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RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced!

 
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RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/8/2014 1:22:47 PM   
whiran

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cauldyth

What I don't understand is why people are so obsessed with trying to help Matrix run their company.


It's human nature.

When we like something we want to share it with others.
When we hate something we want to share that feeling with others.

We are social creatures and as part of that we want to join in and then expand the communities we are a part of.

People who feel something look to share that feeling with others and if other people wind up feeling the same it validates their own feelings.

Couple that with generosity and a genuine desire to help and you get why people are trying to help Matrix/Slitherine.

Part of the art of good marketing is to tap into these emotions and provide avenues for people to spread the word. Word of mouth advertising is the most powerful form of advertising not only because it is incredible cost effective but also because you can, essentially, wind up with a sales force of hundreds, thousands, or even millions depending on the product.

If I like a game I tell my friends. They, in turn, buy that game. If they like it they let me know that they like it (validating my original liking of the game) and it becomes a shared experience. Shared experiences are what drives friendships. The next game that comes out one of my friends might get before me and will test the waters. If they like it then they tell me and I go out and buy the game. If I like it as well I share that feedback with my friend. Then together we share stories about the game or even play it together and the cycle continues.

At a broader level, forums form communities. In those communities people share experiences. Over time that sharing and interacting forms bonds that are very similar to friendship albeit to a lesser degree due to the perceived distance and separation that comes from communicating via keyboard. It is only natural for people in these communities to want to share their joy with others. Online that translates to other online gamers.

Thus when people within a community perceive a lack of sharing of their beloved product by the powers be they speak out. Some will become frustrated with wanting to know more and not being able to find out more. Or feel "betrayed" because someone does not fulfill a self-proclaimed obligation (such as a publisher saying information is coming and then going silent) while others in similar environments are doing just that then people start getting upset. It shakes their faith, their trust, and their belief.

When those emotions get shaken up enough people stop buying since people buy on emotion. Some of the most ardent and strongest supporters will take the time to speak up about their trust being shaken and share their concerns. Some will do so in a congenial manner with eloquence while others will lash out not really knowing what they are upset about but knowing that -something- isn't right in their view.

Or I could just be making up stuff. :)

(in reply to Cauldyth)
Post #: 181
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/8/2014 2:20:35 PM   
tjhkkr


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paradox Pancake
I don't post here much, if at all, because I generally dislike the premise behind forums on a whole but I'd like to post this as someone who has a cousin who works for Bethesda Softworks and I've personally seen how much heart and soul goes into game development and publishing.
First, there is an awful amount of entitlement and vitriol coming from some people on this thread and I'm not going to name folks as I'm sure you know who you are. The fact that Erik is even on such a face-to-face level with the community as a publisher and is doing what he can to provide you all with information is leagues ahead of most publishers who could honestly care less about your business and all they want from you is to buy their game and shut up. Matrix may not get involved with Steam or other digital distribution platforms but that does not impact your enjoyment of the game nor does it reflect poorly on Matrix as a whole. It's their decision as a company in how they can both deliver a game like Distant Worlds to you, have it live up to your expectations as a publisher, and make a profit in a highly niche market.
Distant Worlds is an amazing game and is a 4x strategy that, I personally feel, outshines even MoO2 in the level of detail, strategy, and quality and now we're getting a final expansion that adds new content and modding functionality which is going to make the game even grander in the large scheme of things. One thing some folks need to desperately do is get rid of your sense of entitlement. You are owed nothing save the game you paid for and you have been given what you have paid for (which is to say NOTHING at the time of this post as DW:U has not come out yet). It does not give you the right to blast the publisher or the developer or make personal jabs at them because you have a disagreement.
I'd like to say this: Thank you Erik for the time you give to the community. You are under no compulsion to do so, I'm sure, but you love the game and the people who play it enough to fill us in with as much detail as you can and I can tell that just by looking at your post history and the fact that you've given personal time to help address people's issues (including my own when I first bought the game and joined the community!) and criticisms with it (despite some of those criticisms being some of the most hateful things I've ever seen written by people). Thank you to Elliot for making one of the best, if not the best, strategy 4x's out there. As someone who has family and knows how much of your heart and soul goes into a game that you create, know that you have players out there who really enjoy it and love it for what it is. Thanks again.


