one players was just using a building where UI obstructed their view. And before knowing what happened they would have lost half their health to an attacker. Now you both get a flashing notice that someone is attacking you and a 30 second grace period in which you can get your bearing and then star the fight on more even terms. I love this mechanic since it doesn’t prevent people from fighting each other (which would happen if we’d just made players invulnerable while using any building) but instead offers a small power equalizer to make for more interesting fights.
  3. Mobs have also been a critical point of the newbie experience for a while. Up until now mobs were very hard to defeat for newbies, especially melees while veterans breezed through them relatively easily. And so “ganking” farming newbies was not super challenging. To turn this experience around - without simply preventing it from happening - we’ve made sure that mobs now take a higher HP toll on veterans than on newbies. And they also now prefer more experienced players as targets which means it’s now a lot more challenging to fight around mobs for veterans since they not only compete with the other player but also with the mobs. Which again ties into my philosophy of “do not just prevent actions, instead make them more challenging and interesting to all kinds of players”.

There are many more things we did this month, like combat balance, movement polish and improved UI. These are in the patch notes below. For next month we plan to work on a set of completely new world generation tools that will allow us to create custom game worlds way faster that will benefit both new players (though improved newbies areas) and veterans alike (though new gameplay and settlements).

Screen Shot 2016 05 07 at 6 53 0

New Features

  • Your clan members are now being displayed on the world map wherever they are.
  • While knocked-out and regenerating health you now build up short-term (30s) buffs to runspeed, determination, resistances and damage dealt.
  • Large group of players are now visible on the world map and through warning signs on the screen border. The player density and warning ranges scale with the current amount of players in the game.
  • Added a popup on level-up that shows you exactly what you just gained.
  • New players (B + C) now get a 30s invulnerability buff when being attacked at public dojos and workshops.
  • Added a “notification flash” when you get attacked while using a major building (dojo, workshop).
  • Added a popup that makes it clear that a new player was just killed by you or a clan mate nearby.
  • Mobs now scale in power & aggression with increased player ranks.
  • Mobs now prefer veteran players (higher ranks) over newbies (lower ranks).
  • You can now also use items from your inventory when crafting at workshops and training at Dojos.

Screen Shot 2016 05 07 at 6 55 1


Ability Changes

  • Massively decreased cooldown reduction on equipment, tweaked balance costs.
  • Decreased the cooldowns for Sweep, Snipe and Magic Bolt (1.5s > 1s) and Muck (1.5s > 0.5s) while reducing damage-per-hit (-> DPS stayed the same).
  • Ignore Pain: Reduced minimum duration, increased maximum duration.
  • Ghost Form: Decreased effect strength to scale from 25% to 75% damage reduction.
  • Revitalize: Slightly increased max damage reduction.
  • Heal Wounds: Decreased min heal effect, increased max heal effect.
  • Sweep: Slightly inceased range.
  • Sacrificial Sweep: Slightly decreased range.
  • Aggressive Leap: Slightly decreased stun duration and radius.
  • Increase determination gains from Staff and Bow’s silencing abilities.
  • Lonely Prowl now has a smaller reveal radius and shorter cooldowns.

Screen Shot 2016 05 07 at 6 56 0


Balancing Changes

  • Reduced the spawn rate of reagents by 50%.
  • Slightly increased the spawn rate for small events in the pelts territory.

Visual Changes

  • Changed VFX: Earth Wall, Hook Shot, Hemorrhaging Chains, Pestilent Shot, Sacrificial Sweep, Gravity Well, Blink, Swap.
  • Fixed a bug where Ghost Form and Ether Form’s VFX cancelled out each other.
  • Added new (WiP) VFX for stun and silence effects.

Screen Shot 2016 05 07 at 6 56 2


Usability Changes

  • Improved the user interface for small events and resource flags.
  • Added proper health bars to the Earth Wall elements.
  • Added new error messages for problems in crafting (workshop) and training (dojo).
  • The event schedule now includes a reminder to give your respect to someone else it will be randomly awarded.
  • Removed text labels from the minimap to make it more readable.
  • Changed the death messages to be a bit more clear and cheerful.
  • Small event’s lootable phases no get tracked in the event schedule.
  • Renamed crafting resources to “materials” and “reagents” respectively.
  • Fixed a broken description for Ghost Form.

Screen Shot 2016 05 07 at 6 55 3


Map Changes

  • Added decorative environment assets to two Revenant camps. More to come.

Misc Changes & Bug Fixes

  • Improved client-side collision to get rid of the annoying “rubberbanding” in the mountain area.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed players to wear items that belonged to a different weapon/armor class.

