Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Some fun Halloween stuff is going on today! You should poke around the site and see what’s new!
It’s also the 1-year anniversary of when we launched the site as a closed Beta, so that’s a pretty big milestone.
Recently Scullyangel posted a thread outlining some of the highlights of the last year. Honestly it’s my site so obviously I would say this: but I’m really impressed with how far we’ve come in such a short time.
|Products for BP||0||16|
|Bandwidth||~ 30MB/day||~ 30GB/day|
|Lines of Code||11,497||24,812|
I’m also incredibly proud of the products we launched in our first year: ForumBuildr, Forumwarz Domination, INCIT, Episode 2, The Job Board and MOAR files.
There’s tons of new fun stuff planned, too. Keep watching this blog and twitter!
One of the biggest pains for our users has been the store interface. It worked really well for buying one or two items at a time, but it really sucked when buying more than that.
Additionally, the undo purchase button was just rife with abuse — people figured out all sorts of tricks to advance in the storyline with “borrowed” items and such.
Today I’m happy to release the first update to the store interface in about a year! Right now, you are presented with a more brief tabular view of the items the store has. You have a quantity box beside each item, with + and – buttons to raise and lower the value (although you can just type it in yourself too.)
You are forced to confirm your purchase, which is the new way of preventing unwanted sales. Also this gives us a chance to prevent repeated submissions by assinging each purchase a unique token. The confirmation page also tells you how much flezz you will have left after the purchase goes through.
Try it out, and let me know what you think!
I’ve been saying for months that the part of Forumwarz that I want to upgrade the most is the ForumBuildr v2.0 BETA.
Right now it’s the only part of Forumwarz that requires manual intervention. Every Sunday night since we launched (with a couple of exceptions), I have had to stay home and do some work to make sure the stylesheet submitted jives with the existing site stylesheet. I also have to run some scripts to assign buildr scores and assign the difficulty of the forum.
The upgrades are going to move towards the Forum builds being completely automated, as well as making them a lot more customizable. I figured I’d let you guys know what we’re planning to deploy over the next little while in pieces:
Forum Ideas will have to give three topics for thread titles. For example, an army forum might have “Guns, Ammo and Camo” as the three topics. When a user submits a thread title, they will have to assign it into one of those topics. (this is being deployed tonight!)
The images for those topics can be designed and uploaded, voted on, etc, like logos.
We are going to allow people to upload icons for the forum, like the small pixel art ones we have for existing forums.
I am going to deploy a new “Style” builder to appeal to a wider audience. It will be a form that allows people without knowledge of CSS to build styles by playing with drop downs and color pickers. This will also solve my problem with the CSS not working when deployed. People will also be able to upload a background image!
Users will be able to submit custom titles for enemies in the forum. Again, more voting and fun!
Finally, we’re considering letting people upload avatars for the enemies themselves.
I think with these changes, the builds will get a lot more exciting, and will gain a lot more of the capabilities of the non-community forums!
I don’t have exact dates for most of these features, but expect to see them deployed over the next couple of weeks!
Over the last few weeks I’ve received a couple of angry emails.
Here’s a sample:
“I have to PAY to play the next episode?
No Thanks. No Thanks.
I’m not going to tell you guys you suck now or anything, I understand, you need money to do what you gotta do… But I think you went about it the wrong way, and you aren’t getting my money.
It’s not even entirely because I’m not convinced episode 2 isn’t worth money. It’s because I feel like I’ve been hijacked.
Kingdom of Loathing is the only other online web based rpg I play, and they’ve probably got 50 bucks out of me over the course of my playing, why? because they didn’t create necessary plot content and then force me to pay for it. They just have cool things that are optional to pay for. I’m down with that.”
Kingdom of Loathing
I get asked about Kingdom of Loathing (KoL) with some regularity: Have I ever played it? What do I think of it?
The truth is I have played it, but only for a short period of time. I thought it was really cool, and I was impressed with the depth it has. It’s amazing how much there is to do in there.
Forumwarz has a lot in common with KoL. They’re both browser-based role playing games. They both are parodies of the genre. While it can be said that they are our “competition,” I never think of them like that.
When Jick and Mr. Skullhead created KoL, they paved the way for games like Forumwarz and we’re grateful to them. And while KoL wasn’t in my mind during the design stages of Forumwarz (the games I was influenced by were Jones in the Fast Lane, Superhero League of Hoboken and World of Warcraft. Jalapeno was influenced by Shadowrun and the Monkey Island series), we certainly took KoL into consideration when trying to figure out a sustainable business model.
I think that having another parody browser-based RPG does something to legitimize the market. There’s no reason why players can’t play both. Or one might appeal to a certain kind of players while the other appeals to another. Additionally, we can look to each other for inspiration or ideas. I’ve corresponded with Jick a few times — he’s a really nice guy. He plays Forumwarz and even bought Episode 2!
I’m not out to steal players from KoL or “best” the game on any level. I’m out to create the best game I possibly can, and I’m sure they are too.
Every time I have received an email like the one at the top of this post, it has been from a KoL player. They are the ones who object the most to us charging for content.
I think I understand why. In the KoL world, things are not done that way. Longtime players of that game have accepted this as a basic truth, and it almost seems to offend them that anyone would even consider doing something different. This is what we have to deal with when entering the market years later.
If anyone feels “hijacked”, I’m terribly sorry, but it has always been our plan to charge for Episode 2. We’ve been talking about it publicly since February. There have been countless threads on Flamebate and blog postings about it. I really think the people who have taken the most offense are those who just assumed we’d do things exactly like KoL.
