17/08/2020

Roadmap To The Fall Alpha


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

Alpha 2 – Test 3 is officially ending on Wednesday, August 19 – about 1 month since its inception, and the time has come to reveal the road ahead.

Just like at the end of Alpha 2 – Test 2, we’ve decided to once again release the roadmap earlier than we used to. This is likely going to become the new standard, since we know how hungry you are for news.

..and now, let the reveal begin!

City Content

The test that’s about to end has seen the first iteration of player cities. The system was overall very rough (and buggy!) but well-received, with most of the user feedback stating city-building is fun and full of potential.

The aim of the Fall Alpha is to feature a way more complete and polished iteration of player cities, aside from their competitive side (raids and sieges). Read on for all the details!

Resource Nodes

In Alpha 2 – Test 3, it didn’t matter much what city spot a Governor or a guild would choose. The most valuable ones were those close to PvE hotspots, and that was it.

In the coming test, each town will be connected to a specific resource node, as shown in the picture above. The citizens of the town are the only ones allowed to extract from the node.

For now, only two types of node exist – fertile grounds (yellow pins) and mineral deposits (red pins). The former allow for farming large quantities of cereals, a key component of city maintenance. Mineral deposits feature store, coal and different types of metals according to the area of the world they are in.

Thanks to resource nodes, trading between cities will become a must!

Mining & Blacksmithing

Once the ores are collected, it’s time to process them – enter the Blacksmith shop with its smelteries and forges!

What’s the end product? Of course metal weapons and armors, a much awaited addition with a huge expected impact on both PvE and PvP!

All metals armors fall under the heavy class weight. Chain armor is cheaper to make, but features lower Armor values. Plate is more expensive, heavier, and provides unrivaled protection from physical attacks!

Talking about weapons, here’s the full list:

  • Dagger (Light)
  • Scimitar (Light)
  • Mace (Light)
  • Hand Axe (Light)
  • Short Sword (Medium)
  • Long Sword (Medium)
  • Battle Axe (Medium)
  • Spear (Medium)
  • Morning Star (Medium)
  • War Hammer (Heavy)
  • Halberd (Heavy)
  • Great Axe (Heavy)
  • Great Sword (Heavy)

City Maintenance

Owning a city in Fractured is not only about building it – it’s also about maintaining it!

The higher the rank of a city, the more cumbersome it becomes to maintain. Every day (bar the first days after claiming a spot), a mix of following is due:

  • Gold
  • Cereals
  • Meat
  • Vegetables

Missing the maintenance deadlines will cause the city to lose ranks and eventually become abandoned. Ouch!

Mounts & Wagons

Goodbye endless runs around the map: mounts and wagons are finally coming to Fractured!

Mounts allow you to move around the map way faster than by foot. When mounted, your mount receives damage instead of your character. If the mount’s life is depleted, you’re dismounted and can’t get back up on your steed for a while.

Horses are the only mount planned for the Fall Alpha. Their speed and hp depend on their attributes, so watch out for the best specimens!

If you own a horse, you can pick up a wagon – a way more spacious alternative to the existing handcart. Wagons are a must for moving heavy materials, particularly between resource nodes and cities!

The Left Behind

The roadmap to Alpha 2 – Test 3 contained a few points that we didn’t manage to implement due to the unplanned addition of player militias.

As mentioned on the forums, we wanted to get a couple of them live during this test, but couldn’t do that due to the list of bug fixes being much longer than expected and all our devs having taken vacation time in August.

Don’t worry though, they aren’t forgotten. All of the following will be ready in the Fall Alpha!

  • The Harbor Master, available only in a few selected coastal large cities, which allows players to teleport to any other functional Harbor Master.
  • Minimap pins for party and guild members.
  • Direct trading between players.
  • An option to toggle combat mode manually.
  • Spell and menu hotkeys rebinding.

The Optional

We’re fairly confident that everything listed above will be in the game when the Fall Alpha goes live. That’s not all we’d like to add, however!

Below are a few additions that would make a significant positive impact on the next test. We may be able to implement one or two, but mind it could also be none of them.

  • The city market, a building to trade items for citizens and non-citizens.
  • A first iteration of the city tech tree.
  • Ability leveling.
  • A proper pet system to tame beasts to fight at your side.
  • Trolls and their encampments – several new PvE hotspots.

Let us know in the comments what’s enticing you the most!


Here we are at the end of the post. We hope you find this roadmap as exciting as we do!

Enjoy Fractured!

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08/06/2020

May 2020 Playtest Review


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

Our second open playtest has ended on June 3, and finally here comes the review of what we learnt from it. We are aware this post is being released quite late, and we apologize for that – these last weeks have been really hectic due to all the work needed to bring Alpha 2 – Test 3 to life as soon as possible.

Before moving to the findings, please note that we have released a survey on the May Open Playtest. It’s an obvious thing to say, but your feedback is really important for us, so please give the survey a go – it’s a very short one, and completing it awards 1,000 Foundation Points! 😉

Also, all contest rewards for Alpha 2 – Test 3 are being sent out today and tomorrow. Check out your Fractured account email – a key might be there waiting for you!

The Good

Starting areas held up

From a design perspective, starting areas worked well even at the peak of new character influx. They got crowded, but never so much that it was impossible to find creatures to kill or resources to gather to complete the tutorial. Only a few minor issues needed a fix – players shouldn’t be able to leave handcarts or build blueprints in there, for instance.

Overall, that’s a good result considering the continent of Myr is only 1 out of 9 planned (3 planets, 3 continents / planet), so there should eventually be 16 other starting areas in the same universe!

Even greater interest

Our stress test in February did fine, and this one did even better, particularly when it comes to sales during and after the test.

Over 10,000 new accounts have been registered in the 2 weeks around the stress test, and almost 20,000 characters (belonging to ~15,000 distinct accounts) have been created during the playtest.

We now have over 80,000 registered users and 4,000 backers. Thank you all for your support!

Better retention

A proper introduction to game mechanics (particularly to the progression system), a guidance on what locations to explore and the availability of housing did wonders for retention rate compared to February.

The tutorial questline was particularly well received: 70% of the players who started it, completed it!

