The Skill Tree PTS has come to a close to ensure sufficient time for some internal testing of the upcoming Incursion Game Mode prior to an expected phase of open testing on the Public Test Servers.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for participating in the PTS and providing your feedback.
While this post won’t cover all the details you may be hoping for at this stage, this post will run through details regarding the delay of the Skill Tree feature, (more than) a few words covering the Skill Tree economy and the transition between the two Skill systems, and some information regarding the Skill Tree UI/UX. More updates regarding the status and direction of the Skill Tree will be provided in future posts as we continue work behind the scenes.
Skill Tree Release Date
Based on results and feedback from the recent rounds of public testing we have decided to delay the release of the new Skill Tree until a future patch. While the date of its release is yet to be determined, we’d like to stress that the Skill Tree will be undergoing continued development and iteration in preparation for future rounds of public testing prior to release in a future patch. We strongly believe in the merits of a deeper Skill Tree system and fully intend to release the new Skill Tree when the feature is in a more refined state.
Regarding Skill Tree Economy, Currency and Skill Refunds, and the Concept of Lost Progress
The intent behind the full refund of content affected by the release of the Skill Tree was always geared toward ensuring players would not lose the progress they had earned and the points they had spent. To that end the system we devised accounted for refunds or transfers of all C-Bills spent to purchase Modules, all GXP used to unlock them, and all XP used to unlock ‘Mech Skills.
Once the system was put into practice with the release of the Skill Tree PTS it started to become clear that the metrics used for determining refund and transfer values were inadequate, and only provided a partial picture.
The main point of contention we saw regarding the proposed system for transitioning player accounts into the new Skill Tree came down to the concept of Mastery, and existing Skill progress.
More specifically, a fundamental disconnect between the various Skill statuses of ‘Mechs under the existing system, the amount of C-Bills and experience to be received in refunds and transfers arriving with the new system, and the subsequent ability (or inability) for players to match their previous Skill statuses under the new Skill Tree.
The direct C-Bill refund of all owned Modules weighed too heavily in our minds when evaluating the feasibility of players being able to re-Master their existing ‘Mechs under the new system. Players slated to receive a large refund of C-Bills for their relatively large number of owned Modules were skewing our perspective; we had failed to provide adequate weight toward players who owned fewer Modules, swapping them from ‘Mech-to-‘Mech as needed and as facilitated by-design.
Additionally, the concept of Mastery under the new Skill Tree wasn’t seen by us as equivalent to the concept of Mastery under the existing system. The return of all invested currencies previously used to unlock Skills was seen as a sufficient solution for transitioning to the new system. These were distinct Skill systems, with distinct requirements, benefits, and upper-limits.
However, achieving Skill status under the original system represented more than just using experience points to unlock associated Skills; it represented time and commitment. The proper transition to a new Skill Tree needs to account for more than just raw currency.
With all that in mind, the redefinition of Mastery brought with it a valid sense of lost progress. Hours spent working toward Skill statuses under the original system had been devalued by the context and requirements of the new Skill Tree. Players with fewer Modules were hit particularly hard by this, with a greater burden of subsequent costs to re-gain their Skill statuses.
It was never our intention to devalue the effort and playing time you’ve put toward your ‘Mechs, and while full details will need to wait until we can complete some of the preliminary investigation and work to ensure the system is solid and technically feasible, our continued work on the Skill Tree will be to address all of the above shortcomings and issues.
While the full details of this change will require additional time to iron out, the eventual transition to the new Skill Tree will result in no loss of existing Skill/Mastery level progress.
Whether you own a hundred Modules or none, there will be no lost progress in the relative Skill statuses of your ‘Mechs. The work you’ve already put in to achieve Mastery, or any other degree of Skill status under the current system, will carry over into an equal capacity for acquiring any desired Skills under the new Skill Tree.
While the Skill Tree interface has already undergone changes to improve readability since the last build seen on the Skill Tree PTS, it’s clear that further attention now needs to be paid toward the UX (user experience) of the Skill Tree interface. Reducing the number of clicks required for using the Skill Tree is a piece of feedback we’ve seen consistently since the PTS first went live, and is just one of a few issues related to UI and UX we will be working hard to address.
We look forward to the Skill Tree returning to Public Test in the future, and we hope you’ll be as committed to providing your feedback once again. Thank you for reading, MechWarriors, and thank you for your feedback.