Developer Letter 2 — 04/02/20

Dear community,

Welcome to the second iteration of our development letter. In this post we will discuss and preview our near future plans, shedding some light on our progress so far and what's to come. To begin with, we would like to thank everyone for the amazing feedback we have received from all of you over the course of the last couple of months, it means the world to us and it was a massive source of motivation, for that you have our utmost appreciation.

That said, we would like to announce that Xero is officially our main project now. This means that the features and overhauls we have been developing in the background for code:zerone will gradually come now in the form of future updates to Xero! But it also means that Xero will mark the end of an era, and the complete wipe that was taking place in code:zerone will be effective immediately with Xero on full release, after the open beta. That includes characters, clans and everything associated with account data to give everyone a fair starting point. We think of it as a new game, a remake of sorts, that is the conclusion we have reached and we hope you support our decision, especially with everything we have planned for the future of this game and the amount of abuse happening on a daily basis in the current system (multiaccounts / ban bypassing / clanmark trading etc).

We hope that the sheer amount of content and features we have coming will compensate everyone! Which brings us to today's development letter, in which we are letting you get a glimpse of those features for the upcoming open beta and beyond! As with the previous letter, we are going to split the subjects into categories and go from there, if this is the first time you're visiting our website and learning about this project, it is highly recommended that you catch up and view the first development letter below to see how we got to this point! Now without further ado, let us begin.

Website

We're developing a brand new website that will be available on full release after the open beta. Our plan is to enhance the social experience that came with S4DB, while redesigning the entire website and adding more features that exceed today's standards.

Here is a sneak peek in honor of today's development letter: This is the main page and what you'll see first when you sign in. More will be shown in future development letters!

Server

The database received a complete rework, the shop now has much more customizability and freedom. Changes to the shop were as follows:

All costumes are now available in PEN, with skins being in ZP. The same can be said for weapons, they are also fully available in PEN in basic form, with skins being in ZP. The order of items has been reversed to have an easier time traversing the shop.

Matches and leveling up now give a larger chunk of both PEN and ZP.

Balancing

Perhaps the biggest issue in sword only gameplay is the abuse of what is referred to as speed counter, especially with macros and programs like autohotkey.

In open beta we added a core mechanic which applies a timer after specific attacks of our choosing, during that timer your mouse input is blocked and you are unable to attack / block after being hit by a specific attack.

Affected attacks that can't be speed counter blocked anymore:
Spy Dagger right click combo (stab)
Plasma Sword right click combo (dash)

We hope this brings an end to macro abuse, we are also currently experimenting with ways to make instant airwalk to attack / block obsolete, adding a timer of just enough to prevent any inhuman input. Performing an airwalk and blocking someone as they're dashing away after hitting you with a Counter Sword heavy attack is now impossible.

A major missing feature during the closed beta when it comes to balancing both Unlimited and Melee channels was the lack of specific weapon balance across those channels.

In the closed beta we had to sacrifice the maximum potential of both modes, now in the open beta we can customize the damage output of any weapon separately for each mode, so maximum balance potential is now within our reach for both Unlimited and Melee.

The entire points system has been reworked. Points judge the player's performance more accurately now. The new system calculates the damage output and translates that to points.

50HP Damage: 1 Point
25HP Healing: 1 Point
Offensive Kill: 2 Points
Defensive Kill: 2 Points
Normal Kill: 1 Point
Fumbi Pick: 1 Point
TD Score: 10 Points
TD Assists: 5 Points

As you may have already concluded, kill assists do not reward any points since damage can now be tracked and an entire team could earn a percentage off of any kill, the 2 players who are the most responsible for killing an opponent will still appear on the top right kill feed however.

Some of the weapons we vaulted in closed beta are now back, that includes Turret and Sigma Blade.

Visual

If you were wondering what having Xero become the main project really brought to the table earlier, this might provide you with an answer.

The open beta will see the release of the first custom user interface in the history of the game, not connected in any way, shape or form to the old system that has been used for over 10 years. This comes with benefits that are not only aesthetic, but performant and feature heavy as well. The sky is the limit with the amount of features possible with full control over the interface!
We are starting it off with the ingame interface as we believe it's the most important and outdated part of the game. Here are full previews of the open beta ingame and scoreboard layouts.

HP will be separated into bars, each bar represents a total amount of 10 HP. It's designed this way for players to be able to visually tell how much HP you have while playing more accurately without having to read the number and disrupt line of sight. Extra HP from skills such as HP Mastery or Dual Mastery are highlighted in yellow.

When a match is tied you will be able to check which team is winning and how much points they're leading with when pressing tab.

The game will track each point category and rank them for you locally in open beta. However we plan to upgrade that feature later on to track the rest of your team mates and rank each of your categories compared to theirs.

Players with golden names are subscribed and have benefits that do not affect gameplay. That is a feature we plan to have on full release and not during the open beta. More on that in the next development letter!

You can expect a custom loading screen, result screen and waiting room interface as well on open beta release. We're going to make a small development letter right before open beta starts previewing the rest with ingame footage!

Crosshairs can now be customized via an external folder in the open beta. You can change the crosshair of any and all weapons.

A new level tier was added, bumping the total amount of levels to 120, the new tier is called Grandmaster. New level caps and tiers are things we're going to keep on expanding over the course of the years. So look forward to more tiers as players get closer to the maximum level!

This was a summary of what we have planned for the open beta.
We are aware that most of the world's population is in quarantine, which is why we are trying our hardest to accelerate the process and bring you the ultimate experience as soon as possible!
Hope you had a good read, stay tuned and as always, see you soon™,

Developer Letter 2 - Xero