During Stash Alpha #3, players were given a list of items to seek out and find in the world. They had to take a screenshot of the item and then write a caption.
Check out the entire album on Facebook.
Frogdice President & CEO, Michael Hartman, was interviewed by the Kentucky Innovation Network at the Idea State U pitch competition about one of his rules for success: know your identity.
At Frogdice, we follow the design and development model of getting a working prototype going as fast as possible, then we iterate on it repeatedly until we are happy with the final result.
One of the more challenging examples of that in Stash has been the peg, miniature, or figurine, that represents your character on the world and dungeon maps. I am numbering these incarnations of our peg system 1 through 5, but there were a numerous smaller versions in between.
This was one of the first. It was kinda cute and got the job done but was never considered anywhere near complete. I am pretty sure it was never even used in a playable build.
This is a variation on #1 with more detail and more gear. This was one of the first versions that was actually put to use in a playable build of the game. If I recall, this is the version you saw in the original Kickstarter video for Stash.
We really weren’t happy with our pegs, so we decided to go back to the drawing board, think outside the box, and start experimenting. We tried a number of different things that were wildly different from #1 and #2. At one point we were experimenting with chibi-like figures and here we were also taking inspiration from Pop! dolls.
Ultimately we didn’t like any of those experiments, so we wen’t back to our traditional board game piece concept. We worked to improve upon it and give players more control over the shape and material.
We still weren’t happy. As in #3, we once again decided to start over with an entirely new concept. This time I think we nailed it and I really love this version. Players will get to customize the terrain on the base, their character’s pose, and the gear on their figure will reflect the actual gear they are wearing. You can unlock more poses and base terrains and change them as desired.
We feel this still maintains the table-top/miniature gaming feel on the world and dungeon maps (which is really important to us!) while remaining very immersive. Hopefully you all agree!
I hope you enjoyed this brief look behind the curtain of how video games get made – at least here at Frogdice.
When MMOs first became a thing, there was enormous excitement. They were going to totally change gaming and society. Sadly, the excitement faded and MMOs quickly fell into some bad habits and clone-ism. With Stash, we are hitting the reset button on that. We are re-imagining the genre and bringing back the magic.
This is one of the most immediately obvious differences between Stash and most MMOs. It is time to shake things up and have an MMO where tactics and strategy play a bigger role in combat.
Bind on Pickup (BoP) is one of the worst concepts ever invented in MMOs and video games in general. It is incredibly anti-social. It is anti-community. It is anti-market. Basically, all the things that make MMOs special are negatively impacted by the concept of BoP.
In the history of RPGs, one of the most basic ways you could help other people was to give them an item that would help them out. BoP kills this. Sharing items is the MMO equivalent of people breaking bread and sharing meals together. With very few exceptions, BoP should not exist.
Remember when the word “quest” referred to something really epic? Like the “Quest for the Holy Grail”? In modern MMOs, quests tend to be about as epic as blowing your nose. This is a darn shame.
Quest obsessive games can be anti-social, anti-climactic, anti-exploration, and anti-fun.
In Stash, if you are given a quest it will be something epic with a great story. You will WANT to read the quest text or listen to the NPC. But most of the time, you will enjoy the world for everything it has to offer. You will look forward to the surprises around the bend in the road or corner of the dungeon. You will set your own goals which are always more meaningful than what a developer tells you to do.
The typical MMO obsession with “end game” at the expense of the rest of the game is a real shame. Players in these MMOs often consider the majority of the game’s content to be pointless drudgery rather than something to enjoy. It is merely a barrier between them and the “real fun” of the game.
Our focus with Stash is to make the entire game fun at all levels. Furthermore, our current plan is to have NO LEVEL CAP. That’s right. You can play Stash for 20 years and keep leveling up and developing your character. That’s how it works in our 18 year old rpg: Threshold. It has worked brilliantly.
We find it very disappointing when character development is almost entirely about gear. Gear is awesome. Loot is awesome. Of course gear should be a big part of character development and customization.
But your character is a mighty hero, villain, adventurer, or craftsman of epic proportions. You will be able to defeat fancy dressed scrubs with one hand tied behind your back and a bent twig as your only item. Gear is a big deal in Stash, but your character’s abilities and skills are just as important. Player skill is also important to succeed in the tactical, turn based combat.
Why have most MMO worlds become so incredibly static? Barely anything changes and very little can be interacted with. In Stash, the world is alive with its people and evolves based on their actions. This starts with thousands of years of lore and history developed over the last two decades. It also includes a wealth of gameplay features.
When you want to play Stash, you may not always have friends online or you may not have a full group. That’s fine. No matter what the size of your group, there is fun, challenging, and rewarding content to enjoy.
If you are solo you may want to stick to dungeons that are close to your level. Once you pick a few people up, you might go to a harder zone or crank up your difficulty settings. If you get a full group, perhaps you max out your difficulty and go to a region even more above your level and really challenge yourselves. If a few people have to leave, just lower difficulty and keep going.
This is the flexibility you have in Stash. It is not “stand around bored spamming LFG/LFM to fill your party” nor is it “enter an auto-party-filling system where nobody knows anyone and relationships and reputation don’t matter.” There are perfectly challenging and rewarding dungeons and regions to explore regardless of your party size, gear level, and skill.
(NOTE: The above post originally appeared in our Aug/Sep 2014 Kickstarter.)
There are other differences between Stash and typical MMOs, but these are some of the highlights. We love MMOs and there are some spectacular MMOs out there right now. We play or have played most of them. We are not trashing the entire genre or anything of that nature. We simply believe there are features that have been overdone and others that were a mistake from the beginning (I’m looking at you, Bind on Pickup).
Stash is bringing new ideas to the genre and resurrecting old ones that were wrongly forgotten. If you’ve become disenchanted with MMOs or simply want something new and fresh, this is definitely the game for you.
Jump on board now and you can get Alpha/Beta access and be part of the community early.
Frogdice’s President & CEO, Michael Hartman, was interviewed by the Lexington Herald newspaper and WEKU radio station about Frogdice’s part of Kentucky’s growing gaming and tech community.
Martin: Frogdice has been around now about 18 years … Was it difficult in 1996 to capitalize a startup gamer company?
Hartman: Definitely. E-commerce was in its extreme infancy. People felt that if you were going to do something on the Internet, it should be free. That was a really hard thing to combat.
Read the full article here: Digital game developer Frogdice part of growing Kentucky tech, gaming community.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving surprise this year. After just a few weeks, Stash has already been greenlit by Valve/Steam! Thank you to everyone who voted for us and helped spread the word.
Being able to distribute the Stash client via Steam will be enormously convenient for us and our players. It will also help us reach more players. Exciting news!
Please spread the word! Tell your friends, family, gamers, everyone!
1) ReignMaker on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/286200/
2) RT this if you are on twitter: https://twitter.com/Muckbeast/status/532627097563721728
3) Like and SHARE this if you are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frogdiceinc/posts/10152924744265815
We did it! The Stash kickstarter was a wonderful success.
It is clear that we already have the foundation of an amazing community for this game.
We are bringing the old school feel of tabletop, pen-and-paper, and MUD gaming to online gaming. Core features include:
That is just the beginning. Check out the full campaign for a video and more details.
We would greatly appreciate your pledge of support. Any help spreading the word would also be a huge help.