Testlive Update (24.08.2018) - Pet system changes and additional fixes

Posted on August 24th, 2018 02:10 PM EST
We want to thank everyone for their feedback from our recent TestLive testing and we'd like to chime in with a few thoughts on what's going to happen with the Pets and Feeding systems moving forwards. This is going to be pretty candid, but here we go!

We are deploying a new TestLive version today that includes, among many others, the following fixes:
  • Pet feeding amounts are dramatically reduced.
  • Unattended time to death for companions is dramatically extended.
  • Food decays slowly in feeding/pet related containers.
  • Fish traps won't require bait to operate.

The current numbers are very crude, early, numbers that in retrospect shouldn’t have made it to TestLive. We apologize for even putting them in front of you in their current state. More so, the system itself also needs tweaks that we should have implemented internally before considering it ready for public consumption.

TestLive is a testing bed, in some cases more than others, and it will naturally end up with early and badly tuned data at some points. Internally we have to focus on the mechanics and try to predict the dynamics of the game, but ultimately certain features need a larger magnitude of testing and for that, we need your help. This means dealing with broken game states when playing in TestLive, at least temporarily.

That being said, we want to make it very clear that your frustration about the system as it is in TestLive right now is justified and understandable. We are working as fast as we can to bring TestLive to a point where we can all focus on providing and obtaining constructive and actionable feedback about the new content.

To get a little deeper, it is not the design intention to add extra grinding mechanisms to the game. The game already has enough grinding/time submission mechanisms. We do not consider it necessary to increase the amount of time you have to spend gathering.

What we'd like to add is more nuance to certain systems, a minimum level of flavor and immersion and to address certain technical needs regarding the number of companions a server can feasibly handle. When looking at pets and thralls specifically we'd like to give you rewarding options tied to their large cultural variety and the extensive cooking system. Keyword there being options.

We are rolling out several changes to TestLive to create a better representation of what we'd like to call our Iteration 0 of the system as we envisioned it.

The following is a more detailed list of the updates that will roll out and those that we are still working on.

Updates to the feeding system:
  • The amount of food required to sustain a thrall/pet will go down dramatically. We'd like to point out that this number is still very prone to tweaking and would love to hear your feedback on it. To reiterate, the objective is nuance and flavor, not grinding. The numbers we are working at the moment come from our data and expectations on the amount of excess materials produced through normal gameplay.
  • The amount of time a companion can go on without eating, from fully fed to hungry, will be 7 days.
  • Companions will be able to eat pretty much anything that's even remotely edible. Please see below for more upcoming changes related with companion diets.
  • Food dispensers (Thrall Pot and Feedbox) will push smaller amounts of food to each companion before moving onto the next companion. The net result of this is that all your companions will be more equally fed and you'll need smaller amounts of food to reach them all.

Updates to the pet system:
  • Rearing pets will cost less food resources. This includes Shadespiced food which is enhanced food that increases the chance of rearing a Greater pet.
  • Pet eggs will hatch faster.
  • Pens will be able to rear multiple pets at the same time.
  • Pet health values will be set to sensible baseline values (in general, larger than they were).
  • The thrall hitpoint bug is now fixed. As a reminder, we had also doubled thrall hitpoints across the board prior to this version, though that was impossible to see when your thrall health was buggy.
  • Food will decay very slowly when placed in pet Pens. The higher the tier of the pen, the slower it will decay.
  • Food will also decay very slowly when placed in food dispensers.
  • Preservation box's inventory space will be increased. Also, food will not decay in them, if there's ice in the box.

The fish trap changes are another mechanic that has raised concerns of grind vs necessity. We are rolling out the following updates:
  • All fish traps will return to operate like they did before, where they will not require bait to passively generate fish over time.
  • We have added the ability to use bait to force a specific result. For example, if you want Unappetizing Fish, you can force that outcome with insects. Grubs will catch Exotic Fish. No bait means you get a random fish, which is the way they work in the Live servers.

There is a number of known bugs that we are aware of and are already working on:
  • Food timers can display incorrectly on dedicated servers, including going into negative values. This problem does not exist in Single Player mode.
  • Icons in the feeding list display a placeholder instead of the portrait of the companion.
  • Food dispensers can sometimes feed hostile companions.
  • Companions will continue to be fed even after leaving the range of the food dispenser.

Work continues in the systems themselves. These are changes that are in the pipe but won't be in the very next TestLive patch. They will come to TestLive soon(tm)** :
  • There will be server options to enable/disable the feeding system separately for thralls and pets. There will also be server config parameters to adjust other aspects of the system, including if your companions should die when they are hungry or only be reduced in health. This means your server can adjust the system to a level of commitment/consequence that you want, including disabling it entirely.
  • If you match thrall's preferred diet, they will gain a bonus buff. This way, if you do care about the specifics of each companion type, you can get a temporary short-term advantage. You can still feed them whatever you want to prevent them from decaying. This also means you can buff your companions right before battle. A server setting (disabled by default) will allow you to make diet matching mandatory if that's what you prefer.

These are just some of the new upcoming tweaks and features, but it's by no means a comprehensive or closed list. We urge you to please try the changes with fresh eyes and come back to us with your feedback.

Additional changes
  • Thralls should now spawn with the correct health
  • Pets of the same species no longer recognize each other as cousins and will now deal damage to each other
  • Collision update to the walls inside Reinforced Animal Pen
  • The camera should now behave as intended when summoning Jhebbal Sag
  • Acheronian Longsword, Spear and War-Axe should no longer be more powerful than Star Metal equivalents
  • Updated pet health so Greater Pets are stronger than normal pets
  • Grove of Jhebbal Sag should now disappear when making True Name of Jhebbal Sag
  • Fixed Corrupted Spiders so they're not killed in one hit with Star Metal Greatsword
  • Clan Message of the Day can now be navigated to with a controller
  • Dung weighs 2 units instead of 50
  • Updated surface swimming to work with a glowstick
  • Fixed a bug where Star Metal Pickaxe cost 0 points to unlock
  • Adjusted panter pet rearing time
  • You should now be able to change fuel type with a controller
  • Bosses should now spawn as intended in the Midnight Grove
  • Pet pens now produce items if pets in it are given their favorite food
  • Fixed a bug where the camera would rotate 90 degree when enterint the Midnight Grove from the Main Menu
  • Avatar Lifetime option is no longer missing in a single-player game
  • Fixed an issue where the clan member sub-menu wouldn't appear on a 4K monitor
  • Carpets should now disappear when foundations are destroyed
  • Fixed a bug where the Avatar of Jhebbal Sag wouldn't appear after summoning
  • Fixed an exploit where players could push themselves under the map using ceilings and climbing
  • Fixed a bug where the UI would disappear for the host of a co-op session when a client summons an avatar
  • Fixed a bug in the "Food time left" counter, causing it to skip five seconds every 10 seconds

Server commands

Private server admins should be aware of the following:
  • StarvationDamagePenaltyCap=0.000000 should be replaced with StarvationDamagePenaltyCap=1.000000. Instead of going down to 0% then thralls can go down to 100% health when they starve
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