- 1 Introducing: Colossals - May 24th, 2019
- 2 Feature Highlight: Guild Wars - May 10th, 2019
- 3 Feature Highlight: Cooking and Gardening - May 10th, 2019
- 4 Allegiance Revamp Preview, May 3rd, 2019
- 5 Mount System Changes + Free Ethereal Mounts, April 26th, 2019
- 6 Letter From the Community Manager – April Community Schedule
- 7 Letter From the Community Manager – March 25th, 2019
- 8 Letter from the Community Manager – March 14th, 2019
- 9 Letter from the Community Manager – February 28th, 2019
Introducing: Colossals - May 24th, 2019
Ben again here guys! This time I am coming to you with a new set of PvE encounters that we have been designing and prototyping internally. One of our senior developers, Kade, has been hard at work behind the curtains making sure the rest of the team have the tools we need to accelerate our content development. His hard work has paid off with the introduction of our new PvE “Colossals”.
What Are Colossals?
Colossals are powerful mini-bosses that will spawn in random locations around New Celeador and will provide 7-10 man teams an opportunity to challenge their teamwork and combat prowess. All colossals will use our new monster AI have different “stages” of combat they will progress through as the fight wears on.
Ready But Not Done
Colossals are still actively under development and could change greatly before their implementation into the live game. We wanted to give our players the opportunity to try them out and give us feedback on how the new AI is working and how well you enjoy these mini-engagements.
Where’s the cake?!?
Colossals will also have unique loot tables that will make them a new source of both cosmetic and combat based items. These new items are not currently dropping from the colossals, but we hope to be able to share that with you soon.
Beware, There Be Bugs Here!
As mentioned colossals utilize a brand new AI system for our monsters, we have tested internally but are no match for our creative player base. So please, try to break the colossals and share with us any issues you see when playing with them.
Feature Highlight: Guild Wars - May 10th, 2019
Guild wars is part of our team’s larger effort to give players more ways to participate in consensual PvP. The basic goal of the system is to allow guilds to directly war with each other without fear of guard intervention or karma loss.
The guild window has a new tab for guild wars. Here you can declare war on guilds, accept incoming war declarations, and check up on the progress of current wars. Guilds are allowed to have up to five outstanding declarations and/or wars at one time.
Only guild officers can declare war, accept declarations or surrender. War declarations can have a 24 hour, 7 day or 30 day duration. Guild officers also have 24 hours to respond to incoming war declarations. Once an incoming war declaration is accepted, the war begins! Guild members will see a “Guild War Icon” on enemy guild members. Currently, guild officers on either side can surrender and immediately end the war. If the target guild declines or ignores the incoming war declaration, the war will not begin.
- Future Additions*
This is just the initial implementation of the guild wars system. In the future, we would like to give guilds the ability to offer a war purse that would be distributed when members of the guild are killed by the enemy guild. We’d also like to add guild wars to the web killboard once we get that feature back online.
We also welcome your feedback on this system and are open to ideas for additional improvements.
Feature Highlight: Cooking and Gardening - May 10th, 2019
Hello guys, this is Ben! I am one of the game designers here at Citadel Studios and have some information for you on the newly released cooking revamp and gardening system. First I would like to start with some basic information about myself to help explain why I took on these two projects. I was a Ultima Online veteran for many years and have played numerous MMOs all from the lense of a crafter and trader. I have always enjoyed the interaction with other players that comes with having a skill set or product that is highly desirable, and that sets the stage for our story.
Cooking was a flat trade skill — it didn’t offer much to the player base other than the ability to regenerate stamina and health. There was really no reason to invest your time into cooking unless you thought it would be revamped in the future.
And that is exactly what we have done with this update! Cooking now allows players to create food items that can buff a players mana pool, health pool, stamina pool, and weight capacity. As your skill in cooking improves you will be able to create more and more powerful foods to buff these attributes.
Additionally, I didn’t want cooking to simply be a skill that you have “templates” that you could craft for each various food and buff combination. So the ingredients you use in cooking actually determine the buffs that will be applied when the final product is consumed. This will allow cooks to cater their food items to specific play styles. Do you value stamina and mana in your build? Or perhaps you’re a crafter/gatherer that wants health/weight capacity? By mixing ingredients cooks will now be able to create food that is suited to YOUR needs.
