Wizard101
Developer Diaries

 

Holidays 2020

 
 
 
 
My Dear Wizards,

As the 12 days of the Spiral are upon us and it’s time for the holidays, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. But if you’ve been here for a while and know me, all you’re going to get is sweet...

ENTER AT YOUR OWN WHISK


Speaking of corn-spun candy-coated confections, our biggest news is that we’ve launched the first new world of the 4th arc - Karamelle! While I’d love to talk in depth about it, I will refrain from posting too many spoilers and just share a few of my favorite things.

This scene in the Von Trap Estate is breathtaking. When I first arrived in my early playthrough on our development servers, I had to pause for a few minutes to enjoy the view. I did the same when I quested there the weekend after Karamelle launched live. My group had to pull me away (yes, I’m *THAT* person who must take in all the sights and listen to all the dialogue the first time through a world...).


I love/hate the fight where Judge Veg… transforms you into your healthiest self…. I haven’t quite gotten there yet on live, but it was really fun on the Dev server!


During the early read throughs of Karamelle’s story, there were so many laugh out loud moments. Maulwurth was one of my favorites! I loved the introduction in the musicology department and his dialogue throughout the world had me in stitches.


While I won’t spoil the ending of Karamelle, I will say that it does leave more questions than answers… and answers to those questions will come in due time. We’ve started the initial planning for the next world that continues the 4th arc and I’m already excited to start sharing it with you! However, it will be a while before we’re ready to divulge the details. But worry not, we have a lot of other exciting content on tap to talk about first!

IT CAME FROM THE SPREADSHEET...



Two of our big initiatives in Wizard101 in 2020, which are – spoiler alert - continuing into next year, are our Stat Rebalance and our PVP Revamp. I spoke about these in the previous producer letter, and Lead Designer “Ratbeard” has been furiously writing Dev Diaries to explain many of the changes that have been added in game and some info about what’s coming in future updates.

First, let’s take a look at the stat rebalancing changes:
Should you want to delve into the details, check the links above. However, I’d like to pull out one section to highlight – the WHY we’re going through the herculean effort of completely rebalancing the game after more than a decade:

    "First and foremost, the stat rebalance is intended to solve the problem with stats that have reached the practical limit for growth. With some exceptions, any percent-based stat (resist, accuracy, pip chance, pip conversion, etc.) that reaches 100% has no more room for growth, and that ties our hands with respect to raising the level cap and enticing players with new content and new gear. From level 1 to about level 100, each new world brought new gear, and players could mix and match (aka min/max) to chase particular stats for particular builds.

    As these stats reached their practical limit, our options were either to increase new gear only marginally (in which case players were not motivated to chase the new gear) or to add other stats to new gear. This created a problem of a different sort: the dissolution of school identity. For example, when there was no more room to increase Resist on Ice gear, we compensated by adding other stats (damage, crit) that had room for growth. But these stats had room for growth specifically because they were meant to lag behind other stats.

    The stat rebalance we are currently undertaking will shift stats away from fixed limits and allow us to restore more stat-based school identity. This is not to say that you cannot chase gear to shore up your school’s weaker stats, just that we’ll have more flexibility to create gear where you’ll actually have to make choices about what stats you want to chase. In part this relies on the stats you’ll see on the gear and this relies on changing the way stats work to create “soft” caps instead of “hard” caps."

There’s one thing I know for sure - Ratbeard and Mattnetic have been and still are lovingly agonizing over the daunting task of rebalancing the current leveling curve – all 140 levels of it - with an eye on the next 140 and more! We’re committed to making these changes with an eye on the past, present, and future, so we can continue to make awesome content for you for many, many years to come. We want to make sure PVE is just as we want it before we add the layer of fair and fun PVP on top of the game balance sundae.

Speaking of, let’s check out what’s changed for PVP in the latest dev diaries...
Again, Ratbeard has covered this subject in painstaking detail, so please peruse the links above if you’re into PVP or even curious, but let me pull out a quote for emphasis:
    "As always, please remember that we are as eager as you are to relaunch PvP with a brand-new 5th Age – but we caution that “the last days of 4th Age” are likely to be chaotic and messy while we work – together – to find the right solutions to various PvP problems. Frustration is understandable (and probably inevitable), but this is an exciting time! Join us in thinking deeply about PvP problems and flex your creativity. We’re listening!"
We love our passionate PVP community, and we appreciate their patience while we dig under the hood and try new things.

Next year, we’re furiously continuing our efforts to… dare I say actually finish up the stat rebalance and launch 5th age? We sure hope so, but there’s much work to be done first. Let’s just say we’re making progress through our prioritized “to do” list and planning to attack the juggernaut of Pierce/Resist/Damage soon. We’re also working on more than a few more bits and bobbles for the PVP system in the coming updates so stay tuned!

HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS



This update also came with some HUGE improvements for Castle Tours and Castle Magic, and some housing changes. If you’re an avid decorator, I’m sure you’re already putting these changes to good use! If your house looks more like a yard sale (guilty as charged, though I do have a lovely and large outdoor aquarium section), see Myrella Windspar in The Commons to check out what some of these talented folks have done. It will blow your mind, and perhaps inspire you to renovate a castle yourself!
  • New house categories appear in Castle Tours (Dorms, Gauntlets, Collections)
  • New Castle Tours Badges to earn!
  • There’s now an option to favorite and revisit Castles on Castle Tours
  • Angelica Windspar sells some new interesting recipes
  • New Castle Magic and pet Breadcrumb options
  • Some fixes, including Castle Magic working with Monstrodomes
I haven’t even mentioned the awesome changes like Pet Lending, the Crown Shop Delivery Invoice, and new Monstrology categories. For all the details on those features and more – see our Fall Update notes.

SLEIGH ALL (12) DAYS



It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! The 12 Days of the Spiral event is in full swing. If you want to check out all the fun and festivities, you can do so here. We’re once again partnering with Creative Action and Ronald McDonald Charity House of Dallas for this year’s Charity Candied Ram mount. All your old favorites will be back, along with some new surprises I won’t spoil here!

We also decided to give the community a new gift this year. For the duration of 12 Days of the Spiral, every account in good standing that was created before December 9th has membership and all of its benefits. We want to welcome everyone back for the celebration – we hope our current members enjoy seeing some old friends and perhaps making some new ones!

WHAT COMES NEXT?



If you’re anything like me, you’re now singing Hamilton. You’re welcome! I promise it’s relevant, as I tend to conclude these December producer letters with a peek at what’s to come next year, and though we’ve let a few Firecats out of the bag already above, I’ll be happy to tease a bit more.

Wizard101 has a very strong, dedicated, and passionate community, one of which we’re immensely proud - especially this year, when we all needed a safe place to congregate and socially interact. We want to work on nurturing and improving Wizard101 as a social and community experience and are furiously working through lots of plans to do so. In the previous Producer's Letter I spoke of The Balancing Act, and how we endeavor to work on both “maintaining/expanding on old stuff”, and “new stuff”. We’ve added a lot of new things over the last two years, and 2021 will likely skew that balance somewhat toward improving what’s already in game. More details to come as the new year unfolds!

As I have failed to deliver on my promise of a short letter, I shall conclude with a brief and hearty thanks to our community. You’re the best around, and we’re very excited to have you with us on this wild ride which is Wizard101. Please have a safe, happy, and warm holiday, and as always...

See you in the Spiral,

Leah "Professor Falmea" Ruben
Lead Producer