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Infiniteus

Have a question about Wakfu game design? Ask it here!

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Hi everyone!

So I used to have this little topic on the OF, aptly named something similar. I had closed it down after 40 pages because of the lack of actual questions being asked, or questions beyond the scope that either myself or the Game Designer team could answer.

My answers come from Game Designers [exit3d] and [Dy7], They'll be joining us on the IV forums in the coming days, but until (and after) then I'm happy to relay any and all questions that pertain to the following things:

• Class design & revamps.

• Monsters and PvM content.

• NvN, GvG, and PvP content.

• Item and characteristic balance.

Not all questions could be answered. If it's too specific I'll let you know, otherwise I may get a little dodgy with the answers. All answers will of course be approved first by [CM]Picaro to keep him and the CM team in the loop.

I chose IV to re-open it up since the amount of trolls here is greatly less, and I feel like more meaningful discussion can be achieved here.

All the best! Fire away your questions.


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1. With the mundane game play and lacking a true role in the game just like Cra and Iop, why isn't Sacrier higher up on the tentative revamp schedule?

2. Will we ever see more mob diversity, such as mob evolution and random spawns mini-boss?

3. Any plans for a esport style competition for wakfu?

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What are the existing plans, if any, for dimensions, continuation-wise? It seems Dofus is about to drop them for an indefinite amount of time judging by the announcement, and since Ankama has been heavy on the whole transmedia deal I imagine this will go for Wakfu as well. Inb4 2013 all over again and they dump whatever story is cooking up midway. Speaking of 2013, can you shed some light on whatever the "we don't like Alkatrool anymore, kiss that rock goodbye" incident was all about? And why is it so difficult to dump Kralaman and Lardevil in 2 random spots for the costumes? This is all pretty petty stuff, I'm just curious. :P

Also, what's the deal with this spell xp revamp everyone is hinting at where we will likely be able to have more spells maxed out? That would be really lovely, especially nowadays since Wakfu has long shed its old "if x cast spell 1 if y cast spell 2" disgusting skin. It would definitely add more depth to the game, I'm looking forward to this as much as the next guy!

PS: I think it's a bit absurd to compare Sac to Iop and Cra. Sure, the downside of the incredibly well-done recent revamps is that now everyone will have to play catch up as it's impossible to do a quality revamp on the remainder of characters in a reasonable amount of time. But 1/3 of Iop and Cra's specialities are absolute garbage, and what those two classes bring to the table is hitting things (and not as good at it as they used to be), OR sometimes pushing things, while Sacriers can do much, much more than that while still being a viable damage dealer. But I do agree, some classes need the revamp much more than others, hopefully this will be reflected in the selection of lucky winners to ride the revamp wheel first.


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1. With the mundane game play and lacking a true role in the game just like Cra and Iop, why isn't Sacrier higher up on the tentative revamp schedule?

2. Will we ever see more mob diversity, such as mob evolution and random spawns mini-boss?

3. Any plans for a esport style competition for wakfu?

1. There is no scheduled 'revamp' after Iop and Cra, which are currently the most out-dated classes in the game. While some other classes will see some major QOL changes after these two, it doesn't mean that Sacrier is high or low on the list. Changes are planned, but scheduling is not.

2. Right now, the focus is on the Raid Dungeon design followed by the 2015 changes. It's not impossible, but it's not exactly in the mindset at the moment either.

3. E-sports style player-relegated maybe. Phaeris did a major staff-ran PvP event, and I hear rumors about something to the scale of Goultarminator in the future in Wakfu. ;)

What are the existing plans, if any, for dimensions, continuation-wise? It seems Dofus is about to drop them for an indefinite amount of time judging by the announcement, and since Ankama has been heavy on the whole transmedia deal I imagine this will go for Wakfu as well. Inb4 2013 all over again and they dump whatever story is cooking up midway. Speaking of 2013, can you shed some light on whatever the "we don't like Alkatrool anymore, kiss that rock goodbye" incident was all about? And why is it so difficult to dump Kralaman and Lardevil in 2 random spots for the costumes? This is all pretty petty stuff, I'm just curious. :P

Also, what's the deal with this spell xp revamp everyone is hinting at where we will likely be able to have more spells maxed out? That would be really lovely, especially nowadays since Wakfu has long shed its old "if x cast spell 1 if y cast spell 2" disgusting skin. It would definitely add more depth to the game, I'm looking forward to this as much as the next guy!

