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    Sailing Forward - Ask a Pirate Day: Discussion and Q&A with the Devs

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    Ahoy Pathfinders!

    There will be no patch this week, so instead we’re delivering some information based on some questions we have collected and seen around the community!

    Since we announced the renewed ATLAS journey last Summer, a lot of things have changed in the development cycle, and we are still working on improving our processes and the feedback loop with the community as well. Like in any adventure, some parts of the journey can be rough but as we overcome them, we continue to move forward and build on our experiences. Whether we are making small steps or revisiting old ideas, it is important to remember that we are still sailing forward! Development is very often not linear, and understandably things can get confusing for the community - even for those seasoned Pathfinders who have been sailing the seas of ATLAS since the very beginning. We hope that today’s discussion and some of the answers to your questions will help the community understand our vision for ATLAS and where we are currently at.

    ATLAS, in general, is lacking a strong theme. Yes, we are a Pirate game, but it's currently a mishmash of a bunch of different stuff and we are looking to address that post the release of the current feature slate (Trade System, New Ships, and Claim System). Right now the idea we are liking most is something we're calling "Stormpunk" which centers around that idea that there are more resources to capture on the water (like harnessing lightning). We are going to maintain an element of fantasy moving forward, but it may not be so openly Dungeons and Dragons (although we love this game!) or "high fantasy" feeling. As with all things, everything will remain as we introduce new things, and we will fade things that people lose interest in.    

    What is the long term plan or overall vision? It'd help explain a lot of these changes if we were also privy to just a rough idea what the long term will look like, because right now it seems things are going a bit backward in regards to accessibility, especially for small groups and solo players.
    At the highest level, the goals are as follows: 

    1. Get players out on the ocean - there are lots of things we're doing to encourage this but it basically means that we want players spending more time at sea and less time on land. In order to do that we really have to blow out all the things you can do at sea so that they are as fun and interesting as what you do on land.
    2. Make ship-to-ship combat fun. There is so much to this, but we really want PVP interactions on the water to be richly rewarding. 
    3. Increase player recuperation. Survival games can be tough and we want to make sure that players can be devastating to one another, but that the losing side player doesn't have to feel like they are starting over each time. We also want to make small companies and lone wolves more viable. 

    We still have a ways to go before we reach these goals. We know that we are not there yet and that the current state of ATLAS does not reflect what we envision. Most of what we have implemented so far is still in its beginning stages, and are only just setting the foundation for how the gameplay is going to evolve.

     

         :anchor: Trade System :anchor:

    For instance, one of the main goals of the Trade System is to increase play at the smaller group and solo level. We recognize that right now the system is not very friendly to these players - There's a lot of balance to be done there and a number of missing elements, like the upcoming Tradewinds feature, but we are working on it. Ultimately, when all pieces are in place, we are planning for a system where large companies will actually be incentivized on a different scale for helping small companies and solos.

    The Trade System is still in its alpha stage, and as of build 515.17, all Trade Shipments are virtual and locked to a single grid. We are continuously working on Market optimizations as well as bug fixes and server side improvements to bring the system to full functionality. Subsequent patches should see more refinement to the Trade System, opening up more routes and eventually the NPC Trade Ships. Please note that at this stage, we may have to disable and re-enable Trades sometimes to work out and troubleshoot any issues that may potentially arise. 

    What about the players that do not wish to utilise the market system? Asides from the market, are there any other big gold "earners" in the planning besides maps and whales/sunken treasures? 
    Although the Trade System is meant to be one of the core pillars of gameplay, our main goal is that "gold comes from the sea". So yes, you'll see some additions and refinements to life on the ocean which should make getting gold easier for non-marketplace participants.

     

         :anchor: Claim System :anchor:

    We are looking into rebooting the original claim system that allowed players to take over a section of the island.  This is done by placing down a claim  structure that takes longer to build and is more robust than a claim flag.  It may also have its own defenses.  Once fully built, it will have to be destroyed for you to lose your claim and everything that goes along with it. We are not completely reverting back to the old claim system, but will be taking the original concept and building off of it. We are currently still testing some ideas.

     

         :anchor: Ship Systems :anchor:

    Getting a new ship system into the game that can support future expansions does take a bit more time than just putting out a "new" one on the existing system, and we are excited to be getting closer to it!

