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Why Osana takes so long? pt.2 — Project planning
Part 1: https://www.reddit.com/Osana/comments/i4fazm/why_osana_takes_so_long_programmers_point_of_view/
This is a programmer's overview about the mistakes done in Yandere Simulator and how it went this way. Over the coarse of those posts, I shall be re-developing Yandere Simulator from ground up (not really, I am only going to pretend that I am doing it), because it is better to learn from others' mistakes than from your own ones. Despite my target audience is probably only programmers and software engineers, current ones or future ones, I'll try to explain everything in easiest terms possible. If you have some time to read, fasten your seat belts: there will be no stops along this route.
Last time I mentioned that it is going to take another post to describe what is wrong with Yandere Simuator architecture. Of course one can start with words «Technical Debt» and end with them, and this would be technically correct, but we can critique better than that. The best critique describes the problem, proves that something is done wrong and then tells how one should do it better; this is what I am attempting here too. Let us imagine that it is year 2014, and Yandere Simulator has just got the attention from famous YouTubers. Basically, one of the hardest parts in developing any indie video game is getting acclaim. In fact, a lot of indie game developers have no idea if their project would find its player. This stage right now below us, but it is too early to breathe out and call it a day: Yandere Simulator is still making its first steps.
One might say that Yandere Simulator code was already bad at this point. I won't object to this claim. Technically, I can't say it for sure, but what I know is that his first game, Lunar Scythe, wasn't great in terms of coding; Mike Zaimont won't lie. However, the thing is: almost all the projects had the rough launch, no matter if it is a video game or some software. The reason behind this is very simple: you have no idea if this project will be able to take off or not. Maybe no one is going to play your game. It is okay to write something fast to make an earliest possible prototype, and discard it in case if it gains zero traction, moving on to the next idea.
But now we have some positive feedback. Is it alright to proceed to coding? Well, remembering my previous post, it is not: right now it is a perfect time to start refactoring your old code so it does things shorter and quicker, adding unit tests et cetera. However, there is one more thing which is missing. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present you: Analysis stage.
As well as everything else in this field (and maybe in this world), analysis stage is something which won't handle your project on its own: term «paralysis analysis» didn't came out of nowhere, quite a lot of projects have never seen the light of day due to the overly extended analysis stage and over-thinking in general. However, going without analysis at all will probably cripple your project one day no matter how fast you can code: the difference between slow and fast coding in this scenario would be the difference between «you are going nowhere» and «you are going nowhere fast». Look no further than in the very same chat with Mike Z they were talking about the spreadsheets, and Alex said the following:
Nov 20 05:06:38In fact, he thought that it was an insult, but this is literally it. Mistakes made during the analysis stage (and not having analysis stage at all is like having all the possible mistakes combined) are the hardest ones to fix. Sometimes the mistakes made during the analysis stage are so severe that they require rewriting the entire project from scratch. In general, the earlier the mistake was made, the harder it is to fix it.
Taking your advice regarding the spreadsheets would have meant re-writing the entire game from scratch. That's a BIG call to make. I wasn't sure if you were over-reacting or if you misunderstood my system.
What would have I done in place of Alex back then? Just asked myself a couple questions. Even one day for analysis would have made his life way, way easier. No need for anything sophisticated, just like that:
- Which technologies am I going to use to make this game?
- Will Yandere Simulator ever support multiplayer?
- Will Yandere Simulator ever support saving/loading during the game? Will it only use checkpoint system? What about some other progress tracking system? (maybe password system?)
- Is it a dating sim game or a stealth game? Maybe a hybrid? Hybrids are harder to implement.
- How many locations I'll be implementing? One, two, three, one for each enemy?
- How many game mechanics I'll need? Inventory? Crafting? Hacking? Worshiping the Chaos Gods (this one is actually in the game, by the way)? Increasing player stats? Talent tree? Health? Stamina? Sanity? Hunger? Battle Royale mode?
- Can player be a good girl and achieve the victory without killing and harming anyone?
- What about the opposite - nuking the entire school in day one?
- Is it a sandbox game or a plot-driven game?
Next, in my opinion, the last point about the sandbox and plot-driven design, is the one which is messed up so much. It is alright to experiment; I am not saying that mixing sandbox style gameplay and plot-driven gameplay is impossible, I am only saying that it is an extremely hard task to do correctly. A hypothetical example: rival X has a grudge vs. student Y, which player can exploit to own advantage, but what if player already killed student Y previously without being explicitly asked to do so? It basically means that you have to program rival X twice: with student Y alive and student Y dead. For indie developer, it could have been much better to focus on either sandbox style game or on plot-driven game without mixing those too much, because it is simply too hard to do so.
Part about the locations is tricky too. There is one main location the game, the A-whatchamacallit High School. There is a game called The Stanley Parable, and it is about replaying the very first part of the game a lot by design. Developers admitted that they remade the part before two doors until it turned out to be perfect: not too long, not too short, not too bland, not too distracting. And this was a necessity in that case! What about the Yandere Simulator? Won't players get bored to see the same school corridors over, and over, and over throughout the course of fifty in-game days? Ten rivals multiplied by five days per week give us quite a lot of time to spend in one and only environment, isn't it? Moreover, since school does not change, you'll have to make all the challenge coming up from the other characters only. Hello, Mrs. Raibaru!
