In approximately 4 days, Conquest! will be officially released on the Android and iOS stores. I delivered my final builds today, albeit not without some minor bugs, and they are queued up and ready to go. I don't want to take the chance of resubmitting because Monday is a US holiday and I want to release Wednesday @ 8am CST sharp. They are minor formatting issues, so it can wait until the first patch.
I have already created the configuration files for the server which has new names for: Artifact locations (based on some of the great beta testers Conquest! has had), heroes, the secret city, and the secret component. Once the game launches all players will be wiped and it will start with a lone player in the game.
I started a version 2.0 list on the forums, based on work Krees and I have discussed as well as player feedback during the beta. I don't have a timeline for a release; it will largely depend on how well version 1.0 does.
This week saw many changes to the server, some based on my observations during beta. The NPC hordes now scale based on a player's level: 1-3 = 50%, 4-5 = 75%, 6-7 = 100% and 8+ 125%. This should make it easier for new players to establish a footing and makes fighting them much more predictable.
Aeolous cast an Alter-Reality (AR) spell and it was a great test; AR randomly assigns a class and level for all players. Unfortunately, it revealed several issues. All combat broke (formation bug again) but I was able to get that resolved. The larger problem was a flaw in the spell itself. Since promotions are based on percentage of land controlled and AR didn't alter that many people were demoted each season, since they had level 2 or 3 land but were made level 5 or higher. This was not an issue before last year as the game would simply "create" land so you were not demoted.
Now AR only modifies a player's class, levels remain the same. It may not be as interesting as before but it's better than having everyone in a constant state of demotion until they return to the appropriate level.
There were several quality of life improvements as well. I added a push notification for movement points earned every 15 minutes. This was actually very simple and left me wondering why I didn't add it sooner. Additional improvements included a message if you have already promoted this season, transfer all failing mid-way due to insufficient MPs, and adding the level abilities are unlocked to the Book of Skills.
I also removed an odd game mechanic where spies didn't show signature troops. I've long forgotten the original purpose behind this but when you are attacking surprises are never good (the troops are shown when you attack). Similar to fixing the horde size, this should make battles more predictable.
Over changes included overhauling the code for invasions to make it more consistent not only in terms of the movement point cost but also how it works behind the scenes. Originally it was calling the commands for sail, engage, and attack as if the player initiated them. This made for some redundant checks and duplication of code. With the overhaul, the functions are called (not the commands).
To further increase the diversity of the player classes, the odds of success for questing for signature troops and praying at the church is now based on player class. For Barbarians, the odds are affected by the ratio of battles won to battles lost. For Vampires, it is based on the time of day (the closer to midnight the better). All other classes use honor, but to a varying degree (Clerics require more than Mages). Finally, there were changes to many of the in-game messages to make them more consistent.
Overall a very busy and very good week. I'm really looking forward to the next "debut" of Conquest! June 1.
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James has been working on Conquest! since 1993.