by Cory Jones
Hello everyone! If you’re reading this it means PVE has launched and I am dead.
Just kidding. I’m not dead, not yet anyway, I still have a bunch of Kickstarter stuff to deliver and my deal with Satan specifically states I cannot be taken away until all the Kickstarter rewards are completed. So we have that going for us, loyal Kickstarter backers! And realistically I wouldn’t have died, it would have been the entire team that perished in the long hard road to this patch. Seriously, the amount of blood, sweat and tears that has gone into the game in the last year is astonishing. The last several months has seen everyone on the team crunch a crazy number of hours to deliver the best quality update possible.
I hope you’re having as much fun as I am playing the campaign. It’s been such a long road to this point and it really is terrific to see it take shape and actually make it into the hands of our players. I know by now it’s become clear we have delivered some of the great content we promised, but we still have a long way to go.
Hopefully you have checked out Ben’s article to get some insight into what this first installment of the campaign has to offer. Seriously, read his first …
Okay, you’re back from reading Ben’s article. Now I’m going to try and answer a few of the questions that are likely popping up and give you some insight into what’s coming next.
One of the first things you may have noticed is that we dropped the beta tag from the game. “Why drop it now?” you may be asking. Clearly we have been hanging on to the term “beta” in reference to the feature list presented in the Kickstarter, and until all that content was delivered we were going to keep calling the game a beta. That was the specific reason we kept the title this long, but the reality is the beta tag is hurting our ability to attract new players.
It may be clear to our hardcore community what the beta tag means, but to the uninitiated it gives the impression that future wipes or major gameplay changes are possible and that’s just not the case. We are committed to delivering everything we promised in the Kickstarter. The removal of the beta tag isn’t about “feature complete,” it’s really about the perception of the game and our desire to let new players understand this is a great place to jump in and start playing HEX!
One last thing before I talk about the future of HEX: I really want to reiterate how far HEX has come. It’s one thing to make new sets of cards, it’s quite another to design and engineer entire new systems of gameplay. As we launch more and more of the core features of HEX, the difficulty level reduces significantly and we are able to create new content at a much faster pace. Yes, we are still in the process of building new systems, but I imagine over the course of this year as large pieces fall into place we are going to end up in a position to deliver content on a far more consistent, regular basis so there are always new reasons to come into the game.
It has always been my dream that every week you are excited to log into HEX and check out the latest set, the new PVE content, the exciting Holiday event, participate in a tournament, or maybe just enjoy some new quirky little sub-game or feature we dreamed up. HEX will continue to evolve for as long as it exists and the plans I have for it would surprise you. It’s going to be amazing.
The next time you download a patch, it will be to fix everything we discover is broken with the campaign launch. Hopefully that’s a very small patch. After that, it’s going to be the launch of Set 4. I am VERY excited for Set 4. Not only do we have super cool new competitive cards, we also have some very exciting new mechanics.
Clearly we do not want 6+ months between sets and we are working hard to hit our internal date of a new set every 4 months. We realize better than most that a healthy TCG requires new sets on a regular and frequent basis; we hope to start hitting these dates this year. I am ready to draft some new cards!
(Yes, I just spoiled some set 4 cards!)
So, that’s the next two patches—bug fixing and a new set of cards. After that, the roadmap is a lot more dynamic. We’re playing around with some really awesome game modes that put a new spin on existing content. With some new potential features cooked up by our amazing R&D team that are still baking, we may be able to fit one of them in between AZ1 and AZ2.
Did I just say Adventure Zone 2? So, what are the current planned features in AZ 2, you ask?
Mercenary System! With the appropriate upgrade up to 3 mercenaries can join your party, and mercenaries each have their own set of abilities. They currently sub in for you in a dungeon and act as extra lives, as well support your party in other ways.
Strongholds! Eight different strongholds (one for each race). Each building within the stronghold represents an aspect of the game like mercenaries or crafting. You can spend your gold to unlock huge upgrades for each of these buildings and enhance the features of HEX that are important to you.
Increased Level Cap and adding the Ranger Class! Opening up the second tier of class talents, this will also make the level 15 racial capstone trait available! Combined, these things nearly triple the number of talents and traits for you to choose from when making your character.
Wow, that’s also going to be a very big patch. We have some other features—both announced and unannounced features we’ve thought of while making AZ1—and we’re looking at when we can deliver them to you and which ones take priority over others to continue building the best PVE experience. Among the announced ones are crafting, consumables, raids, and guilds. We haven’t forgotten about these. We will deliver all these features in time, but the features listed above like strongholds and mercenaries are coming first.
We are not talking about timing at this point, but over the course of the last year we have dramatically increased the size of the team and streamlined our development process, so we hope to see real dividends in efficiency and speed.
In closing I want to say again how grateful I am for you sticking with us. It’s been a very difficult road, and against the odds we have been successful. We set out with a pretty big dream. A dream that slowly but surely is coming true. Every day our player base grows and every day we bust ass to deliver new features and polish the ones we have.
Someday we will look back on this and be amazed that a game as big as HEX started in such a humble place. You can be proud to know that you made it happen, so again thank you, I owe each and every one of you all my gratitude… and an awkward hug.