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Thoughts on Alpha 2 and in General

Published 1 week ago News & Updates Artificial Core

The following is an official news post, originally available here.

Hello everyone!

Today we want to share our thoughts about the ongoing test and a little bit about everything in general.

Warning! Lots of text ahead.

Technical Issues

We have already gathered a vast amount of important feedback and continue to collect more. We’ve identified critical bugs and see the areas that need our focus. Our technical team has been working diligently these days, analyzing a large amount of real-time data from the test. We want to highlight the exemplary resilience of the Artificial Core technical department in improving gameplay experience during the test with quick and effective solutions. We also want to thank you, our players, for continuing to play despite constant disconnects and shard bugs, as well as game balance issues. Your persistence in logging back into the game and playing helps us tremendously. This means everything will certainly be fixed, and that’s great news.

The Game

Note: Chests should not drop like this; we mixed up the chances :). Epic items in the game will be rare, just like the chests. But we've left it this way for the test; let it be so in this iteration. Besides, we'll still be tweaking the balance settings, so don't pay attention to it for now.

You can already see the main direction and fundamental principles of the game. Overall, the gameplay is built around the progression of your character (what a surprise). You level up your character, unlock all available systems, and in the endgame, you work on improving or finding your builds.

As we mentioned earlier, our goal was never to tell you how to play. Our goal has always been to provide you with good tools. To achieve this, we tried to make character progression systems versatile, giving players as many opportunities as possible for creativity.

The game starts slowly, that’s a fact. This is a design necessity. We’re not saying we are right; we’re saying this is how we envision the game. From a slow start comes the motivation to progress, and you start to advance further. It’s important that at this stage, the game can captivate you with its style, atmosphere, and basic gameplay, making you want to stay in the world for a while. This is not a long time, and considering the feedback and advice from our community, we have significantly improved the smoothness of the experience from levels 1-5. Ask the testers from the first test about what they had to go through 🙂. Now, we think it’s acceptable in terms of speed and time spent, considering that the game now has 20 levels.

The game requires you to put in a small amount of effort, and if you do, once you start succeeding in playing the game, you will begin to feel good. Corepunk is one of those games where you need to really play to start understanding what it’s about. The more you know about the game, the more interesting and deeper it will become, and this will pay off because the further you go, the more enjoyment you will get. In Corepunk, to get enjoyment, you need to put in a bit of effort. This is how motivation systems in the game are designed. With each artifact, each level, each talent, you will feel your character becoming stronger, subconsciously sensing this progression. Your brain starts to be motivated to seek more information about the game, to learn more, to unlock more, to progress further because you feel this progression. This is our goal. This is how we see our progression. The initial effort is necessary to achieve a contrast in sensations and boost motivation at the first significant improvement (e.g., an artifact, or better yet, two).

To ease the pain of the initial stages, we use various techniques. For example, we create pleasant visuals, graphics, and an atmosphere that can captivate you, allowing you to enjoy being in and exploring the new world of a new game. We create NPCs with well-thought-out stories and backgrounds, work on more thoughtful dialogues, choose jokes, and constantly improve the experience in the world.

Let’s note right away that this does not negate the fact that we need to polish the initial game from levels 1-5 (to be honest, everything needs to be polished) and make it more user-friendly through QoL features, improved quest systems, rewards, etc., including many tutorials. We know where we need to work.

In our opinion, you start playing the game when you begin to learn it, when you are motivated to progress by learning more about the game, its world, and its community. The game begins at that very moment. The game in Corepunk started from the moment it was announced. When the first community members began to show interest. When discussions started on Discord and the forum.

AI Voiceover

Of course, we want to have all our dialogues voiced by professional actors; we’ll tell you more, it’s our dream! But we are an independent mid-sized studio, and we simply must choose very carefully where we can and cannot direct our limited resources—it’s a matter of survival. In this case, using AI to do the work and show players how it can look and feel greatly helps in the development and promotion of the game. So, don’t view it only negatively. Look at the possibilities. This opportunity allows us to present our product to the public faster and show some things at least in a draft version, which means survival in the modern market conditions and, in turn, means that we will be another studio able to hire many voice actors because we will have the opportunity to provide our players with a higher quality game. We don’t know of any independent studio on the market that wouldn’t want to include professional voice acting in their games.

