Since the launch of The Forge, one player has racked up more than 200 hours of gameplay in Free-For-All, delivered in-depth reports that have showcased issues and helped our teams on innumerable occasions. Not just this, but this player continues to be an active community member, particularly on Discord, chatting with other Founders offering invaluable insights and expertise. Finally, he was the first player to lockdown a Mavericks account after the internal development team, locking down Member ID #10.
Of course, we're talking about Sorrowy. We were able to briefly drag him away from the Isle of Dern and get him to put some comments together about The Forge, his experience with the game and what he thinks about what's coming up. Off-the-back of this, the studio's made some comments which you can see at the end of this post.
Q: How did you first hear about Mavericks: Proving Grounds and why did you decide to become a Founder?
Funny enough, I actually heard about it from a fake Mavericks account on Twitter in very early April where they were talking about E3.
I decided to become a Founder for a few reasons. First was the premise of the game where we could play with over 400 people when most games could hardly handle 100 so it grew my curiosity. Then when I learned a lot about SpatialOS my interest grew immensely because of how much they do with it. It also helped that development team were super interactive on Discord and how much they talk to you if you asked questions.
Q: What has been your experience of The Forge so far? Has it matched expectations, or not? How much time have you put in and why have you played the amount you have done?
From playing previous games, I think The Forge is fantastic in the current state for what it started out as. These past few months Automaton have been focusing on the server side and technical issues and every update I think they fix a huge amount of issues. The only real issue overall being crashes which at this stage are unavoidable.
This being said, most people will get bored since there is not much to do since the studio is focusing on the back-end rather than content which in the long-run most people will be thanking them for. I would say I have put 200+ hours in, mainly to grind the game so I can be ranked #01 in Capital Reputation Tokens [CRT's] and be more known because I know how big this game can be. I also think it's very important at this stage, to help out as much as I can because players can find so many more bugs and issues than the development team.
Q: What do you think about the upcoming Hunter & Hunted [H&H] Core Update? What are you looking forward to most and how do you think it will change your experience of Mavericks?
The Core Update is probably my biggest excitement, mainly because we will not be limited to only doing Free-For-All [FFA]. I also think the new game mode and the additional 100,000 players [E3 2018 Sign-Ups] if done right, will start the rise of fame for Mavericks. H&H could bring immense popularity back and could make people start talking about Mavericks in a good way again due to all the backlash of all the delays.
The thing I am most looking forward to is the game modes since after playing FFA so much, and killing Jord (Automaton, VP of Engineering) numerous times - it gets boring after a while.
I don't think people realise that the FFA was just to fast test bugs and wasn't an actual game mode, The actual game modes will be more focused on the players and enjoying the game. I think the overall experience will be much better since there will be more outplay mechanics and will be more skill based than desync/ bug related.
Q: What do you think about the Isle of Dern? Is there anywhere that you particularly like? What do you like about the world?
I think the Isle of Dern is very unique, the graphics of the world seems very realistic like PUBG, yet still has an arcadey feel. I feel like the world is very bland at points since there are not many assets in currently, but when they do add them there all so unique and feel like they belong.
Though the realism of the environment seen in the very first teaser trailer was a very big thing for a lot of players, it would be great to see that given priority soon. The weather and environment are probably the best I've seen from most games and when you're in the weather or certain environments you actually feel like you're in them. For example in the snow, you actually feel like you're in the snow and can feel the weight of the snow stopping you. It feels amazing.
Q: What's been your experience of First Person Shooter [FPS] /Battle Royale [BR] games in the past? Is there anything you hope Mavericks implements from other games? What do you hope the studio doesn't do which other games have done?
From playing games for so long, I don't think many FPS-focused BR games have gotten it right. They try to cater towards casual players after a while to keep the players interested, but should rather listen to the hardcore players, or in this case "pro" players. While on the other hand, they try to keep adding content rather than fixing the big huge issues. I think the things Automaton should implement are just the main things every game should do in different areas.
From a player perspective and feeling accomplished, and not related to the game itself, my suggestions would be:
- First, Leaderboards and Rewards for the Top Players. E.g. Being acknowledged by the studio in the next season/update to the game.
- Second would be Cosmetics. If the community designs cool graphics, it would be cool if they could get voted into the game.
For game-specific recommendations, I've asked Dakaye17; a retired PUBG Pro player and current PUBG Pro coach. We came up with the following:
- Screen Clutter - Add menu tabs that show the reward systems and reputation/honour. Players are more focused on seeing their enemy rather than figuring out what their next item is going to be.
- Fixed Recoil Pattern with Semi-Predictable spread (influenced by crouching, slow walking, prone).
- Adjustable UI settings - Making the visible UI icons smaller/larger, including my teammates dots on the map.
- Shooting Animations - The visibility of my own tracers and muzzle flash should be greatly reduced. Muzzle flash should never allow me to lose sight of my enemy. This animation can literally make someone lose an aim battle.
- Sound Equalizing - Make all enemy animation effects (footsteps, reloading, healing, jumping/landing) louder while reducing the user's personal animation effects. In real life, I can hear others footsteps more than my own.
- Ambient Sounds - In-game dynamic audio should play a role in how I can play the game. If an aeroplane is moving above, I can use the plane's sound to drown out my own movement so I can clear a compound. Or the sound of a waterfall can mask the sound of me jumping into the water.
- Player Customization - Allow players to customize the aesthetics of their weapon, crosshair size and colour. Go down to the details, including the spread of the crosshair itself.
