Producer Letter: The Next Update
It seems like only yesterday I was wondering where the month of May went but I suppose that’s what happens when you’re having fun; time flies. I think in every update I've provided here on the HAWKEN forums, I mention the incredible effort that everyone puts forth to make the game all that it can be. Mentioning it again doesn't make it any less true. We are all hard at work putting those finishing touches on our next update and I want to take a moment to discuss with all of you a bit about what’s going on.
We haven’t provided a lot of updates lately and that large gap between updates wasn't intentional. Not only have we had our heads down focused and hard at work but what we wanted to get done ended up taking longer than originally intended; sometimes that happens in development. As many of you know there were also some company changes with now an even greater focus placed on the HAWKEN client and one of the things that happened as a result was a shift in community management to the studio in California so that the interaction with you, the loyal supporters of the game can have an even more direct line to development. That transition took some time but we now have ZamboniChaos in the house and we're able to be even more efficient at communicating with all of you!
There were some big changes we wanted for the game but it became a matter of timing, us balancing work between support for the version already in your hands and the work needed to develop new features. Work on much of this started before we even released our Facility update and started in a separate development stream so as to not break our primary stream. After the Facility update was released, we started merging those changes into our main stream which essentially meant no going back! Hopefully you'll understand why that was the case when you see more information about what’s coming but make no mistake, we've spent months of work on this update.
The community means the world to us and it’s a big part why we wanted to unveil what’s coming on the weekly episode of The Cockpit rather than making a simple post. I hope you were able to catch the show but just in case you weren't, we have you covered here with some of the bullet points summarizing what was unveiled. We aren't diving into the nuts and bolts of each feature just yet though. We want to discuss these features in a more focused way and we'll be breaking down the patch into more specifics over the course of the coming few weeks.
We are rolling out something new starting in just a few days and we hope it will help the game out tremendously. We have a select team of supporters who will start having early access to builds of HAWKEN so that we can get even more eyes on updates, helping us revise and refine to an even greater degree than previously. We are nothing without the community and while it may seem simple, it’s taken a while to get support for this program up and running. There’s no better time to start it either especially with what’s rolling out next.
The first build going live for the Advance Battalion has plenty of rough edges, plenty… we are well aware of this fact but we don’t want to wait to get feedback and bug reports only after it goes live to the world; we need it before. The goal is for us to feel even more confident about where an update is sitting first with the Advance Battalion so we can release updates to everyone in an even more polished and balanced state. This is not something we plan to do just for this update alone but rather it’s something intended to be ongoing, continuing throughout the life of the game. We hope to start getting data and feedback from this first update as early as this weekend with a roll out of the patch to everyone else taking place in the coming weeks.
WHAT’S ROLLING OUT NEXT
Here is a partial bullet point list of what we've been working on for the upcoming patch, in no particular order. This is relatively high level only so please don’t treat them as patch notes and there are many more details to surface behind each one of these features. Some of these features are still undergoing internal review so while this is the intended list, there may be one or two features held back a single patch to further revise as needed.
- NEW: Party System - Group together with your friends before entering matches
- NEW: Party Matchmaking - Join matches and cry havoc together with your friends, now easier to do than ever before
- NEW: New User Experience - We have added much more information within the game and menus for players of all skill levels to help guide their experience and teach them even more about the HAWKEN and how to make the most of it
- NEW: Clan Indication in the Client - Clans will be managed from the website, but you’ll see tags in front of your clan members while you’re in the game much like how you've been seeing our [HWK] tags
- NEW: XP Overflow - Have you leveled up a mech completely, if so it’ll now continue to generate XP and you’ll be able to transfer that excess XP to another mech of your choosing, leveling it up much faster
- NEW: Last Eco Map - Supports Siege, Missile Assault, Team Deathmatch and Deathmatch, just don’t get lost in the foliage
- NEW: Co-Op Bot Training - You and a team of 3 others can play online and train against enemy drones and mechs but will you be able to destroy them all
- NEW: Offline Team Deathmatch Training - If you are new to HAWKEN but want to get a better feel for the game before jumping into live matches, give this training mode a try
- NEW: Pilot Progression System - Your pilot now levels up in addition to your mechs, bringing with it even more unlockables
- NEW: Tuning System - The Optimization system is no more and is now the Tuning system, a system that brings some uniqueness to each subclass, helping to further customize how that subclass plays
- NEW: Elite Skins - Full mech torso replacement skins with unique paint jobs, not just camos
- NEW: Daily Reward Bonuses - Get some regular bonuses for just being a supportive player
- NEW: Completely New Menus / UI - A complete overhaul of the menu and UI
- NEW: Completely New Gameplay HUD - A complete overhaul of the gameplay HUD
- NEW: Basic Tutorial - We have a completely new tutorial to help new players get themselves familiar with the game in even better ways than before
- NEW: Basic Oculus Rift Support - If you have an Oculus Rift, we now provide some basic support so you can experience HAWKEN in a new and exciting way
- NEW: Mech Progression System - Mech progression received a complete overhaul with more options for the player and more rewards for leveling up, this includes brand new content associated with this new system, goes hand in hand with the new pilot progression as well
- NEW: Matchmaking System - More factors are taken into account than previously and small touches such as more advanced team balancing will help make the player experience even better, we'll always be watching this system to determine improvements
- NEW: Internals System - Internals will no longer be simply stat based but they’ll add a more meaningful layer to customization, further changing up how people play… how about doing a 180 spin in the air...
- NEW: Item Slot System - No more item categories as they were previously organzed, items now have multiple strength levels so players will need to decide between taking more but weaker items with them, or less items but ones that pack a bit more punch
- NEW: Mech C Turret Mode - Each heavy class special ability have some more benefits associated with them and in addition, players will be able to boost while in the mode
- Bug fixes, polish, optimizations, updated FX, replacement cockpit interiors, a new mech and more…
“THAT’S ALL GREAT ‘N’ STUFF BUT AREN'T YOU DONE WITH THE PATCH YET?”
We are very close to being finished with this patch and as mentioned, we’re really going to be focusing on using our Advance Battalion to take advantage of some extra feedback at earlier stages in development. This will only serve to advance the game and community as a whole. With the significant changes taking place, our internal testing team just do not have enough hours in the day to cover everything themselves; they already work themselves to the bone. We also have our own laundry list of items to fix that didn't quite make the cutoff for this build and we’ll be getting plenty of feedback from external testing as well so we need some time to make those changes and process all the feedback.
The goal is to release the next update worldwide in the coming weeks but we aren't ready to state a specific date yet due to the sheer volume of changes and there is so much dependent on emerging feedback and balancing needs. That being said, we will certainly be keeping communication channels open and will speak to more details as we go through these final stages of patch development. We are genuinely excited to be bringing this energizing update your way and while we apologize for the wait, we really hope you feel the wait is worth it.
Thank you again for the continued and never ending support, it means so much to everyone working on the game. We wouldn't have what we do without all of you!
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