Alpha Test 2 Recap and Thoughts

Our second Closed Alpha test has wrapped up. Here's a few quick stats for your perusal:

  • Total participating players: 116
  • Total time played: 520 hours
  • Avg time per player: 4.5 hours
  • Total Alpha participants to date: 228
  • Runemage max level characters: 28
  • Player with most time played: Bloodrhen with 38.2 hours played total *
  • Peak concurrent players: 38

* I forgot to reset the time played individually before the test, so this is the player who has played the most time total since the Alpha began.

A few lessons learned this time around:

24 hours might not be enough after all

So during the last test, which was 48 hours long, we noticed a pretty big dropoff in participation in terms of hourly concurrent players after the first 24 hours of the test. Since it's a larger burden on the staff to keep the test running for longer periods of time right now, I took that to mean that a 24 hour test would be sufficient. However, looking at these stats, I think that may have been a mistake. The total participating players went down from 189 to 116, which is a pretty big drop. Some of that is likely due to testing fatigue, but I think a lot of people probably just couldn't fit it into their schedule since the period was shorter. So I think going forward, we will be going back to 48-hour long tests.

We did have much more consistent concurrent player numbers, though, for longer periods of time during this test. Peaking at around 38 concurrents out of a total available pool of 250 is actually pretty high -- a good rule of thumb is usually that you will peak at around 10% of your active userbase.

Concurrent users were about the same, average time played was up

The other interesting thing to note is that we had about the same peak concurrents as last test, and the average time per player actually went up. I think what that means is that there is a core group of 20-30 players who are going to play a really, really long time every test. Then the rest of the testing pool will log in for shorter periods if it works for their schedule. So by cutting the test down to 24 hours, a higher percentage of the test participants were made up of that core group, raising up the average time per player, while we left a lot of the other parts of the testing pool out, decreasing the total participation count. That's one take, anyway :-).

General Thoughts

In general, I'm still really happy with how the Alpha tests are going. We are getting a great overall participation rate, with now 90%+ of all eligible players having had a chance to play the game at least once since the Alpha began. It's also nice to see that 28 people got their Runemage to max level -- in fact that's kind of crazy considering only 17 people got there during the last test which was half as long. Our new XP formula may be helping with that for sure.

There was a lot of feedback on the forums about the Runemage difficulty curve for learning spells, and we'll be addressing that in a future update to change some things up, mostly related to making it easier to practice the spells and know what you should be doing, and how close you are/aren't getting when you succeed/miss on a spell. Although we won't be lowering the overall difficulty of casting the spells, we do want to make it easier to get better at casting them.

What's Next?

The next Closed Alpha test will be Friday, May 19th beginning at 8 AM US Central Time, and lasting for approximately 48 hours.

Our focus for the next test will be:

  • The prototype of Player Trading
  • A re-worked loot system that favors giving you loot based on the class you are actively playing.
  • Some small changes to the Runemage to aid in practicing, although the largest changes to that will come later.
  • A complete re-work of the Warrior class.
  • A complete re-work of the Musketeer class.
  • Fixing bugs related to "jittering" and network latency issues.
  • Plus of course a full helping of bug fixes and general improvements.

See you then!

Riley Dutton

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