PS: I think it's a bit absurd to compare Sac to Iop and Cra. Sure, the downside of the incredibly well-done recent revamps is that now everyone will have to play catch up as it's impossible to do a quality revamp on the remainder of characters in a reasonable amount of time. But 1/3 of Iop and Cra's specialities are absolute garbage, and what those two classes bring to the table is hitting things (and not as good at it as they used to be), OR sometimes pushing things, while Sacriers can do much, much more than that while still being a viable damage dealer. But I do agree, some classes need the revamp much more than others, hopefully this will be reflected in the selection of lucky winners to ride the revamp wheel first.

1. Divine Dimensions are ending with Xelorium, at least for now. Wakfu will follow the same story in-sync with Dofus, with a new line of antagonists and villains terrorizing the Krosmoz.

2. There wasn't any intention to upkeep it with the tremendous need to pursue other aspects of PvM (the Divine Dimensions, etc). It's not impossible that it won't return, but that's all of course on the tip of your breath. Kralaman and Lardevil are just low on the priority list of things to do when you have a grand total of 2 Game Designers in the entire Wakfu staff.

3. Not more spells maxed out, but more usable spells. Ideally release within the first few months of the new year, but again no set schedule on that. Builds should have more variety in their selection of spells now, including some important decisions to make regarding which spells you want.

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What steps do Ankama make during the design steps for spells for both players and enemies? It seems like they cannot find a happy medium in regards to most new changes and either make things way too powerful or way too weak. If it's weak they tend to leave it for a long time and if it's too powerful they make it near useless.

The newest examples of this are Fear Fizz and Scalded. Instead of commenting on the botting and plans to increase ingame moderation, they changed it to linked to account and didn't comment. With Scalded, instead of removing the ability to stack it infinitely and last 2 turns (like the spell description explains), they make it disappear immediately at the start of the enemies next turn.

They go from making a terrible old mechanic into something desirable back to a burden on classes and reducing their damage significantly again.

Edited by Engine
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What steps do Ankama make during the design steps for spells for both players and enemies? It seems like they cannot find a happy medium in regards to most new changes and either make things way too powerful or way too weak. If it's weak they tend to leave it for a long time and if it's too powerful they make it near useless.

The newest examples of this are Fear Fizz and Scalded. Instead of commenting on the botting and plans to increase ingame moderation, they changed it to linked to account and didn't comment. With Scalded, instead of removing the ability to stack it infinitely and last 2 turns (like the spell description explains), they make it disappear immediately at the start of the enemies next turn.

They go from making a terrible old mechanic into something desirable back to a burden on classes and reducing their damage significantly again.

Sorry it took a little time to get an answer. Phrasing is kind of key here, because it's obvious that there are some failures in your eyes as well as the perspective of many other players. It's just a matter of explaining it in such a way that you might be able to understand why things are done as they are.

The first and foremost thing is that the subject in question is ultimately directed at the video game company itself as a whole for its major decisions (and not specifically to those creating the design). These decisions act upon a hierarchy, and it's not always the case where every single person from the Ankama team will agree on them. But often times they have no choice, for one reason or another. It's a team, yes, but there are some calls to be made regardless in the end, by people in charge. It's the same way with every game company however. Not all decisions are explicitly agreed upon, and there are people that share sentiments more in line with what you may see, for example, on the OF. It's a matter of opinion in 99% of cases.

