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Community News Survey Results and Q&A Istaria Community Manager
April 18, 2022
Greetings Istarians! Back in December of 2021 along with the yearly Developer’s Desk we sent out a survey, asking you about your opinions on the recent development of Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. At the end we also asked if you had any additional questions or concerns, and oh man, did all of you heed the call!

We have spent the past few months going over the numerous survey responses and picking out any that we felt like we could answer, or were asked numerous times.

Before we get into the questions, we felt some of you would be interested in the data we gathered. Without further ado, here is some of the quantitative feedback we received from over 100 responses to our form.

Survey Results

Instead of giving you a huge wall of text to scroll through, we thought it would be fun to instead supply the results to you with the following infographic.


Click on the below image to open a full-sized version in your browser.
Infographic describing the results of the 2021 survey.
Onto the Responses
The results gave us loads of useful insight. We’re curious what you think. Was it surprising to you? Did you expect a different outcome? Let us know.

Now, we are onto the Q&A section of this response.


A lot of you have very good and well thought out questions to propose to us in this survey. We’re happy to answer all of the ones we received to the best of our ability. These are only questions from the ‘Do you have any questions for us?’ section. Other sections with comments or questions we feel need addressing will be put in a later section!
What is the status of Unreal? Why haven’t you moved to it yet?
Unreal was initially announced and planned under a team that was largely different from our current group of developers. While the core members have always been here, artists have been cycled in and out and we have gained more help in the technical department.

When it was announced, the existing Istaria client was considered largely impossible to update to modern standards without changing the engine. Thus, the project of Unreal was born - to move to a client that is more future sustainable.

However, times have changed. We have gained new technical knowledge and developers that have been able to work with our current client to do things we thought impossible, bringing it closer to modern standards and to the functionality we would like. While our client can’t render graphics like Unreal can, it can do a lot of things initially dismissed.

Unreal is still something we would like to do someday. The graphical side of things would be an immense improvement on its own, especially in terms of lighting and effects. However, moving to Unreal requires a complete reevaluation of everything we have done thus far - occupying our technical team entirely, preventing new features from being added to the current client and bugs from being fixed. On top of this, a large amount of art assets (models, textures, etc) would need to be redone to work in the Unreal client.

In addition to this, the Unreal development team was making some significant changes under the hood to better support online / seamless worlds - just like Istaria - and so it seemed reasonable that we should wait to see what those features and changes are.

We cannot abandon our current client to work solely on Unreal, but we also have not abandoned the dream of moving to Unreal someday. What we’re doing now is focusing our development effort into areas that allow us to prepare for a move to Unreal, and add features that are enjoyable as well. This fits better with our team and allows us to take smaller steps towards the long term goal of Unreal. With every new addition to Istaria, artists add assets that can easily be forward-ported and all of our additions to the game these days are highly documented for easy reproduction.

We apologize for not being clear with this development path thus far, but we hope this clears the air regarding the engine and where we stand regarding it.
Is Istaria still coming to Steam, why has there been radio silence on this subject?
Istaria will come to Steam, but we have been occupied with making the game ready for steam. You likely have noticed that a large amount of changes have been made to the early game experience these past few years, along with a lot of technical changes tackling the biggest game-wide bugs and issues.

We can only release to Steam once and we do not want to be review bombed for our current issues or a bad new player experience. We want to release on the platform with the best possible foot forward. Thus, it has been held back for a long time.

We have not spoken on this because the Steam release does not affect our current players and our stance regarding it has not changed for a long time. However, we have not made our stance very clear, so hopefully this makes it understandable.
When memory issues and crashing are resolved with the client, will caps be raised on buildings and fluff items?
This is difficult to answer because the reasoning behind structure caps is multifaceted, for example the light effects are limited because the game is incapable of rendering more than 8 light sources simultaneously, at other times it has to do with balancing; the extremely bulky warehouses.

One thing that is easier to discuss, though, is visual things that are limited purely for the sake of the renderer. Currently, our renderer suffers from a number of issues that not only cause memory issues, but also bottlenecks in the speed it can process things. Most notably, the more objects that are present in a scene, the longer it takes to fully process. Those familiar with how Kion and Sslanis operated when they received their initial beautification likely have vivid memories of this impact. We have improved this in some regard in recent times, but to make it operate on a level that we ourselves consider sufficient will take more work.

