After a hiatus that lasted for almost a full year we are excited to announce that the Phoenix will rise once more.
Internally we had decided at some point in 2019 what we would do in case the population dips below a critical point: we would either shut down or try a relaunch with seasons. Once early 2020 rolled around we were rather close to following through with that, however, the first Covid lock downs changed everything.
Then again in early summer 2021 we started to creep up on the critical point, once again internal discussions happened and we again affirmed the decision to do seasons if we relaunch. Tests were underway, like the invader/defender RR reset event, and only a handful of changes, namely the PvE scaling (quick aside, pve scaling has since been dropped) and the style changes, were supposed to be tested before the announcement.
However, once all preparations were done, other servers were on the horizon and as the grass is always greener on the other side, the sentiment at the time made a relaunch - especially a controversial one with seasons - untenable and hence we decided to shut down instead.
As for the reasons on why we should do seasons, shortly after the final affirmation we publicly talked about the freeshard lifecycle with subtle and not so subtle hints towards seasons.
To quickly summarize: The launch hype brings the initial population, from then on the player loss without "something new", advertisement or external events is inevitable, "something new" is always dangerous in case of freeshards for old games.
Seasons are the only realistic option for freeshards to not only deal with but to actually embrace the freeshard lifecycle.
The alternative would have been to just do a normal relaunch and hope for some miracle to not end up languishing with a small population after at most a year with the option to shut down or to relaunch again, effectively doing seasons without telling anyone you're doing seasons.
Season 2 will launch with certain game aspects and zones being time gated, the unlocks will happen on a fixed time schedule and this schedule will be made public before the launch.
Aside from the scheduled changes outlined in the timeline, only bug fixes, events and realm task experiments will happen within a season.
The exact date will be announced at least 6 weeks in advance. While January is our expectation, there is a chance that it will still happen in 2022.
At this time we haven’t fully decided on the entire setting yet, however, our plan is to take the 2021 Phoenix setting and provide a more cohesive experience tailored to the season duration. A big part of that will be an overhaul of the itemization, systems and currencies.
To explicitly call out a couple major points:
You can expect a more detailed announcement at a later time.
While the full timeline will be published later, here 2 highlights that will have a big impact early on:
1) Spellcrafting can be skilled but can’t improve items until 14 days after launch.
Two reasons to do this at all: on the one hand this is to give people a taste what rvr feels like without perfect templates all the time on both sides. On the other hand it’s to allow people to enjoy the early rvr days without forcing themselves to do craft marathons right away.
It’s only for 14 days as SC is what underpins the whole daoc crafting system, pretty much only alchemy will be useful until SC unlocks.
The reason to allow skilling it beforehand is so that people can still skill it at their leisure.
2) Assassins and Archer can’t receive XP or RP at all until 30 days after launch, effectively disabling them until then.
This allows you to create the character beforehand and hence save the name etc.
The reason is literally genuine curiosity what the effects of no stealthers are, especially on small man / solos, while still having them later on.
Some measures to curb the snowballing early on will be another part of the scheduled changes.
The launch will happen mid week with rvr zones not unlocking until the first weekend. Our PvE instance, DS and HoH, won’t be available until some time after launch either.
The RR cap system that we already tested with the defender & invader event will be active for the first 90 days:
Only once a certain number of people reached the current cap, say 2L5, does the next rank, 2L6, unlock.
RP earned while at the cap aren’t lost, just the RA skill point or bonus to skills won’t unlock until the cap is raised.
The current plan is 6 - 9 months: Starting with the 6th month there will be up to 3 extension votes:
Preparations for the next season will start with the end of the current season. The server will remain online throughout the update process to test the new changes.
Characters that reached RR5 + Level 50 will not be deleted, just reset. These characters will also have access to at least one title. All other characters will be deleted.
In terms of carry over from season 2 onwards, there are no concrete plans yet aside from it never going beyond names, trophies, titles and cosmetics.
Perma bans for gold selling, gold buying, cheats like radar or speedhacks, doxxing and harassment will remain. All bans for other reasons will be reviewed and decided on a case by case basis.
Together with this announcement, the discord server has been reorganized and we will once more attempt to give more room for discussions, however, please note that we will restrict it again if the moderation workload reaches untenable levels again.
We reworked and simplified the rules. In practice nothing changes, just the presentation to allow anyone to grasp the inherently simple spirit of our rules at a glance while still giving incomprehensibly detailed legalese and examples on demand.
A small part of the phoenix team is working on their own game, a more than 2 faction mmorpg with an emphasis on open world tactical and synergistic group / guild pvp in a light fantasy setting.
It’s too early for anymore details, in fact it just came out of a technical evaluation phase for the client: 2+ months per approach, unreal, unity, godot and doing it from scratch was evaluated.
In all cases the phx gameserver was used with some networking protocol changes, along the way some optimizations happened and while it wasn’t the goal, it now supports 7k synthetic players (on the same hardware 4k synths was the maximum when phx season 1 launched, given the launch with 4k actual players, the synthetic tests seem to hold up rather well under real world conditions)
Expect to hear more at some point after the season 2 launch. However, please keep in mind that this is on-hold at least until launch and it is, just like phx, a side project.
We will be busy reviewing the bans and feather items as well as making decisions about the setting.
Once the preparation is far enough along, we will announce a beta launch date together with the setting and the timeline for the scheduled changes.