Dev Update – Establishing Systems

Divine Order payment system is a focus, play to earn is in the tinkerer, and we muse on Mythics.

Howdy y’all, 

We’ve been tinkering behind the scenes and working towards sending the new expansion set live. In case you missed it, in the last fortnight we’ve seen:

  • Divine Order PTR playdays: We saw two PTR playdays go live, which was the first chance for mortals to get their hands on the Divine Order set.
  • Divine Order website: We also launched the Divine Order website, which hosts the new keyword videos (voiced by legendary community member TriggerHaven as the Citadel Herald), unveiled the Promo cards, and the new Mythic. If you haven’t already, check’em all out.
  • A Divine Trio event: The community took their big-brain ideas around Divine Order synergies and put them into the latest community contest. We’ve seen some amazing combos here (and some funky presentations), but this has now officially closed off, and we’re ready to start judging internally. Keep an eye out for more to come.
  • New lore: For the narrative nuts out there, we have a bunch of lore stories hitting the blog, and there are more to come to close off Trial of the Gods and roll into Divine Order.

Divine Order expansion

With Divine Order imminent, our team is focusing our attention on launch systems and actions, a large chunk of which is around the payment system that will power the set. For each sale, we’ve had to reinvent the wheel. But this platform will provide the base for all future sales, meaning we can launch sets with greater ease in the future

  • Layer 2 sales and distribution platform: Work in this space (mentioned in the previous Dev Update) continues ahead at a steady pace. The platform will have two main functions:
    • Sales – This is where you’ll buy Divine Order packs from at launch, and is being built to provide the base for all future expansions after this.
    • Distribution – Getting packs where they need to go on Layer 2 is a key element. This includes distribution of things like Weekend Ranked rewards (we know a bunch of you are itching to get your saved up packs), and community events.
  • Early-bird discount period: When the Divine Order sale goes live, we’re going to be kicking off with an early bird discount system. This will be using ramp pricing, seeing pack prices starting at a 20% discount, which slowly decreases as more packs are sold until the sale reaches $6,000,000. At this point, the Discount will be over, and Divine Order packs will be sold at full price until the Divine Order sales period ends.
  • Referral system: We’re looking to build out referrals around sales of Divine Order packs. We don’t currently have systems that make this easy, but we think it’s important to give value back to our player base for bringing others into the fold, even if it’s burdensome for us.
  • Polishing the set: We’re still hard at work polishing Divine Order. Both the PTR playdays and our internal testing have been instrumental in finding bugs that need to be addressed and getting things operating how they should. Our goal is to keep the game meta fresh, but not unfair, and we’re keen to see what the community finds with Divine Order cards in the mix. 
  • Playday mayhem: On that note, the play days have proved super valuable, and it looks like plenty of you have been enjoying previewing the new set too. As a result, we’re adding an extra play day to the roster for the week to come. Keep your calendars free from Wednesday September 15, 2021 6pm PDT – Thursday September 16, 2021 6pm PDT as you’ll be able to dive in for another session with the new set.
  • Game Update 0.39: The first release of Divine Order will come in Game Update 0.39, seeing cards and new God Powers available on beta before the set is available for purchase. This means you’ll be able to delve Divine Order cards, as well as use the new God Powers once this update lands. This update won’t have the current fixes that we’ve found in PTR playdays as well as our internal testing since, so it will be released with a few minor known issues coming through to the frontend. 

Play to earn

We’re still refining $GODS processes behind the scenes, as well as working on refreshing the Forge. Here’s a peak at what’s to come:

  • $GODS multi-phase release: $GODS will be released in two phases.
    • $GODS release phase 1 – This is all about the release of the token itself. This includes building a tool that allows us to distribute $GODS in Immutable X, our governance system, and staking rewards. The $GODS team has made tremendous progress on this front and we are not too far from finishing the development. 
    • $GODS release phase 2 – This revolves around building out the core play to earn and utility of the token. This is very technical, and we’re excited to show you what we are planning here, but development in this section won’t begin until the token is launched. One interesting area we are currently looking at is something that most successful projects that utilise tokens are struggling with, namely battling bots who are aggressively trying to farm the tokens. We’re being proactive on this front and setting up tools and structures that will limit the ability to take advantage in this manner. 
  • The Forge is coming! With the release of Immutable X and the development of the payment and minting platform, we’re firing things up in the Forge to bring it back online with the ability for new cards to be minted directly into Immutable X. The re-ignition of the Forge is part of the broader play to earn mechanism which will include $GODS and enable players to reap the rewards of their efforts. There are a number of technical and economical design challenges that we are working through and will provide more details on the phased rollout of these in future updates.