While we have some ideas floating around the tech circle that would potentially tackle a lot of these bottlenecks, currently, like many other things, it is simply a case of priority being given to resolving the much larger issues as quickly as we possibly can.
Are there any plans for the Order server and its population?
There are no current plans to change how the Order server works, remove it, merge it, or anything of that nature. We understand that there are players on the server that are upset with the status quo due to its lower population compared to the Chaos server and feel slighted due to the cost of moving servers.

Our plan to solve the issue is related to advertising and expanding the player population. Similar to the Steam question, we cannot advertise until we fix the biggest issues plaguing the game. We are hoping that once these issues are resolved and the game is put back out on the market, more players will be interested in playing on the Order server.
Do you have any plans for Blighted resources?
Currently there are no plans for additional usages for Blighted resources. Their original intent was not much more beyond an annoyance when regular fields were more scarce. Over the years, the playing field has changed and left the resources in a bit of an awkward spot. While we may expand on them in the future, currently our design team is simply more focused on making sure there are enjoyable quests in all the major regions.
Are there any plans for repeatable crafting quests akin to those at the Imperial Outpost?
Yes! The result of the introduction of the Formula & Technique revamp of last year was  a significant increase in the amount of coin someone would realistically need in the first four tiers of the game.  We’ve had a project brewing for the past 5 years now that would be specifically focused on giving players an opportunity to get a bit of extra experience and coin across all the tiers and would involve repeatable quests with a slight twist, both for crafting, as well as adventure. (We see you, multi-schoolers!)

While the primary focus of this project is coin and exp, we’ve also got some extra things tied to it that may be of interest to some of you who are particularly interested in cosmetics and lore tied to the living races. We cannot say any more for now, but if all goes well you’ll see the first iteration of this within this year!

What is the biggest thing you would like to add to the game or fix? Something that just seemingly can’t get to the top of the priority list, but you wish it could?
Liseth: Honestly, there may just be too many to list here, the Istarian world is rife with opportunities but so much so that there’s simply too much to work on at any given time. Our list of projects goes on and on as brainstorming on a single idea can often branch off into several others. Saying that, however, there naturally are some ideas that are more grounded in their feasibility than others, and personally one that is always on my list but falls to the back each time due to other more urgent tasks would be the continuation of the Polymorph Potion questline.

As some of the alchemists among you may know, the current iteration of the Polymorph Potions lets one take the form of the various passive creatures of the world, however, the original intent was for it to be a questline that gradually unlocked more options as the skill level increased, going all the way up to Master! (I’ll leave it to all of you to brainstorm on what that might entail should we get to it.) All of these future quests are documented to some degree, but as a small fluff addition it’s never high on the priority list to continue compared to the much grander scale tier revamps.

Sarsilas: I’d love to see dynamic dragon flight. This isn’t something I personally would be working on, but it’s something I’ve wanted since I joined the game as a small child. Even if it’d be a fun aspect to fly in a more engaging manner, the technical team is just too tied up with fixing more important things. Additionally, it’d also need to be approved on a design level - and probably be able to be switched off.

Beyond that, I’m looking forward to messing with dragons and the beast races during the Visions revamp. I’m very much a beast and animal person so these races are my favorites out of all of them, but priority has been given to the more popular MMORPG races and the ones that need the most love.

Could we add more ways to acquire Master formulas, such as through quests at level 100?
As our focus currently lies in streamlining the experience up to Master tier, we currently have no plans for this, but we may look into it in the future.

For now, you can obtain versions of the formulas for the basic resources from the Cenotaphs and other master crafter NPCs across the world. While they were nonfunctional for many years, they do function and will offer you a free master formula so long as you can make the trip alive and meet their skill requirements. This, unfortunately, does not fix the catch 22 of requiring the T6 construction materials to get the tokens, but it helps alleviate some of the frustration.

