Building for the Future

The first step towards a new era of increased communication and transparency for everyone. A letter from Game Director Chris Clay.

Hi all, 

The markets have shifted, and since we last spoke things have definitely changed. 

We’ve got a lot to cover for this article – I’m aiming for this to be the first step towards a new era of increased communication and transparency for everyone. So with that being said, let’s get started! 

The market

We know plenty of players in our community have been impacted by current events, and our thoughts are with all individuals affected by the current market situation. Gods Unchained has the highly advantageous position of having stood the test of time throughout constantly evolving market conditions, and we have not only survived quite a few bear markets, we’ve grown to be as successful as we are in them… Shortly after we started in 2018/19 (the OGs will remember!) the market was in some ways even shakier – and we know that our loyal players that have weathered storms with us share our conviction that this too shall pass, and market fluctuations are nothing next to a good product with a strong vision. Between weathering these previous markets, and the 4 years cash on hand from our Series C funding round, we are extremely confident in our ability to not only survive but flourish. 

This is the time where builders build, and projects with substance flourish – and we believe that above all else, Gods Unchained has all of the fundamentals needed to continue to grow. We have a strong core game loop, a super engaged community, and an industry-leading use-case for web3 gaming technology. You can expect that over the next few months we’ll continue our trajectory of team growth and a renewed focus on ensuring our fundamentals are stronger than ever. We’ve talked a lot about our recent growth, and we are starting to see it bear fruit with improvements as people become onboarded and start to make a meaningful impact.

Ultimately, Gods Unchained is one of the longest running and most stable projects in the entire industry right now, and we have a long term vision of this game being one of the most successful franchises for years to come. We’ve set our sights incredibly high, and you can be assured that regardless of any market conditions we are well placed to make our move towards becoming an industry leading, mainstream facing, blockchain game.

Our roadmap

We have always had a long-term roadmap for growth, but we know we’ve not always done the best job of showing that to you. Currently (and for the next few months), we’re investing significantly in strengthening the core foundations of our game – our core game pillars, our growth strategy and overall feature roadmap – to ensure that they are rock solid in preparation for engaging and retaining a huge influx of players. While our recent hires are new to us, they’re veterans in the games industry and/or web3 and they’ve been ramping up quickly so we’ve been able to make some really solid headway on direction and zoom out on what matters most, what success looks like, and what we need to do to get us to where we’re going.

You all already know we’ve been running plenty of studies within the community, and we’re also running more longitudinal and lifecycle studies both within the community as well as across the gaming market to make sure that we’re optimizing the game to the level that it needs to be for wide scale mainstream adoption. The game’s retention and stability are already things that you have seen progress on, and this is currently our number one priority to get addressed ahead of us moving into the mainstream market with mobile launch. You’ll also see a renewed focus on things like lore, overall player experience, and continued polish.

We know that this has been a pain point with the community feeling like you’re not getting the visibility you need (and deserve), and quite frankly, we feel that too. Moving forward, our commitment to everyone is that we provide more transparency and involve the community in what we build, as we’re building it. The growth we have been hinting at for a few months now with our hiring isn’t stopping, and it all points to the cumulative goal of mainstream success with mobile a key center point of that. 

So with that in mind, we’re pulling together a roadmap that encompasses our full vision for the game, not just deliverables and timelines. We want to go on a journey with you all, and so this will be more of a true map than a list of things we want to launch – our vision and purpose and the ‘why’ behind everything we do. We will be ready to share that with you before the end of June. In the meantime, we’re pleased to be able to let you know that you will see the launch of Shine Fusing before you see that roadmap, and we’ll show you what that looks like later on this week.

We hear you

Lots of you will be aware that we’ve been running lots of surveys within the community, one of which specifically targeted at collecting your overall feelings on the game. We’ve pulled together a tonne of insights reports internally, but we wanted to share some of those insights back to you. So we’ve pulled together a Player Feedback Insights Report that you can view here.

Some TL;DR takeaways, and what we are doing about them: 

Game stability 

We’ve seen an overwhelming amount of critical feedback from players on bugs, stability and other gameplay issues. This is something that has created a very clear message within our team – we need to shift gears on this issue, and we need to do it now. Internally, we’ve pulled together a Player Experience strike team that will focus on improving foundational aspects of the game – whether that be server stability, CPU usage, bot eradication, bug fixes or anything else that impacts the ability for you to play the game without issues. You will have already seen some initial wins from this strike team – we’ve improved performance and addressed the ever-elusive God HP bug, but we are aware we have a ways to go before we can consider this an achievement. With that being said, we want you to share our confidence that we will begin to see a transformation in this area.

Balance


It is clear from our player engagement report that balance is a key pain point, and this is considered one of our fundamentals to focus on with this overall gear shift. We want to provide more transparency on our thinking whenever we make a balance decision – moving forward, after balance patches, we’ll do an AMA stream with the team to discuss with all of you in real time. Our other key commitment moving forward is to create a Balance Charter – a set of fundamental guidelines that we operate by, so you can have more clarity on our decision making process. Eventually we’ll provide clearer mechanisms for players to weigh in on this, but more on that below.

Transparency

In the report we talk about the amount of time a player exists in our community and the degradation of trust that occurs. This is something that we are committed to fixing – our most committed and loyal players should be feeling closest with us, not unhappy. With Kelsey (kindofsquishy) joining the team, we hope you’ve already begun to see a ramp up of us keeping you in the loop, and we know we need to commit to improving transparency across the board. 

We’re pleased to have the following initiatives launching over the next month: 

  • Council of Mortals. We have been working on this for a few months now, and we’re nearly at the stage of pilot launch with this one. The Council of Mortals will be a player council, comprising of both democratically elected representatives as well as players hand selected by the team to a transparent criteria. We will have more to share on this in the coming weeks. The main purpose of the council will be to give players a clearer voice, create a better culture of transparency, and allow players visibility straight from the source on what the key focuses for the team are. This could take all forms of direction from input on our Balance Charter, to ability to weigh in on our development priorities.
  • Regular Dev Updates. This is an old initiative revisited – we will be providing regular updates on what the team is up to via a blog post that speaks to what our team are working on. We feel this will help with our overall aim of having you right there alongside us as we build.
  • Dev Dives – you have given us a lot of positive feedback on the recent streams that we’ve been running with our team (and if you haven’t seen them yet, check them out on Twitch!) This is something that we are going to ramp up, and get developers from all different teams involved. Let us know who you’d like to hear from! 

Ultimately we want to make it clear that while the market is in a rough spot right now, we have the plans, the proven experience, and the team to weather the storm, and emerge in better shape than ever. Our new direction has already meant we’ve made critical improvements and consistent steps towards progress rather than great strides. We are grateful to every single player who has stuck by with us for this journey, and we can’t wait to show you all the plans we’re bringing to life this year. Thanks for everything.

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