Exciting new changes in Release 65.2!

New Today!

Village list on Mobile : gets a context popup menu allowing you to quickly launch build, recruit etc without ever leaving the village list

Claims: other clan's claims show as purple flag in map village hud

Caravan : no longer needs click on cards to reveal the choices (saves you a click), and catch up spawns 5 instead of 3 caravans. Caravan Catch Up does not give you more caravans, just saves you waiting time.

VIP Chat borders: You can show off your status via border in chat. Turn it on via throne room's VIP popup.

Warroom / single attack: proper trip durations for rebel rush

Reports: when a new report exists, opening popup auto gets latest info

Gov Chest Cost : losing a governor when attacking, refunds 1/2 of the chest for last governor.

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Last time on Realm of Empires...

Hail Lords and Ladies of Realm of Empires!

It has been a busy few months at Realm of Empires Headquarters (we don't have any other quarters but the one but this sounds cool!). 

We have broken the 100 realm barier and there was boom!

We've made some significant changes and this post is here to document them for historians from a planet far far away that will one day study the human thirst for power as best seen in the simulation of real life known as Realm of Empires. By commenting on your post, you might get your name into alien text books one day...you never know!


- Tournament-like play : http://tinyurl.com/z2bogeu
- Balance via speed-up limitations : http://tinyurl.com/z2xtuv5
- Research specialization & new techs : http://tinyurl.com/hn56max
- Rare Legendary Bonus Villages : http://tinyurl.com/jqjwmbz
- Free building and research speed ups and more :http://tinyurl.com/gvqpzla
- New Governments: http://tinyurl.com/gshwojb
- Sleep Mode & Vacation Mode
- Troops move on the map details...
- Awesome new chat
- Village Claim System details...
- Balance via yay boost limitation : details...
- Servants rescue - raid rebels and get more than just silver! details...
- New desert look : details...
- Free speedups and other rewards : details...

New chat and our 72 hours in hell

Hello Fellow Strategists!

Last Wednesday, we released our brand new chat system. With its 1-on-1 and custom group chats abilities, it has the potential to significantly improve in-game communication. But it is new, with a new interface and new way of doing things, so it will take time getting used to. But once you experience the power of a custom battle group, or cross-clan admin chat, I hope you will love it!

The upgraded chat uses new technology, so it was being tested extensively for many months - on desktop since November via the Throne Room, then on mobile devices since mid-January with our mobile Throne Room release. It was not possible to release the new and old chat side by side, so we gathered as much data as we could, made many improvements and changes, all in order to ensure that the full release went smoothly. Alas, it was not to be so!

The day after the release, we've noticed a 100% or more increase in average run times across all our functions. Here is a screen shot of our health status tool:


That set of alarm bells and our 72 hour marathon started. The problems were intermittent - no issues for 55 minutes out of an hour, then 5 minutes of serious slow down (these are just for illustration, not actual numbers). Worse kind of a problem! You work really hard and fast for 5 minutes, then analyze your often incomplete data for next 55, hoping you will be ready to catch more data next slow down.

Over time, the slow downs occurred more frequently and lasted longer. The next day revealed even worse performance degradation:


By that point we were on track, though. We identified bugs in the chat login code. Small bugs, so insignificant they would not even be noticeable to you guys, but there was a tiny horde of them! We fixed them off by one by on Thursday and Friday. Performance improved and we were almost 100% back to normal by Friday afternoon, but we still did not know what was the real cause for the slow down.

That mystery was finally unveiled on Saturday morning as we investigated why some maintenance jobs were running for hours, rather than minutes. Oh, the horror that was revealed! In our over-zealous effort to ensure the chat code release was smooth, we had created a number of performance measurement hooks. But we made one little tiny mistake. Errors had a lot of info, and I mean a lot, 100MB worth of error info per error! That was the real cause of intermittent problems. Our error management and categorization system was not designed to deal with so many monsters and started to chug! Yup, we lost at tower defense...

You see, we were prepared for the worst! If an error occurred, we knew exactly when and how... and.... that killed us.... (Editor's Note: The lesson here is to simply live in ignorance, Greg.)

Ashamed as I write this, my only consolation is that I can report that we are back to normal now:




If anyone has issues with chat not loading, or anything else, please do message support and we will help you. The in-game contact form is ideal, but if you cannot get to it, email Support@RealmOfEmpires.com


Developer Roadmap - Winter 2015

All Roads Lead To Rome RoE

We have many exciting projects in the works for Realm of Empires - enough to spawn a blog post to tell you about them!

Update: New Village List!



New Chat System

You can finally stop relying on pigeons and smoke signals, because the new chat system will soon be here. You may have already tried the first part of it in the new Throne Room chats, but that's just the tip of the communication iceberg. We have so much more on the way!

