After the game was pulled from Steam due to an ongoing legal fight with Nexon, Dark and Darker's developers decided to go underground, asking players to torrent the latest playtest. Shocking probably no one, that didn't make for the most logistically sound weekend. "We want to apologize for all the bugs, instability, and hurdles that you had to endure during this playtest," Ironmace CEO Terence Park posted in the official Discord server today.
The weekend was indeed fraught with hurdles, from the initial torrent download link getting pulled first from Discord and then Twitter, two subsequent hotfixes that were also distributed by torrent, and some lengthy server downtime on Saturday. All that on top of the normal bugs, PvP imbalance, and crashing you'd expect from an online game's alpha test.
In particular, Ironmace introduced a new map called The Ruins, an outdoor setting much different from the traditional dungeon crawling corridors from the last test, which it says wasn't quite where it wanted it to be. "In our rush to show off the Ruins map we moved a little too quickly and pushed it out before it was fully ready," Ironmace said when it issued the weekend's first hotfix on Saturday. The developers changed the loot balance and lighting settings of the new map. On Monday, a second hotfix mostly addressed bugs with class skills.
"The quality did not meet our standards and we will focus on improving the game for our fans in the future," the announcement today added.
Ironmace posted additional details about issues with the Ruins map in the Saturday hotfix. Portals down to a deeper, more dangerous level were removed, turning the map into a "single layer." It also increased the value of loot on the map and reverted changes to lighting that it "may have also gone a little overboard with."
I didn't get a chance to play the first version of the Ruins map but by the time I got into the game on Sunday I quite enjoyed it. The goblin caves and dungeon maps from last test felt a bit claustrophobic at times and made avoiding combat with other players nigh impossible. The outdoor setting was a nice change, and the more open map meant I was able to play around with putting out torches for some stealth-only extraction runs.
I did have escape portals yanked from under me not just once, but twice in one night, though, so maybe stealth isn't the play after all.
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I really let the fear of being backstabbed get the better of me there.
Ironmace hasn't announced any dates for a sixth playtest yet, but says that it "will do everything possible to get the game to our fans as soon as possible and update you as much as we can."