See? This is why analysis stage is so goddamn useful! A couple of trivial questions laid out on a sheet of paper, and there are at least two points that does not seem right from the get-go. Again, analysis should not be 100% precise: we can, say, add the «good girl» route later even if we decided not to do it during the first evaluation. Our goal is not to lay down a strict requirement plan like «our new rocket should fly for at least 1000 miles and bypass those missile defense systems», this is not military nor scientific application. Our only goal right now is to map the approximate plan towards the minimum viable product and try our best to avoid possible mistakes associated with it. This plan will change in the future, it is inevitable, but our goal is to at least try not to miss anything crucial.
Okay, suppose that we've done with the analysis stage. The next stage after the analysis is actual implementation… nope. It is the design stage. Analysis stage answers the question «what am I doing?», while design stage answers the question «how am I supposed to do so?». Having all the answers from the analysis stage, we can now clearly make up the list of things which would be hard and tricky to implement vs. the list of easy things. Let's see…
- Pathfinder: Hard. There would be a lot of students present in the school at the same time, and they all will be moving around at the same time. Most of the time, pathfinder should be able to be as fast as possible, since students' default routines are the same every time, and we can use this to our advantage, but, on the other hand, pathfinder should be robust enough to navigate across the environment during emergencies (e.g. spotted someone's blood etc).
- Students and student AI: The hardest one. Since we decided to make a Hitman/Persona hybrid in sandbox environment, AI should be top notch to handle the Persona part in said environment. Since we want to represent a variety of characters, from cowards to heroes, from loners to social butterflies, we want our AI system to be incredibly flexible. AI should be able to react to different stress factors, ideally in a different ways depending on a character itself. AI should also be able to inherit some behavior without copy-pasting the code, e.g. all the characters from the drama club should probably share parts of their AI regarding participating in said club, but being a little bit different too on their own, since they are all humans, and, as Mr. Rogers said, everyone is special. All students should share some behavior (e.g. attending classes, for instance), all teachers should share some behavior, and there also will be some unique persons, mainly rivals, whose AI will be incredibly tricky and complex on top of that.
- Physics: Easy. Since we picked up Unity engine, it already does all the things we'll need out of the box.
- The same goes with renderer. Our goal would be just not screwing up here.
- Inventory system: Easy, since we decided «no crafting» and this is not the main focus of the game.
- Character development and progression: Easy, since we are not going to reinvent Path of Exile or whatever.
- Anti-cheat prevention, client-server architecture etc.: non-existent, since our game is a single player experience.
- Story-related things, like dramatic camera movement and cutscenes: Medium, due to our hybrid requirements regarding plot/sandbox game.
- Combat: Easy or Medium, depending on our goals. A lot of people will definitely try forcing out the solution by murdering everything in sight. Yes, there are no guns in Yandere Simulator nor there are any cool blade dancing moves, but we should have at least something in place for those players, right? Like, say, minigames or QTEs. On the other hand, combat in some games can be deliberately done clunky and primitive just to show the player that doing it Rambo style is not the proper way; Pathologic 2 is a good example of such approach. Even better example is Infra Arcana roguelike: it awards player with experience for seeing monsters and not for killing them, heavily hinting that fighting is not the only option, which definitely fits to its Lovecraftian theme.
- Configuration files: I'd put Medium here. Yes, we can always hard-code everything into the game, since we do not care about modding support at all, but leaving things — say, certain enemy's aggressiveness or suspicion level — in the config files will allow us to fix those values without rebuilding the game, and, if you reload config files each time you enter the scene, even without restarting the game. His previous game, Lunar Scythe, used spreadsheets as its configuration, so I assume that Yandere Simulator uses some similar mechanism too, but I might be wrong.
- And on, and on, and on…
After all this trouble, we can finally proceed to laying down our implementation design. This would be described in my next post.
Instead, now I am going to show you why the lack of the analysis and design stages, even in minuscule amounts, is bad for your project. Let's pick the first one, the pathfinder, and analyze why the lack of foresight about the pathfinder hurts Yandere Simulator. It is also a great opportunity to talk about the game performance.
As I've already said in my previous post, low game FPS does not hurt you as the developer, since you can debug your game on 20 FPS as well as on 60 FPS (however, loading times are of the different story, since they move son into his «not coding» state for quite a while). In fact, one absolute madman has already done one hour long Yandere Simulator code analysis video, with profiling and benchmarks. In short, he deduced that Yandere Simulator spends the most time rendering and pathfinding routines, scripts does not take much in comparison (that does not mean that one shouldn't start optimizing them too, of course: they are still slow, but there are even more urgent things to fix in terms of performance). Sadly, I can't give you any insight about rendering, since I am not familiar with Unity engine at all, I only know about bare bones OpenGL, although I am pretty sure it has something to do with insane models' triangle counts or whatever is it called (meshes? faces? polygons? I am a complete newbie here!). I am only going to say that the larger your models are, the slower your game boots up. However, we can have a talk about the pathfinder part. The part, which was mostly omitted in that video above.
Let's say that you own a knife. This knife is a survival knife and it is a great multi-purpose tool. You can use your knife to cut branches off trees. You can use it to cut meat in parts before cooking it. You can use it as a self-defense weapon. But what if only care about the self-defense part, specifically in the urban surroundings? In this case there is a better specialized tool — a can of pepper spray (a pistol or a taser if you live in the United States), which was made specifically for that purpose. Of course, you can still use the knife for self-defense, but you will be at a disadvantage in comparison to the easy to use nonlethal hit and run solution without the possibility of getting «end up in jail yourself» easter egg ending. Survival knife is invaluable because it is useful for a lot of things at once without weighing you down much, but it will never beat up the specialized solutions: a saw to cut down tree branches, a kitchen knife to slice a piece of meat, and so on.
