Dev Log: Being Community Obsessed
Happy 5-year Ornaversary to our amazing community! Us folks at Northern Forge would like to take this time to thank you for supporting our games – whether you’ve been here since the beginning or joined us last week – you’re part of the adventure no!
In the spirit of our festivities, today’s Dev Log is going to be dedicated to the most integral part of our studio: our community!
From the early beginnings of Orna, the community has been an integral part of the development process. There have been entire features built based on community suggestions, features reworked thanks to your feedback and whole heck of a lot of community members that have welcomed new players into the Ornaverse with kindness and helpfulness – eager to answer the famed “how do I walk in this game?”
One of our core beliefs is that we need to be constantly listening to our community when we make decisions for both of our titles: Orna: the GPS RPG and Hero of Aethric. We believe in this so much that we’ve made some changes to our studio website to put this core belief into writing.
Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is
“We are a studio obsessed with listening, reading feedback, and turning feedback into the best gaming experiences we can. We aren’t just community builders, we are community members.”
We believe that we’ve proven that these aren’t just words to us, it’s how we operate. We truly believe in player-centric development and know that there is immense potential within our community to provide feedback, suggestions and insights that will better our games.
For example, our upcoming H1 Balance Patch, launching next week, is only possible thanks to all the player feedback we received.
Balancing a multiplayer-RPG can be an immense challenge and these past few weeks have certainly proved that. So what did the process of creating this patch look like from the inside?
For starters, we looked at trends of general community feedback and assessed what were the most common complaints across the board. This initial data was taken over a long period of time and from all sources of player feedback across the web. Following this, we used in-game data to back-up certain claims and see if there were any areas that were of concern for game health.
This gave us a pretty good idea of what we were going to target. So we set out to develop some changes to address the problem areas. To be certain we didn’t miss any information; we also sent out a balance survey to our players to make sure they had every opportunity to have their voices heard before we set out to test our balance changes.
In this case, we saw that Realmshifters and Beowulf players were underperforming in certain content buckets. This led us to give them a touch more attention than other classes that were closer in overall output across all game content.
The Avidity changes (giving players more turns in combat) were added to Realmshifter to give them more power but also gain more of a class identity, while the Beowulf was given Bestial Bonds, a new system that gives players more of a connection with their pets, and hopefully leads to more pet variety across the board.
On the nerf end of things, we certainly heard loud and clear from the community that Summoners needed some changes due to their dominance in early tiers for PVE content, and the frustrating nature of opposing them in PVP play.
Then came the testing. Like most new features, we try to get them in the hands of the players before they release. For the balance patch, we received some great feedback from the community and had some pretty in-depth discussions within our Discord server with regards to the changes. We thank you for providing us this information, and we hope that we please most players when the balance patch launches next week!
The balance patch is just one example of how we extensively utilize our community to inform our design decisions. Over the years we have leaned on you, tried to offer you space to be heard and taken your feedback seriously when making changes to our games. We promise to continue on with this practice as we grow!
Get More Involved, Announcing the ORN
With another Ornaversary passing, we want to reflect on how we can continue to evolve as a studio while retaining the community engagement that makes us special. Just as we seek to constantly improve on our games, we always are seeking out ways to improve how we communicate with our players.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing more information on a new network called the “Orna Representative Network (ORN)”. This program will offer members access to any current Alpha and access to communicate with others with Alpha access (Translators, Patrons, etc). Various members of this group will represent each class line and provide Northern Forge with collated feedback on behalf of the community as a whole. Players will be able to put themselves forward as candidates to be voted on by community members and selected by the studio to participate in the program. Stay tuned for more information!
We as a studio can’t wait to start this collaborative journey and are looking to implement it soon after the current Beta period.
To the Best Community in Gaming!
We think our games are a testament to the power of listening to community feedback. By actively seeking and incorporating suggestions, we have transformed a unique concept into a thriving mobile game that captures the hearts of players worldwide!
We hope that we can inspire other game developers across the industry to follow in engaging with their communities, addressing concerns and fostering a player/developer sense of collaboration. When developers and players come together, extraordinary things can happen. We’d like to thank you for helping us create not just a game, but a shared journey.
Hope to see you for many Ornaversaries to come!
These (Final Horseman’s) Boots Were Made for Walking
For those of you who have read this far, we’re going to be leaving you with an additional tease to an upcoming feature that will be exclusive to Orna: the GPS RPG – The Traveler’s Guild!
