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Serpent in the Staglands Kickstarter Update #15: Steam Page, Puzzles, Balance, Itemization
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 9 December 2014, 14:58:06Tags: Serpent in the Staglands; Whalenought Studios
Today's Serpent in the Staglands Kickstarter update announces the launch of the game's Steam store page, as promised in Saturday's trailer. It appears that Joe and Hannah have decided not to make it available for purchase as a Steam Early Access title (is that becoming a thing now?) but they will supply Steam keys to backers later on, or GOG keys if they'd prefer that. The update also describes what the Whalenought couple are planning for the game's upcoming 1.5 and 2.0 beta versions. Of particular interest is their description of balance and itemization, which seems like it was inspired by a certain upcoming Obsidian Entertainment title - namely, by certain criticisms of it. I quote:
Upcoming beta 1.5 implements a balance patch for the low-level game. This is resulting in a need for more tactics for your party in the way of coordinating pre-buffs, offensive and defensive skills to overcome enemies (they pack a punch), while continuing to minimize the micro-manging required with pausing frequently. As always we’re designing with the strengths of real-time in mind, which we think is pausing infrequently while issuing macro orders to your party, and have their skills working automatically and together. We’ve had good responses for it thus far, and are continuing to design the same for late game, albeit with much more challenging enemies, potent buffs to hack around, and larger groups. The five coven witches random encounter in the wilderness will look like a tea party later on.
One of the biggest threats to your party, with some ailment exceptions, are skirmishes. With a low level spell caster in your group you can heal your entire party with some time, so the skirmishes, especially later on are fast and hard hitting with a pretty massive RNG-god pulling the strings. The other macro-element of the game working against you is town supplies. Aside from being completely wiped out and losing their potential sellable goods, merchants have a finite number of resources to sell you. Scavenging the settler’s ruins, bandits, and natives will ultimately become your main source of equipment, save the traveling merchants and small-town fletchers you happen across.
The real interesting thing we’re starting to test is how these late level skills can all stack and work together simultaneously. Having enemies with particular stats, defense, and damage dealing skills and spells is one thing, but knowing how a party of 5 with up to 15 skill points worth of skills and spells can augment each other is just as important. There’s a lot of defensive shields and hard-blocks of certain attacks (complete missile, spells, and melee resistances), as well as area effects and ailments to deter even the most powerful party. We’re getting as creative as possible to counter the strategic designs that players can come up with while using such a loose system.
Most of your character’s power comes from your skills and stats, but that doesn’t mean your equipped items are worthless. While there is a range of weapons that have different damage potentials based on their craftsmanship and materials, there are also some exquisite and magical items of power buried throughout the game.
Important items in the game are finite, and unique and rare items are even more difficult to get your grubby, perhaps even pickpocketing, hands on. Bespoke armorers that work with fine bronze, or particularly exotic materials you can bring them, are going to net the best armor in the game. The Staglands settlers are poor, most with little possessions besides the warm furs and tweeds on their back, and these armorers are rare and only work with certain materials, some with only certain statured people. Finding both is part of getting your characters the best equipped as possible, if that’s how you’d want to use your resources and time.
Hard blocks, eh? I see what you did there. Anyway, check out the full update for screenshots and information about the game's puzzles and stuff.