Jun 252012

Last summer I set forth a plan to take NEStalgia from being a “hobbyist project” to a full-blown independent game. Although the overhaul of the code base and implementation of countless gameplay improvements took much longer than expected, we’re finally at the finish line. In other words, NEStalgia is now ready for widespread exposure and a much larger audience. The most recent (and most important) milestone was the release of the NEStalgia standalone client: if you haven’t seen it yet then go grab it on our new website. Hopefully we’ll start to see many new faces as I work to spread the word about NEStalgia in the coming weeks!

The next question is where the game itself goes from here. Players have been begging and pleading for new content for the better part of a year, and I’m finally ready to provide it.¬†From here on out the primary focus of our development efforts will be regular content expansions, the first of which is already in the works:

NEStalgia: Key of the Exiles

We won’t be changing the title of the game itself, but all NEStalgia content expansions will be named. Key of the Exiles will expand the world of NEStalgia by adding new regions, monsters, items and quests while also bumping the level cap up to 45. As with all named content expansions, Key of the Exiles will also include a new level 45 “end game” dungeon with a wide array of daily quests and the next tier of epic set gear.

The first order of business for players will be to obtain a ship that allows them to freely navigate the world of NEStalgia. The ship is more than just a cool new way to get around, as it also represents a philosophical shift in how the game is played. Up until now players have had a fairly linear path placed before them, but once you obtain a ship the entire game becomes much more open-ended. The order in which you complete the next main storyline objectives is completely up to you, and there will be no NPCs holding your hand telling you where to go. Exploration and discovery are the hallmarks of this content expansion.

So why is it called Key of the Exiles? Although the quest for the Luanan Runes will continue, the next rune is locked away in an ancient tomb behind a door sealed 10,000 years ago by the exiles of the ancient Luanan civilization. After sealing the door the exiles immediately destroyed the only means of opening it: a magical key capable of unlocking any door. The main storyline quests will have players scouring the world in search of fragments of that ancient key in order to reforge it.

As with all major NEStalgia updates, I won’t be setting a hard release date for Key of the Exiles until I know for sure that I can hit my target. In the short term, however, players can look forward to a fun 4th of July holiday event next week alongside the release of the Black Sanctum companions (more details forthcoming). As development on Key of the Exiles progresses, I’ll continue to post previews here on the blog.

Jun 072012

The month of May turned out to be a wash for NEStalgia gameplay updates, but yesterday’s v1.64 patch puts us back on track with lots of balance tweaks and a huge pile of bug fixes (most of those fixes courtesy of Spiff!). See the v1.64 update notes for a complete list of changes.

I’m in the process of fleshing out the next content expansion, and I hope to have details and screenshots posted in the near future. I’ll be cranking on the expansion around the clock until it’s finished; I want it out the door as soon as possible. Also on my agenda are some minor changes/new features that should be coming in the next couple weeks, most notably the Black Sanctum companions and the ability to toggle individual companion abilities on or off outside of battle.

The biggest news this month is something that has been in the works for awhile: NEStalgia is about to become a standalone game and will no longer require BYOND in order to play. The standalone beta is already available for download, and we’ll be making it official within the next week or two. Once that’s released I will then enthusiastically begin my push for widespread exposure for NEStalgia.

Last but not least I’d like to mention that thanks to the hard work of many community members (especially Jumier and Chaoseon) the NEStalgia Wiki is no longer super out of date. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s all looking great so far.

It’s been far too long since I made time to post a development update, so feel free to ask any lingering questions that you have in the comments.