State of PoxNora Update (December 2017)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sokolov, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    While there isn't much "new" to report, I did want to give you guys an update.

    In general, progress across most fronts is slow - this isn't a surprise to anyone who is around. The fact of the matter is, a lot of time and resources were poured into the new client (at the expense of content and other fixes/updates). And given the state of the new client, despite the "upgrades" it has over the old, it's obvious that it hasn't been doing well.

    And to be frank, Pox was not doing so hot when DOG took back over. SOE was set to shut the game down when DOG took it back. DOG then spent a lot of time and money trying to revive the game (e.g. features such as the Forge, the new league system, etc.), and it did have some success on that front, but not enough to really justify continuing to put the entire team of resources into it.

    Thus, the team had to start doing other work to supplement the cost of running DOG and to ensure the studio itself had a future beyond Pox. This is why the team worked on the Huntsman game, and agreed to contract on SpaceWars as well.

    That said, population seems to be improving lately. And some players are working on what will be an officially sponsored tournament with prizes provided by DOG. Stay tuned for that.

    In general, there is no shortage of ideas to make Pox work. The reality is getting the money/resources to do the thing, and whether that investment pays for itself. And unfortunately, "just do X" or "just do Y" is generally far more optimistic than most people realize. Even those of us in the industry frequently overestimate the impact of our ideas, especially on a product of this age and with the amount of baggage that it has.

    Specifically, the new client ended up being a lot more work than anticipated, particularly for features like the rune manager which took months to do. There are many reasons for this, some technical, some personnel based, but at the end of the day the result is still the same - the new client took about 3 times longer than it should have (and costed about 4x more), and when it launched it really wasn't ready, but it had already been delayed many times so there was really no choice.

    The initial fixes to the new client focused largely on overall stability and usability. Work continues on fixing the issues with the client, particularly in-game issues. This is a slow going process, mostly due to the aforementioned lack of resources, but it's NOT abandoned.

    As I have said before, I don't believe anyone is more frustrated than me with the new client. From my perspective, it was an opportunity to improve usability and get many QOL improvements... instead, it has decreased usability :(

    One of the main focuses since I came back has been bugs. It's hard to overestimate the amount of time that has been spent by the team on bugs. Unfortunately, the game has a huge backlog of bugs. When I left SOE, there were THOUSANDS of bug tickets in their system... which DOG was not allowed to have, so we've had to "start over" with confirming bugs etc. At the same time, many bugs are such core issues that it's not so easy to fix (at least without breaking a bunch of other stuff). The reality is that a bug free game (especially one with the complexities of interactions as Pox) is mostly a pipedream, but Pox is obviously well on the wrong side of this.

    I personally spend a great deal of time confirming bugs and fixing what ones I can. But not being a programmer this is mostly low level stuff or "hacky" stuff which doesn't address the issue on a core level. I also have the ability to design around bugs, which I have often done - just eliminated the problem ability/interaction. If something isn't working right, and there's no fix in sight, it seems better to go avoid the problem altogether.

    Another core focus for me is balance and trying to keep the meta fresh. Balance wise, the game is in a fairly good state - certainly there are always problems/issues but that's the nature of this type of game. However, most indicators point to the fact that there is a lot that's runnable now.

    Some new things coming down the pipe that people should be aware of:
    • Removal of Possession Cliff-diving
      • Previously, KB Cliff-diving was removed, and now Possession has also been fixed
      • The fix is that non-Flying units simply see Chasms the same way they see other impassable tiles
      • Flying units can still fly over Chasms, and if they lose Flying they will still be destroyed
    • Possession effects are being buffed
    • Sacrifice mechanic is being removed
      • Sacrifice is a half-implemented, semi-buggy problem, and I have decided to try and remove it
      • The goal is to simplify the whole "destroy" vs "sacrifice" idea and just have things be 100% consistent
      • Runes that are problematic when "sacrificed" will instead get Warding or Pariah as appropriate
      • Also potentially expect some on-death effects to be changed due to this adjustment
      • This is going to be a long-term adjustment, so don't expect it all to be phased out or working amazingly right off the bat
    • Charged abilities is being reworked
      • Charges is a fun mechanic that, unfortunately, is extremely unwieldly both in terms of design space and usability
      • After the update, most charged abilities will generate their own charges so we can get rid of all the extra abilities on champions that generate charges
      • If time allows, I will also update some existing abilities that need counters to use Charges such as Ammunition and Ancient Corruption
    • General Balance Changes (off the top of my head):
      • Frost Amp
      • Seism/Relic HP Pass
      • Preparation/Ranged Stance
    • Random Buffs
      • Specifically, I know I buffed some Spiders and G'hern recently, but there's always lots of these kinds of adjustments
    Next Patch
    Unfortunately, I have no idea when this will be as this is mostly dependent on when major pieces of client work is completed and ready to be pushed.

    In the meantime, I am continuing to work on what I can. Currently, I am finishing up the Charges update, following which I will be working on the Sacrifice mechanic. Beyond that, I have been paying attention to the bug forums and fixing what I can.

