Dear METAPIXEL community, this is Daniel, Head of GSU Studio.
Are you missing Ragnadea after the test ended too? I still feel homesick for the GSU world where I met all of you. The GSU 2nd Community Test, which took place from July 6 to July 20, was filled with exciting and touching moments for me. As I recently shared on Twitter, due to your passion for playing GSU, we exceeded our internal goal for player retention by more than 60%.
Even though there are still many things to fix and improve in the game, players recorded an average playtime of over 5 hours per day, and countless testers have been sharing their experiences playing GSU across social media, for which I am extremely grateful.
Personally, I can definitively state that the time I am spending creating GSU with this amazing community is the most enjoyable and fulfilling experience in my entire game development career.
Today, based on the plentiful feedback all of you submitted after the test, I’d like to explain a number of things that the GSU team and I have been contemplating, and how we envision GSU evolving in the future.
Before diving into the explanation, there are some gameplay metrics I’d like to share with you.
Summary of Key Metrics During the Test
- Average playtime of all players: 5 hrs 32 mins / day
- Average playtime of top 100 players: 11 hrs 49 mins / day
- Average playtime of top 10% players: 8 hrs 50 mins / day
- Player with the highest average playtime: 18 hrs 15 mins / day (from Japan)
- Top 3 countries with the highest number of top 10% players: USA (1st) / Japan (2nd) / Russia (3rd)
- Total amount of gold issued: 136,995,590
- Total amount of gold circulated on the exchange: 159,534,015
- Gold circulation rate: 1.16 (in 2 weeks)
- Total amount of clan gold donations: 47,194,477 (34.4% of the total issued amount)
- Exchange fees (burned): 14,503,092 (10.6% of the issued amount)
- Number of times scammed (-99%) by Captain MJ: 59,918 times
One significant metric that I personally considered meaningful in this test was the gold circulation rate and the proportion of burned gold relative to circulation. These are some of the crucial indicators that contribute to creating the value of “Economy Ruled by Sound Money,” a concept we have been emphasizing since the beginning.
In-game economic indicators, which play a vital role for the players, will always be shared with the community, and we plan to make them available for everyone to access at any time in the near future!
Now, let me begin the article by covering the aspects I found particularly positive from the 2nd Community Test.
Impressive and Touching Moments
Intense Competition and Sportsmanship
I can’t forget the magnificent scenes I witnessed in the Chaos Field, where numerous players, including top clans, engaged in fierce battles to obtain the Tesseract.
However, in GSU, players didn’t treat each other solely as adversaries. After defeating the Chaos Field boss, everyone gathered outside the portal to share their experiences and pledge to improve for the next attempt, creating a sense of sportsmanship and good-natured rivalry.
What our team intended for the Chaos Field, you all brought to life.
I cannot overlook the story of the 16-player raid (Wind Corridor) that Nathan and I designed to challenge you all.
First of all, congratulations once again to The Wardens, who were the first to clear Wind Corridor. It was truly impressive!
There were many unintentional difficulties experienced by players during the raid due to numerous bugs, and even after bug fixes, many players found it to be of higher difficulty than expected.
Nevertheless, the way clans came together to support each other and persevered until the end left a lasting impression.
Cooperation and Proper Use of Strength
During the testing period, I experienced many touching moments, but one, in particular, stands out.
As many of you are aware, the Moonstone Cave became infamous during this test. For the first three days, a large number of players experienced constant deaths, and some even gave up on playing at this point. Nathan and I quickly recognized the severity of the issue and nerfed the enemies, but many players will still remember those agonizing moments.
As the influx of new players slowed down, I took on a role akin to a Sherpa, wandering around Moonstone Cave every night to help players who might be feeling frustrated.
One player, who had reached level 24, was wandering around the area, and when I asked, “What are you doing here?”, their response caught me off guard.
“When I passed through this place, it was so tough that I wanted to give up midway. But now that I’ve become stronger with the help of other players, I’m here to assist others who are struggling.”
I wanted to gift him an incredibly powerful item to express my admiration, but in accordance with the principle of neutrality, I just conveyed my gratitude, simply saying “You’re awesome,” and left.