Game Monetization

Since the announcement date, we have openly talked about this topic. We have always envisioned Corepunk as a no pay-to-win model. Our marketing plan was clear: we wanted the game to sell itself with its visuals, idea, concept, and execution. We always believed that people would play a good game. A good game will always find its player if it is made with love, attention, and an understanding of what we want.

The game will be sold on a Buy to Play model with an in-game store that will not have items capable of enhancing your character, no boosters, or any other gameplay elements for sale. Previously, we had an idea to introduce battle passes, but we have since abandoned that idea, and there will be no battle passes.

Let’s clarify right away: we are not against other monetization models or games with such models (never say never). Any model that can bring income to developers and feed their families is deeply respected by us because we know what a titanic effort it is. We simply believe that Corepunk, in its base, is built so that it will not survive and earn enough for long-term existence with such a model. Most of the systems embedded in the game from the project’s early stages are exclusively related to gameplay and not focused on monetization. If we wanted to monetize it through P2W, we would have to redesign the project almost entirely.

Our only way to exist as a studio is to release a game that will be very interesting to play.

Early Access

The main thing we want to say is that the core principle of our game launch ideas has always been that we can start monetizing the game only when players have seen it, tried it, and made their own conclusions about whether they find it interesting to play. Players should understand what they are paying for. And we need to understand if we are selling a product ready for fun, where people can spend their time and enjoy it. We are confident that Corepunk in early access will fully meet this.

You already see and understand what the game will be like and how it will be played. For early access, as we previously reported, we will add two new major settlements and two new biomes with their own NPCs, quests, and monsters. One biome will be entirely PvP, and the other will be entirely PvE-oriented. Two instances and two battlegrounds. Several world bosses to kill. Tier 3 itemization. The synthesis machine and its full functionality. And a lot of other content that can’t all be listed in an article, and a lot of polishing in all areas. All this, combined with all the game systems being designed for full replayability, will give players many months of enjoyable gameplay.

We want to enter early access as soon as possible for two reasons. First, we have been working on the game for 10 years, and we need to pay our bills. Second, but no less important, the last test, and especially this one, showed us how great it is to have constantly online servers with real players and receive real-time technical and gameplay feedback. The accuracy and speed of iterations increase many times over, which is invaluable. With such a production pipeline, where we have a constantly playing player base, Corepunk will reach the highest level of gameplay quality. Calibration will be insanely effective. And early access sales will give us the opportunity to significantly increase the speed and quality of content production.

General Thoughts

Corepunk was not just made as a business, although it certainly was, but it was also created as a project of passion and love for games. This is our contribution to the world of games. Every team member currently working on the game has put a piece of themselves into it, a part of their soul. We never doubted that when people see the game and play it, they will love it because they will feel how the game was created, every pixel, every step. We found our unique style, our unique game design.

The game has evolved significantly over the years, our community has grown (over 100,000 registrations in the last 6 months alone), and we have developed, all of which have influenced Corepunk. You can’t imagine how many of your ideas over the years have been incorporated into the game from Discord, the forum, comments on various YouTube videos, and all the content you create. Corepunk is a product of the collective efforts of developers and the community. This is its strength.

Many people think that there is no point in focusing on players having to discover everything themselves, that over time there will be tons of guides about the game, and everything will be explained, and people will have to search through various video channels and websites created by players to learn everything, and that it’s pointless. But we see the point in this. When players have the opportunity to create various content about the game, share something they found or learned, or share their secrets with the public, it’s a huge plus for everyone the content creator, the player seeking answers, and us, the developers.

The game looks beautiful on streams, attracts attention with its appearance, and people enjoy watching what happens on the screen because there is a lot of exploration and unexpected situations.

This is how you showcase the game to the public, how the community grows, creating an ecosystem around the game from which not only developers but also the entire community can benefit, whether they are readers or content creators. This is our goal. The game is more than just the game; it’s the community and the ecosystem growing around it, and we understand this perfectly.

Thank you, friends, for playing, streaming, and creating content about Corepunk. You provide invaluable support in promoting and growing the game, especially in these challenging times with fierce competition and many excellent teams and games. We greatly appreciate your contribution, and all we can do from our side is to release a game where you, the players, your viewers, readers, and everyone interested in Corepunk and its content will have fun and find it profitable for many, many years.

Thank you to everyone who read this long message! Thank you to everyone testing the game, watching streams, and showing interest in the game. You are part of this universe, and we are grateful to you for it!

Your Corepunk team.

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