Design Notes

AQWorlds Projects Update

Posted by on 31 comments

If you've been with us for a while, thanks for playing! You'll see that we've been changing a number of features and functionality inside AQWorlds. If you're new, hi! Welcome to AQWorlds! You've come at a really key point in our game's lifespan.

AQWorlds is over six years old now; we've grown so much since 2008, and over the years, we've defeated scores of villains. But one of the most dangerous enemies of online games is staring us straight in the face, and we are doing all we can to fight it - stasis. We need to move forward, evolve, and change with the times. To keep AQWorlds alive, we need to GROW and IMPROVE and CHANGE.

aqw_AQWrewritepic_450.jpg

Because AQWorlds updates on a weekly cycle, the development for improving and updating the game take place alongside weekly releases. That also lets us have YOU guys test the changes as they are being built (once we reach a stage where you can push buttons and have something happen). 

Several of these projects (like the new world map and the quest UI) are in live-testing. We do this to see how the new functionality will hold up under load. So, below is where those projects and others stand, and where we're headed next:

New World Map

The new world map is designed to both help you navigate the world and give a better idea of story progression. We call these "adventure maps." They aren't 100% geographically accurate; instead, they show you where you're headed next in the story.

aqw_newworldmap_550.jpg

Changes left to make:

  • Reducing lag 
  • Adding in more adventure maps (for Doomwood, seasonal events, side stories) 
  • Adding direct links to the bank and other popular locations

New Quest/NPC Interface

The quest/NPC interface redesign is taking place for a number of reasons: 1) the current appearance is outdated. We've got to keep AQW looking fresh and appealing. 2) many new players have difficulty using/understanding it 3) by re-doing the UI, we can improve the functionality.

aqw_newquestui_550.jpg

Changes left to make:

  • Appearance updates based on player feedback
  • Adding in the "turn in quest from anywhere" functionality (the quest box in the upper-right side of the screen will call the last NPC pop-up you accepted a quest from)
  • Bug fixes to current version

New Tutorial

The new tutorial is a VITAL project! When a new player first joins AQWorlds, we want to excite them, engage them, and TEACH them how to play the game. Based on your feedback, this version of the tutorial meets those three goals the best. You've also sent in additional ideas on how to improve the tutorial (thanks!).

aqw_tutorial_550.jpg

Changes left to make:

  • Add in player suggestions
  • Load tutorial videos directly into the game
  • Add in helper cutscenes on Nythera and Sora
  • Add in email confirmation reward

Server Rewrite Progress Update

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a Design Notes about the server rewrite project. We have a good deal of control over the game, but currently we are using server software whose base we did not build ourselves (though we created all of our server-based game functionality)... and that means there are some things we cannot change. But we CAN rewrite the server!

Due to a number of additional top priority projects (like the Facebook integration, the quest interface, and others) and delays (the end of the Chaos Saga, the holidays, etc), work on the server rewrite has been delayed. 

BUT! As of January 1st, the server rewrite project is officially BACK in action! Yorumi has already made a lot of progress. He started researching again this past December, and met with Zhoom in early January.

So that we ALl have a clear idea of where the server rewrite progress is at, we'll use server rewrite version numbering (SRV) and phases.

Phase 1: Porting the existing game over to proprietary server software (that we built ourselves. This is what Oversoul currently runs on).

Phase 2: Updating core game functionality on AQW 2.0. 

Phase 2 is where we're planning to make the changes you guys want - the buyback shop, better PVP and guilds functionality, bank item previews, friends list syncing, cross-server chat, better anti-bot and reporting functionality and more.

  • SRV 0 - research begins
  • SRV .01 - server architecture meeting with Zhoom
  • SRV .02 - staff-only test of new combat system
  • SRV .6 - full working Alpha stage
  • SRV .8 - player live-test on PTR
  • SRV 1.0 - full launch of Server Rewrite, Phase 1

Right now, we are about a month away from the staff-only test of the new combat system. With the current calculations, we expect SRV .8 (the player live-test PTR) to begin in September. 

Keep an eye on the Design Notes for future progress updates!

