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View Full Version : The Huge Beta Update [also known as Kickstarter Update #23]



Sean
10-01-2012, 03:46 PM
Hello again, esteemed backers! Settle in, this update is gonna be a big one.

We’ve wrapped up Fantastic Arcade with a really solid build of the combat. Now we’re back to work, but first we wanted to give you the rundown on all the progress we’ve made in the last month.

We've got a video covering prizes, interviews, animations, cinematics, music by Austin Wintory, toolsets and a sample of combat gameplay below.

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Things have been very busy but honestly couldn’t be coming along better.

Beta is looming and you’re invited - Alpha is officially coming to a close and for Beta we’re going to need plenty of testers, so we’re officially opening the Beta to all of our backers. If you donated at any level you’re in! We’ve got 20k people on the list and we won’t be able to just dump everybody in at once, so we’ll send out staggered invites and keep an eye on the servers, working to get everybody on board. We’re not sure if we’ll take it public or not.

http://stoicstudio.com/uploaded/TBS_Factions_logo_small.jpg

What exactly is in Beta?
As we’ve talked about before, we’ve been working on the single player game since our Kickstarter campaign. Specifically, we’ve been building the combat system first. We’ve taken this combat system and broken it out into it’s own standalone release, which we’re calling The Banner Saga: Factions.

In our first beta release we’ll have a small sample of characters available in pre-made teams and you’ll jump right into a fight with a random opponent. We’ll be constantly updating the beta with new content as it gets built.

Why are you making Factions in addition to the single player Saga?
As we mentioned in Kickstarter pitch, we’ve always intended to release the combat standalone early (we originally predicted “summer”). This helps us achieve several goals - players can get practice combat before the full game comes out, and get good at it. We hope it generates some interest from people who missed the Kickstarter campaign! And it also gives us a ton of dedicated feedback to help us fine-tune the combat for the single player game. It doesn’t hurt that the multiplayer combat is honestly a lot of fun! We hope you’ll give it a try.

What exactly is Factions?
In Factions you’ll match up against other players in 1v1 matches and try to be the last one standing. After each match you’ll gain Renown, which is our currency you can use to buy new units, upgrade your characters and create your banners. You’ll form your party based on creating a strategy that takes advantage of their unique stats and abilities, similar to building a deck in Magic: The Gathering. You’ll see all these characters again in the single player game.

As you win matches, you move up the ranks. We’ll always match you with opponents based on the relative power of your team to try and keep fights are fair and fun. And, we’ll try to work out any problems that come up along the way. That’s what beta is for!

Who can play Factions?
When Factions launches in November it will be free for everyone to play. A niche game relies on lots of players and if only people who bought the full game could play multiplayer the servers would quickly turn into a wasteland. That said, we’ve seriously gone out of our way to make sure that the game doesn’t feel like you have to grind or pay. We designed the combat without a pay model in mind and you’ll never have to pay a cent to enjoy the multiplayer the way we intended. Hopefully that doesn’t bite us in the ass.

We've got a couple ideas on special things we can give to backers that won't affect the balance of the game.

What if I’m only interested in the single player game?
It’s ok, we know competitive multiplayer isn’t for everyone. Give it a try, because we think it’s really fun! You won’t miss anything in the Saga if you never touch Factions. As we create content for the single player game we’ll be rolling it into Factions. We plan to support Factions for as long as people are playing it. While the single player game has been our primary focus, Factions helps us develop that while keeping players involved.

When does the single player Saga come out?
Our initial pitch had an estimated delivery date of November, and as we mentioned in a couple places, when we got nearly 7x that much it definitely affected the scope of the game. Combat has gotten bigger, single player has gotten bigger, the story is expanded and the game simply has a ton of features that we thought we’d have to cut. I am sad to say that we won’t be able to have a finished product by our original $100k estimate.