Soon you will have fully controllable chat in and out of your realms. 
  • 1v1 - Need to work some diplomatic magic, get a report from your sleeper agent, or just shoot the breeze with a friend without cluttering clan chat? Done! Open a private window just for them.
  • Battle Chat - When it's time for war, real time communication is often the key to victory. Soon you will be able to create private chats for clan mates and allies. No more wandering through long email chains in the middle of battle! 
  • Clan & Diplomatic Chats - Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Or just have fun talking with your friends! Either way, it will be easy to set up persistent chats for your clan, for allied council - basically for anyone you want to keep in touch with. Group chats are also visible from the Throne Room, so you can keep the band together between realms.


Throne Room For Mobile

It's good to be the king! And soon, all that kingly goodness will be easy to pack up and take with you on your mobile devices. We've been working hard to polish all the cool TR goodies into a mobile-ready interface, and the results will be coming your way very soon.

Our development wizard DarkGeneral is working his magic to pack in all the great features. View your history, bask in past glories, look up other players, and chat across realms... all from the comfort of your favorite phone or tablet.








War Room Version 2.0

The Warlords Rising interface was a big step up for RoE across the board. It's impossible to list all the little ways it improves over the old UI both visually and technically. One thing we've wanted to update for a while now, though, is the War Room you use for battling and defending.

The War Room does a lot of things right, and it makes certain kinds of play a lot easier than the attack screen from the old interface. But we've heard your feedback loud and clear, and we're committed to adding in some awesome new features - and bringing back some favorite old ones! 
  • Landing Times - One of the greatest strengths of the old attack screen was being able to see the landing times for every possible attack at once. This made planning large scale operations a lot easier - and now it's coming to the new War Room too! Huzzah!
  • Unit Filters - As part of the Landing Time update, you will also be able to filter the villages in your War Room by unit type. This makes it easy to plot attacks by siege, to find governors, etc... super cool, and super convenient.
  • Single Click Attack - Whether you're farming, or you're trying to blitz an unwary foe with rapid-fire attacks, there are times when you just want to be able to hit send and be done with it. Soon you will be able to do just that! Imagine being able to instantly switch between the traditional attack mode and a single-click speed version, whenever you want to!
  • MORE - We have other goodies in the pipeline for the War Room that may come later. Things like Attack Memory (so you can instantly re-use common attack formations), or customizable information windows to keep you fully in control of the battle.



Empire Management & Mass Features

We've been wanting to redesign mass features for the new UI since roughly the late Cretaceous period. And now, finally, the dream is happening!

First off, we'll be making massive updates to the Village List. New features will include the option of viewing troops or building levels, and other important information.

You will also be able to rename villages and open village menus right from the list. More importantly, you will be able to group villages and filter your empire according to those groups. So if you only want to see your attack villages, or to bring up villages that are still under development... however YOU want to group your villages, you'll soon have the power to do it!

That leads right into our last, long-awaited update for both mobile and the Warlords Rising desktop UI. Mass features! We're bringing the ability to set empire (or group!) wide upgrades and recruitment queues to both the mobile app and the new interface. We think these changes are going to make the game more fun and easier to play, especially on mobile where navigating large empires could be difficult. No more! Soon, an organized machine of conquest will be right at your fingertips.



Final Thoughts

As you can see, we have a LOT coming up. These new features will be rolling out in waves of the next month or two, so you'll be seeing many, many updates. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy making them for you! Please let us know what you think - and what you want to see next.

Happy gaming,

Vacation Mode, Throne Room, Servants Rescue and more...

HELLO FELLOW STRATEGISTS!

As you know, we launched a new interface last Christmas. Updating it has kept us busy since then, thanks to your feedback.  Besides that, we launched RoE on Wild Tangent and  Kongregate last spring, made a couple of classic realms due to popular demand, and developed Tactica (our own login system) to allow platform-independent login.

Since spring, besides doing a heck of a lot of under-the-hood improvements, we've been working on some exciting new features that we are launching now. Let me take a moment to talk a bit about those.



Throne Room

There has never been a way to view your entire Realm of Empires history. With the new Throne Room you can now do exactly that, as well as chat with everyone in the game, check out a leaderboard from very old realms which not only includes players left in the realm, but shows everyone who ever played with their best-ever score in this realm. You can even chat with old friends you might have lost contact with. It's already pretty awesome, but the Throne Room is in its infancy. We will be adding more cool stats and functionality to it!



