CM diary #19 - 12/12/2021

Hello folks.

These past two weeks have been less busy, sadly, but we’re still hard at work. Yes, we’ll most definitely make it before the holidays. So, let’s quickly go through what’s being done, and a few other tidbits.

When patch?

First bit, and likely the one most of you are reading this for. I’ve teased the contents of this patch before so let me spare you the details, and try to tiptoe my way out of spoiling it more as I outline our progress.

We’re almost done, really.

A few minor kinks aside, the only bit that we’re sitting on now is finalizing some new encounters that proved to be a bit too much as they were. That’s where our time mostly went, as those will be around forever – yes, a permanent event.

As for exactly why it’s taken so long, well. The basic culprits are:

  • New boss mechanics. These new baddies needed to truly be unique, so each one required its own mechanics to stand out from its species. This alone spilled over into map interactions with their own challenges; this one teleports out of map bounds, that one spawns map-specific enemies, and so forth.
  • New old stuff. Similarly, we unearthed more unreleased Flagship assets. While nothing groundbreaking, this stuff we needed to treat with due respect, and implement them properly while also adjusting them for our meta. The Morbid Fang nova is lovely, for instance, but it pierced – remember shrapnel? That, except worse for your initial target.
  • New items. Speaking of, new enemies typically come with new loot to make murdering them worthwhile. Here too we needed to be creative, so we both tapped into underused mechanics and revisited item types or functions that classes and builds might’ve been missing.

An example of our woes you may find just below.

A tale of two Kilijes

…that’s indeed the plural of Kilij, I checked.

So this one’s story is an amusing one worth sharing. I’ll be breaking it down into steps for your convenience.

Step #1. We decided to continue the theme of mechanically unique swords, and quickly settled for a leeching sword. This makes sense, we thought; have BMs use their offensive prowess to survive more, and incentivize Guardians to use their new unsung sword skills. Or use swords at all, really.

Step #2. To do this, we begin with our prototype; “Kilij”. We first attempt to have it use the leeching attack of Bloodblade – and fail. This seems to require scripts and purple-level magic, which we can’t currently evoke.

Step #3. Our next idea comes from the Cabalist skillset; have it trigger Brom’s Curse. This would produce the same effect, surely. But sure enough, this bit failed too - and perhaps it was a bit too radical to entertain under a ticking clock, really.

Step #4. Fine then, let’s stay on Cabalists. Our next idea was to use the Cinderspike mechanic, except have it produce a Vampire Pistol spike instead. This one actually worked, once we created a new base weapon type and a new swing event for it. But well, Hellgate is Hellgate; we soon found it misbehaved. For instance, some skills triggered it and others did not. What’s worse, some enemies exhibited inconsistent behavior too; Moloch wouldn’t be spiked, for instance, as the following video shows.

Step #5. Reaching a dead end with swords and under a ticking clock, we next decide to simply make it a gun. Good enough, we think – so Kilij is reforged, into an Afflictor that’s creatively named “Kilij Reforged”. This one simply uses Vampire Pistol projectiles directly, and hey! It works!

Step #6. …but it works too well, turns out. Giving such a tanky faction regeneration this way starts looking iffy, especially as both skillsets have ways to buff it further. Then let’s separate it from the skillsets; a statstick is far from ideal, but it might still do the job. So we slap some hefty hp regen on it, which of course works – and now we might be able to turn it back into a sword, at that.

Step #7. …but wait. Our new Unconquered Sun also has massive hp regen. The faction also has great choices in this regard, such as Maeyan’s Revival and Face of the Crusader. Perhaps this will be overboard, and poison blocks regen anyway. We’re not ticking enough boxes with this now.

Step #8. How about we move away from hp then, and look for other defensive tools. Armor seemed iffy right from the start, and there’s already Yahtel’s Fist and Wart’s Peg Leg for that. Shields on either swords or guns were unprecedented though, so we went for that.

Step #9. …no, that’s not good enough or unique enough. Just as we lost hope, one of our testers rightly pointed out the faction has no way to reduce shield regen delay. Aha! So there we go, this one actually works well enough; it provides something unique and incentivizes using one or two.

Step #10. But does it? How will it deal damage or be worth dual-wielding? Which builds will really make some use of this? Here, I revisited our Discord to dig up another tester’s public feedback on BM guns. This sufficed; here’s the role this gun should have, and roughly what else it should do. So I changed its projectiles, tweaked RoF and affixes and values, and there we go!

So, what started as a leech sword ended up as a BM Group Attack sidearm and a decent Gundian gun, with a unique defensive benefit of its own. Due to necessity, time, and new creative input throughout.

This is the kind of journey that some items will have to go through. Not most of them, thankfully, but a few will. So now you know we don’t just do an affix lottery and go with that; most items come with serious consideration, long bits of trial and error, and revisions informed by our testers’ work. And that’s where much of our time needs to go – you’ll be facing some formidable enemies, so they must be carrying some formidable items.

Surveys

Finally, it’s been a long time since our last survey. To address this and collect more consolidated feedback to inform our course, we’ve been thinking about conducting more surveys in the immediate future; one to gauge our Beta direction thus far, and more patch-specific ones when need be.

If this idea appeals to you, please let us know below.

FIN

And with that I may leave you, brave survivors. Until next time, happy hunting.

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