No land grab

The introduction of a gold* fee to claim land and the possibility to share land parcels (having claim friends and co-owners) did wonders to fix the “land grab” issue that was prominent in February.

That’s very good news, considering player cities were not enabled yet in this test, which means the continent only featured ~1/3 of the expected housing space.

*please note: gold is our game currency, not our premium currency. The latter has been renamed to “Dynamight Tokens” to avoid further confusion.

The Bad

Poor PvP balancing

For the first time ever, Fractured saw real PvP activity thanks to the introduction of militias, an elective faction-like system. Militias are only a portion of planned PvP content for the human planet Syndesia, useful to spice things up while waiting for the criminal system to be implemented.

With PvP activity came feedback on balancing, which was… pretty terrible! Other than balancing, the situation was made worse by a few bugs, the biggest one making the Frenzy ability always raise attack speed to the cap.

In the next releases, we are going to apply changes to critical damage, existing abilities and attributes and introduce new spells to offset the power of existing ones. It’s going to get better – promised! 😉

Framerate drops

Client performance is good overall (120+ FPS at full HD on a modern mid-range GPU), but the occasional stuttering when travelling the world is still there and must be addressed. We wanted to start fixing it right away, but we’ve decided to wait for an upcoming version of SpatialOS where most of the work we planned will already be part of the engine (yay!). This means the fix will be delivered after Alpha 2 – Test 3.

The other significant issue with client performance is framerate getting lower with many player characters and spell particles on screen. This is usually not a priority for an Alpha, but we’re still going to introduce a few improvements over time in the coming months.

Progression too fast

Since the talent tree and player cities are still missing, character progression is very incomplete. That said, the content that is already available is consumed too quickly due to balancing issues such as monster power being too low, lack of “exp” penalties for large groups, broken ability combos, too generous loot tables, etc.

Again, balancing shouldn’t be a major focus for an Alpha, but we’ll make sure to tweak some numbers before the next testing phase begins.

What’s next?

It’s Alpha 2 – Test 3, bringing to life player cities!

Our intention was for A2-T3 to start at the end of this month (June), but we’re not sure we’re going to be able to stick to the plan. This annoying delay is due to a few quirks that are making the implementation of player cities more complex than expected. If not June, it will be early July though, so stay tuned because the announcement is coming soon, and a few other surprises are also in store!

Enjoy Fractured!

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23/04/2020

Roadmap To Alpha 2 – Test 3


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

Alpha 2 – Test 2 is ending on Sunday, April 26 (yes, that’s official now!), and we are already looking forward to the next testing phase.

While we usually wait until after a test is over to reveal the roadmap to the following one, this time we’ve decided to move it up – development is progressing faster than ever, let’s make blog updates follow suit!

Before getting into the details of what’s coming in Alpha 2 – Test 3, we have some great news: the next test is going to launch in June already! Two testing phases have never been so close to each other, and we’re really excited by that since it gets us closer to the moment we’ll have servers running 24/7.

..and now, let the reveal begin!

Player Cities


Note: planning your city? Looking for a city to live in? Head to the dedicated forum section! There’s a map of upcoming cities on Myr, too!


Many of you likely know already that player cities are the main new feature coming in Alpha 2 – Test 3, since we’ve covered that in a live Q&A just a couple weeks ago. If you are interested in up-to-date info on the topic and haven’t watched the video yet, we warmly suggest you do so!

The next testing phase will only see a first iteration of Player Cities, which are a very long system to develop in full. Nonetheless, even this first iteration will add a ton of gameplay to Fractured!

The continent of Myr of planet Syndesia – the only one currently available – will contain 20+ large city plots and 90+ small city plots. The process of claiming a town works as follows:

  • Any player can apply as Governor of a town interacting with the ruins in the center of the town area;
  • If enough players support a candidacy, the city becomes claimed, the candidate becomes Governor and all his/her supporters become citizens of the town;
  • The ruins turn into a blueprint of a Town Hall, which has to be fully rebuilt before any other construction can begin.

We’ve turned a few of the existing dirt roads in the world into main roads, which are now paved and grant a movement speed bonus. Each town is crossed by a main road, and the roads citizens build in a town must be connected to it, while all buildings must be adjacent to a road.

Speaking of buildings, the governor (or a delegate) will be able to place the following elements in a town in A2-T3:

  • Public buildings: bank, tavern, barracks;
  • Personal land parcels (to be claimed by citizens);
  • Fortifications;
  • A few decorative elements such as fountains, vases, etc.

To wrap it up, in the next test we’ll be evaluating the basics of city building and city management, without the thrilling competitive side (which will see the light as soon as possible after A2-T3). As for the elements of advanced crafting, we’ll try to throw in a little to give you an idea of what’s to come!

The Talent Tree

The Knowledge System has been first introduced in A2-T1, but only its core – ability learning – has made it into the game then. In A2-T3, we’re adding a secondary (yet very impactful) component to it: the Talent Tree!

The Talent Tree adds a ton of variety to your character builds and strengthens the feeling of character progression by allowing you to exchange Knowledge Points for Talent Points instead of spending them to learn discovered abilities. The current conversion cost is 1,000 Knowledge Points : 1 Talent Point.

Each character can unlock up to 60 Talent Points, which can be assigned on a tree consisting of 90 different nodes, which each node providing a different bonus and accepting a different amount of points. In sum, a classic RPG talent tree, with the peculiarity that you can create multiple talent presets and memorize a different one each time you rest – just like with abilities, no timed or paid respecs!

Character Death

Up until now, death (= hitting 0 Endurance with 0 Life) has meant little in Fractured – your character would just respawn home or in the starting area. Things were never meant to be that easy, though.

From the next testing phase onward, a character dying will leave its body behind, including all the items it was carrying (both equipped and in the backpack). The corpse will stay for a while before decaying and disappearing, so you’ll have plenty of time to get back to it and loot it – unless you respawned on the other side of the continent, that is!

Speaking of respawn locations, don’t worry about endless corpse runs: after death, you’ll be able to choose to resurrect at home or at the last tavern you rested in. This makes paying a visit to the closest town a key step when exploring a new area… and if you really can’t make it back, you can still allow your party/guild members to loot your corpse!

