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EpicDuel PVP Game Design Notes

Behind the scenes information about EpicDuel's development and releases, a real-time PVP MMO that you can play online in your web browser.

July 27, 2011

LQS, Balance, and Bugs

The Continuing Story of Four Young Adults’ Continuing Descent into Madness 

Hello there, EpicDuelists. Did you check out ArcAttack’s music in the AQW DoomWood Event? You might have caught me online during the event- I’m kind of a music nerd! But that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring this game! See what we’ve been up to in the past week!


Pseudo-entomological Oddities

You may have noticed we had a quick midweek update. In essence, the update was just to fix some bugs, and roll some performance updates. Titan has been on a coding rampage to fix all the old rickety systems in EpicDuel that have limited our forward progress.  Do you know why all Varium hairstyles cost the same and why we haven't introduced new credit-only styles? Because the code/database structures wouldn't allow it! We've improved that to a point where now we'll be able to offer new credit-only styles, rare seasonal styles, and maybe even styles that you can keep forever!

Also, as of this Friday we will be adding a restriction on sellback for the current promotional items, the Delta Destroyer set.  Sellback will be restricted during the promotional period and reactivated once the item is no longer for sale in case you ever need to part with it to free up space. This will help protect players who somehow manage to lose control over their accounts (remember, kids! Keep your passwords safe!) and wake up one day to find their cherished promotional gear sold!

In the coming weeks we hope to make even more progress that will allow us the flexibility to move forward with features like new bots, non-humanoid bosses, and dozens of small improvements that will make your EpicDuel experience more enjoyable.


Limited-Quantity Shop coming Friday!

We promised it was coming, and then we made you wait a bit. I apologize for that, but hopefully it will be worth the wait! The Tesla armor is unique in the sense that it’s not class-specific, but it is gender-specific. Yes, if you play as a female character and don't want to look like you overdressed for a snowball fight, you will be able to purchase and wear the Lady Tesla armor, the height of fashion on Delta V! We didn't release it sooner because making that work is not as easy as one might think! Also, we have made the Tesla head an optional style so you can show off your own mug if you so choose! 

Here are the stats for those players already lining the block to pick up this electrifying new armor!

Tesla Armors

Name: Tesla Armor
Level: 33
Price: 15,000 Credits / 995 Varium
Class: Any
Defense/Resistance: +9
Dexterity: 8
Technology: 8
Enhancement Slots: 8

Name: Lady Tesla Armor
Level: 33
Price: 15,000 Credits / 995 Varium
Class: Any
Defense/Resistance: +9
Dexterity: 8
Technology: 8
Enhancement Slots: 8

*Update: We have reshuffled the stat bonuses based on player suggestions in the forums.

We’re not sure how many of each gender/flavor we’ll be implementing at first (250 each, maybe?), but expect a restock next week (if they’ve sold out). Many players have felt discouraged by the randomness of our restocks of limited quantity items in the past, but this time we are defining the schedule in advance. You can purchase the Tesla armors from Naomi Page in Central Station after the release goes live this Friday evening.


Balance Changes

We haven’t released the balance changes yet, since there are some problems we had to fix recently, and the list of proposed changes presented by our balance team is long and complicated. I’m not sure if we’ll squeeze them in this week or not.


Speaking of bugs...

Nightwraith found this cutie the other day, and given my love of buggy brilliance, asked me to identify her for him!

What IS That?

I am adorable!

I was able to identify her (she’s a Longhorned Beetle), and I think she needs to make a guest appearance in the game! What do you think?

Tags: Cinderella


July 21, 2011

Arc-attacular Update


EpicDuel's new URL will be http://epicduel.artix.com/play-now/  
Redirects should be working shortly, but you may want to update your Bookmarks as well!


High-Wire Balancing Act

Well, it appears that we all know that EpicDuel crashed this weekend. For those of you who are fans of EpicDuel on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, you already know that the crash was not just EpicDuel, but AdventureQuest, AdventureQuest Worlds, MechQuest and DragonFable (essentially everybody but HeroSmash was affected by the crash). Titan ended up having to re-publish the entire game from a coffeeshop! I want to personally thank all of our players for bearing with us and waiting patiently while AE was essentially down.

The crash was related to load balancer, and fortunately we’ll be able to avoid this problem in the future since we’re moving the games to Artix subdomains! We’ve also been working on patching up some exploits and bugs, which is why we have been restarting the live game throughout the week. If you still see exploits being used, please give us as much detail as possible- knowing exactly what’s going on helps us find the problem so Titan can fix it! 

