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Deadeye_Rob

An awkward message from a longtime fan

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Hi guys,

Well, here’s a message I thought I’d not have to write but it’s one that I feel needs to be said on behalf of those original players who are still active.

 

Ylands needs to return to its charming grass roots. When it first debuted on Steam, I was met with a neat Main Menu where the main feature was Explore Mode. Quaint, inviting, but most importantly; simple.

Today we have a Menu page that is so confusing, so loud in fact that I may have developed tinnitus just by looking at it! As far as I can recall, Nobody asked for the menu to be changed, yet every few months it gets ‘updated’ in a manner akin to a rubix cube! Bring back the old menu.
 

2F420793-2EDF-4915-8C10-DFC55E1B7EEB.thumb.png.d143e5343773db4adcbdda953a020644.png

*Where did this game go?

Expanding on this subject, the evolution of the Menu system is a clear evidence that there has been a conscious decision to change the direction/purpose/identity of Ylands.

Explore was considered to be the main feature whilst Editor was a charming utility tool. (I for one used the editor to design and execute complex blueprints for my explore maps). Now we have small-scale games created by the community that are either unfinished, unpolished or just downright boring. (There are a few gems out there; in particular Minigolf, but would I play that for more than 10 minutes?)

We now have Mobile devices cutting in on the action aswell. Tell me; exactly what is Ylands now? A mobile game? A design tool for Minigames? Or an unfinished survival game? I actually have no idea now which makes the game so hard to support.

Playlands was hyped to be Ylands virtual community hub. Today it’s a relative ghost town. I often dip in before my evening dose of Explore just to see if anyone is online. I have only ever played one game on Playlands and the only other player I was with got bored and left. Someone needs to invent a tumbleweed animation. My verdict, either improve Playlands or get rid of it. No one uses it.

 

Game Update news via community forum posts were (and are) very good. I relish reading up on the news every mid-week. Sadly even this is waining on my patience. Every update, every roadmap, users across the community ask the same questions; “What about Explore?”, “Will Explore get anything on the next update”. We’re always politely acknowledged and answered with the same enticing reply; “Soon”.

I myself threw my proverbial toys out of the pram with the Water Update. This was Ylands chance to allow us to begin navigating and conquering the largest parts of the map; the sea floor. Instead we were greeted with another Editor feature, the ability to create inland puddles -yay. Explore was once again left under the table, thrown a few scraps in the form of new assets -most of which couldn’t be legitimately crafted anyway.

In fact with every update, Explore appears to be eroded, the very ecosystem of a standard Explore map appears to be dying, we no longer have birds in the sky, no sea life of any kind. I acknowledge the game runs smoother than ever and looks great but where is the substance? The map size was enormous, long voyages were such a pleasure and rewarding. Today however I can swim over to the nearest island in a few minutes thus rendering Complex ship construction (Ylands best selling point) totally worthless. If the temperature mechanic gets cut then all is lost!

126837AB-1303-4766-80DF-4074FF234B10.jpeg.f3eed629a0d5a9c3c5cee1fe5da76a6c.jpeg

*Not dipping my toes in there today!
 

I’m not going to go into too much depth on Multiplayer Servers. In short, by discontinuing privately run servers in favour of unreliable pay-to-host servers you have effectively ended a flourishing multiplayer community.

Most servers today are either locally run, or password protected. Very few are populated and due to the poor quality of service from paid-servers, there’s no point in getting established on an explore game when the server could be down tomorrow.

I have nothing but positive things to say about the sharegame feature however. It’s a stroke of pure brilliance and something that I’ve not seen before.

Coyns? Most games have a currency system for cosmetics so I’m pretty indifferent on the matter. I am watching the development of the Creation Club with cautious interest however. I won’t be getting involved myself but I will be interested to see how it goes.

 

48282628-2027-4481-B362-4E0B7AAFF5D3.thumb.jpeg.bc5dc23d5f4f42044601e9d5d4000fdd.jpeg

*Ships: more or less useless as you can now swim to an island within eyesight.