Does the Visions update include improved animations or just models and textures, will it also include new customization options?
The update is re-using all of our current skeletons so we can re-use our animations. There are so many that it would drastically inflate the project size to remake them all from scratch. That being said, we are planning on going through and touching up animations that need it. So the short answer is yes - improved animations, but not everything and perhaps not immediately.

Have you ever considered retconning lore for the sake of customization?
Sarsilas: It depends on the lore in question. I’m going to assume that this is referring to dragons and options such as feathers and fur. In general, the answer is more ‘no’ - the reason being is that the lore is what helps define the game and we try to stick within some general guidelines to help everything feel cohesive. Trying to change the lore to accommodate feathers and fur for dragons would be immense with how much the dragons talk about being scaled or having scales - that’s a lot of dialogue changes! Nevermind finding a new meaning for naka’duskael.

Instead, we prefer to try to find ways to fit things into existing lore. For instance, we thought about having a potion that gives your dragon a furred base texture as a cosmetic item as a way to introduce a furred body texture. (And no, that is not confirmation that it’s planned!)

Liseth: All the time! However, as explained above by Sarsilas changing the lore for a single thing doesn't just mean scribbling out a single line in the lore book and writing something else in the margin, it can end up changing the meaning of a whole quest or storyline, there's many things behind the scenes that get scrapped pretty early on because they simply do not fit the world and story of Istaria. Most of the time we try to find a way to mutate whatever we're working on to fit the existing lore rather than the other way around since it simply is less work that way, even if that may fundamentally change things from their first draft.

What’s the best way for the player base to help the developers?

Direct help would be, in short, reporting bugs and testing on Blight. We have gotten more dedicated folks on our team who do nothing but focus on testing new content, but things are inevitably able to slip through. Running through content on Blight and reporting bugs whenever you see them - even if it’s something simple - helps us get things fixed faster or investigated sooner.

Otherwise, simply playing the game and being part of the community is helpful in its own right. Help others, be kind, and enjoy the game. Having dedicated and passionate players is important to keeping a game like ours running - so enjoy yourself as you always have.

Will you be getting more developers?
Firstly, as mentioned in the Developer’s Desk we have expanded our team quite a bit over the last year, in total 4 new faces joined the ranks, the majority of which being dedicated testers who help make sure our new content reaches you with minimal bugs. With that being said, due to all of us being volunteers our team is very fluid; people come and go over the year, some for a short hiatus to focus on other things in their lives, others for longer undetermined times.

Now to answer the question at hand, this isn’t something we ourselves can actually answer. Instead, all we can say is that our doors are always open and all it takes is just a support ticket to let us know you are interested in joining the team! Even if you feel you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, or that programming is all Greek to you, you may still have a talent that could benefit the game, all that you truly need is a passion for Istaria and its world.

We are also very open to player created content, and whilst this usually takes the form of submitted textures for items or confectioner formulas, but a lesser known fact is that we accept quest suggestions! Now of course there’s a couple conditions related to that, for example you have to make sure any new characters introduced fit inside the established lore of the world and that the amount of content the quest/questline offers lines up with the request of new assets or world building. (we are unlikely to create an entire new zone for just a small errand quest for example) A quest or questline submission can be as small as a short story to a in-depth step-by-step rundown of the entire quest, and naturally the latter would have a far more likely chance of making it in but we still look into how viable submissions are that are more surface level. All of this to say that you don’t have to be a developer to be involved on a deeper level with the game.

Can dragons have a way to show off their faction? Ex. a title
In the past, we had small quests that offered lore about Lunus and Helian, then granted you the title ‘of the Lunus/Helian’. We changed it to just be a lore quest that is repeatable on the basis that we might add a reputation system that lets you earn titles in the factions, similar to how Drulkar’s Flame works but with more bells and whistles.

In the past couple of months significant work has been done on implementing such a system for a different project, faction titles would still primarily be a fluff addition so it isn’t high on the priority list just yet.

How soon is the team planning a visual/design update of the website?
Very soon™!

We have been working on a complete overhaul of not only, but also all of our other domains like the community and account management side of things, naturally this is a very large project and thus takes up time that would otherwise be spent on developing and improving the game itself, but it is a very vital aspect and something we absolutely agree with all of you on, is in need of some change, so we have been steadily chipping away at the work involved.

