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  1. Dear Ninja, The next update for Nin Online has been awhile coming now, and we're also not sure when we'll be able to get it ready to launch. We're working almost every day of the week to try to make sure the update is the best it can be. But in the end, it's only really going to disappoint a large number of people because just by launching it because it's not like straight out content updates, we've been working on underlying systems a lot to get the game fully modernized. We put time into the wrong things In hindsight, a lot of what we've been working on is less important than it seemed. Like we re-programmed the entire game's saving to be Object-Oriented, in a production-level cloud database, MongoDB Atlas, but in the end, it's still going to be entirely the same for the end user. So it's a shame, it's something I believed was going to be a seamless transition, but took weeks out of our time to resolve all the problems, and we might still be having some. And again, in hindsight, this should've taken a backseat to working on things people care about or would directly affected their gameplay. Cloud saving is nice to have, and it brings about opportunity for stuff like a Web frontend for Nin, like imagine being able to display your characters on the forum, or edit their name from the web, manage your items etc. We rewrote the login system to use oAuth, a clean login standard that means no more entering your password every time you want to login too. It also simplifies our server's job of checking MySQL tables to check if a player is banned because oAuth handles all that on the client and web side. Logins should also just be faster in general now, as we've rewrote a lot of the underlying login code as well. We updated the server to work with .NET 5 instead of .NET Framework. It's basically Microsoft's latest development framework. Which sounds like a small change, but .NET Framework is ancient technology at this point. .NET 5 allows us to modernize the server even further and export it as a containerized server for hosting services like Heroku. This also means that the server is now a console application, and cross-platform (we can host it on Linux servers which are cheaper because Linux is free and Windows Servers need licenses, Linux servers are also more easily available). Along with this, we also halved the server loading/launching time. So less down time between server restarts. Wolf rewrote the packet handler thread in this update, it should shave off about 20ms off larger packets. We updated our networking library to use it's latest version, this was an attempt to fix some low-level bugs with disconnection we were having. We replaced the compression library from Zlib to LZMA, which fixes a lot of compatibility issues players were having with the new client and potential crashes. We also managed to get map packets and map loading down a lot with better compression along with reducing the amount of packets needed to be sent on login by almost 10 fold. So faster logins, better map loading times. But in order to do this, it meant we had to deprecate the old client. It's a weird situation. In order to deprecate the old client we needed to make this change, but Zlib was also making it so some people couldn't move to the new client. We have the player housing update, furniture update and corps update in this too one patch too. We also used MongoDB to replace an entire component of our server architecture, our authentication. It's now an entirely passive web-based solution. Servers register to an online database instead of sending that data to the authentication server to do the central server selection stuff. As such, we also had to make it so the server does the saving directly to the cloud instead of the authentication server. So a lot of these things were interconnected, and had to be all done at once. This directly caused us to stack update after update into one patch, and it became harder and harder to push one patch without issues. With all the major architectural changes and low-level code rewrites, a lot of things broke. Because of the nature of the changes we were making, we also couldn't make them independently of each other, so it had to be one big update or nothing. There's also a hundred other things I've left out, including reworking movement on the client side to animate smoother. These things don't make the patch any more complicated, so it's not worth mentioning. Hectic month of testing with BR Server We started testing the latest patch around a month ago on the Brazil Server now. During that time, we've fixed issue after issue, and some of the "fixes" were also entire rewrites, which caused more issues. It's been stressful, we've had days spent just fixing login issues, and days spent just fixing saving. We've had data corruption issues, where players accounts and all their data become too messed up to fix, and we've had to do hacky fixes for them like restore partially their data from old backups. We've had a period where the same player couldn't login for a span of days, and we realized the server wasn't disconnecting players properly. Stressful stuff. We've had issues where resetting characters wasn't working and worst yet, it created a duping exploit. We've had more of these issues in a span of a month, than we've had over the last 3 years of development. We pushed two new major features, one is currently being used actively, and that also came with it's own issues, but was a lot easier to fix than the issues that came from major architectural changes. Though some have been incidental to them. We've had issues where players were logging in as other players when they tried to login at the same time. We've had players spamming us telling us we're idiots and we should just put back the old client, we've had players spamming us telling us to revert to the old server, to stop using them as a test server, all while our full-time job had become fixing issues for a month. It's been stressful, for both me and Wolf. Side note: Whenever Brazil players complain about the issues happening, we sympathize with them, but we also think about how up until now, they've only been getting updates that have been screened and tested by the NA/Global server (you guys) and so they're fortunate to not have been the guinea pigs up until now haha Irreversible Update The worst part in all this was the difficulty in which the reversal of this update would've been. In order to update Brazil server, we needed to move all of the existing data into the cloud into a slightly different format. Which meant if we want to reverse the update, we would need to build a software to convert the data back into our old format as local JSON files or rolling back players a month. So it's been a go hard or go home month. There were times where I'm so tired I wanted to reverse the entire update and call it quits (this also happened just yesterday) but I had to force myself to look through code and fix it instead, despite being so sick of it. This is going to be even more so irreversible for the main server, because in order to update the next patch, we have to update the forum software, and that's one-way. So we're going to have to be even more careful with this server, which is why we're taking our time and making sure everything is good to go. The worst part I'm also stressing out about how this update won't bring enough content to make players happy, or bring gameplay value to people. It's very painful, knowing this, because we've been working so hard on this, but I know in the end, this is more for the sake of the game in the long term, and also some of it is just wasted effort. Most people won't care that the game server runs slightly smoother and that login is faster, more convenient etc. Nobody is going to care that player data is now stored in a cloud database. This update has been months of work now, but I'm just waiting for the criticism on how it's a shit update etc. It's going to happen, and I'll understand why, but it'll still be hurtful. This update when it takes into account how much work has gone into it by two of us, thousands of hours of work, which means tens of thousands of dollars worth of work. It's not funny for me, it's very painful. And I agree with players, is it really necessary? We could've done without. I could've just not have a full-time programmer, and I could've just focused my time on working on stuff people care about like adding more Jutsu. This has been the hardest months of development since maybe 2017 when the server was unstable, crashing every 1-4 hours, and it's self inflicted. The bright side The bright side is that things are looking much better, there seems to be some rare bugs that happen, but it's stable for the most part now. One guy claims he managed to login multiple times in a row without it saving his progress, which we're looking into. And there's some others who seem to not be able to login sometimes. We're looking into that too. The reception of the update has been a lot better, after holding a tournament yesterday, Kenock (Brazil server admin) remarked that the server felt smoother than ever with a large number of people on the map, and it was a high activity period of Brazil server as well, so there were lots of players online in general. Brazil server host is also notoriously bad (despite being super expensive), so if it runs on Brazil's server well, it's going to run even better on NA's. We don't know when we'll be confident to launch this update on the main server yet. Because if anything messes up, we'll be running heroics, fixing corrupted data, or salvaging the situation, pushing updates on two servers instead of one. This is another reason why we regret so much making this update so major (on an architectural level). We did also have to do a lot of this in order to deprecate the old client. We did spend some time making sure the new client is ready to completely replace the old client, and that anyone will be able to use it. So we haven't had anyone on Brazil server that can't use the new client completely anymore... Lastly, I'd just like to apologize in advance if what we've worked on doesn't please you. I know, it's not what anyone wanted. But we've been doing what we thought was important. We've re-evaluated what's more important going forward and will focus on bringing content updates here on out. It's both easier for us, and more fun for you. Regards, Ueda EDIT: Just thought of something funny. Maybe the reason we worked on Cloud saving is because everyone kept asking "Cloud when?" and we interpreted it wrongly EDIT2: Some of the low-level changes we made include rewriting the game's method of calculating time, and the spell buffer. This could've been causing issues with sometimes your jutsu not casting when you press it, and small things like that - that maybe some players will notice.