This also applies to programming. Of course, there is nothing wrong in going with the knife in generic cases: reinventing the wheel is not something you'd want to do if you decided to write a game already. It does not mean that you are forbidden to do so: making your light but still full-fledged game engine from scratch will turn you from amateur coder to professional programmer and is quite an accomplishment on its own. However, things that are marked as «Hard» in the list above probably require their own specialized solution, at least eventually. Of course, you can always start with something standard, but you should always keep in mind that this solution is temporary and has to be phased out by a more effective code one day, either in terms of effectiveness or in terms of code complexity, more often than not — both of those.
Yandere Simulator uses A* search algorithm, and this algorithm is actually very good on its own! A* works on a graph) (in fact, it operates on a tree formed by all the paths from a given vertex in that graph, but those are details). Graph is basically a set of points (school junctions and points of interest) which can be connected with each other via edges (corridors and walkways). Edges can have their distance set, in which case graph is called «weighted graph»: longer corridors correspond to the longer distance. We also need to provide it with our current position, our destination and with so-called heuristics function just to speed things up, and this is it: A* generates a shortest route from starting point to finishing point. In case if there are multiple shortest routes, it'll output one of them depending on the underlying implementation of the algorithm and on the rounding errors if you represent your distances using floating point numbers.
Do you see the problem already? No, this is not about the fact that school isn't a graph and should be turned into one beforehand, which takes time, especially considering that other students and some physical objects can be obstacles by themselves, albeit this is valid too: have a graph too detailed, and your algorithm will perform like that, enumerating too many vertices in its path (remember that it has to be done for each student in regular intervals!). Have a graph too coarse, and students will start to get stuck in wide corridors seemingly out of nowhere.
There is actually a bigger problem.
Have you ever wondered why students walk in straight lines, forming a long «student trains» and in general behave like a group of skeletons reanimated by a powerful necromancer? (source video). Re-read the paragraph about the A* algorithm. Given vertices A and B, it always returns the shortest path from A to B. It means that no matter the student, he or she will always go from point A to point B in the very same path, the one which is proven to be the shortest one even if there is a path through the empty corridor nearby, which is longer by just one percent. Even if there happens to be two or more paths of the same distance, which is not going to happen often anyway, A* will always pick the same one out of them. This is not how humans operate at all. A* algorithm was developed for the robotics, and this is exactly the feeling you get from Yandere Simulator right now: they are just a bunch of androids who solve the task of perfectly navigating through the complex environment with a set of obstacles, wasting a ton of CPU resources while doing so.
While A* algorithm gets the job done in general, it does not mean that it is perfect for your task. I'd probably done the following if I were you. First of all, since the school has static structure, it is alright to add waypoints throughout the locations. Waypoints are a set of imaginary points which will help my algorithm to determine junctions and points of interest. Then, I'd go with fast but approximate algorithm, most likely some sort of depth-first search variation, since it is quite similar to the way humans navigate through mazes: try the first path, then go for the second one if the first one failed and so on. Again, we do not want a perfect solution, we want a solution which looks like as if it was done by a real human being. Even better, this algorithm should ideally be randomized so each student can select different paths to get from point A to point B, avoiding «student trains». It can be also parametrized so different students will lean towards different paths (maybe somebody really likes walking near windows to look onto beautiful scenery!). Again, it does not have to be perfect: do you recall the last time when you calculated the perfect path from your home to nearby grocery store and then proved that all the other paths are longer than the calculated one? This is what A* does by design.
See? We haven't started coding yet, but we were already able to solve one of the problems which plagues Yandere Simulator from year 2014, the one which probably already wasted hours on top of hours of developer's time to patch out, not very successfully for obvious reasons.
And this is why analysis and design stages are so powerful if done properly.
P.S. Thanks to two redditors for pointing out the mistake in my previous post regarding jump tables in if statements. Yes, only the switch statements can be translated into jump tables, at least by gcc. Of course, any performance gains from turning if's into switch statements would be minuscule, if any, unless maybe running it in a very tight loop with thousands of thousands of iterations, which Yandere Simulator doesn't do, as far as I know. In fact, judging by Yandere Simulator code, I am not sure if author knows about loops at all. Just kidding of course, but it is said that there is a grain of truth in every joke.
This post is not an exception: I am human too, and I sometimes make mistakes. Any corrections are welcome!
Bonus: I saved the yummiest thing for the last. I think that I found the class Alex uses as the pathfinder. To quote the author of said class:
This AI is the default movement script which comes with the A* Pathfinding Project. It is in no way required by the rest of the system, so feel free to write your own. But I hope this script will make it easier to set up movement for the characters in your game. This script is not written for high performance, so I do not recommend using it for large groups of units.Isn't that funny?
NEW SURVIVAL GAME - 331 Tips and Tricks for Frostborn - New on Android
Tl;dr 2 - I have made a concise high quality video that has even more info https://youtu.be/W38A5wks-8o
But for those of you who don't like videos, here is my video script:
After six months of a secret beta testing and then a year of closed beta, Kefir has finally released Frostborn to the world on Android and IOS is coming soon! Frostborn is a true multiplayer game with dynamic skills for each of the 15 classes you can specialize in, an intriguing storyline based on Norse mythology, difficult co-op challenges and epic PvP. Frostborn can be challenging if you don’t know what you are doing so in this video I have 331 tips and tricks for you.
