Developers Corner

Dawntide Dev Diary #1 or “Help I Need a Title!”


WarCry is pleased to be hosting developer diaries from Working As Intended, developers of the upcoming MMO, Dawntide. Dawntide is currently in beta phase 1. Find out how the dev team is responding to beta questions/concerns below:


Dawntide Blog #1: Help, I Can’t Come Up With A Good Title

So this is my first developer blog here. My name’s Christian Hummeluhr, or zodium on the Dawntide forums, and I’m the producer for Working as Intended’s Dawntide. Dawntide’s a low-fantasy sandbox MMORPG with a focus on civilization building and equally enjoyable gameplay experiences for all types of players – we’re more than just combat, basically. Warcry already has a good interview, and for more information you can visit our website and forums.

I’m not really all that sure what to write about here, but I figure I’ll start out with the responses we’ve gotten to Beta 1 (which started on Aug 1st), I’ll get into some sort of groove and we’ll go from there.

Everyone’s been positive about our graphics. We have the usual texture errors and animation bugs, but the game’s simple realism seems to have struck a chord. I think we’ve hit a good middle road between hyper-realistic graphics that never quite seem to resemble photographs and cartoony or otherwise purposely unrealistic graphics. We still have a lot of work to do in adding content and flavor to the game, but overall I think it’s going well.

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Something that’s going less well for us is the feedback on our accessibility. Frankly, most people can’t seem to figure out just what to do or how to do it when they start out, and I don’t blame them – it’s really not all that easy right now, what with the lack of tooltips, gameplay guidance and comprehensive feature descriptions. The one upside is that it seems while the curve is steep, it’s relatively short; Players who get past the initial learning curve and settle into the proper mindset for Dawntide seem to excel even in this early stage. Unfortunately, not many seem to do so, and we will have a lot of work to do on accessibility in the next beta phase if we want Dawntide to be a successful and enjoyable game (we do).

Lastly, our game design concepts. The general reception has been extremely positive, and I honestly can’t complain about the feedback we’ve had there – I feel like I should say more to properly reflect how much positive feedback we’ve had, but that’s the gist of it. We could be a lot better at properly distributing information right now, and we will be correcting that in the next week or two by releasing feature articles with supplementing screenshots.
The strangest thing is easily the negative reaction to our concept, though. While most people are very positive, our detractors don’t actually seem to dislike our ideas, but say that they have no faith we can implement our good ideas. And I’m seeing this across the board for MMORPGs: even when people like what they’re seeing, a significant amount of them will instinctively shy away because they’ve learned the dreams don’t materialize.

It’s not new, people have been saying that for a while. Some interpret it as the MMORPG genre having reached its peak, that we just can’t squeeze any more fun out of this lemon and that we should all get off our computers and get a tan, but I don’t think so. I think it’s a reflection of a growing consensus among MMORPG players about what we want in an MMORPG, and the repeatedly dashed hopes of actually getting those things in an MMORPG. Now, I’m not nearly arrogant enough to say that it’s going to be us who’ve got the secret formula – at least not in public – but I will say I think we’ve got a pretty good shot.
I guess that’s it. My groove’s all grooved out, and this is exactly one page, so I’m just gonna end it while I’–

Thanks to beta player, Cinn, for the screenshots and to Christian for his insight. Stay tuned for another diary coming in the very near future!

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