Published 2018-08-07

Fall 2018 - Time to announce

You may have already heard something about a big release later this fall. So what is so special about this release, you might wonder? Well, this release will not just include new features - it will improve and change the competition of the game. Besides this it will also, in two ways, be a relaunch of the game. Sounds confusing? Don’t worry, I will elaborate and hopefully bring some clarity in this blog post divided into two parts.

Part 1 - The features

Up to this point all new releases of this game have added big missing chunks of what builds a hockey manager game, like trading and affiliate teams. Very little have changed when it comes to the competition itself. It has stayed the same since the prototype days. The same can be said about the design of this game. It’s now time for some exciting changes.

New design

Let’s begin by announcing that a brand new design will be introduced to the game! It will not turn everything upside down, experienced users will still recognise the main framework, but it will create a more playful look and make the game feel more like an actual game. With that said I still think we’ve been able to keep the uncluttered design of today. Enough words, here’s a sneak peak of work in progress!

More competitive leagues

Now to the most important change and something I’m really excited about.

As you all know each game world currently contains five leagues with 16 teams in each one. This gives a potential 80 human managers in each game world. I think this is too few to create a great competition and an exciting manager rivalry! I think we need to double the amount of managers! That’s why each league will be divided into two conferences with 14 teams in each one, giving a total of 28 teams in each league. As a result we will have a total of 80 games in regular season where most games will be played against opponents in the same conference.

And that’s not all. The release will also introduce a whole new league to the game. This new league will be called Copper Hockey League (CHL) and levels between current IHL and BHL. This new league will help even out the gaps between league levels.

So with all the above there will now be a potential 168 human managers in each game world! That’s more of an exciting competition in my opinion!

What about the playoffs? You, as well as myself, have probably had a hard time following the progress. And it’s not been very exciting either. That’s now going to change! A newly designed playoff bracket will visualise the progress in a fashionable manner creating a much more exciting experience following the Golden Cup, for instance. Playoff games will also be played best of 5 games instead of current best of 3. And if you’re the winner after say three games you won’t have to play the last 2. That bug will now finally be fixed!

And last it might be worth mentioning that the changes in league competition and playoffs will introduce some news when it comes to promotions and relegations. Complete details will be revealed later on but the biggest difference is that you will no longer face opponents from the league above when promoting via playoffs. If you win the promotion playoffs you will promote. No games against the above league’s team is necessary.

Inbox and messaging

Since a greater competition and manager rivalry is the top priority for this release it’s obvious that we also need better communication tools. The current messaging tools is very limited and not very optimal for discussing trades or creating rivalry between managers.

So a new and improved chat/inbox system is a must. I’m not sure how much that will be ready for the release but there are plans to implement both an in game chat and a ”broad message announcement” where certain events will appear. Such as big trades, big wins or injuries. In an attempt to create a more living community inside the game you will also be able to comment these announcements.

More features

There are actually more features planned for this release. These features currently include a totally reworked team jersey creation, improved player development and potentials and more. A complete list of features will be released later this fall.

New server/framework

Briefly I also want to mention that the game will, after this release, include a major database upgrade and run the simulators on a different framework on a second server. Hopefully this will improve both performance and stability of the game.

Focus group

All of these features have been discussed and refined together with the focus group. So I want to address a special thanks to all members of this group! You have been most helpful and we couldn’t have done this without you. And we’re not done yet, more questions are coming your way!

For those of you that never heard of the Focus group, here’s a quick recap. The focus group was put together of all Patrons and staff members of Game Plan Hockey Manager. The group was then given questions or asked to comment and discuss on certain ideas. In some cases we used polls to get a quick overview but in the end no actual decisions was made by the Focus group itself or by majority voting. You could say that the Focus group acts more like an advisory board. So why didn’t we include the whole community to participate? Basically we wanted to keep the group small to get better discussions and we chose the Patrons since they represent our most committed users. I know there are others too but we needed to draw the line somewhere.

The relaunch

So what about the relaunch part? The relaunch have two meanings. I will talk more about the second in Part 2 of this blog post. The first meaning is that there will be brand new game worlds after this release. It’s simply too complicated to implement all these changes on the current game worlds. And at the same time we feel it’s a good idea to give everyone a fair chance of building their franchise on the same and equal terms.

But current managers won’t need to start completely from scratch. You will be given the option to move your team name and colors (no players) into the same league level as you are currently playing in. This move will also keep current rivalries together. Managers playing in the same game world today will keep playing in the same game world also after the move is finalized. Managers will also keep their current history, stats and numbers in the best way possible.

I understand that a reset like this can be upsetting for quite many managers. When playing manager games it’s building your team in the longterm, talent by talent, that is the best part. So I have the fullest respect for anyone to be upset. That’s also the reason why I have always tried to keep game worlds intact in the past even when made some breaking changes. But this have also had its price, causing several issues with most of the current game worlds. At this point, I have to think mainly about what’s best for the game in the long term. I hope you all understand.

Summary - Part 1

So that’s about it regarding the features and what’s going to chance in the game after the release later this fall! I hope you all feel as excited as I do!

To sum things up here’s a quick summary of Part 1.

This blog post isn’t finished just yet! Don’t miss to check out Part 2 - The business!