I have to agree about the time devoted to us. Erik and company have always been very quick to get back to me.
Elliot also has contacted me when I PM'ed him. On the whole, the customer service for a small operation like this is fantastic...


_____________________________

Remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love -- Olga Romanov.

(in reply to Paradox Pancake)
Post #: 182
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/8/2014 8:22:34 PM   
Bebop Cola

 

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I can't say I find the whole discussion regarding Matrix Games' marketing strategy productive, but I'll toss in my two cents regarding how it's being discussed.

I don't think anyone is intending to say that no one has a right to express their opinion regarding the marketing decisions made. Rather, they're attempting to point out that any opinions expressed are uninformed. Absent knowledge of internal negotiations, agreements, time constraints and commitments, unforeseen changes, goals, and plans, the customer simply cannot know what's going on. To suggest that Matrix Games or Elliot should do one thing or another based on a *lack* of information, on a *guess* about what's going on, is hardly productive.

Sure, post to your heart's content, but have some perspective. The opinion of someone who says Matrix Games can and should do more is simply not informed as to the state of behind the scenes decisions. If one is fine speaking from a position of ignorance and expressing an uninformed opinion, have at it. However, let's not pretend it's anything other than that.

When Erik speaks up to point out that we're *not* informed and, in fact, mistaken in our opinions, let's not pretend our opinions carry any substantive weight as compared to his knowledge.

< Message edited by Bebop Cola -- 5/8/2014 9:23:46 PM >

(in reply to tjhkkr)
Post #: 183
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/8/2014 10:29:40 PM   
Icemania


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bebop Cola
I don't think anyone is intending to say that no one has a right to express their opinion regarding the marketing decisions made.

I hope so. Pancake's wording was clear.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bebop Cola
Rather, they're attempting to point out that any opinions expressed are uninformed.

Ah, that explains your comments. You are partly right and partly wrong.

I've already acknowledged the partly right component in this thread and elsewhere e.g. internal information, plans etc.

However, Marketing involves an interaction with the community. Competitive intelligence is also key. Please read my Post 144 on Page 5 and also Erik's response where he acknowledges that Distant Worlds is not as well known as it's direct competitors. Awareness is a key component of Marketing.




(in reply to Bebop Cola)
Post #: 184
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/8/2014 11:36:56 PM   
Bebop Cola

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Icemania
I hope so. Pancake's wording was clear.

And the words of any single forum-goer has precisely zero bearing on your freedom of speech. Even if Pancake were to call for you to be silenced, your freedom of speech is not being limited. Even if the mods were to *actually* silence you, your freedom of speech is not being limited. Your freedom of speech simply does not apply here.

This site is not obligated to provide you a forum to express your opinion. Others are not obligated to listen, agree, or respect any opinion you express beyond the terms of agreement under which we all share the *privilege* of expressing our opinions here. To proclaim you have a freedom of speech to express your opinion, or to suggest that you are defending that freedom when another forum-goer disagrees with you, illustrates that you simply do not understand what freedom of speech means.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Icemania
Ah, that explains your comments. You are partly right and partly wrong.

I've already acknowledged the partly right component in this thread and elsewhere e.g. internal information, plans etc.

However, Marketing involves an interaction with the community. Competitive intelligence is also key. Please read my Post 144 on Page 5 and also Erik's response where he acknowledges that Distant Worlds is not as well known as it's direct competitors. Awareness is a key component of Marketing.

All you did in that post was point out an observation. You highlighted that there are few to no Distant World reviews and/or ratings. All you have is an observation. If you just left it at that and asked for an explanation, that you have been fine. Unfortunately, you then proceed to make a claim that if things were done your way, if the product was placed on the sites and publicized the way you think it should be, it would generate better results.

Unfortunately, you don't have any evidence to show this is true. You don't have any research to determine the best way to market Distant Worlds to its target demographic. You don't have any cost-benefit analyses to justify any promotional campaigns or distribution deals. You don't have any legal analysis to show that such campaigns and deals are even possible. You don't even have any information on whether such ideas were already investigated and not pursued. Or maybe they were pursued and there was a problem that you're not aware of. Or maybe they simply wouldn't work the way you think they would.