  2. Since launching the Inochi Client at the start of 2021, we've got it to a state where most people, if not all, are better off using it. Some of the major advantages it brings are obvious as a player. For most people, it will bring a performance boost, has new features that weren't possible before and there's no need to install Visual Basic runtime files (COM Components) to run it, which means no more pesky runtime errors. But we've talked a lot about what it brings to the table. Today I'm here to talk about what keeping the Old client around costs and why we have to deprecate it soon. The increased workload of double updates It's hard to push updates with on both clients. There's a separate procedure for pushing updates on both so we have to do double the work. Also, some of the art has to be reworked into different formats for it to work on the old client. We're effectively maintaining, updating and supporting two games at the moment. Two sets of it's own troubles and issues. When an important bug is found on one, it might have to be patched on both. To add an item to the game, we have to update both etc. This slows down development, and this alone outweighs the benefits of maintaining the old client. A new engine, with new possibilities, bogged down by the old client's limitations There's new features that we've added and will be adding that cannot be done in our old engine. Some examples that we've worked on in the past few months that simply wouldn't have been possible before include oAuth login system (which also means social media login), Housing System & Furniture System. There's optimizations that can be made, but not without losing support for the new client. We've done a lot of this in the past few months as well. eg. LZMA Compression (Modern compression library). Once the next update is up, the new client will download and cache maps faster than ever before. There's features we want to add and shaders that we want to use, but will only be possible on the new client as well. Such as a way to recolor hairstyles to any color you want on the spectrum. Better debugging With everyone on the New Client, regardless of how it performs for the individual, it will give us valuable information on how to solve remaining issues and improve performance across the board. We've added a lot more debugging information, along with what's available through 3rd party resources for modern .NET software, we will be able to handle issue reports that crop up better. We've also been able to fix a lot of major issues that have long been impossible to on the new client, thanks to having Visual Studio .NET to work with, better debugging tools. Visual Basic 6 was deprecated in the early 2000s, the IDE doesn't even have Mouse scrollwheel support. That's the kind of limitations we've had to work with all this time. Conclusion There's a lot we can't do until we finally get past the hurdle of finally deprecating our ancient technology. As much as it's sad to say good bye to the old client and the work environment I've been using for 15 years, and 7 years for Nin Online. It's time to say good bye and move towards better days. This is also going to be a one-way street. Once we make this move, it will never be possible to go back because of how major the upgrade is going to be and how much data is going to be converted... but it's one we have to delve into bravely. I hope for everyone's understanding and support. If you haven't already moved over to the new client, please do so by downloading the new installer on the Download section. It also supports Macintosh! PS: For people who are having issues using the new client, part of the deprecation of the old client involves removing some components that were causing that issue. So it will hopefully be working when the update comes. Regards, Ueda
  3. Hello Everyone! My name is Aleiya, and I'm from the Leaf Village! I've always felt that during the night and the rain in the village, visibility is pretty low which is why everyone prefers day time so they can see well. I've always envisioned Leaf to be beautiful at night time with its warm lights and homely lit up stalls and shops so I decided to make some concept art for how I hope the design for the lit up villages can look someday! Please like this if you think it should be implemented! I know its a daunting task but its a long term goal to make Nin more beautiful as time passes. :3 I am also in no way an artist, and this is my first time trying my hand at digital art and pixel art so go easy on me! My design:
  4. Ueda

    Just making a post here because YouTube recommended me our own Nin Online soundtrack. I've been reminded recently of the amount of money spent to create original music in the early development days, when the game was burning through my savings and freelance earnings. When I had to survive on bread and milk and instant noodles for months on end because I had nothing left for myself and I don't come from a wealthy family. Every cent donated throughout the development period was also given to freelancers and others to draw art, make music, code and to draw promotional artwork that we still use till today. In the last week I streamed playing games made by others that had stolen Nin Online's original Art and UI. It really got me thinking, why go through all the work of actually being the one to create things when others just out right steal what you've invested your time and money into. I don't really talk about the struggles of development in 2013 leading up till beta because I usually can reason with myself that those sacrifices were necessary. But when people show me otherwise, that they can make money off my work without repercussion, I start to doubt myself and regret putting myself through so much hardship. But then I was serenaded by Sand Canyons by @Afilion The hopeful tune really gave me the lift out of the dumps that I needed. The reason why I couldn't copy someone else's work in 2013, as an 18 year old kid was because there was nobody to copy. There was no game like Nin Online yet. The community here is great, I can tell everyone appreciates the efforts put in by everyone who has played a part in making Nin Online. When I asked on Discord for people to help bring attention to the fact a game a youtuber had made a video on had stolen art from us, everyone came together to attempt to help. It might or might not pay off and Nin Online might get the attention that game garnered off our team's work. But at the end of the day, I'm just glad we have a supportive community of players who just want to play a good nar Ninja game. Anyway, this is not really a dev log, more like a rant. There's so much happening and coming for Nin Online that I'm honestly so excited. Hope everyone's been doing well in this pandemic!
  5. BloodKin

    Hello! All of the content planned in this topic has been finished,can we please get another post of planned content for 2021? @Ueda Thank you!
  6. Nagao Hideki

    Hi All! As I finally managed to grow my toad summon to full size, it occured to me that compared to other summons (Monkey, Weasel, Ninken,...) Toads do look a bit basic in terms of appearance. So I've been thinking: Lore-wise we've got all these different Toads (Hoshitomo, Momotomo, Satomo, Yoshitomo, Taitomo, you name it...) at Toad Mountain, right? In the anime there's also an abundance of toads coming in all shapes and sizes who excel at different things (e.g. Gamabunta - Toad Oil Flame Bullet; Gamaken - Weapons; Gamariki - Genjutsu, Gama - Taijutsu etc) and have signature clothing / armour or colour. I think that one type of special attack is more than enough for summons in terms of game-balance, so there's no need to add genjutsu or other special attacks to toad summons in general. What I do suggest however, is adding some sort of clothing to the summon to make it look well... less like just a giant toad. We've been brainstorming with players in-game and came up with the following ideas to improve the looks of toad summons: For War toads: - Gamabunta's happi vest (with the kanji "ebi" on the back) - Gamabunta's kiseru pipe - Gamabunta's dosu blade - Gamahiro's katanas - Gamahiro's sash - Gama's bead necklace (with the kanji chū) - Gama's samurai armour - Gamakichi's cigarette - Gamakichi's tanto For Toads: - Gamakichi's vest - Gamatatsu's vest - Gerotora's obi For Tadpoles: There's not really much to add here as tadpoles are as small as they come. (People's reactions to my tadpole mostly varied between "sweet" and "disgusting" but I was mostly proud of that little speck) Some people have also suggested that there could be a total of 3 different toads wearing the respective armours of Gamabunta, Gamaken and Gamahiro. When the player utilizes the summoning jutsu they would randomly summon one of the aforementioned three or one could decide which toad to sign the contract with (as sort of a personal summon) upon acquiring a summoning scroll. A whole new idea on the latter would be the creation of a "toad customization" menu where one woud be able to customize their summon in terms of colour, armour and clothing. Of course these are just suggestions which, in my opinion, could benefit the overall atmosphere of the game so please don't take them as me making demands or anything. I (like most of us) feel strongly about my summon and would like to see more of- and improve this specific game feature. Thank you for making it this far, feel free to react / comment as I'm curious about your thoughts on the matter. See you in-game!
  7. Dear Ninja, It's been months since the last development log as usual. Since the game is already released, often times it makes more sense to just release things rather than spend time explaining what we will release or have released. The content speaks for itself! Since today has been a rather productive day already, I wanted to take some time off from patching the game to talk about the current plans for Advanced Masteries and the content on it's way. We have a lot planned and here's a short roadmap (with no ETAs). Planned Updates with no ETAs 12 Guardians Ninja for Leaf village This is the Leaf equivalent of 7 Swordsmen of the Mist and the Puppets Brigade for Sand. 12 Guardians will wear a sash that will increase their stats while worn. Finishing the remaining 3 Clan Outfits! Amazingly, thanks to the contribution of our artists and players who have mostly commissioned other artists to do custom clothings for their clans, we've completed 12 out of 15 of our clan's looks. Arbitrary Level Cap Increase from 50 -> 60 The level cap will first increase from 50 to 60, with some caveats. There will be no new content released along with this, and nobody is expected to grind this out. There will be a level 50 quest line coming in the next round of updates that may take awhile. Here's where things get a bit interesting. From level 2-50 you gain 5 stat points per level, however, once you past level 50, you gain 4 points per level. Once you past level 60, you gain 3 points per level. This is a complete explanation.. 2-50 - 5 points per level 51-60 - 4 points per level 61-70 - 3 points per level 71-80 - 2 points per level 81-90 - 1 point per level 91-100 - no points This may sound confusing, because why is it that it's becoming less rewarding to level past 50? This is to balance PvP at a mid-level rather than all the way at the end game. Or simply put, the stats rewards is purely based on this philosophy: "A lower level player should stand a chance against a high level player" Or in simpler terms "A level 50 should be able to fight a level 100 without feeling it impossible, a level 70 should have a fighting chance against a level 100 and a level 80 should find it very easy to outplay a level 100." Or in simpler terms "Gai Sensei should have a chance to defeat Madara" Or "Naruto should be able to fight Zabuza" The reason why I've decided to raise the level cap arbitrarily is because of this progression plan: 1-9: Academy Student Phase 10: 1st Mastery 30: Summon / Cursed Seal 35: Last Jutsu of 1st Mastery 50: 2nd Mastery 61: 1st Advanced Jutsu 75: Last Advanced Jutsu 90: "Max Level" So if at level 10, you pick Water Mastery, between level 10-35 you learn all your Water Jutsu. Between 35-50, if your time as a fully complete Water Ninja. But the moment you pick your 2nd Mastery at level 50, you don't have any time at all to learn Jutsu, instead you can have all the jutsu of your second mastery immediately. So if you learn Earth Mastery at level 50, and there isn't a buffer period from 50-60, there will essentially be no time between you going from Level 49 Water Ninja to Level 50 Water, Earth, Wood Ninja. So these levels are still fine to raise before adding Advanced Masteries. Land of Iron The Land of Iron will initially be rolled out as an extension of the game's world, with grindable enemies. But will not feature much else. Land of Iron Mission Arc The missions for this land of Iron will come after the place actually opens as purely a grind spot. Along with this, will come new drops, new clothings and perhaps new mini-games. Conclusion The purpose of this post was mainly to explain the coming increase in level cap and why Advanced Masteries / Combined Masteries will be absent in this level cap increase. None of these updates have an ETA on them, so they can come anytime between Soon™ and 2026. Somewhere inbetween may be the new Server revamp, Advanced Masteries, Combined Masteries. But I hope everyone enjoys today's updates! Regards, Ueda
  8. Dear Ninja, I've taken on a project that I'm excited to finally say, is finished! Since Mist Villages implementation its been an uphill battle to maintain it and iron out the creases, but through all of the updates and forums posts we're here today with a better Nin and better Mist Village for it. Now, there's an aspect to NinOnline that most time's go unnoticed after a while but still play a critical part to the player's experience as a whole, and that aspect is undoubtedly NinOnline's Music/Soundtrack. Which brings me back to the project I've undertaken! Mist Village Soundtrack The key points of this project were the following No live drum kits A sense of motion and feeling in each song Catchy and subliminal runs Sections of three (Rule of 3's) Nin style music Let me run you through how this will play out but first a warning. WARNNING: Don't listen if you wish to wait and experience it for yourself In-Game. In the beginning there was only silence... Erox said onto them... "LET THERE BE MUSIC!" (Listen with each section as you read) Mist Village Maps: Mist Village, Indoor Market, Mist Bounty House. Notes: The focal point of this track is to make the village sound alive and feel like you're a part of a bigger community! all hearts can beat as one. Mist Village.mp4 Misty Conflict Maps: Mist Village Entrance, Slight Slope, 3 Way Road Split. Notes: The song uses the natural tones and sounds giving the sense of wonder or adventure, now imagine you're taking your first steps outside of the village. Misty Conflict.mp4 Misty Tension Maps: Misty Hides, Bamboo Forest, Bloody Pond. Notes: You're battle hardened and ready for duty be it Boars, Giant Ants or even that damn Tanuki! Either way you're ready for any outcome. Misty Tension.mp4 Misty Flows Maps: Big Slope, By The River, Land of Water Port. Notes: Your first real challenge await you in these maps whither its the grind or enemies, you can hear the river bed waiting to be moved around you! Misty Flows.mp4 Mist Divided Maps: Across the Sea (Boat), All Sea Maps. Notes: Its time for your real first journey out of the Land of Water, will you run across the Sea knowing full well the dangers ahead or will you ride a vessel, Either way it will be a long journey to the other side. Mist Divided.mp4 Thank you for allowing me to put my mark in NinOnline I do hope this enhances your experience playing and creating your very own world in something we all love! With love Erox~
  9. Hello Ninja! My name is Wolf, I'm the new Developer working on Nin, My jobs currently consists of remaking the software powering Nin Online and then further upgrading it! Some of you may already know me, and may have even played on the new server I made.. The new test server which as I write this is online and fully playable, Is a completely rewritten server built with modern development tools. I wont go deep into the technical details about this now, But basically both performance and stability will hopefully be greatly improved, but most importantly it'll break us free from limitations placed on us by the old engine which is extremely dated. We plan to replace the server application as soon as we can. However an exact date is unknown as of now, as we have a few more issues to work out. This upgrade will not wipe any existing data, don't worry! The plan is to install this new server without affecting the game in any way besides improved performance initially, and then further improve it from there. If that's all old news to you, that the server is being remade, read on! This development log is actually not just about the server. We're also going to be previewing the new client in development using the Unity Engine! The new client is still heavily in development, but already has improvements from the current one. Some Clips: 7c40cfc8ecc51bd89b2bbb13b6413e3a.mp4 122c47da0c2fb868afbd46bb9a678085.mp4 122c47da0c2fb868afbd46bb9a678085.mp4 Some Pictures: Looking at these images and videos you may think its just a weird stripped down version of Nin Online, and that's kind of what it is at the moment. It has a long way to go, But this new client already includes some things the old client could never do, No spoilers But the biggest thing we've noted, is performance! This client idles on around 300+ fps on my machine in Leaf Village, to give you an idea just how much better that is, the old client runs at 40-50 fps on my machine. That being said, not everything is loaded at the moment. So whats done so far? It may look simple enough, display some graphics, make a character walk around, but this isn't what the client is doing.. The client can connect to the server, Load all the server data, see Maps, walk around, attack, See other players, see NPC's, fight NPC's, see animations and effects, and some other minor things. There's still a lot that isn't implemented such as NPC Dialogues, Projectiles, Chat, Inventory, Hotbar, Targetting, Jutsu and all the menus just to name a few. So don't expect this client to replace yours any time soon. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon! Regards, Wolf
  10. There's not really much else to say, I found this on Youtube and it explains the two main philosophies that Nin Online is designed upon.
