Best gift ever.
Yesterday was my birthday. Today is my first day as a 42-year old guy and my first day as a free man. I quit my job. No, it's not a mid-life crisis, it's about commitment. I want to spend the next 6 months (or so, it's not a deadline) being focused on nothing but the game and thoroughly enjoying each day. Yes, I'm well aware that the game probably won't sell a lot. Alchemy
The alchemy is almost ready. We'll be starting a beta test next week. Crafting was about adding numbers to weapon's and armor's stats. Alchemy brings something very different to the table and it will give you different ways to approach combat. I know that many of you have grudges against the Aurelian guards who killed you a dozen or so times with extreme prejudice, which made you feel small and angry. Imagine how good it's gonna be to come, holding a black powder clay bomb, throw it at them and yell "Konichiwa, bitches!"Changes to the system
We're also fucking around with a lot of things we probably shouldn't. The list of things that bother us is long. These things reflect various mistakes made during development, ideas that we thought were good at the time, or just give fixes that sorta worked and thus went down on the priority list.
Normally, we leave these things alone as we don't have time to revisit everything, but every now and then the feedback we get pushes an item to the very top of the list, where it gets immediate attention. The item of the month was shields.
Originally, the basic combat design was "hard to hit, easy to kill dodgers vs easy to hit, hard to kill heavy armor guys". It was a decent idea on paper, but it required a skill to balance Dodge. I don't recall now why we didn't go with Armor (maybe because it doesn't make much sense), but we went with Block instead. Sort of worked, but not quite. Heavy armor guys would block many attacks and the armor would absorb a chunk of what gets through, which made them much harder to kill than was envisioned originally.
Shields gave you a bonus to Block, which made sense, as it's easier to hide behind a tower shield than to block with a buckler. It made shields too powerful though and so we added the splitting mechanic and, eventually, replaced the Block bonus, with a vsSplitting stat. Of course, the problem is that splitting is only a factor when you run into an axeman, and since we can't have axemen everywhere, we added a chance to split to two-handed weapons. Of course, without the bonus to Block, large shields have become sort of useless, adding insult to injury.
Now, kids, this is a good example of how a small mistake gets patched and patched, until it grows into a half-assed feature, like a snowball of bad design rolling down the hill. You can ask "How did you fuck it up? Didn't you guys see it a mile away?" The answer is, it's very easy to miss things when you're working on ten things at once. It's much easier to patch things up quickly than trace the problem all the way back and consider all possibilities.
Anyway, as long as we're willing and eager to fix our mistakes, it's all good. Right?
So, the main problem was that shields were absorbing all damage. You could be hit with a big-ass two-handed hammer, but as long as you managed to get your buckler under that hammer, you were fine. But not anymore. Now, shields get their very own DR stat, which will be added to your armor or helmet DR on a successful block. The bonus to Block stat is back, because *now* it works. Heavy armor blockers will no longer be too powerful. They will still enjoy superior protection but they won't be nearly invincible at high levels.
This change will too be rolled out in R3.
What's next on our list of tweaks? Something that Oscar and I are *very* excited about. Not changing it has been my biggest regret about the game for the last 2 years. I would have left it alone, but there's been a lot of complaints about it, so we're exploring it at the moment, but so far it looks really, really good.Maadoran quests
Finished tweaking them, thank God. It was a massive amount of work, but the quests are a lot more complex and interesting than Teron's quests. Everyone's scheming. Teron is a sleepy little place by comparison, which makes sense considering that Maadoran is the equivalent of a capital city. Ganezzar is somewhere between Teron and Maadoran. Less intrigue, more religious fanatism.
Also, finished extra content to match what we added to Teron, which includes everyone's favourite son of a bitch - Miltiades. I did two drafts but didn't like them and then I got it - it was beautiful, vicious, and perfect. You guys gonna love it.Guest of the month
Our guest of the month is Darista, the guildmaster of the Boatmen in Maadoran. Unless I'm mistaken, she is the first (but not the last) female character (that has a well defined role and her own portrait) in the game. Since AoD is not a politically correct game, it makes sense that in that setting women don't enjoy equal rights and only the hardest bitches get to a position of power.
She brought the guild to the service of Lord Gaelius, which creates an opportunity for a conflict within the guild itself (on top of all the usual scheming and plotting), so if you feel that only a man should lead the guild, you'll be given an opportunity to work toward that outcome as well, you chauvinist fucking pig, you.
I'm posting two dialogue sequences - an intro to the first quest and a "background" conversation from another quest briefing.
That's the new and improved arena, btw.
The second sequence:
Well, that's about it, folks. Thanks for your support and your patience.