This one is the second of our post-release beta updates, and it focuses once again on what they newly-expanded player community has been telling us.
First of all, the elites were me with a mixture of joy and dismay with the last release. On the one hand, they were greeted with great interest because lets face it: new enemies are cool. However, the thing that didn't sit right with a lot of folks was how the elites permanently replaced some of the weaker enemies. Also, the fact that killing 80 bats led to them all turning into sonic bats (as one example) felt really punitive to players even though it wasn't meant to.
After a lot of discussion and thinking on this, we came up with a middle-ground. The new approach is detailed in full on the release notes, but basically takes away that whole "kill X number of enemy to have it upgrade into an elite" and instead has it so that as your Civilization Progress (CP) goes up on a continent, new elites unlock at random. Also, the elites don't fully replace each enemy that they are an elite of, they just become increasingly common in place of them.
This makes it so that each continent grows and changes in ways that are randomized as you go, and thus each player's world is a lot more unique. On your world you might not even see sonic bats for your first few continents, but I'm seeing a lot of them. Instead I'm seeing eagle divers or various other enemy elites. This takes some things we've learned from AI War about making really unique and personal places for people to explore, and adapts it to this game.
So: upgrade stones have been around for a long while, and our beta players really liked them. But one of the first things we've been hearing since the official release was that the upgrade costs were too expensive. It was simply getting to the point of having to grind in order to keep characters appropriately upgraded.
This has been a subject of very intense math-riddled discussion all this week, and after all that we finally found the answer. The costs are now lower and fixed, but the returns you get from those costs are diminishing. The overall effect is that you don't have to grind anymore, but you're not constantly overpowered either. All the details are in those release notes.
Enchant-Acquisition And Enchant-Inventory Mechanics
These have been something that we knew was a problem, particularly in multiplayer, for the last few months. They weren't broken by any stretch, but they also weren't ideal. We wanted to do something about it, but we also didn't have any particularly better ideas.
But now we've had them! The enchants progress in multiplayer is now a lot more sane-feeling and less likely to overwhelm new players. And hoarding of low-power enchants is now strongly disincentivized by finally building in an "incinerate this enchant for enchant points" mechanic. That's been discussed for months, but rather than putting as a new object you have to travel to your settlement to use, we built it right into your enchants inventory itself.
Clamping Player Spell Ranges
So, new batch of players, new exploits get found. It takes all sorts of players to really nail all the exploits in any game. Some enterprising folks found that they could snipe bosses from offscreen by using certain tactics and possibly speed-enhancing enchants. Fighting enemies at that incredible range basically circumvented all challenge or interest in the combat. Yikes!
So what we've now done is made it so that spells are inherently limited in how far they can travel. This also prevents players from very large screen resolutions from exerting too much of an advantage over players with a smaller screen resolution. For many players this should hopefully be hardly noticeable of a change, but it does mean that you have to get a bit closer to enemies and actually risk their attacks in order to attack them in return.
UPDATE: There was a regression in 1.002 that caused some worlds to not be readable in that version. 1.003 corrects that. Apologies!
UPDATE: There was a regression in 1.003 that caused guardian powers to cause unhandled exceptions in some cases. Sigh. 1.004 corrects that. Apologies again!
UPDATE: So folks really didn't like the ranges being that short. Please note that spamming our company inbox with requests for a change like this is not going to do you any favors with convincing us. However, other folks made reasoned arguments that were convincing. Since this bothered so many people, 1.005 has been pushed out early -- despite it being the weekend -- to help fix that for them.
UPDATE: Okay, hopefully the last hotfix for the weekend: 1.006 is out now. Hotfixes that come like this aren't the normal way we do things around here, just for anyone keeping score. Sure, we'll do them when they're warranted (as now), but we prefer to prevent them from being warranted in the first place. The reason for this update is to put in a fix that prevents some excessive error logging that could cause lag on some MP servers. Also it tweaks the balance of Forest Rage again to hopefully get that so that it's useful but not as overpowered as it previously was.
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.