- Dedicated Competitive Map - Create a dedicated map that is designed by, and for, competitive players. Personally, I think a competitive map would bring huge hype to Mavericks and would one-up the competition of PUBG/Fortnite. Showing that they care about the competitive side of their game and want to do anything they can for their players. I know there are a lot of players out there who would kill to see or play a pro map, but they don't see it happening with any of the current games.
- Customisable Lobbies - This allows for competitive players to limit/change dynamic settings to limit Random Number Generator [RNG] in a competitive setting.
- Competitive Loot Tables - Cosmetic drops (e.g. clothing) that provide no stat increase or player advantage should be removed to allow for gun spawns to be more prominent.
This all being said, what I hope the studio doesn't do is go down the track of H1Z1. They tried to force too many updates at once, listening to casual players and tried changing everything to an earlier date thinking it will bring everyone back. It didn't.
Q: What do you think Automaton could do better? Could be to do with Mavericks, or something else - e.g. Community Management etc.
I think all the minimal things that need to fixed are due to mainly being in a very early state. That being said, the main things currently would be:
- Explaining what the studio's working on and why they're focusing on a certain aspect rather than something else. They should also give an ETA on when we can expect specific bugs to be fixed e.g. the known bugs and when they're expected to be fixed/ are they working on it.
- I asked a few of the Mavericks community most of them said it's using all the communication channels, rather than focussing on a single outlet.
- Another thing, mentioned by RockhoundBlack is: "I'd like to see their marketing language made more plain for a while - like the next couple of months. Giving straight up facts and no spin might sway a few players who have stepped away to come back to it."
P.S + In-Game Suit / Shirt. In honour of our Jord and Savior.
So the first thing to say is: Wow! Thank you firstly to Sorrowy for taking the time and help us give something new to the community. Thanks also to Dakaye17 and RockhoundBlack for adding in their comments to this piece. If you'd like to chat with Sorrowy directly, you can usually find him on Twitter and Twitch.
We're glad our ambitions for Mavericks excites the community as much as it excites us in the studio. Like Sorrowy says, we also agree that other BR games have struggled and failed their communities at various stages. We have also struggled and caused frustration to our Founders and we are working towards rectifying this with every update. The delays are still very fresh and the team are blitzing their work to give you as many substantial updates as possible. We do, however, want to do it in the right way and not follow in the footsteps of other projects - Sorrowy gave the example of H1Z1. This is why the game is under NDA. This is also why we opened up the game to Founders as a space to see what happens when the game goes up a notch with the new game mode offering greater capabilities, intricacies, and numbers of players.
The most helpful part of Sorrowy's involvement here is his feedback about what we can do better. Feature and improvement requests are helpful to know where we should apply our time and where members of the community would like to see the game adding but this can be longer term with the potential of seeing no major changes in the short- to medium- term. The feedback that the community would like:
- ETA's/Status of bug fixes.
- Focussed communication channels.
- More straightforward and direct communication style.
These comments are more easily addressed and this is how we are going to do this.
Bug Fix ETA's / Statuses
We are creating a public-facing Trello-based kanban dashboard which will allow you to see the status of all bugs that are currently being worked on. This dashboard will be a quick overview and has basic details, but won't show internal notes or other information. We will share the link to this in the next few weeks (before the H&H update at the latest) as we need to change a couple of processes before making this public.
More-Focussed Communication Channels
So at the moment, we communicate to you in the community via a number of different channels, these include:
Consolidating the channels we use to be more efficient and effective has been an internal talking point before and it's interesting how this has been highlighted by the community.
For example, if you didn't know already, Mavericks also has an Instagram profile which we removed all content from. The reason behind this is not because we don't see value in the channel but rather, the community was primarily elsewhere and we were not confident we could bring a stream of quality content for you to enjoy (especially whilst the game is under NDA).
From this feedback, however, we will be changing our approach for the next few months.
Going forward, community members can expect an active presence during work hours on The Forum and Discord. During work hours (08:00 - 18:00 GMT, Monday-Friday) at least one of the community management team will be based on those channels to actively respond to queries, questions, comments, feedback etc.
Both The Forum and Discord offer fantastic spaces for us to talk to Founders, who are the most important people at this stage in the game's development. We will post regularly, engage community members in conversation, and make these two spaces the main hub for talking with the community.
We have decided that we will keep a less active presence on Facebook and Twitter. By 'less active', we mean that the studio will keep these spaces open and will share larger news - e.g. blog updates, events the studio is attending, updates regarding public release etc.
We will not be sharing posts notifying users of minor updates (e.g. upcoming patches) and will instead pin posts on these channels encouraging Founders to be part of the conversation in The Forum and Discord Channels. Likewise, if people directly message the social pages, we will refer them elsewhere.
Finally, we will not actively participate on Reddit. At this moment, the platform is not a priority for the studio and we will pin a post at the top of r/playmavericks. The community management team will not respond to posts etc. Instead, it shall be monitored occasionally for any infringing material.
For YouTube, we will employ the same as Reddit in regards to posting and responding to the community. We still plan to share video content and will be putting this on YouTube to make it easier for the community. We will also be hosting live streams and plan to broadcast these via the site, during which we will respond to comments by the community.
This one we should have done sooner. By employing the change of strategy detailed above, we will be less prone to 'spin' announcements. Information for the next few months will be much more black & white. As we near the public launch, we will review our approach again to ensure it works best for the wider audience who will grow interested in the game.
The community, as has always been the case, remains the key focus for the studio and I hope you can see that this isn't just fruitless talk - we want to establish tools and mechanisms that make your experience of the game and with the wider community. The improvements implemented here are to make your experience better. If you have any further suggestions, we would love to hear them.