Powerful new chat system

Debuting as a beta feature in the Throne Room, we are working on a super-chat. When we're finished this will be a flexible chat system that allows you to chat 1on1, as well as create completely custom chat groups. Think about it - you will be able to create a battle group for one particular operation, or a chat for trusted friends, or a chat for certain clan leaders, or a chat for an alliance leaders across realms etc... No need for long email chains, or forums that are hard to get to. I am personally very excited about this. If all goes well, it will be introduced in-realm before the end of the year.

Vacation Mode

As you no doubt already know, Realm of Empires is an intense game. It is not fun being attacked while relaxing at a beach sipping on that Corona - man, those commercials work! First thing I think off when I see a Caribbean beach. Anyway, the point is, it is nice to be able to take a break and know that your empire is protected, even without a steward. Well, Vacation Mode will allow you to do just that! As you gain more XP, you gain more vacations days. We've structured it in a way to prevent abuse (running from attacks), and we'll be tweaking it as needed based on your feedback.

Servant Rescue

In our never-ending quest to be historically authentic, we thought that besides silver, there should be some human loot when you raid rebels! (Editor's Note: Greg is joking. Humans are not loot. Now if you'll excuse me, I need a stiff drink.) And since you and I are nice people, when we see servants in need - we rescue them! And make them work for us. So debuting in the new realms opening in November, you can now rescue servants when you raid rebels and abandoned villages.


More Tournament?

We had a great tournament season 2!  Congrats to all of our winners, especially to our two perfect-score achievers Special_K and The_Gray_Avenger!

After a month of over 20 RXs, surely everyone is exhausted no? Well, we are already getting calls for another tournament so we'll be looking into that! I admire your stamina guys!





Thank you for playing Realm of Empires, and we hope you will enjoy the new features and realms coming out now,  HAPPY GAMING!
Greg Bala




Realm of Empires: Warlords Rising Beta - Answering First Impressions

HELLO FELLOW STRATEGISTS!

It has been a long while since you've heard much from me! I wanted to share with you what has been happening at Realm of Empires over the last year or so because, well, we've been busy!

As you already know, we released the Realm of Empires Mobile App in 2013. We are happy to see so many people enjoy playing it! So one could say, year 2013 was the year of Mobile. 

Year 2014, shall be the year of the desktop! Our desktop interface was born in 2008, when browsers were much less powerful. It is an old school interface, slow, and well, the gray background could have been nicer! Things that can be done now were literally unimaginable six years ago. 

This year, we had the opportunity to create an amazing new interface for our desktop players! From this, Realm of Empires: Warlords Rising has been born. It is now being tested with a small group of beta players, but we hope to open it for everyone very soon.



Realm of Empires: Warlords Rising is a product of over a year of intense development. Our goal with this major update was not to implement new game changes, or to throw in eye candy. Warlords Rising has been designed from the beginning specifically to make managing larger empires easier, to make waging larger wars easier. It is a result of literally watching many of you play, hearing your concerns and your feedback. 

The current desktop interface facilitates more of a village-based play, with the map being secondary. However, we've found that once you capture a few villages (and even more so when you have dozens!), players start playing mostly off the map. Wars are planned and fought on the map. Troops are recruited, villages are built geographically. While you interact with the village at first almost exclusively, soon you treat each village as an army on a field. This of course make total sense. Realm of Empires is not a village building game, but an empire building game.

Based on those observations, we have designed  Realm of Empires: Warlords Rising to be more map-central, to facilitate empire-based play from the beginning. 

We know the new UI will be different - at first

We will do all in our power to make the transition as easy as possible, but some difficulty with change is inevitable. It is not easy to move from one user interface (UI) to another.

With one village the new UI, although prettier and faster, can seem more like a nuisance in some ways! At first it seems more like a scavenger hunt - lets look for familiar buttons on a new UI. But we believe that as you grow used to things you will find they are at least as good, and often better than the original UI.

To help you master the new UI, we've put together a reference card and a handy FAQ to assist  you. Check them out!
         

The power of the new UI becomes apparent as you expand your empire

The really cool stuff in the new UI becomes evident as you grow your empire. The incoming and outgoing troops refresh on their own. Attacks come in and update without the need to refresh the screen (so do reports, mail etc). The war room allows you to attack from many villages quickly (like one-click attack but better). Visualizing a war, and your entire empire is much easier on a dynamic map, as you will no doubt find out!

So it is a new UI? But we wanted archers!

As silly as this may sound at first, we are proud that this is just a new UI! In fact, it is a new UI precisely because we listened to you guys. While adding flaming archers,races and other game play changes is exciting (and so hard for us to resist!), you've frequently told us that the game gets too time consuming or difficult to play with time. With this UI, and other changes, we are trying to address those concerns. We wanted to first give you a great UI, then work on game changes within a great framework. Our main focus right now, is to make playing the current game easier and less time consuming. Super cool game play changes are coming, but after we have a solid base on stand on. 