So in conclusion, I hope you have not died of totally boredom reading my rendition of War & Peace but I feel that the Ylands I knew no longer exists and as a consequence, my interest has drifted on to more promising survival games (Like Hytale). In order for Ylands to survive, to retain its original fan base AND still be a heavy hitter on Steam, it needs to adress the following:


Menu & GUI - Its so cluttered it could be diagnosed as being a hoarder!

Game Purpose - What game are you? Fulfil our best hopes or just put it out of our misery so we can move on! Get marketing to actually be more specific on your product.

Playlands - Rename it Ghost-Town or just get rid.

Game Updates - More bugfixes and performance improvements. Definitely more craftable content in explore mode. Maybe even a dedicated explore update to restore player confidence?

Eco System - Save the sharks and vultures! We need bigger maps again and for goodness sake let us do something to colonise the seabed!

Multiplayer - Should be treated as the games best bet for consumer longevity. Allow the game to be run offline as well as reestablish locally hosted servers again.

Editor - yes it’s great and powerful and you can do some interesting things. But it’s taking too much attention from what should be your main product - Explore. Don’t get tunnel vision and look at what your customer base is saying.

 

This post has taken me some hours to write. I have done so with much thought towards constructive criticism. I (like many) want to see this game succeed but as an ‘overwhelmingly Positive’ Survival Sandbox, as it was originally intended.

 

Dont forget your roots, especially as it was “The mother of all storms”

 

Rob

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Very well said, I feel this echos what we are all thinking in our hearts.

58 minutes ago, Deadeye_Rob said:

Game Purpose - What game are you? Fulfil our best hopes or just put it out of our misery so we can move on!

I think this goes to to heart of what I tried to say here: 

We need that decisiveness and focus that will make the product great. Imho, trying to do everything so far is not working. There are sooooooo many game-breaking bugs and the loss of faith/interest by the community is perpetuating the problem. 

Edited by RedEagle_P1.
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Thank you @Deadeye_Rob. I was myself writing for some hours because i didnt want to be misundertood, i didnt want people to get offended, so i was writing it very carefully, but i deleted it. When I saw what you said here... i thought "oof glad Rob did it first".

Anyway, grab yourself a beer pack, a bucket of coffe/soda abd some snacks, because this will be looong (altought im going to repeat everything thats is being said).

As said here, yes, that main menu? Im totally sure their intents were good, but it doesnt fit. A game's main menu MUST be as much simple as it can. Go back to previous Main Menu, and this new one can be a sub-menu. The system to search games, etc is handy. So no need to get rid of, but instead rework menu again.

Oh the exploration.. everything is being said over and over again. And i'm pretty sure team reads. If not, this is a lost cause. So, I see no point of repeating ourselves. I understand why you all and me are doing this because you all and me love the game and want to see it prosper. But i check forum everyday many times per day, when I'm bored or alone, and it makes me hangry that the new posts are about "complaining" (by this i mean ideas, good/bad criticism). I'm not here to offend anyone, dont misunderstand me, please. If so, my apologies. What I want to see when I check forums is see people's work, eitheir builds, screenshots, scripts, animations, you name it. We have a greate game where we can do alot. We should add more contents here, but instead this makes me feel we are spamming forums with "complainings". Many are good criticism, ideas, but ive seen many being rude (mabe is a strong word, but i dont have a better one). Again to all if you, don't feel offended, please. We are all trying to make help team get this game better and better.

So, i'm writing again, but this time will be the last because I don't like to repeat myself.

From my point of view, team tried to get into mobile platform as many other games. I have nothing against it, but I think that is the reason they changed the entire exploration.

So, here follows what is urgent, in my opinion:

- version for PC and version for mobile (if that caused the world changes)

- as said above, rework main menu again

- I'm pretty sure we have been told maps will be bigger again, as before. Those times lost in middle of the ocean in a heavy thunderstorm where i couldn't spot the birdies because of the rain? What good times, it's what I miss most. That being said, I dont want to know when that will be, I just want to know if that will happen. Bigger maps is what we miss the most. Please?

