2021 Summer Beta Wrap-Up

The summer Beta Event has concluded, and it was a huge success!  We’d like to thank the thousands of people who signed up, jumped into Apotheosis City, and play-tested the first dozen or so missions, as well as those who took the time to give us feedback on the forums, by email, or by answering the survey.  We rely heavily on this guidance to create a game people want to play.  The survey will remain available to Beta participants until Sunday September 26.  In the meantime, we’d like to share some of the feedback we’ve received, and to discuss our plans for the future of Ship of Heroes.

You guys are the best.

Far more people signed up than expected – this was our largest Beta ever, by far!  The vast majority of participants report that they had fun playing the missions in SoH.  That’s the main measure of success.  Player comments have been very positive, beyond the usual little hiccups and suggestions for improvements.  In particular, a theme runs through the responses that players like the Iris arc story, with its branching dialog, different possible outcomes, and introduction to the lives of mages aboard the Justice.  Most players played the missions more than once, which is another good sign.

There was also a lot of interest in the new CCT options.

The survey results also illustrate a very wide range of opinions.  Most players felt the difficulty of mission content was about right, with only a few players feeling that the content was far too difficult or far too easy.  Some just loved the animations, while others requested more polishing.  Most players seem to agree that the six missions in the Iris Arc provide about 2-4 hours of gameplay.  That’s pretty close to our expectation, and combined with the challenge missions, the Snow Lair, and the character creator, there’s quite a bit of fun to be had in SoH now.

You wouldn’t think this place would be a deathtrap.  But…

We observed a lot of different playstyles, too – at least one person joined the mission Beta just to street-sweep!  A few more thought they could get a new mission just by clicking on Ambassador and walking away.  We’re going to make it more clear in the future that players need to select a department to advance.  Similarly, in future Betas Ambassador will give new players some influence and tell them to buy and equip augments before continuing, since missions are much harder without them.  Some players tended to hoard infusions, too, but they’re meant to be used regularly.  At the moment we plan to address this with a mission objective of using infusions.  And if you have other ideas for improvements, we’re always open to them.

He’s here for a reason.

You may ask, what’s next Ship of Heroes?  Where do we go from here?  The current list looks like this:

 

  • We’re expanding our mission creation team now that we know the community likes the content we’ve designed so far, and we’re going to be adding to the types of content, too.
  • We’re working on adding virtual texturing, which is a new feature supported by the Unreal Engine, to Ship of Heroes. This will help us replace certain older textures with more hi-res versions.  When we’re done, the game will look better than ever, and FPS should get a slight upward bump.  Animations and controls might also be a little smoother.
  • A major upgrade to our download and patching system is in early testing this week, and the first results are pretty spectacular.
  • The NPCs wandering around in the city will be upgraded and diversified.
  • We’ll be expanding the challenge mission options and likely raising the difficulty of this content as result of player feedback.
  • The next Beta is already under discussion. It could focus on one of the new types of content, perhaps off-world raiding, or some other kind of very difficult content, since there seems to be an unmet demand for that in the community.

These can make or break a character! We recommend having an augment or two in every power at the very least, if you have the slots open.

Once again, thank you for participating in the mission Beta.  We hope you had fun.  You can look forward to more Betas in the future as we get SoH ready to launch, hopefully in 2022.

 

Technical Notes:

 

  1. The mission Beta was a free event that was open to the public from August 14th to August 29th. Ship of Heroes donors were able to jump in one week earlier, on August 7th.

 

  1. Only a few of those who registered for the event reached out and contacted us with problems, either at communityeventsupport@shipofheroes.com or using our website contact form. The most common issues were all fixable, and our tireless customer support staff actively responded to everyone, usually within hours.  All problems were fixed, within the limits of the individual PCs.

 

  1. There’s already a draft list of 15 significant planned improvements, but the survey results are being used to add and subtract from that list.

 

  1. Feedback on the AI-driven NPC voices was mixed. Some loved them, some hated them, and others didn’t really care, including those who play with the game muted.  Since this feature is extremely helpful to certain disabled players, as well as those who have difficulty reading lots of text, we will likely retain the voiceovers, but before the next event we’ll make it an option that is off by default and must be turned on.  We’re also looking at alternate suppliers with different voices and speaking speeds to make the voices more engaging.

 

  1. We are aware that the forums currently have some technical issues, making it hard to access some older posts.  A major upgrade to the website and forums is in the works and being polished right now, with a planned transition later this year.  In the meantime, we appreciate your patience.