  11. Hey guys, Just a less gameplay, content related development log, and more a thank you here - so only read if you really care about the game and my own life stuff. Thanks for supporting us monetarily First, the thank you is because this past month has become the most financially successful month of Nin Online in it’s history since 2013, which is incredibly humbling for me because I never thought the game would see so much support. From the start, I’ve been very adamant about trying to be ethical with monetisation and making it as non-Pay2Win and as optional as possible. We sell strictly only cosmetic items in the cash shop, and exp boosts apply to everyone, which was an idea taken from a peer game that saw much more success with the feature because of the larger player base. That being said, doing this has no doubt been one of the reasons for the Long-term support of our most dedicated ninja in this community, whereas multiplayer games in the same genre which are selling out and becoming P2W dwindle in player numbers, Nin has been consistent and even growing! Thank you for from the bottom of my heart for supporting the game’s development. We have more in stall in the coming months and have no intention of slowing down in content. To be fair to the contributions, everything past a reasonable living is what I have and will spend on speeding up development of content on the game. In recent months, I’ve been paying Seth to rework the server in a modern language, and this month’s sales incomes are going towards paying a freelance artist, Zane, to create more summons - which in just the past 2 weeks meant 2 new animal summons on top of the content that I added. Thanks for supporting us by playing In the past few months, there’s also been a lot more active players than usual, and it’s very encouraging to see whenever I come online. It has been a tiring 6 years to create the world of Nin and the characters in it, and it makes me happy to see it explored. I try my best to leave little Easter eggs and lore around, and it makes me happy to know that people have lived through this world. A lot of people have expressed positivity to the amount of new content that has been added in the past few months. But in all honesty, these past few months have been better for me in terms of work, I’ve not needed to put in as much effort as the past 5 years of development because a lot of the groundwork has been laid out and a lot of the systems that are created like clans and summons are not entirely utilised yet, but have been implemented. So it’s a lot more of doing the fun stuff, and not so much the nitty gritty boring backend stuff. With better financial support, I’ve also been able to get help, which is much needed. On a personal note As some of you all know, making Nin Online has taken a good part of my best years, and I while I don’t regret it, hear me out. When I started Nin Online in 2013, I worked on Nin day-in and day-out non-stop, even working through nights in my mandatory conscription, when I finished that, I was a graduate of game design and was immediately scouted to join a game studio, which I left to continue working on Nin Online, which was at the time not making money. As I see my peers working in reputable game studios like Square Enix and Ubisoft, it is a little bit worrying for myself as to the Long term viability of this game to sustain my life. I’ve also chosen the much less conventional path, which is scary in itself. As it stands, Nin Online is not great income for myself, but is more than enough for me to live my frugal life style while not worrying about rent and bills - but that’s because I don’t have any debts to pay off or people depending on me to feed them. But I eventually do want to get married, buy a house and have kids. I’m not young anymore, and so I do have to worry about long term career unlike when I started this at 18. Which is why I’m just making this personal note to ask that if I ever do announce another indie project, that I would get the same support or at least your consideration before the inevitable things like “cloud when?” Or “go back to working on Nin”. Because as I’ve said, I have no intention on giving up on Nin Online. But at the same time, I don’t intend for it to be the only thing I do with my life and skills. If I do have other things I’m working on, you can guarantee that it’s at my own expense and not at the time I would’ve worked on Nin Online. From 2013, the way I mainly funded myself and the development of Nin Online was to take freelance work from other game Developers and studios. But In the past year, I’ve been able to spend less time on freelance, almost none at all, and focus that time and energy on Nin Online and side projects. I love Nin Online, I have no doubt that the players here love Nin Online. But I really hope that when I do inevitably have more to my resume, that my time contribution to Nin Online will not be discredited by time spent on other things. This is no doubt the proudest thing I’ve made. But I hope that when I announce Shinigami Online, Pirate Online and My Hero Online (jk I’m not making any of that, mmorpgs are way too much work for a side project) that it’ll be supported by everyone, and I don’t expect anyone to pay for anything - but a quick shout out, a nice steam review, a retweet, a share, all of that would be appreciated, and anything else I’m successful in will also help me pump that back into improving Nin Online and getting more help. BUT YES MORE UPDATES ARE COMING, CLOUD WHEN - Probably not for a few years - BUT UPDATES NONETHELESS. SAMURAI, MORE DOGGOS, BUFF FAN BUFF WIND, PUPPETS REWORK ETC. NO ETAS. STOP ASKING ME FOR NAME CHANGES. HAPPY THANKS GIVING!
  12. Dear Ninja, First of it's kind rant Dev log. Balance is hard. Everyone has a favorite kind of ninja they want to be, and in an anime/manga, you don't have to consider balancing it in any legible way. When initially designing each mastery, I had a vision for it to affect the players gameplay heavily, for them to be good in certain scenarios, weak in others and also plan unique training experiences for them. For example, as a Tools Ninja, you would have a unique advantage in battles where you could prepare in advance by placing traps. You would have a harder time in spur of the moment battles or ambushes. You would also spend a lot more ryo on tools, hence have a harder time leveling up. As a fire ninja, you would have a big advantage in small arenas. Without any meaningful crowd control, you would rely heavily on AoE and landing your jutsu, which would be more easily done when there is little place to run. The large open world of Nin Online has little tight spaces besides bridges and valleys, but as new arenas are used for more chunin exams, maybe we'll see arenas where this mastery and others shine more. Sword ninja and Fan ninja are the only mastery where you need to hunt for your weapon. As more boss fights come, you will hunt for better weapons with better stats. I got a message from somebody saying tool ninjas were unbalanced because it was too broken because they OP when they can prepare for fights but are useless when they are fighting unprepared.. Good job me? My point is that there's a special place for each mastery in the games balance. The ideal end point is not where every mastery is balanced in a 1v1 fight or a 5v5 team fight. The end goal is for each mastery to have areas where it excels, and are weak in. Arenas where some will prosper and others fail. The end goal is not for support medics to have the same easy time training as Taijutsu ninja. The ideal balance is when each class feels like it has enough merit and fun points to be worth the training. There's a lot more to do, and always will be more I can do to improve the experience of each mastery. Sometimes tweaking values isn't enough, and sometimes it fixes things entirely. But there's more to balancing and game design than everything being fair in a 1v1 fight and I hope everyone who reads this gets my vision at least. PS: Typed on my phone right before bed. Ignore typos!