At this time, Factions is coming out in November. We really want people to have something they can play, and the full Saga is now slated for the first half of 2013. As always, you’ll see every step of our progress along the way and we sincerely hope it’s obvious that we’re working our asses off to make this the best game we can.

How does combat in The Banner Saga actually work?
You may have already seen some descriptions in some game site previews, but In the next two weeks we’ll be putting together a video showcasing exactly how combat functions and what makes it different from other turn-based strategy games. The feedback we’ve gotten so far has been extremely positive and we can’t wait to show you!

Will there be Guild Crests in Factions?
Yes! This was one of the announcements we were really pleased to finally make. When you’re invited to beta we’ll have an in-game interface that allows you to upload your guild crest, sort through all the submissions and actually see it in the game. One of the reasons it has taken so long is because we thought it would be better if you could see them in the context of the actual game instead of an impersonal web page. When you match up against an opponent you’ll see each others crests throughout combat.

Once the system is in place you’ll be able to submit your crest at any time, even if you never log into Factions. In essence, we never want it to be “too late” to submit your crest. In the interface, players will be able to up and down-vote crests and search through the roughly 2000 that will be available based on tags like “axe” or “wolf”. We’re almost there, thank you for your patience!

So how do I get into beta?
Kickstarter is not a system that lets us manage account information. You’ll need to make an account on our website if you haven’t already; this will be your login information for the game itself and allows us to verify that you’re a backer. Luckily, making an account just means signing up for the forums HERE (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/forum.php). If you’ve already done this, you’re good to go!

IMPORTANT: Please make sure to create a login with same email address as your Kickstarter account! Capitalization is important! If you've had problems getting backer access through the forums, please contact us (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/sendmessage.php).

What’s next?
We’ll be rolling out videos on how combat works in The Banner Saga in the near future. After that we’ll be doing updates detailing individual classes, going into depth about their roles in combat and talking more about the other systems that we’ll continue to develop including travel and conversation.

Lots of work to do but we, quite honestly, can’t wait to get to it!

See you next time!
Alex, Arnie and John

bmacklin
10-01-2012, 04:14 PM
Super, super awesome. Honestly, I feel great about having pledged to this project. Everything looks fantastic.

Mudfly
10-01-2012, 04:54 PM
Super, super awesome. Honestly, I feel great about having pledged to this project. Everything looks fantastic.

+1

I can't wait for beta to start! :D

JakBlitz
10-01-2012, 04:54 PM
Will be awesome to finally see the combat in action first hand.

Alex Underschultz
10-01-2012, 05:38 PM
Evil bunny!!

Troll
10-01-2012, 05:50 PM
Now that is some great news, and a good game to test.

Skitnik
10-01-2012, 06:10 PM
Great news indeed !

Fenrisulven
10-01-2012, 06:32 PM
Nice update! Excited to get our crests in game :)

Mikhos
10-01-2012, 07:32 PM
Really really excited! I can't wait to get my butt kicked in multiplayer AND be able to help make the game better during the beta phase.

Tychoxi
10-01-2012, 09:27 PM
looking, sounding, feeling so very very very very good!

LoliSauce
10-01-2012, 09:40 PM
Oh man, those combat animations are so hype.

mrboo001
10-01-2012, 10:39 PM
Oh man, those combat animations are so hype.

The animations, period! I mean, "holy crap" doesn't come close to my shock experssion of how good they look! I'm hype for the beta.

Krystallos
10-02-2012, 03:03 AM
I'm SO excited for beta! As an animation student, it's been amazing watching such a gorgeous game with integrity being developed, not to mention being involved in said development! :D

Argaf
10-02-2012, 04:46 AM
Looking and sounding amazing!

olaf
10-02-2012, 04:54 AM
great ! ready to fight !

Hughes_dePayens
10-02-2012, 06:41 AM
Looks incredible, really looking forward to factions. The lithograph makes me wish I could have got that tier. :(

Michael
10-02-2012, 07:18 AM
If the gameplay is up to par with the art style and the music i donŽt think there has to be any fear of being bitten in the ass.
Are you planing on a Starcraft like league system for Factions? So new players do not get discouraged by getting slapped around?

