Jul 032012
 

NEStalgia’s 4th of July holiday event “Balzackian Dependence Day” is now live and will run through Saturday.  There are many special masks, dyes and even a new companion exclusive to this holiday, so come collect them while they’re available. This small-scale event is designed for characters of all levels – simply visit the encampment east of the Colosseum to take part in the festivities.

Better yet, the release of this event coincides with the v1.64.4 update which makes most of the foes inside the Black Sanctum recruitable. That means a total of 17 new unique companions to play with, including several that come loaded with new types of abilities and reserve bonuses.

Enjoy!

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to the hard work of many community members (especially Jumier and Chaoseon) the NEStalgia Wiki is no longer super out of date.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.

Jan 282012
 

Getting DCed in the middle of battle in any online game sucks, and NEStalgia has been no exception. Up until now we’ve had to count all battle disconnects as a death for the player, meaning that you’d lose half of your gold and be returned to the last town you visited.  Thankfully, however, the nature of NEStalgia’s turn-based battle system affords us a unique opportunity to take most of the sting out of battle disconnects in a seamless way. With today’s v1.60 update we’ve finally made good on that opportunity.

Battle disconnects are handled differently based upon the type of battle that a player is disconnected from. While the philosophy of how the system works is fairly simple, the devil is in the details:

  • Solo PvE
    • This is fairly simple. If you were disconnected during a solo battle with regular monsters, you’ll jump back into that battle as if you had never disconnected (the monsters will retain their HP, status effects, etc). However, if you were fighting a boss then you’ll automatically restart that boss battle from the beginning once you log back in.
  • Solo PvP
    • Solo Player vs. Player disconnects are the only type of battle that had to remain unchanged. The battle will still count as a loss, and your opponent will still take half of your gold.
  • Group PvE/PvP
    • If you are disconnected in the middle of a group PvE or PvP battle, your character will stay in the fight as a sort of dummy character that is still a part of the battle. Your allies can heal it, your opponents can target it, but the dummy will simply skip its turn every round. If you log back into the game while the battle is still in progress you will be reconnected to your character and be allowed to continue the battle normally. Note: if there are no other actual players left on your side of the battle when you disconnect, no dummy will be created and the battle will count as a loss.
    • Should you be disconnected and not log back into your character before the battle ends, the game will actually keep a record of the outcome of that battle and will only penalize you if your group was defeated. If your group was victorious in your absence, you’ll be returned to the overworld (or wherever you were when the battle started) as if nothing happened.

Never be afraid of a disconnect again!

There is an expiration timer of sorts on the disconnect saving, as whenever we update the game to a new version number it will reset your saved battles and count them as a loss. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to only rely upon this system when you have to. A feature like this must be designed in anticipation of the ways that players will try to abuse it, and it was very important to ensure that logging out mid-battle could never give a player any sort of strategic advantage.

The v1.60 update has already gone live. It has (of course) been thoroughly tested, but if you do find any bugs in this new system then please report them right away.

Jan 192012
 

We’re probably going to start doing the NEStalgia podcasts bi-weekly until the standalone game clients and content expansions start to roll out. I know that it’s really only the more hardcore/active players who listen to the podcasts, so I’d like to balance things out with some regular blog posts for all of our dormant followers who just stop by occasionally to check in on NEStalgia.

Server Merges & Savefile Maintenance

This was a fairly busy week for us: we merged the two remaining PvE servers Algol and Sosaria into one giant super server (we kept the name Algol). The nice thing about this merge is that players with characters on both servers had their savefiles merged together, so the transition was fairly seamless. When we eventually have hundreds of veteran players returning to play the content expansions we’ll simply start up a couple new PvE servers and be good to go. We’re also exploring ways to allow individual servers to host more players.

In addition to the big merge, maintenance was performed on every single savefile on both Algol and Zenithia to prepare the game for Monster Companions. The only change that players will notice from this maintenance is that their character slots have been re-sorted, eliminating any empty gaps between files.

Version 1.58 Released

As you can see in the official update notes, v1.58 is a pretty small release in terms of updates visible to players. On the backend, however, there were lots of efficiency improvement and code changes related to Monster Companions. In fact, we can actually create working monster companions for testing purposes on the live servers right now. We’re still a ways off from the actual release of the companion update, but v1.58 was a big step forward.

In the Pipeline…

Spiff has been making good progress on his automated Colosseum tournament system. Having regular weekly tournaments is going to be a big deal for the community, and I can’t wait until we get there.

I’ve been tackling Monster Companions, and some of the fruits of my labor may be popping up on the live servers in the very near future. The long-promised battle disconnect saving system that will essentially eliminate the penalty for battle disconnects is next on my agenda.

Last but not least, don’t forget about the official PvP tournament on Zenithia this Sunday.

Dec 102011
 

Although I may have been MIA from the blog this week (no podcast again, sorry!), both Spiff and I have been really hard at work behind the scenes. I waded through balance tweaks while Spiff cranked out a ton of bug fixes which went live earlier in the week for a v1.55c update, and he also fixed even more bugs for today’s patch.