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Riash
Riash: i can't wait to see aqw evolve! looking forward to the bank previews being added :D
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Aeon
Aeon: I'm noticing a flurry of artists updating older artwork in-game (items, NPCs) via Twitter. Will this also be an eventual goal - updating outdated artwork in-game, or will most things be left as-is?
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Alina
Alina: That's a project we'll work on as we have time, or as we introduce older charcters into the newer sagas.
Snecko
Snecko: Started from the bottom, now we're here!
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Evilk_ks
Evilk_ks: A little question. The buyback shop will bring back all the itens you have already sold or only those u sell after the buyback arrive ? Or you dont know yet ? e-e
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Gjappy
Gjappy: Most likely the items you sold after the buyback shop arrived.
Alina
Alina: The buyback shop will have a record of any AC item you ever sold, back to the beginning of your account creation, so those would be the only ones eligible. As soon as we have more details on the buyback shop, you'll know!
Gjappy
Gjappy: :X am silenced by Alina.
strike
strike: i feell so relived thx alina :)
Mindblow
Mindblow: I still feel like the main problem with aqw and why i'm not playing it is because there is no real goal. You grind to get this armor or buy it with coins to flash it off at the inn and the combat is horrendeus.
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LVXYZx
LVXYZx: I also said this on Twitter, but I can't believe how far this game's come. I mean, it's become somewhat of an integral part of my life since I've been playing it for so long (Over 5 years, 6th year this...May I think?). I remember when AQW 1.0 was first being tested and the PTR became a thing. It was freaking mindblowing: fresher UI, monster balances, unlocking all class skills by rank 5 instead of 8, and STATS; HOLY MOLY, STATS. And this was just AQW 1.0, back when the game was still significantly younger. Theeeeen much later on a significant server rollback happened. (and kinda broke my Ultra Elemental) This will only be a thing for a little while longer, though! Now we're talkin' 2.0, with an entire server rewrite, more rank 10 passives, combat overhaul, better PvP, and a crapton more things that players have been wanting. Given how much AQW has evolved since 1.0, I feel that 2.0 will be so much of an upgrade, AQW will essentially be a brand new game. Keep up everything you're doing, you guys; I can't wait to play an AQW with new life, and see this journey through to the end (if there is one!)
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minaise
minaise: moving forward is great but i want to know about bringing the quest log back up after turning it in
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minaise
minaise: will it work like this lets say your doing larvae quest turn it in will it close the log right after that or will it leave it open to retake immideatly like it currently is.A new look honestly wouldnt be bad but the current system isnt functionally bad PS:oooooOOOOoooooo time traveled
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Legendary
Legendary: I hope the server rewrite fixes bows and Ranger animations. It would also be great if you guys improved some of the older classes to be as good as strong as the new classes.
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Cyberblaz
Cyberblaz: Don't Forget with the "guns" animation too!
Sndrei
Sndrei: It's great to see that the game I started is going to evolve even more! I'm looking for the new combat system as of the current one contains bugs like inability to cast skills in some unnatural intervals. I'm also looking forward to the quest interface since this time around we can turn in quests from anywhere unlike before which makes things a lot easier when you're farming repetitive quests. Thanks AE!
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Cyberblaz
Cyberblaz: Well, for me, this is pretty good news.
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Cyberblaz
Cyberblaz: Because, i'm playing with my old computer,so, if i come in crowd place, it will make my computer become "laggy". I always update my flash to newest version to reduce the lag. And, i hope, They can reduce the lag even more dan kill some BUGs!! Yeah!! Battleon!!!
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iampancake
iampancake: Can 2.0 have two arms and legs? The fact that you only have one arm makes it kind of awkward....
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cutealice143
cutealice143: Will the "PTR Lag Tester" badge be back after you release the phases or there's a new badge for it?
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Dragonmand
Dragonmand: i like the new features, but there's still a few things that need to be fixed or updated; for example the new cha. enterface you gave the astromancer in /northstar won't let you re-watch cutcenes when you klick on the button. and it would be nice if you added a place on the map for the Necropolis and other permanently added side areas, so new players can find them easier. other than that, i hope to see more of your awesome content in the comming year in all of your games. #Artix Entertainment rules! :)
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DerpSonic
DerpSonic: This is exciting and everything, but I would like to point out something. Just in case you guys don't remember there're a couple of references in AQW to the old Save the Dragon from the Princess tutorial; it's mentioned in the Golden Onslaught event and I'm pretty sure we see that same mountain the player falls off in that Arc Attack event. So I suppose those will have to be sorted out.
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Gjappy
Gjappy: Thank you for letting us know!
Pika_chan
Pika_chan: This is gonna be gooooood XD
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JeffTechnoWiz
JeffTechnoWiz: Just wondering. If AE banned 22k accounts for a bit. Why would we need a better anti botting system. Plus if AE give us rewards for being "good players" I find that Design note later. http://prntscr.com/62s1gk
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Gjappy
Gjappy: Because we want to encourage players to play fair.
Gjappy
Gjappy: @Rezilia we have seen and read your comment. Though we could not approve it. Your point of focusing on 1 project instead of many is heard though.
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Rezilia
Rezilia: Coolio. Thanks for the reply. :) ... Oh, and I just wanted to say that while the original AQ3D was scrapped, I really, really liked the brand new ideas you had for it. I would like to see those placed in such a project, if possible. :)