Wolcen Hype Release!

Wolcen's level of quality in terms of aesthetics is almost unjustified. Almost.

So, there's a lot of voice-work in both the story mode and Champion of Stormfall. I don't think there's ever been an ARPG where the town npcs sass the player character quite this much. Even Mohabi gave me shit for trying to buy something I couldn't afford. So much for me being his 'friend'.

The credits state that all of the voice recording was done in London, and it's known that Heimlock's actor is an accomplished TV, film and game actor, Steven Hartley (such a distinct voice!). Valeria was voiced by the same actress who does Kerillian in Vermintide (stairs, mayflies. stairs) and the female inquisitor in Dragon Age. These two characters *are* the story, and bad or incompetent voice acting would have ruined it. Destiny aside, few games get to go back and fix bad voice acting. Voice changes are usually the result of logistics issues post-release.

Now, I know a bit about how much voice acting costs for games even in a dinky little place like New Zealand, and there's no way in hell Wolcen skimped here. Between that and the live orchestral score (roughly 13 hours of material recorded, about 3 used), there's a level of polish here that divides the buy to play from the free to play in terms of expectations. And sure, you can say that money could better have been put to testing/development on other fronts, but Wolcen sells itself on its shininess, visually and aurally. Keep in mind that Chris himself doubted many people would pay the usual indie ARPG price for PoE back in 2011/2012 (free to play was both a safe route and a risky one, depending how you look at it), so to ask $40-50USD (which at this point I consider the idiot tax; smart people got it when it was $10-20) you want to present at least a veneer of triple A trappings. Disastrous launches and early bugs people typically forgive if the underlying product is good, once the smoke clears. But a cheap-looking or sounding thing with a serious up-front price-tag? Not easy to sell.

And another thing: if you don't handle the aesthetics in your release, you'll probably never get back to doing them properly. Again, PoE is a major example of this. Y'all *still* don't have voice work for acts 5-10. You don't even have green text. Zone transitions are still solid white blocks. After years. Because GGG are left chasing their own tails on much more important matters, like juggling a ridiculously unstable metagame and making sure they can land 4 support-worthy leagues a year without the plane crashing on arrival...and, of course, selling as many associated support packs as possible.

So my hot take is that Wolcen Studios made the right call in investing in proper voice actors, a lot of incidental dialogue and events and a clearly high quality score. These bring both the story and its setting, Stormfall, to life, make them memorable. Everything else? They can fix that as they go. But you don't get a second chance to make a first impression aesthetically. Not even No Man's Sky did that -- the utterly catastrophic release was, aesthetically, not that different to what is very successful today -- and anyone saying otherwise about NMS' impressive recovery is just holding a grudge at this point.

But if you're wondering why non-Exiles recoil from PoE (and I doubt many of you do, or even realise they do), part of it is because it still, to this day, doesn't feel finished or confident in itself. It's a work in progress not just in terms of mechanics but also in terms of aesthetics. Voice actors get recast. Stories and lore get retconned. Animations are updated. The score is replaced. The entire endgame gets overhauled. Skills, passives and items are constantly being fucked with. Path of Exile is a classic Ship of Theseus, and people are right to hesitate in investing in that. Will it be the same game after years of this wholesale component replacement?

For all of its faults, Wolcen is not a Ship of Theseus. Moving forward from where it landed in a very damaged but functional state is a clear process not of replacing bits and pieces per the Ship of Theseus concept but of simply repairing what was meant to work but doesn't. And having a solid and consistent approach to aesthetics from the get-go goes a long way in subconsciously reassuring players that what they see and play now is roughly what they'll see and play years from now. Assuming they choose to, of course.

