Greetings, Riders! I am Kyu Il No, the development director for Riders of Icarus. In today's blog, I will discuss the features that are currently in development folloing Phase 3 of the Closed Beta test and what is in store for future content updates. In those future updates, we will add level cap increases, new regions, mass raid bosses, new PVP-only regions and the Familiar Farm.
OPEN BETA BEGINS JULY 6TH
Through all of the phases of the Closed Beta, we were able to implement significant improvements to prepare for Open Beta on July 6 so you can have the best possible experience. These improvements include better tutorials, new controls, reducing the penalties for tempering (or item enhancement) and fine-tuning the content to make the gameplay of Riders of Icarus more immersive.
INCREASING THE LEVEL CAP
When Open Beta launches on July 6, the max level attainable will be level 25, and we plan to increase the level cap to 35 in the following update, coming later in July. Currently, we are working on fine-tuning all of the content that will come with the level 35 cap increase.
NEW REGIONS, DUNGEONS, AND MOUNTS
Coming this July, Parna's Coast is a snow-covered zone for levels 25 through 35. It's about as big as the Hakanas Highlands, and it focuses mostly on ground combat, though it provides areas where you can enjoy aerial combat as well. Permeating throughout Parna’s Coast is an occurrence known as "Parna’s Frost", which affects the movement speed of familiars from other regions. Native familiars of Parna's Coast are well adjusted to the cold weather and are resistant against it, so it's a good idea to tame a new familiar when you first reach Parna's Coast.
Cavern of the Veil
This is a place in Parna's Coast where the Merumi zealots who worship Radan reside. It's a dreamy and gigantic underground cave that contains a Merumi temple guarded tightly by the Templars.
The Frost Keep
This is the stronghold of the Frost Guard and their leader, Rondo, who abducted Princess Lania. This keep is as lifeless and barren as Rondo's frozen heart.
Additional Regions to Explore
We’ll continue to add new regions with future updates. Some of the upcoming regions include:
- Akrat, a plain containing exotic animals
- Cloying Wastes, a desert region
- Ellora Sanctuary, a forest with beautiful waterfalls
- Tritael Rift, an aerial region
Each region in Riders of Icarus has its own distinctive ecosystem as well as unique dungeons and familiars.
Every new zone comes with new familiars: You’ll see the Pegasi and other flying mounts protecting Tritael Rift. Griffins and the legendary golden bat fly above the Cloying Wastes. Ellora Sanctuary is the land of the legendary Torkai, and many cute familiars can be discovered throughout Akrat. You’ll have a chance to tame them all and many more as you explore the expansive zones in Riders of Icarus.
WHAT IS TO COME FOR PVP
We are preparing to introduce the PvP Battlefield system in the coming months, which will include not only PvP elements, but PvE as well. Competing teams will be placed on opposite ends of the map, with PVE elements such as a boss and other monsters in the middle. While the competing teams are hunting monsters, they will eventually collide and PvP and PvE will blend together organically. Your team will need to balance attacking the boss and fending off any other teams who will try to steal your kill. The victor and the defeated will be determined by comparing the team scores.
The automatic matching system will pair teams by using past performances. We are also looking into an inter-server match system. Additionally, there will be a ranking system that identifies the high score; top players will be rewarded accordingly. Since this is still in design phase, we look forward to your feedback and suggestions!
Exarahn Badlands will be a PVP only region you can enter if you’ve reached level 25 and higher.In the dark Exarahn Badlands, all other Riders that are not in your party or guild are considered enemies, so Riders must fight for their survival. Here you can come across ancient familiars that are now extinct within Hakanas, and rare items that disappeared long ago.
As you can tell by the atmosphere, there are many dark-themed familiars. They have a distinct look and boost attributes closely related to PVP combat, so they are highly sought after.
In Riders of Icarus, guilds that are level 3 or higher will be able to form an Alliance. This allows channeling between different guilds, and will enable them to wage war against other Alliances.
Guild battles will be carried out in the Exarahn Badlands every week to distinguish the best PvP players in that region. In the early levels, this will be a server-exclusive battle, to find the strongest guild for each server. In later levels, players will participate in a cross-server battle, in which all players from one server will work together in an attempt to conquer the other servers. The winning group will receive a server-wide buff that will last for a week.
NEW GAMEPLAY FEATURES FOR MOUNTS
Using the points you gathered through activities, you can grow or temporarily buff your familiars by placing them in the Familiar Farm.
We will also soon introduce a featured event called the Familiar Race. During the race you’ll be presented with the opportunity to interfere with other players, and use your skills to gain an advantage. More details on the Familiar Race will be shared in an upcoming blog.