The first step of this project, the revamp of the homepage, is nearing completion and is in the process of getting the important beauty touches, once we have it fully finished we’ll be able to roll it out without having to wait for the revamps of the domains.

Currently our hopes are on releasing it sometime this year, however, as development will ramp up on the bigger projects for the game and the time investment of individuals shifts over time, we are currently unable to give you a guarantee or exact ETA. What we can give you however, is a sneak preview of the new website’s layout and design!
Click on the below images to open a full-sized version in your browser.
Preview image of the main Istaria homepage revamp. Preview of the update catalogue page, where you can skim through all prior updates.
Preview of the new update summary page.

Is there a way to or can we donate to you?
First, thank you for the kind offer! There are a few ways, but the most obvious are:
Buy another subscription or add-ons to your current one
Gift friends subscriptions, particularly those that are interested in the game but perhaps hesitant to try it
There is another method, but we do not advertise it; we are a company that asks for your money to play the game, after all, and the last thing we want to appear is greedy or hungry for even more money. We respect your investment and prefer to give you something in return, even if you just want to donate, which is why we point to our subscription services first.

That being said, if you are insistent on donating money towards a certain aspect of the game, such as commissioning music development, buying licenses, or what-have-you, you can contact our support team and we will be happy to help you - or rather, let you help us!

What is it like to run Istaria?
Liseth: Honestly? It’s surreal at times, if I were able to travel back in time to the late noughties and tell little teenager me that I’d not only still be playing that quirky little dragon MMO, but also be a part of the team leading its development? I’m sure I would have laughed it off!! Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to glance, and sometimes take a deep look into, the various design aspects related to developing for istaria and it has given me a deep appreciation for not only my colleagues, but also you the players, the fact that you stick with us even with the odd found bug rearing its head from time to time, it makes it nothing short of an honor to work on the game, for all of us.

But I’m sure not all of you are interested in some millennial’s sentimentalism, some of you likely would love to hear the nitty gritty about what it truly is like to run Istaria. And to be quite honest, there simply is no better way to describe it as, well, interesting! Especially with us primarily consisting of volunteers it’s a very different environment from most game studios, a large benefit being a near non-existent crunch culture. But it can still be absolutely migraine inducing, from finding out a certain feature that always seemed to operate like X suddenly making apparent that they operate like Y instead, requiring a whole reevaluation of how the system works, to some features simple not being documented well as a result of the amount of times the game has changed hands and how haphazardly some things were thrown together. But we still do it all with great care for our dear game.

I won’t get started on maya 7 though, you’ll have me here all day…

Sarsilas: Rewarding, but frustrating. Istaria is a very old game, which means it is very established and has a world that I love to flesh out and add flair to, but it also has its endless drawbacks. Our tools are very outdated so working with them can be a nightmare. Don’t even get me started on the “!C!” button on the particle editor. (It took us getting a new technical developer to figure out what that did after about 3 years)

But as I said, it’s rewarding. I love seeing things I’ve worked on go live and be used or run through or appreciated. Even if you as players don’t make much note of it, it’s a special kind of feeling to log in and see your art become part of a world and someone’s everyday playing experience. I see players link epic essences and I can think “I did that! I drew that icon!”. It’s magical, in a silly way. Like a lot of you, I grew up with the game, so being able to work on it is like giving back to a community that helped you become who you are today.

But man, do I hate Maya 7.

The response to the survey had been delegated to the two of us, and sadly no other developer chose to comment on this question, however, soon you will be able to find out more about the various members of our team on our new About Us page, so stay tuned for the site revamp!

Your Greatest Hopes

Getting those big bugs squashed.
You’ll be happy to learn we’re employing the highest quality bug zapping technology to rid the world of Istaria from bugs. Sadly we don’t believe these will be able to take care of the Fyakki infestations.

Joking aside, this is one of our goals at all times; it is vital to us that Istaria as a product is enjoyable to play. Over the past few years, our technical team has taken a lot of time to dig into the game’s innards and untangle any mess they find. Large portions of that are becoming ready to ship. A lot of the issues that people are experiencing nowadays have in fact always been present, but certain factors have exacerbated the issue to the point where it is now noticeable. With the old tech fixed, and new tech added, we are hopeful that soon the largest of bugs will be no more.

