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!

DISCUSS