FOCUSING ON FREE TO PLAY
As we prepare Riders of Icarus for release, the team has focused on tailoring the game to the western audience. Our primary goal with this release is to allow players to enjoy the core game without spending money, and to provide a satisfying experience when players chose to spend. We aimed to achieve that goal in three ways:
- Substantially expand the opportunities for players to earn Elluns, the premium currency, via gameplay
- Lower the costs and penalties for upgrading equipment through tempering or, at some levels, completely remove the penalties
- Overhaul the items available in Ellora’s Shop (the in-game cash shop) so that the items for sale in western regions would not provide a competitive advantage that cannot be achieved through gameplay
Riders will use Elluns to buy items in Ellora’s Shop, item tempering insurance, familiar slot expansion and more. In addition to purchasing Elluns, you can earn them through both in-game missions and achievements. When expanding the ways in which missions and achievements would provide Elluns, we wanted to ensure they would be a part of the natural flow of playing the game so you would find the missions engaging and not a chore.
During Open Beta, dedicated Riders of Icarus players can earn up to 250 free Elluns ($25 value) each month, and nearly 600 free Elluns ($60 value) through one-time achievements. The ways in which Elluns can be obtained through gameplay will continue to be expanded as we release new content in the future.
As always, we are looking for player feedback on everything we do, and will use it to help us shape the game. For example, since Closed Beta testing, we’ve increased the number of free familiar slots to 11 based on requests from players. Throughout Open Beta, we’ll be examining other costs, including dungeon resets and releasing a familiar. As you play, please leave your thoughts on Ellun costs and other gameplay in our forums.
EQUIPMENT TEMPERING IN NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE
Tempering allows players to upgrade their equipment stats in Riders of Icarus. Players will temper their gear throughout the game, but you will primarily use tempering in the endgame, where you can increase your equipment’s performance to defeat the game’s most difficult challenges. In previous releases, this system had harsh and punishing penalties as the item level increased, up to even item destruction. We understand that these experiences can lessen the enjoyment for players, so our team decided to completely remove the item level reset and item destruction penalties in tempering.
The Ellun cost curve was also adjusted so that all players could wield upgraded weapons with the Elluns that they earn through gameplay. We’ve also lowered the chance to fail tempering to level 10, which is many levels later than before. Dedicated players can put in more hours to get their weapons to the maximum, but the focus was to make tempering optional and more accessible to all players as well.
ELLORA'S SHOP CURATED FOR STYLE AND CONVENIENCE
We evaluated Ellora’s Shop to address items that could provide a competitive advantage that cannot be overcome through playing the game. We either removed those items or reduced the stats on the equipment to 90% of what players can find through gameplay.
We also looked at costs and priced items in the Shop at or below the amount of Elluns a player can earn in a month via gameplay alone. There are some NX packages that include items such as bags, but players will also be able to obtain those items through missions as well as through Ellora’s Shop.
Those are just some of the changes we made to Ellora’s Shop. Unlike other territories, the character costumes in the North American and Europe Riders of Icarus release will not have bonus stats attached, and they are permanent instead of being duration-based.
On that topic, new skins for your familiars don’t just change the look of your mount or pet. They can provide speed and health boosts. True to our Free-to-Play philosophy, familiar skins will be available in Ellora’s Shop as well as through gameplay.
Health, Mana and Tempering Success Chance Increase potions are available and priced between 1 and 5 Ellun. We’ve moved Talismans—items that provide buffs for the first 60 days— to the Founder’s Pack exclusively.
Premium service is for players who are short on time. It increases the rewards such as XP that are earned through gameplay, but you must still play the game in order to take advantage of the rewards. While it may accelerate the path to higher levels and challenges, any player using the premium service will still need the skill to best those challenges.
Ellora’s Shop does have Lucky Boxes. For this North American and Europe release, we reduced the amount of items available in the Lucky Box in order to allow you greater chance to get an item that you want. We’ve also introduced the option to break down familiar skins into Lucky Coins so you can purchase the exact familiar skin you they want. All of the skins found in the Lucky Box are available in the Lucky Coin shop.
On a final note, PvP players may see innocuous advantages like a small health boost as mandatory to be competitive. The Riders of Icarus team is dedicated to introducing a balanced PvP experience that will delight our players without being effected by how much a player spends.
EVER EVOLVING RIDERS OF ICARUS
We wanted to improve the Riders of Icarus experience to be more in-line with what players in North America and Europe want out of a Free-to-Play game. Through those three methods—increasing access to free Elluns, improving the tempering system and overhauling the cash shop—we believe we are achieving that goal. We want to continue work together with you to improve the game, so please leave your feedback in our forums once you’re able to play the game come Head Start on June 29th and Open Beta July 6th.
We hope you will appreciate our efforts in globalizing and reshaping the game, and are excited by all the content updates coming in the future.