We do ask your patience in this, as a lot of this is essentially translating work that sometimes dates back to the very beginning of the game and rewriting it. It has a lot of potential to create new and potentially worse issues; naturally, we have no wish to push that on to you, our community, so we have to take a lot of time to test these experimental changes internally.

Graphical updates, specifically for your characters.
Well, don’t expect to receive an Elden Ring or Black Desert quality character creator, but with our Visions project that is exactly what is in store for you!

Visions is a project started a few years ago to remake the character models and textures from the ground up. While it has hit its fair share of hurdles, the project is still moving forward and is constantly a point of discussion as we work to remove roadblocks in our way.

Our plan currently is to finish and release the human character model revamp first as a test release to see how well the new models work at scale. After this, we will move on to adapting this model to the other human-esque races (elves, fiends, half-giants) that share the same animations and many models. Our next focus would then be the beast races, by popular demand.

A few of the changes you can expect to see with the updated models are:
  • Higher fidelity textures
  • Eyes that are mobile, blink, and can be individually colored
  • A greater variety of skin colors
  • Armor that responds to dyes predictably and features more 3D elements
  • Hair that isn’t made of clay
  • …and more

Our plans are still variable at this point, but currently, the human male model is effectively done, but is lacking textures and hair as we figure out how to approach it. Once this is done, we plan to determine a standard for armor models and textures, then mirror the approach on the female model.

Planning, standardizing, and jumping hurdles will likely be the longest part of the process. Once all is figured out, we should be able to move much faster on the other races. We thank you for your patience!

A daily log-in reward system, or a referral system.
A daily log-in reward system has been on the table for a very long time now; it’s something we’ve really wanted to do, but just never have gotten around to doing so. Outside of the technical requirements, we’ve been unsure what to put in a daily reward. What would be considered useful to everyone that wouldn’t just be an annoyance over time? Experience potions have been a thought among other minor boosts, but nothing’s been truly nailed down enough to implement the system.

In the future, you may see a daily log-in system; for now, it’s still being designed!

A referral system is something we would like to do more when we are ready to focus on putting Istaria out into the world, alongside our future advertising campaign (see ‘Lack of advertising’ reply), but it has a similar problem to daily log-ins - what could you gain that would be useful enough to want someone to use your referral code? Beyond this, a referral system is a bit more work than daily log-in rewards, so we’d want to make sure such a system would be foolproof before any design can happen.

More epic bosses.
Coming right up!

To give a more in-depth response, creating epic bosses is a very big undertaking. While we can absolutely just take a gruok monster, scale it up to 12, raise its rating to 150 and slap an “Epic Monster” sticker on it, does that seem fun? Creating an epic is more than just making an enemy big and scary, especially with our design philosophy on them in the past few years. A big aspect is both the encounter and mechanics, as well as the rewards; if you’re just standing there for a couple minutes hitting buttons and then get a novelty sized tooth as a reward, that won’t be a fight you’ll come back to.

Now that first statement absolutely rings true and as divulged in our 2022 Developer’s Desk, we have a new one coming out of the oven with an update coming hopefully this year, and we hope you all will enjoy them and all things related to them once the time comes!

More dungeons - and ones that feel like actual dungeons.
With each tier revamp we plan to introduce new and unique dungeons, this is part of the design philosophy behind them so there will be many more on the horizon as we tackle the remaining zones in the world.

Now to take a short moment to talk about actual dungeons. We are going to assume what was inferred with this is the dungeons more typically found in current day MMOs, where you enter, do a set of objectives to progress further with a big bad at the end, which are also infinitely repeatable for a myriad of rewards, and we ourselves are equally interested in implementing something of the sort! But Istaria as it stands now simply does not support the instancing that would be required for these actual dungeons.

This does not mean they are completely impossible to be done, but it does mean that we have to do a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and we do have some ideas here and there that may be introduced in the future if we have any content that would fit them.