    We teased the first one, the Ramming Ship, a few weeks ago and we have a number of other ideas for these unique and specialized ships, but we don't want to spoil the surprise completely. The important note here is that we are moving from releasing ship parts to releasing complete ships that have special roles in the game and thus begin to grow the strategy of managing a fleet.

    All of the upcoming Ships that can be bought with gold will be primitive class and up. Ramshackles will still be available at Freeports for now, but when you buy things with gold they will be good ships. 🙂

    In regards to the existing Ship system, can we get tokens as random loot drops from bosses to craft schooners/brigs/galleons please? So there is a route for smaller groups to get boats?
    This probably won't happen.  Right now we're really happy with how hard it is to get bigger ships.  Many players have reported having more fun than ever with "Sloop Wars".  Dropping tokens would benefit large companies more and go against what we are trying to do, which is to fundamentally change how ships are currently perceived.  Right now, ship progression is linear.  Once you can build a Schooner, you never build a Sloop again and so on up the ladder.  We are more focussed on giving every ship type a viable role on the ocean and introducing strategy and reasons for each ship type to exist.

     

         :anchor: On the Horizon :anchor:

    Post integration of the claim system we'll be going back through all the content that is currently in the game and be making quality of life improvement and balance adjustments. We aren't very interested in nerfing things so much as bringing their fun factor way up.

    How far out are we from super wind sea-highways that make traveling around the map faster and consolidate content?
    We're trying to get it by the end of the year. A lot depends on how long it takes to balance the Trade System, new Ship System, and new Claim System. 

    Any plans for expanding fishing so it doesn't suck so much? Like better random loot tables from fishing, maybe getting maps randomly from fishing. higher quality fishing pole=better maps/blueprints/gold etc.
    We can answer this by saying that we don't think there is nearly enough fun stuff to do on the water and we are looking to blow that out significantly. This will include water creature taming, better fishing, ocean resource gathering, and better diving.

    Any planned changes for freeports? Exponential decay or something to prevent freeport living?
    Not yet.  We have to put in all the systems that allow lone wolves and small groups to survive elsewhere first.  Long term, we envision settlements of any kind to be more friendly or hostile to you depending on how you've treated  them in the past.

    Can you tell us more about the ideas behind how breeding is envisioned by the Dev team for beginner breeders through the most advanced breeders? Right now it takes too much time to do, unless an entire weekend day is devoted to it. Perhaps more difficulties while raising babies through their infant stages, but have it be for a much shorter duration so that it is more practical and enjoyable for a wider audience.
    One of our designers has taken the breeding and taming of creatures under her wing.  In the background she is working on a completely revamped system that should be more of what you want to see.  Can't tell you when it will ship, but I can tell you that we are working on it.

    Treasure Maps need a lot of work. Are big changes planned for the hunts to be more engaging? The distance requirement is also a negative map factor. It's not enjoyable to sail 7 grids out, 7 grids back to run a Masterwork map. Could maps that are of any qualities spawn on an island that are closer?
    Yes, a rework of this is planned, but it's down the road.  It's not where we want it either and for sure we are looking at the treasure spawning closer.

     

         :anchor: Additional Q&A :anchor:

    What is some of the work that is currently being done to help with optimization and performance issues?
    About half our engineering staff is on performance and optimization. We know it's a problem and are working to fix it. The issue is that we also want to continue to put the rest of the planned features in the game to see if they are viable. We want a high performance game as much as you do. Remember, optimization isn’t going to suddenly happen in one patch. Some improvements may happen in small steps over time, while other improvements are a bigger engineering endeavor and may not be seen until we are further along.

    Is the team still looking at ways for players to keep some progress through wipes?
    Yes.  We haven't figured out a balanced and scalable method yet, but we do want that.  Adding a new global server structure with the Trade System was the first step on this and we'll keep working towards it.  The challenge here is that the funnest part of a wipe for most people, is that they are all on an even footing again.  Allowing players to retain progression may also allow them to maintain oppression.

    Can we please get a HUD indicator once a ship is protected by the new shiphouse structure? The green text popping up once the anchor is down is not such a great indicator.
    Totally agree that this is a bit confusing.  A complete UI revamp is on the schedule and this item is part of that.

