Hey all! We were pretty quiet in June, so we’d like to share how things are going with the project, and to talk about what the future looks like for RPGWanderer, and Tides of Murkport.
We’ve got players (and we love you), we’ve made headway in getting the word out, but we’re not where we need to be. The general feedback we’ve gotten from you, distilled down to the essence, is that the idea is great, the story is great, but the implementation just isn’t good enough. Period.
Our strategy has been to release chapters first, and to invest time in polishing up the experience where time was available. Generally raising the quality of the game as we go, for new and existing players at the same time. To that end, we’ve had some success. There are fewer bugs, more players play, and more players who start a campaign go on to finish it. This is great! The problem is that while the quality is improving, it’s not improving quickly enough.
So long as we’re focusing on getting chapters out and not fixing the problems we know we have, we’re just doubling down on an imperfect plan. In the context of a failed Kickstarter attempt, we also have some very real financial sustainability concerns to take into account. The fact that we’ve been selling Act 1 as a bundle means that releasing chapters 3 and 4 can’t even contribute to the bottom line, as they’re downstream from purchase. It’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s a reality.
Of course, people who have purchased the full Act are owed Chapter 3 and 4, and being transparent about the above in no way changes our intention to deliver. It does, however, change the timeline. In neither my mind, nor Alex’s, is the release of chapter 3 or 4 an optional thing. It has been an extremely difficult decision to delay the releases, but if we want to have the resources to produce more high quality content we need to polish up what we have before moving forward. To that end, we ask for your patience, but if your patience is (understandably) not forthcoming, we will provide refunds for chapter 3 and 4 to anyone who purchased the Act 1 bundle upon request. No grief, no complaints. We’d ask for your confidence and patience, though, if you are willing to wait.
So, So Much Cool Stuff is Coming
So, if we’re delaying new chapters, what are we doing with the time instead? That’s a great question, and an exciting one to answer!
From our inception the project has been one of 80%’s. Rooted in the core of starting as a Kickstarter, the objective is to prove you can do what you want to do and get enough momentum (and let’s be frank, money) to get there. RPGWanderer is a product of 80%’s. Multiplayer is 80% complete. Combat is 80% functional. The character sheets are 80% functional. Narrative integration with all of the above is 80% frictionless, and on and on.
While on the surface that’s not ideal, it means there are huge, achievable gains to be had all over the game. An entire orchard of low hanging fruit. All of the listed above, but also new game modes, narrative integration into battles, spell and attack integration into combat, improvements in presentation, proper inventory handling in narrative, just to scratch the surface. Honestly, this list could go on for pages, and much of the above is in a state of partial completion. Even beyond these much needed improvements we’re currently speaking to publishers and there is a bright future of different modules coming to the platform visible on the horizon.
So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to recognize that we can’t forge forward properly until we go back and clean house.
So What’s Happening?
- First thing, we’re going to set chapter 3 aside for now. Likely for 3-4 months.
- The next major development target will be to finish a long standing refit of combat with a new UI, and integrated combat actions and spells. You’ll be able to manually intervene in combat as you have been, but also for those who would rather not, or don’t have the experience to, you’ll be able to play in a more gamified way.
- As a part of that overhaul we’ll be adding the combat features the community has asked for where licensing allows.This includes but is not limited to: full status condition support, Wild Shape & summons, map-altering spell effects, etc.
- A close friend has graciously agreed to step in to help us be better communicators, and give us better insights into the community. She should be able to help us to be more regular and transparent in our posts and rewards, and better identify where we need to make improvements.
- We’re going to be enriching the existing chapters with more (optional) tutorial content, and integrated primers on how to play DnD inside, and outside, of the platform.
- Multiplayer (probably the biggest victim of our focus on new chapters) is going to come out of “future targets” and back into the primary roadmap.
Sales and Storefront
Post-kickstarter we switched to a straight-sale business model selling Act 1 as a bundle. This reflected our focus on releasing chapters first, and cyclical improvements second. With that changing, we’ll be adding a new option to buy Chapter 2 only. The full act will still exist as a less expensive route to buying all of the chapters together, but it won’t be the only option.
This project has been the most fun experience we’ve ever had working as “adults”, and the prospect of cleaning up the nagging issues dragging the experience down is extremely exciting. We can’t wait to polish up the experience, make it easier to play, be a better resource to onboard people into DnD and to get groups of players together into the world at the same time.
We can’t thank the community enough for helping us see where we’ve hit and where we’ve missed, and we look forward to the next leg of our journey together!