I am W James Chan, author of Blackcloak: A Man of His Sword, the novel from which the PoE unique Oni-Goroshi is derived. So if you liked that, give the book a go on Amazon. I think it's pretty good -- but like Her, it isn't to be come at lightly, and it definitely isn't what it first seems to be.
Like I thought,after the initial hype dies down, people will see the game for what it is. Huge potential,in a giant crapstorm of bugs,broken skills,items being deleted,items being completely broken,game crashes and devs not really understanding what a lot of the things do or are supposed to do in the game. Hence you get a ton of broken skills,broken builds,etc.
Imagine people defending it like "well don't play the broken skills then" as if THAT is normal, not that the game should be balanced or something, it's that you are at fault for seeing that there are dozens of abusable skills that were not implemented in the game correctly.

I did find the entire city upgrading stuff interesting,the idea behind it(reminds me of the old hideouts and how you unlocked them). I wonder if we could see something similar return to POE. Be it for hideout or something like upgrading the main place where you land. Like for instance upgrading some stuff in oriath shores, that will give you maybe a +5% to maps if you do certain upgrades or something like that.

The player rate for wolcen is dropping hard, from well over 100K playing peak,to 80K peak playing in just a couple of days. A week from now if that number will be at 50K peak it will be a pretty optimistic number I think.

The average number will drop down to 20K, as most of the streamers,most of the people who jumped on the hype train will have abandoned it.
Last edited by Nosferat on Feb 21, 2020, 4:50:23 AM
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Nosferat wrote:
Like I thought,after the initial hype dies down, people will see the game for what it is. Huge potential,in a giant crapstorm of bugs,broken skills,items being deleted,items being completely broken,game crashes and devs not really understanding what a lot of the things do or are supposed to do in the game. Hence you get a ton of broken skills,broken builds,etc.
Imagine people defending it like "well don't play the broken skills then" as if THAT is normal, not that the game should be balanced or something, it's that you are at fault for seeing that there are dozens of abusable skills that were not implemented in the game correctly.

I did find the entire city upgrading stuff interesting,the idea behind it(reminds me of the old hideouts and how you unlocked them). I wonder if we could see something similar return to POE. Be it for hideout or something like upgrading the main place where you land. Like for instance upgrading some stuff in oriath shores, that will give you maybe a +5% to maps if you do certain upgrades or something like that.

The player rate for wolcen is dropping hard, from well over 100K playing peak,to 80K peak playing in just a couple of days. A week from now if that number will be at 50K peak it will be a pretty optimistic number I think.

The average number will drop down to 20K, as most of the streamers,most of the people who jumped on the hype train will have abandoned it.


Not dropping that much, max concurrent player was 125k during week-end and they capped it due to technical struggles, as steamdb owner said on twitter it was going much more higher than that.
Yesterday was about 86k considering we are in the middle of the week this is not a drop at this point.
Let's wait week-end before making such assumptions :)
Hf :)
Predicting that the player count is going to drop is about as fruitfull as saying there will be rain in the future.

Though i gotta say i dislike charans over-optimism and hype, sort of reminds me of his antics when he was initially invested in PoE.

It's so weird to shit on PoE while praising wolcen and then turning around a paragraph later being disgruntled about the solipsistic nature of PoE players framing wolcen poorly.

Both games fail and succeed depending on what your looking for and what your personal experience and desires are. Nothing wrong with either ones, though we can objectively say that wolcen is currently in the lift-off face when it comes to technical optimization so an upwards trend on that front is to be expected if they manage it propperly.

I think the critique of wolcen as a company overall is fine though, they did burn a lot of people already and behaved poorly overall.
Just thinking of the people that kickstarted umbra and are now getting wolcen...not sure how they feel about that move.

Peace,

-Boem-
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes
I mean lets cut to the chase.

If you are comparing launches, starts, and game performance, Wolcen is better. Better art, better sound, better combat, better voice acting, more interest, and far far more players. Server issues happen, and I can guarantee they did not predict nearly 125k+ concurrent users. (For what's its worth my experience with offline was pretty much bug free)

It took PoE MANY years to develop this kind of momentum. The real test is sustainability. GGG has done an incredible job of building PoE, and their service to the game is pretty much unprecedented in the industry. I cant think of another comparison that would do the team justice. (Maybe Fornite?)