Ability quests for bipeds and overall balance improvements on the questing side for bipeds.
Ability quests are a tough subject to address - first and foremost the fact that bipeds have 24 adventure schools and thus would require us to add hundreds of quests if these are meant to fill a similar role as dragon ability quests. A quest every 10 levels, for instance, would be 240 quests. For comparison, Dragons have about 9 or 10 quests every 10 levels - about 100 in their school. If we mirror this for bipeds, that’s 2400 quests. Per update, we add at most 50 or so quests, including very simple dailies.

Secondly, ability quests can get really messy when it comes to multi-schooling, as they cannot follow the mastery system. Say that for example Berserker gets an ability quest every 10 levels. A player has done the level 80 Berserker ability quest but now decides they want to give Knight of Creation a swing. What happens to the quested ability? Giving every of these quested abilities an “instantly mastered” flag would lead to some insane power creep down the line, but we also don’t currently have the tech to downgrade a quested ability (so that for example after doing the level 80 quest and going to another school, the level 40 would become the mastered ability), making the only option for all of these abilities to become unmasterable all around.

What we’d much rather work on, and what we’ll address in a question further down, is creating a streamlined experience through all the tiers and expanding on the amount of repeatable quests offered throughout each.

Regarding balance improvements on the quest side for bipeds, this is something we have started to take great care in, but touches on more subjects than just quest balance. While we could offer alternative quests between the two gameplay styles (A “biped version” of a questline and a “dragon version” of a questline) this quickly bloats the number of quests we have to write, and doesn’t tackle things such as bosses during storylines as those cannot dynamically adjust their stats. Instead, we prefer to make sure the quests are doable by a biped, without too much multiclassing, in tier appropriate gear. The most recent iteration of the New Trismus questline is a good example of this as we ran through it with each of the 4 basic classes available to bipeds and adjusted both the fights and the abilities the classes offer upon our results, albeit it is slightly undertuned. This is also why the same update saw self-heals for the abovementioned base classes.

Dragon Classes!
This is one we see from time to time, not only in our communication with you, our community, but also within our internal circles. It seems every year or so a designer will bring up the prospect of new dragon classes and sadly we always run into the same roadblock of the existing ‘Dragon Adventurer’ school.

As to not get too pessimistic about it, it was not designed with the idea of further specialization in mind. To make it so would require a deep-rooted overhaul of what it and the dragon experience as a whole (disregarding crafting). Currently, there is a reasonable concern that this would divide the dragon playing community; those that wish for it to stay the same or simple and those that wish for something greater.

As much as we would like to offer you classes based on gameplay niches so one could, for example, build their dragon as a dedicated tank, support, healer, mage, ranged damage dealer, fighter, etc, we simply do not consider that feasible. For now the jack-of-all-trades Dragon Adventurer will have to remain as it is unless a solution to all of the above presents itself to us.

Not all is lost, however! Whilst adventure classes are very likely off the table for the foreseeable future, craft classes are an open book and ‘easy’ to add new ones to. In fact, during the time when Crystalshaper was initially concepted, another completely different class was drafted up that would see dragons tackle something quite unfamiliar to the typical dragon crafter. However due to the scope involved with this other new class, it has been put in cold-storage until we can more effectively tackle it.

In short, while we are likely to look at suggestions of dragon adventurer classes in melancholy, we do still throw around ideas for crafting classes more excitedly.

Lycanthropy as a class or cosmetic?
We currently have no existing plans to add this to the game, but, our Fangs in the Mist update did get our designers thinking about the prospect of a larger lycanthropy disease in the world. Whether this will be pursued in the future however we cannot say at this time.

Multi-core CPU support.
This is something very realistically possible in the future, the issues holding it back are such that our tech team believes the main bottleneck to be our renderer which is slated for an overhaul further down the line as we get the major points on our priority list tackled, so the short answer here is: Not just yet, but definitely in the plans!

Biped-exclusive content.
Everybody loves content that feels tailored to their playstyle, and with Istaria offering up two distinct ones in the form of Dragons vs Bipeds, that creates a lot of opportunities for us to create content of that sort. As we go across the various tiers in the world, we do add in bits of biped exclusive content here and there. However, as bipeds are not the majority of our playerbase and because our priority list is more focused on an enjoyable experience all around, we do not invest huge chunks of time into this aspect. Perhaps in the future we can take a deeper dive into biped exclusive content.

