Project Update — March 2021 | Doctor Who: Worlds Apart
First of all — THANK YOU!
You, our community, are what fuels Doctor Who: Worlds Apart, so we are immensely grateful for the time you’ve spent with the store, but also for taking the time to provide us with such valuable feedback.
Since the start of the presale, we have been extremely busy — so we want to give you a quick update on everything we’ve been working on, including improving the user experience and developing new and upcoming features.
Based on your feedback we have spent a lot of time refining our store’s user journey and we are pleased to report that everything is running smoothly. Thank you everyone for your help in optimising what is a crucial part of the Doctor Who: Worlds Apart experience.
We were also aware of some early issues with pack openings on mobile devices, our developers and UX team have worked hard to create a solution, which we hope to release soon.
In terms of new features, we’ve launched a basic referral system which allows you to earn Pandaks -which you can be used to buy packs. Feel free to log in and share your referral code with your friends and Doctor Who communities.
In addition, the last two months have been spent creating a lot of workflow optimisation and internal scaling of the Doctor Who: Worlds Apart team.
Thanks to the success of the ongoing presale, we have been able to onboard extra key staff members far more quickly than planned, including a Quality Assurance expert and additional developers.
This means we are still on track for a pre-Alpha game launch for our Founders’ Token Holders and special invitees in Q2 of 2021.
The Premium, Exclusive, and TARDIS packs (including the Bronze Dalek, Cyber-Warrior, Silurian, Ice Warrior, Weeping Angel, White-Point Star, and TARDIS frames) are no longer available on the store since 28 February.
However, we have just introduced the Time Lord President pack, which contains an exclusive frame of the same name, in addition to the same 212 Unearthly Origins cards (not the 5 Revolution of the Daleks cards).
What’s more, Founders’ Token holders still enjoy a 20% discount on all new packs.
We are on track for a marketplace launch in Q1 2021, with withdrawals to third-party markets and wallets still planned to be unlocked at the same time.
The marketplace will allow you to finally get those very specific card-frame combinations that have so far eluded you, or that will now no longer be available in packs after February 28.
Some of you may, of course, also want to sell cards to other users via our own marketplace, which has the benefit of zero gas fees, as we are using a private fork of Ethereum.
Those wanting to trade on established third-party markets will need to pay a minting fee to get your item from our private chain onto the mainnet.
This means if you are brand new to blockchain, don’t worry, you don’t need to deal with any technical stuff as long as you stick to the official Doctor Who: Worlds Apart marketplace.
Deck Builder & Collection updates
While our web developers continue to build and test the marketplace, our game developers are working hard to update the Collection with a Deck builder tool, which we aim to get live in Q1.
This will also include a few simplifications to the Collection itself, allowing us to more easily add new features to it without breaking other functionalities. We found that the current design of the Collection — whilst being “pretty damn cool” and flexible — can have its performance greatly improved if we cut down slightly on some features. Especially since we want to introduce community-wanted features, such as Serial sorting.
Stay tuned for another update on that soon.
Since the launch of the Doctor Who: Worlds Apart project in November 2020, the game design team has spent a great deal of time creating the new sets for the game.
However, we’ve also taken another look at all of our existing 217 cards in order to make them as balanced as they can be for the upcoming pre-Alpha.
We are currently working on a major balance update which we will soon share with you all.
It includes some changes to:
- Card types
- Artron/Attack/Health values
- Abilities & keywords
Another extremely important element of the game is the New Player Experience (NPE), that is to say how easy or hard is it for new players to pick up and learn the game.
Therefore we will continue to create mechanisms to make the NPE more seamless as we progress towards the Beta, but for now we’re introducing a constraint which should help alleviate the initial overwhelming feeling of “whoa, there are so many options” into something more digestible, like Hearthstone’s 10-class system or Magic: The Gathering’s 5-colour system, where the player is given some initial direction (but not too much).
Instead of introducing classes or colours, we plan to hook it up to the Planet system…
The Planet system is one of the most unique and innovative aspects of Doctor Who: Worlds Apart, and we want it to be even more special and meaningful.
It’s important to us that new players have a solid and easy-to-understand starting point. This can be accomplished by introducing some constraints when players build their first deck, and we believe Planets are the perfect candidate to build this new system around.
This will narrow down the deck creation possibilities from all cards to just the cards that synergize well with a specific Planet.
New constraint: When building a deck, you must now first choose a Home Planet.
All current and future Planets can become your Home Planet; the card types that are written in the Planet’s ability text are now the only cards that can be included in that deck:
You can still include any other Planet in your deck as long as it adheres to your Home Planet’s requirements, it will just narrow down your deck building options even more.
New design: Players can now control a Planet, each.
With the previous shared system, playing a Planet would always replace the current one. This lead to frustrating gameplay where Planets inevitably became something you played because you wanted to remove your opponent’s Planet — not just because you wanted to enjoy its effects as the system was intended.
We tested many different versions but ultimately found that it was much more fun if two Planets could be present at the same time. This doesn’t change the fact that playing a new Planet will change the board, and you will still only see one board at a time; the last Planet to be played will be the one displayed.
New design: Planets stack.
So you already have Skaro on the board, but you still have another (or three!) in your TARDIS, ready to go. What now?
Playing another Planet of the same name as your current one will cause them to stack, increasing their power in one or more aspects. For instance, here’s what a 4-stack Mondas and Skaro could look like:
Quadruple the EXTERMINATION!
New design: Past Planets can be revisited.
During testing we also found that the system felt much more interesting if you were able to re-summon your Planet, so we will be redesigning some cards to do exactly that.
This also strengthens the core theme of the game: travelling through time (past & future) and space, while creating a lot more meaningful choices throughout each match.
- Deckbuilding requires you to choose a Home Planet as your first step.
- Both players can each have a Planet active at the same time.
- Playing multiple of the same Planet increases their strength.
- Past planets can be resummoned by different means (more on that in an upcoming card balance update).
The Doctor Who: Worlds Apart game board itself will likely also undergo some changes before it’s Alpha ready, namely the board size (how many cards you are able to have on the board) and card placement. Stay tuned for a bigger update on this before the Alpha.
Speaking of boards — here’s an early look at the planet Skaro’s environment!
Design Insight: Rarities
Each month we will try to include a short segment of “Why have we done this.”
In Doctor Who: Worlds Apart there are four card rarities: common, rare, epic, and legendary.
When we designed the Unearthly Origins (the first card set), we used a simple, binary chart to determine which rarity each card was given:
Since then, we realised that those two factors just weren’t enough because, as you might be able to tell from the Card Library, there are many examples of cards that don’t really follow that binary chart anyway.
It’s important to note that we will NOT change the rarity of any cards from Unearthly Origins and Revolution of the Daleks, ever.
Part of the preparations for 2021 was to update this chart into a more reliable and consistent system to use going forward, which brings us to this:
This system allows us to build a 6-point profile of each card rather than having to often make compromises between 2 factors as in the old system.
Here, if a card has 1 point in legendary, 3 in epic, and 2 in rare, it will most likely become an epic card since that’s where the majority of points are.
All that being said, oftentimes we will still need to squeeze a card up or down in rarity in order to make it fit the puzzle of creating a coherent set.
These factors are inspired by some of Magic: The Gathering’s philosophies, and each factor has several subcategories which we might dive into in a future update…