  13. This will be my Hidden Mist Village Launch Post-mortem talking about what it took to create the Hidden Mist Village’s initial launch state in Nin Online. It's been a long journey to create this major expansion for the game, and with the release a few months ago, it's been very satisfying to watch the dynamics of the game change. Elk's Work (2013) But the journey to create the Mist village actually goes back even further than you may think. Because it started in 2013, with some concepts drawn up by @Elk, one of the artists at the time. Back then, there was little to no reference of what the Mist village actually looked like besides a blur image on Naruto's Fan Wikia. The only other reference of the land of water, was from flashback scenes of the snowy smaller village that Haku was born in, in the original Naruto series. We had 2 simple directions, we wanted to keep the Mist village dark and gloomy, and really bring out the feel of the Zabuza Arc, and that's all we knew. Unfortunately, all of the artwork that Elk posted back then has gone offline and expired from image hosting sites, so I can't show you what he did. But the way the village looks from his concept art, and what we ended up having is uncanny. My Timeline of working on the Mist village (2018-2019) Like all the villages, it all really starts with a sketch, a very barebones sketch. Unlike the Suna one, this one was done digitally (in paint). Which you can see the similarities between the final product. Going from that sketch (Mid 2018) to this (Mid 2019) is rewarding! Tiles One of the hardest things to make for tiles are round objects, especially large round objects. So making a lot of different sized round buildings for Mist was definitely a bigger challenge than the square buildings in the Leaf and the one size round buildings of the Sand. But I felt that it was necessary for this village. I didn't want Mist village to just be a recolored Leaf village, so the majority of the tiles were made brand new just for the Mist village, besides small common objects that could just be recolored. In total, the Mist village has 3 tilesets (2048x2048) of sprites, 2 of them full! as well as a smaller tileset for the ant cave and one more for the Ship tiles for the new ship ride to the land of water. This is some early style tests of what Mist would look like Maps Although it may sound simple, like oh just add Mist map and the surrounding forests. The total number of maps created for the Mist village thus far is 58 including the interiors to buildings, and there's more to come. With the release of the Mist village also came the small village outside, the ports, the organization bases, the Academy, the shops, Asoki Port village and all the maps previously non-existent linking the old playable map space to the new. I didn't want each map to look like a clone of each other, so I made sure that different parts of the Land of Water felt different, and so it feels more like an entire country, not one village! These maps were all hand crafted and a lot of them contain new artwork made specially for them. The new mist graphic that overlays the maps was also custom made based on the Zabuza Arc's look and feel. The village map consists of unique buildings that can take a whole day to complete, and I took time to make sure maps like the Spa felt different from what you already have in the Leaf and Sand village. Like I said though, because there was little to no references of what Mist village should look like, the entire layout of the village was created originally for Nin Online, and so if you start seeing it look this way in any other game, chances are - they've been playing Nin Online! Mobs & Summons I made 10 mobs for Mist village. Including Ants, Boars, the Kraken etc. There's only two summons at the moment, Clams and Pandas! But for Clams, I wanted it to be very different from the other summons, so we made it so it was a stationary summon and I created Acid Mist Jutsu for it too. Adding summons is a process of doing the art and animations, then adding their Summoning Jutsu and stats, adding their NPC database stats, adding their summoning manual and adding the NPCs that sells their manuals. Bubble Mastery I wanted Bubble Mastery to work and feel different from other masteries, so I designed it around traps and snares, but utilizing a weapon. Although there's still more to do for it, I'm happy with how it looks! The art for it took a few weeks and then the implementation took a few days. Along with every new jutsu and mastery, comes a bunch of backend work like creating Jutsu/Jutsu Manuals/Scroll Scribe in the database. New Items/Equipment Mist Military Police Uniforms, Purple Forehead Protectors, Hunter-nin Robes and Masks, Mizukage Clothes, Mist Utility Vests, Blue and Colored Collar Jackets, Bubble Pipe are some of the equipment I did the art for, as well as all the mob drops and mission items! Oh, and the Bandaged Face Mask was done just a few days before launch to let people look more Misty. Scripting Making maps, doesn't just make them work. There's a lot of scripted systems for features like RP Missions, the Academy, Fainting and the hospital, Imprisonment, Kage command room, adding Mist to the War Event Map, and the Boat Ride too! These take time to make and are all done within the game itself. Missions The mission system is a complicated system. It's built upon both scripting and hard coding. The hard coded system is relatively simple, and it leaves a lot of the customizing each mission to the in-game scripting, so each mission takes a bit to create. I make NPCs and place them around and design fetch missions, I design mobs and place them around and design kill missions, I create a gate map and then script the timers for it, and then create guarding missions. I didn't want to just make missions for the Mist to go to the Sand and Leaf, so I also had to make missions for both the Sand and Leaf to now venture into the land of water. It may not seem like it from one village's perspective, but we effectively doubled the number of missions in Nin Online just by adding Mist! Missions have to be scripted down to the level of what to do to the player when he dies, and it has to be linked to the Village Score System for example, which has to be linked to the War System, and with systems so interconnected, it gets exponentially harder with every additional piece added into it. Clans This was a relatively simple thing to do, I looked through all the submissions for clans for Mist and created emblems for them or used ones submitted. Most of adding clans is just in the UI.. so.. UI & Forum / Website New UI pieces like symbols for the bingo book, the character selection, the world map and the village map had to be made. This was all done around April 2019. New introduction scene for the Mist village was hacked together myself as well! New login screens to celebrate the Mist launch too. The forum and things like updater had to be updated with new graphics pieces to feature our new village as well! Things like promotional banners were and social media images too. Music I did one piece of soundtrack for the Mist village, and the others are done by @Afilion! My piece plays in some of the interiors. I'm not a professional musician like him, but I wanted to leave a mark in a different way. NPCs I created 11 NPCs with full walking and attack animations for the Mist village, for things like Guards, and just wandering NPCs. Other Staff's Contributions Besides, Elk, our ex-artist @Sezu also contributed to the village with Dragonflies & Fox Mobs, 8 Misc. Static NPCs, the Striped Clothing Styled Items, and the to be seen Chunin Headband (Slanted Mist Protectors) & Mist Flak Jacket! On the programming side, there was a little bit of work to be done to prepare the engine to support a third village, which was all done by our resident programmer @Seth. Reaper/Santa Chulo also contributed with yet to be seen art like the weapons of the 7 Swordsmen of the Mist. @Afilion did the new village theme songs! I also commissioned an artist named Daikai to create new artwork for Mist Ninja! Conclusions Mist took a lot of work. It was a lot of carrying from myself. It gets exponentially harder to add more things to a game where every feature is interconnected. I left out a lot of backend work I had to do, and I'm sure I missed a ton of things I had to do. I'm thankful for the help everyone has contributed to the village. There were times I just felt like releasing Mist half done without summons, without organizations, without new jutsu.. but I decided against it because I wanted everything to be experienced at once and for people to get that feeling of a big new update coming, instead of the usual small patches with one or two new items. Although we announced that I hoped Mist would release in 2018, the original pipeline changed very quickly in that year. Between then and now, we also went to add major systems like Summons and Clans which were not initially intended to be added before Mist. I had to spend a good few months working on fixing the major crash bug in 2018 which you can read about here.. Mist was a lot of work, it still is, and adding more content is getting harder and harder. But we'll keep going, slowly but surely. Thank you all for the support and for playing Nin Online!
  14. Not going to write a full dev log for this update. But basically, if you don't know already, Fan weapons got a huge update, they now shoot ranged projectiles instead of normal melee attacks. This has been planned for a long time, and the goal is to make Fan ninja feel like a ranged class rather than just another kind of WM. This feature also allows us to make guns basically. We could have a weapon that shoots bullets. Which I really wanted to do for the Christmas event (so you could shoot zombies) but we didn't have the feature out in time. Ah well, maybe we can shoot something else this Halloween. There's more to come in the future in terms of what each fan can do, right now all the fan attacks are very general basic wind projectiles, but we've coded a very broad feature which will allow us to use weapons to cast jutsu on attack, which we can use for more than just fans. But for the most part, it will be quite a unique thing. Don't expect swords to ever shoot anything. It's a Fan thing. Eventually, I hope to implement elemental fans like the Bashōsen (ōsen) But not exactly like that, more like for example a Fire fan that contains elemental chakra stored within it, giving you a basic fire tornado projectile for example. So Fan ninja will be able to explore having burns for example. Even for non-elemental fans, we'll still be reworking their normal projectiles once we have a better idea of where to go from here in terms of Fan balance. Hopefully this piques the interest for Fans and Sands a little more and hey - maybe you're a bit of a fan of mine now. ay.