When you first start the game, you will be prompted to choose between warrior, bowman and curer. This is not a permanent choice as you will be able to switch between these classes anytime you want so I recommend choosing the bowman because the bow it gives you is the best weapon out of the 3 for protecting your base at a low level. You will also be able to change your appearance later on, but if you want to change your name later on, it will cost you coins so choose wisely.
After you hit confirm, talk to the elder of the town and then to the Warcheif who will make you choose a land to gather resources in. The Viking Lands is currently the only option in the game so choose that one, and then make your way out of the town to head to your camp.
When you arrive at your camp, the game begins. Your task is to build up an awesome house that can contain the amazing wealth you will get in the game. This house can get raided by other players, but if you follow the steps that I have in this video, you will have nothing to worry about and you will grow extremely powerful and wealthy in this game.
Your first step to getting there is to follow the tasks on the top left part of your screen. Some advanced players might ignore this part because they know what they are doing, but they will regret it because these tasks unlock valuable rewards and if you do them out of order, the game will force you to repeat them to get credit for the task which is extremely annoying. After you finish the first 3 acts, the tasks slow down and it is easier to just start playing the game.
During those 3 acts, you will start to notice that advancing in this game involves 3 main things. Upgrading your district, building up your camp, and upgrading classes.
As you level up your district to the maximum level of 190, you will access new perks to playing the game. Every time your Craftsman is upgraded, you get access to new blueprints with the last set of blueprints unlocked at lvl 111. Every time your bank is upgraded, you get more storage slots to keep items here which are unraidable. The architect allows you to build more chests and doors. The Shaman increases your chance to find rare items. The tax collector gives you a daily supply of silver. The tavern owner gives you a daily quest for silver. The trader allows you to spend that silver on a selection of items, but I don’t recommend this in most situations because silver is a rarer resource for f2p players. The scout lets you spend silver to unlock a new event which gives influence points if you defeat waves of enemies. When you are doing this event, I recommend bringing minimal gear because you will not get a break until it is over and it is hard to grab the items you dropped. Or by watching some of my gameplay videos so that you can see exactly what you need to complete each wave. In regards to the Scout, it is important to note that you can do any wave at any level if you exit your district and enter the popular District, but it does cost twice as much silver to do so. In the popular District, you will also notice a repair bench in which you can spend silver to repair your best items. Now eventually, we will be able to build one of these repair benches in our own districts which will not cost us any silver to use, but that does not happen until District level 183, so it is best to get used to spending the silver for the time being. In the popular District, you will also notice the altar to Odin which I will be talking about later and a statue. Once a day, you can activate the statue to get access to a yellow zone that is not a PVP Zone. This means that once a day, you can loot a tomb and kill it’s boss without the concern of being ganked by other players. And then lastly the horse vendor and dock master are just for show right now as they represent content that is currently not in the game.
So that is an overview of upgrading your District in New Heim. The rest of this video was recorded 3 months ago, but global was postponed so I didn't released it because I wanted to make sure it was up to date. I have gone through it and everything is now up to date, but I have switched microphones since then so sometimes the audio is a little weird.
The second and a bigger area of progression, is upgrading your camp which is most often referred to by players as your base.
As you start to build your base, there are five things you need to keep in mind.
First, you need to decide whether or not you are going to play this game with a team. Frostborn is designed to be a four player game and while it is possible to succeed at this game by yourself, it is a lot more fun with teammates even if they're not the best teammates. If you do not have friends that want to play with you, I recommend clicking settings and joining Frostborn’s official Discord. I have also put a link in the pinned comment of this video. That is going to be the best place to find teammates. Once you find your three teammates, you can click on this icon to invite them into your family. If you do not see that person, it is probably because they are in a different server so go to settings and make sure that y'all are all on the same server. If you play on a server that is outside of your region, you will experience more lag, but this is worse for some than others. For example, I do not experience that much lag when I play on the European or Asian servers even though I live in North America. Now it is important to note that a family is not like a clan in other games. Your family functions more like a squad would in Pubg so you do not want to invite someone who is barely ever going to play the game, and ideally you want people you can trust with everything you have, but I’ll talk more about that later. The reason this is important to decide now is because once they join your family, your bases will be put in juxtaposition and you can connect your walls with your family members to build a larger and more powerful base.
The second thing you need to keep it in mind about building your base is where to put your doors. A well-placed door is the most powerful tool you can have in defending your base so the devs have limited them to only 20 per player. When placing these 20 doors, you need to factor in defense, workflow, and the position of your teammates walls and doors.
The third thing to note is that this trapdoor takes you to your vault which includes 25 slots that no one will ever be able to raid so make sure to put your best items in this vault. Excluding of course the ones you were going to use to defend your base.
Stuff placed in your workbenches are also safe from being raided, but stuff in your boxes are not unless you follow the tips later in this video. Also, You can control whether or not your teammates have access to your workbenches or boxes with this button.
The fourth thing to keep in mind is that you cannot plant trees so if you want to implement trees into your house design, then you need to make sure not to cut down the ones that start out on your land.
And then the last thing to keep in mind that your base will not be raided in the first 48 hours of starting the game so you have some time to prepare. It will also not be raided if you are below level 10, but if you follow the tips in this video, you will hit level 10 within the first two hours of playing the game.
Obviously, I have a lot more tips on this subject so if that interests you, make sure to check out my playlist on designing and protecting your base.
As you visit the zones available to you, more of the world map will unlock. Once it is fully unlocked, it will look something like this.
