Hey everyone, welcome back to the Thylacine Studios Podcast. In this episode, I want to talk about some of the online features in Siralim Ultimate and how I’ve decided to change the way they work based on player feedback.
When I started working on Siralim Ultimate, I envisioned a game that would be ever-changing. The idea was for there to be so many moving parts in the game that you could play it non-stop and never run out of things to do because there would always be some new event to keep you occupied. I still like that idea and plan to move forward with it, but some of the features that I planned to have online components have turned out to not be so great. I feel like I was forcing online functionality into features that didn’t really need them. So, I want to talk about what those features are and how I plan to change them in Siralim Ultimate.
First, you might remember that I revealed “World Bosses” a couple months ago. These were supposed to be giant bosses that would spawn on a timer. The timer would be contained on a server, so every single person playing the game would have their game invaded by the same World Boss at the same time. Then, players would all find the World Boss and defeat it which would help to fend off this “invasion”. After the World Boss was defeated by enough players, everyone who participated would receive a reward.
In the end, I don’t think the online functionality for World Bosses really needs to exist. I don’t want players to be at the mercy of the game deciding when you can fight a boss. And, imagine if you happen to be asleep or at work or school while a certain World Boss spawns, and by the time you’re able to play the game, it’s gone. That would feel pretty bad. So, I’ve decided to remove all online components from World Bosses.
I haven’t designed the specifics about how you’ll encounter them yet, but World Bosses will still be huge creatures that you’ll fight that have unique mechanics associated with them. These bosses take up all 6 creature slots for the enemy, and each slot contains a different body part. That might sound kind of weird, so I’ll give you an example. Hydranox is one of the World Bosses you’ll encounter in Siralim Ultimate. It’s a giant hydra that is so large that it takes up the entire battlefield, so it doesn’t have room for allies or anything like that. It’ll start with 5 heads, one for each slot, plus a body which consumes the remaining slot. The body is immune to damage and buffs the heads, and increases their stats and provides support for it. When you kill a head, two more spawn in its place which means they can now attack, cast spells, and employ all other effects two times. When you kill those two heads, three new ones will spawn. And when you finally kill those three heads, no more will spawn. Since there are 5 head slots and each one can have up to 3 heads, you might be fighting 15 heads at once if you carelessly mow them all down at once with area-of-effect spells. So, the optimal strategy for fighting this boss is to tackle one “head slot” at a time.
I feel like I rambled on a bit too much there, so if you’re still confused, don’t worry about it – the mechanics of how each fight works will be better-explained in-game. Anyway, some of the rewards you’ll earn from World Bosses include exclusive spell gem recipes (5 will be available from each boss), exclusive trait materials for your artifacts, cosmetics, and much more.
So, that’s how I’m thinking World Bosses will work now. No more online functionality – and I think this feature will be better off for it.
Next, I want to talk about Tavern Brawls. A while back, I asked everyone to fill out a survey regarding Tavern Brawls. The survey was very short and simply asked players how much they enjoy Tavern Brawls as they are in Siralim 3. Over 700 people replied to the survey, and your feedback is pretty clear: most people hate them. And those of you who don’t outright hate them simply don’t care about them one way or another. In total, less than 10% of players said they like this feature. Unfortunately, Tavern Brawls are also one of the most obnoxious things for me to handle from a coding perspective, and there are so many little bugs associated with them even in Siralim 3 that I feel like it’s all held together with bandaids and chewing gum at this point. So, it’s impossible for me to justify spending so much time on a feature that the majority of players dislike. I have a really cool idea in mind that will replace Tavern Brawls – it won’t feature PvP elements at all, but I think you’ll like it. It’s still a little too early to announce the specifics about this yet, but I’m extremely confident that most of you will enjoy what I have in mind. I recognize that some of you really enjoyed Tavern Brawls, and I’m sorry that this feature won’t make its way to Siralim Ultimate. It was a nice experiment, but it just proved that any form of PvP in the Siralim games is a bad idea. I won’t even get into all the flaws with Tavern Brawls right now because that’s not the point of this episode, but it’s something I’ll take a deep dive into at some point because I think it’s a pretty interesting topic to explore from a game design perspective.
Lastly, let’s talk about Siralim Ultimate’s Event Calendar. For those of you who don’t know (or simply forgot), there will be an in-game calendar that is tied to real-world time. It lists all the events that will happen in the game. Siralim 3 had a lot of events that rewarded exclusive creatures, materials, cosmetics, and more. These events were very well-received, but I didn’t like the fact that there was no way for players to see when an event would happen. A lot of people would check Facebook or Twitter several days after an event ended only to find out that they missed out on a wardrobe costume, and that’s a big problem to me. So, in Siralim Ultimate, there will be a calendar that will tell you when an event is coming up. I’m even planning to add optional push notifications to the mobile version of the game so that you can opt-in to reminders about events on your phone.
Anyway, so far, I’ve repeated what you already know about the calendar. The big change I’m planning for this, however, is that I don’t want to tie any exclusive creatures to events anymore. In Siralim 3, there were 4 major holiday events that offered 5 or 6 exclusive creatures. It was fun, but again, it felt so bad to miss out on those creatures. So, for all events in Siralim Ultimate (including the holiday ones like Halloween), rewards will mostly be cosmetic in nature: creature skins, decorations, things like that. There also might be a few exclusive trait materials for you to acquire because I don’t think that’s as punishing as missing out on a creature, but I’m hesitant to even do that. I think time-based rewards should all be cosmetic. And, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I also have an idea in mind to allow players to manipulate the calendar in case they missed out on an event – but I’m still not ready to announce specifics on that.
So, that’s pretty much all I have to say about online functionality in Siralim Ultimate. I think these changes will make for a much better experience for everyone. Whether you agree or disagree, I want to hear your thoughts about it. The game isn’t even in alpha testing yet, so there’s obviously plenty of time to iterate on things like this to make it as player-friendly as possible. Thanks for listening (or reading!), and I’ll see you guys next time.