- sharks, give them back to us, and in future more sea animals and a purpose to go down there. Again, I'm pretty sure we have been told they would come back. They were bugged, yes, but they did their job on water (altough they could be more aggressive) and their job out of water making me laugh a lot (nothing like logging in and see sharks on trees, etc etc)

- cliffs close to water was what made all ylands look different and unique (despite the biome). Now they all look the same. Give us back those cliffs as a generic map generation. Better would have them with an option generate cliff on/off

- maps performance. We really need maps to last around I'd say 3 months/more? Because there are people who can't play everyday. when they come back they realize map was wipped. This, in my opinion, is what is killing the exploration. Player limit should also be mentioned. Make it higher but ONLY when perfirmance is worked out.

And it's pretty much that. I'm not asking anything, but I think many of us want that as the first things to be worked. We all had that before. I'm not saying it's easy to implement again, but at least you had/have a system that you could polish.

Maybe team just don't want things to be as before. If thats the case, either we like it or not, we have to accept it. Developing a game is hard to match team's vision with community vison. And inside team and community, there are a lot of different visions. I see things from both sides. This being said, please stop saying "they don't listen to us". We know that is not true because they implemented some things we asked.

Like many others have said, we feel that last updates were creators-driven (editor + scripting). Altough I love editor most, I have to agree with that abandon feeling. Maybe it was just put in stand-by. I'm going to be around praying and see where this goes.

Another subject is the DLC. I totally agree with that because team need incoming wages. But honestly it should be the other way around. Free exploration. Once they try it and play, the soon they realize there is a paid editor mode to make their own stuff? I'm 100% sure they will buy it. At the moment, many who is paying for the DLC , gets disappointed. If it was the other way around, I don't believe they would get dissapointed. Afterall what not to like in editor?

There are some other things that are worth to talk about, but that's not for now. (they already have been said around here).

Without anymore thibgs to say,

Stay classy 😀

Edited by jchob
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9 hours ago, Deadeye_Rob said:

We now have Mobile devices cutting in on the action aswell. Tell me; exactly what is Ylands now? A mobile game? A design tool for Minigames? Or an unfinished survival game? I actually have no idea now which makes the game so hard to support.

Ylands has evolved from a humble Exploration to something much more. We are

 

primarily a creative platform. As it says on our Store Page: 
Explore your creativity with Ylands.
Build everything and anything you can imagine in Ylands' powerful Editor, then bring your creations alive with the magic of Visual Scripting.
Upload your creation to the workshop to show it to the world.
Play any of the player creations, on your own or with your friends.

BUT

We also have a premium Exploration pack that contains our premium mode: Exploration. Exploration is very important for us because it is where we began, we have a superb community that likes Exploration (or at least liked and that is why we want to improve on it) and it is where we implement many things we do for the Editor as well.

9 hours ago, Deadeye_Rob said:

We’re always politely acknowledged and answered with the same enticing reply; “Soon”.

You'll find out some pretty exciting news about Exploration this coming Dev Diary 😊

9 hours ago, Deadeye_Rob said:

This was Ylands chance to allow us to begin navigating and conquering the largest parts of the map; the sea floor. Instead we were greeted with another Editor feature, the ability to create inland puddles -yay.

There were the new Underwater Encounters scattered across the sea and a way to explore them (scuba tanks) but I get what you mean. We are looking into "using" the seafloor for more than just exploring and adventures.

 

9 hours ago, Deadeye_Rob said:

Menu & GUI - Its so cluttered it could be diagnosed as being a hoarder!

The menu is now final (for some time at least) and is designed to show off as many Creator created games as possible, which does look a bit...a lot 😅 But we really wanted Creator games to be as visible as possible.

9 hours ago, Deadeye_Rob said:

Get marketing to actually be more specific on your product.

