Hello everyone. Today we’d like to share with you some news about the overall progress of the game. For the past several months we’ve been intensively testing the game with our internal QA, and also with complete strangers.
Click on above picture to open photo gallery.
The tests revealed that we needed to make some more changes which would let us reach even more casual players, and yet keep the immersion and depth. In fact, there have been so many changes that we’ll have to split them into at least a couple of blog posts. So, let’s keep it short and get to the point…
The first and the most important change is that we’ve added a very nice ending touch to the session – the great tournament!
In the great tournament, every player is going to fight one duel against every other player. In duels, players don’t die. They don’t lose anything. After each duel, the players get back every card and item they used, and begin another duel against another player. The key point of the tournament is to get a chance for a special achievement which gives some additional Victory Points at the end of the game.
One strategy to win the game is to aim for min maxing your character and wipe all other players in the tournament. However, that might be not enough as other players may still manage to get more VPs from other achievements gained during the adventure part of the game.
We’ve balanced the session duration, and now it’s exactly half of the previous number of days (turns).
Now it’s only 22 days instead of 44. We took into consideration how many things the player is capable of doing, how many main quests you can complete, and how many dungeons it is reasonable to loot within a single session – and now it feels just right. Shorter sessions meant that we had to reduce the max player level. Now it’s 4 instead of 5:
Above you can see the experience bar with 4 levels instead of 5.
We’ve completely changed the look of the dungeon book. We wanted to be clear and simple with all dungeons, and that’s why in the previous version it was just 1 sheet of paper with all the dungeons squeezed together. However, it turned out hard to read and hard to share between all players. Now it’s a small book in a format around A5, with a nice summary and an interesting description of each dungeon. Each player will have their own copy.
Improved dungeon book prototype. Unfortunately not in English yet.
Keep in mind that this is the very first version of the book. It is going to be improved.
We didn’t want to put too many fancy descriptions into the dungeon book. It’s just enough to give a nice touch, and yet not to make the session lengthy because of players reading those texts. Remember that players don’t have to read the whole dungeon book. There are icons of prizes drawn on the map.
Plan your journey with a finger on the map, and see what you can get by making a stop on each location. Then open the dungeon book on locations of your interest and read the details behind the challenge.
Previously, with every few points spent on an attribute, player received a little “extra bonus” described on the rotatable plate. We’ve removed this bonus.
Old attribute plates (sorry for the Polish version – that’s the last old screenshot we’ve found)
New and simplified attribute plates
We’ve compensated the removal of those “extras” in some other way. Now you won’t see the benefits of raising the attributes immediately, but you’ll feel them over the time in various situations. We’ve reworked almost all magical scrolls, many combat cards, player skills, talents, etc. It’s all to compensate for the removal of those “extras”, but without losing the feeling that raising your less important attributes will still give you some benefits.
Example of a magical scroll card – healing strength depends on the amount of intellect.
So if you’re a strong warrior, raising your intellect by a point or two may give you some small bonuses by for example making your healing spell stronger.
As you’ve noticed in the above example, the magical scrolls have no longer 2 versions. Here is an example of the old scroll:
The scrolls used to have a weak version for players who do not have the dominant intellect, and a strong version for mages. In the new version, the more intellect, the stronger effects the scrolls have.
Some scrolls can be used only by powerful mages:
Unfortunately, this nice and immersive touch also went away.
Changes between the old and the new version on an example of a weapon card.
Now you have simply a limit to the number of cards that you can have in your inventory (backpack), and that is set to 5.
Above, you can see the result after removing weight from game. Once again – apologies for the Polish version on the left as it was made long before the changes.
Also, the manufacturing costs of the player panel will be lower, because there will be 1 less rotating plate that used to act as an aid in counting your weight.
Now your dominant attribute gives different skill.
New skills from primary attributes
If you’re strong (in the above example, strength has the highest value), you can get extra 3 item cards in your backpack. If you’re agile, you’ll get 1 extra determination point, and if you’re intelligent, then you’ll get +2 more trinkets and companions. Also, your dominant attribute skill is decisive for your basic pool of combat cards. 4 CC of strength, or 4 CC of agility or 4 CC of intellect. Before, the bonus was written somewhere else but now we’ve put it as a part of the primary attribute skill, so it’s easier to understand and remember.
In the previous version, your intellect gave exactly the same profit but it was gradual. It was raised at every few points of intellect. Now it’s a constant value. However, the previous skill of dominant intellect was very important, because it made it easier for wizards to get magical scrolls out of your trinkets. We’ve compensated that in a different way. Now wizards are treated a bit specially in each temple of knowledge. That’s where you can get some magical services done for free, like the transmutation of any unwanted item from your backpack into trinkets and magical scrolls.
After the latest set of improvements, determination points are no longer tokens that you flip upside down every time you lose or regain a point.
Old determination tokens
New determination tokens
We’ve moved them to the same spot where you keep your vitality points. Now you just shift them left or right. They’re too important and became very much tied to the combat tactics to lay so far away in the corner like they did before. We plan to have both tokens – vitality and determination – as a wooden meeples.
If you have read one of our older blogs, each character had weak points and special abilities in the form of tokens. You slid it in order to activate it…
We’ve removed them. Or at least the fact that you can slide them. They gave an amazing feeling of RPG PC games, in which the player could activate a special state (positive or negative) and get it as an “icon” over their portrait. However, after the recent simplifications we’ve realized that it’s better if they are no longer physically toggleable.
Completely reworked Weak Points and Special Abilities.
Instead, we’ve managed to bring back an immersion that we lost at some point. Activating weak points gives you permanent disability that is a strategic disadvantage if activated during the combat, but also weakens you in the long-term perspective, forcing you to rush to the inn in order to rest and regenerate, or use mixtures to remove some of the debuffs. In the current solution it is no longer possible to forget that you have a debuff because the player actually moves specific tokens, like vitality, determination or food, to a spot on the left side of your character portrait and those tokens are no longer available for use until you regenerate.
It is worth noticing that every player now has the same 3 weak points. However, special abilities still vary between characters.
Also, without the old slidable tokens there are fewer elements to set up at the beginning of the game, and the manufacturing costs go down a lot.
This is just a tip of an iceberg of changes we’ve done recently. We’ll continue listing them in the next development diary of the Descendants of Volos board game.