We will likely be restarting once again today (Thursday) to install more fixes, but the content and balance updateswill be released tomorrow.


Balance Updates

After taking the feedback from the most recent update, we are continuing to tweak balance among the new and old classes.  We have not settled on specifics yet, but it seems Cyber Hunters and Blood Mages are still comparatively underpowered and we will make changes to address that.  There are tons of suggestions for balance right now, some more drastic than others, but at this point we would rather approach balance with a scalpel than a sledgehammer.

*Update* Complications in the dev server have forced us to push the balance update to the next week since the changes weren't thoroughly tested.



It's time again for another round of armors.  Shed your current battle-worn exterior and try something new!  Nightwraith’s been working on a few new armors for the non-varium crowd, including the new City Guard Armor, the Imperial Tech Mage and the Exile Soldier Armor! Visit Naomi in Central Station to check them out!

Name: New City Guard
Level: 30
Price: 21,600 Credits
Class: Mercenary/Tactical Mercenary
Defense/Resistance: +7
Dexterity: 6
Technology: 6
Enhancement Slots: 6

Name: Imperial Mage
Level: 30
Price: 21,600 Credits
Class: Tech Mage/Blood Mage
Defense/Resistance: +7
Strength: 7
Dexterity: 5
Enhancement Slots: 6

Name: Exile Soldier
Level: 30
Price: 21,600 Credits
Class: Bounty Hunter/Cyber Hunter
Defense/Resistance: +7
Strength: 6
Support: 6
Enhancement Slots: 6
*Update* By popular request, we have made the armors a higher tier with more competative stats (with an appropriately increased price).

But what about the varium players you ask?  We hope to have an extra-special LQS item for them Friday!
*Update* The LQS Telsa armor didn't make it for Friday.  Look for it next week with preview images ASAP!

What's in a Name?

Is there a name you've wanted since you created your character but couldn't have it because some level 3 was sitting on it?  Now may be your chance!  With this update, we are clearing the database of thousands of names taken by inactive players!  Is your dream name now available?  Only one way to find out!

Special AQWorlds Musical Event Featuring ArcAttack!

We’re aiming for to release earlier on Friday because we’ll probably be playing AQW on Friday, July 22 at 6 PM EST! Rounding out the DoomWood Saga in AQW will be the musical stylings of ArcAttack, who have harnessed the power of lightning and are using it to create music... FOR SCIENCE! All of us nerds (science nerds and music nerds alike) over here at AE are super-excited about it, and we’re sure you’ll love it too!


Tags: Cinderella ArcAttack AQW Armors balance Fixes


July 19, 2011

Update Addendum

Let me just amend that last update.  We PLANNED on having a update ready for Monday, but due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, we were unable to do so.  We worked all day Monday to try to get the security update live for the both the Master Account (or is it Artix Account?) and EpicDuel, but we only had time for the Master Account.  I announced it on my Twitter account, but I forgot to update the design notes to reflect that.  Oops.

Many of you are also probably aware of the network-wide downtime this Sunday.  That was due to the notorious load balancer.  Since it's silly to remain dependant on one fickle piece of hardware, we are freeing ourselves of its clutches this Friday (or possibly Thursday) when we go live with an content/balance/security update.  Should be good times.

Stay tuned for more info.

Tags: Nightwraith


July 14, 2011

Update Update Update

Time for another ninja update!  You know what that mean?  A lot of work that most people won't notice, but is essential for EpicDuel's continued growth and development.  Here's a quick rundown of what we've done this week.


Performance Improvements

What makes this is a true ninja update is all the changes to EpicDuel's code.  The Delta launch was extremely smooth, but the new features created a great deal of lag.  As we continually ad more features, items, and classes, the database gets bogged down with more checks and requests than it can handle.  At this point, digging through EpicDuel's code is like viewing a cross-section of the Earth's crust: as you dig deeper, you see some weeeeeird stuff, like fossils.  EpicDuel is full of code Leopluradons.  Titan has been working tirelessly to excavate...er update the code to allow EpicDuel to grow without imploding.


Fortune City Improvements

Continuing the improvements from Delta, Alydriah has renovated Valestra's, and several other screens around Fortune City.  Fortune City is the oldest area in the game, so it felt good to revisit this popular region of Delta V.


New Mission!

Alydriah's Spire is draining the energy in Fortune City, leaving very little for the Science Facility to operate.  Talk to Talia in the facility to help her out.  I may have something to do with Alydriah's new crony, Administrator 11.  His energy source may be the key to solving her crisis.  Be warned, however, you'll need more than one warrior to take him down!


