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Skyforge Producer Letter 2017

Dear Immortals,

2017 is coming to a close and I would like to take some time with you to look back at the year in Skyforge. My name is Volker Boenigk, and I am the producer on Skyforge for the Western market on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and I would like to take some time to look back at the year in Skyforge with you.

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Steam Release

One of the main goals for us in 2017 was to bring Skyforge to as many players as we could while improving the game as we went along. Ascension removed a lot of the inhibitions that made it difficult for new interested players to find their path in Skyforge, so we felt comfortable that it was the right time to get new audiences into the game that had not previously felt compelled to become a God on Aelion.

Our first step was to bring the game to Valve’s Steam platform in April. The preparations for this had actually been started quite a while ago, but we decided to delay the release because we never quite felt like the game was ready to enter the big stage of Steam. But with the changes of Ascension and some additional polishing effort, we finally felt that it was the right time.

April came, and Skyforge released on Steam, and the game was received quite well and broke into the top 5 most played games on the launch weekend. After the initial release hype, the game has steadily gained new fans that came through the Steam platform.

For 2018 we will continue to service Skyforge on Steam and will see how we can more closely integrate players from there with our own my.com platform, how we can better communicate with Steam players (increased use of the Steam News and Group) and generally make better use of the platform by updating and adding DLC and promoting new updates with more activities on the platform.

PS4 Release

Right after Steam, we prepared to take the probably biggest step for Skyforge since the initial launch - from your gaming room into the living room. We released the game on Sony’s PlayStation 4 platform. For the first time Skyforge was available on a non-PC platform, and for the first time, a my.com game was accessible on a gaming console.

Unlike on the PC platform, Free-to-Play MMOs on consoles are less common, so Skyforge fit right into Sony’s expanding plans to provide exciting fresh content to all PlayStation players. When you opened your PSN store sometime in early April, there was no way to not see the giant gods beckoning you to enter the world of Skyforge.

Since then, we have come a long way - Skyforge PS4 is currently in its 5th invasion cycle and players are getting to know the Demonic hordes in the latest free update “Demonic Dawn”, and before too long they will be taking on Nihaz and we are already excited to see how you will fare.

For 2018 PS4 will be one of our most important platforms to continue to support. Despite the release on other platforms and update plans, we will work on ensuring that PlayStation players will be able to enjoy the same great experience as players on other platforms. We encountered more issues in our service on PS4 than we would have hoped for, especially when it came to releasing new DLC on the store. For next year, we will continue to polish our processes and continue to work closely with the PlayStation team to ensure that the released DLCs match the players’ expectations.

So this is a, somewhat delayed, opportunity for me to welcome all the new faces that since found their way into the exciting world of Skyforge. I hope you will have a great time here with us and are as excited as we are to see what will come next!

consoles

Xbox One Release

Looking back at the first half of 2017, we realised that somehow we would end up bored in the second half, so we spontaneously decided to, why not, release on yet another platform (making it 3, with Steam and PS4). And so, exactly 6 months after the PS4 version opened to the public, Skyforge entered, to great success, Early Access on Xbox. After having had the practice earlier in the year, the launch on Xbox One happened without any significant issues and allowed Microsoft fans to finally explore Aelion without missing any content compared to the PS4 version of the game.

Right now the Immortals on Xbox One are still fighting the Oceanides in their first ever invasion (“Awwww, cute!” is what PC veterans may now say) and will be besting Tol Monter’s Avatar as you are reading this.

With the notch for Xbox in our belt, we are very excited to be looking forward to what’s next for Skyforge.

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2017 Updates

Revenant

Next to all the platform launches it can be challenging to not lose track of your core game experience and providing new and exciting content for existing and new players alike. For us the main chunk of new content came in the form of the new Revenant class. Adding a new experience to an already diverse cast of 14 classes, the Revenant came in swinging and still prevails as one of the most played classes in the game, also sporting an excellent performance, especially in PvP coughcough*. Of course the Revenant had and has his rough edges that still need some polishing, but we will make sure to keep an eye on him to make him perform in line with the other classes in 2018.

