Ultra Deep Playtest Q&A with Maxim Zimnukhov, Game Director – hosted by Thor Østenkær, Lead Community!



Firstly, I would like to thank all of you for staying tuned with the development of MMORPG Ember Sword and being a part of this epic journey. It is always a very exciting time once we are this close to a new playtest and especially this one where we are displaying the very first Alpha Dungeon experience in Ember Sword.

It is a pleasure as always to feature our legendary Game Director, Max, in a new insightful Q&A where we sit down and dive into what the Ultra Deep is, what you can expect, what his thoughts are on this craftsmanship and what it means for Ember Sword moving forward.

In this process I have tried to put together a list of questions based on latest community discussions, questions and topics, especially focusing on the game and dungeon aspect in this case, since this is what this new event is all about! There is no better person than Max to guide us through this process, and I know that he is always looking forward to these moments as well. Your passion for Ember Sword and the warmth we feel amongst this community is really something unique. And YOU are what drives us!

So… Thank you! Thank you for reading through this Q&A, I hope it can answer some of your burning Ultra Deep questions and get you even more hyped for this upcoming playtest! As always, go to our vibrant Discord community – discord.gg/embersword – to get the latest updates and game news.

Moving forward from here, it is only going to get crazier for the Ember Sword development journey, and I for one look forward to diving more into dungeon experiences, and PvE vision, among other stuff, in future developer streams with Max.


Thor Østenkær – GameMaster

Q&A below!

Q: Let us start out with an easy one, when is the upcoming Ultra Deep Playtest? And how do you participate?

The servers will be open from 11:00 UTC on Friday October 27th until 22:00 UTC on Sunday October 29th.

The Playtest is open to anyone who is registered with an Ember Sword account. If you do not have an account, please sign up now [https://embersword.com/] in order to receive access and communications regarding the tests.

Q: It was also mentioned that a lot of feedback from the last Alpha Playtest was used, can you give some specific examples of this?

Yes, absolutely! One of the main reasons for doing these playtests is actually to get the feedback of the community, to display our progress to those who supported this journey. Our tech and our game development is constantly in rapid development, and we have our own internal Quality Assurance team for bug reporting and internal testing, so it is really about the community feedback, the transparency and bringing you along for the ride with what we have to show you in this phase.

Servers in different regions is the main thing here that we decided to ramp up based on your feedback from last time around. Also, we tweaked abilities and added dash to avoid heaviest boss attacks generally just testing some controls for this very specific test.

Lastly, we heavily improved the UI to just make it a smoother experience for you all!

Q: Ultra Deep is in alpha, what does this mean?

Yes, being in Alpha means that almost everything you see will be neither perfect or final, and things will likely change a lot throughout the course of development.

Our team is hard at work on our mission to revolutionize how great games are built, accessed and played, and are continuously testing with internal and external audiences. Now we are beyond excited to get as many players through the Ultra Deep experience as possible and hear your thoughts on what you like and what needs to be improved!

Q: Can you explain a bit more, perhaps even set the stage so to speak, for what Ultra Deep is?

The Ultra Deep is very different from the last playtest which was, first of all, happening above ground on Solarwood land. This is still happening within the Solarwood nation, but deep into the tunnels and secret laboratory below in the deep. It is a different setting, and you can expect a different feel and ambiance to it. The Ultra Deep is in fact a dungeon playtest!

Yep, bigger raids will definitely be a thing- with way more than 4 players needed to emerge victorious. Right now, in this Alpha build, there are 4 players for such a dungeon, and we will be able to go more into detail about this later in our game development. Soon, guys! Soon! use all advantages offered to you in the Ultra Deep. You will need them!Hopefully, you can begin to grasp the PvE aspect of Ember Sword – how classes, potions, and party setups are going to affect your chosen way to work together and your dungeon approach overall.

Q: Will Ultra Deep be as iconic to Ember Sword as Deadmines was to World of Warcraft? Or will it instead be a hardcore end-game dungeon upon release?

It’s our Deadmines indeed! Meaning that it will be a very iconic dungeon to the Ember Sword lore and overall setting,that hopefully many players will talk about and love. Especially as we keep developing and upon release. The Ultra Deep will be when players really start to understand what is going on below Solarwood and its history, its secrets, its mistakes, and it will be an early-game dungeon experience.

Q: Do we plan to keep the PvE dungeon experience based around 4 players in a party moving forward? Will there be bigger raids as well?

