Monday, March 12, 2012

AVWW Beta 0.905 "Refined Gargantua" Released!

This one has been almost a week in the making, so it stands to reason that it's massive.  And as releases go, even for us this one is particularly massive.  It wasn't until today that I realized it had almost been a week since our last release... or that it has literally been a month to the day since I took a day off.

Yikes!  But the end is in sight.  This release is primarily focused on polish of all sorts: making the terrain more interesting and better, removing bugs all over the place, making the monster AI more enjoyable, making the monsters more tactile, and a host of other things.  There are also multiplayer-specific bugfixes out the wazoo.

But it's not just polish, terrain, and enemy behaviors -- though that would have been enough, methinks, given how much better the game feels with those things done.  We also have a number of new features, listed here in no particular order:

- A new difficulty level for those who find Adept too easy but Hero too hard (which was a lot of people, apparently).
- Added in a damage log so you can see what's killing you!
- No more "global" cooldowns, which adds all sorts of advanced simulcasting possibilities.
- A more even mix of male and female characters whenever you're asked to choose a new character (it seems like every girl or woman who's played the game has requested this)
- Rather than just giving lame shards as a reward, lieutenants and overlords now give you rare enchants when you kill them.
- A whole new "Risktaker" enchant type has been added.
- The "Regular Skelebot" is now the "Skelebot Guard" and is a lot more interesting.
- Skelebots in general can deflect your incoming piercing shots, which is pretty wicked cool.
- Utahraptors leaping out of magma to kill your character and give you, personally, a heart attack in the process.  You've been warned.
- Monsters can drown or burn up in lava, and try to avoid that fate unless you... nudge them along.
- Did we mention that we redid the entire monster AI from the ground up to make it better and less buggy?
- Oh yeah, and now monsters are tangible for the most part -- they collide with each other, and with you.  Which solves a lot of "stacking" issues that looked bad and made monsters too vulnerable to piercing/AOE spells.  This one simple change makes for a really different feel to close combat -- be careful of crowds of monsters -- those are fatal to leap into now, rather than just something you'll take a small amount of damage from!
- The grasslands and the lava flats terrains have been updated so heavily they're practically unrecognizable from their former states.  They're pretty awesomely better and more varied.
- Oh, and the Battlefield missions have gotten an overhaul, too -- both in terms of allowed enemies to spawn, how they spawn their towers, what their terrain is like, etc.  It's like a whole new mission.

...Speaking of whole new missions, we actually have three that are almost done, but I just didn't have the stamina tonight to get the last bits of those polished off.  That will be my focus for tomorrow, when we should be able to resume our usual near-daily release schedule.  All this polish work in one big batch was quite an undertaking, to put it lightly, but it was one of those necessary steps for 1.0.

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.

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