Another moment that touched me was when quite a few players who had already cleared the 16-player Wind Corridor Raid decided to challenge it more than ten times to help those struggling to obtain the Bespoke Hoodie, which was a reward for clearing the ultimate challenge of this test.
Of course, this led to greatly increased costs for our team in producing Bespoke Hoodies but it’s a price we’re happy to pay.I thank everyone who made GSU not only a game to enjoy personally but also contributed to a positive community by helping one another.
Stronger, more experienced players assisting weaker players is a beautiful sight. It should be a source of pride and the foundation of our community.
I extend my praise to all players who make such moments possible.
Do you remember Captain MJ, who sold Lucky Coupons in Ragnadea? He is actually based on one of our Game Designers!
I can’t forget the sight of countless people shouting “IT’S A SCAMMMMMM!!” but still running towards him whenever there was a chance to get gold. Especially when Zyrick, one of our Idols, won the 1st Prize and experienced pure joy for a moment, only to be immediately caught by Raiden and Yellow Panther who compelled Zyrick to donate to the clan — that funny scene is still unforgettable, lmao.
Before shouting “IT’S A SCAMMMMMM!!,” remember the Web3 catchphrase -“DYOR”.
There were many touching and enjoyable moments like this, but at the same time, there were many issues that players brought up. Many mechanics and features didn’t work as intended, or even if they did, they didn’t lead to positive player experiences in many cases.
We would like to talk about what those issues were and how our team plans to improve them.
How We Are Going to Improve the Experience Going Forward
Among the areas where we failed and created negative experiences for players, the following points were the most commonly cited by players:
• Failure in creating smooth player progression
• Incorrectly designed game systems
• Inability to receive loot upon death in dungeons
• Tedious grinding in fields
• Class balance issues
• Unfairness in the Chaos Field
• Inconvenience and functional limitations of the Market
• Limitations in the clan system
• Limited options in crafting system
• Inflation of item values
• Fandom system
• Error-ridden 16-player Raids
Failure in creating smooth player progression
The Moonstone Cave mentioned earlier is a case-in-point. It provided a difficulty level where players couldn’t progress without forming a party with three other users while still early in their gameplay experience.
Additionally, the dungeon “The Goblin Looters” demanded more intricate gameplay and understanding for players, who were not yet familiar with the roles of each class at that point.
We wanted players to quickly experience cooperation and playing with others, but this was a misguided approach, and we agree that we need to change this in the future.
How to improve
We plan to make significant modifications to the early to mid-game progression to ensure that solo players can adapt to the game and not fall behind in their growth. Players will be able to enjoy playing on their own until they become familiar with GSU.
Incorrectly designed game systems
If you’ve played GSU, you’ll undoubtedly have thoughts about the now infamous “FP (Fatigue Points)” system. It indeed posed issues by imposing fatigue on players.
Particularly, situations where players were forced to leave dungeons due to crashes or network issues resulted in already consumed FP being wasted. Moreover, this led to other party members being impacted as well, being unable to clear the dungeon, resulting in the literal burning of everyone’s FP.
We apologize once again for the inconvenience caused by this and will address this issue.
How to improve
First, we plan to remove the entry restriction for the Rift. From now on, you won’t need FP to enter the Rift anymore! (However, there will be design restrictions in place to prevent botting).
Secondly, in cases of unintentional disconnects like crashes or network problems, players will be able to rejoin the game and continue their dungeon play. Furthermore, if party members leave midway, the party leader can invite friends, clan members, or other players to join the party and enter the dungeon.
In the future, the experience of being excluded from participating in Rift runs with friends or clan members due to the lack of FP will be just a memory!
Inability to receive loot upon death in dungeons
I apologize to the players for situations that were completely opposite to our intentions.
Frequently, even when participating in boss battles together, players found themselves in frustrating situations where they wouldn’t receive any dropped items if their character died unexpectedly before the boss was defeated, despite using FP to enter the fight, resulting in a waste of time and resources.
How to improve
We plan to improve this by implementing a contribution-based loot system for boss hunts, allowing players to receive items even if they die during the encounter, and they can loot the items upon resurrection.
No longer will brave players be punished in such situations!
Tedious grinding in fields
While the fields in GSU offer visually stunning experiences at first sight, the hunting experiences in these areas ended up becoming tedious.