The point is, you simply don't have any information. All you have is an observation, and a claim that results would be different based on your guess of how to market the game most effectively. Erik, however, has the information. He is informed, while you are not. His knowledge of what was done, what is being done, and what can be done is simply better than your observation and subsequent guess.

Which comes full circle to the freedom of speech point again. You suggested that Pancake was unreasonable to simplistically dismiss your opinion as a sense of entitlement and cited, then subsequently removed, freedom of speech. Not only does freedom of speech not apply in the slightest, but your complete lack of information to inform your opinion means Pancake could dismiss it with just as much reason and evidence as you provided to support it. Namely, none. You have an observation, then made an uninformed claim. He made an observation, and dismissed your claim. Please don't pretend this discussion is anything more than that.

FFS. Can we please move on from uninformed forum-goers pretending to be Directors Of Marketing here? If you think Matrix Games needs help marketing the game, how about asking how you might do so? How about letting those who know what has been done, is being done, and can be done inform *you* on what might be helpful, rather than you who does *not* know what has been done, is being done, and can be done telling them what to do?

(in reply to Icemania)
Post #: 185
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/9/2014 2:59:05 AM   
Icemania


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I’d really like to avoid this thread degenerating given the tone of your post and what has happened in other threads … so I’ll keep my response brief and let’s please stay mutually respectful please.

Erik acknowledged that Distant Worlds awareness is lower than its direct competitors and that they would like to increase this (refer post 145 in this thread). Why would Matrix state they want to increase awareness if it wasn’t better for their business? As you say he has access to plenty of information we do not. Now given they acknowledge this gap and have a plan, the question now is how effective they will be in doing so in comparison to their competitors. So as I said before, let’s wait and see.

For clarity my comment on Freedom of Speech had nothing to do with Pancake’s comments on Entitlement. What I object to is Pancake’s use of the word Entitlement to dismiss other views, and in particular I object to his statement that we do not have the right to criticise the publisher. This is an open forum so yes we do have the right to comment here within forum rules. But yes I should not have used the term Freedom of Speech as it has led to a digression far beyond my intent.

(in reply to Bebop Cola)
Post #: 186
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/9/2014 10:41:04 AM   
feygan

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bebop Cola
Rather, they're attempting to point out that any opinions expressed are uninformed.



This I will fully agree with and I realise I fall firmly into this category. However the fact this category even exists shows there are problems with a company's method of marketing. Since I nor most other critics on this forum have the real inside scoop we are only making guesses, they may be educated ones or not but still guesses. If those assumptions are way off the mark I would of expected that a company would seek to correct them before it can do harm.

In my own business if I come across a customer who is making waves in my reputation in a negative way I adopt a simple procedure.

1. Establish what the issue is.
2. Either correct the problem or inform the customer on the true facts to prevent further misinformation being spread.

It really is that simple, ignoring a problem or not tackling a set of bad information can ruin a reputation that takes many years to build. You only need look at politic to see some sex scandal or tax fraud rumour as an example, even if the rumours are proven false if they are allowed to continue for too long the public no longer cares about the truth as it is a minority compared to the assumptions.

In all of this the customers of DW really have had nothing other than "we can assure you we are working hard and will have good news soon." So if Matrix Games do not wish to actively fight against wrongful assumptions on things then they are as good as giving a free pass to any and all bad press about themselves as a company. That is of course their choice to do and if it were only them that suffered I would not care. However this is a publishing house and for all we know they could have the developer of DW locked into a contract where he/she is 100% dependent on them for all revenue from the product and also controls the chances of future development. In that case I argue against the methods because I feel this company is denying the public art/culture/entertainment (whatever you want to catagorise video games as).

I think it is a tragic thing when the success of a product like this is at present going to be heavily effected by a large amount of disgruntled customers, who are making wild guesses at the reasons behind the problems and passing them onto other potential customers. What is worst is it appears no real action of any kind is being taken to stem this.