As the summer months are approaching us in Canada, I can say full-heartedly that I cannot wait for this feature to be released. Expect news soon! #hype
Patch Notes – HoA v1.1.21/Orna: GPS v3.4.20
Hey Travelers and Heroes,
Purrly here with patch notes for our most recent game release – Patch 1.1.21 on Hero of Aethric and Patch 3.4.20 on Orna: the GPS RPG. We know we’re a little late on these notes but Purrly (I’m talking in third person now) was on vacation for a quick recharge, apologies folks!
This newest patch brings with it our seasonal content, another set of enemy resprites, as well as a new quality of life feature for Kingdoms – let’s dive in!
This patch added all May seasonal content to the game. The full-month event for May is The Plight of Apollyon, a great time for those looking for gear that allows attunement to specific elements in battle! This event has no questline associated with it, so there’s no quest NPC to locate. Instead, this is a raid-focused event, we hope you enjoy this change of pace!
If by chance you do miss chatting with NPCs, of Giants and Titans will be returning on May 10th. To start the event questline you can interact with Kaari. This event has 7 raids, 6 bosses and numerous world mobs to defeat. We certainly hope you got some Trev charms last month to help empower the powerful 2-handed weapons found in this gargantuan event!
Later in the month we’ll see the Return of the Phoenix event return! Build up your Bestiaries so you can grab the limited-time event pet that is a favourite amongst the community.
Lastly, May is the month we hold our Ornaversary celebrations! This year, our celebrations will be held in an Other Realm, where you’ll get to square off against the studio members. This will mark the first time Other Realms appears in Hero of Aethric – so we hope to see you there!
New Feature: Kingdom Member Benching
As discussed in our 2023 Roadmap, we are undergoing a full Kingdom system overhaul scheduled for later this year. For a more immediate solution to a common issue that players face with Kingdom gameplay, we have created a new feature called Benching.
Kingdom benching will allow Monarchs and Officers of Kingdoms to temporarily disable a Kingdom member from joining any activities within the Kingdom (Raids, Gauntlets and Wars). We know that life can get in the way of our gaming and we know that it doesn’t feel good to come back to a kingdom you’ve invested time in only to be kicked. This new feature will allow for members who need time away from the game to remain in their Kingdom without holding their team back from gauntlet/war completion.
To use this feature, any Monarch or Officer should open up their Kingdom roster > navigate to the player who will be benched > click on the player’s name > select bench.
We hope this can help player cooperation until we are able to complete the Kingdom system overhaul.
I wanted to tell a skeleton pun here but I just didn’t have the guts for it 🙂
Anyways… we’re reimagined all of the sprites for Balor related enemies in the game. We hope you enjoy these sprites as much as our pixel master Covyn enjoyed creating them.
New Sprite Pack: Balor Memories
Along with the resprite-ing of Balor enemies we dedicated this month’s sprite pack to the armies of the dead. If you’ve ever wanted to roleplay as the bad guys, now is your chance!
Bug Fixes and Misc Improvements
Some under the hood changes were made to improve game performance along with some bugs getting squashed. If you spot a bug in-game we would appreciate you reporting them by using the in-game help feature or via our Discord server(s).
That wraps up today’s patch notes. We look forward to an exciting month as we focus in on completing the upcoming balance patch, bringing Other Realms to Hero of Aethric, Ornaversary (with a fun twist this year) and many more surprises.
You’re Invited to the Crimson Festival!
To all Heroes and Travelers,
We hope this invitation finds you well, and we welcome you from far and wide to partake in The Crimson Festival!
Our main event for the month of April will see the transformation of a fan favourite “Cerus” raid and modernise it to fit better in the current event system. This time around, Cerus will be bringing a few friends to his festival – Perseus and Aries – ensuring this is a can’t miss event for members of every classline.
We’re giving more control to players than ever before, as the manner in which these raids will be accessed is going to work a little differently. For the entire month of April, players will be able to challenge Acolytes of Cerus, Perseus and Aries throughout the World and in Normal Dungeons. Upon defeating these Acolytes, you can acquire an “essence” of their leader. These essences can be combined with a summoning scroll at your Herbalist, which will allow you to access the specific raid you seek to defeat (and loot!)