Next, understand that there are only two Game Designers in charge of a bulk of the gameplay that you're familiar with. High level content, major revamps, features, etc. They are human, making changes five days a week (often spilling into their own personal time on the weekends to try to make up for lost time), having also jumped onto this project while it already had a (shoddy) foundation. And they are making small QOL improvements here and there to rectify problems the previous GD(s) created over a long period of time.

They're pushing out content at a very fast rate considering the size of their team, and when it comes to actual production of game content, it's a long and weary process. For example pre-production, where everything must be laid out to its fullest before any actual implementation can occur. This alone can take up a large chunk of their time, and considering the ideal is something new every month, it's a difficult thing to accomplish. These guys have their plate full. They have to fix old problems, create new content, and constantly be out on the lookout when it comes to sudden changes up from management.

This is meant to be an explanation in general as to why things can go un-changed for a long time, or some important things don't come to the forefront of the things-to-do. They're either so insignificant that they're put behind FAR more important things, or they go unnoticed. Eventually they do get fixed though, when properly brought to attention (for example, the Woyal Plince title has been fixed for this upcoming patch, despite having been broken for over a year. It was not noticed by the team because of a translation problem, but was fixed after mentioned).

It's not for any singular player to decide whether or not a change is good or bad for the health of the game or a specific component of it (the class re-design, specific spells, mobs, etcetera). Mistakes are made sometimes and of course, they do get fixed down the line to be brought in line with everything else. That's why revamps are made, or buffs/nerfs are issued over a long period of time. Many changes are band-aid, and others are more set-in-stone. But it's important to adapt to these changes, express your concern constructively, and then move on and hope that in the next patch something is done if time permits. Some changes will take more priority than others, for example Scalded in the right team compositions was far too powerful. It's my personal understanding that for specialized and organized teams, this effectively allowed them to annihilate content with little to no issue.

As for Fear Fizz, it's my understanding that the moderation team is small but soon to be expanding. It's still far too much to expect people to babysit this area constantly, and the changes made to Fear Fizz allow them to focus their attention elsewhere when the time calls. Maybe they aren't doing anything now and they should be babysitting bot zones, but it seems counter-productive long term if a simple change can still the waters. Perhaps this is a band-aid solution too, but for now it works, and players can adapt.

I made it readily known to everyone that this change was coming in the next patch, in an effort to allow players to obtain as much as they can from whatever source they can in preparation. Unfortunately the discussion on the OF has escalated to beyond constructive feedback, and so I've abandoned the notion of reading there.

I hope (something) in theis sheds some light on the matter of the Wakfu game design process.

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Can you expand a bit on raids concept-wise? I realize the project seems to be still in its infancy, but sounds like they'll be one of the big new things for next year.

Yes, I'm totally regurgitating the "biggies" from the OF. :ph34r:


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Can you expand a bit on raids concept-wise? I realize the project seems to be still in its infancy, but sounds like they'll be one of the big new things for next year.

Yes, I'm totally regurgitating the "biggies" from the OF. :ph34r:

Raids are what Ultimate Bosses should have been. This doesn't necessarily mean that UB stop with Dragon Pig, but it does mean that had the current design team been in charge of UB back then, it would not have been walking into an instance to be greeted face-to-face with the boss immediately.

This is a topic that absolutely cannot have any spoilers pre-release (testing will be done in a small, closed environment and I will not be streaming it). We want the challenge to be real, exciting, and for players to not be prepared for it. You can imagine this incoming Raid to almost be akin to a new-era Ultimate Boss aimed at up to level 170-180 players (proper level-to-difficulty area).

The rewards from Raids are special things that you won't find anywhere else in the game, to make the pursuit of this new, challenging, hardcore content worth it for the most strategic and well-geared of players. These things should be the real endgame goals of players as they progress through the game and begin to flesh out and finish their characters.

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Sounds interesting and you know me, I love me a challenge. My only concern is for the big picture. In my opinion, the thriving state of the current Wakfu player base, at least compared to say, a year ago, is a direct result of the f2p transition & Steam launch (obviously), but certainly also due to the new character aptitudes/increase in player power. In the sense that f2p + Steam gets them through the door, but content no longer being true to the old "know exactly what to do or lose the fight immediatelly" motto (referring to the days when people struggled with Magmog/DP etc) is much more welcoming. I've personally never had much of an issue with that as you're aware, but I've known many that have given up on the game or at least that played a big part in their reasoning to drop it.

