Development Entry #3
Hello once again everyone, we are working hard at Far Owl Studios still creating The Ethereal Metropolis. We have noticed that these "Development Entries" are honestly newsletters about what's happening at Far Owl Studios and the future that is ahead of us. So we have decided to rename our development entries into "Monthly Newsletters" from here on out. We hope to get these out weekly, but due to our personal lives and constraints, we can't devote ourselves to writing blogs every single week. We would hope to, but that's for another time.
Our Logo and Updated Appearances
We have completely updated the look of our social media accounts. This now includes our logo of a half converted skull of a Ditalinian, the resident species in the Ethereal Metropolis. We decided on this logo to illustrate the fact that the Ditalinians are becoming converted and are facing an extinction crisis while the game's events transpire. You can also see that the game now also has an official logo to it. As for the logo's background, that is the Void Realm where the Converted and the main antagonist reside.
This logo of ours is currently a little bit blurry and is now under revision and cleaning, so expect a better logo soon.
This year, Far Owl Studios was at Bronycon hosting a board variation of our game with three different combat tests in the early, mid, and end games. Our game was very well received, and we had plenty of feedback for all of our tests. Thank you all to those who decided to come out to our activity! Your feedback was much appreciated, and we appreciate your support! We would also like to thank Bronycon and the staff at Stabletop Gaming for accommodating room for our activity! You all did such a fantastic job.
Though there are rumblings about a board game variation of our game, stay tuned for all of that.
As the title implies, we are currently halting testing of our game concepts, and we are now focusing on developing the world of the Ethereal Metropolis. What this means is that all current testing for all users on our discord servers will no longer be actively participating. This also means that we shall no longer be able to hire any testers, and the tester application on our website will no longer be available.
The reason why we are doing this is due to our limited time, we have decided to go full steam on creating the world of the Ethereal Metropolis. Creating the characters, flora, fauna, and defining the architecture of the city that players will be seeing and experiencing. We also wish to fully hash out the story and get our *hooves* planted firm so that we can have a solid foundation to work on in the future. And for the last reason, after Bronycon, it became apparent that the mechanics of the game and the differences between classes and playstyles was not evident. Thus we are planning on doing an overhaul or significant change to our mechanics that will take a couple of months to build, refine, and finish. Thank you all for your understanding.
The Enemies of the Ethereal Metropolis
With that note, many of the mechanics will be adjusted, and most likely, a lot of these enemies will undergo substantial changes both physically and mechanically. But these are a couple of the enemies that premiered at our Bronycon Event: Ethereal Metropolis Open Testing.
Weak enemies that are capable of becoming invisible though their shadows can be seen on the ground as they approach the players indicating that they are on the move towards them. Though if they are to catch an enemy off guard, they use their tentacle-like appendages that have grown on their backs to choke and whip enemies. These creatures were previously young adults just entering the fray of adulthood.
The Suffaeli was perhaps one of the more exciting enemies to be at testing simply because of the various mechanics and attacks it had. With the ability to turn completely invisible, the units were able to sneak up and attack their enemies. Though one of the most significant problems about this is during the multiplayer mode. The Suffaeli incapacitates enemies and renders them unable to do anything to stop it. This violated one of the most critical principles in gaming. You always need your players to be able to react and not say "Oop! You're dead!" because there is really no fun in that and quickly drives away players. Although there are five other players on the field, the fact that they can't react to the Suffaeli attacking them and then being incapacitated indefinitely can cause severe frustration with the player and force them to close the game and never touch it again.
The Suffaeli was inspired from the enemy from the popular game, XCOM: Enemy Within, the Seeker, works so well because there is a single controller of all the units on the battlefield and thus when a Seeker strangles a player unit, the player hasn't lost complete control over the game. Whereas in our games multiplayer mode, the player who is incapacitated loses ALL control and that's no fun.
Once the architects of the city, these Converted now build around them to deploy barriers and sentries blocking the ways. Though they are fragile compared to their converted brethren.
The Fectus was pretty well received because he was weak, his battlefield presence wasn't large enough, thus making him essentially one of the weakest units on the battlefield. Although it was our intention for him to establish somewhat of a presence on the battlefield but not too much, we found that he did not have enough of it. He wasn't that serious of a threat and was easily defeated. The intention of this character was that it would be quite the thorn in the side, but once the players confronted him, he would be quickly taken care of. With his capability to only summon one turret at a time and only placed one by one mines on the battlefield that didn't have any significant detonation radius. His only useful ability was the electric fence that was deployable and zoned off players from entering various areas. This enemy will most likely see a buff shortly.
Hulking soldiers heavily armored and equipped to the teeth in weaponry. These augmented soldiers can double as mobile cover for allies but can not take cover themselves, are immune to all status effects, and take reactionary shots.
One of our greatest fears about balancing the game, especially in the end game was the damage values of the enemies. Many would say that in a game that combines swords and weapons, the weapons should deal more damage and the guns less damage. When we tested this at Bronycon with the Juggernaut, it certainly did not hold up. The Juggernaut, an enemy that was a force to be reckoned with and should be one of the most challenging enemies to fight proved to be just a meaty meat shield that only took a lot of damage and hit the players like a wet noodle. Although he did have the ability to take infinite shots on enemies that moved within its sight and launch grenades at enemies while dealing sixty-five damage with their main cannon, it wasn't enough. The damage values were too low, and they were held back. Combine this with overpowered player abilities and the Juggernaut was not a force to be reckoned with and was easily trampled. We shall go back to the planning stage and tweak both player and enemy stats.
In regards to the design of this character, it has been sitting at the back of our minds that there is a slight identity crisis when it comes to the enemies of the game. With the end game featuring a prominent cast of *other* species characters, we feel as if there weren't enough Ditalinian converted. We are still deliberating over this.
Man, was that a lot! Thank you all so much for reading our latest newsletter, and thank you for your continued support! Stay tuned for the next newsletter! See you all then.