  15. Hey Ninja, Back again with another dev log. This time I just want to talk about some reasons why sometimes I add content which are for a limited level range. Right now mainly two bosses that you can only fight within the level range 20-30 and 30-40. To understand why such content is required, we have to talk about the design of the game, and the core of what is fun in an MMORPG. First of all, when I approach the design of Nin Online, I don't think about training from Levels 1-50 (or the new level cap when you're reading this!) as a requirement/procedure to get to the fun bit. One intention behind the design of leveling up from 1-50 is to provide players with a story to tell about their character, how they got to their power. A story to tell Think about the difference between playing Nin Online and playing an arena based game where you jump in on a level playing field, eg. Shinobi Striker. If you play Nin Online, you character starts off as an Academy Student, starts doing menial tasks for the village, eventually grows and discovers his first elemental chakra nature, or that he's gifted in Taijutsu or Medical Ninjutsu. He does a few missions that require him to team up with a group of 3 ninja and work under a Chunin/Jonin instructor. He makes friends along the way, and when he's killed a billion times in this leveling journey, he makes enemies too. Hopefully he's made more friends than enemies, that can help, and he's found some sort of purpose. It feels good to overcome obstacles Jumping into a game in an even playing field is fun when you want a purely competitive, fair experience. Nin Online doesn't strive to be that. It's tries to be a breathing world where if you've invested time into training in the game, you have a competitive age. Ie. It's an RPG. In any RPG, you start off feeling weak and it feels good to gain powers along the way. The feeling people get when they start off weak and eventually start being able to fend for themselves, and then further improve and can own people or hold their grounds against the best is a priceless feeling. But it takes time investment, and Nin Online aims to be a game for the people who have time to play the game, not sell out to the casuals who complain about not being able to get everything they want by pointing at it. If things are rare, it's worth more Simply put, if everything is obtainable by everyone all the time, then nothing is worth anything and those items are only worth whatever their stats are. There's items people don't need but have spent months in gaining because they want them. When they finally do gain it, it's worth a lot. Why did they want it? because it had value. RNG makes life more exciting If everything is set to for example, if you've killed 1000 wolves and it doesn't drop your sword, it will just give you your sword, then everyone knows the value of the item is only 1000 wolves, it feels cheapened, you didn't really hit a jackpot, the game took pity on you and gave you what you wanted. There is still a place for content that you can surely get as long as you try. For example, items that are bought with Ryo, items that are crafted with fixed amounts of more common items that can be bought with ryo or hunted. Items that are attached to finishing hard missions. But RNG items will always have to exist in some form for those who are willing to invest the time to get that +1 item. Spontaneous Experience In hours of straight play, your time in Nin Online should not be doing a single thing. Here's how it could play out vs. how it should. Log in -> Grind for 10 hours -> log out -> sleep -> login again tomorrow and repeat vs. Log in -> Take on a mission that requires you to enter an enemy village -> get interrupted by enemies and fail -> rest your Battle Injuries off while socializing in your village -> your village is spontaneously raided -> you escape narrowly and hide somewhere while stronger ninja battle it out -> you attempt your mission again and succeed -> you take your second daily mission which is to chill in the sauna -> you chill awhile and get rewarded while doing it -> you take your last mission and it's not very good so you choose to discard it (better luck tomorrow) -> since you're out of dailies, you go grind for awhile but you bump into people who ask you if you can accompany them on their mission -> you take a spontaneous journey to an enemy village -> you bump into enemy ninja with bounty -> you kill them and gain some bounty rewards -> you send off your new friend and you go get your bounty reward -> you reached a new level tier and you've unlocked fighting a boss -> you find a team of similar leveled ninja you've never met before and go try to finish that boss -> it's difficult but you do it after a few attempts -> you're lucky and it drops a rare RNG item -> you argue with your team about who gets it -> you log off with the item and feel great that you earned something rare today at the expense that your village ninja now know you're a bit of a jerk -> log out -> sleep -> you login again and get a different mission and now your village is on the verge of exiling you and nobody wants to team with you Back to level-limited content That's some of the things you have to understand about the core philosophy for the hardcore nature of Nin Online and why we don't have everything just at the end game. 1. Encouraging taking your time If you can do everything at 50, then leveling is a process of unlocking things you can do. There's no reason to take your time because your goal instantly becomes to do whatever is easiest to get to 50 so that you can do all the "fun things". But then you realize that you've already missed half the 98% of the fun by grinding all the way as fast as you could. 2. We want people to experience different things at different points in their ninja journey 1-10 should feel different from 11-20, which should feel very different from 40-50. Even if just visually, you should feel like you've doing more impressive feats, and you should feel like you've gained power, and your jutsu should feel stronger. To reflect this, bosses should feel like they're getting even more challenging. 3. Challenge. If bosses were available at any point pass the level requirement and not limited, people wouldn't do it at the level requirement if they found it a challenge. They would stick to grinding weak unchallenging mobs and procrastinate getting those bosses killed till when the bosses were no longer a challenge, and then it wouldn't have been fun doing it. But that's what the game encouraged them to do - they would've been stupid not to have done that. Currently, those bosses are designed to be a challenge at the level range it is set, once you're past it, it's going to be a face roll. 4. Similar point, but if the easy way is to just continue grinding or logging out and doing dailies everyday. Your experience is narrow, there's no variety. Ideally, in Nin Online, things should happen spontaneously, things should vary in your hours of playing. You should unlock new things and be encouraged to go try those things immediately. I hope this explains why things are how they are, it's really hard to explain when there's only two things that are this way. But eventually when there's more content in this manner, it will become more evident this creates a more well-rounded, varied experience over the course of your time playing.
  16. The idea for Asoki Village dates back to 2006, or possibly earlier. Back when I was a 13 year old kid, I made an attempt at a game called "Hidden Villages Online" it was essentially the same idea as Nin Online, but I was new to game development for the most part and wasn't able to make it anywhere as quality as Nin Online is today. Hidden Villages Online actually saw multiple test releases where perhaps less than a hundred people ever tried it. But it was a good learning experience as a kid, and it helped me make Nin Online what it is today. In Hidden Villages Online, you started at Asoki Village, which was a small village, and that was where everyone was born. There was no Leaf village or Sand village, just Asoki Village. 13 years later, here is Asoki Port village, slightly different names, slightly better mapping. I tried to recreate it how my kid self would've wanted it. I hope everyone likes it! There's only ducks here, but there's going to be Mission NPCs and shops soon. Regards, Ueda
  17. Hey Ninja, This week we'll be talking about the biggest change in the game since 2013. There are so many bookshelves in the game and it's been bothering me how they all have the same books in the same order, and I don't know if this bothered a single other soul, but It really bothered me. I actually designed the bookshelf tileset to be modular in 2013, but I never got the time to do a simple edit to make more varieties. Behold, more variation of bookshelves! Before / After (animated GIF) & that bin & that bin A more extreme example of a map with way too many of the same shelves previous.. & that bin tho More examples On a slightly more serious note, I actually added a bunch of new tiles into the game to make interiors more lively and maybe for that one or two cases, give people more to RP with. I know these are things the game doesn't need but I still want to do improvements like this because they make the world feel more alive to me. In the same way all the maps could've just reused all the same art and been clones of one another, and saved me a lot of time, I don't want to not make the art look good in every way just to save time. In the end, I want Nin to be something I'm proud of in every way. More small upgrades to other maps coming soon!
  18. Medical Ninjas in the Naruto series are both some of our favorite characters and some of our most hated. On one end we have people hating on Sakura and Ino who's feats until the Great Ninja War seemed forced in there to give them some relevance, on the other hand you have Tsunade who everyone universally agrees is a bad ass because of her medical Ninjutsu feats. As I mentioned in the previous dev log. Not all Masteries are meant to be as good at PvP or PvE. Some Masteries trade these abilities greatly for utility. Some masteries trade long-term survivability for short term damage output. Nin Online's inspiration for what Medical Ninja should feel like comes from a bunch of different characters. Firstly, we have two sub-paths that we want players to balance between. Here's a list of characters that you should feel like as you go towards that path. Full support Medic - Rin Poison Attack Medic - Kabuto When you get combined Masteries, and advanced Masteries.. Full Support Medic (Advanced Medic /w CHK) - Tsunade level medical Ninjutsu Advanced Poison Ninjutsu (Advanced Medic /w INT) - Ibuse Medical and Taijutsu User (Medic + Taijutsu) - Tsunade In total this is 5 different modes of medics we want to balance for. There will be people who choose to take Medic + Water still, and it won't be that bad because you'd have limited amount of jutsu slots which you will fill up with not just Medic and Water jutsu, but also hidden jutsu, clan jutsu and summoning jutsu in the future. Full Support Medics are not supposed to feel as viable in combat as other ninja. Except when you use Chakra Scalpels. Essentially, you're supposed to feel like a one trick pony as a pure support medic, when it comes to damage output. You are the support of your team, and Chakra Scalpels should allow you to push out damage and defend yourself temporarily while your team is too preoccupied. So you are basically Rin. Poison Attack Medics are supposed to be less viable in combat than a typical class in terms of pure damage output, but relies on poisons to get an upper hand in extended fights, where you tire out the opponent. As of now, this and full support medics are a little far from its original design. Cursed Seals are artificial sage modes. It is when unnaturally implanted kinjutsu and senjutsu is granted to its user. I have a theory that it was originally intended for Sasuke to have gained what his affinity towards Hawks and a potentially scrapped Hawk sage mode to him early by orochimaru. Which explains why he gains Hawk-like features when he gained his Cursed Seal form (hawk eyes, wings and a beak like Mark on his face). This was probably scrapped in order for Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade to have the same Summons as Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura. All the Sound 4 have Summons and artificial sage modes where they gain marks, just like Naruto does when he enters sage mode. But as the game is inspired more by Naruto than Shippuden, this is what we're going for. Cursed Seals in Nin Online will be an optional addition instead of ordinary Summons and Sage Modes that will require you to leave your village and learn from an evil ninja. However, as this is very far off, and I know people love Cursed Seals and its a large part of the series, I include them as part of the attack medic's kit for now. But this is the full vision of what Cursed Seals will be eventually. Advanced Poison Ninja are based on Hanzo, Torune and some freaky Ninjutsu like Orochimaru. You will get deadlier poisons which do different things, slow your enemies, damage them, silence them etc. There were initially plans for poison immunities, but that has been scrapped because such easy hard counters are not fun. A medicine making system is planned for medical ninja to use ingredients to make pills which can then be sold or used by allies. In conclusion, while medical ninja are meant to be very different from what they currently are, and as time goes by, this will be what it becomes. In the meanwhile, I do want them to be as fun as possible and provide unique gameplay, like having cursed seals.