Gameplay

From a wider perspective, we wanted to give some visibility on where we’ve progressed with the beta on a stability front. We’ve made some good strides here, and they’re well worth celebrating!

  • Automated testing: Since mid-July we’ve increased the number of automated tests on our card logic ten-fold. The intent with automated tests is to let less regressions slip through, let us release faster, and give us as much certainty over new builds as quickly as possible.
  • Cleaning up the codebase: Since mid-July we’ve cleared almost 300 hours of tech debt from the main game codebase.
  • Bug fixing process: We’ve been slaying bugs left right and centre over the last year. But how do we approach this? It’s important to tread carefully when fixing bugs because every change can potentially have knock-on effects which introduce even worse problems. These problems can dramatically affect day-to-day play, as well as delay Weekend Ranked events. We’re always evaluating how best to allocate our limited resources, and every new bug that enters our system is evaluated for severity, likelihood and how widespread it is. Issues that meet a certain criteria are then escalated to be addressed as a priority, but otherwise we tread purposefully to ensure we’re always trending towards greater stability.
  • A callout for bug reports: The most important thing our players can do to help is use the in-game bug reporter (the top right of the screen when you are playing a match) to submit issues they encounter, as every log is an extra data point towards finding reliable reproduction steps. 

Musings 

We’ve had the Mythic running wild in the Arena which has been exciting, but it’s also brought up conversations around its use in tournaments. We’ve been talking about this internally, but here’s Chris Clay to run you through his thoughts:

Mythic cards in Weekend Ranked: “When creating the Mythics for Gods Unchained the goal was always to create interesting symmetrical gameplay without impacting competitive gameplay. Until Citadel of the Gods, the Mythics never factored into Weekend Ranked, so we haven’t had to address the issue of Mythics in the event until now. With Citadel proving dominant, it is something we now need to consider.

We’ve always said that Mythics would not be usable in tournament play. The question is does Weekend Ranked count as tournament play? At face value it is competitive play for prizes, but we’ve never considered it to be a tournament itself, which is why the Mythics haven’t been banned from it. That said, we do hear the frustration in the community and want to have a dialog around it.

Looking at the challenge there are several ways to tackle it:

  • Balance Citadel of the Gods – Sets typically go through a 60+ day balancing period before we lock them in. Citadel of the Gods wasn’t playable during the primary set’s balancing period, and as such has never had its balance tested in the wild. At the same time it’s the Mythic, and not something we’re looking to aggressively change.
  • Bar Mythics from Weekend Ranked – I don’t necessarily like this approach either, but it is certainly an option.
  • Enable the dev-play functionality with the Mythic – Similar to playing a dev in Weekend Ranked, allow players to opt out of a match facing the Mythic.
  • If you have other ideas, we’re certainly open to suggestions! Let us know your thoughts, and we’ll work to come to a solution that works for the community and game as a whole.”

~Chris Clay, Gods Unchained Game Director

Nice to know

  • Timeline is back: We’ve got the Trello Roadmap back in action. Thanks for the feedback on letting us know on this front!
  • Hiring ‘round the world: As we look to expand the Gods Unchained team, we’re looking to bring in the best of the best the world over. As mentioned previously, this year we’ve been expanding beyond Australia, and have already hired talented team members situated all over the world. If you know anyone who would be a good fit, send them to our job listings.  
  • Moulded to run: Sydney, Australia may currently be in lockdown, but Chris Clay still managed to run 117kms in August.  

And that’s a wrap on another Dev Update. For those who went in on the playdays, what are your thoughts on the set so far? How does it feel? What are you gravitating towards? Head to our reddit thread or Discord and let us know your thoughts – we’re keen to hear them!

Catch you in the Arena,

~Petrichor, Gods Unchained Editorial Lead

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