As you may have noticed, quite a few things have happened since the last planfile. Some promised features have finally been implemented, bugs have been fixed, and we are already feeling the effects of the Google campaign. Those effects have been so noticeable that Click2Pay called us a few days ago, wondering about strong increase in new registrations.
I'm also very pleased that there seems to be a new attitude of objectivity in the forums, handling our strong sides and faults, and also Neocron's, in a more honest way than in the past. I think this is a very important development. It drastically improves the possibilities for dialog between the Community and us as developers. I hope we can maintain this trend and will be able to keep providing positive news and improvements for Neocron2. In this context we are working on a few things to improve the efficiency of some structures and to position Neocron2 more successfully:
As announced in my previous planfile, we intended to pull the responsibility for the Neocron2 marketing back to Reakktor, and succeeded in doing so. We are now fairly self-sufficient in that domain and have plans for quite a few activities. We will launch a pretty innovative campaign under the slogan "No more Elves!". I can't go into all the details yet, as they are supposed to be a surprise. Just let me say this: the URL www.no-more-elves.com will not remain a simple redirect towards www.neocron.com for long ;-). This campaign is supposed to run for half a year and targets an international audience. Depending on the success of this campaign, we will decide how to proceed afterwards. A first step for this campaign was the Google ad we ordered with this slogan. We can see its effects already. The number of new registrations has made a huge jump, which can also be seen by the number of "guest users" in the forum. I'm certain you will welcome all the newcomers and hereby help to make this campaign successful.
Until now, our Canadian partner Alchemic Dream has been taking very good care of the French server by providing ticket support and ingame events. Unfortunately, we will be terminating this partnership as a consequence of the aforementioned reorganization. I'd like to seize this opportunity to publicly express my thanks for the good partnership and the excellent work that Alchemic Dream has done for Neocron over the years.
Due to the low load on the server Pandore, we have decided to use that server's hardware to set up the much discussed international PvP Server. I realize this will come as a shock for many of you, especially the French-speaking players. I hope for your understanding, considering that a server with 9 machines and a user peak of about 30 just could not be efficient. In addition, many of the French speaking players have already moved to the server Terra in the past.
It has not yet been decided how exactly this will be done, we are looking for a solution that will make this as easy as possible for the Pandore players. We are currently examining the feasibility and complexity of different solutions regarding this.
In any case, we will continue to offer French-speaking ticket support, which will be handled in-house. The money saved by these measures will go directly to the planned marketing campaigns.
For the coming time, different departments will have different main focuses:
The programming department will have their main focus on optimizations and bugfixes, covering both the product environment as well as game features. New features will only be implemented if either the load for the programming department is manageable, or the expected impact is adequate. Which brings me to the topic of the playershops: this feature will not be implemented in the near future. I know that our plans said otherwise in the past. I also know that a part of you will be disappointed. But the fact is that other things have to receive priority for now, and even the playershops' impact on the gameplay is controversial within the Community. I hope for your understanding, keep in mind that we will not bury this feature forever.
The graphics department will focus on new content packages and also "optimizations" of a few complete systems, mainly areas that play a major role in the general appearance of the game, and that can be managed within an appropriate amount of time. For example, the complete vegetation of the Wastelands is currently receiving an overhaul. But of course our graphic artists will also occasionally support our marketing activities.
Our content department will continue to implement new quests and locations into the game. With the help of the Neocronicle website, which will hopefully go live this week, we will be able to push the focus on the storyline further than we used to be able to.
-- Holger Natrath