    This is nitpicking, but can handling sails trim opposite to how they do now? It is backwards to real world physics
    Ok. We'll look into it.🙂

    Teleporting bed to bed, and killing yourself to respawn on lawless islands for discovery points is one of the lamest things I have to do in this game. Will other features be looked at for discovery points that are more interesting? 
    In short, yes. We agree that killing yourself and bed teleporting is lame. We all want to fix that and give you more ways to travel the world more quickly.

    Will we be able to have the fog of war back? We had it early in the game, but it could be cheated by sharing game files and so was removed. The thrill of exploration was exciting for many players. As things stand at the moment, you just always have the full map explored.
    It's something we hadn't thought about. We’ll look into this idea.

     

         :anchor: Final Note :anchor:

    Again, we would like to emphasize that ATLAS is still in Early Access, meaning many things can and will likely continue to drastically change - even in the middle of development. Anything discussed is only up to date as of the moment it is posted. Features and changes that ultimately make it to the next patch, as well as timing, may be different from what was previously discussed. 

    As always, we appreciate the suggestions and feedback from the community. Please keep them coming! Thank you for all of your support! 🙂 

     

    :wheel:

    Happy Sailing,

    - ATLAS Crew

    :skull: For the latest dispatch on #playATLAS keep yer one good eye trained on this here information :skull:

    Natter n' chatter on Discord: https://discord.gg/playatlas
    Hear ye, hear ye on Twitterhttps://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

    Edited by ATLAS

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    8 hours ago, Lord Mayson said:

    i'm def not happy with the price of a schooner..... sloop wars can go to heck for all i care lol

    i know who the f said they liked the sloop wars? 1 solo guy ? where do these devs get their player feedback from lmao 

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    22 minutes ago, tiggerib said:

    When are you going to resolve the present bugs first and then bring content to the game? You mention using the market system and yet it hasn't been fixed.  Secondly you mention all these great things for PVP and yet forget about the other half of your player base in PVE, a lot of folks don't enjoy the PVP aspect of the game.  You have to appease both sides not just one for your game to be successful. And finally have your Devs play the game, with all these ideas you are putting forth it is obvious they don't play, otherwise they would see the issues that the players are complaining about.

    Many bugged features might be slated for removal or replacement.
    It's likely that the devs simply don't want to spend hours making fixes that won't matter in the long term.

    The devs really do hear the issues players complain about, but there is a lot of work going on that we can't see.
    Instant-gratification is not something one should expect from a game in development.
    Have patience and bounty will be plentiful, I'm sure.

    • Haha 1

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    3 minutes ago, CompactDisc said:

    Many bugged features might be slated for removal or replacement.
    It's likely that the devs simply don't want to spend hours making fixes that won't matter in the long term.

    The devs really do hear the issues players complain about, but there is a lot of work going on that we can't see.
    Instant-gratification is not something one should expect from a game in development.
    Have patience and bounty will be plentiful, I'm sure.

    Considering I worked for a much larger company's game development many years ago. I call BS on this.  A lot of the bugs that we are still seeing in the game have been around since the beginning. I am not asking for instant gratification. I am asking that the game be fixed and stabilized before new items/features are brought into the game.  And to be honest that is all the player base has truly wanted, is for the game to be fixed!

    Secondly why didn't the project/game manager or a developer answer instead of the moderator?

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    3k people playing on PC hope the crowd is large on console because your killing your game on PC there were more people playing before you did your "Trade update" which i will refer to as the solo player killer update (cost of the ships put them out the of range of a solo player) so good job i will use your game as a reference on how to kill a game to its player base and to never do early access for any game and to avoid any game from wild card and grapeshot games 

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    2 hours ago, Akajerry said:

    i know who the f said they liked the sloop wars? 1 solo guy ? where do these devs get their player feedback from lmao 

    Apparently they have a niche group of yes-men players whos opinions they value more than 99% of the feedback I've seen. Why? Because they agree with everything the devs are doing, so clearly they must be right! Never mind the vast majority telling them it's a bad idea. The majority of players that disagree with this stupid idea don't count. It's just "noise" to the devs, in their own words.  🙄

    Well, let's see what that strategy does for them if they try to sell any future content for the game when the noise makers refuse to buy it. 

