Apologies for the super late devblog this week! There's a lot we want to get done before the end of the year, so it's going to be a gauntlet of development in the coming month and a half. We are still on track for delivering 2 more updates in 2017, one at the end of the month and one before the holidays. There's a couple of small features I want to discuss today, but look forward to some really cool things to be announced in the coming weeks.
Disclaimer: Any feature or piece of content shown here is a work in progress and subject to change in the future.
For World Conquest, we want players to be able to move their ships through rivers in Deadlands, Endless Shore, and future maps. To that end, we have been designing Drawbridges to replace the existing bridges we use. This will enable fleets of ships to travel from Farranac Coast all the way to Endless Shore in World Conquest mode. We also hope to utilize this feature in future maps as well.
On paper, this Drawbridges seemed very simple in design, but it surprised us with the number of gameplay corner cases that needed to be resolved. Many needed to be answered such as: Can the bridge be lowered if a ship is underneath? Can a bridge be raised if a vehicle is on top? Can it be operated from just one side or both? It's taking us many iterations to get right. Currently, to raise the Drawbridge, players must toggle a switch on both sides. Once the bridge is raised, it stays in that state until it is released by toggling a switch on either side (but not both).
The issue of team balance at the start of wars has been on our radar for a long time. We haven't had any good ideas on how to solve it (short of some bad mechanical changes to force balance) until now. In the near future, we will be introducing Lobby Maps into the game. After a war completes, instead of immediately rolling over into a new war, players will transition to a special map that acts as a pre-war waiting area.
Lobby Map is a pre-war waiting area
Lobby maps will put some time between wars, giving the two factions time to balance themselves. In addition, Lobby maps will contain a couple of interesting features to keep players preoccupied while they wait, including a training course, firing range, and weapons/vehicles that can be used for practice. While we won't initially provide any explicit tools to do this, we hope players will take the time to form squads and/or discuss strategies in the lobby map.
Training course in the Lobby Map
There are some additional use cases for this feature that we're thinking about, like allowing players to enter the lobby map while waiting in a server queue. There have even been some more far out thoughts such as turning the lobby maps into central hubs that will replace the server browser, but these definitely aren't things that are planned out or confirmed at this point.
More of the training course
Additional Character Options
We've been slowly chipping away at supporting more visual options for characters over the last half year. In the near future, we'll finally be adding support for female character models and varying skin tones. We hope that these additional options will increase role playing opportunities and provide some variation among characters.
Male, Female, and skin tone options for characters
World Conquest Update
We know everyone is excited about the return of World Conquest mode so I wanted to give a brief update. We began working on World Conquest mid October and we finished some of the ground work needed to get the mode up and running again. However, some of the key parts were only partially complete and recently we faced some further delays on these parts due to unforeseen circumstances in the development pipeline.
We're still aiming to have World Conquest ready this year, but to avoid any further missed milestones we won't be announcing a release date again. We are as eager as you guys to see the return of conquest and hope it will happen soon.