I think the Store Page is pretty specific and that our Social Media and Forum communication also reflects this, but we'll try to be more specific.

4 hours ago, jchob said:

From my point of view, team tried to get into mobile platform as many other games. I have nothing against it, but I think that is the reason they changed the entire exploration.

The Mobile version has not been the reason for any changes to Exploration (since Exploration is not available on Mobiles precisely because we didn't want to compromise Exploration).

 

5 hours ago, jchob said:

I'm pretty sure we have been told maps will be bigger again, as before.

Aleš will talk about this further this week in the Dev Diary and even more later, but Exploration will expand.

 

Thank you ALL for your feedback, it is very welcome. We hear you, but not for the first time. We know Exploration needs to get much-needed love and we planned for this from the beginning of the year and are now working hard on Exploration to make it great again 😊

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Thanks @Adam Snellgrove :) 

Sorry about the mobile thing, I really thought it was one of the reasons. But on the other hand, i'm certain making it happen took team's time to make other things 😅 (just playing) 

As I said, I'm not against it, and I'm very glad ylands was able to enter the mobile world.


 

Edited by jchob

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14 minutes ago, jchob said:

Sorry about the mobile thing, I really thought it was one of the reasons. But on the other hand, i'm certain making it happen took team's time to make other things 😅 (just playing) 

Nah, I absolutely understand your concern 😇 But actually we got new team members specifically for the mobile version (who are mobile experts) so it didn't take any time away from the core team 😁

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Waiting for substantial Explore news and updates feels just like waiting for The Winds of Winter from G.R.R. Martin. 🙃 

Soon. For a past few years it feels. 

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Please understand I say this because I care about the game and I want to see you guys succeed. I don't really play explore to be honest. However, I find it difficult to run a community in this game because of the high burn rate. 

I think what many of us are trying to say is that the current approach isn't working for some reason. 

There are so many game breaking bugs in Ylands:

Maintenance crashes every 90 minutes

Progress loss on local and online games within 8 hours of play:

Inability to place items

inability to dig

Inability to eat

Each content update is bringing more of these bugs and most of them are not getting fixed. 

I think what we're crying out for is not more little updates but the a change in resource allocation and focus toward finishing explore before moving on. 

We feel this way because of the lackluster progress over the last 3 years. 

Something about the current setup isn't working and it’s reflected in the reviews and player sentiment. 

Please note that it brings me extreme discomfort to talk like this, I held my peace for a long time before you came (Adam) because the game was in early access and I know development takes time.

Edited by RedEagle_P1.

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16 hours ago, Adam Snellgrove said:

The Mobile version has not been the reason for any changes to Exploration (since Exploration is not available on Mobiles precisely because we didn't want to compromise Exploration).

Dev Diary 131: "while we are still working on possibilities to make water flow (since mobile devices still aren’t powerful enough to render anything like that), the water now makes countless possibilities." 

It does seem like mobile is a consideration when making features though? It would have to be wouldn't it? 

Edited by RedEagle_P1.

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12 hours ago, Adam Snellgrove said:

Ylands has evolved from a humble Exploration to something much more. We are

 

primarily a creative platform. As it says on our Store Page: 
Explore your creativity with Ylands.
Build everything and anything you can imagine in Ylands' powerful Editor, then bring your creations alive with the magic of Visual Scripting.
Upload your creation to the workshop to show it to the world.
Play any of the player creations, on your own or with your friends.
 

So you're telling me that you advertised an exploration game (Alpha trailer) and then turned it into a creative platform?? 

Now I really feel scammed.

 

(EDIT)

Ylands 2017 Trailer

image.png.cade72f7fb6deb34ab2fa8cc2d9c43fe.png

 

Steam store page. As you can see, they remove the adventure part.

image.png.64d28551f5948ac39829737c8b81a59f.png

Edited by NoNoNumGum
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if the water update didn't bring back water physics there's no hope to get any exploration from explore update

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5 hours ago, NoNoNumGum said:

So you're telling me that you advertised an exploration game (Alpha trailer) and then turned it into a creative platform?? 