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    4 hours ago, Gomez Addams said:

    A polite suggestion. Please explain how and what you add so we can utilize it. I feel that I’m playing a game where there are no instructions or even tutorials. (Your current in-game tutorial is now wrong btw) For example, you wanted us trading to make gold but your market interface is half baked. I don’t mind figuring things out but seriously, you need to explain how things are used if you truly are interested in the player experience.

    if they would only know themselves ...

     

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    What is bad with current ships - lack of cannons types. I mean we place just somehow "regular cannon" to Sloops, Schooners, Briggs and Galleys. Meanwhile in Russian "Corsairs" game with 6 classes of ships, cannons were different to each class. And they were different by weight. It means - small 6th class Barkas and Tartan could wear just 18 pound cannons (more damage less range) and 12 pound coulverins (less damage more range). And 1st class Warship and Man o War - could wear 42 pound cannons and 32 pound coulverins.

    Could be cool if we have same issue here.

    And yeah, I'm glad about all info, but... well I mean If claiming system will be changed soon, does it mean, new wipe is incoming? (This season I found lovely spot, but then I quit and destroyed all my buildings so now I probably won't be able to join and find another place to settle).

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    The problem is they use early access like it's a "get out of any criticism shield" but it's not. Tbh a year ago i'd have been happier with a steampunk theme than what they have done to it now, if they went the full hog and added airships etc, but they now live in two camps, and they are too late to the party. And at the rate they add content, it won't be a steampunk style game till 2032, and still be in ea! it's like they have a stale cake, but think if they give it a new topping people will buy it and forget it's past it's sell by date.

    Edited by Whitehawk

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    5 minutes ago, Whitehawk said:

    [...]   it's like they have a stale cake, but think if they give it a new topping people will buy it forget it's past it's sell by date.

    but that's exactly how it works: new icing = new customers. and when sales dwindle again renew the icing.

    Snail Games doesn't care as long as the cash flow doesn't cease. of all the offsprings of ARK (Dark & Light and  that western nonsense the name i forgot) Atlas was the most promising. the icing still looks fresh but the core is rotten

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    Quote

     

    Either fix the marketplaces or significantly reduce the gold cost for ships.  I'm tired of spending 8 hours/day diving just to buy a schooner.

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    You know, thinking about that post....that does actually sound reasonable. I like it...Talking about the post @Ranger1k made (top of this page)

    Edited by UnderTaker905
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    1 hour ago, UnderTaker905 said:

    You know, thinking about that post....that does actually sound reasonable. I like it...Talking about the post @Ranger1k made (top of this page)

         i did miss an issue. IF the schooner gets sunk before ya stockpile 5k gold something would still need to be available to grind it.

               Suggested solution, STANDARD sloop purchasable w mats at Freeport.

               Other option that some people would choose i guess is to just restart at LvL 1.

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    The actions of this company leave me in an incredulous level to the point of being with an extreme desire to create a game of navigation and survival with everything that the developer simply cannot put into practice

    I just wish I had a single opportunity to be part of this development team to get this game ready, I’ve had enough hours and hours imagining so many things that could be done to fix this game, things that are under the nose of the developers they keep insisting on the same mistakes

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    You aren't listening to your players.. you aren't listening to your players.. you aren't listening to your players.. you aren't listening to your players.. you aren't listening to your players..

    Do you sense a theme here? Because everyone else seems to see it. Nobody plays this game because they want to poke around in a sloop.  

    No doubt next patch they will add a 5000 gold cost to sloops and we will get a community post soon afterward telling us how much players love the new "Raft Wars" 

    /sigh

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    4 hours ago, UnderTaker905 said:

    You know, thinking about that post....that does actually sound reasonable. I like it...Talking about the post @Ranger1k made (top of this page)

          Actually going down the rabbit hole further, if we give ea player a schooner to start, and the bug fixes, new content, optimization etc proceed as planned, I'd even advocate for INCREASING the cost of top tier ships even further.. I know a VERY, VERY popular opinion... 🤷‍♂️

    Edited by Ranger1k
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    7 hours ago, Ranger1k said:

          Actually going down the rabbit hole further, if we give ea player a schooner to start, and the bug fixes, new content, optimization etc proceed as planned, I'd even advocate for INCREASING the cost of top tier ships even further.. I know a VERY, VERY popular opinion... 🤷‍♂️

    i think you played the role as the devil's advocate a bit too long. kinda hard to find your way back into reality, isn't it ?

    they had a nice game that, i admit, had its flaws here and there (still can be found in-game as they never got fixed) but it's Early Access. If they would have heard to a wider spectrum of the community and not just hand selected pvp players and streamers there maybe would have neen no need to change the dev team and no sailing the Atlas seas clueless east to West and North to South like a headless chicken.

    read the initial post again and you'll figure that they make one step forward and two steps back ([]sic] we plan this but it might end up being what we had back then [sic]).

    point is: they have no idea where they're steering with someone on the helm who possibly will beach the ship

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    32 minutes ago, Ucan_Kizmiaz said:

    i think you played the role as the devil's advocate a bit too long. kinda hard to find your way back into reality, isn't it ?

    they had a nice game that, i admit, had its flaws here and there (still can be found in-game as they never got fixed) but it's Early Access. If they would have heard to a wider spectrum of the community and not just hand selected pvp players and streamers there maybe would have neen no need to change the dev team and no sailing the Atlas seas clueless east to West and North to South like a headless chicken.

    read the initial post again and you'll figure that they make one step forward and two steps back ([]sic] we plan this but it might end up being what we had back then [sic]).

    point is: they have no idea where they're steering with someone on the helm who possibly will beach the ship

    Nah I'm firmly rooted in reality. Although i must compliment ya on bustin my balls VERY politely, lol 🙂

    The devs clearly state that, in its current form Atlas is a mishmash of ideas and needs a stronger theme. I agree 100%. I think you do too hence the "headless chicken" reference.

    I didn't start until season 3, although I've watched some videos of previous seasons gameplay. Perhaps theres a nostalgic time prior to my arrival that your fond of?

    If your statement about 2 steps back refers to the variation of the old claim system that it sounds like they're going to potentially revert to, then, on that particular mechanic I think we agree its likely a bad idea, correct?

    I'd lean more towards a mostly lawless system similar to @Chucksteaks vision.

    I actually have THE solution but as i mentioned in a previous post, i believe it's a completely novel approach, applicable to nearly any mmo, and I've been cautioned to refrain from discussing it at this time.

     

    Side question do you agree that at level 1 each player should begin w the schooner i recommended?

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    This probably won't happen.  Right now we're really happy with how hard it is to get bigger ships.  Many players have reported having more fun than ever with "Sloop Wars".

    Could you cite and give example of all the support and people reportedly loving "Sloop Wars"?  Because both in game, here on your forums, on Steam forums,  and on social media...

    Nobody likes this.

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    I would not mind testing out season 1 claim system with peace timers. I never got to test season 1 claim system out properly because I was stuck in some retarded offline grief war with a spanish company most of season 1. 

    I don't know if the new trade system is just some rushed mechanic to see if the buildings work or not but generating money from moving resources is such a bad system. There should be a buyer and a seller. You should not be able to magically generate gold just be sending the same potato back and forth between two companies.

    I have no problem with the gold cost of schooners, we made 7k gold from a 2 hour map run doing green maps yesterday, it really is no worse then building a ship with the gather rates in season 1 and once you get trades up and running you have gold for days.

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    I see a lot of PVP development going into place, but nothing for the PVE community. This game ruined PVP for me. I don't even play PVP in first person shooters anymore because of how toxic the game play became.

    Now the only development in the game is for PVP and large groups with wipes coming ever 3 - 6 months? Why ruin this game by making it a junk version of "Sea of Thief's?"

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    12 hours ago, Wonderfuldata34 said:

    I see a lot of PVP development going into place, but nothing for the PVE community. This game ruined PVP for me. I don't even play PVP in first person shooters anymore because of how toxic the game play became.

    Now the only development in the game is for PVP and large groups with wipes coming ever 3 - 6 months? Why ruin this game by making it a junk version of "Sea of Thief's?"

