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True story for the core community
I've taken this photo on my phone just before the global launch of KoT 2 years ago on Feb 12. This was very exciting launch for Zepto, because Zepto had no experience in the field of online game development, the company's main expertise was in offline single player games and here we can say ‘Hi’ to the brilliant Cut the Rope series, that gave its strong and some weak points to King of Thieves as a heritage.
The main difference between offline and online games lies not in development itself, but in operation — all activities that start after the launch. Telling the long lecture short, every online game is only 50% ready at the point of global release, and the rest 50% is what usually should be done after till its death. And you can’t predict everything, because every online game is a universe with its own laws. So that’s why the second part is all about evolution that may take years.
At the launch we were overflooded with support requests, because we had only one guy to cover that frontline, and it was me , because we didn’t expect _that_ fast growth of KoT, its fame and its community. We understood the mistake quickly enough, but almost during a year since that time our support management was like riding a bike: you’re burning, bike is burning, world around you is burning and you’re in hell.
As old grandpa thieves remember, KoT had no guild chat at the start. In spite of heavy PvP orientation, the game felt like single player mode and provided similar experience to its players, but way more irritating. That’s because competing a human is always more challenging than artificial intelligence. So it took a lot of efforts to help people find a way to communicate with each other and direct that communication in order to make the community cool, humble, helpful and alive.
In April 2015 we also faced a problem… THE PROBLEM of cheaters, which is always an issue if you set an online game protection on the same level as you usually set it for an offline game. We relied heavily on… noble cheaters and their reports to deal with it as fast as we could. We gave tons of rewards to that players, because they and their reports helped us to find crucial holes in KoT, that were exploited heavily with less honourable cheaters. We’ve built a huge network of dark watchers, who gave us away all cutting edge exploits and bugs.
The things have changed drastically since that time. There are dozens of agents in our support, our security system provides strong defense against cheaters. Ok, if you managed to come across one, you should know that usually they get banned soon enough. Almost all dark watchers have left, because they like to use exploits, so they do it in other games now. Some of them have stayed and still provide us interesting bugs and vital problems when they find any.
Ok, not everything has changed. I’m still with you And low retrieve chance is here, sitting near me and crying, because nobody loves him. Some other problems are on the table too, but we promise to deal with them over time.
During all these two years we have been dealing with bugs, problems, game design issues, support and exploited weaknesses on the go. This is what operation usually requires from developers — react and direct the game development in the right way. We know that we’re not perfect, but perfection is not the goal, it’s a way. The same as massive multiplayer online game operation. And we’re doing our best to follow this way.
Thank you for your love, passion and patience, guys. You’re the greatest community I’ve ever met and helped to create during my 14 years of online gaming and work experience.
Happy birthday to us all!