The exciting news we released last week is that our last Closed Beta server will be launching this week, and it's going to be a hot testbed of changing action! However, the large-scale balance and mechanics reworks won't be there, because they're still on my machine in a mess of numbers, sketches and maths that takes me back to third-year calculus (solving matrices with circular dependencies, anyone?)
Probably the biggest thing you'll notice is the introduction of Gems, our new premium currency, and the new bits that go with it. For more on that topic, I strongly encourage you to read my previous dev blog,Coins & Competition. (The essence is that a spending player will have more complex strategies available to them, but victory is not for sale.)
The shop items and prices are nowhere near final — they're barely even first draft, and we're yet to dive into those properly. The system is mostly there to test queuing, acceleration, Elite hooks and a bunch of back-end stuff.
What are not yet in the game but will be introduced in the near future, along with the rebalance, are our dynamically-generated tasks system and task improvements. They not only bring some exciting gameplay options, but also reward Gems — yup, we're rewarding players with small amounts of Gems during play, and Elite players will get a little bit extra.
There are a lot of reasons for this; the biggest is that we want our free players to be able to experience all parts of the game. And we value our top-end players: the Elite are our core around which our community and game are built, so we want to ensure you are catered for and that there are good reasons to be Elite. Ultimately we feel this is the best balance to ensure the competitive edge is maintained sharp in the Elite ranks, while our casual players can more easily fit 8Realms into their day-to-day activities.
We look forward to seeing you on the new server; good luck and happy raiding. Until then, see you on the forums!