The Need for Gardening
With the addition of an ingredient centric cooking system there was a need to create a means to cultivate and create rarity around specific ingredients. I was a big fan of gardening in Ultima Online, it was always one of my favorite past times and I would often login just to check on and care for my plants. I wanted to bring that feeling into Legends of Aria. Gardening allows for players to growing all the non-meat based ingredients that are currently used in cooking!
Gardening for All!
It is important to mention here that gardening is not a skill based system and can be used by any player. There are two types of containers for gardeners; pots and raised beds (planter beds). Pots can be used anywhere, they can stay in your backpack, your bank, a box in your house, your friends house, my house, really anywhere! This allows all players, even those who don’t have land of their own, to enjoy gardening. In contrast, raised beds can only be placed on plots or within houses, but open up more plant varieties and give a boost to harvest yields.
In its first iteration gardening just allows you to plant and gather ingredients for cooking. This is by no means where it is stopping. We have plans to allow for decorative plants and the ability to grow items that will not be cooking specific. Getting this first version of gardening out to you will allow you to play with it and tell us what you like and don’t like about it.
Allegiance Revamp Preview, May 3rd, 2019
First, a short introduction. I need to apologize that this is my first formal introduction. My name is Brandon, and I joined the Citadel Studios team in late February as a game designer. I’m a gamer with a history of playing games like Ultima Online, Darkfall, and countless other MMOs. I have a passion for the sandbox genre, and a love for PvP. I can’t express how privileged I feel to work on Legends of Aria and am excited for how the game will evolve as our team grows. Without further ado, here is a taste of what to expect from the Allegiance system in the near future.
There are two major goals that we feel need to be met concerning Allegiances. The first is that they should incentivize players to participate. Allegiances are an opt-in system, and currently we think we can do better to encourage more activity. I will go into more detail about that below. The second goal is to provide more opportunity and incentive for players to engage in consensual, challenging, and rewarding combat. We know that this has been an issue for a while now, and we don’t want PvP to be exclusive to murderers. This is a system that we hope continues to evolve and be added onto.
Some changes have been made to the Allegiance ranking system under the hood. Players are now ranked, in order, against the rest of their own Allegiance. Players now earn a percentile of where they place, a rank (1-7), and a standing which represents your numerical order on the pecking list. In addition, your favor/rank points will no longer disappear when leaving an Allegiance or switching sides. We want players to mix things up, and for there to be incentive to join less dominant Allegiances. Allegiances now have seasons which will periodically reset rankings, allowing players a fresh start and a new landscape of competition.
All Hail Lord Ebris!
A third Allegiance team is being added, based in Eldeir! The thinking behind this is to create more dynamic balances of power between enemy Allegiances, and give players more ways to organize themselves with and against each other.
The next update includes the introduction of our first Allegiance events. These are localized, periodic scenarios which pit Allegiances against each other to fight over a goal. The first event is a very free form objective that rewards participants for roaming while winning fights and staying alive. Performance is rewarded on an individual basis, and players earn Allegiance currency as the event plays out. I will leave the rest for you all to explore on your own. Once the update is live, just sign up for an Allegiance and you will be notified in game when an event starts!
Finally: sweet loot and bragging rights for the best fighters of Celador. With Allegiance currency earned from events, combined with rank requirements, players will now have access to vendor-purchasable rewards including everything from decorations and cosmetics to items which will prove to be valuable on the battlefield. These rewards should feel meaningful and useful without negatively impacting the balance of combat. Yes, there will be mounts.
The Allegiance system is an important part of our game and we have more ideas in store. We are excited for more event types, more things to fight over, and ways to make players feel invested in the conflict. Expect the Allegiance update to hit the experimental server soon; don’t forget to test! I can’t wait to see you out there fighting.
Mount System Changes + Free Ethereal Mounts, April 26th, 2019
On Tuesday, April 23rd, we released Point Release 5, which featured changes to our Tax, Death, and Mount Systems.
One major topic of discussion in our community is the Mount System. We realize that, when pushing through big changes like these, it’s important for us to not only explain what will be changing, but also why these things will be changing. Moving forward, we will include our reasoning behind changes in the patch notes whenever we overhaul a major system.
