Okay, the cat (or in this case spirit) is out of the bag and now it’s time for some more in-depth coverage and explanation of the current Stretch Goal. But first, a thank you to all of our Backers who have helped us pass 3.5M in CF donations. Awesome!!! Thank you all so much for making this possible, especially for helping us met the last Stretch Goal. As to the target of that SG, interviews are moving along nicely but no official hires yet. We are getting closer but as you know, close isn’t good enough. We’ll keep you updated of course when we add some new programmers to the team.
As to this current Stretch Goal, well, it’s one that I’m pretty excited about on a personal level. It’s the first of our Extender Pack Plus Stretch Goals and the core concept, the Extender Pack is worthy of a bit more explanation than I was able to give in the SG text itself. For quite a while we have been promising our Backers that we would not add content to the game in a manner that would cause us to extend the schedule further. We are so committed to that goal, that I even wrote a Foundational Principle about it. And that is as close to setting something in stone than we can do. OTOH, there is content, such as this SG, that I hoped that we would find a way to add to the game at some point. As our long-time Backers know, even during the Kickstarter we said we wanted to add more races, classes, etc. to our game but weren’t going to endanger our launch date to do so. Quality is one thing but delaying the launch to add new stuff isn’t the path we choose to go down. Thus was born the concept of an Extender Pack. Content, features, etc. that are added to the game post-launch that do not require an addition purchase such as an Expansion Pack traditionally does. These EPs also do not endanger any launch-based content, since we will not work on them until after launch. They are thus the perfect way to add content to the game in a manner that benefits Backers (no separate purchase required) and the studio. You can think of these as a developmental road map for the game as other MMORPGs have done in the past.
Now, an Extender Pack Plus is just a slightly different form of the EP. Until other EPs, which we may have as SGs in the future, an EPP is a Stretch Goal that if it is possible to complete them before launch, without endangering launch or other features, we will add them into the game. As this is the first EPP, it is the first EPP that will be added prior to launch if possible. It is important to note that moving an EPP into the launch schedule will not happen even if our Backers ask for it unless again, we can do so without both endangering launch and removing other features/content for this instead. So, for the folks that might be concerned that this means that other content (class, race, etc.) might be delayed due to the EPP, that is not part of the plan.
As to why I am so personally excited about this class, well, as anybody who has been reading my statements on pets since the KS began know, I love pet classes. However, I was and still remain willing to sacrifice this class unless we felt that we could do so without sacrificing our engine’s ability to have large scale battles. In the case of pet classes, we not only had that hurdle but also the other hurdles that usually accompany pet classes. These include, but are not limited to, problems with pathing, agro, “easy mode”, etc. I’ve been very clear that at the time of the KS and beyond I wasn’t confident that we could add this class to the game. However, over the last six months or so that opinion has changed due to both a change of thinking about the class mechanics themselves as well as the technical challenges associated with the class. For the later, the “sea change” for us was when we started thinking about pets as not flesh and bone creatures but rather, as spells in the form of spirits. Spirits don’t have to worry about pathing around objects, they can move through them (LOS is another issue of course). Spirits will be no more taxing on the engine than spell effects. Spirits can also use the same tech we are building out for spells so they are also less expensive to code. The concept of pets as spells was what really made me change my mind about the possibility of implementing them. And once we had meetings about them, it became clear that we could pull this off as long as we did it smartly and carefully. For example, having a pet class that can summon dozens of spirits is probably not going to happen. Having a pet class that used spirits and other forms of attack simultaneously was also off the board. OTOH, having spirits that could be pulled from The Depths, battlefields, etc. and be used by the class was a solid jumping off point for our discussions. Spirits who could be affected through the A.I.R. system, by the day/night cycle, seasons, etc. seemed so much more interesting than the more tropish pet systems out there.
Now, here’s where things start to get more interesting. Think about pet classes with multiple paths as our Drengr and how they could be used in different types of battles! Think about, say, how pets could be summoned and moved around the battlefield via portals (When is a keyhole not a keyhole? When it is a portal!). Think about pets as turrets and the role they could play in sieges. As I said in IT chat, let your mind wander and see how very, very interesting a pet class could be when it is removed from the standard Hunter type of pet class. That is why I am both excited about this class and why I hope you folks will be as well. As the art that we will reveal over the coming weeks will show, there are many interesting possibilities for this class. As I’ve said about another class that many of our Backers have asked for, I’d only add these folks if the mechanics made sense for an RvR-focused game like Camelot Unchained™ and if they didn’t interfere with meeting our goal of large-scale battles. After much thought and review, we think we have done just that with this class.
I hope everybody has a happy Saturday and that our Alpha and IT testers are enjoying the 24 hours of bot-a-full testing that is going on now.
As always, I’ll be around on the Forums to discuss this with you folks!
And again, thank you all so much for helping us meet this Stretch Goal.