Hi everyone! It's been a while since our last roadmap post. We've had some time to settle after IDNVC/EXP3 Finale, and next up for EXP4 is the Rune Dragon collection! We've also got lots of reworks lined up, some secret things, PvP spice, and tech upgrades. Here's what we've got in the works or planned.

PvE Content

Helo jorbo here

Solo Content

Lol, it's coming I swear!

Solo content is something that people have been asked for for a long time now. I can finally say that it is on the way now! You'll be seeing solo content before  the end of September 2021, I swear!

Here's some sneak peaks that I can reveal:

  • Multiple difficulties for different gear points
  • Challenge Difficulty (No-hit)
  • Exclusive solo-content rewards

Duo Content

Exploring the thought of something like Dragon Expedition in the future. We shall see...

Gearing

So with EXP4 incoming, that means that there will be a new content to grind.

With new content comes a new gear set. We will be using the Rune Dragon set but we haven't finalized a name yet. Onto more pressing things...

A major issue we had with the release of EXP3 was the lack of things to grind for after you hit +5 Midnight Frost. There was quite a while of time between IDN norm and IDNHC. We're gonna try to mitigate that feeling a bit more this time.

This also means we will be releasing brand new Crests/Talismans as well as a new tier of accessories. We're probably not going to use an excessive amount of Lumens this time as it'll just build the wall even higher for new players to gain access to Evolving Radiance accessories.

Rune Dragon

Magic Magic Magic Magic

As with the release with IDN, we're looking to release a 4-man and 8-man version of RuDN with EXP4. Later in EXP4, we're gonna release RuDNHC as well as RuDNVC as with IDN.

Dungeons

Flavor

Dungeons were something that were kinda successful for the release of EXP3F. We're going to bring them back again for EXP4. We do have a couple dungeons in mind that we want to implement for EXP4.

I think for EXP4, I'd like dungeons to be more so soloable. So in that case, we might be using the "lab" system for dungeons if possible.

Nests

No one wants to do any :sadge:

We're having a hard time picking out new nests since the newest nests on official DN are difficult to adapt onto our server. The only details I can (re)release right now is that we're going to have another custom piece of content for EXP4 release: Snowdrift Citadel AKA Minotaur Nest EX Joorjicore.

Final Damage

Making FD great again

Normally when there's a new level cap, stats like crit, defense, and FD have their caps raised. Unfortunately, since our server is internally locked to level 70 for PvP purposes (remember we don't have levels in PvE!!), we can't raise the level cap and therefore we cant increase these stat caps without causing problems:

  • Changing stat caps changes damage in PvP
  • Changing stat caps unbalances PvP
  • Increasing stat caps is an unintentional progression-wide nerf (e.g. a new player in Ardent Dawn currently has X% FD, but with an FD cap increase they'll have < X% FD so all the Ardent Dawn nests are now harder because the player deals less damage), which would require us to nerf every single monster in every single nest.

So! While we can't increase the FD cap by increasing the 100% mark, we can increase the FD cap by increasing the maximum FD% cap. We're doing the math to figure out how much to increase the cap by, but as an example we could raise the cap to 130% FD (7497 FD). Upcoming content of course will be balanced around some expected amount of FD. Don't worry, we won't be expecting most players to hit the new cap and will reward those who stack FD by giving them that headroom.

PvP

What lies beyond

Hello PvPers. This is Bao, as you may be aware we haven't had PvP balancing patches at all in a couple months now. We've brought ourselves up to a good point where most of the classes are pretty fair and balanced. Due to the nature of how the game has always been over the years, PvP isn't as popular anymore. We're going to address that by focusing on a different vision opposed to constantly refining and balancing classes. Please view below to see what we have in mind for the future, although balancing patches may come here and there when necessary.

Community Events

Some of you may have already seen these biweekly PvP events that have been popping up as of recent. We want to try and consistently host these in order to bring more attention to the PvP community and provide something fun to do during the weekends. On top of that, we're in the middle of creating an archive of previous events and creating a HALL OF FAME to treasure previous winners. Please take a glimpse of what I mean below.

Also a note from Roey: If the PvP events continue to be active, balancing can resume for PvP. Roey will do everything so none of his classes will be balanced but everything else is fair game.

Custom Arena Maps

We know we said this last roadmap but it took longer than expected to get our tools to the point where we can make good custom maps. We'll be brainstorming and designing maps and hopefully should have new ones to show off soon! Thanks to Vahr we now have the tools to properly execute development on these maps.

Here are some concepts we have in mind on top of creating new visually attractive maps for PvP.

Ring of Fire

- Designed with 1v1s in mind. Those that travel too far out in the map will be burned by flames, thus lowering their hp. Of course, this will be reasonable with classes like sharpshooters.

Blast Zones

- Ever played smash brothers? Knock someone into the blast zone and they are GONE ROFL.

Trigger Zones

- Designed with group focus in mind. There will be certain spots on the map where monsters could spawn or recovery zones where one could heal hp, reduce cooldowns, get certain buffs (such as spirit boost etc).

Quacked Crests

It's time for your true potential as a class to shine. Quacked Crests offer the player the ability to certain skills that are from other subclasses. To keep things balanced we've adjusted the cooldown to 90 seconds and ensured the damage is lower than usual.

  • 90 Second cooldown
  • Equips to the special skill crest slot.
  • Can potentially equip multiple of these skills by utilizing the 3 crest slot expansion.
  • Example: Gladiator using Halfmoon Slash EX.
  • Example: Inquisitor using Smite EX.
  • Example: Salad (Guardian) using Bind Relic EX.
  • Example: Kiy (Reaper) using Lethal torture.