So, to be straight with you, regular horses suck. The plan with ethereal mounts is to give our players regular horses that don’t suck. For starters, always having to dismiss the horse after you get off it? That sucks. Ethereal mounts dismiss automatically after dismounting, turning immediately into a statue you can use for remounting. Another issue that they solve is the one of accidentally attacking your own horse when you dismount. Which also really sucks, and is one of the most common complaints we have received from the community. This is our way of eliminating these issues while addressing some inherent flaws in our mounted combat system. It’s our hope that all mid-to-end game characters will have ethereal mounts. Changes made in today’s patch make Ether easier to come buy with the addition of a new Etherealize potion for Alchemists, allowing anyone to create ethereal mounts.
We want you to know that we’re actively discussing the mount system internally – not only unintended bugs and issues that need to be fixed, but also your overall feedback. We’re watching and listening very closely, and we’ve already made some adjustments based on your feedback. No longer will you dismount when using a Hearthstone or casting Portal, and you’ll no longer dismount when checking your Atlas and activating Escape Scroll. We’ve made a few additional changes as well – you can read all the hotfix patch notes here.
We really believe in this system, and we believe you will as well. So, we ask that you give it a real try. Friday through Sunday you will get 1 ethereal mount per account, per server – up to 3 free ethys – to try out. We look forward to hearing your feedback once you’ve given these majestic beasts a shot.
Changing systems up is an inherent part of the development process for any game and, because Legends of Aria is an Early Access game, our community is experiencing them in real time. There are bound to be passionate opinions, and we want you to know that we’re listening.
Letter From the Community Manager – April Community Schedule
I’m happy to outline the community engagement events we have scheduled for this month! More may be added based on how these ones go, but for now we wanted to establish a baseline for active and reliable engagement on our part.
As detailed in the last Letter from the Community Manager on March 25th (link), a big part of this will be weekly feedback sessions. These sessions will take place every Thursday on Discord, starting this week! There is a brand new channel for this on Discord – weekly_feedback_chat, which can be found under LOA Community Channels. The time for these chats will be 4pm Eastern Time, and you’ll have my undivided attention. Each week will feature a different theme to discuss – this isn’t so much a time for asking the team questions, but rather for discussing the different elements of the week’s theme that you are happy with, concerned about, and ideas for any changes you’d like us to consider.
This is the schedule of themes for April:
Thursday, April 4th – Karma
Thursday, April 11th – Quality of Life
Thursday, April 18th – Crafting
Thursday, April 25th – PvP
The channel will be locked throughout the week in an attempt to keep things simple for our team to refer back to, and will be unlocked at 4pm Eastern Time every Thursday for one hour. If there is time left after everyone has had the chance to discuss their ideas for the theme, we’ll open it up to all additional feedback.
In addition, we are putting into place an official schedule for Developer Q&A livestreams, which will take place every other Friday at 1pm Eastern Time on Twitch. We know that not everyone will be able to watch the streams live, so we will be accepting questions from everyone leading up to the streams, and will be sure to save and share streams across all platforms for future viewing. Please send any questions you would like our team to answer to email@example.com.
The streams for April will take place on:
Friday, April 5th
Friday, April 19th
This is only the start of what will be active, consistent engagement, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to be involved in such an incredibly community.
Letter From the Community Manager – March 25th, 2019
I’ve got a few updates for you wonderful folks, so let’s dive right in!
Last week we launched our new Experimental Server, where you can now test out features before they make their way into the game. Right now, you can try out our new Death and Mount Systems, along with an assortment of other fixes.
Your feedback is critical to the success of not only the Experimental Server, but also Legends of Aria. We’ve created designated forum threads for both the New Death System and the New Mount System, as well as a Miscellaneous thread for commenting on the additional fixes. There is also a designated channel on Discord for discussing Experimental Server features.
This week we will be at PAX East in Boston! We’re so thrilled about the opportunity to share Legends of Aria with more people, and we’re equally thrilled about the opportunity to meet some of you! At the booth we will be giving out digital codes for 5 Power Hour Potions, as well as a special one-time surprise deco item.