Quality Of Life

On top of all the new content, we have a handful of additions to make your life in Fractured easier:

  • The possibility to split item stacks (holding CTRL when releasing a stack);
  • The possibility to craft multiple items instead of 1 at a time;
  • Direct trading between players;
  • Protection from monster attacks and damage after being knocked down and standing back up;
  • An option to toggle combat mode manually. Combat mode prevents accidental clicks on resources and corpses when fighting and is currently activated automatically, but we know many of you didn’t like that;
  • Spell and menu hotkeys rebinding;

All the changes above have been frequently requested by our community, so we know they’ll make many people happy! 🙂

Client & Server Performance

Here we are at the boring chapter of any roadmap – the technical stuff 😉

Thanks to all the performance tweaks we’ve introduced before and during A2-T2, we’re satisfied with the current framerate of the client. On our benchmark machine, a equipped with a FullHD screen and rather old Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, the client now hits ~100 FPS at Ultra quality in most circumstances – not bad for an alpha!

The major issue left in the client is the very rough way asset loading/unloading is performed today, which leads to high RAM usage and sporadic stuttering. A must fix for A2-T3!

Server-wise, our February Open Playtest saw hundreds of players in logged in the world at the same time, and everything was running smoothly thanks to the power of SpatialOS. We know there’s still room for improvement however, particularly when AIs are involved, so we’ll spend some time on those too!


So ends our roadmap. Stay tuned, because there’s a handful of other exciting news coming in the next few weeks!

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10/02/2020

February 2020 Playtest Review


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

Our first open testing week has ended, and it’s been one of the busiest and most exciting times in the development of Fractured so far.

Back in December, our first attempt at a stress test was short-lived due to some server issues that came up soon after launch – both in the game code and in our own web infrastructure. Very few of you actually managed to play, which means we didn’t have the chance to assess the consequences of heavy load from a game design rather than a technical perspective.

This time, however, the test ran smooth as silk, and we got all the data we need. Let’s move on to our findings then!

The Good

Servers held flawlessly

Within a month from the previous “failed” test, we fixed all server code issues and completely rewrote our web API, login server and chat server. These changes delivered the expected results: we had hundreds of players logged in the game at peak times, with no sign of overload. Even better, we estimated we could have borne a much higher load!

In this regard, we’d like to express our gratitude to the Improbable engineers. Their help was invaluable, as they quickly solved the issues we had run into in December and supported us during the course of this test, even outside of office hours!

Massive interest again

Our first (attempt at a) stress test in December already revealed a great interest in Fractured – but this one surpassed it greatly.

Over 6,000 new accounts have been created in the last couple weeks, and almost 20,000 characters (belonging to ~15,000 distinct accounts) have been created during the playtest. There were even login queues after new patches were deployed and servers restarted – luckily short and not too annoying.

We now have over 70,000 registered users – thank you all for being here!

Good sales

As expected, the success of the test reflected positively on our sales. We’ve gained over 400 new backers in the last few days, and the flow doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

This increase is great for us but also for other backers, since it’s going to make future testing phases more active and populated, which is great news.

Very few bugs

The work we’ve done in the latest testing phases to reduce the bug count has paid off. We had very few bug reports this time, the main (and truly annoying one) being the infamous “handcart stuck in pavement” bug, which is not going to be around any longer in the next testing phase. Promised! 😉

The Bad

Free land hard to find

The land claiming and management system we’ve used in the playtest was still incomplete, and it was likely the largest issue most testers had to face.

Getting a parcel was completely free (no need to spend game currency), the 3 possible spawn points for new players were relatively close to each other, and land sharing was still under implementation. This terrible combo made it so that all plots around spawn points were quickly occupied, forcing users who joined later to walk for hours (literally) to find free ones.

This game-breaking scenario is the reason we’ve decided to prioritize the completion of the land claiming system and have it ready for Alpha 2 – Test 2.

What do I do now?

This question is one we heard from several players after they were done building their house, crafting stations, etc. The Knowledge System was there and made use of popups and notifications, yet for most testers it wasn’t clear that character progression is based on defeating monsters, filling their bestiary entries and learning their abilities. This requires exploring the world, and the lack of indications on points of interest in the world map definitely made things worse.

Given this feedback and the land claiming issues detailed above, we’re now exploring how to quickly implement a whole new early game experience that’s closer to the one at full release. More details on this topic will be released in future updates!

Griefers & hacks

Since day one, we’ve always taken a lot of pride in our community – one made of kind, friendly and welcoming people.

Sadly, an event like this one tends to draw in some individuals who have no interest in testing the game, but only in spoiling other players’ fun. While there were actually very few, some managed to become a real annoyance in the global chat, and we didn’t have a 24/7 moderation team to deal with them.

Some hackers also found vulnerabilities that could be exploited within character creation and in-game (related to movement and attacks). A couple we were already aware of, a couple were new and unexpected. They’re all gone already (they were trivial to fix), but we clearly wish some of you didn’t have to put up with the people abusing them.

What’s next?

It’s Alpha 2 – Test 2! Starting in late February / early March (exact date to be announced) and bringing to life:

  • Parties;
  • Guilds;
  • Land parcel management (friends & access levels);
  • The first iteration of the Vale of Shadows.

Before that happens, we’ll send out a survey to aggregate feedback from the past Open Playtest. That will award you with Foundation Points, so stay tuned!

Enjoy Fractured!

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26/12/2019

Roadmap To Alpha 2 – Test 2


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

Alpha 2 – Test 1 has come and gone last November/December, and has been (by far!) our longest and most populated testing phase ever.

In order to keep you all more engaged and receive more frequent feedback, we’ve decided to shorten the time between each testing phase. That is why we’re glad to announce that we are targeting the end of February for the start of Alpha 2 – Test 2!

Some of the most requested features in the history of Fractured will be going live then – and you’ll have the chance to preview a few of them even earlier in a new open test!

Read on for all the details!

Social Features

Parties

Even before guilds, parties are the base of social interaction in the world of Fractured. They allow players to:

  • Share kill rights to monsters (influencing both loot rights and knowledge gains);
  • Share a private global chat with other party members;
  • See the location of other party members on the minimap;
  • Allow other party members to loot their own corpse;
  • Enjoy the effect of beneficial AOE spells cast by other party members;
  • Not be affected by offensive AOE spells cast by other party members.

