TL's Producer Letter: All about autoplay, combat, progression revamps

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September 21, 2023

TL's Producer Letter: All about autoplay, combat, progression revamps

The producers of TL have released their first detailed letter since the game's beta test. Addressing core concerns raised by the community, the letter dives deep into significant game changes and upcoming content. Here's a digestible FAQ-style summary of the key takeaways:

Q: What were the main issues identified from the beta test?

A: The team recognized two primary problems - static combat and tedious progression.

Q: What changes have been made to combat to address its static nature?

  • Allowed players to attack on the move.
  • Removed character collisions in non-conflict zones for increased movement freedom.
  • Improved control responsiveness to enhance the gameplay feel.
  • Introduced new skill types, granting players more combat options early on.
  • Streamlined weapon swapping and broadened available weapon combinations.
  • Revamped the stat system to diversify weapon damage effects and enhanced gear crafting.

Q: Has the auto-hunt and auto-move feature been altered?

A: Yes, both auto-hunt and auto-move features have been completely removed to prioritize immersive gameplay.

Q: What content changes are in store to reduce the emphasis on hunting?

  • Reduced hunting importance in Growth Zones.
  • Increased experience rewards for activities like Adventure Codex, Exploration Codex, and Regional Events.
  • Added more non-hunting elements to missions and introduced party-play instance dungeons emphasizing cooperative gameplay and strategy.

Q: How has the progression system been improved?

  • Reduced the time required to level up, with time to level 30 cut by one-third and time to level 50 reduced by one-tenth.
  • Boosted crafting material availability and streamlined the skill acquisition process.
  • Skills now level up faster, and the materials required for skill enhancement have been adjusted.

Q: Are there any new channels for providing feedback to the TL team?

A: Yes, the team has introduced the "Tell TL" board, a platform dedicated to gathering player feedback and suggestions.

For a detailed read and more insights into the upcoming content, refer to the full blog post shared by the TL team.

Below the FAQ, we also have a full proper translation of the statement.


Throne and Liberty: Producer's Letter Part 1

The first time we showed you the TL was in beta back in May, so it's been a long time coming. We should have greeted you as soon as possible, but we've been busy with development. If I'm being completely honest, I've spent a lot of time thinking about and dreading what I should say in my first letter to you, so I'll try to keep you updated more quickly from now on. In this first letter, I'd like to talk about the changes we've made to our development direction since the beta, and what we've been thinking about along the way. I hope this will be a welcome letter to those of you who have been waiting to hear from us for a while. 

After beta testing, our challenges

We've had a lot to think about since the beta test. While we were grateful for the compliments, it was your criticisms that really got to us. Some of it was a wake-up call to our confidence, and some of it was validation of our fears. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for sharing your feedback with us, as it's been a great way for us to regain the "objective eye" that we've been missing after so many years of development.

Below, we've summarized the main issues we're currently working on, and while we could simply say we've changed something, we feel it's my job to share with you the context and the thought process behind it, so you can see how testing with you is changing TL.

What's changing?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the improvements, I'd like to share our perception of the problem. We've defined two problems with the game that were revealed in beta testing: static combat and tedious progression. While these keywords may sound like self-explanatory challenges, there were a number of design intentions behind them that we wanted to implement. In describing our improvements today, I'd like to share with you how our thinking manifested itself, and how we're going to correct any deviations from our intentions.

Dynamic combat with choices

There were many reasons why combat felt static, but the biggest one was the lack of freedom of maneuver.

Formations were important to us when we envisioned what a large-scale war would look like, so we implemented collisions between characters and made it so that most attacks could not be performed simultaneously with movement. However, our decisions resulted in a lack of freedom of movement and control. The drawbacks were even more pronounced during battles in peace zones, which make up the majority of the game, rather than in large-scale war situations. To improve this, we took the following steps.

  • Changed the overall combat system to allow attacks on the go.
  • Removed collisions between characters in all areas except conflict zones.
  • Minimized the effect of applied inertia when changing direction to make controls more responsive.

Of course, we don't consider these fixes to be the end of our work on the combat system, but the first step in making static combat dynamic was to make it possible to move and fight at the same time. We decided that character collisions needed to be re-examined without compromising the tactical value of group combat, and we made them inapplicable in peace zones. Inertia effects, which were meant to add a sense of realism when changing direction, were also drastically reduced as they added to the frustration of movement.

After removing many of the restrictions placed on the controls, we turned our attention to skills. There were a limited number of skills that could be used, and this was preventing players from thinking proactively, so we worked on a number of things to increase the options in combat and make combat more varied.

  • In addition to targeted skills, we've added a number of new types of skills that adapt to the PC's control environment, such as orientation and hitting specific points.
  • We've increased the number of skills that are initially granted, and changed the speed at which new skills are learned.