When you are first starting out, you will want to spend the majority of your time in the green zones. The green zones provide wood, stone, cloth, rope, fiber, seeds, and all of the iron that you will need when you are just starting off. The chests of the green zone also have some great items and will even on rare occasion have some weapons in them so it is good to check them, but a lot of people scavenge for chests, so sometimes it is hard to get to them first. But that is okay because the main purpose of farming the green zone is to get rich in its main resources and then using your low-level workbenches to turn those resources into building materials, clothing, food, medicine and weapons. The best weapon to use in the green zone is the spear and the best class to use at first is the curer because it will give you more sustainability, but once you hit level 30, the best class to use is the sorcerer which allows you to 1-Shot most enemies with a spear's sneak attack. Getting a sneak attack is achieved by pressing this button to sneak and then attacking an enemy from behind. This will cause you to do 300% of the decimaled damage rounded up. I'll explain more how that works in another video.
If you finish farming all of the resources of a zone and you still have room in your backpack, just leave and then re-enter the zone. As long as the chests were empty and everyone else also left the zone, the zone will be reset including a new group of random people. This will allow you to farm a lot more resources and save you a ton of energy. Generally the green zone is a relaxing place to farm, but every once in a while you will find people that try to rally a bunch of enemies over to kill you. This is annoying, but as long as you keep your health high, you will never die to this because you can simply run to the edge of the zone for immediate safety. After you do this once or twice and they realize they're wasting their time, they are unlikely to do it again.
If you are farming with your teammates, I recommend going over to one of the chests when no one else is around, and stacking all of your less common items so that you have more room to gather resources as a team. Also, if you have one teammate who is willing to buy a the level 2 backpack for a buck50 at the Carnage event, then you can take turns hauling items back to the base while the rest of the team continues to farm which will save a ton of energy.
As you level up, you get one extra hit point every time you level up and then three extra hit points at level 99 totally at 200 base hit points.
Once you get around level 25, then you will want to start looking for nails and leather strips. Nails are extremely rare in the game until you build the workbench which allows you to turn iron into nails so it is important that before you build this workbench, you try not to use nails and leather strips are rare for newer players so it is best to save up on them as well. The best way to find nails and leather strips, is to scavenge the chests of the yellow and red pvp zones without being noticed by players who have turned on aggressive mode.
When you enter one of these zones, it will ask you if you want to enter as a solo or team player. Entering as a solo player is safer, but there will only be two chests in the zones, whereas, if you enter as a team player, there will be four chests in the zones and a much better chance of finding a tomb. Tombs are nice because there are two unguarded chests in the beginning of each of them which also might have leather strips and nails. These tombs have more chests which have even more nails and leather strips, but completing them requires quite a bit of time which makes it more likely that you will get caught by aggressive players and requires more weapons and food which makes it more costly when you die.
So I recommend using level 1 armor, level 1 backpack, a stack of 10 food items, a speed potion if you have one, and either a spear or a green weapon to scavenge for chests. If a giant is guarding one of the chests, clear all of the other mobs and then bring it about 15 seconds out and then double back to go get the chest. make sure to get close enough to him that he activates his skill as you pass him so that you have even more time. I also recommend using the hunter class if you have it unlocked because the extra speed will help you avoid enemies and aggressive players. If an aggressive player attacks you and you are not fast enough to get away, run through the mobs so that he will no longer be able to chase you without taking damage from them. Often, the school make your enemy take a longer way around which gives you enough time to get out of his zone.
But even using this method of scavenging you will probably get killed quite a few times. Personally, I think this is one of the best parts of the game because it's kind of like you're playing hide and go seek with strangers that want to kill you. This of course would be horrifying in real life but it is an exhilarating challenge in this game and eventually you will grow strong enough to where you no longer have to run away.
Once you get these nails and leather strips, you can make them into strong hatchets and strong pickaxes to farm copper and Maple in those same yellow and red zones which requires you to play death hide and go seek once again.
A lot of players give up at this point in the game. Don't give up!! To some people, building the workbench is the hardest challenge of Frostborn, but once your team farms the five copper deposits and 9 maple trees to build its first workbench, your whole team will become intermediate players and the game will get a lot easier because it will allow you to make your own nails which is the key to a lot of the best gear including shovels which is the most efficient weapon in the game. So don't give up because I promise you, the satisfaction of placing that workbench and knowing that no one can ever take it from you is well worth it.
After you build your workbench, you will want to start preparing for Odin's. Odin's is the key to becoming an advanced player in this game, but it will take quite a bit of preparation. At this time, you will need more iron than the green zones will afford you pushing you to start farming in the yellow and red zones. Luckily, farming iron in these zones is not nearly as dangerous has scavenging chests and tombs because not only are you using level 1 pickaxes, but you can farm most of the iron while staying near the edge of the map which usually allows you to escape when you see an aggressive player.
You will also want to start doing tombs at this time because they provide a lot of items and resources you can't get anywhere else and it shouldn't be that hard now that you have your workbench because you can craft the resources to do them pretty quickly.
How you approach the tomb is different for each resource you are trying to farm, but as a general rule, it is best to take the quickest route possible to the boss at the end, kill the boss, loot him and the chests around him and then start working your way back towards the beginning. But again, how you do the tomb is a largely dependent on what resource you are trying to get. If you have any trouble getting any resource in this game, make sure you check out my series called the efficacious way to get rich in which I cover hundreds of tips and tricks on farming every resource in the game.
Once you gather enough materials for shovels, bows, food, quilted armor, and a few staffs of defense, you can start completing Odin's. The enemies and chests of Odin's will give you wood, silver, and gold pendants which will allow you to open the caches on the first floor of Odin's. These caches have amazing armor, weapons and some resources for advanced play.