For more information on Das Tal and to sign-up for our upcoming Alpha test, go here.

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Comments  (0 - 10 of 21)
Teriya_LoD
Teriya_LoD

Das Tal May 31 Alpha PvP Video
Youtube.com

I’m afraid that gameplay footage does not do this game justice. To the casual observer the gameplay is skittish and extremely fast-paced and, in a word, overwhelming. There is so much happening in every frame that there’s no way to understand what’s going on and the video gets tuned out and is unappreciated for the sheer amount of heart-pounding action that the game entails. At least, that’s how I felt when I watched DT vids. Some crucial aspects of the game that gets lost in the video are the amount of battlefield awareness that is required at every moment and the critical precision of aiming.

A couple helpful tips when watching: try to follow my cursor (you’ll be able to see where my focus lies and what I’m doing to help the fight) and the big white circle that follows me is an AoE heal (I think technically it’s an AoE HoT.. or a HOT AOE)

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Guest
Guest

I can't wait for this game. Full loot PvP, Skill based combat, and changing worlds.

I’m afraid that gameplay footage does not do this game justice. To the casual observer the gameplay is skittish and extremely fast-paced and, in a word, overwhelming. There is so much happening in every frame that there’s no way to understand what’s going on and the video gets tuned out and is unappreciated for the sheer amount of heart-pounding action that the game entails. At least, that’s how I felt when I watched DT vids. Some crucial aspects of the game that gets lost in the video are the amount of battlefield awareness that is required at every moment and the critical precision of aiming.

A couple helpful tips when watching: try to follow my cursor (you’ll be able to see where my focus lies and what I’m doing to help the fight) and the big white circle that follows me is an AoE heal (I think technically it’s an AoE HoT.. or a HOT AOE)

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Teriya_LoD
Teriya_LoD

please remove this comment, I jumped the gun and posted too soon =X

or not if you don't mind spam...

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INtense! Staff
INtense!

concept art translated well into the game, nice

Reply Good karma+1 vote
yhann
yhann

I like it.
For the economic model you could think about the price of the game and the subscription to your server as a seperate thing, like making the possibility for the player to create their server (local host or wathever), this way I would personnaly enjoy it, as I have to admite that I prefer to have a game that will not disappear some month later due to none profit (pardon the bad english). Just my opinion, a hint nothing more, not to take seriously.

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lVliso
lVliso

while i do like the idea i also see where dbltnk is coming from. Unless given a decent way to counteract hackers it would not be the best idea but if given such it would be amazing to have. Pricing the game separately from the either monthly or yearly subs would help bring in profit but what would also help is possible something like minecraft is doing with realms. This could help players be able to have their own server all while being protected from hackers. just and opinion in my case but i hope i helped even just a tid bit.^~^

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dbltnk Creator
dbltnk

Thanks. That is an option indeed. Though we're a little weary of the host-your-own-server model for a PvP game. Look at DayZ or Rust - with that much hacking going on it's impossible to do any serious PvP.

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Guest
Guest

can't wait to try it out!

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ChickenDelight
ChickenDelight

Looking good so far. Love the concept.
How much will this game cost?

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dbltnk Creator
dbltnk

We don't know yet. We haven't decided on a business model for the game yet - still listening to hear what our players would prefer.

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Guest
Guest

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Gn0meSlice

Steam release or not, I'd really like to see a DRM-Free release as well. Would make a difference for myself, and many other players, I suspect.

Might I suggest IndieGameStand?

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dbltnk Creator
dbltnk

Since this is an MMORPG the only DRM is that you play on a server which is going to be hosted by us. IndieGameStand, HumbleStore or other digital stores are nice but only interesting for a pure P2P model, mostly used with singleplayer games.

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Gn0meSlice

That's a good point, if you're going F2P you probably don't really need to worry about where you distribute the game through.

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dbltnk Creator
dbltnk

Exactly. At this point the question would be more like "How do we host the game as cheap as possible?". But then we might not go F2P at all. Time will tell. =D

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ChickenDelight
ChickenDelight

Well, I hope it'll be free so I can play it, but I can see it costing $20 or something like that :)

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dbltnk Creator
dbltnk

We'll announce it once we have found a business model that's both awesome for players and devs. =D

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Das Tal
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Fairytale Distillery
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Patch Notes: 22.07.2016 Buff.ly #dastal Server performance improved, XP gains increased. The good stuff.

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Double the average playtime compared to our last playtest. For clan-less players this stat is up by 400%. #dastal T.co

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RT @dbltnk: Time to sign up for GameCamp Munich 2016. Get your golden ticket while they're still hot. Nice idea BTW. =D Buff.ly #gcmuc

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