The Crimson Festival brings with it 9 new monsters, 9 new raids and gear focused on follower power, status protection, status reflection and of course – critical hit chance! We hope you enjoy this return to form of a good old fashioned raid event!
Growing Pains (of Fomoria)
We’ll be open and honest here, Paths of Fomoria did not land with you all as we had hoped it would. With the creation of our new events this year, we are always trying to elevate and explore how players can experience gameplay in the Ornaverse.
For Paths of Formoria, we aimed to create an event that would force players back into their spell loadouts to try out things they might not have otherwise thought of and engage with buildcrafting outside of their comfort zone in a fun way… but in execution – these efforts led to most players feeling powerless and blocked from progression rather than excited to experiment with new builds.
We missed the mark and we know it! While we can’t guarentee our experimentation is done, we have certainly learned a lot from this event, and how we can improve event design in the future. When Paths of Fomoria returns, we’ll be doing some huge quality of life fixes to ensure it doesn’t feel like a blocker to your progression and we will for sure be including additional opt-in and more importantly opt-out options for you!
Only the Best for Cerus!
This past year has seen us experiment with new event types with varied success. From the codexing (and Godforgery) of Dragons, the linear progression of raids (and learning the meaning of too rare of drop) in RiftFall to the controlled boss summons of Of Giants and Titans, we’ve certainly been trying new things!
This month is our return to form as we’re taking what resonated best with the community from our new event design and incorporating a more classic event feel of the olden days! We know Cerus has always been a fan-favourite event and we hope that by the end of the month we can cement The Crimson Festival as an all-time best.
By giving you control in raid summons, having awesome farm-worthy gear and adding a dash of worldbuilding with the inclusion of world mobs – we hope you enjoy your battles in the great Crimson Festival!
State of Balance: H1 2023
In case you’ve missed it, balance has been a big community topic lately. It’s no surprise considering an entirely brand-new classline was released late last year, with 22 celestial classes following it last month.
As a reminder, we decided to hold off on any balance adjustments in Orna 3.4/Aethric 1.1 so that we could tackle additional balance concerns in the newer celestial content as well.
With conversations aplenty this time around, many members of the community have been sharing their experiences with, against, and alongside other classlines. This is great community banter, and we definitely encourage it (while productive), but has led to many difficulties getting our finger on the subjective pulse regarding game balance this time around.
For the 2023 H1 Balance & Mechanics Patch, we’ll be taking a much more objective approach – ensuring all classes are within a state that they can consume game content at an equal difficulty, but perhaps not all types of content as efficiently. This aligns with Orna’s baseline design choices, wherein:
- All classes should have equal viability for player progression
- Not all classes should be able to consume all types of content as efficiently (ie: dungeon clearing vs raid slaying vs horde content vs PvP)
- Some classes will trade damage for defensive options
- Some classes will trade defensive options for damage potential
To ensure we are at a state where we can meet these design goals, while remaining relatively objective, while leaving room for subjective experiences via player feedback, we’ve been hard at work at developing a new live metric – calculated with realtime player data – named the Class Content Score (CCS). The CCS allows us to grade character classes in a way that:
- Buckets class content performance by activity type (Dungeon vs PvP vs Raid damage limit reaching, etc)
- Applies studio determined weights to these buckets, depending on the importance of the particular content and reward
- Provides a final score (the CCS) for the class, tallied from the individual activity type scores
From here, we can apply a CCS target (for example, at 90% of the highest CCS value). This target value allows us to:
- Apply nerfs, where appropriate to the extreme outliers (for example, Summoners in PvP at the moment)
- Buff all other classes in specific areas to bring them to the desired CCS
- Increase base endgame difficulty to meet the new equalized CCS values
Of course, we’ve always used data to inform and back up our decisions — the CCS is a solely new, more intelligent, more realtime metric that will further improve our ability to look at classes holistically.
At this time, we have over 10 million samples of class performance activity across many different in-game activities. I believe this sample size gives us great opportunity to talk about, publicize, and justify the goals of any upcoming balance adjustments.
Where we’re at
Let’s take a moment to examine some of the larger offenders from an objective standpoint. This post will not go into further detail about any exact upcoming changes, but rather will establish the themes that we will be tackling.
Although specializations, followers, gear, and more are also within our realm of analysis, we’ll keep this document focused on top-level class data.
