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Final Stand: Ragnarök Newsletter #1 - City State Entertainment
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  Team Tidings 

           By Mark Jacobs
 

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Hello Folks,


Welcome to the end of the Nine Worlds, otherwise known as Ragnarök! We at CSE are proud to open up this First Access phase for Final Stand: Ragnarök! Read on for a preview of where FS:R and First Access stand right now, where we’re headed in the future, and how you can help us on this journey from First Access to Early Access to Launch.

  What is FS:R? 

          By The Team
 

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Final Stand: Ragnarök (FS:R) is something that has never been done successfully in the game industry to date: an action-style, co-op match and lobby-based PvE game that can pit any rational number of players (say, 1000 for example)  versus thousands of NPCs (or other players) in the same real-time battle. While there are some great games and engines that can support thousands of NPCs, none of them can put as many NPCs in a battle with hundreds or even 1000+ players in an action-style battle where the heroes and villains are up close and very, very personal with each other.  This is Ragnarök as it should be: 1000+ NPCs of different types, abilities, and challenges seeking to bring down the forces of Asgard and bring about the final destruction of the Nine Worlds!

 

Today we start off with 10 player-matches, but during this initial access to the game we will also test group sizes from 4 to 20 (or more). The game’s initial setting takes place in and around the town of Odi in Valhalla. You are in a race against time to help Odin and the Asgardians by fighting off the hordes of Hel, protecting special objectives, and accumulating rewards and progressing your characters (Champions) for doing so. You are ”buying time” so that the end of the Nine Worlds will not be the end of the Universe. The game currently has a very basic progression system but that will be expanded upon as we move through the various stages of development and testing.
 

Meet the Champions
 

Before you can help stave off the Unmaking - the end of everything - from the forces of Hel, you’ll need to choose your champion. FS:R First Access introduces you to five such heroes, warriors whose courage in life has been rewarded in death with the chance to fight on as one of Odin’s chosen.

  • Aella the Amazon

    If you seek a Champion skilled with the bow, go no further than Aella. At a young age she mastered archery, then later in her prime honed her skills in a gladiator arena. She fights with tenacity on the field of battle and projects that same fire within her soul into each and every attack.
     

  • Gwen the Spearmaiden

    If  you’re looking for a champion who can conjure up spectral reflections of herself and wields a spear with enough force to plow down multiple enemies in one toss, Gwen is the Champion for you. Taking Gwen onto the fields to fight off the forces of Hel will allow you access not only to her mystical horn to summon spirit aspects, but attune you to her ancestral weapon, Sleá-taibhse. 
     

  • Jalb al-Sulh the Peacemaker

    If you’re looking for a champion that fights with honor and the radiant heat of a burning sun, Jalb al-Sulh is the champion for you. Robbed of life but not of valor, Jalb al-Sulh strides onto the battlefield of Ragnarök with head held high. He can always be found with shield in hand to bash aside the skin and bones that Hel drags onto the field and incinerate the remains with the burning righteous fires of his scimitar.
     

  • Yuki the Ice-Demon

    If you’re looking for a champion skilled in ninjutsu who wields the cold bite of death, Yuki is the Champion for you. By taking Yuki onto the field of Ragnarök she may utilize her training in the arts of stealth and crippling attacks. Her weapons of choice are the Kama and the Kunai; and with her mystical ice-born weaponry she employs deadly frozen attacks against the minions of Hel.

Gameplay
 

This initial First Access scenario will see you and your fellow Champions protecting the town of Odi amid the frosty forests of Valhalla. Your mission, whether you decide to accept it or not, is to help preserve the defenses laid down by Odin and the Asgardians against this very day, collecting runes & items scattered about the world and dropped by the forces of Hel when you destroy them forever. Can you survive long enough to stop Hel and prevent Ragnarök itself? Only time will tell and unfortunately, time is running out!
 

Defend Odi!
 

Be Resourceful!
 