As of today, each party can hold a maximum of 20 members, but this number could change in the future.

Guilds

Unlikely parties, guilds are persistent social structures. They allow players to:

  • Share a private global chat with other guild members;
  • Share access to houses and house items such as containers;
  • See the location of other guild members on the minimap;
  • Form alliances with other guilds;
  • Wage war to other guilds.

We have no plan to limit the amount of players that can be members of the same guild, but this is something we might reconsider in the future.

Claim Management

This has always been one of the most frequently requested features, so we’re really glad to finally deliver it.

In Alpha 2 – Test 2, you will be able add other players as friends or co-owners of your land parcel. Then, you’ll be able to set the access level of your house door, your crafting stations and your containers – including your handcarts!

Access levels are set singularly on each world item by choosing one or more of the following:

  • Co-owners;
  • Friends;
  • Guild;
  • Party;
  • Everyone;

Land sharing in Fractured will finally be a thing!

Enchanting

This feature was already announced in the roadmap to Alpha 2, but we didn’t have time to complete its implementation in time – so let’s go through it again!

Enchanting is one of the key parts of equipment progression and customization. It allows you to add modifiers to a piece of equipment in a predictable way, with a minor RNG component.

Let’s explain it in brief bullet points:

  • Reagents are items that function as “fuel” for an enchanting procedure. They can be harvested from plants and trees, mined from mineral deposits, looted from monster corpses, or crafted from other materials. Each reagent comes with different properties, called “power aspects”, and an intensity for each property. There are three categories of aspects: “primal” (mind, body, soul), “manipulation” (create, destroy, negate, transform, transfer) and “universal” (air, earth, fire, water, death, life, chaos, order, time, energy, knowledge)
  • To enchant a piece of equipment, the item must be put into an “enchanting station” together with up to 5 reagents. The combined type and intensity of the aspects of the reagents determines the modifier(s) assigned to the item. One unit of each reagent is consumed when enchanting.

Thanks to enchanting, all creatures and plants already implemented will finally have useful items to loot / harvest!

Vale Of Shadows

After the Deadwoods in Alpha 1 and the Goblin Hills + Heartwood in Alpha 2 – Test 1, our focus for world building has now shifted to the Vale of Shadows!

More than just a region, the Vale of Shadows is a large-scale open-world dungeon, filled with points of interest such as the Goblin Camp, the Cursed Battlefield, the Ruined Necropolis, the Graveyard, the Temple of Babilis, the Dead Forest and the Hidden Camp.

Want to find out more about how it came to be? Have a look at the paragraph below!

Lore

Long before the Fracture, the area where the Vale of Shadows now lies was inhabited by demons and humans devoted to Babilis, the Goddess of Chaos. Within their city, they erected a great temple to the evil goddess, where they performed unholy rituals – including sacrifices, or so is whispered in the old tales – to further develop their necromantic powers and please their patron.

Over the years the once small community grew in numbers and power, until Babilis decided to reveal to her twisted followers the secrets of the Dark Ascension, an ancient and forbidden ritual that could turn everyone deemed worthy into an immortal being with enhanced magical abilities and affinity for necromantic powers.

The aim of Babilis was to create her own invincible army to spread her cult over Elysium, but she was not to follow her plans unchallenged. Tyros, the God of Light and Justice, knew about his sister’s machinations by virtue of the prophecies of Oxos contained in his Book of Knowledge, and immediately made his move to stop her.

As quickly as mortal times allowed, Tyros assembled his own army of humans, beastmen and sky dragons – rare and powerful creatures which strive to cleanse the world from any trace of evil, and sent them to eradicate all the followers of Babilis within the Vale. What Tyros didn’t know was that the ritual was fueled by the blood of the living, and he was but a piece of her sister’s scheme.

The battle raged for days, with every death in the army of Tyros contributing to the completion of the Dark Ascension. The effects of the ritual started to show on the third day, as a dark wave of shadow and blood started to raise and spread all over the Vale. Dead bodies began twitching, showing the signs of an imminent return to life as undeads.

Once Tyros understood the trap he had fallen for, he knew he had to stop the ritual right away. Thus, he bestowed to his followers the Righteous Flame, a powerful blessing that allowed the recipient to exceed its limits, becoming a true champion of Light for a limited amount of time – fearless, resolute, and enveloped by a bright white flame that banishes all evil.

Now feeling invincible, a good portion of the army charged through the enemy lines, right to the entrance of the temple of Babilis. Many fell in the effort, but enough of them reached the site of the ritual. In a matter of minutes every every dark priest was covered in blood and flames, sealing the victory of Tyros over Babilis.

While the plan of the dark goddess was averted at large, the end of this story is not a pleasant one. Silencing everyone in shock and terror, a feminine lough echoed through the Vale, releasing the remainder of the dark energy accumulated by the ritual, spreading death and decay for miles. The lives of all creatures, Good and Evil, were taken that night, their spirits trapped in a never-ending war in the now-cursed region know as the Vale of Shadows.

Creatures & Abilities

As the background story above clearly suggests, the Vale of Shadows is mainly undead and ghost-themed. These are the creatures that populate the terrifying region:

  • Goblins
    • Archer
    • Shadowdancer
    • Death Shaman (Boss)
  • Undeads
    • Ghoul
    • Felghoul
    • Haze Fiend
    • Restless Spirit
    • Shadow
    • Shadow Dragon (Boss)
    • Shadow Fiend (Boss)
    • Skeleton
    • Skeletal Knight
    • Skeletal Warrior
    • Skeletal Dragon (Boss)
    • Zombie
  • Primordials
    • Blight Wisp

Not all of them will see the light in the next test, but we’ll try to implement as many as possible.

As always, with new creatures come plenty of new abilities to learn! Our aim is to raise the total available in the game from 40 to 55-60 – a hefty 40-50% increase!

You’ll be able to manipulate the minds of your opponents through the all-new magic school of Illusionism, hide in the shadows with new Assassination spells and steal the energy of your opponents thanks to several additions to Necromancy… and this is just to name a few!

