Thank you for tuning in to our Dev Livestream this week. In this pre-recorded announcement, we’ll be summarizing the new roadmap we discussed in the Livestream as well as clarifying a few things raised by the Community.
First of all, for those who didn’t catch the Dev Livestream, it can be viewed here
The primary purpose of this stream was to bring you up to speed on our new direction and let you know what areas of the game we’re going to address moving forward. We opted to answer many of your questions from our Livestream Q&A forum thread by working them into the conversation in the stream (rather than reading them out verbatim and answering each one) for the sake of flow and clarity. We recognize that this format didn’t translate as well as we’d hoped for, so we’ll be improving on the structure of our streams in the future.
The Mega Update and Xbox Launch
Let’s get straight to reiterating and clarifying details in regards to the next Mega Update/Xbox launch which is coming very soon. The Xbox launch will include:
- Crossplay support between PC Steam and Xbox players for ATLAS.
- Parity between both platforms. Xbox players won't have to wait for updates as they will happen simultaneously with PC
- We’ll be working on bringing day one Keyboard and Mouse support for the game, otherwise, it’ll arrive shortly thereafter.
The Mega Update includes content and changes currently on the PTR, as well as some additional content we’ve discussed, and this will go live on our Official Network at the time of the Xbox Launch.
We’re incredibly excited to launch crossplay; we designed the ATLAS engine for crossplay across all platforms from the outset and ATLAS will be one of the very few games with full crossplay between Steam and console.
There have been many questions about whether this update will be bringing a wipe. To be frank, this is not something we’ve decided on yet. We’re currently exploring ways in which we can handle this release without wiping and there are quite a few technical considerations which may make this a possibility, but we’ll share more info with you as soon as we’re able to.
The first point we covered on stream was revealing where we think players spend most of their time in ATLAS, and where we wanted it to be at a 1.0 launch (post-Early Access). This is the conclusion we came to:
Essentially, we feel like players are currently spending too much time in certain areas of the game, and not enough time in the areas we think should be the most fun, such as Sea and Combat. Players can expect to experience more fun and engaging content out on the sea, and a cut back on the time spent on land or with creatures. This doesn’t specifically mean we’ll be removing certain areas completely, but instead reworking existing systems and adding new gameplay/content for the areas we want to increase.
Now you’re probably wondering, how do we plan to get from A to B? Well, here’s our roadmap:
Some important factors to keep in mind:
- This roadmap will begin after the release of Xbox
- We’ll be looking primarily at making tweaks towards the Official Network and Multiplayer modes, but of course, those will still benefit our other game modes and unofficial networks. However, the main official networks are our priority
- Tackling bugs and major performance issues will always be an ongoing effort.
- This isn’t everything. We’ll be able to reveal more details as we go along, plans can change, and there are going to be more phases but for now, we want to discuss our immediate plans for developing ATLAS.
Phase 1: Quality of Life Improvements, Bug Fixes, & Performance Increases
Arguably our shortest phase and has already commenced in part with performance fixes and some bug fixes, with some work on the Xbox, and some you’ve experienced on the PTR. Our plan:
There will be no new content with this initial phase. This is because we’re going to be spending time fixing and adjusting already existing systems in the game. This means tackling pain points that you (and we) are already aware of, ranging from quality of life changes, balance, and polish on existing parts of the game.
Reducing the tedium and streamlining getting to the fun. We know that there are aspects of the game which are frustrating and the solutions we can take to fix them (such as the Silo we implemented in a previous update to help with feeding crew). We’re making some meaningful changes here that will impact the player’s experience in the game, some larger than others, but all with the same goal in mind to improve the overall game loop.
Just a few of the changes and fixes (both small and big) we’re planning to make:
- Fixing speed sails and increasing overall wind speed effectiveness.
- Adjustments to blueprint stat rolls and crafting requirements.
- Making improvements to logs for companies.
- Increasing max stack sizes for certain items.
- Removing the negative effects of status effects, including vitamins.
- Giving players the option to choose which Kraken to fight.
- Reducing the frequency of surface attacks by sharks.
- Increasing the treasure map spoil time.
- Cargo Container adjustments.
- Replacing the text in the game with a universal font style.
- Hiding more text behind the “Extended UI” function
- Making ladders easier to climb.
