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Frigost: what we’ve learnt so far, and where we’re heading!

We’ve noticed that people on the official (and fan) forums are becoming increasingly concerned at what they see as a lack of communication around the third episode of Frigost, and there’s one topic in particular that stands out: when is Frigost 3 actually being released?

 


The castle of Count Harebourg at the heart of the frozen island, has yet to be discovered.


Up until now, the answer we’d given was that there was no great urgency to release another expansion, because of the very small number of players who have actually completed all of the dungeons on the second part of the island. We now understand that this somewhat limited response isn’t enough to give you a sufficiently accurate picture of the current situation, and so we’ve decided to show you some of the statistics our Game Designers use when they’re planning an update.

(Please note: for the purposes of the following article, a character is considered as having access to Frigost if they have completed the quest “Welcome to Frigost”.)

The table below shows the various dungeons on Frigost, and the percentage (rounded down) of characters with access to Frigost that have completed the listed dungeon at least once:

 

Masto Ping Buck Obsi Tengu Korri Kolosso CB 43% 22% 15% 11% 7% 5% 4% 3%

 

These figures include all players, regardless of their level, and so are slightly misleading, since the Frigost dungeons have been designed for characters of level 120 to 200. To provide a more accurate picture, we’ve split them down into two, more relevant player level ranges.

 


Only 3% of all the players to reach Frigost have ever visited him... Even the Celestial Bearbarian can get a bit lonely...


The following table shows the percentage (rounded down) of level 160-180 characters with access to Frigost that have completed the listed dungeon at least once:

 

Masto Ping Buck Obsi Tengu Korri Kolosso CB 82% 48% 27% 13% 5% 2% 1% 0%

 

And the same table for levels 180 to 200:

 

Masto Ping Buck Obsi Tengu Korri Kolosso CB 94% 82% 68% 55% 39% 30% 26% 16%

 

As you might imagine, these figures are far from satisfactory, and in our view, Frigost has not been as successful as we had hoped. Of course 100% of the players can’t be expected to have access to 100% of the content, but even with that taken into consideration we can’t be happy with a situation where only 16% of the most powerful players in the game have completed the last dungeon, when it was never our intention for this content to remain exclusively for the elite. Indeed, over time, with player strategies being improved and shared, and with the addition of improvements to the accessibility of in-game content (being able to leave a dungeon and restart where you left off, and being able to teleport to a dungeon), as well as the increase in the power of characters, this completion figure should be far higher.

As it stands, only a minority of players are able to take full advantage of Frigost’s most advanced content, and the majority of the rest of the players depend on them farming these dungeons in order to be able to have access to the most powerful equipment. We don’t want the situation to go on like this. We want every player, given a reasonable investment of time, to be able to discover and enjoy the different areas of the game.

 


"Dear Tengu Snowfoux,
It hurts our feelings to see you being so selfish by killing all of the players.
We want visitors too!"


With that in mind, the last thing we want to do is make the situation even worse by releasing an expansion that is even more difficult, with even more complex tactics and powerful monsters aimed solely at the most experienced players (levels 190-200). In the present context, releasing Frigost 3 would only add to the divisions within the community.

At Ankama, we really do want to offer our elite players a challenge, with high level content that will meet their exacting standards. It’s something that’s particularly close to my heart, certainly, but unfortunately, in today's context, releasing such content would satisfy less than 3% of our player base.

Before we even contemplate releasing Frigost 3, there are a number of projects that we’d like to bring to fruition. To help you better visualize what will be keeping us busy during 2012, here’s an overview of a few of the things we’ve got lined up.

First of all, accessibility, which was what concerned us most last year, and continues to concern us today. We want to reduce the drudgery involved in organising and forming groups, so that all players, especially solo-accounters, are able to access the more difficult content without being discouraged from doing so.

But beyond the drudgery, the difficulty of the dungeons themselves needs to be reviewed. Although at the time of this devblog we have already nerfed the difficulty of Frigost’s dungeons twice, the numbers are very clear: it's still not enough. Many players still prefer to grind many extremely simple battles (for example, Mastogobs or Blops) rather than doing half the battles for a higher reward, but with greater difficulty. We have been trying to identify when the difficulty becomes too great for these players, what game mechanics frighten them, and how we can reduce this problem without making the content too trivial for players seeking a challenge.

Gears of Dungeon War

As well as a lack of content, we have noticed a lack of diversity in the use of equipment in recent months, which is reflected both in PvP and PvM as more and more players choose to use the same items and sets.


We intend to add new, high level sets to Frigost, and also take the opportunity to upgrade the interest in some of the other dungeons on the “old” continent (which are now rather neglected) by integrating some of their resources into the recipes of these new sets. We also intend to limit the number of items in each new set to encourage players to try out different combinations, and also to split existing sets in order to complement the new ones.

 


Goultard can't wait to see the new equipment borne on the shoulders of the next cadre of gladiators.


Of course, this is only a very brief (and not very specific) overview of what awaits us in 2012. You should also expect some fantastic new features, many of which will be unveiled at the next Ankama Convention. As for the details of the changes that we will be putting in place to make Frigost more accessible and which will finally pave the way for the arrival of new content with even more challenges to face, we will give them to you as the months go by; patch by patch, devblog article by devblog article.

It is important to understand that we’re not giving too much information away about these new changes because we don’t want you to have certain expectations and then end up disappointed. We’d prefer to wait for the update to be finalised before giving you all the details, when there’s less risk of a last minute change.

In summation

No, Frigost 3 will not be released any time soon, and we are not currently working on the development of the expansion. We need to add content that caters to all levels before we do anything else, and improve the accessibility of existing content. It goes without saying that Frigost 3’s release date remains dependent on the effectiveness of these improvements!

The next step in the evolution of DOFUS will begin in early March, with the launch of a beta test of the next update. We recognise that this update will arrive a little later than you would have liked, but the fact that this is the year Ankama will launch its second MMORPG, Wakfu, must be taken into account. Wakfu’s launch is a major event in the company’s evolution and our testing team will be focussing on the new game until its release, and will continue to do so for some time afterwards.


As a result, most of the testing team (which, unlike the development teams are shared between all Ankama projects) are currently working on Wakfu, and so the number of DOFUS updates will have to be reduced, but this doesn’t mean that we’ll be resting on our laurels! We will continue to correct the problems you report, improve what needs to be improved, and work on future releases.

The update that begins with a beta test in March is only the first step on a journey through a year full of fantastic new content.

 

Category: Community - Game design