Yes, old Wakfu content is easier now to the point that if you're wearing gear 3x levels within your own that actually has your elements on it, have a basic idea of monster gimmicks, haven't completely butchered your character aptitudes, and don't completely screw up 6 turns in a row, you can pretty much do everything, including most hardcore dungeons. Then again people have about 150 levels of that now, but still. I think part of the problem before was that some content was very punishing, especially UBs in their early/relevant days, even more so when their gear was godly compared to any other option, while now not so much.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'd rather not see Wakfu's population fade away again due to a focus shift on something major, with great prerequisites, incredibly unforgiving and time-consuming. What you've described so vaguely for very understandable reasons smells like a Dofus Kralove-type deal to me, in the spirit of organizing large groups of people to complete some sort of task(s) to gain limited access to an UB on crack. I just hope it's within reason. I agree there should be ultimate end-game content, and while many like us, truly enjoy a great challenge, many others aren't too keen on unreasonably difficult, punishing and time-consuming content. I mean, nobody really likes to waste their Wakfu day doing whatever just to get bullshit (bullshat?) to death in the end.

I'm curious to check out Xelorium properly this weekend (I've been a lazy, lazy beta boy outside panda respec experiments :P), being the first content built around new character power, that should certainly give some future insight. And I'm certain the forums will drown in "this is too difficult" topics/posts, primarily by most of those who bitch about the game being too easy right now. Hell, there's a few so far already! From what I've heard so far Xelorium heavily revolves around mechanics and if you die it's because you need to pay more attention. That I'm fine with. I guess ultimately what I'm trying to say is ... healthy medium ftw?

Edited by Cajun
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Sorry it took a little time to get an answer. Phrasing is kind of key here, because it's obvious that there are some failures in your eyes as well as the perspective of many other players. It's just a matter of explaining it in such a way that you might be able to understand why things are done as they are.

The first and foremost thing is that the subject in question is ultimately directed at the video game company itself as a whole for its major decisions (and not specifically to those creating the design). These decisions act upon a hierarchy, and it's not always the case where every single person from the Ankama team will agree on them. But often times they have no choice, for one reason or another. It's a team, yes, but there are some calls to be made regardless in the end, by people in charge. It's the same way with every game company however. Not all decisions are explicitly agreed upon, and there are people that share sentiments more in line with what you may see, for example, on the OF. It's a matter of opinion in 99% of cases.

Next, understand that there are only two Game Designers in charge of a bulk of the gameplay that you're familiar with. High level content, major revamps, features, etc. They are human, making changes five days a week (often spilling into their own personal time on the weekends to try to make up for lost time), having also jumped onto this project while it already had a (shoddy) foundation. And they are making small QOL improvements here and there to rectify problems the previous GD(s) created over a long period of time.

They're pushing out content at a very fast rate considering the size of their team, and when it comes to actual production of game content, it's a long and weary process. For example pre-production, where everything must be laid out to its fullest before any actual implementation can occur. This alone can take up a large chunk of their time, and considering the ideal is something new every month, it's a difficult thing to accomplish. These guys have their plate full. They have to fix old problems, create new content, and constantly be out on the lookout when it comes to sudden changes up from management.

This is meant to be an explanation in general as to why things can go un-changed for a long time, or some important things don't come to the forefront of the things-to-do. They're either so insignificant that they're put behind FAR more important things, or they go unnoticed. Eventually they do get fixed though, when properly brought to attention (for example, the Woyal Plince title has been fixed for this upcoming patch, despite having been broken for over a year. It was not noticed by the team because of a translation problem, but was fixed after mentioned).