The Forumwarz business model is different. Note that I’m not saying “better” here, just different. We are more like the shareware model of games, where you play the first episode free, then pay if you enjoyed it and want to continue playing. Really what we’re doing is nothing new, it’s just being applied to a new medium.
Is our method a mistake, like the person’s email says? So far, I’m delighted to say things are going great. It is far too early to make long-term predictions since the new episode hasn’t even been out a week, but the future looks bright at this point.
We are experimenting here. If it continues to succeed we will keep it up. If it fails, we will look into other methods of sustainability. I don’t want to put words into the KoL’s team mouth, because maybe they’ve decided to never, ever charge for content, but I’m sure they’re at least observing how this is going to pan out for us. This is the way businesses function: they try new things, see how the market reacts to it, then adjust based on their reactions.
Ultimately, I’ve always said that it’s your money to spend as you choose. We are delivering a product that I think is worth $9.99. If you don’t think it’s worth it, that’s cool. Plenty of other people do. Also, there are other games you can choose to play instead that have different business models. No matter what happens, as a consumer you’re going to have some awesome games around to play.
We’re only one week away from the Launch of Forumwarz Episode 2!
Here are some very important things you should know (even if you haven’t purchased Episode 2):
Most game statistics have been changed and tuned
This is in the best interests of keeping the game smooth and challenging, as well as balancing between the various player classes.
Many things are weaker, many are stronger. Changes have been made to pretty much every attack, item and upgrade in the game. In fact, you’ll find that the new system includes many more upgrades for the same amount of upgrade points, (although they are weaker.)
As a result of this, everyone will begin with all their upgrades reset, and their equipment unequipped. The first thing you will have to do when you start playing is re-build your character (unless of course you’re starting from scratch.). This means taking your time to use the upgrade interface to create a new build, and putting back on your equipment.
If you are unsure as to what makes a good build in the Episode 2 universe, don’t worry, HaxlRose will allow you to refresh your stats for free once every 4 days.
We have to take the server down for the upgrade
On October 15th at approximately 7AM EST Forumwarz will be taken down. When the server comes back up, Forumwarz Episode 2 will be live.
We are also using this opportunity to do some major cleanup of old files and data, as well as moving to a brand new server. For those keeping count, this will be our third infrastructure change in a year (and that’s not even counting RAM upgrades). We’re anticipating lots of activity around the Episode 2 launch, and we want to do our best to make sure things stay up and are smooth.
Domination is going to end a day early
Because the server needs to be taken down for the upgrade, and we happen to be launching on a Wednesday, we’ve decided to end Domination at 9PM EST on Tuesday night instead.
Episode 2 is now only two weeks away, and we’ve still got some surprises! Previously, I’ve alluded to an unannounced gameplay feature that will be released at the same time as Episode 2, and I’m finally ready to announce it!
One thing lacking from Forumwarz is item drops when you beat enemies. Sure, we send you junk the next day, but if you are just 50 flezz short on an item you want, it sucks to have to wait, especially if you have forum visits remaining. Also, there is relatively little to collect in our game, since there are a limited amount of stores and items you can buy from them.
When Episode 2 launches, we’re introducing item drops in the form of “.moar” files. Even though this feature is launching with the paid content, it is open to all players. In fact, you gain the ability around level 3 in Episode 1.
The idea is that the Internet is like a dirty attic full of forgotten data files. Some are useful, some aren’t, and some are really rare. You are given the ability to equip “spider” software that scours forums as you browse (read: pwn) them. After each battle, the spider will transfer the files to your computer.
All the files are intially .moar files, which is the archive format of the Forumwarz universe. They are split up into multiple pieces, and you have to assemble them before you can access the file they contain. You are given a new tab on your character page that lists all the .moar files you’ve collected so far, the pieces you’ve found and how many are remaining before you can extract the file.
Files can be either audio, video, programs, pictures or documents, and can be equipped before you go into battle. Each player class can equip one of each type of file to boost their stats. Additionally, some files are specific to player classes.
Certain file pieces can only be found in certain forums, and some pieces are very rare. Harder forums generally drop better files. There are hundreds of files to collect and equip.
I’m pretty happy with the way the feature has turned out. The idea is to add more files over time, and eventually add a marketplace system where players can trade the pieces they don’t have with each other!
A lot of Episode 2 has come together over the last couple of weeks. I remember it being this way before we launched Episode 1. It seems to take forever to get the ball rolling, but near the end so much comes together so quickly!
I included an illustration of a permanoob in our last update. It’s actually a tiny piece of our new homepage! For Episode 2 you’ll be greeted with a beautiful piece of artwork from the guys at Dooomcat. We liked their artwork so much that we had them re-design the character selection portraits too. I think our moderator, Mc Banhammer, had an orgasm when he saw the full artwork.
It looks like we are going to launch a closed beta of Episode 2 on Monday. We promised some contributors to Episode 2 the ability to participate in the beta, so if you are one of those (and you should know if you are!), please make sure your email on your account is up to date so we can email you the details.
If you haven’t been promised membership to the beta, and can’t wait until October to play the game, don’t fret: It is likely that our list of beta participants is too small for adequate coverage. We will likely end up randomly choosing some of our active players to participate as well. If you want to make sure you’re eligible, just make sure you play the game (pwn forums or gain scoops in domination) between now and Monday.
If you’re not picked, you won’t have to be patient for very long! The majority of the wait is over. A release date announcement will come very soon!
- Evil Trout
(p.s. never forget)