Development Update – 2/13/13

We were very happy to see the positive response from all of you about our shift in focus and what features are coming to Forge in the very near future. Our first major update is coming, and coming very soon. This update will encompass some of the most glaring feature omissions from the game as well as help address the problem of getting new players into the game and feeling comfortable playing against one another. While this update may miss a few things that will be a part of our next patch, it covers what we consider some of the most significant changes to Forge that you’ll be enjoying very soon.

First, we’ve migrated over entirely to Steam based matchmaking. This means that you now have access to a Server browser via the Steam client. Like you can with any other game that has this functionality, you can use the Steam client to search for Forge servers based on criteria such as ping, gametype, game size and number of people currently playing. We have made sure to have many servers available in each region to ensure that as players come back to the game, everyone will be able to find an open slot on their favorite server. Steam matchmaking also has allowed us to include Lobbies as a feature of this first major update. You can now form groups in advance of joining a server and be certain that you will be playing together once you begin. You can also now take full advantage of the ability to play alongside your Steam friends using the Steam overlay. You’re no longer relegated to playing mostly with strangers!

As for the new player experience, we’re also including our “New Player Zone” for the first time. Players will be able to join this zone to play against bots after having completed the tutorial. This gives new players ample time to learn their classes without the added pressure of being placed against players with much greater experience and skill while they do so.

We’ve also made a few changes to the Shaman class in response to player feedback and our own internal data gathering. Some abilities were not seen as very useful in their current state (Spiritual Bond), and some were too useful in the hands of very skilled players (Blessed Aura). Both have undergone some fairly significant revisions. Spiritual Bond is now Spiritual Drain, a somewhat offensive ability we’ll get into in more detail with the patch notes, and Blessed Aura is now more focused around “oh #$#$” moments as was originally intended. Both of these we will cover in more detail in a patch notes update soon.

All of these changes (and the many bug fixes!) we believe will have a significant positive impact on the game. We hope that those of you that have stopped playing Forge for a while to see how it progresses come back to see how much the game has improved since release. We also hope that all of you see the energy and determination we have in making Forge the game it deserves to be. We’ll see you in Forge!