Many players expected to hunt monsters in the fields, cooperate with other players, and engage in communication. However, field hunting became so tedious that players would just sit in front of dungeon entrances, shouting “NEED A TANK.”
The issue involved minimal experience gain along with repetitive actions, especially in quest-stalling areas, amplifying the sense of boredom.
How to improve
We plan to adjust the experience balance between dungeons and fields to allow leveling up without necessarily entering dungeons. Additionally, a variety of new content will be introduced based on individual hunting speed or overall field hunting speed.
Class balance issues
A significant portion of the feedback that many players helpfully provided on Discord was related to class balance. We acknowledge that we did fail in balancing, resulting in certain classes becoming overpowered and creating a snowball effect of disparities.
How to improve
We plan to adjust the balance between classes with consideration for battles in the Chaos Field, ensuring that there won’t be significant growth disparities between classes over time.
In particular, we will adjust the power balance of AoE skills, making it difficult for a single class to spam crowd control skills that render opponents completely helpless.
However, even with these adjustments, not all classes will be evenly matched in one-on-one situations. Depending on the skills and other factors, there may still be classes that have advantages or disadvantages against each other.
Unfairness in the Chaos Field
Due to the issue of the incorrect respawn time of the mini-boss in the first Chaos Field (Ugar), players’ initial Chaos Field experience was distorted, contrary to our intentions.
Furthermore, there was a problem with the risk and return mechanics, resulting in a lot of unfairness.
Players who achieved faster growth saw their risk level approach zero, while those trying to catch up and close the gap were left with only risks and no returns.
How to improve
Now, the Chaos Field will become a high-risk, high-return space. Anything obtained within the Chaos Field will not be owned by the player until they leave the Chaos Field.
If a player is killed by another player before escaping the Chaos Field, a portion of what they obtained within the Chaos Field will be distributed to the player who killed them.
This will require more group play than before, but it will also necessitate caution against bandits aiming to ambush returning groups.
Inconvenience and functional limitations of the marketplace
There were also many bugs and issues with inconvenient UX that were frequently mentioned in the feedback.
Additionally, the restrictions on the quantity of items for sale were very tight, and the acquisition/consumption balance of Topaz was not appropriate.
How to improve
We plan to overhaul the UX and allow users to track real-time price trends and trading volumes based on charts for major trading items. In addition, buyers will be able to intuitively see the market price and view the stacked selling quantities along with the asking price.
While there may still be room for improvement, our goal is to make it look more similar to exchanges like Binance or Coinbase in terms of functionality and polish!
Limitations in the clan system
Apart from donating gold to raise the ranking, clan activities were limited or non-existent.
Additionally, there were insufficient or lacking features for flexible clan management, such as granting clan master authority, handling new memberships, and departures.
In GSU, clans will play a crucial role. They sometimes trigger competition but also unite players into a community, providing support to those who are lost.
How to improve
We are planning to introduce features that allow clan leaders to manage member permissions. As the clan level increases, there will be benefits such as an increased maximum number of clan members.
Moreover, a clan-exclusive store will be added, where the list of items available for purchase will change based on individual contributions to the clan’s activities.
However, we do not plan to provide an alliance feature between clans, taking into consideration the impact on Chaos Field dynamics.
Limited options in crafting system
Apart from using dismantled weapons to produce potions, there were no other activities available for crafting.The process of creating additional value by dismantling acquired items is crucial for the in-game economic cycle.
How to improve
I want to introduce a wider variety of potion crafting and cooking. The produced food will be able to be sold through the Marketplace. Furthermore, an equipment crafting system will be added. Players will have the opportunity to craft their own equipment or create high-value equipment to sell to other players.
Inflation of item values
Gold being burned through trades helped control currency inflation, but there was a problem where valuable items were obtained more easily than expected, leading to a rapid decline in their relative value.
The value of precious items obtained through the player’s time and effort should be preserved as long as possible, as this is essential for maintaining a healthy economy in GSU, which relies on trading.
How to improve
We plan to adjust the drop balance and power balance of valuable-grade items to truly make them valuable. Additionally, we will revise the trade frequency limit and the number of times enchantments can be applied. Moreover, by expanding the crafting system mentioned earlier, we aim to maintain or even enhance the value of items.