It's not for any singular player to decide whether or not a change is good or bad for the health of the game or a specific component of it (the class re-design, specific spells, mobs, etcetera). Mistakes are made sometimes and of course, they do get fixed down the line to be brought in line with everything else. That's why revamps are made, or buffs/nerfs are issued over a long period of time. Many changes are band-aid, and others are more set-in-stone. But it's important to adapt to these changes, express your concern constructively, and then move on and hope that in the next patch something is done if time permits. Some changes will take more priority than others, for example Scalded in the right team compositions was far too powerful. It's my personal understanding that for specialized and organized teams, this effectively allowed them to annihilate content with little to no issue.

As for Fear Fizz, it's my understanding that the moderation team is small but soon to be expanding. It's still far too much to expect people to babysit this area constantly, and the changes made to Fear Fizz allow them to focus their attention elsewhere when the time calls. Maybe they aren't doing anything now and they should be babysitting bot zones, but it seems counter-productive long term if a simple change can still the waters. Perhaps this is a band-aid solution too, but for now it works, and players can adapt.

I made it readily known to everyone that this change was coming in the next patch, in an effort to allow players to obtain as much as they can from whatever source they can in preparation. Unfortunately the discussion on the OF has escalated to beyond constructive feedback, and so I've abandoned the notion of reading there.

I hope (something) in theis sheds some light on the matter of the Wakfu game design process.

Sounds like too many cooks spoil the broth to me. You need someone in the role of the lead designer and developer, someone who needs to put their neck on the line to make the game in one vision, when there are multiple people saying "lets do this" lets do that" no thats no good" etc it can work, extremely rarely, but most of the time it just makes things chaotic, overcomplicated and a mess.

I personally am trying to get into wakfu but my god are some things overly complicated from a new player perspective.

It is like half the spells are mediocre damage filler with a singular mechanic to be abused/used, does this make divergent playstyles, combining a few spells over and over again? being forced not to use the spells you don't want to level? when on earth in the design documentation did that appear under "fun mechanic" rather than "anti fun mechanic" =S

Dofus had multiple skills, even the ones you didn't level could be useful in the right situation. and my god, you could use them without fear.

Then you have all these different status affects... one or two per class at least, it's a lot of things for a new player to sink their teeth in but at the same time, they gotta ask themself is it worth it? People aren't going to stick around and hope the game gets better/clearer, sadly that is the new generation of mmo players, i lost a debate on reddit to a guy who said 2 hours is fine to judge an mmo, i lost because of the cheer amount of people that agreed with him, the times are a lot more unforgiving and getting on steam is great and all but that means you get players, doesn't mean you keep them.

I don't mind grind, to me it is a feature of a game, i don't mind hard to drop items, however what i do mind is when the tools to do these things get limited in ways that don't profit the player, what does the player gain from having a restriction placed upon them based on "usage" of spells. What on earth makes anyone think that this is a better system that the old one? :S Innovation isn't always good. Especially when that innovation is based upon RESTRICTING a player rather than giving them FREEDOM, something that the mmo market is trying to give players more of :P

Even tera was like, free respecing anywhere anytime, because it promotes interesting builds and changing based on situation.

eitherway, i haven't played wakfu since closed beta, however what i've seen in changes have been strange, the game relatively feels the same, but there is a feel of confusion about it :S Yet it's strange to see mistakes still being made that have a signature ankama feel to it. I mean class change potions? panic nerfing? It is just so very, worrying..

Tldr : too many cooks spoil the broth.


Anx - Fully 100% retired.
*
Member of no guild currently, The Elkamysts, Ni and Nefertum will always be in my heart tho.

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If there's two much pressure on 2 guys to get everything done they need to put out the money to hire a third designer or a contractor to help with the load. I seriously seriously doubt that they don't have the money to hire another dev.

As for Scalded, I posted a thread to try and discuss the changes and it was stuffed into a subforum for whatever reason the mods decided on. The changes made in this hotfix are counter productive. The devs failed to communicate the design and role made to Scalded, They first redesign it as some sort of bomb if not activated, then to giving players barely any time to do something with it.