Across the battlefield of Ragnarök there will be chests that provide valuable resources in order to help you defend against the Minions of Hel. Once you break open the chests they will have the possibility of holding many items, all of which have a short description and a faint glow to let you know what type of item they are. You will be able to pick these items up using the ‘F’ key on your keyboard, or ‘X’ button on your controller.

 

Defeat Hel!

What’s a good villain without their evil horde? In order to save the towers, protect the pools, and pick up those sweet, sweet runes, you’ll have to get past wave after wave of Hel’s undead minions, including:

 And while you’re dealing with all those pesky undead, keep an eye out for Hel’s portals, too! These crystalline pillars will continue to spawn new enemies onto the battlefield until destroyed.

 Upcoming States of the Build 

   By Kara (Ink)
 

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Things you can expect to see over the coming updates as First Access Develops:

  • Questing Content

    The game we are putting out in this First Access Pass is a straightforward scenario, but we plan to expand and add additional objective goals like subquests and harder adversaries. These quests will provide new challenges and options while simultaneously completing the main scenario goal, which is victory!
     

  • Updated Combat

    Right now, we have a very simple combat system in the game. Our first priority for new stuff will be adding additional synergies between Champions and adding combo moves for individual Champions. While we have 35 potential new Champions, we want to work with these and a couple of others before we bring in a lot of new Champions. We need to get all of our current Champions (plus one or two others) feeling great before we move onto additional Champions.
     

  • Glamor Content

    One of the goals that will be added after this First Access pass is the addition of seasonal content. That’s not limited to special events like holidays. We plan on having content that will be obtainable simply by playing the game, such as, but not limited to: skins, emotes, weapons, icons, and much more!
     

  • Additional Battlefields

    The town of Odi is just the first stop for your Champions. While we plan on expanding it, we will also have additional areas where you will be called on to do battle against the forces of Sutr. We hope it will be a giant good time for all! 
     

  • Updated timing, dialogue, and voice work

    The dialogue that is in now is only placeholder dialogue, so expect it to change a lot even before we launch the game. We will also be changing the timing of the different chapters (we call them “phases” internally) to make them flow better. However, we will not be changing the use of the Robo Voice (generated by a text-to-speech algorithm) until we are moving through the final stages of development. Voiceover work can get expensive, so like most studios (especially independents), we don’t want to record the VO until the dialogue is final and the game is about ready to launch.

 

Oh, and BTW, we already have a bunch of changes going into the gameflow ready now. We didn’t want to push them to LIVE yet just in case something went wrong and we ended up delaying the opening of First Access. ^_^

 

By joining us in First Access, you’ll be helping us test and join the experience as we develop the game. This is something we are very much excited about, and your feedback and participation can help us create something we think people will really enjoy!

Expectations


Our goal for First Access, and for FS:R as a whole, is to have a lot of fun over the next few months and beyond. That is our #1 job as developers, after all! But now that we’ve hit this First Access milestone, we have some more specific expectations to share with you all.

 

First Access will let you play in variable match sizes as well as match durations. Right now, the average time for a successful match is about forty minutes. Our plan is to extend it by another twenty minutes as we add new areas and challenges to the match.  We may also run shorter matches to focus on individual phases/chapters of the game.

 

Because the game is in First Access, we expect you’ll experience a lot of frustration at times. While we do not have any major problems with the game as of now, there is no guarantee that will continue day in and day out as we patch in more features. We will be trying new stuff, making changes to things, and in all ways trying to make a great game. But, at the same time, being human we will make mistakes.

 

There are many things we are aware of, lots of small things. These won’t be our immediate priority to fix. Over the next few months our focus will be on core systems/mechanics. And for now, like it or not, we’re still a small team that is building out its own engine as well as Camelot Unchained. As such, we are not large enough to get everything done as quickly as some folks, including us, would like.

 

You’ll note right when you get into your first match of FS:R First Access that there is an ever-changing story/dialogue/etc. What’s in there right now is a first-pass of incorporating a story-mode into the game. While we are not aiming for a story-telling game or an in-depth RPG story, MJ wanted to add another element to this type of game that will assist in quest progression and verbal queues when events trigger. 

