Broken Ranks Q&A - Drygu & Galajus

Broken Ranks Q&A - Drygu & Galajus

On July 7th, our CEO and chief programmer, Drygu, was interviewed by a Polish streamer Galajus. They were mostly talking about the future of Broken Ranks, but the whole interview is in Polish, so instead of making you slog through the whole thing, we decided to give you a summary with the most important questions and answers. And here it is:

Q: What is the population on the servers?

A: Currently, we have about 30% more players in total than a year ago. June and July have always been bad as far as player numbers go. It’s not amazing, but it’s also not that bad. We’re looking to the future with optimism. We’ve launched some advertising campaigns resulting in 200-300 new accounts made daily and a lot of them stay for longer. Our main goal currently is to keep them here permanently.

Q: Will there be an option to skip the prologue when you’re making an alt?

A: Yes, it’s been on our list for a long time, but it’s a lot of work and it’s a non-critical issue. However, we’ll implement it at some point for sure.

Q: Why did you remove the gold task present in Taern 2D? Was it a good decision?

A: Yes, it was. Our goal with it was to make gold accumulation difference between lower and higher levels smaller. However, when people started making alts just to run the gold task, there was simply too much gold on the servers and inflation became a problem. We had to make everything expensive in order to compensate for this. At the beginning of Broken Ranks, there wasn’t too much gold, but the situation is getting better, although it’s still not ideal. We’re monitoring gold generation and will make adjustments if needed. Also, we wanted synergetics to provide a good source of income, either by being traded between players and sold to a shop since they have a very good sell value. However, it seems our players didn’t see it that way and they’d rather hoard them in their deposits.

Q: Why didn’t you make one big Broken Ranks server where everyone can play, without any server divisions?

A: Well, for one thing, the world has its capacity, so we need to create many servers if players are to play comfortably, without the maps getting overcrowded. Another thing is that the language version of the game is tied to a specific server. Fixing this is very high on our list of priorities and we’ll begin working on it soon. We’ll surely do it before the steam release.

Q: What’s the story behind introducing synergetics to the game?

A: In Taern, bosses weren’t really dropping anything and it was getting really frustrating for players. We wanted to amend this by making bosses drop something that you can collect, maybe not really a rare, but if you do 20 bosses, you can combine these items to something resembling a rare item so that you aren’t feeling bad. That was our goal. However, we made synergetics too powerful, they shouldn’t be better than rares. The very concept of synergetics, the ability to merge them is very fun, but there are some balance issues for sure. In a way, they also patched some holes in the content - they made players more powerful so it was easier to bridge the 40-70 gap where a lot of people were dropping out of the game. We don’t want to nerf them immediately, because a lot of players are using them and it’s a bit of an issue for us. I, personally, would like to nerf them a bit, increase the difficulty level in some parts of the game, and improve other gear so that it can compete with synergetics.

Q: Do level and the pack reduce the droprate of synergetics?

A: Not at the moment, but they will.

Q: Do you have any ideas about future content?

A: We were planning to add a completely new area for mid-levels north of Alaril and the Orc Forest which would also hide some challenges for high-level players, too. The concept’s been ready for a couple of years now and it’s now waiting for its turn. Apart from that, we’d like to expand the map to the north-east of Beirn and give our high-level players a new instance and a lot of things to do in general. However, we also need to keep fixing content gaps. We’re also thinking about additional difficulty levels for instances - at least 3 for each instance, including one difficulty setting for solo players..

Q: Can you tell us more about the new end-game area? If it’s supposed to be north-east of Beirn, Is it going to be all snowy?

A: No snow for sure, we’re sick and tired of drawing all these icy lands. The initial concepts were created a couple of years ago, when Beirn was first created, but we have more experience at present, we’re more aware what types of maps are needed. We’ll be sitting down to them again, so it’s impossible to say where exactly we’ll be taking our players

Q: What end-game activities are you planning to have?

A: We don’t want to raise the bar too high, because both Morana and Tarul proved to be extremely difficult to kill without gear from them. If we are to introduce a new boss, it’ll probably be of a similar difficulty level. We’ll come up with new, crazy mechanics for sure, but as far as combat itself is concerned, there’s not much we can add. Apart from that, we want to make PvP more alive in the end-game - probably on separate, dedicated maps. Something like an event or a battle, but we don’t want it to interfere with PvE. Also, crafting, together with crafting skills you can level up.

Q: Are you going to do anything about world PvP?

