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Divine Wrath, Inferno and the future for Stream Raiders

As you may or may not know, I am a massive fan of Stream Raiders and was lucky enough recently to be made an affiliate. One of the best things about the game is not only the IP itself but where they (the Stram Captain team) are taking the game.


Recently we have been treated to a series of development streams and the following is a breakdown and analysis on the points covered.






First and foremost, a big thank you to both SC_Brad and SC_Thomas for hosting the streams. Both are very active and very public-facing members of the Stream Captain team who designed and continue to build the Stream Raiders experience. If you have caught any of their VoDs or one of, you can tell they put the pro in professional. Whether it be the banter, straight-talking or meme fuelled battle plans.



Development stream from the 06th March 2020:



Divine Wrath Recap


First up, we were treated with a very informative recap of the previous special event called Divine Wrath. What was great to hear was at the time it had been the most participated in event for Stream Raiders; however, this was beaten on Tuesday 10th March by Inferno smashing the first twenty-four hours.


Divine Wrath saw a total of…


  • 9,236 bosses slain.

  • 6,525,665 units killed.

  • 1,300 streamers taking part in the event, which is an increase of almost a third from the 900 who took part in the previous event.


The gentleman also advised that...


  • The most common units placed were the archer, the tank and the warrior.

  • The most used uncommon units were the centurion, musketeer and berserker.

  • The most rare units used were the healer, bomber and paladins.



Updates


Before moving into specifics about the current special event (Inferno) which is now live in Stream Raiders, and the roadmap for Stream Raiders - a few updates were covered. These were…


  • The Turbo Rogue skin is currently the most purchased skin on Stream Raiders.

  • The Stream Captain channel itself now has it’s very own head skins.

  • Featured skins can now be gifted to other viewers. A highly sought after but previously unavailable function.


In addition to the above updates, the path to both affiliate and partner has been made easier to achieve. I would be lying if I said I was a bit disappointed as we were only made affiliate a few weeks before this happened, grinding hard to be able to reach the initial goals. Still, the team have decided to lessen the requirements to allow more people to achieve the goals which I also think is a great idea.


For the affiliate goals, you use to have to achieve an average of 50 viewers and 20 participants in 40 battles over 14 days. This has now changed to an average of 30 viewers, with 20 participants in 20 battles over 7 days.


For the partner goals, you use to have to achieve an average of 75 viewers and 30 participants over 40 battles over 14 days. This has now changed to an average of 50 viewers, with 30 participants over 20 battles in 14 days.


Essentially for both, it is just the viewer totals and period to hit the goals which have changed and changed mainly to be more accomplishable with Twitch having restricted what counts as a view on Twitch (such as cracking down on lurkers and mostly lurk communities).


Something I will just point out is that in addition to the above, partners are also requested to use both the Stream Captain overlay on their stream and the bot in chat to announce battles and skin purchases/gifts. But this is not mandatory for affiliates. Partners are also requested to have a minimum of thirty skin sales before they are promoted from affiliate to partner, even if they meet all other requirements.



A look at the road map


Although a lot of specifics were covered as part of the road map, there are three main areas that the team are focusing on going forward. Due to the nature of the points, there are no set dates for their completion/release. But they are actively being worked on as we speak.


  • Performance


First and foremost, the general performance of the game such as load times, refreshes, installation size and server efficiency are all been worked on.


  • CvC


The much sought after community versus community mode (Stream Raider’s version of PvP) is currently being worked on and is going to include a brand new in-game currency (called Bones). Each match is looking to be about 5 minutes long with a placement period of every 2 to 3 minutes. The matches will be scaled to the size of the two communities taking part but is very much still a work in progress, so they are unable to share a lot of specifics, but there is some footage available form early testing.


One of the toughest challenges so far is to work an even balancing system out that allows captains of all sizes to throw down, but gives the smaller captains a fighting chance.