Now I really feel scammed.

 

(EDIT)

Ylands 2017 Trailer

image.png.cade72f7fb6deb34ab2fa8cc2d9c43fe.png

 

Steam store page. As you can see, they remove the adventure part.

image.png.64d28551f5948ac39829737c8b81a59f.png

Yes, they changed the focus. However, I think what we are asking for more than anything is not for them to give up in their big plans but we are hoping they can get explore to work well as a, well-rounded, fun, stable game so that the player base sticks with the game before they progress forward. 

 

Edited by RedEagle_P1.
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1 hour ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

Yes, they changed the focus. However, I think what we are asking for more than anything is not for them to give up in their big plans but we are hoping they can get explore to work well as a, well-rounded, fun, stable game so that the player base sticks with the game before they progress forward. 

 

Yeah i am fine with them making an editor platform. But I also want them to work on exploration and add some old features back. 

 

(EDIT)

I don't mean to be rude to the devs but just thinking about old times just gets me fed up with the new ylands

Edited by NoNoNumGum

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13 hours ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

 

Please understand I say this because I care about the game and I want to see you guys succeed. I don't really play explore to be honest. However, I find it difficult to run a community in this game because of the high burn rate. 

I think what many of us are trying to say is that the current approach isn't working for some reason. 

There are so many game breaking bugs in Ylands:

Maintenance crashes every 90 minutes

Progress loss on local and online games within 8 hours of play:

Inability to place items

inability to dig

Inability to eat

Each content update is bringing more of these bugs and most of them are not getting fixed. 

I think what we're crying out for is not more little updates but the a change in resource allocation and focus toward finishing explore before moving on. 

We feel this way because of the lackluster progress over the last 3 years. 

Something about the current setup isn't working and it’s reflected in the reviews and player sentiment. 

Please note that it brings me extreme discomfort to talk like this, I held my peace for a long time before you came (Adam) because the game was in early access and I know development takes time.

Please for these issues if you could make a forum post with output_logs/screenshots/reproduction steps, then we can start fixing them. All of these we'd love to fix, but we can't do it without info 😥

5 hours ago, NoNoNumGum said:

Yeah i am fine with them making an editor platform. But I also want them to work on exploration and add some old features back. 

Nah I understand you completely 😊 We changed the focus on the "main store page" but the Exploration pack (and its description is still all about exploration and as I mentioned (and Aleš will mention in tommorrows Dev Diary), we are preparing a huge Exploration update with more to come.

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The fix for Explore is super easy. You are so close right now. Frankly, I don't have the skill set to do it, or I would have already. Besides, the scripting info out there is really stale and no longer applies, so it makes it harder, but I'm trying. Oh, look!

Bigfoot is in his little house over there,  just like the elf said.  If you bring him a red crystal, he will tell you how to kill the Crabkin in the underwater cave where the golden idol is.

Every time you generate a new Explore game, the elf might spawn. When he does, so does Bigfoot and the rest of the quest, but the spawn points vary randomly, of course. There are over 100 quests. Any 20 of them might spawn at game start. Plus, if your player-made building is super cool, we might add it to the official list. We might use it as the boss lair, or the quest givers house. The Explore world doesn't need to be big to be interesting. Every bear has a 2% chance of dropping just the right hide to make a backpack. Randomly timed re-spawns and random loot drops, like that golden saber the lowly pirate dropped (5% chance). Explore already does random extremely well, this just provides a reason to explore. The old lighthouse keeper once had a sword that killed Crabkin, but it's broken now. Sigh.

Even if Explore is not the direction the game is going, this is an easy fix that showcases the possibilities scripting and creating. Easy for you, anyway. Scripting needs more info/help.

 

 

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@Adam Snellgrove see if you can get your hands on a .07 to .12 version. Play it for a bit. It was a different game. 