To anyone unable to attend PAX, we have a little something for you as well. Every day you log in during the PAX East Convention – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – you will get one Power Hour Potion placed in your backpack, meaning you can get up to four during the convention.
Being accessible and approachable is important to me, as is making you all know that you’re being heard and respected. So we’re going to be kicking off a new weekly hour-long feedback chat on Discord on Thursday, April 4th. Every Thursday will have a different theme – Karma, PvE, PvP, Crafting, Experimental, etc. This new event is a way for you to have my undivided attention, but will also help us all think about the mechanics of Legends of Aria a little more closely. For now, this will take place on a new Discord channel, which you can find under LOA Community Channels. I definitely want to encourage everyone to keep discussing and sharing their ideas for the game outside of this event – it’s just one step towards opening up the lines of communication between all of us in a productive way.
Another step towards that is a set schedule for Developer Q&A Streams. On Friday, April 5th, we will be starting set biweekly Developer Q&A Streams, which will take place every other Friday at 1pm Eastern Time. This is a great way to get your questions answered by members of our team, and we wanted to be sure that you all knew exactly when they would be taking place. If you have a question you’d like answered, you can tag us on Discord or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are some other exciting community-related ideas currently in the works, and I look forward to sharing them more with you in the coming weeks!
Letter from the Community Manager – March 14th, 2019
I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since I first introduced myself! You’ve all made me feel incredibly welcome, and I hope you know how sincerely I appreciate that.
Now for updates!
The client patch for this week is being made available via a live hotfix which will take effect following the next scheduled downtime. This is not a full Point Release. Instead, we focused this patch on a few critical fixes – the minimap now rotates correctly, keybinding modifiers no longer stop WASD from working, and we lowered the difficulty on Blightwood and Ash. We have several major changes in development, detailed a bit more below.
You may have noticed that we’ve been actively hiring across the board, and we’ve spent the past few weeks onboarding new hires that we’ll be introducing to you in the coming weeks. We’re also changing the way we approach our Point Releases to ensure that all major changes have adequate testing time, and also that we are allowing enough time for your feedback. A big part of that is our new 24/7 Experimental Server, which will be available soon.
In addition, many of you have requested a development roadmap, and we heard you loud and clear – so we’ve created a public Trello board for you! You can see what we worked on previously, as well as what we’re working on in both the short and long term. This is not intended to be an exhaustive view of every single item we’re working on – there will still be surprises.This includes some of the major items we’ve been working on, including a reimagining of the death system, a new look at mounts, and changes to monster AI, coming soon to the Experimental Server. We’re tailoring the Experimental Server sub-forums to allow the community to give direct feedback on relevant features being tested on Experimental. We’re going to be testing some important and exciting changes so we value your feedback.
We also have a brand new community page on our website – the focus of this page moving forward will be highlighting YOU – our amazing community. Player-run events, community servers, fan fiction, cute stories, anything that revolves around what you’re creating, experiencing, and loving about Legends of Aria! We have an email address for submissions – so please, if you’d like to see something featured on our site, reach out to us at email@example.com.
There are a lot of exciting things to come, and I can’t wait to share them with you! But, alas, I’m going to have to anyway. Until next time, cheers!
Letter from the Community Manager – February 28th, 2019
My name is Liz, and I’m thrilled to tell you that I am the new Community Manager for Legends of Aria!
I’ve spent the past week in-game, and was immediately shocked at how friendly and helpful so many of you were upon realizing I was a new player. I’ve worked in Marketing and Community Management on a number of titles, mostly indies, and I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying positive communities. I have a really good feeling about the Legends of Aria players, and I’m so excited to have the chance to interact with all of you.
My approach to community management is this – I want to be your greatest ally, your liaison to the talented folks who are bringing the world of Celador to life. Part of my job is to be the voice of the developers to players – the other, equally important part is being the voice of the players to the developers.
Your feedback is important to everyone at Citadel Studios. Much like the world is forged by players like you, the game itself is as well. While it make take some time to fix certain issues, and there will be certain requests that can’t be implemented, I promise that we will hear you. No matter what, I want all of you to feel valued and respected.
If you come across a guy named Leif, please say hi! There’s a possibility it’s me – and if it isn’t, hopefully you make a new friend.