New Early Access Build
iOS Platform Support and Player Feedback Addressed
Today, I'm excited to announce the rollout of v0.25.1 for Summoners Fate early access players. In this second release of our Early Access Build, I've added support for iOS, addressed nearly all of the received player feedback, and fixed all known app crashes and reported bugs. Instructions for accessing the build as well as a full list of changes are available on our Early Access forums here.
Visual and auditory effects for combo chains are one of the many gameplay improvements added in response to player feedback.
Making Our Game Better with Player and Developer Collaboration
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the development process has been communicating directly with players to understand your joys and frustrations with the game and working together to discover solutions. I'm delighted to see players taking advantage of our in-game bug reporting tool, which has proven instrumental in discovering and resolving issues that were resulting in crashes and unexpected or confusing behavior with the game mechanics. Here's a video that showcases how I've been able to work directly from your reports by seeing what you saw at the time of the bug and looking under the hood in debug mode to find the solution:
Aside from bugs, players have also been vocal about their perception and expectations of the mechanics. For example, I learned that many players anticipated effects like spike traps to trigger in response to a direct push/knockback into the spikes, that my 1 counter/combo mechanic wasn't being communicated well (but that players did enjoy it once they could determine how it worked), and that conceptual context, or what feels right according to the fantasy/lore of the subject (such as the workings of Liche King's life drain ability) is very important to players.
This video showcases a mechanics update I made in response to player feedback. Originally, the Liche King would steal life equal to his damage, but players said it didn't feel right to gain more life than a victim had (especially when defeating a tiny squirrel). Additionally, it was off-context for Lifedrain to gain health from damaging armor, so to address this, I gave Liche King a pierce ability which cuts through the armor to drain the sweet sweet lifeforce within.
Non-verbal communication through play behavior has also been incredibly insightful. One very key missing feature I discovered through player activity was the need for a designated "Exit" button to quit the game. On mobile devices, this isn't particularly important (in fact you can't actually exit an app in iOS) but desktop users absolutely need this and that much was clear from seeing the various UI attempts to find the hidden exit button. Perhaps this was a subconscious attempt on my part to keep players in the game, lol, but I am grateful to have learned and improved.
Finally, it's been incredibly encouraging to see our players regularly engaging with the early access. This speaks volumes about the intrinsic value of the gameplay itself as there are currently no rewards, progression, or leaderboard systems in place to drive the core motivation loop, just the joy of commanding your heroes to victory!
With our build now supporting iOS and in a very solid state thanks to our player feedback, I've got my sights set on building the single player experience and deck building aspects of the game for the next version. Our goal is to craft an experience that seamlessly intertwines what I would dub "rogue-like mini campaign runs" with deck building. I think it's important to separate the single player experience from simply pitched battles against the AI (which is great in itself) but doesn't quite offer the permanence and longer goal satisfaction. I envision that our "prophecies" mechanic will be similar in feel to a long session board game (such as Risk) where the outcome of individual battles and player choices will yield lasting effects that ultimately determine the player's ability to successfully complete the final objective (claiming victory) or perish.
To foster our budding player community, we'll also be looking to extend additional early access invitations in the coming weeks as well as organizing community play events with the development team. So stay tuned and keep nail biting in anticipation because we're gonna have a lot of fun!