Two days into beta phase 3, and now we have this one. It's a fairly good-sized one, though I would have liked to have been able to pack in more spells and such. But we did manage to get one new spell in here, along with a raft of other improvements.
Rescue NPC missions, for instance, are like night and day from what they were before. You guys complained about various aspects of them, and we've answered with vigor. I think you'll like what you see, but if there are some things that still feel off, feel free to let us know. I, for one, am having way even fun with them now.
Another big shift in missions is to the battlefield missions. In the prior version those weren't working properly in co-op, which was one problem, but there were also a number of smaller glitches with them that made your ally minions just not quite perform as well as one would hope. Battlefield missions have obviously already gone through a good amount of public beta testing, so hopefully this cleans up most of the rest of what was off about them.
Our core concept of enchant-items and enchant-effects is unchanged -- it was working really well, and players really liked how it was working from what we could tell. However, the method of aquiring said enchant-items, and the general progression of how you'd find more powerful items of those sorts, left an enormous amount to be desired. Once again, the results from last version to this one are a night and day difference.
The bottom line with enchants is that they should just "feel right" as you get them. And the percentage indicator of when you will get the next one now never lies. You'll get new enchants at a slightly faster rate than before, but there will also be a lot more of them that are only subtly different -- as in most games with procedural loot. You'll thus have the fun task of sorting out those that best match your playstyle, and discarding the rest.
One note: the enchants in your inventory used to affect the likelihood of what new enchants you would find. That was just plain weird (my idea, sorry), and is gone now. So if you don't like an enchant you've been given, feel free to drop it down a long hole in a dark cave without worrying you'll just be handed that same thing right back. Now that you're getting more options when it comes to enchants, you can really customize yourself to an even better degree -- which is, at core, the whole point.
Also now included is a rarity system. You'll find uncommons and rares for enchants, like in a lot of other games of this nature, and that adds some extra flair. The details of all this are in the release notes, since there was a lot of discussion of these mechanics, but frankly those are details that the average player never needs to know; it won't affect your decision making in how you play the game. It simply is a more specific way of explaining how we made the progression of enchants-gathering "feel better" than in the prior release, and it's an opportunity for the critics of the old system to have some commentary on the new system if they so desire.
Combat And Platforming Difficulty Split
The lava escape missions were a really divisive mission that we added lately. And actually, so were some of the falling damage bits. Is this game a platformer, or not? How much skill at platforming is supposed to be required?
In the past, we've always said that this is first and foremost an adventure game, but that hardcore platforming bits would be added in as optional things because to some of us (myself most of all) they are just plain fun. But the falling damage mechanics as of two versions ago, as well as the lava escape missions in general, seemed to violate a few of those rules.
There were players who staunchly defended the mechanics as implemented, or even wanted yet more hardcore versions than what we'd put on offer; but then there were others that were decrying that they hated these mechanics with the fury of a thousand suns.
To me, this sort of divide can only mean one thing: more options are needed. This is a game engine that clearly supports both modes of play, and a lot of gradations in between, and so we might as well let everyone have the experience that they really want, right?
So now instead of having a single "action difficulty" that describes everything, we now have "combat difficulty" and "platforming difficulty." The former controls the strength of enemies and a lot of other things like that. The latter controls things like falling damage and rates of lava rise. So you can now tune your experience to be as brutal or as easy in either of those two spectrums as you like, independently of one another, and thus the factional divide in the playerbase is repaired.
It was an easy repair, see, because our playerbase was so polite and well-reasoned in their discussion of the whole issue in the first place. That's what I love about our forums -- the lack of vindictiveness, name-calling, and over-the-top rhetoric. Long-term forumites know what I'm talking about. This let us get right to the heart of the issue, put in something that will hopefully please everyone who was part of the original argument, and move on with more interesting things. This is why I sincerely love working with our community.
And lastly, of course, there were a few other tweaks and bugfixes, as always. More to come soon. Enjoy!
This is a standard update that you can download through the
in-game updater itself, if you already have 0.500 or later. When you
launch the game, you'll see the notice of the update having been found
if you're connected to the Internet at the time. If you don't have 0.500 or later, you can download that here.