Post-Launch Features & Stretch Goals
When we first made our Kickstarter Announcement at the beginning of March we let people know that the $900k asking price was not arbitrary. We came about that number by taking all the features we had planned for CoE and bringing them before a panel of about a dozen or so community members. We asked them to help us select the features we could cut from launch relatively easily, without changing the overall spirit of the game, and which features we could cut from launch if we absolutely had to.
From the list of remaining features we calculated the engineering costs and art costs and came up with the $900k. It had been our plan all along to take any money we raised above and beyond our funding goal and use it toward helping us get those features back in for launch. However, after talking with the community we've decided to take only those features which are most anticipated by the community, and re-introduce them, saving the rest for addition at a later date.
This allows us to take some money and put it toward extended features, while taking the rest and using it toward taking the features we already have and ensuring they're of the highest quality. In exchange, we'll be offering additional rewards at a few of the tiers to increase the overall value of supporting us.
That all said, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the features that were cut from the initial launch of the game, and give you insight into which features we're considering for re-introduction. We'll be providing a poll tomorrow which will include those features we're looking at re-adding, as well as other rewards that provide additional benefits and provide us new ways to say thank you to our awesome backers.
With no further ado, here's the cutting room floor... Where you see "Not considered for voting", it means the feature has been cut for what we feel are good reasons, and won't be voting on them to be re-added at launch. We still plan to add most all of these features eventually.
Wards of The State
Wards are a feature that allow players to create characters separate from any family, in exchange for additional character customization. We cut this because while it's nice to have, it's always possible to create a character from an NPC family and then go about playing the game as you'd planned. *On Poll*
Submerged swimming is relatively easy at first-glance, it seems as though it just requires a few physics changes and a few animations changes. The reality is that it quickly balloons out as we then have to create new underwater content to make swimming interesting. It requires the addition of new terrain, coral, creatures, etc.. this requires time from animators, character artists, and level designers. In the end, we felt like we could build out underwater areas at a later date, without taking away much from launch. (Not considered for voting)
Sunburns / Wind burns / Sand Burns / Frost Burn
We'd initially planned for a few more survival mechanics which would encourage players to take shelter under certain conditions. This leads to all kinds of interesting story opportunities as players hide in abandoned caves, caverns, etc. However, after further discussion, temperature itself can be used to force players inside in the middle of a hot day, and to take shelter from the chilling cold. So we've abandoned the different "burns" for now and are just keeping temperature. (Not considered for voting)
Social Activities - Gaming/Gambling
We'd long wanted players to gather in inns/taverns and play dice and card games. However each game has its own overhead as we have to develop new assets, a few new animations, and the rules for each of the table games. That all said, we still think this is an awesome feature and we hope you guys agree. *On Poll*
Astral Projection / Dreaming
One feature we discussed in a Q&A was the ability to "dream," to transport your spirit into the Astral Plane while sleeping for the purpose of exploration and discovery. We were really excited about this, however like underwater swimming, results in the need to create a slew of new content. For now, we'll leave this for later, as it will eventually become part of the 10-year story. (Not considered for voting)
Heirlooms are any item of high quality that a player passes from themselves to their heir. Each generation the item becomes more a part of their family, until eventually characters develop a sixth sense for the item, allowing them to easily track its location for recovery. Eventually, heirlooms may even bestow a curse upon any non-family members who happen upon the item through deviant means. *On Poll*
Digging & Burying (aka. Anything is a Container)
This system evolved from being about digging holes and hiding things in the ground to eventually being about hiding anything, anywhere. The system would allow you to hide things in tree trunks, in a book-safe, or even inside of a pastry. This ties in heavily with the new Search feature we're working on and could add a ton of new RP and surprise elements to the game. *On Poll*
While we wanted a UI element or visual indicator of sounds and smells, the feature was cut as being non-essential. Without it, and without a mini-map, players will have less information about what's going on in their environment and will have to rely more on what they can actually see and hear as players, rather than what they can see, hear, or smell as characters. That said, there's some cool side-effects that come from being able to sniff out a corpse, or hear a trap re-loading, etc. Feel free to suggest it returns. *On Poll*
Hair / Beard Growth
Originally we wanted characters to not only age, but to also grow stubble when out in the wilds and have their hair grow dynamically over time. Unfortunately, the way hair is implemented in most MMOs makes this a time-consuming effort to make it look good. In the end, it was cut because while it's a cool feature, it's not worth the effort it would take to make it look awesome. (Not considered for voting)
Yep. We had to cut mounted combat. Combat as we've implemented it uses stances and techniques with various weapon sets. The addition of Mounted Combat means we not only must double the number of animations, as we need mounted versions as well as unmounted, but in most cases would need to create whole new stances. Plus, jousting would add additional mechanics around movement speed and targeting. In the end, we thought this would be an amazing feature, but cut it to fit within $900k. Feel free to add it back. *On Poll*
There's pros and cons to having integrated VoIP. At the end of the day though, this is a survival game and the time it takes you to alt+tab to activate/configure a chat client could mean your death. We'll let you make a final decision on how important this feature is. *On Poll*
Research allows for the development and introduction of new technology into the world. Initially we'd planned a patent system that would prevent other people from crafting something you'd established a patent on for some period of time. In the end, we decided we could accomplish something similar simply by slowing down the rate at which people discovered newly researched technology. This provides a similar effect, with less explicit paperwork by players. (Not considered for voting)
Our original plan was for anything above a single-player mount to be configurable to some degree. ie, determining whether a wagon would have shields on the outside, or attach points for other things. This would also mean being able to trade seats for storage boxes, etc. Without it, it would require a different pattern to create a different type of vehicle more like what you're looking for. *On Poll*
This is our system for creating underground grottoes, caverns, mining shafts, etc. It's one of our favorite systems and we're looking forward to adding it to the world. However, it was deemed a painful but possible cut as it's non-essential to have underground lairs, etc. *On Poll*
Terraforming is different from tunneling as it involves the change in actual terrain, rather than the addition of tunnels. Honestly, we think tunneling is cooler than straight terraforming. This was cut to keep us under $900k and as we favor tunneling over terraforming it's um.. (Not considered for voting)
Earthquakes, avalanches, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, and landslides. These all add dramatic story opportunities to the world. Each one requires a good amount of work however, and so was cut in an effort to keep us under $900k. *On Poll*
Ok all, those are the list of cut features and the ones we're considering for stretch goals. In addition to those we're also looking at Mac/Linux support, as well as VR support. While not on our original feature list, there's been a lot of requests for them and they're not too much work to add.
Feel free to provide feedback in the comments below, and look for our poll tomorrow. We're not ready to post the poll yet because we're still finalizing the additional rewards we can offer, and we want to put those on the poll in addition to the indicated features above.
Until tomorrow, "Do not try and bend the spoon, that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth..." -Spoon Boy