Others

Shields

Another frequently requested feature and a must for many warrior builds, shields offer additional defensive capabilities by increasing the user’s armor ratings and allowing the use of a few dedicated abilities.

Shields are split in three categories: Light, Medium and Heavy. Light shields (such as bucklers) are less protective but allow the user to cast spells of all schools aside from Invocation and Conjuration!

Terrain & Water Shaders

From day one, we’ve always considered our terrains and water bodies (rivers, lakes, seas) to be some of the weakest-looking components of the game. Worst of all, they weren’t only less-than-average looking, but also heavy on framerate!

We’ve rewritten them both from scratch, and now:

  • Terrain textures look more 3D, crisp and detailed;
  • We can use up to 16 different terrain textures for each continent instead of 8 without any performance hit…
  • …actually, Fractured gained about 10 FPS at Ultra settings in every world location on our default benchmark machine (equipped with a GTX 970)!
  • Water looks more realistic and different water bodies blend better with each other;
  • There’s no longer any framerate loss when having water in sight!

Server Issues Fix

As many of you likely know, our latest stress test generated way more interest than expected and crashed the servers real good. We’ve got good news in this regard: a new open test is coming soon, and it should work way better!

We’re so optimistic because…

  • The SpatialOS engineers quickly figured out the wrong setting we were using in our server configuration that was the main culprit of the game server issues we’ve suffered;
  • We’ve overhauled our web APIs to sustain high loads;
  • We’ve implemented a login server to properly queue up logging players instead of featuring the previous “the one who spams the login button the most gets in first”.

Stay tuned for the announcement then – the open test will also feature part of the new content listed above!

See you soon in game!

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09/12/2019

December 2019 Stress Test Review


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

Our stress test weekend has ended, and it’s been a great… mess! Not uncommon for a stress test, but perhaps a little worse than expected 😉

When we announced it, we asked ourselves the following questions:

  1. Client patcher – will download be as fast as it is now?
  2. Login server – will there be queues?
  3. Server workers – will the processes that simulate the world server-side be able to handle a lot of concurrent users?
  4. Game world – will the map get too busy or will it become too hard to find a free plot of land?

I can say we have the answer to all but the last, so let’s get to them!

The Good

Workers were stable

Workers are the Unity processes that take care of simulating the world in the server. Each worker controls a portion of our open world, and players don’t perceive anything when transitioning from one to another thanks to the magic of SpatialOS that stitches them together.

During the stress test, workers showed no sign of overload. Both those that controlled areas that included new player spawn points and those that controlled hotspots where intense PvE action was taking place were running smoothly. This is great news for us gameplay-wise because it shows we can already handle large PvE/PvP battles, but also financially, since it means we need less powerful servers.

Interest was high

The Open Test Weekend revealed an amount of interest in Fractured that surprised us – and greatly contributed to the demise of the server 😉

Over 4,000 new accounts were created from the day the test was announced (Wednesday) until it was closed (Saturday). Almost 13,000 characters were created during the test (belonging to ~9,000 distinct accounts).

In the very moment we would open up the servers after a patch, dozens of users would try to login at the same time (RIP login server). This was exciting to watch and we look forward to what will happen during our next stress test!

The Bad

Server-killing issue

This is something we started experiencing soon after opening on Friday and immediately made public on our forums. Once a few hundred concurrent users are connected and actively playing, something goes wild (<= getting very technical there) in a component of our backend engine (SpatialOS). This component is called the “runtime”, and is in charge of handling persistent data and communication between workers (both clients and servers).

Over the weekend, we tried to solve the issue working on a few possible culprits. We dropped a quick patch on Friday evening, another one deep into Friday night, then the final one on Saturday afternoon. Given that the issue was internal to the engine, however, we were shooting in the dark – and guess what? None of our attempts nailed it. It was clear we had to wait for the support of the SpatialOS engineers on Monday to figure it out.

On Saturday night, we faced a choice: leave the stress test running with a strongly limited amount of concurrent users and endless queues to login, or end it early and run a new stress test in the (close) future. We picked the latter.

Inadequate web infrastructure

As of today, our login server and web API are the most “alpha” components of Fractured. They’re deployed on a very weak machine and lack basic functionalities such as login queues.

We didn’t think the stress test would put much pressure on our web infrastructure, but it did and it was very obvious. At peak times, it would take a while just to be able to login and reach character selection. The cap on concurrent users we had to put in place to due the issue described above made things worse, increasing the number of players in the hands of the login server.

The good news here is that we just have to move these services to a proper scalable host and expand them a little – a relatively quick job we’ll get done before the next stress test.

What’s next?

A new stress test open to all registered users! This one starting early in the week perhaps, when we can work with the SpatialOS engineers right away if something goes wrong.

Before that happens, we are also considering running a stress test open to all backers – which means including Beta2/Beta1 pledges, but not free accounts. The number of concurrent users during such a test would be a lot smaller, but hopefully enough to reveal if the issue is resolved before moving to the large-scale test.

When the latter is going to be is impossible to tell – we’d love to launch it before Christmas, since we know many of you are eager to test more and some didn’t manage to login at all. However, we can’t make any meaningful prediction on how long it will take to sort the bug out. If not December, it will be January though, so stay tuned and…

…fingers crossed!

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09/10/2019

Porting Test Weekend & Alpha 2 Update


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

There are times when game developers get estimates right (rare), and there are times when they get them wrong (frequent). Then there are those when they get them very wrong – the times everybody really hates, devs and community alike. Well, I guess we just stumbled upon one of the latter.

Back in August, we mentioned that we were busy porting Fractured from the old “alpha” integration between Unity and SpatialOS (our frontend and backend engines), no longer maintained, to its new, largely redesigned, way more performant version. We initially thought it would take us a couple weeks, then we warned you we had been wrong, and it would take us at least one month.

In the end, it actually took two, and some.

Today, I’m glad to announce we are finally done and moving to the implementation of new features and content – the knowledge system, carts, and a handful of new points of interests and creatures.

Before getting to test those, however, let’s see if the new tech passes the trial of player testing, shall we?

Porting Test Weekend

On Friday, October 11, at 4pm CEST (10amEDT) the doors of Fractured will be opened again for all backers with Alpha 1 access.