New areas on the game map / large instanced zones.
We’re sure each and every one of you would enjoy seeing new sights in the world of Istaria. But as much as it must get tiring to hear by now, our current focus lies on making sure that that which is already there is a joy to discover, rather than generic plainsland #243. As it stands now we have one dedicated worldbuilder on the team, you’ve seen their work on the various tier overhauls as well as more recently the complete beautification of Genevia, and partially Scorpion’s Isle.

But creating new areas is not just world building, to make a zone truly become alive one needs content surrounding it, something to explain why specific parts of the zone are the way they are, who inhabits the zone, why the wildlife is the way it is, and with that comes a large task on our design team too. A tree can’t grow magnificently without sturdy roots after all.

Localisation for various languages.
This is not something that is on the table currently.

Your Biggest Concerns

The biggest concern of all: losing the game to funding, dwindling playerbase, or anything.
We don’t plan to go anywhere any time soon.

The most powerful thing behind Istaria’s longevity is the fact that the game is not managed by a paid team of developers. We do not have a required profit margin, a budget for salaries, or an investor breathing down our neck. This leaves all of the subscription funds to be funneled into keeping the servers running, which we can do without much fuss currently.

Extra funds outside of the server budget have been put aside for a long time now to prepare for an advertising campaign to help bring in new players. However, as gone into detail with the question below, we do not want to mess up our chance at advertising, so it hasn’t been done just yet.

Outside of this, our team is made up of players just like you and a few developers that have been here for almost 20 years now. If the game was going to go under from staffing, it would’ve gone under a long time ago!

Lack of advertising and the subsequent lack of new players.
Advertising is a big deal to us - it costs a lot of money to do an advertising campaign, so we want to do it right.

We have two big roadblocks to advertisement right now - the current technical issues plaguing the game and our website.

The technical issues are being addressed as we speak, as you have seen in the Developer’s Desk. If you haven’t read it yet, give the technical section a read! We give some insight as to the progress behind the scenes on the large problems like the super healing and region breaking bugs.

On the other hand, the website is terrible. While we don’t have statistics for it, the way the website is set up likely pushes more players away than it gains; it reads like a mobile bait-and-switch website rather than one for an MMO. If we were to advertise, we’d be linking back to this website. Therefore, we want to get a better presentation to potential new players up and running before running an advertisement campaign.

We are working towards being presentable and ready for an advertisement campaign, though - so it is in the cards, but we want to do it right!

Updates are slow. Why don’t you release things as you make them, rather than bundle it?

This has a lot to do with how our update system works. Istarian updates work by capturing what we call Deltas - it’s more of a technical term, but we’ve adopted it for general use. The issue is that a Delta is all-or-nothing. We made a post about this on the forums with more detail, but in short, we cannot pick and choose what goes into an update. If someone has started a large world project, we have to wait until that is finished - we cannot simply ‘cut out’ that part.

While we have deadlines we try to finish things by, we aim for quarterly updates to be sure everything we want to get done is done because we cannot simply push a new feature out.

It is possible we can change this system in the future, but it is not our immediate goal as it’s not affecting players as much as the big front-facing bugs are.

Big changes need more dialogue and to be less vague. With a small team, you need to communicate with the players more.
Many of our announcements, plans, and reveals are vague on purpose for the sake of giving us room to adjust in case something does not go entirely to plan - which does happen with a small team of volunteers with life events and commitments!

That being said, we do our best to communicate with players, but we cannot communicate every change. When a change is big enough, we always try to make a Talk to the Team thread regarding it to allow for players to give us feedback on our ideas and vision for the game. We realize that not everything said in these threads end up being accurate to the final product. The reason this happens is when the TttT thread is made, we generally are giving you our first draft. Your feedback helps refine our second draft, but the final draft comes from a lot of iterations and development work internally as the plan becomes reality.

We can do our best to try to keep things clear, open, and updated, but we cannot spend all of our time talking about our changes because they would never get done.