Equipment System

Next to releasing the new class, one of the focus points for the development team was to find ways to reintroduce some of the complexities that were lost in the Ascension update. Players were craving for more creative ways to customize and specialize their gods, and the developers decided to bring this in the form of the reworked Equipment system that scales and develops with the Invasion system. The feedback we received on this was very positive across the board, and despite the imperfections, we saw during the rollout, the system has grown into a solid state that significantly adds to the fun in Skyforge. We will continue to work on and improve the system, and hopefully, it will stay with us for a long time to come.

The New Moon Order

2017 was also the year that the gods of Aelion finally set foot on the moon Thea. Wait. What? The Thea update was released this year? It feels like it’s been forever, but yes, 2017 was the year that we made contact with the dangers that were waiting on (one of) the moons of Aelion. To this date, this is the one content that is still exclusive to the PC platform. PS4 and Xbox users will still need to go through their first (respectively second) Pantheon War season before they get to put on the space suits.

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2018 Dreams

It has been quite an exciting year for Skyforge and my.com, with lots of big steps that were taken and we are already now preparing for the equally exciting year 2018. While we are looking forward to a winter holiday break, we are also already neck deep in the plans for the next weeks and months.

So without further ado, here are some of the things that we want to work on and improve in 2018.

Cross Platform Patches

One of the challenging topics for a game running on multiple platforms is to keep it up to date with the same version on all of them. This becomes especially complicated when platform are in different stages of live service and the player population is at a completely different level. Instead if focusing on creating exciting new content, developers need to spend a lot of time switching between different platform topics.

For 2018 we want to find ways to provide the big updates we have planned (so updates that introduce actual content and features, next to the usual bug fixing and monetisation updates) can be released on all platforms at the same time. This will mean that our development team can better focus on the content they are developing right now, rather than having to support three different content states. More focus will mean better content, fewer bugs and faster delivery. This is a goal we have set for ourselves, and we are excited to see how close we can get.

Interface improvements

One of the big topics for Skyforge since Ascension has been the challenge of the reworked and updated interface. We had to develop an interface system that not only looked good and gave a visual representation of the changes that came to the game with Ascension but also worked well with consoles and controllers (you start to get a glimpse at how far back the console projects were actually started). While the system we have in place right now does an admirable job of making the game playable and navigable without a mouse and keyboard, it is still clumsy at parts and does not allow us to do all the things we would like to do.
One of our goals for next year is to make some significant improvements to the interface so that it makes it even easier for new users to control their fate in Aelion and also provides seasoned users with ways to receive better, faster and more reliable information about anything that gets displayed. We hope to have the first results on this topic in the first half of 2017, so stay tuned for more details.

PvP

Especially amongst the PvP-focused player base on the consoles, everyone agrees that the PvP experience in Skyforge can use some work, to word it mildly. This was also one of the highest ranked issues in our recent survey, which reinforces our decision to put this topic on our 2018 list with a big red exclamation mark. PvP has to be interesting, entertaining, fair and accessible. And this is what we want to work on next year.
The developers have already started on sketching out some really cool ideas that can completely transform the PvP as we know it in Skyforge. We will make sure to keep you updated on the plans and progress as soon as we can shake something specific out of our development team.

And much more!

Of course, this isn’t everything that we have planned for next year, but I think we need to keep some things under wraps so that we have something to reveal while we all wait for the next big updates.

To close this producer letter, I would like to thank you all very much for being part of this Skyforge experience. We are looking forward to the great and exciting year 2018 with many new things in store for Skyforge that we will be sharing with all of you.

A big Thank You also goes out to our Volunteer Staff that works so tirelessly on helping us and all players with problems big and small. This would not be possible without your amazing efforts. Thank you!

With this, we here at my.com would like to wish you a peaceful Christmas time and a great start into 2018. See you again next year!

  • Volker « Justus » Boenigk
    Producer Skyforge My.com
12/28/2017