I mentioned yesterday that there was a new Ask Cryptic column where they started the process of fixing the mess caused by the Vibora Bay announcement. Well today Cryptic release a new State of the Game from Chronomancer as well as small news post from Rekhan with a bullet points summary of the coming expansion and two screen shots.
Here’s the highlights from the SotG message.
Kitchen Sink Patch
Roper starts off with a mea culpa regarding the all of the problems cause by the Kitchen Sink patch. Basically Cryptic admits to not having done sufficient testing, and has attempted to correct this by increasing the size of their QA team and instituting better internal controls to keep changes from STO and other projects from providing nasty surprises.
He also expands on what they stated in the previous day’s Ask Cryptic about how they’re intending to improve communication:
- bi-weekly columns for Ask Cryptic and State of the Game
- GM blog for a community channel to the support staff
- monthly chat via IRC with the devs
- an “all-company supergroup” to provide a more visible company presence in the game and additional PvP events
- website overhaul and additional web content: monthly fiction releases, screenshots, fan art, wallpaper, and developer special features (intended to provide the dev’s point of view on the game)
There is a lot of good stuff here. Most of this is specific enough that the community will be able to easily grade Cryptic’s follow through in the coming months, and I can guarantee that there are some heavy forum users keeping a keen eye on how well Cryptic does fulfilling these promises.
Vibora Bay Revelation Expansion
They’ve changed the name of the upcoming expansion from Vibora Bay to Revelation, supposedly this reflects the change from working name to release name. There’s a short mention of a new arch-villain Therakiel (half-angel/demon) who is the focus of the expansion. Then Chronomancer gets into the part most of the Champions player community was waiting for: the expansion will be free. There’s not much additional details beyond general promises of new powers, new play areas, etc. He repeated that the content is designed for the 37-40 range with a new level 40 repeatable lair. Roper was also very careful to emphasize that the change from paid to free doesn’t reflect the quality or size of the expansion in anyway, and closes out the post by promising additional details “very soon.”
Most of the information here is a summary of what Bill already posted in the SotG message, with one new and important detail. Champions Online – Revelation will be released in mid-March of 2010.
There’s a Chronomancer followup post in the SotG forum thread where he addresses a couple of additional player concerns.
First, they are looking at some technical issues to tie the PTS and Live server accounts together to provide testers with in-game rewards for helping out.
Second, he provides a clarification of his mention about the quality level of the expansion having nothing to do with the pricing change:
What I am saying is that we didn’t consider the expansion to be sub-par and so we’re just giving it to you, or that in some way you’re getting less than we always intended because we’re not charging for it. I am ecstatic that we can provide this level of content to you for the low, low price of nothing! We’re having an internal play test right now and it’s been great to see people that haven’t been through the zone before be blown away at how it looks and plays.
Third, Roper tries to address the whole “STO stole our developers” idea that a lot of players have used as a reason why the game are languished the last few months in regards to patches and communication, saying they’ve been focused solely on the upcoming Revelation expansion and not losing resources to STO.
For me, the best part is the last sentence of his post:
We don’t expect one post to fix everything, but it’s our first step of many in the right direction!
I’m happy to see that they’ve reconsidered the idea of a paid expansion six months after launch, and I like what they’re promising regarding increased communication with the community from all levels of the Cryptic Champions team. Two days of announcements are a good start, but they are only a start.
So like I said yesterday, now we just need to see if the Cryptic Champions team can deliver on their promises.