The test will last until the morning of Monday, October 14, and will be strictly focused on judging the soundness of the new tech. More in detail, we want to assess:

  • Client stability (should be stable as before)
  • Server stability (should be stable as before)
  • Launch issues (should be gone thanks to the new launcher)
  • World loading issues (should be gone thanks to improved world streaming)
  • Connectivity issues (should be gone thanks to the new communication protocols)

As stated, this is purely a tech test. If you’ve played Alpha 1- Test 2 in July and are only interested in new features / content, you can skip this – although we’d love for you to be there anyway!

If, on the other hand, you’ve experienced any of the problems listed above during Alpha 1, this is the chance to make things right!

Alpha 2 Launch

Even though we’ve run very late with the porting, the development speed advantage of the new tech is already visible, so we don’t have to delay Alpha 2 further.

We can now officially confirm that Alpha 2 – Test 1 is going to start in November – exact date to be announced!

Before Alpha 2 begins, we may run another testing weekend or two. Specifically, we are considering:

  • A stress test weekend, open to all registered users – including those without a pledge! We sorely need it to assess server stability under “real” heavy load, since simulated players can do only so much.
  • A feature pre-testing weekend, open to all backers with access to Alpha 1. A good way for us to iron out nasty bugs before launching Alpha 2, and a due reward for all of you who supported us early with high-tier pledges!

This was all for today. Stay tuned for the announcement of the next test weekends!

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17/08/2019

Roadmap To Alpha 2 & Gamescom


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

It’s been a while since we’ve closed the door of Alpha 1 – Test 2 and released the new store. August is always a complex month for us, torn between the preparation for Gamescom and the due summer holiday time.

Nonetheless, a new update is here, including the much awaited roadmap to Alpha 2 – which is sadly going to suffer a little delay. Read on for all the news!

Gamescom

Yes: for the first time ever, Dynamight Studios will have its own booth at Gamescom!

The booth is located in the business area, within the Italian Games stand (Hall 3.2, Stand D010 E019). It will be accessible from Tuesday, August 20 to Thursday, August 22.

We understand those of you who are not game devs, press or influencers, likely won’t have purchased access to the business area. We’ll be around until Friday afternoon though – this last day in the consumer area, and we’d be glad to meet some of you for a chat, so if you’ll be there, check out this thread!

Alpha 2 Delayed

We are sorry to announce that the start of Alpha 2 – Test 1 is officially postponed from Q3 to Q4 2019.

There’s just one factor behind this delay – our bad estimate of the time required to port Fractured from the old integration between Unity and SpatialOS, labeled UnitySDK, to the newest one, called UnityGDK. We expected the process to take a couple weeks, but we were dramatically wrong: it’s going to take at least one month, likely even longer.

The superiority of the new tech is already visible now, during the early stages of the porting. Once completed, our devs think they’ll be twice as productive under most circumstances! The faster coding won’t be enough to recoup the time lost by the end of September however – so Q4 it is. We hope we’ll be able to keep the launch within October, moving some of the planned content further down the line if needed.

Access to Alpha 2 can be obtained by purchasing a Legend pack in the Fractured store.

Alpha 2 Roadmap

The scope of the Alpha 2 development cycle is to bring all the missing core features of the game to life. The three big ones are:

  • The Knowledge System;
  • Player towns;
  • Arboreus & Beastmen / Tartaros & Demons.

Of course, there’s also a mountain of minor features that still need to be implemented! Among them, three are a staple of any MMORPG:

  • Party & guilds;
  • Carts & wagons;
  • Mounts;

So, what of the above is coming is Alpha 2 – Test 1? Let’s find out!

Knowledge System

The Knowledge System is likely to be the most important core feature missing from the game as of today. It’s about time we get to it!

The first implementation won’t be 100% complete, but it will certainly feature:

  • The possibility to choose a background for your character during character creation. Each background provides a starter set of abilities and items, unrelated to attributes, and has no influence over character progression.
  • A “personal encyclopedia” menu that tracks the character’s progression in all fields of knowledge. Fighting creatures, studying plants, crafting items, etc, unlocks new abilities and provides Knowledge Points that can be used to learn the abilities unlocked.
  • The resting phase, that will allow you to choose a set of abilities to assign to your hotbar among the ones you’ve learnt.

For more information regarding the Knowledge System, check out this classic feature spotlight. It’s slightly outdated (menu screenshots in particular), but largely still valid.

Enchanting

Enchanting is one of the key parts of equipment progression and customization. It allows you to add modifiers to a piece of equipment in a predictable way, with a minor RNG component.

Let’s explain it in brief bullet points:

  • Reagents are items that function as “fuel” for an enchanting procedure. They can be harvested from plants and trees, mined from mineral deposits, looted from monster corpses, or crafted from other materials. Each reagent comes with different properties, called “power aspects”, and an intensity for each property. There are three categories of aspects: “primal” (mind, body, soul), “manipulation” (create, destroy, negate, transform, transfer) and “universal” (air, earth, fire, water, death, life, chaos, order, time, energy, knowledge)
  • To enchant a piece of equipment, the item must be put into an “enchanting station” together with up to 5 reagents. The combined type and intensity of the aspects of the reagents determines the modifier(s) assigned to the item. All reagents are consumed when enchanting.

Thanks to enchanting, all creatures and plants already implemented will finally have useful items to loot / harvest!

Heavy Material Carts

You’ve been very vocal asking for this long-planned feature – for good reasons! So, here it comes.

In Alpha 2 – Test 1 you’ll be able to build a handcart in your claim, carry it around and put heavy materials such as logs and stones in it. This will make building your home a lot less cumbersome than it was in Alpha 1 – a must, considering that larger houses will also be implemented.

World Building

Together with the new features, we’re going to keep working on world building.

Once again, we’ll be picking a biome / point of interest and populating it with unique art assets and groups of creatures, each one featuring specific characteristics, abilities, and loot. Last time it was the Deadwoods, this time it’s the Goblin Territories

…with their pesky inhabitants:

  • Goblins
    • Cutthroat
    • Enforcer
    • Trapper
    • Warchief
    • Fire Shaman (Boss)
  • Wolves
    • Trained Wolf
    • Warg

Goblins mostly use existing Warfare and Assassination abilities, with a few additions:

  • Marksmanship
    • Net Trap
  • Abjuration
    • Protection from Fire
  • Conjuration
    • Totem of Wildfire
  • Invocation
    • Firebolt

After the Goblin Territories, we’ll be working on the ruins of Heartwood, located in the very center of Myr.