A: To be honest, world PvP as it is lost us a lot of players, especially on non-Polish servers, but our players from Poland weren’t happy about it either. The player mentality has changed over the years and people are getting frustrated when they are just minding their own business and suddenly get attacked. On the other hand, we want players to be able to show that they are “better” fighters, but we want to limit this to dedicated zones with interesting mechanics. We need to make a strict division between PvE and PvP areas. Personally, I’m a fan of world PvP, but I think I’m in the minority here. We might also add something more fair, consensual, like having one player challenge another one to combat and they need to accept to get attacked.

Q: When are you going to implement new end-game areas?

A: Soon we’ll be updating our roadmap, but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to talk about completely new content there. We don’t want to promise too much and then fail to deliver. However, the year 2023 will be when new content, especially end-game one, will be added.

Q: Will you increase the level cap?

A: The final decision hasn’t been made yet, but we all think that if there’s an increase, it should be quite small. When the level cap is increased, there must be new content to give players something new to do.

Q: Will the current epics be rebalanced when epics 2.0 are released?

A: We don’t know yet. We had an initial concept of the system, but it was before Broken Ranks and now we have a new, brave world with synergetics, so we’ll have to sit down to it. For sure, we won’t leave the owners of epics 1.0 with nothing. Our initial idea was to make having an epic 1.0 a requirement for getting an epic 2.0, but as I said, this is something we need to sit down to again.

Q: Will epics 2.0 still be weapons?

A: Our idea was to introduce more defensive epics, too, but as I mentioned, I can’t tell you much currently. We have some ideas and everything is possible.

Q: What about the crafting/gathering remodel?

A: We want to introduce passive skills to aid these activities. This is the direction we want to take, but we don’t know when we’ll be able to implement this.

Q: Are you going to add more solo instances? Is this something you want to work on?

A: We sent questionnaires to people who are no longer playing the game actively and one of the top reasons for leaving was too little solo content. If you have a party, it’s fine, but it’s just difficult to play solo.

Q: Are you planning any other activities (apart from instances) aimed at those who prefer to play solo?

A: One of such points are quests, which we still don't have enough in Broken Ranks. They allow to catch a first-time player, they are an interesting form of gameplay, other than grind, which can get boring with time. So, there are never enough quests and we need quite a lot of them. We are also thinking about expanding crafting, i.e., more ingredients collecting, hunting monsters, acquiring items, and then combining it all into interesting items. Unfortunately, this is a vast thing involving a lot of resources, so it will have to wait a while to be implemented.

Q: Will tasks for mid-level and high-level players become more appealing?

A: We managed to convert the entire task-related content up to around level 60. The higherlevel tasks have been slightly tweaked, but these are small modifications compared to those aimed at low-level players. We have an experienced team dedicated to this and we will continue working on it.

Q: What is your workflow when balancing the game?

A: Our workflow in this respect looks like this, that when the topic gets in the spotlight, we collect all the information, we study it, we look at the formulas, we analyze everything and then together with the team that actively plays and has the greatest experience in the subject, we try to solve the problems. We are currently at the stage of collecting all balance issues and soon we will be making more specific decisions regarding the direction in which we will move with the changes.

Q: How do you view the Knight's balance in BR and his independence in the game? In your opinion, should this aspect be improved as a matter of priority, or is it a deliberate move?

A: We value the variety of characters in the game. The Knight is a unique profession because it has the highest survivability among all classes and is indispensable in almost every party. Also, it is quite fun to play as with pets. It is true, that solo play at low level ranges is not fantastic. Maybe the problem is that we went a little over the top with the number of buffs needed to support a party, so solo play suffered from not having enough points to level up skills. This is especially noticeable in the synergy between the Knight and the Barbarian, where the number of these buffs is too high. The second big problem is that playing the Knight solo is quite boring - there are no interesting mechanics, debuffs that would require more activity and commitment in combat. We will research this, although you will still have to wait a bit for specific solutions. But if you have interesting ideas, we look forward to your suggestions.

Q: Since the release, nothing has appeared that would touch upon the balance. Can we expect any changes regarding it this year?

A: We had a plan to make balance changes following the small steps method and introduce them gradually. We wanted to avoid big reshuffles in the balance so as not to shake things up too much. Unfortunately, we were a bit overwhelmed by the work we have planned in the roadmap (e.g. tournaments). It's hard to promise at the moment when the first changes will appear, but we've managed to catch up with balancing issues from the backlog and we will work on it more if possible.

Q: Do you think the Fire Mage is stronger than the Barbarian?

