1. Why is our game in Early Access? First, Sins of a Dark Age (Soada) has a number of incomplete features and experimental ideas that we would like a lot more feedback on. Second, Soada is a complex online game that needs a lot of testing in key areas such as server load capacity, game balance and matchmaking. Early Access allows us to get the volume we need to do this testing without overloading our systems.
2. How long do we plan to be in Early Access? As long as necessary but we expect it to last months, not years.
3. What is the current state of the game? Soada is still in development so there are bugs, incomplete features, placeholder assets, unoptimized code and balance issues. Most importantly we have not been able to fully test our server load capacity which is one of our major reasons for entering the Early Access program. However, even in this state the game is stable, very fun, and has loads of content.
4. What content is missing or placeholder? There are too many to list but some of the more obvious ones are:
Many icons are placeholder (esp Hero Gear).
Many Hero Skin paintings are missing.
Many sounds, music tracks and vocals not hooked up yet.
Lots of front-end and in-game user interface elements are not complete.
The Hero compendium is missing tons of data, especially the Lore and Tips in the Inspect Hero section.
There are missing Heroes and missing Hero Skins.
Lots more missing!
5. What content are we planning to add to the game? In a nutshell almost every type of content in the game will be growing over time including lore, materials, recipes, Heroes, Hero Skins, Hero Gear, and Quests. But we also have a list of other content to add that we aren't ready to talk about yet. The list of upcoming features below hints at some of the new content.
6. What features are we planning to add to the game? Listing all future features is an impossible task especially since we expect them to change in response to feedback and ideas from Early Access players. In that light I will only list the ones we have a reasonably high confidence in:
Hero Gear Sets
New Maps and Environments
These were on the future feature list when Early Access began in March:
New Modes (e.g. cooperative) (Added 1v1, 2v2, 5vAi cooperative. More coming.)
Advanced Ping system (Done)
New Ai for Heroes (aka Golems) (Done but improvements are ongoing.)
More crafting options (Done but more content coming.)
Game History (Done)
Achievements (Done but more content coming.)
In-Game Friend Status (Done)
Additional Steam integration (Done but more coming.)
Systems to improve player behavior (Done but always looking to improve.)
Voice Chat (Done)
Twitch Integration (Done)
Hero Gear for specific Heroes (Done)
Recorded games (Done)
Additional language support (Done)
In response to player feedback, we also added a ton of new features and content that weren't on the original "future feature list".
This list was last edited on April 28, 2015.
7. What is our pricing strategy during and after Early Access? Early Access is priced at $4.99 but in appreciation of your support you will receive a reward worth far more than $4.99 (see the next question for details). Ultimately, Sins of a Dark Age will become a Steam Free to Play game but we felt it was necessary to gate Early Access for 3 main reasons:
To limit the load on our servers until they are fully tested.
To provide a solid new user experience.
To help ensure we get dedicated testers.
8. What do you get for joining Early Access?
You get immediate access to Sins of a Dark Age and you have a chance to influence its remaining development by providing feedback on the forums, participating in our public bug tracker on GitHub or by playing the game so we can collect valuable gameplay and performance data.
Every Early Access player will receive a Welcome Chest containing 1 of 3 bundles. In appreciation of your support we've include far more than $4.99 worth of content in each bundle.
You will find your Welcome Chest and Key in your inventory when you start the game. Click "Profile" from the top menu to locate the inventory tab. Once in the inventory, move your cursor over the Chest and click the yellow button to open it.
When you open your Welcome chest, 1 of the 3 bundles will be selected at random. Each bundle contains an equal value of content and has an equal chance of being selected.
Here is an explanation of what each bundle element means:
Skin: Skins are used to change the appearance of your Hero. In Soada you can either buy skins from the in-game Shop, find them in treasure chests, or craft them from collected materials.
Hero Gear: Hero Gear is one of the most valuable ways to customize your strategy before entering a match. Hero gear is never sold in the Shop and can only be found in treasure chests or crafted from materials.
Skin Recipe: Skin recipes are only found in loot drops or treasure chests. They are usually the most rare item required to craft a skin so they tend to be quite valuable.
Materials: These are only found in loot drops or treasure chests and are required to craft a variety of goods such as Hero Gear and Skins. Each Early Access bundle contains enough materials to complete roughly 25% of the included Skin recipe.
9. Is this a Pay-to-Win game? What about Hero Gear?
Everything in Sins of a Dark Age (including Hero Gear) was designed to NOT be pay-to-win and it will never be a pay-to-win game. Here are some of the reasons why Hero Gear is not pay-to-win:
1. The total power that can be applied via out-game customization (e.g Hero Gear) ,which is primarily gated by level, is a controlled percentage of total in-game power and the game was balanced accordingly.
2. Everyone has the same number of attribute of points they can bring in (at a given level) and this is a larger fraction of the total out-game power so even if you aren't matched in Hero Gear you are still on roughly a level playing field.
3. Hero Gear power does not correspond with rarity. Higher power Gear tends to be more accessible (accessible in terms of rarity). Higher power gear tends to cost more Gear points to offset that power. Higher rarity Gear tends to be a more situationlly useful choice rather than strictly more powerful.
4. We want each piece of Hero Gear to be its own effect or mechanic not just slight variations that are more powerful or more efficient than one another. A player who is more invested might have a bit more flexibility but their numeric power should be equivalent to everyone else's.
5. Low level players are given handicap bonuses proportional to their level disadvantage so that people who have worked hard to level up and collect gear don't lose use of their attribute points and gear.
6. Finally, skill is a major factor. Higher skill should almost always trump lower skill regardless of power from Hero Gear or other out-game customization.
10. What are the initial testing and feedback goals?
Hero build viability (both in-game and meta-game)
Alternate Quest Reward Systems
Loot Reward system
Community Market integration
Server optimization and load testing
Client optimization and compatibility
11. How can the Steam Community help us during our development process?
The best way to help is to play the game regularly as this provides us with valuable gameplay data, performance data and stresses our systems. Sometimes the worst bugs are the ones that are difficult to reproduce. The more matches that are played the better our chances of finding and fixing them.
If you would like to be more involved we have two in-game buttons that allow you to provide feedback, ideas and report problems.
The Forums button takes you directly to the official forums which we monitor frequently. Periodically, we will copy certain types of reports to the public bug tracker on GitHub to improve our organization and work flow.
The Official Bug Report button takes you directly to our public facing bug tracker on GitHub where any player can view, edit and add issues. This system is great for the community as they can see what is going on and its great for us because we get a lot of crowd sourced data on what bugs exist and under what conditions they may occur.
12. Where are the Early Access servers located?
Early Access servers are located in West North America, East North America and Western Europe but we will add more geographic regions as our testing requires.
Thanks for considering Sins of a Dark Age Early Access. We hope to you see you online soon!