  19. MMORPG are unique as a genre of projects to work on from normal RPG because they run as a service over a long period of time. They are different because there is not a definite end state, and players will always want more content and features. Of course, they are also different because of the social interactions your players can have, creating indefinite amounts of possibilities for special interactions and experiences in the world. Indefinite Service Indefinite Updates Indefinite Experiences These 3 factors when considered into the design and development plan can create a sustainable MMORPG. Diving into the past, most of us avid MMORPG players have encountered one of these scenarios. Being a long time player of a game but slowly realizing its no longer the game you loved. Being a long time player and leaving the game, coming back and seeing its no longer the game you loved. Anticipating a game from trailers for years, forgetting about a game, and jumping in half a decade later to realize its not what the trailers portrayed it to be. A lot of games lose sight of the original design over the years, this can be due to change in designers and people working on the game. This can be due to publisher intervention. This can be due to changes in monetization model. This can be due to a large variety of reasons that may even have been necessary for the longevity of the game. This common occurrence with MMORPG almost make it seem that this is the inevitable destination for all games in the genre. But if we look at the examples of games decades old that are still around and maintain a strong following, and the prevalence of Classic MMORPG private servers, we can see that this isn't true. There are dozens of popular Ragnarok Online private servers with thousands of daily active users while Ragnarok Online 2 is shutting down its team and the game has less active players than Nin Online which is made by mostly 2 individuals. Changing Developers / Designers When a game is bought by a new parent company, sometimes they come with deals where the creators or lead designers have to continue working on the game for a duration. Sometimes they replace them straight away. Whichever the case, while documentation can help, if you change the person behind the helm of a games development. You will get changes to the vision of the game. Lack of knowledge of what made the game great from a fundamental level can be detrimental, and even having that knowledge, it's still really hard to continue the development the way it was originally intended. Obscure decisions can seem random or error-like to a person jumping in midway through a game's development lifetime. Even experienced developers will struggle to weigh in everything that comprises a game's design when suddenly thrown a giant game design document and a world filled with more different kinds of players than they've met in their lives. The way Nin Online has counteracted this problem thus far is just by keeping the same lead designer on the helm for its current lifespan. While I intend to continue being the one leading the games development in the long term, it may one day be inevitable that I will not. In such a scenario, it will be very important that whomever continues the game knows not just the decisions for the game design - but the reasons for them - by heart. It is rare that a new designer can step into a project and make the game a better game while sticking to its original design. It's not something I've personally observed happen in all my research. I think companies undervalue the importance of keeping the individuals and overvalue the project they're buying. But besides just changing designers, I think individuals get bored of the project they were originally designing and turn their projects into something else over time, they start adopting market trends, listen to what players want rather than committing to good design in areas they shouldn't. Decisions like these compound into bad games and eventually cause the games to die or at least lose their initial target audiences. World of Warcraft is a great example of this Accessibility and Appeasing a Casual Playerbase Trend This next point is a very specific decision that has occurred within most of the MMORPG that some of us have enjoyed as kids. Making a game accessible has in mine and many people's opinions been the cause of decline for many MMORPG of the past. When a game changes its design to match the player instead of making the player match the game, you end up with a game that everyone can play, but nobody wants to play. When you subscribe to the notion that because you pay for something, you should have access to all its content, or that everyone should have access to everything in the game even if they don't have time to invest into it, you end up with a game where everything is worth nothing and you will never truly be proud of anything you do in-game. This is an echo of a video you can find on YouTube that's been trending lately. You can watch it here Power creep and updating balance Game balancing is another issue that has to be considered for the entirety of a games development. While it is important to get player feedback, it's also important to constantly refer to original design documents and use formula, charts and diagrams to determine what works in theory. Determining whether something is imbalanced is hard. Personally for Nin Online, when something is deemed under powered by a group of players, I first have to consider all the variables that a single or even a large group of players might not notice. For example, if a Spell (Jutsu) is underpowered to a majority of level 50 players, I have to look at "what level is this jutsu" "what are the other jutsu in this kit" "what situations is this jutsu meant to be used in and not used in" "is it useful in situations that are niche and/or not currently experience-able In-game" "is there a combo that is not currently being used" "does the arena sizes and format of fights have anything to do with why this jutsu has been failing for these players" "are the players expecting something different than its original intention or is it simply not living up to its original intention" and more factors unique to each case. Once I've determined that it is under powered, next I have to consider whether to buff it, nerf/re-balance everything around it, or rework it entirely. Which in itself, comes with dozens of factors to consider. But most importantly, if I do rework it, does it still play into the design of its class (mastery), and if I change it, is it for the betterment of the class or for the short term enjoyment of the players. When part of the designers job becomes to please the player base in the short term - it leads to decisions that don't consider longevity and long term balance. It is very easy to just buff something, most of the time, this receives the least criticism. People hate being nerfed, and love being buffed. Buffing other peoples classes doesn't hurt you as much as nerfing yours. So naturally, the easy decision is always just buffing. This leads to a common problem in MMORPG - power creep. My way to avoid this is to constantly make hard decisions, being stringent on my design is a benefit I get to enjoy by being the sole decision maker of the game. In a typical AAA company, if you make decisions that outrage players, you lose your job. This leads to situations where you buff things endlessly without considering other aspects of the game. Hard decisions are hard to make, but necessary. Another hard thing to maintain is a perfect imbalance, which is the concept that having everything fair is not fun, and that every player should have something about their class they feel. Is special. Players will often take two very different things in different classes and say "why does this class have this but this class doesn't?". Sometimes the first reaction even as a designer to this is "oh yeah, you're right, that's not fair is it?" but when you take this a step further and continue to balance things in a way that makes each class a re-skin of one another, it takes away the fun people can find from being overpowered in some ways and overcoming their underpowered-ness in others. What we should be balancing is the bigger picture, and making sure each class has the opportunity to shine in their own way. Creating content and the importance of Social experiences in MMORPG Being able to push out content faster than it can be experienced is not just an impossibility for an MMORPG like Nin Online, which has a small team, it is simply not possible to create a quest faster than players can complete it, you can't create a boss faster than players can get bored of it. At least not in a modern game development scenario. It might be possible one day. But we've seen that games, Nin Online included, have been able to retain players for years or even decades, so we know that pushing out content is not directly equivalent to retaining your players. There are a few ways games can tackle this, first by designing your game with social experiences in mind, you create infinite possibilities for interactions. Building systems that encourage player interaction one by one, makes a game not about what you do, but who you do it with. Each player becomes "content" because they provide a new way the game can be experienced. This should be prevalent in all MMORPG - but its not. Its one of the biggest charms and allures of the genre, but yet its so often forgotten by large studios. Expanding the right content in the right amounts is also important for Nin Online at least. Sometimes adding a boss is top priority, but sometimes working on an entire new village is more important. Sometimes working on features for a very small group of players like imprisonment for Military Police Forces will benefit the game more than anything. Prioritizing the right thing at each point the games development is key for sustaining the games enjoyment. Sometimes advertising and marketing is purely the focus of mine because I want to introduce new players to give more potential experiences to everyone else. Game industry trends and One upping older content Sticking to design rather than the trends of other games is important, and once core gameplay systems are in place, there's often a point where MMORPG just seem to slap in features like achievements and in the case of WoW, Garrisons. Although they seem cool initially, sometimes these features can have negative effects on the pre-existing content. Adding too many instanced content can take away from the World aspects of the MMORPG and negate the large amounts of work poured into making an expansive world. While it can be used to encourage exploration and doing more in your world, achievements can also cheapen the idea of exploration in the world by listing out exactly what people can do in your world and by rewarding certain ways to play the game, you lessen the fun in doing things players are not given rewards for. "Quality of life" changes. While this term is actually used to describe changes that make doing menial tasks easier, like a UI change that makes inventories easier to scroll through. Sometimes developers mistake changes like adding more inventory slots as a quality of life change. While it does give players an easier time, it can also in turn make inventory management less important, which for some could be a kind of fun. Inventory management is a large part of classic RPGs and while modern RPGs tend to have limitless inventory space, I myself personally find the idea of not having infinite pockets more immersive and gives me a reason to return to world hubs to sell loot, which creates a new dynamic, which in turn increases my chances of meaningful social experiences. One of the largest parts of Nin Onlines game design is to create a large world and encourage players to never stay in the same spot too long, and encourage exploration. Not having an easy time in achieving makes achieving more valuable. Quality of Life is a popular buzzword, but is only useful in it's domain. An example of a Quality of Life's potential is having un-intuitive UI or un-intuitive systems that can be better if it had more visual cues. My point is that Quality of Life is a term thrown around everywhere and is used in out-of-context situations because of how general the term is. Eg. Increase the EXP rate because that would increase the Quality of Life of players in the game. Content Creep Content creep is not a real term, but I use it to identify the problem I see with games that focus on adding content for current player base, commonly the players who are very invested in the game and whom have maxed out their level cap. Focusing on retaining players rather than new players is important as well, and a fine balance has to be made so that you can retain your old player base while also making it increasingly more fun for new players. This will make it more likely that new players will join, which is also a good thing for the existing players, because as we established earlier, new players is in a large way, new experiences and new content in a social world. Sometimes going back to balance and ensure the old content is still viable when you've added new content is important, and I feel the biggest violation to this was Maplestory. By adding a dozen classes on top of the original 4-5, they invalidated the old classes, wasting the old content that old players loved and new players could've loved. Increasing Limitations in Technology Working within the limitations of your technology is also very important. A lot of older MMORPG had very great limitations on their hands, that players never even knew about. In the days of Ultima Online, they could only have a limited amount of houses before the server couldn't handle them. So they limited the amount and made them expire. In the days of World of Warcraft, they added instanced player housing, which made it so the server only loaded the data when they needed it. In the case of Nin Online, we try to stay away from instanced content because it removes the feeling of being in a perpetual world, and also because its not in our engine at the moment, but even if it was - I would struggle deciding on whether or not to use it. Because the idea of having actual property in the game sounds a lot more fun than everyone being able to own an instance that nobody else will enter. Because items are stored server side to prevent cheating, we also have a limited number of items we can create - so we have to avoid adding items, equipment or cosmetics that nobody will use. Everything has a weight on our server resources. Every cosmetic added for a small group of players is one less important equipment like a Flak Jacket or Sword. As time goes on and we improve our backend technology, it will increasingly be important to stick to the core game philosophies for design. Maplestory famously started condensing the original world that everybody loved by deleting maps and making the world smaller to make way for new content. Which is another example of forgetting how important the original design and content for new players who haven't tried the game is. I’ve also realized that as monitor technology has increased, pixel density has increased, and it has in turn made Nin Online characters really tiny, and you see too much of the world at once. While this is temporarily helped with the “Zoom” functionality in our settings, eventually, I will have to combat this with some sort of more long term solution or the game will become so radically changed it no longer looks like what is supposed to originally look like. Here is a video talking where they talk about the limitations of the technology back in Ultima Online and how they pushed it. Conclusion If we consider the 3 factors about MMORPG development stated at the start of this developers log, it creates a philosophy that helps make sure that the MMORPG you're designing continues to grow in size but maintains what makes it fun in the first place. This is all just a scratching the surface of a very large market trend that I've noticed over the past decade since my days playing MMORPGs like Maplestory, Ragnarok Online, MU Online, World of Warcraft when I was a kid, playing private servers of these games, and playing modern MMORPGs. If you search YouTube, you will find a larger movement of players of classic MMORPG or new players anticipating Classic WoWs release. This is also to explain to the players who are willing to listen that as a designer with the freedom to make difficult choices for the benefit of the game, instead of just pleasing people, I am going to make these decisions that will piss people off a lot, but it’s going to be for the sake of the games longevity to the best of my knowledge. And even though sometimes it seems like common sense that we should buff this or nerf that, sometimes - you just have to trust that the people making the game knows what best in a broad picture. Sometimes the players are right, and I’ve had so much changes to the original design made because of player suggestions, as well as minor changes like balancing based on what players have suggested. But I still do have to consider a myriad of things before just copy pasting ideas for balance changes, and it’s not an easy job when balancing for the future and what’s to come and not just for short term pleasing. Thanks for taking your time to read this wall of text! Inb4 nerf tai