Using the most recently redesigned class, you could activate it with Dairy Springer or Barrel Bash (does not cost WP to activate the state), but both spells have drawbacks. Dairy Springer was changed to cause damage before moving, and Barrel Bash harms allies. Dairy Springer is less of an issue, but if you want to hit in Earth you can't use Barrel Bash if allies are in the AOE. If they want to make these changes to Scalded, they need to either increase the turn length or make it so Barrel Bash does not harm allies. I also know that you can activate flaming by casting LMF on the barrel, but the chances of you wanting to do that is extremely tiny.

I just don't think it's fair to players to revamp classes, force mechanics onto classes that are shit, make them usable in the live build, then immediately make it shit again. Hemo on Sram is comparable and is MUCH MUCH stronger as it procs every turn, stacks globally, costs 3ap upkeep after reaching max stacks, and also allows the Sram to absorb the stacks for heals. If they can't make a mechanic work in a way that's balanced and strategical, they need to trash it and either make something that's better or just give pure damage to these spells.


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If there's two much pressure on 2 guys to get everything done they need to put out the money to hire a third designer or a contractor to help with the load. I seriously seriously doubt that they don't have the money to hire another dev.

As for Scalded, I posted a thread to try and discuss the changes and it was stuffed into a subforum for whatever reason the mods decided on. The changes made in this hotfix are counter productive. The devs failed to communicate the design and role made to Scalded, They first redesign it as some sort of bomb if not activated, then to giving players barely any time to do something with it.

Using the most recently redesigned class, you could activate it with Dairy Springer or Barrel Bash (does not cost WP to activate the state), but both spells have drawbacks. Dairy Springer was changed to cause damage before moving, and Barrel Bash harms allies. Dairy Springer is less of an issue, but if you want to hit in Earth you can't use Barrel Bash if allies are in the AOE. If they want to make these changes to Scalded, they need to either increase the turn length or make it so Barrel Bash does not harm allies. I also know that you can activate flaming by casting LMF on the barrel, but the chances of you wanting to do that is extremely tiny.

I just don't think it's fair to players to revamp classes, force mechanics onto classes that are shit, make them usable in the live build, then immediately make it shit again. Hemo on Sram is comparable and is MUCH MUCH stronger as it procs every turn, stacks globally, costs 3ap upkeep after reaching max stacks, and also allows the Sram to absorb the stacks for heals. If they can't make a mechanic work in a way that's balanced and strategical, they need to trash it and either make something that's better or just give pure damage to these spells.

Honestly, this is a big part of why i quit dofus and why i find myself forcing myself to try wakfu, you choose a class for it's spells and mechanics, you expect not to get reworked and have your class completely changed, it's almost like it is the longest con so as to sell class change potions xD

And now that class change potions exist, it's going to be hard to defend against people saying "they nerfed this class so people would buy more class potions"

more designers is important but it is undeniably important to have a singular lead designer in charge of all things relevant to inside the game.


Anx - Fully 100% retired.
*
Member of no guild currently, The Elkamysts, Ni and Nefertum will always be in my heart tho.

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Mechanic changes are fine, but putting shit, outdated ones onto redesigns is complete stupidity.


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What's going on with Haven Worlds? It's like they forgot about them entirely apart from spewing out a couple new ones with new territories every now and again. Loads of things were promised when they were released, from groundbreaking stuff like being able to turn buildings to regular new bonus-wielding structures being added with time. It seems clear that loads has changed internally since then and HWs have ended up on the backburner as so many other things, but hot damn. I don't think they've even added simple decorations/fences since either Wabbit or the Al Howin event of the same year.

Also please tell me that none of this Prims (still can't believe they called it that) in HW idiocy where other people could potentially steal your guild bonuses or take over your HW or whatever it was while you sleep is to be implemented with this second part of the pvp update we keep hearing about. Granted this is something I remember from a really ancient Azael Q&A, but it sounded so incredibly stupid...

Edited by Cajun

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