Design Notes

February 03, 2015

AQWorlds Projects Update

AQW is evolving right in front of your eyes!

If you've been with us for a while, thanks for playing! You'll see that we've been changing a number of features and functionality inside AQWorlds. If you're new, hi! Welcome to AQWorlds! You've come at a really key point in our game's lifespan.

AQWorlds is over six years old now; we've grown so much since 2008, and over the years, we've defeated scores of villains. But one of the most dangerous enemies of online games is staring us straight in the face, and we are doing all we can to fight it - stasis. We need to move forward, evolve, and change with the times. To keep AQWorlds alive, we need to GROW and IMPROVE and CHANGE.

Because AQWorlds updates on a weekly cycle, the development for improving and updating the game take place alongside weekly releases. That also lets us have YOU guys test the changes as they are being built (once we reach a stage where you can push buttons and have something happen). 

Several of these projects (like the new world map and the quest UI) are in live-testing. We do this to see how the new functionality will hold up under load. So, below is where those projects and others stand, and where we're headed next:

New World Map

The new world map is designed to both help you navigate the world and give a better idea of story progression. We call these "adventure maps." They aren't 100% geographically accurate; instead, they show you where you're headed next in the story.

More story adventures being added soon

Changes left to make:

  • Reducing lag 
  • Adding in more adventure maps (for Doomwood, seasonal events, side stories) 
  • Adding direct links to the bank and other popular locations

New Quest/NPC Interface

The quest/NPC interface redesign is taking place for a number of reasons: 1) the current appearance is outdated. We've got to keep AQW looking fresh and appealing. 2) many new players have difficulty using/understanding the current system. 3) by re-doing the UI, we can improve and add to its functionality.

Current version, changes in the works based on feedback

Changes left to make:

  • Appearance updates based on player feedback (making it less claustrophobic, more fantasy)
  • Adding in the "turn in quest from anywhere" functionality (the quest box in the upper-right side of the screen will call the last NPC pop-up you accepted a quest from)
  • Bug fixes to current version

New Tutorial

The new tutorial is a VITAL project! When a new player first joins AQWorlds, we want to excite them, engage them, and TEACH them how to play the game. Based on your feedback, this version of the tutorial meets those three goals the best. You've also sent in additional ideas on how to improve the tutorial (thanks!).

Changes left to make:

  • Add in player suggestions
  • Load tutorial videos directly into the game
  • Add in helper cutscenes on Nythera and Sora
  • Add in email confirmation reward

Server Rewrite Progress Update

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a Design Notes about the server rewrite project. We have a good deal of control over the game, but currently we are using server software whose base we did not build ourselves (though we created all of our server-based game functionality)... and that means there are some things we cannot change. But we CAN rewrite the server!

Due to a number of additional top priority projects (like the Facebook integration, the quest interface, and others) and delays (the end of the Chaos Saga, the holidays, etc), work on the server rewrite has been delayed. 

BUT! As of January 1st, the server rewrite project is officially BACK in action! Yorumi has already made a lot of progress. He started researching again this past December, and met with Zhoom in early January.

Server Rewrite Progress Chart

So that we all have a clear idea of where the server rewrite progress is at, we'll use server rewrite version numbering (SRV) and phases.

Phase 1: Porting the existing game over to proprietary server software (that we built ourselves. This is what Oversoul currently runs on).

Phase 2: Updating core game functionality on AQW 2.0. 

Phase 2 is where we're planning to make the changes you guys want - the buyback shop, better PVP and guilds functionality, bank item previews, friends list syncing, adding rank 10 passives to new classes, cross-server chat, better anti-bot and reporting functionality and more.

  • SRV 0 - research begins
  • SRV 0.01 - server architecture meeting with Zhoom
  • SRV 0.02 - staff-only test of new combat system
  • SRV 0.6 - full working Alpha stage
  • SRV 0.8 - player live-test on PTR
  • SRV 1.0 - full launch of Server Rewrite, Phase 1

Right now, we are about a month away from the staff-only test of the new combat system. With the current calculations, we expect SRV 0.8 (the player live-test PTR) to begin in September. 

Keep an eye on the Design Notes for future progress updates! Give us your feedback on the Design Notes post!

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