Wow, it's been a long time. I've been on a self imposed ban of the community side of things while focusing on Wastelands. Obviously we're way behind what I originally hoped, and that's mostly my fault. We were actually getting ready to start giving people access, but I look at what we had and I had to decide: patch things up and get it out there, or take things to the chopping block and gut/fix/improve things. I started to see so much potential and was excited. I was torn between wanting to share our work with the community and also not wanting to show it, because we needed to break things pretty badly to really take it to the next level.
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Obviously, the latter path was chosen. Despite expanding the scope of AirMech Wastelands, we didn't want to give up the idea of having connected accounts. This would lead to more work as the games diverged, but I feel it's worth it. But some things I'm really not sure how they will work, or what could be exploited. Kudos is an actual currency in Wastelands--you use it to buy and sell things in the vendor shops (it's an RPG really), and effectively replaces credits for building things. Imagine you're playing Diablo, and you take your loot back to town and can sell it for Kudos. Diamonds have a use too, and can be earned (but not farmed like crazy). Things that are Diamond only in Strike can be found as drops or unlocked in other ways in Wastelands. As a paid game, this makes sense, but having the accounts connected is equal parts excitement and worry for me.
The way we are going to start testing Wastelands is with a new test server. It's much smaller than the normal AirMech server, but should be fine for this. At Carbon we've been playing on this new server for the past few months mostly. Sometimes we'll check things on the live server, but we default to the test server. We started calling it the PTR server (public test realm) like Blizzard does, though for now there is no choice--the non-dev version of Wastelands for now can only connect to it.
Why? Two reasons--the first one being so we can wipe it fairly often. How often? Between a week and a month, it depends what we are doing. Back to having the connected account with AirMech Strike, it just isn't possible to wipe "just' the Wastelands data. The account really is a single thing that holds all your inventory, stats, unlocks, etc. If someone finds a way to completely break the economy, we need to work that out on the test server. We actually want you to break and exploit things on the test server! The second reason is so we can test starting from scratch, which new future players will experience. Existing players will have tons of stuff, though only some of it can be used--more on the way we gate progress later. I think once you start playing it will also be pretty obvious.
We're reaching out to players based on their status. Starting with Carbon VIPs and working down from there. I don't mean this to play favorites, we just need to get people in one by one at first before we activate the auto-unlocking. Hopefully a week from now we can turn that system on. This also means that the end of the Silver VIP to Wastelands access is nearing. I expect that one week after all Silver VIPs have Wastelands access we will end that. (so 2 weeks from now?)
There is still a LOT to do on Wastelands. But we've tried to focus on the things that are core to the game. Get the core systems in, work on the rule changes. Balance is the "easy" part after that. Fixing graphical issues even comes past that. This is why we will not be selling Wastelands at first. We want to let the AirMech superfans in to help finalize the direction the game takes as it comes into focus. We may even skip Early Access all together--that is a good system if you are looking for a way to make the game "work" for something like F2P, but since Wastelands is a paid game it's completely different. We've invested our own (and your) money into AirMech Strike and Wastelands. Since Wastelands is not F2P, it is something that we are making and finishing according to our vision. We hope you like it, but if it's not the type of game for you then that's also ok. I'm pretty confident existing players will enjoy it, and very sure than between Strike and Wastelands that everyone should be happy.
I mean, as long as you like mechs. :) We'll be seeing more and more of you on the PTR server soon in Wastelands! Remember that any players who previously paid something (anything) in Steam or PC AirMech will get Wastelands for free. You just click the "Wastelands" link from chat inside Strike and it will be automagically added to your Steam account. (we'll post again when it is open to all VIPs)