We will tighten the item option pool and value calculation, allowing valuable items to be traded at higher prices than before.
The features were very limited, and it was not easy for Idols to communicate with their fans in-game.
We will be adding more engaging activities and benefits for Fans, not just functions like growing and shrinking.
How to improve
We plan to introduce more benefits that can be given to Fans when multiple Fans are logged in at the same time to amplify the feeling and benefits of being in a Fandom.
Error-ridden 16-player raids
There were too many bugs, and the balance was off in the 16-player raids.
In fact, Nathan and I only had about 5 days to design and implement the raid before the development deadline, which resulted in insufficient internal testing. We apologize once again for this.
How to improve
In the future, raids will be designed to provide challenging content for players who find Chaos Fields overwhelming, allowing them to obtain the Tesseract periodically. However, the available quantity will be limited compared to the Chaos Fields in light of the relative risks taken.
Moreover, we will conduct more thorough raid design and internal testing to ensure that you do not waste time or face frustration due to bugs. We will do our best to make it better.
Various bugs and inconveniences
Thank you once again to all the players who reported numerous bugs and inconveniences during the testing period.
Listing them all here is challenging, but to summarize the key points:
• Dungeon entry without fatigue points and the ability to resume from disconnection.
• Items still drop even if the player dies while fighting a boss.
• Class balance adjustments.
• Innovative improvements to the trade market.
• Addition of a clan-exclusive shop.
We understand that it’s not easy to incorporate all of your valuable feedback, although we have collected and considered every single piece of feedback provided, please rest assured that our team is doing its best to provide a better gaming experience.
The Next Step
We understand that many players are eagerly awaiting details about what’s next for GSU. Therefore, after extensive discussions with the Head of METAPIXEL Lucas, we would like to take this opportunity to unveil our next step.
We are planning a Premiere Launch in the 4th quarter of 2023.
The details of the Premiere Launch are as follows
• The Premiere Launch is not the same as the official global Public Release, which will come later
• The first Realm of GSU will open in Asia for the Premiere Launch (server will be located in Singapore), and will additionally become the official first realm of GSU when the Public Release takes place in the future.
• Game data will not be reset. All data will be preserved and carried over to the Public Release.
• No access restrictions. Anyone can play without the need for codes or permissions; all they need is to connect.
• People from outside Asia will be able to play, however due to the single server location please note the playing experience may not be ideal. (Please also note that access from certain regions might be difficult due to local regulations as well.)
• Various benefits, including Passes, will be provided. However, as it is not a Public Release, players will be able to use Passes for free without payment.
• Following the Premiere Launch, we expect a minimum period of several months before the Public Release.
The terms Premiere Launch and Public release are not final and may differ in the future.
We decided not to simply conduct another playtest because we did not want to delete the data again that you, the players, have put time and effort into playing under the pretext of testing.
Instead, we believe it is better to open the service for you to enjoy and make rapid improvements and adjustments based on your feedback, which will lead GSU in a better direction.
Nathan and I thought it would be more beneficial to start the process of meeting you all and exchanging opinions in the game as soon as possible.
However, we strongly believe that it is not appropriate to open a game with an unfinished level of quality and demand payment under the guise of Early Access or Soft Launch just to make money. Therefore, even if it takes several months, we want to create the game together with you and bridge it to the Public Release.
For these reasons, we have decided on the Premiere Launch and aim to prepare the next step as quickly as possible to meet you all again in the world of GSU before 2023 ends.
We will make sure to continuously share updates related to the Premiere Launch to the community.
Developing a game properly always involves engaging with the community, finding flaws, and continuously improving.
In fact, the development process of GSU has been the most challenging in my career in many ways. Integrating the new technology of blockchain into traditional game mechanisms and breaking the mold of Web3 games, especially the past focus on Play-to-Earn mechanics, added significant pressure to create an “enjoyable” game.
However, thanks to the support and feedback from the METAPIXEL and GSU community, and your willingness to point out our mistakes and provide valuable feedback, this arduous process has become enjoyable.
I want to express my gratitude to all members of the METAPIXEL and GSU community, as well as to all the players who have taken the time to play GSU and share their valuable feedback.