Make all the editor changes you want. But please  we miss the quaint adventure it was.  Your most loyal base is telling you, you have lost something special. I get so frustrated and vocal at times because I love this game. I love this community.

If you cant play the older version, then at least watch some of the youtuber. There were a half dozen good players showcasing this amazing little game.

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2 hours ago, bojo2736 said:

Your most loyal base is telling you, you have lost something special. I get so frustrated and vocal at times because I love this game. I love this community.

I played the older version of Ylands and it is very cool 😊 But to get back on point we are working on Expanding Exploration a lot as I mentioned here: 

On 9/15/2020 at 10:05 AM, Adam Snellgrove said:

Thank you ALL for your feedback, it is very welcome. We hear you, but not for the first time. We know Exploration needs to get much-needed love and we planned for this from the beginning of the year and are now working hard on Exploration to make it great again 😊

so hopefully you'll like what we're cooking up

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On 9/15/2020 at 2:05 AM, Adam Snellgrove said:

We hear you, but not for the first time. We know Exploration needs to get much-needed love and we planned for this from the beginning of the year and are now working hard on Exploration to make it great again 😊

A lot more resources in testing multiplayer, getting ears on the ground in the community and focus in both development and marketing are the changes we are hoping for.

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Old style islands, bring back sharks, and navigation birds. Bring back old style caves. These things would really help. 

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1 hour ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

A lot more resources in testing multiplayer, getting ears on the ground in the community and focus in both development and marketing are the changes we are hoping for.

Agreed, 100%

Edited by monkeybrawler

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2 hours ago, Adam Snellgrove said:

I played the older version of Ylands and it is very cool 😊 But to get back on point we are working on Expanding Exploration a lot as I mentioned here: 

so hopefully you'll like what we're cooking up

You keep eluding to what is yet to come. I hope you understand these posts is the last of your community crying out. You have shown time and time again you don't listen to the community. If this next big community update is a "a plan of what is yet to come", without solid results, i feel for anyone dumb enough to keep building a foundation for the success of this poorly managed project.

Edited by monkeybrawler

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17 hours ago, monkeybrawler said:

You keep eluding to what is yet to come. I hope you understand these posts is the last of your community crying out. You have shown time and time again you don't listen to the community. If this next big community update is a "a plan of what is yet to come", without solid results, i feel for anyone dumb enough to keep building a foundation for the success of this poorly managed project.

Adam is relatively new here so he has not seen how it's been since the beginning.

I say this with 100% respect, its been since the beginning that Ylands has been  promising new things and not fixing what's there (please don't be offended by my saying that). Servers crash weekly for the last 3 years. We need real progress and a radically different approach. 

 

Edited by RedEagle_P1.

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5 minutes ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

Adam is relatively new here so he has not seen how it's been since the beginning.

I say this with 100% respect, its been since the beginning that Ylands has been  promising new things and not fixing what's there (please don't be offended by my saying that). Servers crash weekly for the last 3 years. We need real progress and a radically different approach. 

 

This is a fair point, I'm not saying Adam is the problem, but i am saying he very well could be adding to one of the key community frustrations.

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47 minutes ago, monkeybrawler said:

This is a fair point, I'm not saying Adam is the problem, but i am saying he very well could be adding to one of the key community frustrations.

I hope you will share your two cents here: 

I try to point at the structural change necessary.  

 

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14 hours ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

I hope you will share your two cents

 

Here’s my take:

I for one welcome any news regarding the development of Exploration and it’s a pleasure to see Aleš back at the helm. Here’s hoping that it can be steered back on to a more favourable course!

With regard to this weeks Dev Announcement my opinion is that of:

Talk is cheap”

I mean no offence by this, only that for as far back as I can remember there has always been reassuring statements of impending exploration updates with little or no substance. The Watery Update was a particular source of frustration for me, but I won’t write another essay on that.

I remain cautiously optimistic however that future news will reveal more tangible evidence of content. Ideally I would prefer these updates to be authored by Aleš himself as further reassurance to what we can expect.

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