Keep in mind that some of these items are things we want to address quickly, even if we consider them to just be temporary fixes for now. The changes in this phase will provide a much better experience in the present; however, we’ll be circling back to these areas in later phases to make much more extensive changes to these systems.
One example of this would be “sailing.” We’ll make some early improvements to sailing during Phase 1 (such as fixing speed sails and increasing overall wind speed) and then we’ll loop back to sailing during Phase 2 for a more thorough pass on sailing functionality.
Some more examples like this include:
- Tames and breeding will get a general balance pass, then we’ll do a larger update on tames and creatures in Phase 4.
- Blueprint scaling will get some early adjustments in Phase 1, then we’ll address it some more in Phases 2 and 3.
- Temporary fixes for certain combat meta pain points (until they can be further ironed out in Phase 3) such as: stat scaling, torpor, NPC swivels, harpoons gliders.
Phase 2: Seas, Ships, and Sailing
Phase 2 is when we’ll start to reintroduce new content to the game. The general philosophy of this update will be:
- Ensuring that you all are spending more time having fun on ships and out at sea.
- Making the ocean feel less repetitive, more inviting, and more rewarding.
- We want ships to feel like homes! If players want to spend all their time at the sea, they should be able to play that way successfully.
There are quite a few ways we’ll be doing this, but you can expect changes along these lines:
- Improvements to existing sailing and ship systems.
- Introducing more NPC encounters on the ocean (and different types too).
- Introducing more activities you can do on your ship.
- Exploring ways for players to store ships safely when going offline and taking a deeper look at overall travel times and ship functionality (such as sails/wind/cargo containers).
These are just a few examples of what we’ll be tackling in Phase 2 and we expect that players will feel a welcome and marked difference in their experience out at the sea once these changes are made.
Next, we’ll be covering Phases 3 and 4. Please keep in mind that a lot of the details in these phases are very early and we’re still figuring out our exact priorities, but there are a few things we’re relatively certain of and are exploring right now:
Phase 3: Skills & Combat
Here are some things we’re pretty confident we’ll be doing in some form:
- A skill tree rework. We’re interested in something more akin to specializations and roles to give more depth to the skill choices you make.
- Improvements to make combat feel more fluid and impactful. We want it to feel even more fun when you’re fighting!
- Changing the ship combat meta to embrace stronger piracy gameplay:
- A shift to a “boarding” combat meta.
- New incentives for choosing between sinking, pillaging, or outright stealing ships.
- Potentially adjusting the ship stealing process/claim time.
- Changes to encourage more fighting on ship decks.
Phase 4: World, Claiming, and Tames/Creatures
This phase is perhaps the largest section of our new roadmap. As the furthest phase out from right now, it is definitely the most subject to change over time, but we’d still like to share an overview of our current thoughts on these areas of the game. In this phase, we’ll be exploring various subjects such as:
- The world layout and network. Some of the points we’re currently exploring are a possible combined PvPvE network and different continental world layouts.
- Factions, which are very early in design right now, but are something that we’re very interested in from both a gameplay and a narrative perspective as a means of giving players across multiple companies shared goals.
- Adding more MMO-esque elements to the game such as more populated ports/towns, deeper in-game economies, additional storage options, etc.
- We’ll also be making some significant changes to the claiming system, adjusting how much of a role it has on the world and addressing some of its biggest problems such as “pillar spamming” and "honeycombing".
- Reducing the importance and role of tames and creatures in the game, as well as polishing other PvE content in the game such as Golden Age locations, boss fights, the Fountain of Youth, etc.
We wanted to acknowledge the issues that we’ve identified in the game and outline our plans to address them. It’s important to note that this roadmap is not fully inclusive: we have a lot of other plans, content, and surprises in store for you all. We’ll be sharing more details with you as we go along and you can expect to see a more active presence from our team in regards to acknowledging the current issues with the game and discussing how we plan to address them.
We hope that sharing our new roadmap and details on what’s coming soon for ATLAS (and also further down the road) offers a further “glimpse behind the dev curtain” so to speak.
For the latest dispatch on #playATLAS keep yer one good eye trained on this here information
Natter n' chatter on Discord: https://discord.gg/playatlas
Navigate ye olde Subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/playatlas
Hear ye, hear ye on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sailtheatlas
Watch us scallywags on Twitch: http://twitch.tv/sailtheatlas
Plus ye can band with us Pirates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/playatlasgame