Tier 9: Overall Class Performance
For the most part, we see the base Tier 9 classes within the acceptable range of variance when looking at their ability to consume content. The Tier 9 Celestials then pull ahead, particularly due to their ability to clear Towers well, and the Summoner line’s current PvP prowess. If we dive into PvP, we do see Summoner’s pull ahead by a large margin.
Tier 9: PvP Class Performance
This theme of Summoners in PvP is well documented by the community, and does justify our goal of reducing some of its defensive abilities in PvP only. Remember, this patch will make some PvP and PvE separations:
Tier 9: PvE Class Performance
Looking at the PvE side, we do see less variance with class performance, with dungeon clearing as an example:
And Tower battles as well:
Tier 7/8: PvE Class Performance
In the middle tiers, we do see the summoner classline pull ahead in PvE, mainly due to their safety when raiding:
Tier 10 Class Performance
Looking at overall Tier 10 class performance, we do see some familiar trends.
Taking the lead on content performance, we are seeing a top 5 of: Gilgamesh Hercules, Beowulf Hydrus, Heretic Ara, Realmshifter Corvus, and Deity Ara.
And at the bottom, we are seeing the following classes beginning to greatly trail behind: Realmshifter Dorado, Grand Summoner Hydrus, Beowulf, Realmshifter
When looking at some PvE data, we do see a few of these classes begin to trail behind of the others, starting with dungeon clearing:
But, strangely enough, most classes are clearing Towers with little variance:
On the PvP offense side, we see less variance in the classes, but the Hydrus’s start to shine more:
And on the top end of PvP defense, we see the summoner classline’s true problem – it’s a nightmare to deal with!
The main, non-exhaustive list of goals with 2023’s balance patches are below. There will be many more changes, but the goal of this article is to highlight the higher level themes, based around the data above, intersected with player feedback.
- Bring down the summoner classline’s dominance in PvP (while keeping it viable in PvE)
- Bring down the summoner’s classline’s earlier dominance in PvE (without affecting its current T10 state)
- Reduce the interactions that can affect Ultima (ie: Bulwark, Elysian Balance), without affecting its mainstay purpose as an endgame, sought-after ability
- Further improve both Realmshifter and Beowulf’s abilities in PvE content
- Further improve some of the underperforming Celestial Classes (Realmshifter Dorado, Beowulf Auriga, Grand Summoner Hydrus, and so on…)
- Address the known balance issues with Titan Augments and Celestial Weapons
- Improve the one-shot meta in PvP areas that matter most (Kingdom wars), without affecting ability to farm the Arena
- Bring all character class’s CCS to levels in an acceptable level of variance
Patch 1.1 Notes
We are proud to present the patch notes for Hero of Aethric Patch 1.1: Towers of Olympia, which sees a brand-new endgame system, enemy aggression, an inventory system overhaul, a new daily quest system, brand new zone music and much, much more!
As always, we will be watching feedback from this patch and making adjustments as necessary. Join us on Discord if you’d like to provide feedback or find like-minded players to chat with! We’d love to shout out those who joined us during the beta and provided great feedback on this content!
Hero of Aethric Patch 1.1: Towers of Olympia
New Endgame System: Towers of Olympia
The titular addition to the game brings a brand-new form of content to T9 and T10 players. Loosely inspired by rogue-lite titles, this content will see Heroes ascending menacing towers in an attempt to reach the top and defeat the Titan who awaits your arrival.
Along your ascent, you will be collecting Tower Shards, a new currency that will unlock alternative classes, customizable celestial weapons and even the ability to construct a tower of your own! These new additions can change up your endgame playstyle, so think carefully before investing your shards!
To start the Towers of Olympia questline, meet Pelops in Lyonesse. You will need to have completed all available side quests (note: main side quests such as Arisen War not all NPC quests/Inn Quests) before talking to Pelops. Entering Towers will require a Tower Key, which will be provided to you upon receiving the quest. If you need another key, you can receive one by defeating a new enemy called a Tower Guardian – happy climbing, Heroes!
You’ll notice on the main menu that there is a new module labelled as Unfelled Recruitment. This option provides players a promo code that they can share with friends. When this code is used and the new player proves their Heroism, you will receive a point towards new sprite rewards! Please note, the promo codes are case sensitive!