Any idea of how to get into the Beta? Is it who backed first? Is it who backed most? Is it random?

Rymdkejsaren
10-02-2012, 07:26 AM
After reading the RPS writeup of the multiplayer game I cannot wait to see it in action. I am very happy that I chose to help out on this particlar project!

Alex
10-02-2012, 10:38 AM
Thanks a lot for all the really fantastic comments!

"Are you planing on a Starcraft like league system for Factions? So new players do not get discouraged by getting slapped around?"

We've talked a bit about how to do leagues. It's a feature we'll be adding in later as we have a lot of other things to prioritize first. However, we will be matching people based on how many points they have in their team so that matches should (theoretically) be pretty even. If we run into problems we'll try to fix them as they appear, which is definitely what beta is for!

"Any idea of how to get into the Beta? Is it who backed first? Is it who backed most? Is it random?"

Right now it's a bit random I think, though we'll only grab people who have backer accounts obviously.

If everything goes as planned we'll be able to open beta in about two weeks and we'll let you know through email.

olizor
10-02-2012, 11:04 AM
The battle animations blew me away. The sound effects are perfectly timed too, it adds to the effect. I can't wait for the beta!

Lord Huginn
10-02-2012, 12:48 PM
Great update. This is the most rewarding project I have backed on Kickstarter. Enjoy seeing the work in progress. Thanks

Nathan Longhair
10-02-2012, 01:48 PM
Good job guys! And I really enjoyed the bit of the video showing off your tools a bit too.
Keep up the good work, I'm looking forward to the beta :)

Psychotichammer
10-02-2012, 10:01 PM
First off, this game is looking amazing and I can't wait to get to the single player. I do have one question. Will any of Austin's music be in the Beta?

that guy
10-02-2012, 11:33 PM
Appreciate the update. I would be interested in seeing more cut scenes from the single player when they are available. The animation is nice.

Thorin
10-03-2012, 01:44 PM
This is looking amazing. Thanks for the good work, Stoic!

Arnie
10-03-2012, 04:21 PM
@Psychotichammer: Yes, Austin's music will be in Beta, but it's placeholder for the final music which will be performed by an orchestra. He'll be modifying the music up until the last moments before we ship Chapter 1 and then record it for final.
@that guy: Those cut scenes are from the cinematic for Factions, not the Chapter 1 Saga. You will see it all in Factions.
Thanks for al the responses!

Troll
10-04-2012, 08:41 AM
Cinematics in Factions ? Interesting. I didn't expect to see a shiny wrapping with the candy.

Michael
10-04-2012, 07:07 PM
If everything goes as planned we'll be able to open beta in about two weeks and we'll let you know through email.

Thanks. IŽed love to be a random person. :D

Violentvixen
10-04-2012, 11:15 PM
Excited!

lamaz
10-05-2012, 07:15 AM
The animations and sounds were fantastic! And wow that shadowbox looked great, kinda makes me wish I'd be getting it. Keep up the great job!

TheBobWiley
10-05-2012, 02:05 PM
I could honesty watch an entire movie in your cutscene animation (far future project?) Everything is looking better than I imagined and I can honestly say this is the only game I feel comfortable spending $150 on!

mcloud357
10-13-2012, 09:04 AM
not to be rude but why are we talking aobut clothing products on this forum.

LoliSauce
10-13-2012, 09:25 AM
It's a spam bot and has already been reported as of yesterday.

Sean
10-13-2012, 09:37 AM
It's a spam bot and has already been reported as of yesterday.

That would be a neat trick since it was only posted 2 hours ago ;) And taken care of!

LoliSauce
10-13-2012, 04:14 PM
I am a master of prediction, it would seem.

Neehla
10-18-2012, 08:19 PM
Looking forward to an invite into the beta. I've been playing DDO since inception and Guild Wars before that. Watching Stoic come to life has been very exciting!