But I like things the way they are! Stop changing things!

Do not worry! You can continue to play within the interface you are familiar with - the new interface is optional. You can go back to the original desktop interface and back to the new one, back and forth with one button click.

Of course not all is yet completed! 

Not even close! But with the core of the new UI in place, the possibilities are amazing. You will see frequent releases with significant improvements in 2015! We will work closely with you guys, to prioritize these improvements and changes.

Let me leave you with just this one image. Here is an actual screen shot of the map in the new UI, of the beta realm. This is the real map, interactive and all! It is not yet fully "the mapper", but it is certainly getting there!
(click the image for full size version)

Did I say one image? I meant two. Here is the map, dual screen version, from an old prototype that I've posted on my facebook long ago

ROE Mobile, Developer's Log

Earth date 4.26.2013

HELLO FELLOW STRATEGISTS!

Realm of Empires mobile companion app is almost ready to launch! Some of you have already downloaded it, in fact, in spite of the big “DO NOT DOWNLOAD” sign and a whopping $1.99 download cost which we thought would discourage everyone! :)

As you may have read in my previous developer's log post, we've developed the app in HTML5, thus allowing us to be on more mobile platforms quicker. We will be launching on Android first, then soon after that on the iPhone.
Launching on Android first, soon on the IPhone
Next, we hope to bring the app to BlackBerry and Windows 8 devices. We will also modernize the desktop version – including releasing our amazing new map! The desktop version will get much, much quicker and easier to use - prettier too. :)

>> The good, the bad and the ugly - what works well, what will get better <<

As alluded to in my previous post, we had hoped to offer you very similar game play on mobile as on
desktop. We wanted all power features to be there, and we wanted to make it easy to perform all the functions in your empire.

Unfortunately, we are not there... yet. Many power features are still missing, like summary pages or mass features. Also, the interface -this is critical to understand - is not yet optimized for managing a large empire. We had so many issues and interesting hurdles with cutting edge HTML5, that we've decided to first concentrate on getting things running well in general. In this first release, we've focused on the early game play – up to about 10 or 20 villages.

Things like recruiting all troops from one page, or upgrading all buildings on one page are not yet available. Why? Because its a lot more manageable to work out many wrinkles with fewer pages, popups, and interface functions.

So when it comes time to defend against 100 attacks, or recruit in 100 villages, please don’t get frustrated – it will become easier to do shortly!

>> AWESOME NEW NOTIFICATIONS! <<

Mobile devices give us a chance to send you important notifications such as incoming attacks. This is much more reliable than email. I am very excited to be able to offer you much improved notifications system that allows you to select what notifications you want.
Ever wondered if a person you are stewarding is under attack? Well, now there is a notification for this! The account owner must enable attack notifications, you must enable steward attack notifications, and voila! You will be a very good steward. :)

We were really focusing on creating a snappy interface. I believe we've achieved that on IPhone. Android is still lagging a bit behind IPhone as to HTML5 support and the game runs slower. We will keep working hard to improve performance and optimization!

Data entry on small screens is not easy. We wanted to provide really innovative ways of entering data for such functions as attacks, communication, recruitment etc. Again, this is hard to make perfect and we are still perfecting the interface. Over the next little while, you will see this improve significantly with a few innovative solutions already in the works for things like attacking.

>> Game play not the same on mobile as on desktop <<

The important things to keep in mind is that the game plays differently on the phone than on the desktop. There is no way to simulate
a large/multiple screens + multiple browser tabs + keyboard and mouse experience on small devices. It is very hard to allow you to send attacks with the same precision and volume as on the desktop. It is much harder to write long emails on a small mobile keyboard. We are already working on many improvements but we  also hope you guys can provide us with a lot of feedback and ideas - the sooner we get the app in front of you guys, the sooner we'll be able to make it better.

If you primarily play on the desktop, this will be a companion app for you. But we plan to offer realms for mobile devices only and we are really excited and eager to find out how the game-play will change when played exclusively on the mobile!

So, please keep in mind that the mobile app is still in its infancy and please take the time to send in your feedback. Please download the app when it becomes available, and help us make it better!


Oh, and before I forget – please give us a good ( ideally a 5 star! ) rating on the app stores! We know we've got lots of wrinkles to work out, but a good rating will go along way towards a better RoE. We love making this game for you guys, and enjoy playing it ourselves, but we have a very limited advertising budget and rely almost exclusively on word of mouth promotion. If you like the game, and want to see it grow and be awesome, please give us a 5 star rating! Many thanks in advance!