Rhialto made an unexpected visit and announced that he is now the sole owner of Wyvern and the game will be returning this year.
Thank you so much for your patience and loyalty over the past few years. There were many times I thought it might not work out. But I am pleased to announce that I am finally — as of last week — the full and sole legal owner of Wyvern!
Last year I took a little time to create a mobile version of the game just to see if it worked at all. It turned out to be fun and addictive, with the potential to be a lot better than the desktop experience (surprisingly). Then I took a year off while we negotiated with the old company stakeholders. Then, once we got ownership, I started work again.
Wyvern is going to be a mobile game — iPhone and iPad only for the first version this year. Android will come next year. In the following years, we will consider launching versions for consoles and even the PC. But the game needs to be able to pay its own bills, and mobile is the best way to accomplish that at first.
I know it’s hard to believe that the experience on mobile is as fun as the desktop. But I’ve played the game on my phone and iPad for 3 or 4 months, and my wife (character name “Wifey”, frost giantess) has been completely addicted to it on her phone for the past 2 weeks. And she doesn’t even play games like this normally! She plays day and night and tells me she dreams about it constantly.
So we know it’s going to be a big hit. Basically the only thing that gets harder on mobile is communication, which becomes similar to texting. Everything else actually gets easier because you can just point and click, and the right thing magically happens. In fact, we have both noticed that it is actually more fun on the iPhone than on either the iPad or the iPad Mini for some reason, probably because it’s easier to hold in your hand.
I have decided that the game will eventually support building your own homes and areas even if you are not a Wizard. I will implement support for this as soon as I can, but I am not sure yet if it will make it in before launch. But Fallout 4 has convinced me that personal world-building is very important. Wyvern has had support for this forever, for Wizards. Now I will make it available to every player. You will start the game in your own house, and customize it with as many maps and features as you like.
The game will of course support in-app purchases. However, I want to assure you that you will ALWAYS be able to play the game as much as you want for free (after you purchase the initial client, price TBD.) This will NOT be a pay-to-play game. There may be pay-to-play aspects someday, for instance separate high-score lists for the paying and non-paying players. But if you want to put in the time and grind, I will never stop you from leveling up or enjoying the entire game just because of money.
I actually learned playing Candy Crush last year that when they got too greedy, I spent less. I would have bought more of their power-ups if they were cheaper. So you will be able to do things like purchase Quest Points if you don’t want to do quests, and it will be pretty cheap. But paying will never be a requirement.
There is a tremendous amount of work left to do before I can launch. The work falls into three broad categories.
First, I need to productionize the game for potentially millions of players online at the same time. The game will still support approximately 100-200 players per server (or less for PK arena servers, which use more CPU), so that means lots and lots of servers. I know how to do this, using Cloud Computing, but it is a lot of work, and I am only just getting started.
Second, I need to do a lot of polishing on the iPhone/iPad client. You WILL have to log in using either Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. I might add other login providers in the future, such as Amazon.com or Yahoo!, depending on demand. But this is the best way to verify that you are a real person. There will be a limit on the number of characters you can have, but it will be a high number (maybe 50 or 100 characters per email). The client works, but needs a lot of love and effort before it can go into the App Store.
Third, the game needs a lot of bug fixing, effort for making it more mobile-friendly, and content curation before it’s ready for prime-time. I will try to engage the Wizards in alpha-testing and beta-testing phases before we launch, so that they can help clean up their own areas.
There will be some differences from Old Wyvern, because we have learned a lot over the years, and also because when you have a million players online, you just can’t do things the same way. Wizards will NOT have any administrative powers. A Wizard is simply a player whose content is high enough quality that we allow them to be featured in the main game server content.
There is basically no such thing as cheating any more. There are things that we prefer that you not do, so the software will try to prevent you. But you will not get in trouble. You might — after your player warning level gets high enough — get moved over to a special server group just for jerks, but you’ll still be able to play. It will be very rare for anyone to get outright banished, and even then it usually won’t be permanent. Instead, we will put incentives in place to reward players who report bugs, exploits, abuses, and other misuses of the game.
You will be able to keep your old character for the new Wyvern, but you will not keep any of your stuff or skills/experience. You’ll have to start over at level 1. Everyone who played before will get some special rewards for playing. I have not decided yet what these perks will be, and I am open to suggestions. If you were in the HoF you will get to keep your old HoF image. Wizards from the old days will have special titles and possibly other perks. But the game is getting rebalanced, so we need to start fresh.
The content is all the same as it was in 2011. All the old areas will be familiar to you. I have been making some improvements to the game that you will notice right away; for instance, we now support “tall” objects that you can walk behind but not walk through. This improves both the realism and the navigation in maps. There are many, many other little changes and improvements that you’ll discover in the new game. But on the whole, it will be very, very familiar.
I will have more to say about the game as things progress. But for now, just be aware that the game is coming this year — hopefully in early fall, but it could be as late as December depending on how things go. And we will launch a beta testing program before then if you want to help smooth out the rough edges.
We are using 99designs.com to create logos for the new company (Ghost Track Inc) and for Wyvern itself. We will show you the finalists for the Wyvern logo and let you vote the ones you like.
With that, I’m going to get back to work on the game! I work on it every day now, and I work extra hard on weekends. It’s coming along pretty fast now that I’m working on it again.
This is going to be fun!