Daily Quest System
You will notice the daily quest system is reworked and more focused. You will now have 5 main daily quests available to you, each offering a unique reward that will last until daily reset. These rewards include a bonus to gold earned, Orns earned, a daily luck bonus, a boost to movement speed and an XP bonus.
If you are looking for additional quests with item rewards, be sure to check out inns, town halls and NPCs to acquire more!
Until now, players were unable to venture forth into areas that were above their Tier. With our latest update, the fog that once covered up these areas has disappeared, and you can pass through to areas that are one Tier higher than your own. Careful though – enemies might prove too challenging for you (and might chase you out of the zone). This new addition does not include any T10 zones.
Inventory Management Overhaul
Inventory will now have additional management tools available to players, making it easy to sort, organize and use the loot you’ve farmed. To make sure you don’t accidentally lose out on quality gear, auto-dismantle settings will now be accessible from your item bag and the in-battle options menu.
New Zone Music
Brought to you by the composer of the OST from Orna: the GPS RPG, Micah McQueary is back with an entirely new album for Hero of Aethric. Micah has created unique themes for the regions across the game and we love the character it adds to our title. If you haven’t already, check out his YouTube channel.
The Benefactor Specialization
This update adds a summoner focused specialization that seeks to offer up their own strength to boost that of their summons. Did I mention they are receiving the first AOE summon ability? This specialization is unlockable at T9 and can help summoners through horde content.
Quality of Life
In addition to these new features, we’ve added many quality-of-life fixes to make journeying around Aethric more enjoyable!
– Current quest map markers – you will now see the general area you should be farming for your current main quest.
– Updated UI – The menu hub is now condensed to the bottom of your screen, making it easier to click the UI elements and leading to a snappier load time for menu pages.
– NPC Locations and Dungeon cooldown timers are now available through the World Map screen. Click the arrow key on the left side of the screen to view this information!
– Enemies will now spawn in a more uniform manner across zones, making farming enemies in all areas of the game more convenient.
– Kingdom quests can now be turned in by the Monarch and Officers.
– Kingdoms will now have a progress bar displayed on their main page to show level up progress.
– Quests that require a turn-in will now accept items of any quality!
– Draconians and Fomorians have received a resprite, moving their visual representation closer to their in-game lore!
This patch marks the beginning of Aethric’s long journey. As a live service game, we aim to continue to bring new content, features and quality of life fixes to the game for years to come. Thank you for all your support!
Dev Log: Roadmap 2023
Hey Heroes and Travelers!
It’s been awhile since we really opened the doors and let you in on what’s been cooking at the studio. While we’ve been heavily focused on the Towers of Olympia patch, we wanted to give you an outline of some of the bigger features we’re developing for both Orna: the GPS RPG and Hero of Aethric in 2023.
To give you a better sense of when these features are coming this year, we are going to be breaking this blog down by time periods: Now, Soon and Later. It’s important to note that while we’re setting out to accomplish these goals, game dev can have unexpected twists and turns. Keep in mind that anything we discuss may change in both timing and implementation over the development cycle.
With that out of the way, let’s dive in!
Daily Mission System Rework
In early 2023 we are going to recreate the daily mission system from the ground up.
In its current form, the system encourages you to find different types of monsters to defeat and you are rewarded with Orns, gold and experience. Often, we see that players don’t think that the current rewards are worth it, asking, ”why hunt for 10 of an enemy when a single boss will reward you more?”
We’re looking to motivate players to be excited to do their daily quests by making the rewards have more of an impact on your gameplay. To accomplish this we are changing both the type of daily quests that you will receive as well as the rewards they offer. Each daily quest you complete will now earn you a tiered reward, including a boost to experience, an increase to movement speed and more! Look forward to updates on this soon.
The Towers of Olympia
Our upcoming patch, named The Towers of Olympia, is our biggest content release yet! With 22 new alternative classes, 5 new superbosses, an overhaul to inventory management, huge quality of life fixes and more, we can’t wait for everyone to get the chance to play it.
The patch is currently in beta for our subscribers over on Patreon, but we will soon be opening this up for all players to test out! We are aiming to get this into the game in February, so there’s not much time left for players to wait to play the new content.
The biggest inclusion in this patch will be the titular Towers of Olympia. We have talked about this new type of dungeon in our previous blog post so today we will instead talk a little bit about what we learned while developing this.
