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Steam, DRM, DLC and the Longevity of WFTO

Simburgur

Managing Director
Dev Team
Nov 10, 2011
2,864
1,979
705
26
Brighton, UK
www.twitter.com
#1
There’s been a lot of controversy recently surrounding our choice to go with Steam and our mentioning of future DLC, so we wanted to take some time to explain our decisions, debunk some rumours and give you some insight into the future of the game.

First I'm going to go over a few facts:
  • The Bedrock Beta, as it stands, is going to be Steam only. The main reason behind this is very simple: This is the best environment for us to actually test, distribute and develop the game. That is what the beta is for; we want to use it to make the best game we possibly can.
  • There will still be a DRM-free version of the game upon release, but it will not support any features that rely on Steam, such as online matchmaking, Steam Workshop or achievements. It will still allow you to access all of the game’s content, as well as the ability to play over a LAN or direct connection with your friends.
  • All backers (both from our site and Kickstarter) will be given both a Steam copy of the game and a DRM-free version copy of the game. We made this decision because the Steam copy of the game, by nature of being on Steam, will allow for additional user-created content, Steam Achievements and built-in multiplayer matchmaking service, all of which are unavailable (or costly endeavors to build standalone replacements for) without the platform. We understand and respect that some of our fans will want a DRM-free version to play in certain, or all, circumstances and are looking into ways to make the DRM-free version purchasable after launch. We will announce details as soon as we have made the arrangements required to make this possible.
  • Once the game is complete, we plan on continuing to develop additional content in the form of both paid DLC and free content updates, both of which are explained in detail below.
The reason we are going with Steam for our primary release is simply because it allows us to produce the best possible product for the vast majority of our fans who are Steam users, but this does not mean we are neglecting those that do not wish to use Steam, and, as mentioned above, we are doing all we can to create the most feature-complete DRM-free version that we can.

Now I’m going to go over our post-release plans to support WFTO, which will hopefully explain why Steam is the best option for everyone:
  • Fortnightly updates: We plan to patch the game every two weeks (at a minimum) with new maps, developed by both the WFTO team and our community. These updates will also contain bug and balance fixes where needed, as well as additional free content in the form of new achievements, themes, mutators and ranked map rotations and rulesets (see below for more information). Steam allows us to push these updates out extremely easily and more importantly: without any hassle to you.
  • Keeping the playerbase whole: No matter what updates & DLC we release, we will never create a scenario where you are not able to play multiplayer with your friends due to owning different DLC. Any new rooms, units, defences (and so on) that are introduced into multiplayer will be patched into the base game, free of charge for all players. This is also the reason we will most likely never create a large ‘expansion pack’ as it will almost certainly split the playerbase.
  • New Content: Every 1-3 months, we will aim to release a new mini-campaign (or something of similar scope) available to purchase as optional DLC. Adding content in this format allows us to keep the game world alive with new content such as a co-op or competitive campaign. The direction of these updates will be heavily influenced by community feedback on our forums.
  • Dungeon Themes: We plan to introduce new Dungeon Themes — which are purely cosmetic reskins of the basic elements of a Dungeon (your workers, claimed walls, claimed floors and Dungeon Core) — at random intervals and alongside additional content updates. Sometimes they will be paid, sometimes they will be free (but will require unlocking in-game, through daring feats of strength!) and, occasionally, they may be tied to other things — such as a contest on our forums. The actual content for these themes will be patched directly into the game, so you will still be able to use a theme when playing with friends who may not own it.
  • Ranked Play: This, at the moment, is still up in the air and is not something that we can confirm we will be able to build and implement at the moment, but we do want to support competitive play within WFTO by way of a proper ranked Multiplayer mode. Our hope is to have a live ranked map rotation and ruleset, along with skill-based matchmaking which will allow players to jump right into a completely balanced and competitive experience. Proper stat-tracking, ranking and matchmaking are features that would be greatly enhanced by the Steam platform.
  • Mutators: This is another feature that is high up on our ‘wish-list’ and, once we can confirm our ability to implement it, we hope to add it to the base version of the game. Mutators are rulesets that you can apply to almost any mode — including campaigns — that completely change how they are played. This can include simple modifications such as increasing or lowering the game speed or how resources are handled to more advanced changes like swapping out Underworld gateways for Overworld gateways. We plan to introduce new mutators free of charge via Steam patches.
  • Steam Workshop: We plan to integrate Steam Workshop for the easy distribution of user-built maps, which will make it incredibly easy for players to create, post, find and play on new maps. Additionally, it makes it very easy for us to find popular maps to patch directly into the game for all players to experience.
The majority of the above would either be impossible or significantly more difficult if we were not using Steam. We understand that some of you do not want Steam installed on your systems, but we hope that after reading the above you understand why it’s such a valuable tool when it comes to keeping the game alive. With Steam integration War for the Overworld can live on completely independent of us.