(in reply to Icemania)
Post #: 187
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/9/2014 10:45:35 AM   
Gregorovitch55

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bebop Cola

The point is, you simply don't have any information. All you have is an observation, and a claim that results would be different based on your guess of how to market the game most effectively. Erik, however, has the information. He is informed, while you are not. His knowledge of what was done, what is being done, and what can be done is simply better than your observation and subsequent guess.



Erik has only one single piece of information that we don't have: the precise number of units of DW shipped over time so far. Contractual agreements between Matrix and Elliot can be changed at any time by mutual agreement. Knowing that the third party on-line retailer cut is ~30% we also all know just as well as Erik does what the breakeven point would be for putting DW out on GoG, Steam etc. What nobody knows, even Erik, is whether sales would actually surpass that breakeven point if it was since it depends on many factors, including price point, and a considerable dollop of luck to boot.

It is therefore entirely legitimate comment that the policy Matrix have so far adopted with DW, acting as sole distributor through this site, has severely restricted uptake and inflated the price of DW. All Erik can reply is that he believes this policy is in the best interests of Elliot, Matrix and the DW player community. He cannot say it *is* in their best interests because he doesn't know any more than we do.

For me there is also another dimension to this debate: I do not begrudge people who like to play on consoles, but I would be heartbroken if the PC player base shrank to the point were high quality adult strategy games like DW, EU4, Civ5 etc were no longer viable to make or had to be gutted to run on toy computers. I therefore consider it legitimate to discuss any and all means by which the player base for such games can be maintained and expanded.

< Message edited by Gregorovitch55 -- 5/9/2014 12:02:23 PM >

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Post #: 188
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/9/2014 3:43:21 PM   
ASHBERY76


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What is important right now is what is the expansion ETA?

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Post #: 189
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/10/2014 12:11:31 AM   
Icemania


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Erik mentioned earlier the Home of Wargamers 2014 event so we will probably hear more in a few days.

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Post #: 190
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/10/2014 12:29:35 PM   
DevildogFF


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Meh, won't be a whore for my other interests (deleted some stuff)

Looking forward to hearing more information in a couple days.

< Message edited by DevildogFF -- 5/11/2014 1:26:31 PM >

(in reply to Icemania)
Post #: 191
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:18:01 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Hi guys,

There will indeed be an announcement at HOW2014 and we'll be showing Distant Worlds: Universe to the press there in one of our event rooms. We'll also be announcing the exact release date and pricing.

We also plan to release the full modding guide to the community tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are some additional screenshots for you all.

Regards,

- Erik


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Post #: 192
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:18:42 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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A new resource, added through the modding capabilities.




Attachment (1)

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Post #: 193
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:19:25 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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A bit more about Deneba Crystal - this is available in the Ancient Galaxy.






Attachment (1)

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Erik Rutins
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For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 194
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:20:09 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Earth, from a mod that one of our testers (Antiscamp) is working on:




Attachment (1)

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Erik Rutins
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For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 195
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:20:52 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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A battle scene from Antiscamp's mod:






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 196
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:21:31 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Another battle scene:






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 197
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:22:16 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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One more battle from Antiscamp's mod:






Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 198
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:22:52 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Part of our solar system, from Antiscamp's mod:






Attachment (1)

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Erik Rutins
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For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 199
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:23:35 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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A modified tech tree from Fenrisfil's mod:






Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 5/13/2014 2:24:33 AM >


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For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

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Post #: 200
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:25:08 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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A battle scene during testing, from Jeeves:




Attachment (1)

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Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 201
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 3:40:25 AM   
tjhkkr


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The resource and the tech-tree stuff is great. Thank you!

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Remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love -- Olga Romanov.

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Post #: 202
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 11:54:42 AM   
feygan

 

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So an announcement to the press on the official release date and price is due in the next two days, and as there has been zero mention of any further delays then the expansion will be available to purchase at most 16 days later. How does any product stand a chance of real commercial success when it has barely two weeks notice before hitting the shelves?

Or is there a further delay for release? (which I honestly do not mind if it means less bugs.) However it would mean yet another 11th hour notification on such a delay?