Towers of Olympia is a great example of a system that can be adapted for both Orna and Aethric, utilizing the strengths of each title to engage with the gameplay in different ways.
In Orna, Towers is an opportunity to bring GPS gameplay back to the forefront. The excitement of walking through your city and discovering a tower is truly something special. Within Aethric, Towers brings an entirely new endgame zone and the opportunity to bring some visual lore to Olympia.
For the studio, it was a really great example of how each of our games can benefit from the other. Towers marks the first time that Orna: the GPS RPG players are able to move their character in-game via tapping rather than moving themselves in real life – something we would not have explored in Orna: GPS without the creation of Aethric.
It was Towers that proved the concept for us, but only late game players T9 and above will have access to these, leaving out a good portion of the player base. It was from seeing Towers in action for the first time that really gave us the confidence to explore a new gameplay system bringing us to the Soon™….
Towers of Olympia provided us with the framework to develop a new explorable dungeon type that could provide more immersion to the player.
It’s important to note that we are not aiming to take away from the ability to quickly and efficiently farm dungeons in their current state. Instead, we want to offer an alternative to dungeon play that has players feel a sense of exploration and mix up the gameplay with collection, battle and a touch of lore.
These new explorable dungeon types will have players collecting materials, fighting (or sneaking past) tough battles and seeing just how deep they can make it. Put on your mining gear and get ready for some spelunking later this year.
This one has been on our to-do list for quite some time (you can thank Covyn and Dangy for this). Pristine Weapons offer players the chance to receive a resprited variant of a weapon if it drops above 195% quality.
For the collectors among us, these Pristine weapons will serve as bragging rights and something you can show off with pride.
Chat System Rework
We aren’t shy about it, our chat system needs a bit of TLC. This is a system we aim to rebuild from the ground up, including real time chat notifications, badges and the inclusion of broadcasts – when a Pristine weapon is dropped, all players within the global chat will get to see and celebrate!
In addition to this, we hope to implement chat in a way that makes the game feel more alive. This includes chat bubbles appearing over the players head when in towns.
Additional Action Based Abilities
For those who want to get the most out of battle we’re looking to add an additional component to add a little more excitement to our battle system. It’s important to note that this feature is still very early in development.
Inspired by modern turn-based RPGs that implement a small additional active component to their battle systems. We want certain abilities to include a timing based reaction that will lead to bigger damage, higher % chance of status effect or provide mitigation for incoming attacks.
We’re going to be implementing this system in a way that brings a freshness to combat for those who seek it, while ensuring we don’t change the farming experience for those who would rather not engage with this system. We are players of the game and understand how the initial fear is how this will impact longer battles or efficient farming – these will be top of mind as we flesh out this new addition!
It’s time for Kingdoms to become a place where you can join in with your friends and work together to accomplish goals. We’re going to be reworking the Kingdom system from the ground up to feel a little less menu driven and have you interact with your Kingdom mates in new ways.
One of the ways we’re going to accomplish this is through Kingdom housing! We’re going to offer up Kingdoms a customizable area in which they can see and interact with Kingdom mates in real time. Which Kingdom will reign supreme as best home designers in the world? Only time will tell!
To truly give the feeling that you’re exploring the world alongside other players. We’re looking to implement live events throughout the lands of Aethric.
These events will see players alerted to a community goal that must be met in a particular zone. The players in that area will then have to accomplish a goal together in order to spawn a menacing boss that will take hundreds of players to take down.
Mounts & Trails
Speed and style is the name of the game here. It has been requested a lot since we launched Aethric and we’re happy to announce that mounts are coming to the game this year! We want to offer players a way to express themselves while also having the functionality of increased movement speed as you make your way through the lands of Aethric.
In addition to this we are launching cosmetic options that will add visual flair to the movement of your character. These player trails will also affect your waypoint markers bringing some more excitement to the player interface.
Everyone’s favourite gaming pastime will find its way to the Ornaverse later this year. We’re looking to create a system that focuses on both fun and functionality. Expect new mini-games that are closely linked to your goals from the main game, including the hunt for rare seeds within the new deep dungeons.
Keep it Coming
This list doesn’t cover everything we’ve got cooking for you at Northern Forge Studios. For instance, we’re looking ahead to create new monthly events as well as modernize some of the older ones. We’re aiming to create some new, high-quality merch so you can represent the Ornaverse. We’re revisiting base-game content and making sure to think of how we can revitalize and improve on what we’ve done in the past. Finally, we’re going to be creating follower sprites so that you can have the functionality of a Chimera, with the cuteness of a Dog.