Killing the giant Chief on the first floor gives you the key to open the Sanctum and then killing The necromancer at the end of the sanctum will give you a key to the forge. Once you get 3 forge keys, your team can enter the forge which allows you to earn more pendants and the bosses of the forge often drop the best and rarest items in the game.
The first boss of the forge called The whisperer will also drop a key to the archives which is extremely difficult, but the bosses of the archives give extremely rare PVP gear.
In fact, one of the things I love about Frostborn is that most of the best items in the game have been removed from the shop forcing players to actually play the game to get the best items.
That being said, if you are struggling and don't mind paying for an advantage on completing this challenge, the devs have created a PVE gear set specifically for you call the instigator set. This set is not the best gear for PVP unless you are maybe the hunter class, but it can help you earn that amazing gear by helping you complete Odin's.
But I can also help you complete Odin's for free just by watching my playlist on Odin's so if you are planning to spend money on this game, I would recommend spending it first on the backpack at the Carnage event, then on a repair table, then on premium, then if you still have more money you want to spend, I would recommend the first savings pack after it is full, then on the second savings pack after it is full. and then after all of that, if you still want to spend money then I would recommend buying metal walls because even if you are not planning on doing a lot of raiding. You can trade the vast amount of resources you get from these packs with active players for the best items in the game.
But if you are going to trade items in this game, make sure to watch my video on how to do it so you don’t get cheated.
However, if you are a completely free to play player, then you have come to the right place because it is possible to play Frostborn completely free to play and I would love to show you how.
The most pay to win aspect of Frostborn is raiding because it is almost impossible to farm for lots of stone and metal walls, but it's not that difficult to buy them; however, this is actually not that big of a deal if you understand frostborn's new raiding system so here is how it works.
When you start the game, you will start out with a 48-hour shield. During this time, no one can raid you which allows you to the build up lots of walls to protect your stuff for when the shield disappears. When a family leader hits "start raid", it will begin a 20-minute search for other similar families that no longer have a shield. When it finds four families of similar size and level and activity, it will put the four of you together so that y'all can raid each other for 20 minutes. After that 20 minute window is over, you get another 48 hour shield. But the brilliance of frostborn's matchmaking system is that it includes activity so if you don't raid other people, you will get matched with other people that don't raid other people either which means that they are not likely to raid you. Now you're not completely safe, because some people won't raid for months and then decide that this is the day that they want to raid someone, but as long as your team activates the raid search every time your shield runs out, you can make sure that you are always on during that raiding window which means that you can defend your base and defenders get a huge advantage in this game because they can use walls to control sight and they can use doors to control movement which allows them to pick when the battle happens and when it doesn't. Which often allows you to kill your attackers and claim their stuff as your own.
Furthermore, while Stone and metal walls are pay to win, the Sledge hammers and Nord bombs used to break those walls are actually easier to obtain by playing the game creating a strange dichotomy between free-to-play and pay to win players at high levels.
The second thing that players generally feel are pay to win is classes, but I would argue that the devs did not set this up as pay to win, but rather that it is an extremely grind a part of the game and of course spending money could alleviate that grind some. Regardless, understanding the classes will help you a lot so let me give you some tips on classes. As I mentioned, when you start the game, I recommend using the curer to farm the green zone because it will give you the most sustainability and ultimately save you a lot of food. When you first start leveling up, it will be very easy to unlock more classes because the tasks are generally easy to do, but once you get to level 20, the classes will start to require getting Mastery points to unlock. You can obtain these Mastery points by donating weapons and armor to the altar in the center of New Heim.
The first class that I recommend donating mastery points for is the Sorcerer I because it will make farming green zones way easier and easily pay for itself over time. That being said, if your family chooses roles and you will not be farming a lot of green zones, than it doesn't really make sense for you to get the sorcerer I. After that, I recommend spending the master points to get Hunter I so then you can have the extra speed for scavenging chests and farming Maple, copper and iron in PvP zones. Then I recommend that at least one person in your family spin the Mastery points to get The illusionist I so that you can reset enemies at Odin's.
After that, you need to choose and start working towards a PVE class. For most people, I recommend choosing the berserk II because the berserk is the best PVE class in the game because it gets a huge bonus with shovels which is the most efficient weapon in the game, it can get amazing sneak attacks with the Vran Axe which is the best early game sneak attack weapon and the Berzerk receives 20% less damage from ranged attacks which is incredibly helpful at Odin's. However, I would recommend that at least one of your teammates works towards Rouge II because after you complete Odin's once, the Rogue's using piercing daggers to initiate sneak attacks, will make all of your berserkers with shovels do more damage and eventually allows you to do crazy damage with a fire dagger assuming that someone on your team has a repair bench to repair it afterwards.
So 3 berserkers and one Rogue is my recommendation, but if you are planning on maxing out your ranger line and want to go ahead and get started on that, then the Pathfinder is also good PVE class choice because you do a lot of extra damage with a simple bow which is helpful against wood Giants and eventually allows you to use less of a 5 shot crossbow to group together and kill all of the Giants of Odin's.
After you have gotten your PVE class, then you can start working towards your PVP class. When choosing your PVP class, you need to coordinate with your family to make sure you guys are not choosing the same roles. In the current meta, there are three good team compositions right now. The first one and most balanced of the three is a tank, a support and two ranged damage dealers (usually 1 mage and 1 ranger). The second one is two tanks, a support and a damage dealer. This team comp is the easiest as it allows you to do well even if you make some mistakes. And then the third one is two bruisers and two damage dealers almost always including one Hunter. This is the most difficult composition to pull off, but a team that is really skilled at PVP can use this composition to take out half the enemy team before they even realize they're in a fight.
