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Skyforge Producer's Letter: Cybernetic Alliance

Our preparations for the next major update Cybernetic Alliance, arriving on June 1st, are in full swing. The update is packed with brand new features, such as robot companions, equipment refinement, D2 Distortions, various bug fixes, and other improvements.

There is even more to come, but not with good intent! A serious threat has been cast upon us by Akonita, the leader of the Gorgonides, who slithers her way towards Aelion. Will you have what it takes to save Aelion from total annihilation?

With this new update fast approaching, we wanted to take the opportunity to address some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns from the community:

Class Balance

Among many other things, our next update includes the highly requested class balance changes. The goal has always been to offer you a large range of viable classes to choose from in both PvE & PvP.
Cybernetic Alliance will bring a lot of tweaks and balancing to the table, a lot of which is thanks to the ever valuable feedback of the community. In essence, we’ll be buffing some of the underrepresented classes to make them a more valuable choice.

Communication between the dev team and players.

The community expressed disappointment regarding the frequency of communication concerning the development of Skyforge. While we understand the community’s desire to exchange thoughts on Skyforge with the dev and publishing teams, and while we wish to spend more time on communicating in general, our resources are limited and focused on delivering updates, seeing as we wish to close the patch-gap between the Russian and western market.

Communication about future development plans requires the involvement and approval of too many parties to be both time efficient and satisfying to players. We have some very ambitious (and strategically important) plans ahead which will further negate our opportunities of communication. We’ll be shedding light on these exciting plans sometime during summer.

With that said, we will try nonetheless to reply to some of the questions that have been forwarded to us, though in many cases we may be forced to remain elusive until our new project timeline has been fully scheduled and information starts flowing more freely.

What you've asked to know:

What’s the deal with Primary Energy? Why is the name of the space program “Star Conquest”? There’s a rumor that you can travel to the invasion planet and fight the invaders. Will this come true?

Primary Energy is a game currency like any other. One would find many uses for this currency and at first it helps us define a winner for Pantheon Tournament, though as rumour says, Primary Energy is also one aspect of a Space Program known as "Star Conquest".

As the name implies, Skyforge will further expand into distant worlds. A few hints were already distilled to players, and even the loading screen shows moons surrounding Aelion. Aelion’s immortals are facing many foes brought by invaders. Returning the favor surely comes to many people minds.

What are the devs thoughts on the previous Pantheon Wars? Will there be considerable changes? Will there be a second season? What will it look like?

Like most games these days, Skyforge could have benefited from several extra months of development prior to going into Open Beta. Whether you consider yourself a tester or a gamer makes little difference to the outcome. Both PvE/PvP needed to be supplemented by a social aspect (Pantheon) to maintain interest for many players.

The Pantheon Tournament was the first community event of this size and it mostly served as a proof of concept. Far from perfect, it did allow players to comment on it, share their views and provide valuable activity and group goals for the duration of the season.

At first we hoped to release a revision of Pantheon Tournament for the summer but because of the ambitious plan for the game (mentioned above), we have decided to postpone Pantheon Tournament until the new baseline is ready. If we were to run another tournament, we would have to rerun the old pattern – resulting in a whole different issue with Distortions... This means we'll have to wait until the Fall season, unfortunately.

What will you be offering for PvP enthusiasts later this summer?

We are working on a great challenge for brave immortals where all players are on even footing. During the two week qualification stage, players have to fight other immortals in 3vs3 battles.

Players will enter a challenge with equalized pre-made characters, established stats, no symbols, no passive skills, and no consumables. Talents will be limited to 8 slots, and only a small amount of faith will be granted for healing and anti-CC purposes. Mounts and Divine Form will be unavailable during battles, though players will still be able to switch classes between rounds in order to vary their strategies.

Top ranked players will then enter finals and fight for glorious prizes. This activity will be very refreshing, as well as a new opportunity to gather interesting feedback.

Will the Hyperion be reworked? Will the winners of the first season generate Faith, like, forever? That’s a huge advantage.

The Hyperion and the Space program are still a work in progress. Like many other aspects of the game, Hyperion is bound to evolve.

Are the devs still working on the PvP matchmaking? Are you reworking the ranking? If so, will it happen this year?

This year is going to be very promising – we'll hit the climax sometime near the end of the year! Skyforge will change in so many ways that PvP will be highly impacted, though we won’t be able to disclose any details until later this year.

Will we have ranked instances outside of the Pantheon Wars season, so new players can enjoy them and get loot?

Distortions were providing a good challenge for PvE groups and also seemed to go down well with the community, so it is something developers will further invest time into.

Is there any reaction to player feedback? Are the devs listening and caring about the feedback? (e.g. Lack of content, Optimizers and their reset, Price changes)

Betas ultimately rely on telemetry and feedback, though the interpretation and result of said feedback relies on a different timeline entirely.

Feedback is often blended into a more general approach to the mechanisms it involves, meaning you would hardly see feedback being implemented in the exact same way it has been reported.

Despite this fact, feedback is not only welcome, but also an essential source of indication for developers. Lack of content can be tackled with replayability (mostly) as it is very difficult to develop content faster than players consume it. Optimizers and their reset were plagued by a particular issue. Unfortunately, the correction of that issue only became possible with our next update, Cybernetic Alliance, hence the delay.

With the inclusion of many sales, we have already provided an alternative for less fortunate players and, in the future, we'll try to bring more options to the table. One example of this is the currently ongoing mount-discount sale.

Are the devs happy with the success of Skyforge in NA/EU?

We're very happy with the sustainability of the beta in both territories. Keeping that many players in beta phase for such a long time is quite positive. It gave us means to further invest into Skyforge and we believe this will ultimately pay off by the end of year when we expect to positively surprise our players for their loyalty with a fresh new approach to the game!

We’d like to thank you all for the continuous feedback and look forward to hearing your feedback about Cybernetic Alliance update!

Stay tuned,
Fabien “Maeron” Alexandre
Skyforge Producer - Western Market

05/30/2016