In the future, though, we do have plans to open more TttT threads for upcoming changes when they are ready to be announced in detail and with polish. It helps no one to give you all the rough draft of a project that ends up getting scrapped, so we try our best to get to a place where we feel confident that we can properly represent the idea/project and integrate your feedback.

The constant touching up of the tier 1 regions, can you focus on the tiers that need more attention?
2021 was a big year for tier 1; the regions of Skalkaar, Spirit Isle, New Trismus, and Lesser Aradoth all received touch-ups to, or complete overhauls of, their main story.  To help you understand why these regions became such a big focus to us we have to let you all in on some statistics.

Some time ago, a good couple years by now, a small number of us kept an eye on (subscribed) player retention, specifically the point at which they stopped playing, from this we found out that the New Trismus region specifically was becoming a roadblock; players would come into the game, complete the tutorial and a good part, but not all, of the New Trismus content, and then proceed to leave the game. Any players that made it past this initial hurdle seemed to stick with the game well into the later tiers, either through continuous support or the occasional sub now and then. Like people say: when you give istaria the time, it will hook itself into you.

While keeping existing players interested is important to the continued existence of the game, keeping new players hooked to what we offer is in equal measures required. This is primarily what prompted us to touch up the early regions, and New Trismus in particular, so often.

That being said, we absolutely hear you on how it’s boring for existing players to see that content they haven’t looked at in years is getting revamped for the nth time, so we’re happy to announce that, as it stands now; we have faith in the current iteration of the tier 1 experience, and while there may still be tiny additions or fixes here and there, we will no longer have tier 1 be the focus of our development for a good while.

As teased in the Developer’s Desk, you can absolutely expect both mid and late game content to be the main focus of 2022.

Listening to a vocal minority and not acting on the core issues.
When it comes to listening to feedback, we do our best to separate out who is the minority and who is the majority. There are a lot of things many voices have said that we have chosen not to do or add because we feel it is not in the best interest of the game or its community.

That being said, we cannot hear the feedback of those who do not speak. We promise we do not bite; if you have a thought, opinion, or suggestion, we would like to hear it. If you believe you are part of the silent majority and are concerned about changes being made that might hurt the game, then tell us. It does not have to be in a public forum; we have suggestion tickets for that purpose!

Not fixing or addressing the experience gain issues with bipeds after the removal of 2XP Loyalty Potions.
We have started some changes to attempt to address the hole that the 2XP potions left. A change was made to cap experience calculations to Rating 150, which will allow high-rating bipeds to continue to receive experience far longer than they previously could.

However, the issues regarding biped multischooling is a much deeper and more embedded issue than we can address in one update. The game is heavily designed around leveling a single, or perhaps two, schools to max level before it leaves you on your own. We are doing our best to add repeatable content that helps with biped characters, but there is only so much we can do each update.

The best way to address this would be to add school quests for each class, allowing you to level to 100 off of quests. However in the question specifically about this subject we outline why this is most likely impossible for us to achieve currently in a satisfactory manner.

I want to clarify that we are not trying to make excuses as to why we are not working on these issues, but rather, give some perspective as to the scale of the issue. Currently, our focus lies on making sure the level 1 - 100 experience on your first school is as smooth as it can be. Entire regions are empty at the moment, leaving all players with little to do past level 50 or 60.

Once we have finished revamping regions and filling the world, we would have more time to really focus on the biped experience and add in more routes to 100 than the main storyline. That being said, we still think about the post-100 grind and attempt to add changes and fixes to alleviate it that we can think of, such as the R150 change.


We offered you all a section to add anything else you want to say - and almost all of you said “thank you”  or some iteration of “we appreciate you”. It was infinitely heartwarming to read the proclamations of endearment and passion. However, we want to flip this on its head and say no - thank you. Everything that’s been done so far is only possible due to the dedication, passion, and love from players like you.

We at VI do the dirty work making the content, revamping regions, nerfing and buffing, and all of that, but you the players are constantly giving us ideas, feedback, bug reports, and overall, infinite passion for this little corner of the internet we call home.

So truly, thank you all. We love you too.

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