As an island nation in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, New Zealand has an opportunity to stop the local spread of the recent coronavirus pandemic before it gets too entrenched. With around 100 cases from travellers returning home and two that may have been due to community transmission, our government announced yesterday that all New Zealanders will self-isolate for at least four weeks to eradicate the virus. This includes our entire development team.
The Path of Exile game service will remain online without disruption. Our server administrators were already solving problems from home when needed, so we do not expect any new issues that would affect the live service as a result of being unable to see each other in person.
We have moved all of our staff to working from home. While it's entirely possible for them to do any work they need to away from the office, it raises several new challenges for us.
Firstly, from a technical standpoint, there's a lot of development data for people to patch over the internet from the office to their homes every day. We only have 2gbit of upload speed from the office, shared between a lot of people, so it's going to be slower for people to share work with each other and to update to the most recent build.
Secondly, and more worryingly, communication is going to be more difficult when we're not all in the same big open-plan room. We're a company that relies on face-to-face discussion about important issues, and adjusting to a world of voice and video chat is going to take some time.
Our developers are still prioritising the same work as before (fixing residual Delirium issues, investigating performance concerns, etc). Please bear with us if it takes longer than it usually would due to these new circumstances. We plan to post another update about these improvements in the next couple of days.
We are also working on the 3.11.0 release, which will contain our next league. We expect to have this ready on our usual schedule (i.e. release in mid-June), but will certainly need to re-confirm that time window after actually doing this work-from-home thing in case it affects the schedule.
There's likely some impact to the Path of Exile 2 development timeline. We are absolutely prioritising the triaging of live game issues, then the development of new leagues, with development of the sequel as a third priority. A period of slower Path of Exile 2 development is a small price to pay in these difficult circumstances. We still have our jobs, and if the lockdown succeeds, our health.
I'd like to thank the development team for being so flexible and enthusiastic about this next month, and our community for their ongoing feedback and patience. We are very fortunate to be in New Zealand. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the rest of the world. Stay safe.
on Mar 23, 2020, 6:36:43 PM
Grinding Gear Games