4.4 Update Preview Discussion

Hey folks,

I wanted to jump in here and impart some news/details, so you get it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Firstly, a few notes. THEN some meaty bits below.

1. WE"RE LISTENING. Please know that Salty has been advocating on your behalf VERY strongly at every chance she got over these last few months. The dev team has all been made aware of the exact nature of the current issues you’re describing here. We all read the forums regularly, as you know, but Salty is your champion for these issues, I promise you.

2. TRANSPARENCY “More Transparency” vs. “Complete Transparency”. I hope we’ve been providing as much transparency as we can. But you should never expect complete transparency from us, or any game developer. Situations that arise are sometimes covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements, or simply protected by good manners(!) & professional business conduct. We’ll never discuss exact KPIs, contractual issues, far-off release dates, or other sensitive information - we simply can’t. But we’ve been trying to give an insight into things where we can. If you’re scratching your head over something, wondering why we’re doing a thing, and we’re not giving you enough details, it’s usually something we can’t talk about (yet)… The Gems of War team is as good a team as I’ve worked with in 3 decades though, so the reason is never going to be that “we don’t care” or “we’re incompetent” (always room for improvement though!)

3. EVIL PLANS. One thing I always read, when there is some discontent, is how we’re about to start screwing everyone over, and we’re too afraid to talk about it :slight_smile: I know those theories are never going to stop, but I’m just reiterating that’s not the case here. Not on my watch, anyway. I believe free games should give you pretty much everything of value for free, eventually, if you put in the time. This theory does not always make me the most popular guy in the room, but I’m okay with that, and in this, I’m certainly on your side.

4. COMPLEXITY We’re approaching 5 years with Gems of War, and this game has a level of content and complexity in line with games like League of Legends. That means fixes are going to slow down. It’s nothing to do with team size, success, competence, or greed. This is an engineering reality.
Band-aid fixes are harder to implement, and have wide-ranging and unforeseen effects.
Take for example, this PvP issue

  • We implemented a feature to add Hero Power to Team Score
  • A bug was uncovered and fixed with Team Score calculations while that was being done

Seems harmless enough on the surface, and we did a lot of testing. But it managed to create some unforeseen issues in the PvP Reward calculations out in the wild AND also in the matchmaking (though you never saw that, as we got it fixed). But still, we’re left with this horrible PvP Scoring issue. We can perform full regression tests on any changes, to see if they have cross-system effects, but that takes TIME/MONEY, and it’s not always going to be viable to do that on every single fix… It was so much easier to do this stuff on a smaller codebase. :frowning:

Anyway… the takeaway from this point is threefold:

  • We have to spend longer PLANNING changes, to minimize their impact on existing code, and to clean up old code as we go, so things don’t get exponentially worse.
  • We have to be SUPER CAREFUL of band-aid fixes, and try to only do them when it is critical.
  • Some fixes are going to roll out a bit slower, so we don’t end up with worse problems

Alright… Now the MEATY BITS

This is the easy one to share.
We have a plan. And we’re working on it (this weekend in fact, I’m heading in to the office to make my 50% of the changes).
There will be both free and paid options to get all old Event Weapons.
I suspect both of these changes to roll out within the next 4 weeks.
Why has it taken so long? Because the easy fixes didn’t scale well into the future.
Also, to a lesser degree, because we had other priorities/interruptions that we can’t discuss (see point 2 above), sorry.
I believe we’re doing a Dev Q&A on stream next week, and I’ll share more about our plans there!

This is the tricky one. We’ve been working on it already, though I had communicated to Salty that we should not announce too much there, as we didn’t have an ETA on the fix, and I KNOW as soon as we announce it’s being worked on, everybody expects it within a week!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Here is what we wanted to do:

  • A full update to the PvP System, so the worst bits of this old code could go away forever
  • This would not include energy systems, as some folks had suggested. Core PvP will always be free while I’m here - I feel very strongly about that. It’s a core part of the game. That’s not to say we might not do a PvP event to alongside that at some point with Sigils, but we’re not putting Sigils on your PvP, don’t worry.

That update is still over 3 months away, unfortunately. And by “over 3 months” I mean, it could be 6 months (or even more). We do need to pivot quite quickly sometimes, and reschedule, so it can get pushed around. I agree with a comment further up that long pipelines are bad. Our content pipeline (troops, weapons, events) is now about 4 months, and will soon be longer. This is due to the reality of QA, marketing times, certification times, and update restrictions on various platforms (e.g. switch).
The feature pipeline is shorter, however, and we can pivot on that within 4-6 weeks. That’s entirely reasonable, but externally you see that as 2-3 months because of all those delays mentioned above.

Now I had hoped that we could make some small adjustments that would get us by until then, but they’ve all proved to have their own problems. Should we share the technical details of all those? Maybe… But we don’t like sharing too many technical system details… it’s a security thing… and given a recent rise in hackers in 2019 (350 more banned last week), we don’t want to encourage that any more by sharing too much tech stuff
AND a few other spanners, out of our control, flew into the works as we went (more things I can’t discuss as per point 2 up top - nothing sneaky, bad, or nefarious though, I promise).

TLDR on that is we haven’t got a fix yet, though we’ve been attempting one. Progress has been made though!

Anyway… .enough waffle about PvP Points… what I really wanted to say, is that given the effort and passion you folks have demonstrated in this thread, I promise you that we will redouble our efforts on this. I think we’re close!
And that we will communicate a plan for a fix some time next week.