 

Like all things in FS:R First Access, this is only a first iteration on art. What you see is not the final look of the game, but just the start of what will certainly be an interesting “take” on Asgard, Valhalla, and this little event called Ragnarök. For more information on this, there is a PDF guide coming your way!

 

We would also like to invite you to be more involved, if you want, with the development team. As per the Studio Code of Conduct as well as our earlier point about the reward tiers, we didn’t ask you to join us just to get your donations. We want(ed) to get a thousand highly-motivated players to keep the servers busy for the weekend tests, and we would love your feedback!

 

  A Special Note & Thank You

        By Mark Jacobs
 

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It’s been an interesting 10 months since we first announced this game’s development. For those that saw it then, it might look quite familiar and like it hasn’t changed a lot. That is mostly true as we’ve spent a lot of time over this period focusing on our other game, Camelot Unchained.
 

While we have made some changes to the game flow, added one new Champion (Yuki) and quite a few NPCs, FS:R is not in the final stage of its development. However, thanks to all the work that has been done on our engine and Camelot Unchained, you should find yourself part of a more technically solid game than you might expect for a game that’s going into Pre-Early Access or First Access as we are calling it. FS:R has been up and running for many months and we’ve run a few testing groups through it in intervening months. Thus, while the experience is certainly a bit shallow for now, it is also one that has been running quite smoothly to date and we hope will continue that way.

Because you can never say thank you enough, let me (MJ) say thanks to:
  1. The team at CSE. It’s been an interesting road to say the least but thanks to all of your hard work and effort, First Access is here. With both FS:R and CU, we will show the world that a small, dedicated team can deliver on something that so many teams have tried and failed to do in the past: create a great game and a great engine at the same time, especially an engine that can do what ours can. None of what we are doing is finished yet, but today we take a big step along the very winding road of our development and our company’s future.

  2. The Backers of CU, the vast majority of those who have been waiting so patiently for Camelot Unchained and were quite surprised to see us talk about this game. For those that have kept faith, you will be rewarded both with the things I talked about earlier this year and also with the continued focus on CU. If FS:R is the success we hope it to be, even more people will be hired to work on CU only and your turn to see your game go LIVE will be shorter than you fear it to be. 

  3. To the earliest testers of FS:R. Thank you for helping us get this started. Your rewards will not only be this game but, well, we’ll be discussing that with you just after launch. I think you’ll be pleased with my way of showing gratitude besides game credits or just a “Laurel and Hardy handshake.” Gotta get a movie quote in.

  4. To our newest players, thanks for taking a chance with us on First Access. It’s not an easy decision to make, especially in our case of a team that is late with its main game and has been on a much longer journey that we’d like. However, like Camelot Unchained, we are committed to making FS:R a really fun game. We hope that you will help us do that.

  5. To the folks that are no longer part of CSE. Thank you for your contributions during your tenure with us. You’ll find your name in the credits, of course (I hate when people cut former people out), and I can say without hesitation that we wish you nothing but success going forward and hope that you are doing well during these trying times.

  6. And last, but not least, the investors (including me) in CSE. We put in a lot of additional money to support the simultaneous development of both CU and FS:R and your patience with us has been appreciated. Now it is our turn to show that faith has been rewarded with a fun game experience that we hope to build into a really enjoyable game.

That said, thank you so much for taking the chance to become a player of the First Access of what we hope will be an amazing, and even amusing, venture into the end of the Universe! :)

 Final Note 

      By Kara (Ink)
 

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Thanks for joining us on this origination quest that is FS:R First Access! While development continues on CU, FS:R is getting ready for the weekend testing phase. Be sure to keep an eye on your emails and the FS:R forums for more information on when servers are up and running!

 

Everyone here at the studio is looking forward to jumping in and playtesting with you - we hope you too can become just as excited about the progression of this game as we are! There will be a PDF User Guide that will give you tons of information on FS:R as it stands to date, so be sure to give that a full review so you can understand where we are, and where we’re going.

 

That’s all the FS:R News for now,

Till next time!

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