It is also important that every team has at least one of these classes on their team because these classes all have initiation skills which allows your team to choose when it is best to initiate a fight in open battle.
So after talking to your family, choosing your class will be largely based on your playstyle.
All of the classes are amazing and a good choice, but here are just a few tips of each of the classes.
In addition to being the best PVE class, a berserk with a high damage weapon is also a good PVP character because his extreme damage can often throw off another player who thought they had more time to heal. However, a talented ranged player can easily outmaneuver a berserk and whittle down his health.
The protector is an incredible strong tank. He is not that great at solo play because he has trouble landing kills, but on a team, the protector is amazing. And with a healer, he is practically unkillable. In fact, in the current meta I recommend that every team has a protector in their family because a talented protector that knows when to initiate, can make almost any team win that fight.
The thrasher is the second best tank in the game, and has the best team initiation skill in the game. If a thrasher lands his leap skill well and his team is on the same page, that team can easily get a conclusive advantage before the fight has even begun.
The ice mage is a decent solo character, but it is an amazing team character. His ice wall can not only initiate team battles but often splits the enemy team giving your team a huge advantage.
The fire mage is the highest damage dealer in the game if he is able to build up his fire stacks and he has a long-range team stun. The stun duration is not long enough to make the skill good for initiating a fight, but it is one of the best skills to use right as the teams start to fight.
The illusionist is probably the best mage overall right now and this is particularly true in Solo play. In fact, the illusionist might be the best solo class in the game because not only does he do a lot of damage, but his clones can make him a little bit Tanky and he can single-handedly shred through half the durability of his enemies' armor in just a few seconds.
The healer can hold its own in Solo play, but no other class is as good for a team than the healer. Healing is hard to come by in the middle of a PvP fight so a good healer can easily double the effectiveness of his team. In fact, in the current meta, I believe every team should have healer.
The sorcerer is most easily used to help your team in PVE, but a talented sorcerer can shut down an enemy team with his curse spell which is far more powerful than most people realize.
The Shaman is the best solo class out of the support classes, but it is still much better in a team context. You have to keep in mind that with all three of these support classes, their weapons like the hel staff give their entire team huge bonuses. The shaman is particularly helpful because he can take one-player out of the battle for almost seven seconds which gives his team significant numbers advantage.
The Rogue is a great PVE character being able to deal over a thousand damage in with one sneak attack on monsters and also has the most potential for burst damage as a PVP character, but his skills are also hard to use in a PvP context.
The bandit is actually more of a tank character. Even though he uses medium armor, his health and crowd control skills makes him function more like a tank. His area stun can be difficult to use, but since it stuns enemies and not teammates, if it is landed well, it can often guarantee a team win.
The assassin is one of the best solo PVP classes in the game. A good assassin can often take down half your health before you even realize you are in a fight. But after the assassin uses his burst of damage, he is just a short-range damage dealer which can easily be outmaneuvered in both solo and team play.
The Pathfinder is an amazing ranged damage dealer, but the Pathfinder's true power lies in his ability to mark people which makes everyone do more damage to that target. This damage is multiplicative to other buffs making it even more powerful than it seems at first glance.
The sharpshooter is also a great range damage dealer and he has quite a bit of crowd control including a stun arrow that can travel across the entire map.
And then lastly, the hunter is one of the best solo PVP classes because he can run quite a bit faster than everyone else which lets him run away or chase someone better than anyone else.
So that is an overview of the 15 classes, but I obviously have a lot more information on each one and the devs have said that they are going to be adding more to the game so if you want to know more about all of the classes, make sure to check out my playlist covering every detail of every class.
As I mentioned earlier, many players feel like the class system is pay to win, but in actuality, the class system is just a ridiculous grind. The reason I say this is because it would be very expensive for a pay-to-win player to buy class ranks costing at least $500 to Max out 1 class line.
That being said, I'm not surprised that it still feels pay-to-win as this lines up perfectly with my scientific formula for free to play games which measures how likely a game community will feel like the game is pay to win. On that scale, the first 10 classes rank in grade A (obviously with the first five being a lot easier than the second five) and the last five fit in grade B which is unfortunate because the last five include some of the best classes. These classes are new so I am hopeful that the devs will make this easier in the future and I have reached out to the devs multiple times encouraging them to ease up on these constraints because the grind is not pleasant. In my opinion the best way to fix this problem, would be if they unlocked each class separately. So that you didn't have to upgrade two classes that you don't want just to max out on the class that you do want. This would allow tier 2 free to play players to max out the class of their choice within 3 months which I think would feel really great. If you agree, make sure to let the devs know in their discord server.
As you play the game, there are a ton of other things you will find in this game so let me go through them real quick.
When you first hit level six and travel in the world map, the Carnage event will appear. This is an amazing event which gives you a huge boost early on. Make sure to go quickly to give yourself enough time to bring everything home.
A forgotten tomb event can also appear on rare occasions. This is a really fun event for new players and offers great loot. If you have or can make a strong pickaxe,make sure to bring it to collect the copper at the end. And if you're going with the team then you will have some extra inventory space leftover so it might also be good to bring two normal hatchets to cut down all the trees in that area.
The cursed Town event is one of the most common events you will see and it has decent loot for new players, but it is also a PVP event so only bring gear you are willing to lose or go with your team with your best gear if you want to PvP with other low-level teams. If you are an advanced player, this event it's kind of a ghost town, but maybe that will change now that global is out.
