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