So let's see where it goes. There is a patch next week. I will be curious how the Devs handle "success"
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
- Abraham Lincoln
Last edited by DarthSki44 on Feb 21, 2020, 9:50:22 AM
^People seem to forget this game has had seven years in the making of hype.

I think what we currently see is a crunch of all that anticipation.

I would also argue they utilized the "promotion machine" a lot more heavily then GGG ever dreamed of in its initial push to success.
I think people rightfully claim PoE wouldn't be what it is today if D3 wasn't a "failure" for the arpg deep dive crowd.

I literally had to search between dozen of streamer video's to find a few that werent bought promotional add video's.

I don't even think the infrastructure was solid enough to do this when GGG launched at least not to the extend it currently can and with the current reach. It has bassicaly become an oiled machine in the last five years to funnel and directly "attack" players attention.

I don't particularly disagree but i find the false equivalence comparisons sort of weird as if you can control for a single factor and pretend everything else is static.(i know your not attempting to do that, but the polarized and binary positions in threads like this naturally boil down to that)

I think if they play their cards right we have another solid game to look forward too which highly likely will receive expansions in the future.
Alternatively they will go the online route and attempt a competitive "raid" like ranking system as far as i can tell.
Or a mixture of both those angles.

I like choice and competition so as a consumer im glad either way.

Peace,

-Boem-
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes
^ I dunno.

It's sort of sounds like you are saying their excellent marketing and promotion was a negative (which is kinda weird unless I misunderstood the point)

The reality is comparisons were going to happen. The similarities of Wolcen, D3, and PoE slap you in the face. It's not unreasonable to make those leaps imo.

Again, Wolcen had the far better start. PoE has set the bar extremely high with their live sevice commitment.

Let's see what Wolcen does.

And I totally agree. Competition, choice, and variety are great for industry, and consumers. Pushing devs to stay on top of their game, normally leads to better products.
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
- Abraham Lincoln
Last edited by DarthSki44 on Feb 21, 2020, 10:24:39 AM
Game is so good that it's Reddit is >50% of "WoLcEn FaShIoN".
They simply promised way,waaaay more than they could ever hope to deliver. This game reminds me of no man's sky. It could be good,in about 2 or so years,with constant patches and fixes.

The fact that so many jumped on the hype train should be also quite worrying to GGG, unless POE 2 will be the mother of all hack&slash looters, a lot of people will flee to other games of this genre.

But the right game has to appear,wolcen does not even come close to be considered as a contender,as something that those who play diablo and poe would actually consider in the long run.

I mean the game devs themselves do not understand the passive tree and what the skills should do in the passive tree. No joke on that, they simply can not give any explanation as to why certain skills act the way they do,because they do not understand what the skill is supposed to do in the first place.

They bit way more than they could ever hope to chew, and it shows. They should have kept it clean and simple,and add stuff as the months go by, instead they went overboard,released a completely broken game that can in the best circumstance be considered as an alpha.
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DarthSki44 wrote:
^ I dunno.

It's sort of sounds like you are saying their excellent marketing and promotion was a negative (which is kinda weird unless I misunderstood the point)

The reality is comparisons were going to happen. The similarities of Wolcen, D3, and PoE slap you in the face. It's not unreasonable to make those leaps imo.

Again, Wolcen had the far better start. PoE has set the bar extremely high with their live sevice commitment.

Let's see what Wolcen does.

And I totally agree. Competition, choice, and variety are great for industry, and consumers. Pushing devs to stay on top of their game, normally leads to better products.


No i was pointing it out as a counterweight to your praise of their launch.

Different era, different developed tools for marketing etc

I think those are false comparisons similar to how people judge the past history by the standards of today.

I would be a lot more interested in how much both company's spend on PR and then comparing the results for example.

Peace,

-Boem-
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes

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