In the early stages of development, we focused on simplicity, with the majority of skills consisting of targeted, target-centered, and self-centered attacks. This, coupled with the slow rate of skill acquisition over the course of your progression, made it difficult to experience the variety of combat. Adding new skill types was a way to break up this simple rhythm and allow for more strategic use of skills. We changed the setting where players were given a small number of skills early on and were slow to acquire them, giving them more options early on.

We're also working on making weapon swapping more seamless. The weapon system, which allows you to equip and use two weapons, is a very important feature of TL combat, but the actual combinations of weapons available were very limited, and we wanted to change that as well, as we wanted players to be able to create a variety of weapon combinations based on their personal preferences and concepts.   

  • We've completely overhauled the stat system where certain stats only affect the damage of certain weapons.
  • Determination, Prowess, Wisdom, and Insight will now affect the damage of all weapons, and we've expanded the effects of non-damage secondaries.
  • We've adjusted weapon passive skills that were only effective when used with a specific weapon so that they affect all weapons evenly.
  • Increased the number of early gear crafting and enhancement drops to reduce the burden of carrying multiple pieces of gear.

Experience fast, colorful growth

In order to talk about growth, it's only fair to start with the story of auto-hunting. The MMORPG genre has inevitably been accompanied by long-breathing play. Over the course of the genre's history, we've come to realize that the presence of an auto-hunt system is becoming increasingly commonplace in MMORPGs, so we decided to follow suit. However, we think we may have taken this decision too lightly.

During our beta testing, we heard from many users that they were frustrated with auto-hunting. We reminded ourselves that gamers who play with keyboard, mouse, and pad expect to be able to immerse themselves in a game with fine-grained control over content that deserves to be manipulated, not an automated game with characters that move on their own.   

  • Removed auto-hunt and auto-move altogether.

Along with auto-hunting, we also removed auto-travel, which we considered keeping because of its convenience, but also because of the value of the experience of moving around the world, meeting people, and exploring new areas.

From the point of removing auto, the game had to transform into meaningful content play, not just repetitive hunting. It's not that we didn't have those elements, but we needed to add new content types to improve the quantity, and we needed to improve the quality of the existing content.

  • Significantly reduced the importance of hunting in Growth Zones.
  • Significantly increased experience rewards for Adventure Codex, Exploration Codex, and Regional Events.
  • We're adding more non-hunting mission elements to Exploration Codex and Resistance missions.
  • We're working on a number of party-play instance dungeons that will require boss fights.

Cooperative play is an incredibly important aspect of MMORPGs. But guilds are too big and the opportunities are limited. We've been working on party-sized instance dungeons to make co-op play more casual and smaller. This content was not available in the beta, but you'll see it when we launch.

Unlike Fields, Party Instanced Dungeons require a limited number of players, so you can't just take them on by sheer force of numbers, and we're making sure you know the dungeon's gimmicks so you can react to them correctly. We're hoping that these new co-op experiences will add more variety to the growth process.

It's not just about adding new content, it's also about reducing the emphasis on hunting in existing content. In our beta testing, we saw a lot of people engaging in the behavior of "exploration" - finding hidden places in the field where you wonder, "I wonder if it goes all the way here" - and that convinced us that we needed to make exploration and discovery more fun.

When growth is filled with content play, the pace of growth naturally changes. Passive play can no longer demand as much playtime as it once did. The amount of growth required to level up was drastically reduced, and the amount of time spent fitting gear and growing skills had to be similarly reduced.

  • Significantly reduced the time it takes to level up.
  • Increased the number of sources of materials for crafting and enhancing equipment to speed up equipment growth.
  • We've made skill growth faster by making skills automatically acquire as you level up and increasing the amount of materials needed to strengthen skills.

Level progression times have been adjusted based on manual play up to level 50. The time to level 30 in the beta has been reduced by one-third, and the time to level 50, the open standard, has been reduced by one-tenth.

These are just a few of our top priorities, and we're working on many more in parallel. We'll be testing some of these improvements in the upcoming Technical Test Closed Alpha on Amazon Games, and we promise to keep tweaking and refining until we're ready to share them with you.

When we first came up with the idea of a letter as a form of communication, I was overwhelmed - I wondered if it would be too lighthearted, and I wondered what to say, but as I finish writing the first letter, I realize that it seems like a fitting vessel for sincerity. We will continue to communicate with you from the bottom of our hearts for as long as the game is in service.

And this letter is something I started because I wanted to listen to you more than I wanted to talk to you. We've created the "Tell TL" board as a place to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment about anything, including the improvements we've outlined today. Your thoughts are always a great source of inspiration and motivation for us. We're also continuing to think about ways to hear from more of you than just in the form of a message board. We'll find a way to make it work.   
[link to Tell TL message board].

In my next letter, I'd like to introduce you to some content that hasn't been released yet. I think you'll get a better idea of what it's like to play TL, and I'll be writing to you again soon.

As always, thank you.

THRONE AND LIBERTY Producer Ahn Jongok Posted by