    Next Expansion
    As you know, both the mid-terms and new expansion were largely ready long before the new client was done, but were held off.

    I do not have a date for when the next expansion will drop. I do know that after all this time, I will need to do another design pass on them to make sure they are ok before launching, but code-wide the expansion is complete (not that there was much code, as that was the point of an expansion with almost no new abilities).


    Sorry for the lack of real news, but this is more or less the extent of what I know. I will try and do a post like this once a month or so.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
    ghklf, OriginalG1, iPox and 21 others like this.
  2. Xirone

    Xirone I need me some PIE!

    So what you're saying is you are going to preview the artwork for one of my runes in the coming expansion? Fairy Circle artwork? Hahahaha. Anyway, thanks for the update.
    Woffleet, MrCharles and Etherielin like this.
  3. xaznsoulx

    xaznsoulx Supreme Dream Team 夢想 隊

    The loyal veterans are still here @Sokolov #decade
    attio26, yobanchi, Varthas and 9 others like this.
  4. Kampel

    Kampel I need me some PIE!

    Thank you for the update, its kind of a downer tho..
  5. SireofSuns

    SireofSuns I need me some PIE!

    I am curious, since I've been out of the loop for a while, will self-cliff diving be removed as well? As in, I can no longer kill my own units by walking them off a cliff? I imagine that is getting removed for simplicity, though it will be disappointing to not have as an answer to some shenanigans.
    Vash Dragneel, SPiEkY and Kampel like this.
  6. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    Correct. Chasms = Rocks, basically.
    SireofSuns likes this.
  7. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    I know, but it is what it is.
  8. MrCharles

    MrCharles The King of Potatoes

    Thanks for the update. Let us know how we can help support the game and your studio.
  9. MrCharles

    MrCharles The King of Potatoes

    I don't see it a as a downer. Communication is always good. The game is about 1,000,000,000,000 years olds in video game time so I'm happy it still exists and there is some work being done on it.
  10. xaznsoulx

    xaznsoulx Supreme Dream Team 夢想 隊

    *starts gofundme page*
  11. Gnomes

    Gnomes Forum Royalty

    On a good note, because they own all of the art to all of the runes, if the studio were to make a new game i would assume a lot of that art would be used as not to waste resources and with that the flavor of pox would come with it.

    also the studio could sell their artwork to get more dough to do more with...
  12. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    Yea, but you know, the problem is that the problems with the new client is pretty clear, and it's frustrating knowing what the problems are without being able to address them because the whole thing was basically just barely working. Stuff like having the icons showing up even when you don't have a controller plugged in or things like not having the factions listed in the new client and other features we lost are really annoying but doesn't impact the actual function of the client and gets pushed aside in order to fix more major issues. For example, not being able to move 2x2s properly, or basic usability things like the runedock not being sorted by rune type or nora cost, or every rune showing up with 0 nora cost and tooltips not working at all. Those who participated in the beta know how bad it was even after over a year of development.

    So most of these were because the programmers were almost entirely focused on very basic functionality for the entire development cycle and significant bits of that was still wonky/broken at launch.

    As I have said, the entire situation frustrates me more than anyone, I think, because I've been privy to these problems for a long time and been unable to do anything about it. I had such high hopes for the new client when the process first started but I'd settle for it working properly at this point.

    So I understand when people are disappointed or feel it's a downer. I do too.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  13. PoxAurora

    PoxAurora The King of Potatoes

    Would this potentially allow some more functionality in the future with things like chasmwalker and a new potential teleport/tunnel ability?
  14. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    Possible. Wouldn't expect it any time soon tho.
  15. Skeezick

    Skeezick Forum Royalty

    it was a good run,shame
  16. IPhoenixl

    IPhoenixl I need me some PIE!

    thanks for the update !

    looks like i wont be able to change my profile pic for awhile

    (ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  17. TeaNinja

    TeaNinja I need me some PIE!

    Thanks for the update. I plan to pick this game back up now that I have a laptop again.
    Karamasov, Alakhami, Gnomes and 5 others like this.
  18. Etherielin

    Etherielin The Floof Cultist

    Feel free to join us on Discord - it's the community's hearth until global chat is back to its former functionality!
    TeaNinja, Alakhami and Gnomes like this.
  19. Baskitkase

    Baskitkase Forum Royalty

    Everything has to have a successful social interface nowadays. You killed the game with the removal of chat and the removal of faction identification on observable games. The complete failure that is the new client is something that could have been ultimately overcame with small regular patches and communication.

    Have fun spewing ultra liberal nonsense in graph form on the forum of your next game.
    profhulk likes this.
  20. Boozha

    Boozha I need me some PIE!

    Hey, just checking in to tell that I'm not out. I am very disappointed by the new client (I suppose we all are), but I will never give up hope, because Pox's weakness it's also its unique strength: A metric load of complexity no other game can offer.

    So yeah, Sok, I am watching you.

    Implement my ****** rune suggestions, will you.

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