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Project status and card balancing


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A summary of this announcement is written at the bottom.

Greetings Skylords, Skyladies and other Skyfolk!

Over the past two months project progression has considerably slowed down and it has become apparent that the community is in need of a status update. This announcement aims to provide said status update, where we discuss what has happened the past few months, what the current status of the project is, what some of the roadblocks are and how we plan to alleviate them, what we are currently focusing on and what our plans and expectations are to move forward. We also take a more in-depth look at the current roadmap for new cards and card balancing, and newly added staff members.

General project state and current plans

Let us start by going back more or less 1 year. At that moment @Ladadoos and @Zyna were still only client developers and the only server developer, Kubik, had just left us. With no foreseeable new server developer and the server being in a very unstable state, Ladadoos and Zyna decided to step up and become server and client developers. For the next few months they worked many hours per day to fix as many game related issues as possible and bring the gaming experience to an enjoyable state so that Skylords Reborn could finally release. This lead to the project reaching an unsustainably high update throughput, likely giving false expectations for parts of the community for the future. Just before the project released the only two administrators, InsaneHawk and MrXLink, also stepped down from their role. The lack of a leading role started to show and considering Ladadoos and Zyna had the most involvement in the project at the time they stepped up to also become administrators. As a step in the process of re-structuring the team and improving work efficiency, we noticed that there was a clear need for extra designers. Game design has always been behind and with release coming, we needed to finish design decisions quickly. That is when @ImaginaryNumb3r joined which helped immensely and, alongside other designers, we were able to get game design to an acceptable state for release. 

On December 18th, 2020 Skylords Reborn released. With this milestone achieved we decided to shift more of our attention to ensuring our servers properly handle the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of concurrent players and to start implementing our first ever card balance changes! With the help of ImaginaryNumb3r, Zyna and the discord balancing server we released our first big card balance change on 1st of January, 2021. This was followed by a couple of extra updates, after which the project progression greatly decreased. ImaginaryNumb3r had to spontaneously spend a lot more time at his real-life job and Zyna and Ladadoos had to catch up with university duties like bachelor and master thesis. In the meantime other staff members have also had it busier than usual.

This leads us to where we are now. Two months without game updates and a community without a clear idea of the current state of the project. In the past few weeks we have internally discussed project health and team structure and decided to use the little time we currently still have into adding more team members to the project and improving code and workflow documentations. This process takes a lot of time which unfortunately comes at the cost of even slower game progression. Ever since we made our open staff applications page we have had many new applications come in and a lot of time has been spent processing them. Our goal is to expand the team such that we try to minimize the chances the project hits a complete halt again and as a result you can expect the team to grow in the upcoming weeks/months. We recently also added three new roles (discord moderators, community manager and event organizer) alongside the existing ones, which should improve the current project state. Feel free to have a look!

Faction design and new staff members

That being said, today we are most happy to announce the future for card balancing and potential new cards in Skylords Reborn. To us, card balance is of critical importance to provide new experiences and allow for greater deck building freedom in the game. To accelerate this process we are proud to announce that we have established a team of 5 people which are dedicated to improve the overall gameplay and deckbuilding experience.

With the introduction of this new team, we have created 2 new official titles:
 - Faction Designer: They explore the design space for card changes and create specifications which will be implemented.
 - Balance Developer: They implement features which were designed by Faction Designers or fix bugs of different sorts. They will also help map making in the future by adding new map specific units like bosses.

In other words: faction designers design the cards and balance developers implement them.

The team consists of the following members:
- @RadicalX: Faction Designer with PvP focus
- @WindHunter: Faction Designer with PvE focus
- @Chibiterasu: Balance Developer
- @Razeroc: Balance Developer
- @ImaginaryNumb3r: Lead Faction Designer

Expectations and steps moving forward

Experience has shown that working on balance and faction design is too work intense for just one developer at a time. As such, it goes without saying that you can expect more frequent balance iterations with card changes which won't only address balance, but also bugfixes and quality-of-life changes. Furthermore, we want to use our new resources for improved communication and greater transparency in terms of card and faction design.

Card changes are important steps to make the game more fun, but because there are so many ways one can adjust cards good design is everything. For PvE in particular our ultimate goal is to strengthen the identity of each faction (pure elements and hybrid factions) and give them their own signature playstyles. But for now, our efforts are best spend on cards which don't require a mechanical rework to make viable (like the Mutating Maniac buff). And for PvP, our new development resources allow our expert group (a group of hand-picked community members that help with design) to make faster progress and make more tests. In the future you can expect more detailed short and long-term goals for card balancing.

That is it for now. Thanks for your continued support the past few months and we look forward to what the future brings us!

Summary

  • Developers and designers are very busy with real-life jobs and university.
  • New open staff roles were made here as an attempt to keep the project progressing. These rules include discord moderators, community manager, event organizer, developers, designers etc.
  • A lot of time is currently spent reviewing applications and making it easier to integrate new staff members.
  • @Chibiterasu and @Razeroc were recently added to staff and are responsible to implement card changes designed by the new faction designers @RadicalX and @WindHunter. This should greatly speed up card/faction balancing.
Timer, Toggy, Volin and 14 others like this
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  • Ladadoos changed the title to Project status and card balancing

Although there are many changes I would personally love to see and some that I think are just straight up necessary for the game, in the end everything that comes now, after the final release, is just a bonus to me.

Everything that helps the project grow and evolve is good news! I hope you guys are willing to take risks and shake things up. We all already know what BattleForge had to offer. Now lets see what Skylords does.

fiki574 likes this
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1 hour ago, Darkroy said:

Awesome! Really appreciate your work!

And i´d love to see some balance changes to cards. Is there a way i could submit some ideas aswell?

You could either use the card section of the forums and open up a new thread or join the discord balancing server to share your ideas (invitation link can be found in the card section of the forums aswell). :)  

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  • Zyna unpinned and unfeatured this topic

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