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October Road Map

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#1 Russ Bullock


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Posted 29 September 2015 - 08:20 AM

It's already time to share some of our road map plans for October, but before I get to that I wanted to share a quick message about the re-balance.

In the September road map I listed the re-balance as if it was going live on September 22nd. I guess I would call that mostly a mistake on my part, and quite obviously it was not going to be ready to go live at that point if it was only entering PTS a couple weeks prior to that.

So what is the status of the re-balance now?

We continue to both implement player feedback as well as add additional elements. We are planning to have another PTS sometime in the next 1-2 weeks, and this time we will ensure that whatever aspect we are testing will be outlined very clearly to those who want to participate.
As to a live release date for the update, for now we are not making any estimates other than to say we will not release it without further PTS dates, and it will only be ready for live release if and when it constitutes a noticeable improvement over what is currently in the live environment.

Now onto the fun stuff.

October 6th patch:

- Release of the Crab, the Resistance 2 Medium 'Mech. We have put together a new process for ensuring that 'Mech hit boxes upon initial release have the best chance of being correct. I think the low profile on this one is going to be very popular.

- Newly updated Caustic Valley - with this map there were a few geometry changes to improve cover in a few of the lesser used areas, and to provide a little better LRM protection around the rim of the cauldron. Other than that we didn't want to overdo any geometry or layout changes, as even though this is one of the older maps it has always managed to stay in a higher rotation because of its strong play. The textures and graphics have of course been updated, much as you have seen in the other map updates so far, and Caustic now features the Time of Day cycles and breakable trees.

- 2015 Customer Appreciation Program: Delivery of this content for all those who qualify. Along with being unique variants of existing 'Mechs, these reward 'Mechs come with a first-ever custom skin treatment that will underlay any patterns you want to apply. Thank you for your support in 2015.

- Other items of note include a half dozen improvements to the 'Mech Select screen and the ability to toggle the leg-orientation arrow pointer seen in the Tutorial for use in live matches and Testing Grounds. The pointer is on by default for new players, and you can toggle it at any time in the Settings menu. Also, while it wasn't mentioned in our last patch notes, 3PV is now off by default for new players. This makes the game more consistent with what new players will see in the Tutorial, and we feel this is a better approach and method for teaching new players how to drive a BattleMech.

October 20th patch:

- Release of the Wolfhound, the Resistance 2 Light 'Mech - what is sure to be another popular light 'Mech.

- Delivery of Resistance 1 and 2 Blood Pact content for eligible players.

- New Camo Spec screen - I don't have a description or images for you in this post, but suffice it to say it is another major improvement for that screen, much like you have seen for 'MechLab, 'Mech Select, and the Home screen. This is an important change as we prepare for Steam, improving the experience not just for all current players, but for brand new players experiencing the UI for the first time. I think you'll all enjoy the new system.
Make note though that this is not the introduction of any new Camo functionality, it's simply a far better way to display the games current Camo features. We have kept upcoming systems such as Decals in mind as we updated this screen, to ensure that we are ready for it when we are able to make that feature happen.

- New group creation min/max tonnage system. As mentioned in a recent Town Hall, I am making a last attempt to improve the quality of play in the group queue while trying to maintain the feature of having groups of any size.

In order to do this we need to allow the matchmaker to think about less options while making sure it is able to use PSR to match similarly skilled players for fights while also accounting for the power gap between many small groups vs one larger one.
The values of this new system can be tuned on the live servers without the need for patches or downtime, so we can make quick changes as necessary with minimal fuss. This is an important aspect of this system, as we want it to be able to react to your feedback and metrics as the new system plays out in the wild.

With this new feature you will be creating your groups with a minimum/maximum tonnage indicator instead of the weight class restrictions. This is designed to try and keep as much flexibility in the players hands as possible, but also as a means to try to provide teams that may be comprised of a few separate groups extra tonnage to compensate, or at least have access to extra tonnage, versus an opposing team that may be comprised of just one or two large groups.

Here are some initial placeholder values that we are working with for this system:

Group SizeMinMax

Now is the opportunity for you as players to comment and make suggested tonnage changes. Please provide that feedback in this thread here.

Here are some points I want you to keep in mind when providing feedback there.
The point here is to allow the matchmaker to run with some simpler metrics; therefore the MM will not be adding up tonnage or looking at the composition of the groups. It is the groups responsibility to utilize the tonnage as they see fit. This is important because if the MM finds the perfect set of players to play against each other we do not want to have to reject that match for any reason. The goal is to make sure they fight for the best quality match. Therefore we have to be smart about our min/max tonnage settings.
Also keep in mind again that we can tune all of these values in realtime, so any changes that we make to the initial values after this system goes live are not locked in to patch windows.

So keep these aspects in mind:

- If 6 groups of 2 bumped into a single group of 12, what should the tonnage advantage be?
- How restrictive should we become on the minimum tonnage while still allowing flexibility for a small group that may want to run light - keeping in mind that we're hoping to give extra tonnage to the side with more groups.
- Keep in mind most matches generally average to having only one extra group on one side.
- Please provide your feedback on what the min/max tonnage should be for each group size.

I can't wait to share with you what features will be coming in November and December, it will certainly put a cap on what is turning out to be our best year-to-date in terms of development.

LFG shortcut - We have added a shortcut to the LFG too to the front home page down next to the social button. The hope is that newer players and everyone in general will make more use of this tool to form groups.

Player context menu - all in game screens like the Pregame, Scoreboard and end of round the player will now be able to right click on a players name and do functions like adding them as a friend, inviting them to their group or unit and to report that player for a sub menu of options. This is a feature that will greatly help in both social aspects of MWO and in moderating a great player community

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