    1. Sea of thieves is awesome. Such a simple concept done perfectly. I wish we had the sea work as well as it does in sea of thieves.

    2. This is a PvP game. The sooner PvE peeps accept it the better off they will be mentally. I'm not talking down on them, it's just what it is.

    3. You dont play PvP in a FPS? Wow dude, perhaps take some time off gaming and reevaluate your situation. It's not real, and they cant hurt you if you dont let them.

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    14 hours ago, Ranger1k said:

     

    Nah I'm firmly rooted in reality. Although i must compliment ya on bustin my balls VERY politely, lol 🙂

    The devs clearly state that, in its current form Atlas is a mishmash of ideas and needs a stronger theme. I agree 100%. I think you do too hence the "headless chicken" reference.

    I didn't start until season 3, although I've watched some videos of previous seasons gameplay. Perhaps theres a nostalgic time prior to my arrival that your fond of?

    If your statement about 2 steps back refers to the variation of the old claim system that it sounds like they're going to potentially revert to, then, on that particular mechanic I think we agree its likely a bad idea, correct?

    I'd lean more towards a mostly lawless system similar to @Chucksteaks vision.

    I actually have THE solution but as i mentioned in a previous post, i believe it's a completely novel approach, applicable to nearly any mmo, and I've been cautioned to refrain from discussing it at this time.

     

    Side question do you agree that at level 1 each player should begin w the schooner i recommended?

    hell yeah. sure they stated that it's a mishmash - anything else would have been a lie. but they had a theme once and maybe a goal to go for. Or: they never had but themed ARK with ships and added some piracy flair to it  - let's see what we can do with that and how much money we can make from.

    For sure i'm a little nostalgic about the days Atlas went live. I played from day two as day one passed by downloading it. I even put ARK on a year long hiatus just to play Atlas. Although me and some friends played on a non-official server we played vanilla and had tons of fun exploring the map and coming up with our own spreadsheet on where to find which resources. trade happened with other players on that 5x5 grid and pvp happened when both parties felt like it

    The claim system ever since was a thorn in my eye. how can it be that a pirate claims land that then is revealed once someone passes the island you're trying to hide out on. drop the claim system totally. what a bogus idea to claim a patch of land to just place a bed on to have a closer respawn?

    Answer: no i don't agree on that. i think it's more fun to get my stuff together and build my own ship to leave the freeport at lvl 8 or even earlier. i totally dislike the idea of ready-made ships to buy. Raft and sloop were okay as they accelarated the escape from the freeport.

    44 minutes ago, Chucksteak said:

    2. This is a PvP game. The sooner PvE peeps accept it the better off they will be mentally. I'm not talking down on them, it's just what it is.

    sorry but i have to disagree. there's nothing wrong with playing Atlas on the PVE servers and there's plenty of things to do as well just with a different focus than PVP

     

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    22 hours ago, Ucan_Kizmiaz said:

    ...

    read the initial post again and you'll figure that they make one step forward and two steps back ([]sic] we plan this but it might end up being what we had back then [sic]).

    point is: they have no idea where they're steering with someone on the helm who possibly will beach the ship

    I took your advice and reread the Q & A/ Informational post a second time. I completely disagree w your assessment of it.

    Although I have concerns w the reworking of the claim system, I think overall this was a top notch presentation.

    Not perfect, but damn good and respectfully candid.

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    It is a pity and a shame, but ATLAS died! (((We are witnessing the last agonies of the terminally ill ..... AMEN .... (((It's time to say goodbye!

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    On 11/25/2020 at 3:01 PM, ATLAS said:
    1. Increase player recuperation. Survival games can be tough and we want to make sure that players can be devastating to one another, but that the losing side player doesn't have to feel like they are starting over each time. We also want to make small companies and lone wolves more viable. 

    We still have a ways to go before we reach these goals. We know that we are not there yet and that the current state of ATLAS does not reflect what we envision .Most of what we have implemented so far is still in its beginning stages, and are only just setting the foundation for how the gameplay is going to evolve.

     

    Developing survival games appears to be even tougher and we want to make sure you have a barrel in your face for no reason so yeah stop talking about things like you are smart.

    What do you actually envision? Something not stupid? That would be a good foundation that you could evolve from.

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