If we went out of business or, more likely, a handful of grotesquely good heroes destroyed our Dungeon Core we would be incapable of continuing to build upon the War for the Overworld universe (a sad thought, we know), however, in this case another could take up the burning reins that drive this chariot of ruination toward the complete and utter destruction of all that is good in the Overworld in our stead.

It all comes down to one simple truth: this war only begins on the day that we release it. There will be other battles to win, other challenges to overcome, and other leaders to erase from history. We will continue this fight until we’ve traversed every unlit path, razed every city and crushed every hero in the Overworld. Not a single goodly man, creature, woman or child shall be left by the end of this long endeavor, the only and final goal that we all strive toward as we begin this long and bloody War for the Overworld.

When we began this project and asked the world to help us create it we had one vision, one passion, and one dream: to create a game that we all wanted to play, a game that we felt was overlooked, ignored, or simply forgotten for more than a decade. Our vision, passion, and goal have not changed, and they still are the one driving force behind the creation of War for the Overworld — we want nothing more than to create something that you will enjoy, remember, talk about, and share with others and will do everything in our power to make the experience one worthy of your support. This game isn’t just a game to us, it’s our dream and is one that you shared with us, our one goal is to actualize that dream for each and every one of you.

Edit: Updated on 17/11/2013 to reflect some changes.
 
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Moreum

Crackpot
Founder
Feb 6, 2013
222
97
345
33
New York, USA
#3
I understand why you don't want to use a server for achievements and multiplayer now. However, would you consider Amazon Web Service to setup a gaming cloud server for DRM-free version I don't think they would cost you that much.
 
Likes: Badwolf699
Jan 3, 2013
3,241
739
495
30
#4
Steam is wise decision indeed. Everything listed is what I expected to see as soon as game got greenlit'ed.
 

Enjou

Ember Demon
Backer
Jan 10, 2012
1,315
785
545
35
#5
I'll be quite happy with a Steam version, as I like all the services Steam offers for games. My only question is how does this work in regards to the boxed collector's edition? We'll already get a Steam key when the beta is available, so will that be our DRM free copy for those of us who backed at that tier or higher? Will we get additional Steam keys for any additional digital content that comes with the collector's edition?
 

Simburgur

Managing Director
Dev Team
Nov 10, 2011
2,864
1,979
705
26
Brighton, UK
www.twitter.com
#6
I understand why you don't want to use a server for achievements and multiplayer now. However, would you consider Amazon Web Service to setup a gaming cloud server for DRM-free version I don't think they would cost you that much.
It's not so much the actual hosting as it is the amount of time it would take is to develop the backend for it. Steam wasn't built overnight ;)
I'll be quite happy with a Steam version, as I like all the services Steam offers for games. My only question is how does this work in regards to the boxed collector's edition? We'll already get a Steam key when the beta is available, so will that be our DRM free copy for those of us who backed at that tier or higher? Will we get additional Steam keys for any additional digital content that comes with the collector's edition?
This will all be handled with the single key you get for the beta. It will be tied to your specific tier and will eventually grant you everything you have pledged for, including whatever is chosen as the flex goal.

Depending on how we produce the boxed copies there may or may not be an additional steam key in there (if it's cheaper for us to do that rather than not including a key in one batch of them, then we will do that) we just can't say for sure yet.
 