A: For sure the Fire Mage is more fun to play and certainly is more popular on servers. It is not entirely possible to say that it is better in every aspect. The Barbarian has a few basic problems: a bugged area of effect where attacks sometimes miss and which we absolutely need to fix. Next – Rip (formerly Bite) is much weaker than what was available to players in 2D. In addition, there is the need to cooperate with the Knight to achieve the full potential and the issue of speed and smoothness of animation, which for the Fire Mage look better and faster, even if they are not always like that. We need to look at all these issues and probably strengthen the Barbarian a bit and weaken the Fire Mage. Even though we don't like to nerf any classes, a slight weakening seems necessary in this case.

Q: Are you planning to introduce the so-called PTR (Public Test Realms)?

A: We have not considered such a solution, but we are not saying “no” to it. It would require slight changes to the infrastructure, so maybe we will consider it in the future. The downside of this solution is the lack of a surprise effect - the player has the ability to check everything right away and does not look forward to an update on the production server.

Q: High-level weapons for debuffers that drop from champions - what do you think about it?

A: This should not happen, access to weapons should be equal for all professions. We will look at this and, along with the equipment reform, we will try to improve the current situation. In general, we have too few weapons in the game, so we are also thinking about increasing their number, which should eliminate the problem of lack of access to the desired weapon.

Q: Why did you not introduce blocking weapon types for particular professions?

A: We didn't manage to do it before the release. We should do this, because the animations do not match the posture of a profession holding a weapon that is not dedicated to it. It will be blocked in the near future.

Q: Will there be a list of restrictions on psycho modifiers for players?

A: We will provide this data, it should not be kept secret.

Q: Will it be possible to change weapons in combat and when?

A: Yes, we are planning to restore this functionality. It was supposed to appear at the release, but unfortunately we did not get it done in time, and later it fell on the priority list. It should appear in the game soon.

Q: How do you view the problem of different conversion factors for the strength/dexterity and power/knowledge parameters for the Barbarian and Fire Mage in the damage formulas (0.7/0.3 vs 1.4/0.6) that make the improvements to magical characters "more valuable" than to physical characters?

A: We discussed and analyzed this issue a few months before the release, and as part of the changes we even managed to program a mechanic in which we evened out the ratios and added a function making magic characters use the damage parameter of their weapon - the staff. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to balance it satisfactorily, so it wasn't included at the release. It is very possible that this would solve several problems between the Barbarian and the Fire Mage.

Q: Do you plan rewards for achievements?

A: Yes, we do, but we want to do it wisely, to some limited extent. The idea itself that achievements should grant some benefits is fine.

Q: What is going on with the mobile version of Broken Ranks?

A: As the release date was inexorably approaching, we had to focus all our efforts on getting the PC release done on time. A very large part of the code is common to both the PC version and the mobile version, but it lacks (in the mobile version) those functionalities that were added at the end of development and after the release of Broken Ranks. So, for example, there is no Marketplace, World map, Party Finder, Achievements. They are not crucial functionalities when it comes to gameplay, but it would be good if they were present. Unfortunately, now, along with the continuous development of the PC version, the state of the mobile version is constantly moving away from the state of the PC version. Therefore, in the near future we have to consider what strategy to adopt here: is it better to release the game with all the functionalities that are in the PC version, or maybe in a truncated version. We believe that the version for mobile devices has a great potential, because there are not many games of this type on the market. Therefore, we lean towards making the mobile version, which has a chance of reaching to a large extent also to a global audience, to be a full-size version of the game. We also have to take into account the fact that we still have holes in the content that we would like to patch first. Hence the current decision not to rush too much with the release of the mobile version of the game. But we have some good news. Given what we've learned from the release of the PC version, we plan to release the game to a closed group of players first, to conduct long-term testing before we bring it to global use. In addition, we still have to optimize the game for performance to make playing it a fun and smooth experience. It is true that the idea for a mobile game appeared a long time ago, about 7 years ago, so when analyzing what hardware players will have, we took into account quite old devices as for the current times - so in terms of optimization, it should be fine. Even now, with the development version of the application, you can log in and freely roam the maps and fight monsters. When it comes to deadlines, the game will for 100% not be released in 2022 and at this point it is difficult to present a specific date when it will appear. It makes no sense to use dates when we are not yet 100% sure about the release date ourselves internally.

Q: What is the situation with "alts"? What changes should we expect and when will this buff be released?

A: We are working on it and it will be coming soon. Due to the fact that in the 2d version this buff was very cheap and very strong, we decided to slightly weaken its effect. As for the details, we can't reveal too much right now, except that it will only be available on old servers. Such a buff will not appear on new servers for now, but we do not rule out adding it there in the future - maybe in a year?

Q: When can we expect a version for iOS devices?

A: We'll be proceeding with the release of the game in order we assumed, so we'll start with Android and then iOS.