Aerouge
10-23-2012, 06:38 AM
If everything goes as planned we'll be able to open beta in about two weeks and we'll let you know through email.

So did not everything go as planned? Or did I miss my notification that beta started last week? ;-)

Arnie
10-23-2012, 08:13 AM
Everything is going as planned with the game, but we ran into some things that are taking slightly longer than expected. I.e. We're working on database stuff to attach Steam keys to people's forum accounts so we don't ever hand out duplicate keys...and other random sundry tasks like that.
We've been playing the game daily and have had a good Beta build for days now. We just need to get it out. :)

LoliSauce
10-23-2012, 09:30 AM
Thanks for the update Arnie.

Dragosak
10-23-2012, 02:23 PM
Everything is going as planned with the game, but we ran into some things that are taking slightly longer than expected. I.e. We're working on database stuff to attach Steam keys to people's forum accounts so we don't ever hand out duplicate keys...and other random sundry tasks like that.
We've been playing the game daily and have had a good Beta build for days now. We just need to get it out. :)

Can't wait until you finish that stuff up :-)

Net1
10-25-2012, 07:43 AM
If we are not backers, could we play Factions some day? When? Thanks!

Net1
10-25-2012, 07:51 AM
Ok, I will answer myself: "When Factions launches in November it will be free for everyone to play".

I will wait till November.

Sean
10-25-2012, 08:46 AM
Ok, I will answer myself: "When Factions launches in November it will be free for everyone to play".

I will wait till November.

I'll give you a better answer ;) The current ETA is Winter 2012 (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/the-banner-saga-factions.php). While the team is definitely (still) aiming for November, we've all been in development long enough to know that dates can (and do) change. Should, for some reason, the game not be ready in November -- it is highly unlikely the team will release the product for the sake of hitting a date. Stoic would rather you have a great playing experience than getting your hands on it (too) early.

Does Sean's Wall O'Text mean Stoic isn't going to hit November? No. Just means I'm trying to help you manage expectations. And for those who haven't seen it, we do now have a Factions (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/the-banner-saga-factions.php) page up on the site.

Net1
10-25-2012, 08:50 AM
Thanks for your answer ;)

Troll
10-25-2012, 11:43 AM
If it is really released in Winter 2012, that would make a great christmas gift to those who couldn't get on the kickstarter.

bmacklin
10-25-2012, 10:15 PM
I don't have time to join the beta, but I'll be really interested to follow the development and feedback!

ravenbell
10-25-2012, 10:45 PM
I look forward to joining the beta, even though I really have no idea what to expect. I guess that's the fun of it!

LoliSauce
10-26-2012, 01:49 AM
I'll be announcing ahead of time on the forums when I'm streaming my beta play (when I get in, of course) so everyone will be welcome to check it out and chat with me while I play. I'll make a thread in the Longhouse when the time comes, so keep an eye out if you aren't a backer and want to see the action!

Montalve
10-26-2012, 02:29 AM
I would love to help trying the Beta! I really wnt to see how the combat will work and how the different classes and mechanics would work toguether :D
I am a kickstarter.

entvex
10-27-2012, 03:39 AM
i want to be in the beta too :D i'm a backer!

dylanbob07
10-28-2012, 02:01 AM
Super stoked for beta! I can Haz soon?

LoliSauce
10-28-2012, 04:08 AM
Super stoked for beta! I can Haz soon?

Doesn't look like you're a backer, dylanbob07. From what all has been said so far, only kickstarter backers will be allowed into the beta access.

des0lar
10-28-2012, 08:32 AM
Where do I have to post to be entered in the beta raffle? I can't seem to find a thread...

Troll
10-28-2012, 09:04 AM
Where do I have to post to be entered in the beta raffle? I can't seem to find a thread...

You're a backer, so you already are part of the potential beta testers, you just need some luck. Also if you haven't linked your steam account, you should, the beta key is a steam key.