Thanks for joining us on the journey so far, we’re excited to bring all of this and more to you in the new year!
- The Northern Forge team
Towers of Olympia: revealing the new endgame system for Orna and Hero of Aethric
Heroes and Travellers!
For the past few months we have been teasing a new endgame feature called: Towers of Olympia. If you’ve been hanging around the Discord channels recently, you may have noticed some puzzling reveals of upcoming bosses in our games.
Today, we’re going to be pulling back the curtains a little more on our upcoming patch: The Towers of Olympia and talk about how it will shake up the current endgame within the Ornaverse.
What are the Towers of Olympia?
Towers of Olympia is longform endgame content for T9 players and above that aims to take primary focus away from the current Ascension system of player investment. Players will climb daunting towers with the main goal of reaching the top and defeating the Titan that awaits them.
Taking inspiration from roguelite games, Towers are explorable zones that increase in difficulty the higher you climb. Tough battles, hidden treasures (including persistent buffs) and challenging puzzles will test the limits of your character builds like never before!
This increasing challenge stresses the risk/reward system, as you will lose half of your collected Tower Shards should you fall in battle during your climb. Sometimes, the better choice may be to descend the tower before reaching the Titan.
In Orna: the GPS RPG, Towers of Olympia will be primarily GPS focused content, with Origin Town play available through player investment. Hero of Aethric players will be able to find the location of the towers throughout the world while building their own in the ruins of Olympia.
Along the journey up the towers, players will collect a new currency called Tower Shards. These shards will serve as the currency you will spend in a new building called the Titan Workshop.
As Tower Shards will be difficult to obtain, how you choose to upgrade your character is up to you. Will you seek out a new upgradable Celestial Weapon, adorning it with pieces of defeated Titans? Or would you rather try out one of the new Celestial Classes, offering new ways to play for existing endgame players? You can also opt to spend Tower Shards to build a tower of your own!
The new content will offer players meaningful choices like never before!
What Else is Coming in Patch 3.4/1.1: The Towers of Olympia?
While the Towers of Olympia is the biggest focus of the update. Patch 3.4 (Orna: the GPS RPG) and Patch 1.1 (Hero of Aethric) are jam packed with more content. Here is a summary of what you can expect when the patch drops:
- Orna: The Fishing Hut
- a new currency, Corals can be collected through fishing and spent at the Fishing Hut
- Inventory Overhaul
- New inventory management tools have been added, making it easier to manage larger inventories
- Auto-dismantle options can now be found in the item bag and in-battle options
- Changes to reduce device processing power and RAM allocation
- The Benefactor Specialization
- A summon based specialization that transfers the summoners power into the summons
- All dungeon types can now be run in Horde mode
- Item quests now take any quality of item
- Berserk enemies are now denoted in-battle when on low graphics mode
- Any Kingdom quest can now be turned in by the Kingdom’s officers
- Graphical updates, bug fixes and more!
We are really excited to get to share more news about this with you and can’t wait to experience Towers of Olympia alongside you all when it releases. We are currently running an Alpha of this patch in Orna: the GPS RPG with Tier 3 Patrons and will soon be moving to Tier 2 Patrons. This will be followed by an Open Beta.
Alpha and Beta versions for Hero of Aethric will come in the upcoming weeks.
We will have more news to share on this release schedule so stay tuned to our Discord channel for more information.
- Orna: The Fishing Hut
Hero of Aethric: an Orna RPG Release Date Announced
Our next title – Hero of Aethric: an Orna RPG has an official release date – and you won’t have to wait long to start your adventure!
We plan on launching Hero of Aethric on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 in Early Access!We are so thankful for those of you who took part in the Alpha and Beta of our new title. We’ve loved seeing your reactions to exploring our game world for the first time and offering us invaluable feedback.
We have decided to release Hero of Aethric under Early Access so that we can continue to work with our community and implement feedback to create the best game we possibly can! In Early Access, players will be able to party up with their friends and experience the game from start to finish and yes, progress will carry over to the full launch!
