Fury: Fury One Month Anniversary

| 19 Nov 2007 20:39

Fury is more than one month old now, and Auran team is determined to keep pushing the PvP envelope with their title. CEO and Executive Producer Tony "Bossman" Hilliam, released a letter to the community confirming their stand and revealing their focus points for the future:

FURY ONE MONTH ANNNIVERSARY UPDATE

When people talk about FURY, they often talk about POTENTIAL and that is what we're working on right now - unlocking that potential. We have learnt a lot in the first month since release, and obviously we need to make improvements. First of all we need to provide a game platform that is stable and performs well on more machines - we've made some big steps, but we have further to go. We need to provide an easier to understand and more enjoyable experience for new players. We need to work closely with our core community to deliver on our goal of making the Number One PvP game in the world. And we need to provide ongoing content and feature additions to keep the game fresh. This update will give you an outline of what we have learnt throughout Beta and the launch period and where we are going in the future.

FURY is designed around the concept that, win or lose, a closely fought match is more fun. To date, too many matches have been lop-sided and that's no fun for the winners or the losers. FURY requires critical mass: with a higher population, there are more people in the queue for a match. With a bigger pool to choose from, the matchmaker can create a much more evenly balanced match.

Our statistics show that people have a "patience level" of around 2 minutes wait time in a queue and about 20 minutes total during each session. The stats also show that players with losing records stop playing the game. We investigated some of the match statistics for the journalists who gave FURY poor scores. They all lost and lost badly - none of the guys we checked on had a winning record. Stopping this pwnage is certainly the biggest hurdle we must overcome.

What is the solution? We need to provide a safer environment for new players to learn the game - we can't push them into the deep end and tell them to swim. From this nice safe haven, they will gain the confidence and experience necessary to join the more experienced players. To date we have a number of changes to help players settle in and learn the ropes:

* we have introduced the Bloodbath Training Grounds where it is much easier for players to finish in the top half (although you would be surprised to see how many people finish well behind the bots)

* we have reduced game sizes to speed up queues and made changes to the matchmaker to better balance teams

* we beefed up the new players by giving all players 1,000 Equip points at the start including some decent armor and Rank 10 abilities (the downside is that new players are presented with an overwhelming set of abilities to learn and they still don't have the knowledge necessary to compete)

Whilst these changes have helped, we need to go further. I would like to now bring you up to date on some of the things we are looking at (and many that are already implemented for the next update).

New Player Experience

We are reworking the tutorial with less "Role-Playing" and more useful instruction. There are new training bots and you can repeat the training at any time. This means you will be able to test your new Incarnation against a variety of "Archetype bots" in a non-threatening environment. In addition, new players will be corralled in the starting area until they have played at least 10 games.

There will be two game types designed primarily for new players - the current 4 human and 4 bot Free For All Bloodbath, plus a new game type called Carnage. This battle pits two human teams against 12-24 bots. Players kill the bots to collection Blood Tokens and then return the Tokens to their base to score points. You can also kill the enemy players to stop them returning the Blood Tokens (we are a PvP game after all!)

We are also making improvements to the starting Trials and Incarnations to ensure new players have a useful set of abilities and the ability to defend themselves against higher level game mechanics such as charge manipulation.

Abilities and Incarnations

Introducing new systems is always a risk. Our Incarnation system allows for the ultimate in flexibility. The trade-off is that players are effectively learning 8 different classes simultaneously making it about 8 times harder to learn. More than one reviewer has marked us down for allowing "only one character". Effectively, they are completely failing to understand that Fury's incarnation system means you can have 250 different "characters". We need to better manage the exposure of abilities to new players and to simplify the choices players have to make.

We are looking at reducing the number of abilities and increasing the differentiation between abilities (and between tiers). We will also be reworking the trial progression system and showing players what abilities lie ahead on each path. We are beefing up the tutorial to better explain Equip Points and Incarnations as well as adding more information to Guides to help players better understand how to create a competitive build.

Combat

FURY is both fast paced and complex. There is a lot of information to be processed to perform well in battle and quick reactions are required. There are no Level 1 wolves in FURY to practice upon. There are a number of things we are working on to help players understand what is going on. This includes improving the combat feedback on screen and through audio; increasing the update frequency of charge displays, buffs and health updates; displaying damage and other combat information more clearly and effectively.

We are also testing a slowdown of the 1 second global cooldown (in the current build we snuck in a 1.1 second global cooldown to see if anyone would notice). We may increase this to 1.25 seconds thereby allowing players 25% more time to react.

Throughout beta the feedback has been that "FURY is fun because it is fast". We need to balance that pace with the ability for players to identify the situation and decide upon an appropriate reaction. This process will be ongoing and we will be working very closely with the community to ensure that, where possible, we test changes extensively prior to unleashing them to everyone.

Bugs

No PC game is free from bugs, but, like a good wine, online games tend to get better and better with age. We are working hard on fixing problems and, believe it or not, once we have reproducible cases, we tend to be pretty good at fixing them (fyi, we don't have any crashes on the 70 or so PC's around our office). Unfortunately, many of the problems occur only on some hardware and it's very hard for us to gather the information necessary to reproduce the problem. If you do have technical problems with the latest build, please use our Technical Support system at http://www.unleashthefury.com/customerservice/. If you find a bug, report it through the in-game Bug Report tool to make sure we know about it. The more information you can give us, the better our chances are of fixing the problem quickly.

Performance

We have a team of engineers continuously working on performance improvements. One sound bug we fixed lead to a 200-300% frame rate improvement on some hardware. This work is ongoing and is a top priority for us. If you are having problems with performance, our recommendation is to choose the "Low Spec Renderer" option in the Launcher. Again, if you have performance problems on hardware that you think should run better, please submit your information through the in game bug reporting system.

December Free Content Update

Online games are about new content. We have already been working for many weeks on some of the things mentioned above (and more). Right now we are locking down the code for these additional features and content in preparation for a big Content Update to be released in December (we're right on track, but we want to make sure we get it right). Some of these things we have announced already, and some we have kept under wraps. Here is a short list of the major features coming:

* New improved tutorial
* Repeatable bot training area for testing Incarnations
* New "Carnage" game
* New 1v1 Elimination game type and maps
* Changes to abilities and trial trees
* Overhaul of the item system
* Improvements to combat feedback
* Artificer GUI rework
* Auction house GUI improvements
* More ladders and player statistics
* Lots, lots more

More Big Changes Ahead

After the December Content Update, the team will continue working on more of everything. This means:

* More content
* More game types
* Crafting
* Multi-queue matchmaking
* Clan incarnations and clan banks
* New skill based bot teams in all game types
* Rewards based upon ladder performance
* New system for making achievements meaningful
* and of course more bug fixes, performance improvements and polish.

It is our goal to release major new content updates every few months and we will be adding these features and more as fast as we possibly can.

Summary

We love playing games. We have poured our hearts and our souls into FURY and, one month after release, it is fair to say we have come up short of our ambitious goals. What we have done is we have created a fantastic platform - there is no doubt that FURY has enormous POTENTIAL. We have made major steps forward in understanding the problems and we have listened to our core players about ways to make improvements. We are continuing to work on additions and improvements. Here is the key:

It is only with your help and support that FURY will become the Number One PvP game in the world.

To help kick things along, this weekend you can earn double Gold and Essence. You can also check out your performance on the Ladders. Bring along your friends - they can install from your disk and get themselves a trial key. If everyone brings a friend, we will double our player population. With double the people, we will have shorter queue times, better match-ups and heaps of serious fun.

See you in game,
Bossman

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