  • Mobile App


Another highly sought after function for Stream Raiders is a mobile compatible app, which will be coming to us in the form of Mobile Lite, which is a mobile web-based client. Looking to replicate a lot of the desktop functionality with the ability to switch back and forth between battle tabs and streamers, again this is a work in progress but has been confirmed to be something been actively worked on.



The future is bright…


Although there were official Q and A segments, Road Map chats and other updates, Brad and Thomas also touched base on a few things, you could say in-stream fixes, that they would like to flag to the team. The main ones have been…


  • Alternating the chatbot messages to have one colour for battle announcements and one for purchased skins and gifted skins, so it is easier to differentiate between the two while streaming.

  • Review and decrease the amount of time it appears for purchased/gifted/earnt skins to appear on your account as it can take a few minutes currently.


However, in-stream fixes aside, three things really stood out.


  • Overworld campaigns


One of the goals is to bring bigger maps to Stream Raiders where each map is vast, contains more battles and will comprise of many mini-bosses and at the end has one sizeable main boss. This is to further increase not only the number of battles but a variety of maps.


  • Captain Spells


These are theoretical at the moment, but the team are looking to implement a spell system in which captains at the end of the placement phase, before starting a battle, will be able to place either a buff spell to assist the troops placed. Or an offensive spell that can attack enemy units. This actually reminds me very much of a similar function in Dungeon Keeper and would actually be quite an interesting tactical twist.


  • Quests


How the quests were described was similar to that of the Call of Duty barracks or the daily/weekly quests from games like Elder Scrolls Online. In which a series of quests would be released that would see players and captains having to hit various target such as kill x amount of x unit or participate in x battles. The rewards for these would be unique items, potions, scrolls and gold.


I would like to mention at this point, as the gentlemen reiterate in the VoD, a lot of what has been discussed and brought to us is a work in progress so may change before it is brought into testing or fully released.





Inferno


One of the things brought up was the release of the Inferno special event which released on the 10th March. The best way to describe this event if you have not already played it is a quick look at the reveal trailer.


- Official Inferno trailer -


To sum up the event, all battles will be moving underground into caverns and realms flooded with lava that see our brave heroes fighting off hordes of hell hounds, lava bugs, deep worms (huge purple worms that spit lava), magma golems and spawn pools. What makes these enemies different from any other we have faced so far, apart from the magma and lava attacks is that they explode on death - causing damage to all player units around them. In addition to the raid to raid units, the main boss for Inferno maps will also be the Magma Titan, a boss who will be the most lethal one to date with the highest damage, health pool and overall size.


In addition to all of the new enemy types, we will also be getting a new legendary called the Balloon Buster, which is a Buster tied onto multiple balloons who specifically targets epics. When detonating on their target, they have a small, focused blast for maximum damage and then a broader (but weaker) AOE attack.



With the Inferno event having already launched, it is continuing on from Divine Wrath in the sense it’s heavily geared towards feedback from the community. Although they had hoped to further build upon the success of Divine Wrath, there have been multiple issues at launch for Inferno. From players unable to log in, to captains been unable to complete raids and general slow reactions and poor performance on the servers. However, this has been replied to in the official discord, and most issues were fixed quickly. Within the first few hours of the event, 500 streamers played, and 347,109 units were placed. The servers simply struggled with so many players. As mentioned above, though, servers are actively being worked on as part of the performance work.



Q&A


During the Q and A segment of the stream, there were some interesting points raised by the community. This section took quite a large portion of the time, so I have filtered through and picked out some of the most interesting questions and their replies...


Q: Will there be dedicated URLs for captains?

A: This will be looked at once the initial road map has been completed, but it is very possible so that viewers can navigate directly to their preferred streamers.


Q: Will there be an opt-out for special events? (This was raised with the context that some of the special events have been hard to complete for smaller streamers).