As a live-service game we will be evolving the game world over time and can’t wait make this one of the greatest mobile RPG adventures out there! We’ll be supporting both of our titles moving forward, sharing events and content between them. However, since progression is tied to exploration in Aethric, your Orna: the GPS RPG progress will not carry over to Aethric.
Our next title will see players explore an in-game world hand crafted by the team at Northern Forge Studios. Those familiar with our first title, Orna: the GPS RPG should expect to find similarities in the combat and gameplay systems but a newfound sense of exploration within the bounds of an in-game world. From climbing the mountains of Jotunheim to exploring the depths of Balor we’re excited for more players to step foot into the lands of Aethric.
To seasoned Travelers who have played in the Ornaverse before, to first timers who are embarking on their first adventure with us, we can’t wait to grow this game alongside you!
– The Northern Forge Team
Hero of Aethric: An Orna RPG Closed Alpha Begins!
It’s been an exciting summer for Orna: the GPS RPG, with Dragons taking over in August and the introduction to Summoners of Elysium in the Riftfall event this month. We’re set to increase the spook-level in October thanks to the continued respriteification project from our pixel artist Covyn.
Did I mention this will include a new version of the Hallowed event? Get hyped for trick or treat season!
There’s been so much amazing Orna content that you may have forgotten that we have a new game coming out this year! Our studio would love to share some news about our upcoming title – Hero of Aethric: An Orna RPG…
We’re announcing that the Closed Alpha of our next project will be releasing this coming week. In fact…
Hero of Aethric Closed Alpha access will roll out to Tier 3 Patrons starting Monday, September 19th!
Patreon processing times can lead to a delay of up to 24 hours from the time of signing up to gaining access to the Alpha so please plan accordingly! Here’s a link to our Patreon in case you want to take part in this Alpha period.
We are really excited to get Hero of Aethric into the hands of players and can’t wait to see what you think of our next project. If you are unable to support us at the Tier 3 Patron level, we will be releasing the closed Alpha to Tier 2 Patrons in Mid-October, with a planned Open Beta available to players at a later date. More details on these opportunities are to come!
We can’t wait for travelers to set foot in the lands of Aethric for the first time! We’re looking for feedback on the project so if you haven’t already, make sure to join our Official Discord Channel to take part in the conversation.
Be sure to pre-register for the game on Google Play by following this link! See you in Aethric soon, Traveler.
A Message to Content Creators
For those of you who are interested in creating content during the Alpha period of Hero of Aethric, we are asking that you keep content within Tier 1 to Tier 5 gameplay (level 1-124). This way we can keep some surprises for players when the game officially launches!
Please note that we would appreciate mentioning that this is an Alpha version of the game within your content. Things will change and get refined on the path to launch but keep in mind there may be some rough edges during this Alpha gameplay reveal.
If you have any additional questions with regards to content creation, please reach out to Purrly on the official Aethric Discord.
It’s always going to be dangerous out there, take this!
Over the last few years, the world has collectively been figuring out how to exist during a global health crisis. For us at Northern Forge, we knew from early in the pandemic that we had a responsibility to keep our players safe. Since our game is GPS-based and requires players to get outside and experience the game, we knew this meant that we had to offer more for them to do in-game from the safety of their homes.
This led us to the implementation of the buff you see on your Events tab called “It’s Definitely Still Dangerous Out There” – which gives players increased Orns earned and offers reduced Gauntlet cooldowns so that playing from the comfort of your home was made easier.
We’ve watched other games remove their pandemic related changes, and have found it to be unfair. These changes have been the norm for many players; we believe that players should be able to enjoy Orna the way they want to play, and for many players, the removal of the “Dangerous” buff would drastically change the way they’ve come to experience Orna.
We’ve decided that we will be keeping this buff enabled permanently and making it the new normal of Orna.
This means that you will no longer see the buff in the Events tab or on your buff panel but will instead just be merged into the game as the standard experience. We believe that players should be able to enjoy Orna their way and for many, the removal of this buff would drastically change the way they experience Orna. With the addition of Memory Hunts and other upcoming GPS features, we are confident that Orna can keep its identity as a GPS game while also allowing those who cannot or prefer not to move around to enjoy the game as well.
We’ve got a lot of great things coming for our players over the next few months. With Hero of Aethric inching closer to release, a brand-new class line, and the new endgame content: Towers of Olympia, we’re excited to keep growing the Ornaverse alongside you, Traveler.