NEWS
Project Update - Early Access First Week Experience
06 Aug | 10:00 am

This, too, has come to pass: we entered Early Access with Vagrus on Steam and GOG.com over a week ago. It has been an emotional roller-coaster since, to say the least, and a very exciting experience altogether. In this post, we thought to give you our thoughts on the whole shebang and look into what comes next.

On Timing

We've prepared for the Early Access release for a long time and originally wanted to launch earlier but the feedback we got in March made us reconsider and take the time to add the survivability features Hunting and Foraging. Another factor was Cyberpunk 2077, which was slated to be released in September, and given how much it will crush any competition in RPGs - however different they might be - for months after its coming, we wanted to make sure that we launch before it does. Of course, Cyberpunk was pushed back further since, but that is beside the point here. And so the window of our EA release became June-July.

On the Launch

The last couple of weeks before EA were very exhausting and still we could not complete everything we wanted to - the most prominent being claimable Faction rewards (even though Factions themselves were introduced). Towards the end of the run we only concentrated on glitches and a little polishing here and there.

We gathered in our discord room before the launch itself, anxiety and hope waging a battle in our minds. That day very little actual work was done as everyone on the team was looking at the clock in anticipation, unable to focus. When the time came, we clicked the Release button and then went on to hang out for hours afterwards, essentially doing an impromptu postmortem. Some alcoholic beverages might have been involved, too. And even though that evening was relatively quiet, all hell broke loose the next morning as a flood of tickets and questions slammed against our shores.

On Feedback

First off, we are extremely proud that only three crash-causing glitches came up in our complex EA game filled with over 50 hours of content. Especially considering our small team and limited resources, this is a thing to celebrate.

As we expected, Vagrus became a somewhat divisive game. There are a lot of players who do not want to read this much text or consider the challenge as unfair or unnecessary. The free Demo has been a great filter in this regard but we still get players who purchase Vagrus (perhaps not knowing about the Demo or not taking the time to check it out), take it for a spin, realize that this is not their cup of tea, and refund it. This is great! We knew from the start that we are developing a niche game that perhaps demands a degree of attention and patience that not all players have and so the option to back out of the deal is very important.

Luckily for us, the number of players who get sucked in by the world of Vagrus, by the concept, or by the challenge is far greater. Thanks to this we have managed to sell more copies in the first two days than we thought to sell in a month. On the one hand, this is amazing, of course, especially because we know that Vagrus being our first EA title, there is still a lot of work ahead and we get tons of constructive, useful feedback. On the other hand, the sheer quantity of criticism, questions, and suggestions can be daunting to a small team like ours. We have tried our best to give an answer to you all and will continue to do so.

On Lessons Learned

Perhaps the most interesting take-away for us here was how hundreds of Fig backers spent months playing much more punishing builds than the current one, expecting and accepting a brutal, unpolished experience from the get-go, and this perhaps skewed some of our perception about the state of things. Our current, larger player base now reports certain issues very frequently and these have not been seen as problems by the previous crowd. Thus, they never reported them. Of course, this is all to everyone's benefit in the end, as this new, fresh perspective is essential in guiding us to where we need to focus, which in turn will hopefully help new players to find their footing easier.

On the Future

A patch has been in the works for a while now, which focuses on performance improvements and includes a lot of quick fixes as well as balancing acts. After this comes out sometime next week, we'll start working on the 'Flee' option for Crew Combat, which will go a long way in making that feature less frustrating than it currently might be for some.

As always, we can't thank you enough for the continued support and feedback, which allowed us to get here and will continue to give us strength for the long road ahead. See you around, fellow vagri!

The Lost Pilgrims Team

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