JMC

Disciple
Feb 16, 2013
3
2
140
Ireland
#7
Steam also isn't to be underestimated for the sheer number of people who use the platform. The more people who buy WftO, the better and Steam is one of the best platforms for that kind of exposure.
 

kudos

Cultist
Mar 21, 2013
11
3
190
#8
It would be nice to get a one time (even if it doesn't update) DRM-free version for LAN games but can't complain with this approach. If anything the "What's next" thinking is pretty encouraging.

If WFTO is going Steam as the sole delivery method does that mean the you guys are going to consider Workshop?
 

Noontide

Award Winning Community Manager
Dev Team
Dec 8, 2012
2,109
1,760
700
Brighton, UK
#11
It would be nice to get a one time (even if it doesn't update) DRM-free version for LAN games but can't complain with this approach. If anything the "What's next" thinking is pretty encouraging.

If WFTO is going Steam as the sole delivery method does that mean the you guys are going to consider Workshop?
To clarify the bedrock beta is steam only however there will be a DRM free version of the game upon release that will support lan play. Steam workshop is also being considered for the steam release as detailed in the opening post.
 

mechanicalmouse

Cultist
Backer
Feb 23, 2013
84
61
185
41
#12
I'm all for paying for DLC when not paying a subscription fee (yes I talking to you Blizzard!).
Good DLC is worth the money.

And a DRM free version for LAN play, big grin from me. It makes it easier to help bring up the next generation of Overlords.
 
Likes: Amon

Hejoba

Warden
Backer
Jan 14, 2013
30
19
175
#13
so WFTO will become another "Seasonpass recommended" game like assassins creed, Anno 2070, Sleeping Dogs, etc. ?
 

Simburgur

Managing Director
Dev Team
Nov 10, 2011
2,864
1,979
705
26
Brighton, UK
www.twitter.com
#14
so WFTO will become another "Seasonpass recommended" game like assassins creed, Anno 2070, Sleeping Dogs, etc. ?
No... I wouldn't say that at all. Games with season passes generally plan out and begin developing the entire year's worth of DLC before release. We are simply stating that we want to develop more content after release, we just and sure exactly what that content will be yet, or how much there will be of it, so there would be no logic behind some kind of season pass.
 

AvatarIII

Huntress
Founder
Apr 20, 2012
1,713
758
570
33
Worthing, West Sussex
#16
so WFTO will become another "Seasonpass recommended" game like assassins creed, Anno 2070, Sleeping Dogs, etc. ?
If SG decide to offer a season pass, and if you foresee wanting to download all the DLC, buying a season pass would certainly not be a bad thing, however a season pass really only works when DLC plans are extremely stable, promising a set amount of pre-planned DLC packs, and since the game is still quite a long way from the final release date, and as an indie developer, it's hard to accurately judge demand at this point, so I would say it's also far too early to be speculating on season passes.

Edit: Ninja'd by Sim, :D
 

Jari Nierop

Warden
Backer
Dec 31, 2012
186
84
160
22
The Netherlands
#17
When we began this project and asked the world to help us create it we had one vision, one passion, and one dream: to create a game that we all wanted to play, a game that we felt was overlooked, ignored, or simply forgotten for more than a decade. Our vision, passion, and goal have not changed, and they still are the one driving force behind the creation of War for the Overworld — we want nothing more than to create something that you will enjoy, remember, talk about, and share with others and will do everything in our power to make the experience one worthy of your support. This game isn’t just a game to us, it’s our dream and is one that you shared with us, our one goal is to actualize that dream for each and every one of you.
That's the mentality we like to hear! :)
 

Cultist Joris

Ember Demon
Founder
Dec 30, 2012
1,555
840
545
24
Belgium
#19
When we began this project and asked the world to help us create it we had one vision, one passion, and one dream: to create a game that we all wanted to play, a game that we felt was overlooked, ignored, or simply forgotten for more than a decade.
That is just beautiful! :'D We will help you to make this dream come true, Subterranean Games! ;) YES WE CAN!

EDIT:
Hopefully. This is one if the main reasons the DLC won't be free... He isn't cheap ;)
Good ;)
 
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