Balance Changes

Everyone's favorite part of a competitive, online PvP game!  There's always a very strong reaction to balance adjustments, but please keep in mind that not every change needs to be a buff and not every "nerf" is because we dislike a specific class.  After all, we wouldn't have built them if we didn't like them!

Tactical Mercenary

  • Frenzy now requires a Club and healing effect is slightly reduced.
  • Toxic Grenade's Poison damage reduced by 2 to put it more on par with Venom Stike.

Cyber Hunter

  • Static Charge's effect increased by 5% at each level.

Blood Mage

  • Blood Mage's Assimilate replaced with Reflex Boost to provide them with a means to improve defense and blocking.

Stay tuned for another release this Monday as we continue our backend improvements and balance adjustments.

Tags: Nightwraith


July 08, 2011

Delta Update Update

Titan is still wraslin' with performance improvements so we'll need a bit more time to roll an update.  As we add more features it gets more and more challenging to find areas for improvement.  We're also making some HUGE backend changes that nobody will notice and will probably not be too excited about (unless you get excited about cloud networking and subdomains).

We've also got a round of balance changes that still need major testing.  

Charfade and I aren't slouching with this extra time.  We've decided to use the extra time to deliver another 2v1 Boss, more missions (finally get rid of those lingering quest items), and whatever else we can squeeze in a few more days.  The rest of Fortune City is still getting a much needed overhaul to match with the main thoroughfare, but we're also updating the content in all existing screens as well!

Expect a mid-week release next week.  If all goes according to plan, this will be an update that drastically improves the overall experience of the game for all players.  As always, thank you for your patience and support!

Tags: Nightwraith


July 06, 2011

Delta Performance Update

Performance and Art Updates

Hey all! Thank you for making EpicDuel’s Delta release amazing- we really couldn’t have done it without you. It’s awesome to see how many of you defeated my Armor Hazard creation (thanks for that, Ms. Descarl never actually paid me, although I suppose being alive is payment in and of itself...). Because server stability and performance are top priority, this week is going to be primarily about fixes and balance improvements!


Ninja Update!

*whoosh* Did you see that? Late last week we rolled out a “ninja update”- you’ll notice that Titan and Nightwraith are now carrying the Independence weapons, and we also rolled an update to the game engine. The game engine update may have caused problems for some of you, and improved things for others. The game is running more smoothly on our end, though, so it’s ripe for some performance updates!



Unfortunately, I don’t think that we’ll ever be able to say we’ve completely eliminated lag from the game- even if we give the server hamsters intravenous caffeine injections (believe me, we’ve looked into it). And while we won’t know for sure if our lag problems will be solved with this update, Titan’s at least going to try!

That said, the Lag Monster is a tricky beast, causing numerous other errors ranging from harmless visual bugs to skipped turns.  Titan is also working on a solution for the bugs that are effecting battle.  These problems are especially hard to recreate because they usually need a server full of 800 people to show up, a scenario that's impossible to recreate on the test server.

Back to bug smashing. *squish*



A few of the screens are getting a visual lift too- specifically Valestra’s bar. With all the tokens from the achievements she sells, Valestra’s been able to hire a contractor to come in and fix up the joint. Come on down, check it out, and maybe settle in for a refreshing Energy Potion!


Balancing Act

A lot of you have been complaining about the balance of the new classes.  In testing, we were all pretty equal using all 6 classes, and very different builds.  However, even hundreds of battles with a handful of testers can't uncover the wide-scale balance issues discovered by the rest of the community. That said, we are going to implement a few changes- we haven’t finalized them yet, so they may not all be this update. We aren’t doing this so that everyone class changes to the  current flavor-of-the-month, but to make the game fun for everybody. Remember, we have been buffing and nerfing classes since Alpha, way before class change was even a feature.  We sincerely want a variety of classes and builds- not to make one build overpowered over everybody else. That said, each class has its strengths and weaknesses, and some strategies are more effective than others. In PvP, this is unavoidable and not something that should necessarily be changed. The point of balance is not to make everyone the same, but to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.

Because we are still testing proposed changes to the classes, we don't want to announce anything specific at this time.  Look for a specific list of buffs/nerfs/adjustments as testing progresses.

This should be obvious to people who play competative games that require constant balance, but it might be worth mentioning: Class attributes and skills are subject to change and can possibly be nerfed and/or buffed over time. You will not be refunded on Varuim,Credits or Artix Points if you are unhappy with the changes.  It's much more useful to us to post why the changes hurt or help your class and help us with the balancing process by posting your suggestions in the AE Forums.

Tags: Delta Valestra maps balance lag performance Cinderella


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