  20. There's always a lot of questions, or rather complaints, that come in the form of "How come X mastery can do this while Y mastery can do this". Eg. Why doesn't fire have any targeted jutsu, How come Gentle Fist has 100 CP cost and long cooldown on their main jutsu. This is going to be a short series explaining the design behind more unique masteries, or atleast the thought process when I designed them. Balancing Playstyles The idea behind each mastery being good at a different thing comes from classic table-top RPG archetypes. However, instead of building classes around Tanks, Supports, Damage classes. In the ninja world, every class is able to fight, but can also be built to be more tanky, or do more damage, or in some cases be built for utility. Eg. having a Earth Ninja that purely uses agility and chakra, standing behind his team mates in a group fight to quickly cast CCs for his team. Or having a fully attack medical ninja vs. having a fully support medical ninja or anything in between. While some of this is held back by meta, or by incompleteness in features. This is the vision™. We want each mastery to be different in not just how they fight, but how they are experienced on more fundamental levels, with each class having unique leveling experiences, focus in progression, and different improvements when they rank up and how they should traverse the world safely. Tools Ninja aka. Ten Ten Style The mastery is built with a different sustainability dynamic than other masteries. While Tools Ninja can only use their jutsu a limited amount of times before needing to restock up on tools, and become virtually useless when they don't have tools, Tools ninja jutsu cost half of what their non-tool ninja counter parts cost in terms of upfront Chakra Points. While a Fire mastery ninja would be able to last longer out of their village, a tool ninja who is well stocked can last twice as long in a single encounter without charging chakra if their stat distribution is done the same as their enemy. Their downtime would be much less, giving them more time to punish enemies who have ran out of chakra. At the cost of ryo, they get a more complete set of jutsu, being the only mastery that at full potential can utilize Stuns, AoEs and high damage potential. Like a Trapper in D&D, they can set up traps to prepare for fights ahead of time and will find their use more in situations like defending against incoming raids, and fights in the Forest of Death where they can hold their ground more. Traps will be increasingly useful as more possible scenarios are created in the game. In terms of game economy, they also serve the purpose of being ryo sinks where in-game currency is given an almost direct conversion into fighting power. As time goes on and there are more smaller villages in between to stock up on tools it may become more convenient, but for now, having your team members hold tools for you is one way to extend your usefulness without returning to villages. Sword Master Although a lot of people are going to like the idea of carrying around a sword, just because they look aesthetically pleasing. The overall design of the Sword Mastery play-style is based on giving players who love hunting gear in MMORPGs a class just for them! In Nin Online, gear are mostly cosmetic, because we don't want to force players to look a certain way in order to be PvP viable, or look a certain way to be optimally powerful. Looking how you want to look is a big part of giving people the ability to immerse themselves in their ninja identity and role play. The class is based around the way Suigetsu is going around the ninja world trying to collect all the swords of the 7 Swordsmen of the Mist, except on a larger scale, where you go around fighting different enemies to collect swords from all over the ninja world. Playing any hybrid of Sword Master with an elemental mastery will give you a hybrid of both, because having the best swords won't matter as much when only half your kit relies on it. As time goes on and more of the game is fleshed out, I hope to have hundreds of swords with unique abilities, so switching between them can be useful in different scenarios. There should be a good combination of swords you get in different ways. Ones which you can do by simply finishing missions. Ones where you have to hunt bosses for days or months, and when you get them, they are the rarest items in the game. Ones which you can just buy from a shop. Ones that you can only buy from a shop somewhere obscure. Ones that you can only earn from events like we did back in 2013 (and have honored till today. Only Shauri will ever hold a Tsuarigi sword as a player!) To be honest, the current state of Sword Master is something I'm quite unhappy with and am still hoping to distinguish their fighting style more. And... There's still a lot to be said regarding why things are a certain way, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them and I'll answer them in the next development log!
  21. Dear Ninja, Although the Clan system is still quite awhile away, since I'm making the changes to display name policy. I should quickly explain why we're going this route for Clans. It has been the plan all along for clans to be a selection of presets, unlike Organizations, which players can make and join. What Clans are in the Ninja World When designing the clan system, the first thing I want to look at is what clans are supposed to be. In most cases, a clan is a family. When there is a structure, a leader, an elder, and there is still a clan house or home. It's a bloodline in some cases, when there are few remaining ninja in your clan, and there is no longer a family structure, we know it as a bloodline. You trace your special abilities back to a bloodline lineage. We know ninja from a some clans can potentially learn special jutsu passed down through their clan, and ninja from other clans sometimes have bloodline limits that can give them special abilities naturally - like doujutsu (eye jutsu). Clans can be small, but they can also be large. They tend to stay within the village, but can decide as a whole to turn their backs on the village sometimes, and have small subsets remain. Clans don't pop out of nowhere. They are ingrained in a village's history, when generations die, generations below still continue their legacy. So I took all this into consideration for Nin Online's Clan system. What Clans will be like in Nin Online (Not Anytime Soon™) Do note: All of this is subject to changes, I am still deciding a lot of things regarding WHEN you choose clans. There is a chance we might do it later in the game and not at character creation for example. On character creation, you select from a variety of clans of that village. Each clan will have unique outfit(s), and a default hair color or eye color recommendation. Some clans will have fixed eye colors for their unique doujutsu (eye jutsu). Some clans don't have eye jutsu and do not limit your hair colors. (All of these colors are still changeable in-game with the premium eye color changer - take those as colored contact lenses and rainbow hair dye - hair dye literally, but your character's natural hair color is always your clan's) Having a manageable number of presets per village will allow me to give each clan unique jutsu and outfits, because it will become a sustainable feature. If clans were player made, they would not be able to get these things because we cannot infinitely add more clothes into the game for every player clan made. This would be unsustainable for me as an artist and for our server which cannot infinitely add more items. Every clan outfit is one less important that everyone else can wear in-game. It will also allow us to create clan houses for each clan, where you could learn your new clan jutsu and get clan clothing pieces. Having preset clans will create belonging for new ninja, and make it so you have to work together as family. We'll be able to see special RP occurrences like an entire branch of a clan decided to leave their village and become a sub-set of their clan as criminal missing ninja. You might see that older players are less accepting of new members in a clan and do not work together to create a welcoming clan. This will cause splits in the clan. Whereas in clans where the senior family members have good structure and are welcoming will be more holistic and united. We will see clans that dominate the politics in their villages and clans that feel underappreciated and leave. New ninja who choose that clan in the future will also be more likely to join their kin as missing ninja as being a ninja from that clan would lead them to being ostracized by their village. The way "clans" in Nin Online are right now, you see players who form their family name and have people change their name to join them. It doesn't feel permanent, unlike what a family should be. Having a limited selection of permanent clans that will remain around indefinitely will make it so that each clan will potentially have a large number of family members. Instead of 5 or 6 player-made clans with 10+ members that see maybe 5-6 online at a time. I'd love to give the chance for current pre-made clans to have their clans turned into one of the preset clans for their village. This will most likely be the case. I will of course have my own ideas that I might want to impose onto the clan's overall aesthetic and name (got to keep them as lore friendly with the other clan names) and of course, I will be the one to decide what clan gets what jutsu as that falls into balance. I hope this gives you a better idea of the vision for the in-game clan system of the future. Don't get your hopes up on when you'll see any of this anytime soon! Regards, Rory
  22. Dear Ninja, Today we fixed one of the biggest server crashes plaguing the games development, and with it comes a lot of lessons for the future of the game's development. We now know some things to look out for and avoid when coding the game, and we now have the means to debug crashes like this in the future. The reason this particular crash was so unsolvable was that it wasn't actually crashing the server. It was creating an infinite loop in calling server game logic. Which didn't crash the server and provide any debug information, and our current server was not able to give any debug information when attempting to debug through the latest version of Visual Studio. It turns out that our dated technology required the use of dated copies of Windows and a dated copy of Visual Studio to give us the debug information we needed, and I would not have been able to discover this without @Seth. It also took @Robin's knowledge in debugging methods to figure out what was causing it. I've spent the last couple of weeks blindly testing the server to see what would cause crashes, it took me and Seth stress testing parts of the game blindly, as we collected useful data and information from players about what they felt was causing the crashes. While I cannot disclose the exact cause as of yet for the game's server security, I would like to say that some of the information given did in fact make sense once the bug was found. The discovery took the efforts of Seth, Robin and myself convening over a long period of time analyzing the course of action to solve the bug. I also would like to thank Pokemon Planet's creator, Brody, for also providing assistance, and advising possible courses of action as well @Abhi for agreeing to put aside time from his busy exam schedule to look into it when I called him. Lastly I'd like to thank all the players who have been patient and sending me reports on possible causes for the crashes over the last week. Thank you to Nintendave @Bolan Vongola @Dayum Mirana @Riley @Sukki Ohiya @Jellal Kuraen @Oriax @Itachi Himitsu @Lumy @Shissei @MrChubb The Hozuki @Origami Heart User_name @Lain and whoever else gave useful feedback and encouragement, you're all top notch beta testers. This may not be the last problem causing crashes, but we now have the means to debug any similar problems (which there might be). Hopefully this means a much more stable Nin Online server immediately, or in the weeks to come. However, I would like to apologize in advance that the goals of 2018 (Adv. Masteries / Mist) may come a bit later than end of the year. I was initially going to rush out a lot of content by the end of 2018, but I've decided that in the spirit of Christmas, I'll be working on making the server stable and doing a Christmas event again, because we haven't had holiday events this year. Regards, Rory Edit (26/10/2021): For historical purposes, this crash was due to body flicker technique warping players randomly to a spot around the target. But if the target was at a corner of the map, it was looking for a spot outside the bounds of the index, and because this was a while loop, it was creating an infinite loop of finding a potential spot. It's such a simple issue in hindsight, but impossible to find with the kind of reports we were receiving and the lack of any debug information. There were all kinds of checks in place, but a while loop was still not a good option for this.