Once one of the most important temples of Tyros on Elysium, the mystical energy lingering in the air and in the earth still animates the ancient guardians of the holy place:

  • Plants
    • Sproutling
    • Tangler
    • Treant
    • Whipping Vines (Summon)
  • Elementals
    • Earth Elemental
    • Greater Earth Elemental
  • Spirits
    • Woodland Whisp

As magical creatures, they come with a ton of new magic abilities too!

  • Warfare
    • Battle Stop
    • Concussive Strike
  •  Alteration
    • Entangling Roots
    • Petrify
    • Shroud of Thorns
    • Slow
    • Verdant Regrowth
  • Conjuration
    • Acid Sphere
    • Relocate
    • Whipping Vines
  • Illusionism
    • Confusion
  • Invocation
    • Earthquake
    • Shocking Lash
    • Tectonic Outburst
  • Restoration
    • Minor Healing

As mentioned before, it’s possible we’ll have to cut down on planned new content for this test, which means some of the creatures listed above might not be going live.


That’s it. We hope we’ve been able to give you a good overview of the exciting additions to come!

Got any comment? Let your voice be heard!

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16/04/2019

Roadmap To Alpha 1 – Test 2


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

Alpha 1 – Test 1 has come and gone, and it’s been glorious! While content, as announced, was very limited, we’ve received great feedback on the basic mechanics of the game, and are truly glad to know they’ve been appreciated by most of the community. We’re also happy there were no critical bugs, just a bunch of minor annoyances we’ll quickly get rid of 🙂

The only notable exception to the above were the login issues related to the SpatialOS launcher and game loading. In this regard, we’d like to extend an apology to all of you who were affected. We’re already working on a proper launcher & patcher and a different login system, and will be inviting testers with issues to try them out before the next phase begins.

Speaking of when it begins, Alpha 1 – Test 2, is set to start in June – exact day to be revealed. Aside from the obvious bug fixes and QOL changes, here’s a roadmap of what we’ll be working on in the next two months!

Housing

Our first focus for A1-T2 is the expansion of the existing crafting and building systems, which have earned plenty of positive feedback so far.

While in A1-T1 you could only claim a land parcel and build a house in it, in the next test you’ll be able to progress much further and keep yourself busy for a few days. Below you can find a brief list of the new content planned.

  • Housing
    • Log & stone houses of different size;
    • New house types (not guaranteed);
  • Storage
    • Chests! Yes, this was a really basic missing feature.
  • Decorations
    • Outdoor (fences, braziers, …);
    • Indoor (rugs, head trophies, tables, beds);
  • Crafting
    • Tanning Tub (leather curing);
    • Workbench (leather armor crafting);
  • New Functionalities
    • Item quality;
    • Item durability;
    • Move/Destroy (for items in claims);
    • Blueprint/Item rotation;
    • “Relinquish claim”;
    • Advanced snapping.

World Building

Many of your pointed out that the continent of Myr, while large and environmentally varied, is quite uninteresting to explore due to the lack of points of interest and unique creatures. We couldn’t agree more!

That’s why, one by one, we’re picking a biome / point of interest and populating it with unique art assets and groups of creatures, each one featuring specific characteristics, abilities, and loot. During A1-T2, all the abilities will be added to the spellbook of new characters, while in the future you’ll be able to learn them by defeating the creatures that have mastered them!

And now let’s get to the first region we’re focusing on: the Deadwoods!

Deadwoods

The Deadwoods biome can be found in two distinct areas of Myr:

  • The Whispering Woods, a large region that has to be crossed before reaching the Vale of Shadows;
  • The Creeping Woods, a smaller region in the North-West of the continent.

 

The region has a dark, gloomy look and is infested by two groups of creatures: undeads and spiders – including a couple terrifying… undead spiders!

 

Here are all the new foes you’ll be facing:

  • Spiders
    • Giant Spider
    • Spiderling
    • Brood Mother
    • Crawling Horror
    • Spider Lich
  • Undeads
    • Zombie
    • Skeleton
    • Skeletal Warrior
    • Skeletal Mage
    • Ghoul

…and a list of the new abilities mastered by such horrors, categorized by school of magic:

  • Assassination
    • Paralyzing Strike
    • Poison Strike
  • Warfare
    • Heavy Blow
  • Abjuration
    • Absorb
    • Mage Armor
  • Alteration
    • Weaken
  • Conjuration
    • Cobweb
    • Entangling Web
    • Ice Spikes
    • Poison
  • Enchanting
    • Fear
  • Invocation
    • Chilling Touch
    • Deep Freeze
    • Frost Blast
    • Magic Missiles
  • Necromancy
    • Blight
    • Mana Drain
    • Paralyzing Touch

It is not guaranteed all of them will be included in A1-T2, but we’ll do our best!

Porting

Last but not least, in May we’ll be facing one of the most annoying things a dev can face: technology upgrades! 🙁

Specifically, here’s a list of the systems we’ll have to migrate:

  • Unity 2018.1 -> Unity 2018.4
    • Massive usability improvements…
    • …that include many breaking changes, thus tools to be updated and adapted.
  • SpatialOS Unity SDK -> SpatialOS Unity GDK
    • Switching from an old, almost-abandoned tech to the latest integration between Unity and SpatialOS…
    • …which should totally lead to a more stable game and faster development speed…
    • …at the cost of a (likely) very time-consuming, cursing-riddled porting.
  • Raknet -> KCP/TCP
    • Networking shenanigans;
    • Lower latency and more stable connections!

That’s it. We hope we’ve been able to give you a good overview of the exciting changes to come!

Got any comment? Let your voice be heard!

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01/02/2019

State Of The Game #2 – On 2018, Alpha 1 & Unity


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!

2018 has come and gone, Alpha 1 is behind the corner, and it’s been a while since we’ve released a complete overview of progress made in the development of Fractured. Well, here it comes!