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Post #: 203
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 1:45:44 PM   
Icemania


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Appreciate the screenshots Erik, some interesting material there!

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Post #: 204
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 2:01:39 PM   
ASHBERY76


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It's interesting seeing that modded colonization tree.It might help the A.I colonize more planet types because from what I see A.I research baring weapon focus policy focus is just random.

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Post #: 205
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/13/2014 2:38:32 PM   
Icemania


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins
quote:

ORIGINAL: Icemania
I really hope the Shaktur Dominion are serious bad asses (e.g. like the Borg in Star Trek Armada 3) and this game is much more difficult. I want to get slaughtered in my first Universe game ...

Well, I certainly did but YMMV and we did tone them down a tad since then but they can still kick butt.

Can anything more be revealed about general experiences with difficulty and Universe? i.e. how significant is the change from Shadows? Hopefully your most experienced testers on Extreme are now losing games where there is an equal start?

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Post #: 206
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/15/2014 3:03:34 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Ok, so here's some info:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3610056

Let me expand upon this.

Distant Worlds: Universe will release through our Online Store as well as, for the first time, through Steam. As this includes both the new Universe expansion with greatly expanded modding support and the Ancient Galaxy storyline plus all previous releases, it will give new customers and existing customers a unified installation for future support and modding.

The base price of Distant Worlds: Universe will be $59.99 Download / $74.99 Physical. The Physical version is only available through our store and includes an updated and full color printed Distant Worlds series game manual.

For the release, it will be available at a pre-order price of $49.99 Download / $64.99 physical. This will be the pre-order price through Steam. As we don't do pre-orders through our own store, this will be our release price as well, with a post-release promotional period as with past Distant Worlds releases that allows early adopters to get the game for a lower price, after which it will revert to the permanent $59.99 / $74.99 price level.

We will also be offering existing customers a discount based on what parts of the series they own. It's a $10 discount per release, so if you own everything that's been released so far (Distant Worlds + Return of the Shakturi + Legends + Shadows) then during the post-release promotion period, your price to upgrade to Universe would be $9.99 Download or $24.99 Physical ($49.99 or $64.99 - $40 discount for four previous releases). There will be a page on our site where you can get the upgrade discount coupon. This upgrade will be available through our store only, we don't have a way of doing this through Steam. All you will need to get the upgrade coupon is the serial number for each release.

The release will be on May 23rd.

We plan for there to be one more Shadows update, but all future modding/feature/performance improvements will be based on the Universe level.

Regards,

- Erik

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 5/21/2014 2:58:30 PM >


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Erik Rutins
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For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

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Post #: 207
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/15/2014 3:05:49 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 33793
Joined: 3/28/2000
From: Vermont, USA
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Icemania
Can anything more be revealed about general experiences with difficulty and Universe? i.e. how significant is the change from Shadows? Hopefully your most experienced testers on Extreme are now losing games where there is an equal start?


The AI has certainly been improved as it has with each release, but I think the modding capabilities will also open up difficulty customization to a great degree beyond what was possible before. With that said, in most games once a player is experienced, beating the AI when all things are equal is very likely. I can only speak for myself and say that the game can beat me on the Extreme level.

Regards,

- Erik

_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

(in reply to Icemania)
Post #: 208
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/15/2014 3:07:53 PM   
Cauldyth

 

Posts: 637
Joined: 6/27/2010
Status: offline
Ooooh, can everyone shut up about getting it on Steam now?

Shame we can't get the discounted version through steam though. Can we buy from your store and then register it on Steam?

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 209
RE: Distant Worlds: Universe Announced! - 5/15/2014 3:20:42 PM   
deadfolk

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 5/15/2014
Status: offline
That's great news, both for players and the game. And extra points for the very reasonable upgrade price.

One little thing, however...although you said we cannot upgrade through Steam, how about giving people who upgrade through the store Steam keys? Then everyone wins.

Edit: Just realised that's pretty much what Cauldyth already said. Reading comprehension ftw!

< Message edited by deadfolk -- 5/15/2014 5:28:06 PM >

(in reply to Cauldyth)
Post #: 210
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