But if you are an advanced player looking for a great PVP event, then the burial ground is the much better choice. This event includes over a hundred enemies usually killed by multiple different teams clearing the area and then after clearing the fourth waves, a boss will appear. At this point, if it hasn't happened already, many of the teams will go into aggressive mode to kill the other teams so that they can be the only ones to kill the boss Gorm and get the awesome loot in his cache. This event is designed to be a bloodbath and while I do recommend doing it because it sounds so fun, I do not recommend doing it for loot unless your team is confident in your PVP skills.
When you farm yellow and red zones, you will sometimes run into the invisible bosses Gunnarr-Viper, Hauk Dire and Brand Warrior. Each of these bosses will drop they're unique ring and once you collect all three, you will be able to unlock the tomb of Ash which sometimes appears as an extra Tomb in team red zones. The tomb of Ash has incredibly fun challenges and a lot of copper so make sure to bring several strong pickaxes, but keep in mind that this is still a PVP zone. Once you open it with the rings, any team that has access to that zone, can enter and try to take it from you. So once you make it past the first fire trap, I recommend to turn it back on to make it harder for other teams to follow you. The loot in this event is kind of trash right now which is sad because it's such a fun event so I encouraged the devs to add a chance to get a level 3 backpack because that would definitely create a lot more PVP in this zone. We'll see if they do it. One little bit of trivia on the tomb of Ash is that the three invisible bosses and the tomb of Ash extend the life of a zone making it to where the zone does not reset as quickly.
Lastly, when you reach level 50, your team can take on Hel's Envoy. Hel's Envoy is a strong boss with three powerful skills that can easily devastate your whole team. As in all these events, I give a lot more tips in my video dedicated to them, the main thing you need to know with Hel's Envoy is that you should clear all of the surrounding mobs first and then fight him away from the middle so that if you die, you can get your stuff back. And then lastly, that he drops some really good items.
So that is an overview of the game, but in addition to these 293 Tips and tricks, I have 38 more for you.
If you have good loot on you, then take it home. This might seem simple, but our greed and optimism can often make us want to farm for just a little bit more and though we might get away with it sometimes, when we don't it cost us a lot so just get in the habit of bringing good loot home. This is especially true if you kill someone and get good loot, because often that player will go get better gear or get more of his teammates to log on, to come back and kill you. So bring his stuff home to lock it in. If someone goes down instead of dying, then that means they have a teammate online so be careful. If one of your teammates goes down, stays in one place and does not get attacked anymore, then you have 50 seconds to revive them. If they go down again after you revive them, the time will it be reduced to 34 seconds, and then 25, and then 20, 17, and so on until the 50th time in which they will die instantly. If a player moves while they are down, those times I just mentioned are reduced by 33% so if you are down, it is best to stay still as much as you can. When a player dies, all of their items lose between 15-20% of their durability. So technically if no one ever did any PVP, we would all be a lot richer, but it's really fun to do PVP and if you're good at it it is lucrative so just keep it in mind. Equipment in Frostborn is divided into 4 colors, but they are not all created equal. For example, the poison bow is a little bit better than the reaper staff. And Odin’s altar is even worse so there are some items you never want to put in the altar and there are other items like the crossbow of shadows, that I always put in the altar. Best weapons for defending your base in a fight you can’t win a cheap bow because you can be incredibly annoying. And firebombs if you are outnumbered. Fire bombs are particularly helpful because they ignore armor. Always prepare your base before a raiding time because you won’t think clearly while being raided. on the flip side, if you are raiding someone else, breaking walls quickly freaks out defenders which makes it harder for them to respond well. As soon as you start the game, you should be trying to build all of your level 1 walls and doors immediately. This is not difficult to do and it will make your base a lot harder to raid. Furthermore, it will also help you realize flaws in your design early so that if you end up having to rearrange something, you can just destroy that level one wall instead of a level 2 or 3 wall later on if you would already upgraded it Likewise, you should build all 40 of your chests right away. Perfectionist will be very bothered by building these extra chests, but you should do it anyways because the more empty chests you have, the more likely the people raiding your base will waist lockpicks by opening the wrong chest. I also recommend upgrading your chest as much as you can because not only will they have to use higher-level lockpicks, but all of those resources you use to upgrade those chests will never be able to be stolen from you. There are a ton of items that don’t yet exist in the game, like the horse and the boat. They will probably come out with those in future updates and I will post videos about them as soon as they do, but in the meantime, I would suggest watching my video on all of the items that do not exist yet in the game. You can cancel a spell by putting your finger exactly on this and then releasing. by pressing on your mini-map, it will make a ping alerting your teammates to the position of that ping on their minimaps. This is incredibly helpful for telling your teammates were an enemy is or anything else that you guys might be talking about. On that note, I strongly recommend joining voice chat with your team, because even if you do not feel comfortable talking, just being able to listen to your teammates that do feel comfortable talking, will make a huge difference in PvP. You can also use this trick of filling your inventory with non resource items and 1 copper or one maple and then clicking your character on auto which will reveal if there is copper or Maple is on that map and the direction to find it.
... Cuts off... 40k character limit for posts 😂😂
Tl;dr 1 - Frostborn just released globally! it is an awesome multiplayer survival game based on Norse mythology. I have followed it for over a year and it has finally released. It has fun co-op challenges and good PVP. Classes in the game are really grindy, but other than that, the game is amazing.
Tl;dr 2 - I have made a concise high quality video that has even more info https://youtu.be/W38A5wks-8o