We wanted to start talking about the issues immediately, but we feel that explaining what we’re trying to do is needed first. This introduction post, as well as all subsequent posts are the products of collaboration between several senior developers and our community and support teams, not the work of one author.
Since Darkfall’s launch and over the past year we’ve been very interested in taking as much feedback on the game into consideration as possible. This feedback comes from many sources: our community, from testers, external forums, from our support team, reviewers, bloggers, fan sites, players in the game, our own player experience with the game, listening in on race chat, IRC etc. Through our own findings and with help from the feedback we’ve delivered two major expansions, over 30 patches, and many thousands of updates, additions, fixes, and changes so far. These have helped shape the game to what it is today and we know we don’t thank you enough for all the great debates and the input, but we really are grateful for them. More importantly, all your feedback helps us determine the direction the game will move towards, and therefore it's important in shaping the game's future.
Any meaningful improvement involves a long process of planning, design, development, testing and follow-up. As you can understand, Darkfall is an extremely complex system and even minor tweaks have to be carefully planned and executed. Massive sweeping changes can’t happen all at once, so what needs to happen is a process of smaller improvements and changes which eventually add up to the massive change.
Over the past year we’ve identified, prioritized, and have been working on several focus areas that we feel need the most attention. It’s no coincidence that these are the areas we get the most feedback about by the community. In assessing these areas against the feedback we receive, we’ve confirmed there are real issues needing serious attention, but we’ve also discovered smaller issues magnified by perception.
It’s not always apparent what’s happening when we’re systematically working our way towards major changes within the game. We haven’t been doing a good enough job at communicating our long-term goals and the constraints we have to work with and this is probably why there’s also a feeling in the community that changes aren’t happening quickly enough.
As a result of these communication gaps, it may also seem that we don’t care, or that we’re not working on the things that matter. In reality we’re consumed with tackling the major issues, there’s a clear and detailed plan, a very strong commitment and a lot of work being done behind the scenes on every level. We’re also constantly trying to improve our delivery times by streamlining our processes, and by getting more developers on the job. There are currently numerous smaller things in the works in many different areas of the game leading up to larger improvements across the board.
What we’d like to do here is to take the areas we’ve identified one at a time, starting with character progression issues AKA “the grind” tomorrow, and addressing them by briefly explaining our past actions, our short and our long-term plans. We’d like to hear back from you on these issues and we want to keep you better updated on our progress towards our goals so that the feedback is based on real information rather than on speculation. This is something we’ve been working towards for a while, improving our feedback collection process, and developing the spotlight forum to handle this kind of interaction.
Our day to day activity is rarely interesting enough and it’s also difficult to communicate in a meaningful way. We also feel that it's a bad idea to talk about everything. We’ll do our best however to give you a broad overview of what we’re working on and we'll also try explain some of our reasoning so you can hopefully get a much better understanding of where the game is headed.