Classes

Hi, my name is Kozima and I love Raven

Reworks

Rework deez nuts

We have several class reworks in the pipeline, split between Kozima and Joorji (and a little bit on Vahr too).

Here's the tentative list (in no particular order and subject to change):

  • Ice Witch
  • War Mage
  • Chaos Mage
  • Black Mara
  • Barbarian
  • Destroyer
  • Sniper
  • Warden
  • Tempest
  • Windwalker
  • Randgrid
  • Defensio
  • Ruina
  • Saint
  • Guardian
  • Light Fury

For more background on the rework process, you can read this dev blog.

Second Awakenings

We probably won't be directly adding Second Awakening skills, since (like dream jade skills) half of them are shit and some are awkward or out of place. However, we'll be integrating them as part of reworks where they make sense (again like some dream jade skills), or in some cases we'll add them as part of existing skills or replace an existing skill (like what we already did with Crusader).

???

??? deez nuts LMFAO???? VAHRFRAME

???

Find out later I suppose... tee hee

Game Services

Hi my name is Vahr and I'm a code monkey

Launcher/Patcher/Installer

tl;dr bye bye current launcher, installer, and Athena; hello new all-in-one launcher

We already have the fastest downloader-installer out of any private server out there (and faster than most AAA game company installers too), but it has its flaws. We've also been stuck using the stock DN patcher, which is slow, breaks randomly, doesn't do much, and still has random Indonesian text. It also embeds an Internet Explorer window inside of it to show the feature page, which a) IE is bad and b) severely limits us on what we can show there. Athena, which is old but battle tested, does a good job of taking care of actually launching the game and applying our customizations and fixes, but it likes to trigger antivirus warnings and also runs into some occasional odd issues. It also sucks to maintain 2 separate programs (and troubleshooting the stock patcher).

We're nearing completion of a new launcher that combines all three programs into a single fast, beautiful, and useful program.

Design and features are not final

After downloading the launcher and running it, you'll be greeted by the installer; asking you where you'd like to install the game. The installer is powered by the same high-speed technology that our current installer uses, so it'll be quick. But this time, you'll be able to pause or exit the installer and come back later to finish.

wHeRe DiD tHe GaMe Go

Patching also leverages better technology to rapidly download and install patches. While you won't notice much difference on single-version updates, the new patching system absolutely zooms through multiple-verison updates (such as right after you finish installing the game).

The launcher homepage displays our latest news. You can catch up quickly on patch notes and events right within the launcher, or view them in your regular browser.

Read patch notes and other news items right in the launcher

You can adjust all game system settings (graphics and sound) as well as our many custom GameConfig settings.

The new launcher will be rolled out after extensive testing and polishing, hopefully within the next month or so.

Post-release features

  • Mod manager (download and toggle individual mods, switch between mod profiles)
  • Verify and repair game client
  • Account registration and management
  • Donation processing

Game Client

VahrTX ON helped, but we can do BETTER

As some of you may already know, DN Origins is our sister server (did you know Altair owns both servers?), and they have a custom client that they use and have been working on. They've been well-established for a while, and are the go-to server for early-era DN. Now that things are settling down, we'll be putting in more significant work into the codebase such that we will eventually switch to a common base client. There's a TON of work to do to bring that client up to parity with ours, but we think this is the way forward. We'll be able to bring custom features, fix game client bugs that we otherwise can't fix, and replace or improve significant portions of the game engine (144 FPS raids anyone?). This will take a lot of time. We probably won't have anything to show for it directly for months.

In the meantime, we'll also always be working on adding or improving our custom client features (DPS meters, utilities, and more).

Servers

Garbage ass servers amirite IM GONE

In line with the client work with DN Origins, we'll eventually be switching the game server over in steps, as each part reaches parity. This also means multiregion servers will come eventually (again, this will take a lot of work and time). We're also exploring/prototyping the concept of relay servers, which are lightweight servers that we'll deploy around the world that your client will connect to (instead of directly to the main game server in NA East) that will carry your packets on our provider's internal network, which should reduce latency and improve connection reliability.

This also means we can eventually tackle the game's netcode, which should greatly improve the gameplay experience for PvP and PvE.

Website

We're working on a website overhaul!

Fun fact: Most of the website's functionality and design were written in the span of about 3 days way back in 2019 after Altair's basic website broke.

Since then its been a lot of slapping things on and fixing issues over and over and hoping it doesn't fall over or break or cause some other disaster. We've avoided adding new website features or improving the design to avoid breaking things or adding more technical debt to clean up later. This state sucks to be in, so we're taking the opportunity to do a website redesign - both visually and in the backend. We don't have any previews or anything yet but expect a much more engaging home page (which should help prospective players with knowing what our server is about), improved account management, player/character profiles (you'll be able to show off your achievements and contest winnings with profile medals - now everyone will be able to see that you are a god gamer), and more.

Closing Remarks

It's truly been a wild ride over the year and we're proud to say you're in for a treat this year. Vahr, Jorgbi, Kozima, Roey our true PDN OGs thanks for holding it down for the times I couldn't be around and making this game more amazing I could ever thought it could be. Blush I appreciate the insane dedication and interest that you've shown with us! Also, we'll be opening up tester applications soon ;)! - Altair
What are you looking forward to most this year? Admin wise I'm looking forward to the website overhaul and ingame wise I'm excited for gearing revamps and solo content. #pvpisalsoFTW

Saving the best for last! Special thanks to you and the rest of our duck family that snoops around the game and discord. Project Duck wouldn't be alive without this close knit community. We hope to continue to see our regulars and welcome new additions to the duck family.