It’s been a long time since last time, indeed. So, for the first diary of the year, without fluff and peripherals, here’s what’s been going on with the now-fabled upcoming expansion.
This time, I feel it’s best to break progress down into three distinct groups. That’s because, even though I’d rather avoid fluff, here I believe some commentary is necessary to contextualize what’s being done.
#1 A better entry point and more loops
First came a setback, implementation-wise, in that we realized the content’s plot and structure needed polish. This was so we better aligned it with the expansion’s goals of providing both solo-friendly content, alongside a St. Paul’s-like experience for endgame solo players, and distinctly party-based content, alongside more gameplay loops to keep players interested. Said loops were also needed elsewhere, so candidates are also being explored for other areas.
So this is indeed a setback, in that it introduces more work. However, we strongly believe this new form will make the new content better and make for a better-structured experience. It also directly translates to more content, compared to the previous version, so there’s also that.
Finally, since this directly ties to the SP/MP dichotomy, here it also bears noting that we very much keep the solo player in mind as well. Older content (including the entirety of the Nightmare playthrough) will become more approachable, hopefully also constructing a more logical ladder in the process.
#2 New assets, old confusion
Second come all the additions and changes we’ve managed to see to. You’ve likely caught glimpses of many if you’re in our Discord server, but consolidating some great examples here should be useful.
- More minion stats. Minion builds have always largely felt too simple, in that only 3 minion stats exist (and one, +damage, is largely the impactful one). This we’re slowly managing to change, by introducing +minion sfx affixes and +stat affixes for specific minions. Everything is a WIP, of course, but that these have even become possible is a step forward in itself.
- More clarifications. Despite our efforts so far, bits of the game remain obscure and unclear. Examples of our new efforts here include the distinction between “remote” and regular novas, guns with extra bullet chances displaying this internal element, and weapons with arc displaying this attribute (alongside external modifications). In total, we hope such changes make the game as transparent as possible, so players of all experience levels can accurately know what they’re using or working towards.
- More items. And finally, a combination of the above allowed us to take deeper looks into new items and their weight in the current game environment. With more options available, we may craft more appealing items for different playstyles and ones which address underperformers without sweeping balance changes. Entire sets along these lines, perhaps.
These assets also include more voice work – not the entire package, as some of us have still not gotten to recording our share, but still more from willing contributors. Friendly reminder here, if you’d like to contribute your share for fame eternal you can find the relevant thread here.
#3 New tools
And lastly, while time is still a luxury, there’s been progress as regards our internal tools. If all goes well, we’ll soon have more (and more efficient) ways to tackle challenges and shape up new content, both the piece in our hands and ones to come.
I understand this may not seem like exciting news, and it doesn’t directly affect players in any way. But it really is a major boon, since a vast amount of work has to be done experientially or manually without even an autofill option for individual fields.
For my favorite example, the addition of Group Attack damage to slower swords had to be done manually, typing out the entire affix definition on each individual sword. That’s why time is such a recurring theme in such progress reports; such work really takes up too much time, and that’s even assuming the approach is deemed acceptable by the game itself. Which is often …not the case.
And there you have it. This thing is indeed taking its time, pun not intended, but it’s steadily shaping up into our absolute biggest piece of work yet. It includes new affixes, enemies, and content, large-scale adjustments, and an array of much-needed clarifications. It’s gargantuan and it’s treading new ground, beyond the expansion itself – and progress is indeed being made, slowly but surely.
Until next time, all the best to you brave hunters.