A: No opt-out is planned for special events, but Stream Raiders and the special events will be continuously worked on with regards to balancing. The balancing for the special events is worked out against individual streamers and their community/raid size as opposed to one overall difficulty. The development team are continually adjusting and tweaking events ‘live’ as events unfold.


Q: Will there be a chance for new players, to play the old Stream Raider events and maps?

A: Old maps from previous events have already been added into the mystery nodes. Although it is random, they will occasionally appear. However, there are no plans at the moment to have a backward catalogue of old events for people who missed them.


Q: Will the end game for special events be looked at? (The context given for this question was that when you get past level 37 on special events, it turns into a grind for 200 unique event tokens to be able to collect rewards).

A: The development team have heard feedback from the community regarding the events, they are looking into it and are looking to possibly add more varied rewards or reduce the number of tokens required to achieve goals after level 37.


Q: Will the desktop app be available to none captains?

A: The desktop application will be available to everyone eventually, but it will not be a priority while they are working on other things first, such as mobile application and stabilising performance.


Q: What is going to happen to the lesser-used/weak units?

A: The development team will be reworking the lesser-used units and adjusting their stats to hopefully make them more useful.


Q: Will Stream Raiders be available on other platforms apart from Twitch?

A: The team will be looking at other streaming platforms in the future and the potential for rolling out Stream Raiders to them.


Q: Is anything going to happen to units that have maxed out at level 30?

A: Content will be coming for post level 30 units. (This is a work in progress, and no further details could be provided).



Development stream from the 13th March 2020:


The stream from Friday 13th March was mostly an update on the issues that had occurred at the start of the inferno launch, such as people unable to log in. Slow loading times. Unit placement issues and the such.


Unfortunately, although very hyped for the new event, the sheer size of the community and number of both captains and players withing to jump straight into it ground the servers to need standstill. This has now been taken into account for future launches. And the majority of both technical and performance issues the player base were facing, have been fixed.



Development stream from the 20th March 2020:


The stream from last Friday (20th March) was one I had personally been looking forward to as it was going to be the first-ever public test of the CvC mode which pitted SC_Brad and SC_Thomas against one another.


From the outset, the CvC looked good, but the stream, unfortunately, was met with many issues which made a lot of players query its current state. For example...


  • The CvC mode (except captains) is not meant to allow any epic units to be placed and yet a large number of viewers with high-level units were able to place them which unbalanced the two sides.

  • When matchmaking for CvC, with only SC_Brad and SC_Thomas publicly visible, they were unable to find each other on several occasions. Meaning if this had been rolled out, there may have been an error where even though captains were ready to battle, it would show no opponents.

  • During the CvC rounds, each round lasts five minutes, and each side has a power bar capped at 100%. Although the specific values per unit were not given, each unit placed counts toward this total percentage for each side. Should one side have, 100% unit placement and the other only has 60% the fight will still commence at the end of the designated time. Initially, a buff designed to work when this occurs, to help the weaker team out, did not work automatically. When it did, the weaker team was significantly overpowered and went from underdog to decimating the opposing side. Meaning that this automatic buffing was again unbalancing the battle.


In general, though, the stability appeared sound, the battle initiation was on point, and you can place units that you have already levelled up in the regular battles, meaning no progress will be lost. And you won't have to start levelling up units from level one again.


My main concerns having seen the initial public test were primarily the unbalancing, and although these issues were patched during the stream by the development team, I hope it holds up when mass released. Speaking of which, at the end of the Inferno event, which ends later this week, we have been teased with a two-day special CvC event. Once this has been released, and I have been able to participate in a few battles from both a captain and viewer perspective, we'll do a more in-depth review. All in all though if the patches/fixes hold I am looking forward to this new mode.



For now, I think that has brought us very nicely up to this week's development stream, which if it stays true to the current schedule, will be held on Friday 27th March. All in all, the work going into Stream Raiders, the plan for development and the priority functionality and performance aims are looking very promising.


If you have not done so already, make sure to check out Stream Raiders for free. You can access the site here.





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