  23. Ueda

    Dear Ninja, As of today we're putting a new feature into testing, it may or may not drastically improve your frame rate depending on your situation. However, I'm hopeful from initial tests that this will help many of you with previously low frame rates or only decent frame rates. Previously, the game was running in DirectX8 which in itself has quite some compatibility issues with modern Windows systems. We now have the game running with DirectX9 as the renderer, abeit through the work of a wrapper, which means the API calls are all done through DirectX9 API calls now. In my personal case, FPS was almost doubled throughout the game, and it's now more playable in 3440x1440 (3K Ultrawide) for me. DirectX8 (1080P) Leaf Village: 40-57 FPS Valley of the End: 40-50 FPS Chakra Forest / Forest of Ambushes: 50-55 FPS DirectX9 (1080P) Leaf Village: 97-100 FPS (My monitor is capped at 100hz Refresh Rate) Valley of the End: 80-85 FPS Chakra Forest / Forest of Ambushes: 90-100 FPS (My monitor is capped at 100hz Refresh Rate) DirectX8 (3K Ultrawide) Leaf Village: 14-25 FPS DirectX9 (3K Ultrawide) Leaf Village: 43-48 FPS PS: Do note that if your monitor is capped at 60hz Refresh Rate, the game will cap at 60 FPS. Anything above doesn't display because your monitor can only show 60 new images a second. Hope you enjoy this update! Regards, Rory
  24. Ueda

    Dear Ninjas, This development log is to explain why some people have bad ping and why tunnel programs like ExitLag and NoPing help with that, and why it is out of our control. What is Ping? So Ping or Latency with Nin Online is the amount of milliseconds it takes for your client (in whichever country you are in) to send a packet of data to and fro the server located in North America. How do Tunnel programs work? First of all, watch this: If you were to assume that data is moving linearly from your computer to our server and back, that should mean that Tunnel programs are somehow making data move faster than the physical limitations of our network sea cables etc. right? Wrong. Tunnel services simply provide more direct access to our game by running dedicated servers in strategic locations. This reduces ping drastically in some cases if your ISP is not providing you with a direct connection to servers (in this case) in Canada. Why is my ISP being a little shit and not giving my a direct connection to Canadian servers? Some people wonder why is it sometimes even when you're not located far away from the server, you can get bad ping? It's because your ISP is being a little shit or you've bought into an ISP that isn't being completely transparent with you on how they tranfer data. ISPs do this because they can sell your "high quality / premium" plans labelled with fancy terms like gigabit connection or 1gb/s speeds. Without actually shelling out money to provide you direct connections. They're also not lying to you because your connection speed will actually really be 1gb/s - just to local servers or servers that are favorable. So how is it not our problem your ISP is being a little shit? In some sense, it does become our problem. When you experience lag, our game service suffers. We also need to find ways to optimize further (within physical limitations of science) to make it so our server can make you feel like latency doesn't exist. Why is it some other games have better ping for me? This can be for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they could be using non-authoritative server architectures. Which means more of the game's data is being processed on your client locally. However, for an Online RPG where we need to prevent hacking, this is not ideal because the more things processed on the client side, the easier it is to cheat. When all data is processed on a server, it is called an authoritative server. They could also be located nearer to you or have their own tunnel service dedicated to their game. They could also just not be transparent about the actual ping you have and use advanced client side lag compensation methods that make the game seem like it isn't lagging like I'll explain below. How do we deal with lag in an online game with an authoritative server? We compensate by making actions you take reflect on your client before they actually happen on the server, in some cases. But this is a move that has to be done strategically on only some areas of the game. Examples are, movement. If you move in Nin Online, it reflects on your client right away. However, this in rare cases can cause a situation where your client thinks you're on one spot, but the server knows you are actually somewhere else. We deal with this by making sure your client holds you in the spot where the server knows you are, until your client is ready to move again. We also minimize the amount of time the data takes to process on the server before a return packet is sent to your client. That is within on control. How it works is.. Client Packet is Sent ------ (Eg. 100ms) -------> Server Processes Packet (eg. 10ms) Server Packet is Sent -------- (Eg. 100ms) -------> Client receives packet The ping would be 210ms in this case. Because the Data was processing on our server for 10ms before the server started giving your client a response. However, our ability to optimize this is very limited at this point. The reason being, our server is capable of performing millions of calculations per second. This means any packet that is send is almost instantly processes. It spends almost no time at all on our server before it gives you a response. Our server is actually so powerful that we cap the amount of calculations it attempts to perform to how many it actually needs to. So far on a busy time, the server performs around 10,000-20,000 calculations per second. Which is almost 0.1% of the server's calculation processing prowess. There was a point in time where we had a lot we could do to optimize the game to be less laggy. We've solved the problems within our control like major issues that caused the server to hang when certain things were done for example. But there is two things we can't solve.. your ISPs lies and the engineering and physical limitations of data transfer (in 2018). Perhaps breakthroughs like quantum entanglement will create a quantum internet where we can transfer data instantaneously, but until then, we can only dream. Why is our current and only server in North America? Conclusion There's also the chance that if we can make Nin Online populated and monetarily profitable enough, we can run multiple servers in different locations. But right now, the only thing that will do is dilute the player base in a game focused on community, RP and engaging in fights with other players. On a bright side, we've got a major breakthrough for FPS lag!
  25. Dear Ninja, Here's another long form design rant. If you haven't seen the first one, read about the balance philosophy here. These development logs are less visually appealing, but give just as much insight about the future of the game. So if you're interested in game development, you'll probably enjoy my walls of text! The Problem This one is titled "the case against punishing for PvP crimes" to emphasize how much of a choice and dilemma this has been for the game. In the past, when a player for example, killed an enemy ninja repeatedly too many times, they were in a situation where they could squeal on the killer in order to get justice. There was a gray line between what was allowed and what wasn't in some situations eg. which paths can you block / how many tiles away your traps have to be from the entrance, and even if it was clear in cases, the moderation and punishment of said crimes would come down to subjective bias (how close are you to the moderation team, what terms are you on with an admin, your reputation as a player, what village you're from and the GM handling your case etc.). Not all players would report being harassed, because some players can deal with it and understand that dying to enemies in an Open PvP world is part of the game experience. Before I go any further, because I think your rage meter is filling up and you're about to comment how stupid I am down below, I'm going to state that I completely understand that it is not fun once a certain threshold is passed and that no single player should have that much control over another player's experience. It is not fun to be dominated (unless you're into that) by another player and spawn killed for hours. It is not fun to be surprised by traps when you walk into a door (unless you're into that) with no counter play possible. My point in this case is only to explain why moderation is not the solution, and explain the real solutions and why it takes awhile to get them done. If the game allows you to do it without cheating or exploiting any glitches, you should be free to do it. In the same way that Tigers not being able to walk on water or swim can be used to the ninja's advantage. These design choices. In the past, rules seemed grey about trapping enemies around corners to deal damage to them without getting damage in return. But they were always very clear, as long as you did not abuse any glitches (eg. using 3 players to block off the mob's target player, making it endlessly try to hit that player specifically, and not hit any), it is part of the game's design. You are free to use the terrain to trap enemies. In the same way, if the game allows you to place traps on the warp tiles (not a glitch) we cannot punish you for doing what the game allows you to. In the past, moderating these crimes on a case by case basis was a he said she said situation of finding out who is guilty. Which is like bringing two players to court for one persons accusations each time somebody is unhappy about being harassed. We would then have to hear the other side of the story and then the other side again, and again to find out when the cycle of hate began. The biggest lesson I learned from trying to moderate this is that - rarely ever will anyone just decides hey I want to spend the next 3 hours killing the same guy to ruin his day. In most cases, the player has good reason to. Sometimes that player has a mission that requires him to kill X number of enemies (and since the game allows you to kill the same people, why not?) - design problem not moderation problem. Sometimes that player has a bounty, so is being rewarded for repeatedly killing the victim. A lot of the time the player being killed endlessly had triggered feelings of injustice by killing another of that player's lowbie villager whom is now being avenged. In all of these cases, the moderation of said case is grey. It is also design problems, that the game doesn't punish you and sometimes even rewards you for hindering another player's experience. In some of these cases, it is intended. A world where open world PvP and leaving your village to find being a missing ninja is hard for example. In some cases, it isn't intended. A world where getting spawn camped for 3 hours is okay for example. So what defined harassment in open world PvP with actual factions that are opposed to one another? Is killing a player 3 or 4 times in an hour too much? Even if it is completely within character to do so (eg. Sand killing leafs is intended). Regardless so, it is still not the moderation team's job to ban each case of people deciding to play the game - the way the game allows them to. The job of the moderation team is to ban people who are playing the game in ways the game doesn't allow them to by cheating or using 3rd party programs, or offending another player out of character. The solution As time goes by and cases of "this isn't fun" happens. We learn what kind of behaviors to encourage in the game, and what kind not to. There are things overlooked like placing traps wherever you want sounds great in theory, but is highly annoying when done on warp tiles and around them. The solution is from a development and design. For example, preventing putting traps on tiles that are too close to the warp tile manually. Not fun being killed 4 times in a row by an enemy just because it completes his mission? The game shouldn't allow him to complete his mission that way. Not fun being killed for 3 hours in a row for now reason? The game should make it harder for him to accomplish that with guard NPCs or No Fighting Zones which allow you to sneak out. Not fun being killed for 3 hours endlessly because you killed a lowbie from his village? Stop being a dick and expect to get away with it you dumbass. Regards, Rory