Spring has arrived! Here in Southern California that means daily blue skies, tree pollen covering everything, and for this particular Irvine studio, the arrival of Rend’s next major milestone: Alpha. The team here at Frostkeep has been heads-down and hard at work to get to this stage. Let’s kick off the Rend Alpha right by catching up on what we’ve been up to, what to expect from Alpha, and what’s just over the horizon.
With Friends & Family Like These…
We started the year by inviting a hundred of our closest and dearest and gave them one directive: to break our game. And they did just that, enduring mystery login lockouts, game crashes, and server hiccups, yet through it all they were understanding, good-humored, and dedicated to the task at hand. Through their diligent feedback, we hunted down and fixed sticky doors, flickering boars, exploding frabbits, and disembodied character heads – more than 250 bugs worthy of a patch note. (We’re still not sure if the male characters wearing skirts was actually a bug.)
The major benefit of the Friends & Family test was making the server and client increasingly stable. We’re not saying we won’t run into some interesting crash causes moving forward such as last month’s “place a bomb on a structure, structure takes ownership of the bomb, structure explodes, bomb creates an existential paradox, hole rips in the space-time continuum, server go boom fall down” but because of the Friends & Family group’s dedicated reporting and patience, our Alpha testers will be experiencing a much more durable test environment.
Alpha’s Beginning is Just the Beginning
This brings us to today, the start of Rend’s first public test phase. While we’ve written a whole Q&A detailing the Rend Alpha, let’s talk about the game’s milestone from a development standpoint. Our Alpha client incorporates all of the fixes and improvements from Friends & Family but there is a lot more on the way and soon. Here’s a chronological list of gameplay mechanics we’ll be introducing over the course of Alpha:
- Advanced PvP Mechanics: Adds base siege weapons and strategic capture points with an eye towards overall PvP balance.
- The Reckoning: Drops the faction base shields and brings waves of the Lost to the party.
- Taming System: Allows players to capture Rend’s creatures as pets capable of being ridden, harvesting resources, and fighting enemies.
- User Interface: Already drafted out and undergoing final polish, the game’s finished interface will be implemented in stages over the course of Alpha.
- Full Character Rework: Entirely replacing the player characters with all-new models, textures, rigging, and animation.
- Late-Game Biomes: Unveils some as-of-yet unannounced environments.
- Talents and Perks: While gradually balanced each patch, this update will put the four archetypes, talent system, and crafting perks in even better harmony.
- Late-Game Crafting: Introduces high-tier recipes along with powerful draughts, resource transmutation, and finalized research trees.
- Social System: Makes faction reputation and related permissions more robust with improved player control.
This abbreviated roadmap will be fleshed out as it progresses and may be rejiggered, fine-tuned, tweaked, or other fancy developer terms but it does serve as an overview of the many features and gameplay that are coming to Rend Alpha in just a few short weeks.
Early Access as Frostkeep Defines It
Following a thorough Alpha test phase, Rend will enter Early Access on Steam later this year. That said, Rend Alpha will continue until the game is ready for its next major milestone. Our standard for Early Access is simple: the game must be in a state such that if we were to never touch its code ever again, Rend would be considered a finished, complete game worth its buy-to-play-only price. We believe this was the original vision for Early Access and we will hold ourselves and our games to that standard. You should too.
Let the Games Begin
But first thing’s first: Alpha has started! As you read this, half-naked heroes-to-be on the Order, Conclave, and Revenant factions are exploring Rend’s bountiful hills and braving the surrounding forest, hungry for battle while they fight hunger. And we can’t wait for you to join them as they race to dominate the world of Rend!
The Rend Team