Warning: if you haven’t been included (yet) in the Fractured Pre-Alpha, you’ll find plenty of game footage “leaks” in this post – so get ready to get excited!

The World

As announced in the September 2018 Alpha 1 Map update, the first alpha test of Fractured will take place on Myr, one of the continents of the Human planet Syndesia. Its size is roughly 60km2 – quite a large territory to explore!

Compared to our Pre-Alpha Gameplay video from April 2018, you might notice (we hope you do!) a large, all around graphical improvement. Textures, models, shaders – it’s literally all new!

Let’s get to it!

Biomes

The building blocks of the world of Fractured are biomes – environments with coherent morphological features, containing resource nodes and creatures that are often unique to it.

As of today, 6 core biomes are in the making for the continent of Myr:

  • Grassland
  • Dry Plain
  • Hill
  • Mountain
  • Coast
  • Marsh

The uniqueness of resources in different biomes is an important drive for exploration, and is expected to generate heavy trading between towns located in different areas of the world. You can recognize at a glance when you’re transitioning from one to another; here’s a comparison of two flat areas, a Grassland and a Dry Plain:

Moreover, there can be visible differences even within the same biome. Here’s an example of a Birch Forest and an Oak Forest sub-biome within a Grassland biome:

Creatures

During the second half of 2018, we’ve greatly expanded the number of creatures players are able to find in the world and what they can do. While previously they only had access to 1 melee attack each, making them quite repetitive and predictable, they’re now able to perform different attacks (melee or ranged, with multiple animations each), apply Status Effects, and cast (almost) all the spells available to players.

Below is a recap of all the creatures we have available so far – about 40, split into temporary categories.

  • Animal
    • Wolf
    • Dire Wolf
    • Brown Bear
    • Grizzly Bear
    • Boar
    • Deer Doe
    • Deer Stag
    • Rabbit
    • Fox
    • Giant Rat
    • Giant Snake
    • Giant Spider
  • Undead
    • Zombie
    • Skeleton
    • Ghoul
    • Mummy
    • Vampire
  • Humanoid
    • Goblin
    • Hobgoblin
    • Kobold
    • Troll
    • Cyclop
    • Werewolf
    • Ogre
    • Orc
    • Harpy
  • Lizard
    • Mountain Dragon
    • Dragonide
    • Wyvern
    • Hydra
    • Lizard Warrior
  • Other
    • Demon Lord
    • Manticora
    • Hateful Gazer
    • Chimera
    • Gryphon
    • Golem
    • Ent

It’s unlikely we’ll be able to use them all, since we have to give each of them a meaningful loot. A couple dozens should make it to the game though, which we believe is a decent amount for a first alpha version!

Housing

We’ve discussed land claiming, town management and politics in Fractured in a large update during our Kickstarter campaign. In our Development Roadmap, we’ve also explained that the first test is set to include building only, while the more complex managerial and political features are planned to be implemented later in the Alpha 1 development cycle.

Work on land claiming and building is almost completed at this point, so let’s have a look at what you can do so far!

Land Claiming

To claim a piece of land for yourself and contribute to the rebirth of civilization on Syndesia, just explore the wilderness until you find a small cluster of ruins like this one:

Once claimed, you gain full rights over the parcel of land. Time to clean it and fill it!

Building

Erecting a building in Fractured requires multiple steps. First, you must lay the foundations of the house, then you can construct the walls and floors to finally have access to the roof.

Each step requires carrying heavy resources by hand, so we suggest you team up with friends for the job. You can share the house after!

Done? Now it’s time to decorate it and put together some crafting stations! Most items you can add have a specific purpose beyond their purely decorative side.

The bulk of house building is completed, but interiors decoration still needs development, and the whole UI work is admittedly a tad behind schedule. We’re working hard to complete the whole system before we hit Alpha 1!

Characters

Characters are another side of Fractured that has seen a dramatic improvement in 2018, particularly since we hired a dedicated character artist in the second half of the year. Let’s have a look at what changed.

Art

Our characters have been completely reworked since the days of our Kickstarter campaign – along with most of our other game assets, as explained in the beginning of this article. Here are a couple screenshots of how they look like today:

Both male and female are shown wearing furs, but other armor sets have been completed (rugged clothes, leather), and more are in the making.

Creation

We sadly don’t have much to report here, since for now character creation only features the selection of attributes. We’re soon going to expand it allowing you to choose a background for your character, which provides you with a suggested set of attributes that you can change as you like during character creation.

As for the customization of your character’s look, we’ll try to sneak that into Alpha 1 as well, although it’s not guaranteed we’ll make it.

Equipment

As previously announced, during Alpha 1 – Test 1 armor and weapon crafting will be largely restricted to primitive items, since more advanced forms of crafting require tools and processes that are still under development.

Worry not, however: you’ll have enough content to keep yourself busy for the duration of the test!

Progression

Progression is the last and hardest point for us at the moment. The Knowledge System is one of the core features of the game, but it’s also a particularly challenging one to develop. Plus, it requires a lot of game content for the “learning” part to feel right.

Right now, we’re working on a simplified version of the system that can realistically give you an idea of how the complete version will feel. If it turns out to be good enough, we’ll include that in Alpha 1 – Test 1. If not, it will be moved to Alpha 1 – Test 2.

Additional Info

Unity vs Improbable

You likely know about the Unity vs Improbable quarrel, as it’s been featured everywhere on gaming media. If not, we explained that in brief in a forum thread when the news broke.

After some heated exchanges on the press, Unity changed its Terms of Service to allow any Third Party Service (such as SpatialOS) to use their engine as a server and re-instated the Improbable licenses. Case closed.

In the end, it was all just a big scare. We are still working with Unity, SpatialOS, and the awesome integration between the two that is allowing us to build an ambitious MMO like Fractured without a AAA-sized team!

Test 1 ETA

That’s why you’ll be happy to hear that while the Unity vs Improbable quarrel has slowed us down a little, we’re still set on Q1 2019 for the start of Alpha 1.

As for the last two waves of invites for the Pre-Alpha, the first will likely be sent out in the second week of February, the other one a couple weeks later. We’ll keep you up to date if any development issue that might slow us down arises.


See you soon in game!

DISCUSS