So what’s in today’s update? See the giant list of v1.56 changes on the wiki for full documentation, but here are the highlights:

Tons of Skill Tree tweaks

The branch length of many skills have been reduced for all classes, and in most cases this reduction has been coupled with an increase in power per skill point. This change gives players more skill points to play with, and a bit more bang for their buck for each point spent. Due to these tweaks all classes have had their skill points refunded (which is something I hope to not have to do again until the next content update/level cap increase).

Ninja revamp

As promised, Ninjas received the most attention with this patch. Their skill trees have been reworked to put less emphasis on the “+power when outnumbered” skills and more emphasis on being bad ass fighters that dodge attacks and relentlessly pummel their opponents. The most notable examples of this are a new pair of skill branches:

Double Punch (6): +2% chance to hit with a second half-damage blow when attacking

Retaliate(4): +25% chance to counter with a half-damage blow after dodging an attack

New Weapons/Armor throughout the world

We added more than 15 base types of weapons and armor throughout the world to fill in holes where certain classes didn’t have any decent slot upgrades for many levels. Many of these pieces are rare drops, meaning that there are lots of permutations of them available with different stats. As part of this change, several existing quests were also modified to give class-sensitive rewards.

Stat Seed power & availability

In v1.52 all stat seeds had their power reduced from +2 to +1. That change has been reversed, and new “Small” +1 seeds have been scattered around the world (from Ennar forward) as quest rewards and chest drops.

And more…

Did I mention that the v1.56 patch notes are monstrous?

Although I’m sure that there will be some additional minor balance or bug fix patches in the coming weeks, v1.56 is likely going to be the last round of major changes before the new AI Monster Companions and content expansion are released. We’ve also got a pretty sweet holiday event in the works for Christmas time that should sate your appetites for new content over the holidays. More details on all of those updates are forthcoming.

I’ve got a bit of free time this weekend, so I’ll be personally hosting an Official PvP Tournament on Algol tomorrow at 1:00 PM PST. Assemble your level 28-32 teams and sign up here.

Dec 032011
 

The NEStalgia v1.55 update is now live on all servers. You can view a complete rundown of the documented changes in the patch notes, or check out last week’s preview of the major new features. Those features include Gamepad Mode, battle battlegrounds, and a new player interaction interface.

As we’ve previously discussed, this update also changes the way player names are handled. All character names are now uniquely owned by the player who uses that name first on a given server. Please see this forum topic for detailed information on this transition and how it affects existing characters.

Enjoy your weekend, and if you’re in the mood for a PvP tournament then stop by Zenithia tomorrow at 1 PM PST.

Nov 272011
 

Just to let everyone know, I had to post a hotfix for an unexpected bug this morning and along with it I put in some of the minor fixes from the upcoming v1.55 patch. These fixes previously slated for v1.55 are now live:

  • Ranger Bug Fix: Quickness was calculating a percentage increase to Agility rather than a straight increase.
  • Cleric Bug Fix: Seeing Red was not impacting attack or defense as it should have been.
  • Warlock Bug Fix: The base cost of Leech was still being calculated incorrectly.

Because this isn’t a full version number update, in order to register the effects of these bug fixes you’ll need to simply equip or unequip a piece of gear for your stats to recalculate.

It’s also important to note that I’ve taken this opportunity to finally disable the free respecs. I let those go on for way longer than I meant to, and my original goal of getting lots of numbers and balance feedback from players has been fulfilled. Respeccing your character will now cost gold, and the price increases every time you do it (but maxes out after 3 respecs):

  • 1st Time: 40 gold
  • 2nd Time: 400 gold
  • 3rd Time: 4,000 gold
  • 4th Time+: 40,000 gold

I get this question a lot, so here is the answer once again just in case:  Yes, whenever I make significant changes to the skill trees for a particular class with an update, that class will have its skill points refunded.

I hope that all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving weekend! Don’t forget about the tournament later today on Sosaria.

Nov 012011
 

The v1.54 update is now live on all servers (version notes). It address a handful of minor bugs (thanks Spiff!) and also delivers some substantial improvements to the Ranger skill trees. My goals with the Ranger tweaks were A.) to boost the power of Storm spells for most types of builds, and B.) to significantly increase the viability of “jack of all trades” Ranger builds.

As far as other tweaks go, multi-target (AoE) damage received too much of a boost in v1.53 so I’ve brought that down a tad. Although I mentioned this a few days ago, I’ll reiterate: the free respecs will remain in effect until I’m done making major tweaks to all of the skill trees. In the meantime keep the feedback rolling in because although I can’t personally reply to every single post, I do read everything written on the suggestions board.

Next on my agenda is a review of the Ninja skill trees. Although I feel like their trees offer lots of utility, they lack the excitement or the sense of growth found in other classes’ trees. My other goal for the near future is to improve the selection of available gear for classes that currently encounter equipment dry spells for certain portions of the game.

We’ll be recording another podcast later this evening so if you have questions or just a general topic that you’d like for us to discuss then please let us know in the comments. We’ve been getting a ton of listeners each week but not a whole lot of feedback, so I’d really like to know what our audience does or doesn’t like about the podcasts so that we can continue to improve on the formula.

Enjoy v1.54!