Yep, bigger raids will definitely be a thing- with way more than 4 players needed to emerge victorious. Right now, in this Alpha build, there are 4 players for such a dungeon, and we will be able to go more into details about this later in our game development. Soon, guys! Soon!

Q: Is there something in particular that you would like the community to pay extra attention to as we experience the Ultra Deep?

“Use it or lose it – use potions!” – haha. No, what I mean is that this is a way different kind of playtest than last time. This is really going to challenge you, I think. So be prepared to use potions, be prepared to change your approach to the challenges ahead and remember to use all advantages offered to you in the Ultra Deep. You will need them!Hopefully, you can begin to grasp the PvE aspect of Ember Sword – how classes, potions and party setups are going to affect your chosen way to work together and your dungeon approach overall.

Q: What is your favorite weapon set in the Ultra Deep and why?

Censer, yeah for me it is definitely censer. I think it is an underrated weapon by the community, if I dare say so, because the other weapons are more dazzling I guess. But the censer is so useful! With this weapon, you can both heal and support your teammates, but if you know how to, you can also perform very well on the damage charts at the same time. Try it guys!

Q: What is your favorite armor set in the Ultra Deep and why?

It really depends on what weapon I am running with and what I am trying to do in the particular dungeon run, but I would say that it is heavy armor as I simply get the most armor from this. Getting more armor means I can take more hits, especially even surviving some of the heavier abilities from the bosses, which means I can still help my team and I can take greater risks.

Q: In the Ultra Deep build we cannot jump but instead has a roll functioning as a dash, why is that?

It was a very intentional part of this Alpha Dungeon Playtest to test this out as dash helps the player avoiding monsters and bosses attacks, where jump does not really help with that. Not in the same way. We wanted to test this and see how it feels!

Q: In the Ultra Deep build we are using click-to-move and have a very MOBA-like array of keybound abilities, is this what we can expect moving forward? Or will it change?

We are considering moving to WASD controls – more akin to V Rising controls for example – cause it is really going to revamp how we approach the core gameplay loop and is able to present it, and for the player to be even more immersed. For now, you should try out this Alpha Dungeon Playtest and see how it feels with click-to-move, and then stay tuned for the future. Give your feedback, please!

Q: What is the thing you are the most proud of as a Game Director in the Ultra Deep playtest?

Difficulty curve – most of the Ultra Deep is doable even by below average or new players especially if you work together (I believe in you, guys), yet the final boss is something else. Shauk. Shauk requires skill & focus – or maybe multiple tries to get him. I cannot say more than this right now, cause I do not want to spoil the fun haha!

Q: What was the most difficult element to get right for the Ultra Deep playtest?

Interest and coherency of experience! A dungeon should feel interesting, you should be able to grasp the tension in the air and the world you are entering. It should also feel – in this case – a bit spooky and dangerous. As you walk into the deeper parts of the Ultra Deep, and you notice the fallen corpses of previous adventurers who dared to enter, we hope you feel the interest and the horror.

Most importantly, that after finishing the dungeon, you feel it was a coherent experience.

Q: Is Ultra Deep playtest going to be a more difficult experience than previous playtests?

Absolutely, it will feel different than the last playtest. And you might not make it on the first attempt, but then try again! This is also the fun of PvE and dungeon experiences, getting to know and understand the dungeon. Doing it different the next time around. You will get new teammates who also might have learned more since the last run.

And if you want to appear on the leaderboard, well… then you might have to play many times to really get to the highest possible level.

Q: What is your last piece of advice you will give to the community as we prepare to descend into the Ultra Deep…

Have fun and experiment! Really, that is what I would say. Play as many times as you would want. Try different weapons and armor, different approaches. We had fun with this internally when testing it, we hope you have as well. Thank you, guys.

Q(end): Where can I find out more about Ultra Deep in general if I have more questions?

Next Wednesday, 25th October, at 3pm cest we are going live with our special #3 Dev Stream broadcast featuring exactly more Ultra Deep news, Ultra Deep live gameplay, giveaways, secret code and much much more! Watch it here: twitch.tv/embersword.

Please join our Discord server where we host ongoing work-in-progress updates on a biweekly basis and have a legendary community to aid you with answering further questions you might have: discord.gg/embersword. Furthermore, through the Discord Q&A bot you can ask your burning questions to be answered in future AMAs and dev stream Q&As.

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