JoshingtonState here. I’m going to open as I did in last week’s letter with a thank you.
Launching Scavengers with you all has been a high point of my career, and the team is so excited to get to work on what’s next - we’re in this for the long haul.
By the time you’re reading this, you’ve probably already played on our first patch, which looks to reinforce our anti-cheat measures, rebalance scrap costs and research progress, as well as fixing some server/lobby stability issues.
We’re also reading and listening intently wherever we can: Discord, Twitter, Steam reviews, everything. We hear you and want to share some of our own thoughts and where we’re at.
That’s a lot of players - honestly more than we were expecting for Early Access. We’ve had great support from our partners at Steam and Epic, as well as positive (and constructive!) feedback from streamers all across the world, the latter of which are leaving us both star-struck and determined to continue improving.
We also know that Scavengers is a unique blend of strategy, survival, and battle royale competition, and that means our playerbase is going to be equally diverse in their perspectives and feedback. This isn’t to invalidate one opinion vs. another, but to highlight that we have a wide range of opinions to listen to, and we want to be equally thoughtful in how we build this game with all of you. Our best path forward is to communicate consistently about the future of Scavengers, and you can tell us if you like what you hear (or not).
For now, Early Access is about stabilizing what we have, with things like...
I don’t have much to share in terms of details (and it might give cheaters a heads up), but know that this is one of our top priorities. Please do us a favor and continue reporting any cheaters you run into (both in-game and on Discord!), so we can continue taking action.
As Wix mentioned in the gameplay balance dev blog, “. . . we know we need to keep a balance between increasing a player’s power and also ensuring that high-level players do not automatically win every engagement.”
I want to acknowledge that this is hard to get right. We think there’s something valuable and unique in the RPG elements of Scavengers: meaningful game-to-game progression, collecting salvage for research, trying out new loadouts, and researching toward a new ‘build.’ That said, we never want Scavengers to feel pay-to-win, or that certain fights are unwinnable because you had less stats. Tuning this balance is what Early Access is for, and it’s why we want to do at least one wipe before we officially launch.
Throughout Early Access, you’ll see us pulling a number of levers (aka tuning) with regards to power and progression. At this moment, nothing is off the table, including adjusting scrap costs, research speeds, material gains, weapon balance, and overall distribution of research items.
We also believe there’s a lack of transparency when it comes to assessing enemy power levels. There’s a lot of per-match strategy involved in Scavengers that contributes to player power, including map movement, crafting prioritization, and a bit of luck. We want a majority of your power and success to come from what you do in any single match - let’s say roughly 70%. We also want research progress to give you interesting strengths - and weaknesses (like higher-rarity loadouts taking more resources) - but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor between two equally skilled Explorers.
These are focuses for our next big update (our biggest ‘type’ of content drop, going hotfix > patch > update), coming in just a few weeks. Not all of them are guaranteed, but we want to be proactive in communicating our intentions.
Fixing bugs. A big priority. In terms of identifying bugs and issues, nothing beats stress testing the game with hundreds of thousands of matches being played. Keep the reports coming, and we’ll keep on tackling our known issues.
Performance optimizations. As I mentioned above, Scavengers is also being played on hundreds of thousands of unique machines, specs, and environments, and with that comes a lot of valuable information on performance. In the coming weeks, expect us to continue optimizing the game, and if you still get choppy FPS, let us know.
Game balance. As I mentioned above as well, nothing is sacred. We’ll continue to tune Explorers, weapons, the map, in-game economy progression, and out-of-game research progression.
Polishing core gameplay. We’ll continue polishing movement, shooting, and all related gameplay features
More stats! We want to expand our leaderboard support to let you track accomplishments and make comparisons against your friends
More strategy! We’d like to implement more strategic options when it comes to scoring and extraction that don’t necessarily demand PvP mastery. We’re also keeping an eye on dropship extractions and the pacing of how matches are ending
Better social features. More ways to find, connect, and remain partied with other players
More cosmetic options. We know you want more personalization and individuality in Scavengers
As we see in all of our social comments, console is a huge request and one we’re working on. We’ll give an update when we have one, but expect this to be a matter of months, not weeks. Staying nimble and focused on one platform helps us ensure Scavengers is fun to play before going wide and multi-platform.
Early Access is for learning and developing together, and that means it’s on us to be constantly engaging. If you haven’t been keeping up with our communications, here are some of the ways to stay connected to us, and some of our future plans.
Details on the last two programs will come next week! Your feedback helps us make this the best experience it can be, so keep the discussion flowing and we’ll talk to you all soon.
Josh & the Midwinter Team