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june alpha update

Part 1

Greetings, Adventurers!

Today's Alpha release is focused on polishing up the gameplay experience and systems, including a heaping pile of bug fixes that span across all aspects of the game—all in preparation for Closed Beta in July and our August 31 launch.

General

  • Fixed 1,209 bugs.

  • Increased Company member limit from 50 to 100.

  • Updated new player quests related to choosing a faction and gathering and refining for the Constable.

  • Added a new series of lore notes in each starting zone with additional revelations about that zone’s Constable.

Progression Updates

In May we rebalanced progression and leveling to introduce a number of new ways for players to advance, such as earning tradeskill levels or territory standing levels and discovering points of interest (POIs) or lore pages. That rebalance resulted in players leveling faster than the content, so we’ve made a few changes to XP gain and leveling.

  • Increased the amount XP from discovering lore pages. We love this new activity and how it rewards exploration, and want to ensure it’s more impactful on progression. Base XP has been increased from 25 to 40, and XP is increased by 10 (up from 5) for every 10 notes discovered.

  • Doubled the XP awarded for discovering POIs. Like lore note discovery, this is a great new source of XP, and we want to pump up the amount it contributes.

  • Increased XP required to level by 40% for all levels after 7.

    • Players in the Alpha are leveling faster than we expected, faster than the content, and as a result, they're missing some cool quests and POIs. The goal of this change is to better align progression with the content in the game.

  • Reduced the XP gained from Corrupted Breaches by 10-20% based on level of the breach. We also decreased the breach spawn speed from 15 minutes to 30 minutes for minor breaches, and from 30 minutes to 60 minutes for major breaches. We love Corrupted Breaches and how they bring players together, but want the feeling to be more about cleansing the area of corruption and then waiting for it to rebuild, not be a constant grind.

  • Reduced the XP from faction missions to compensate for the change in mission structure. In this update we’ve changed faction missions back to the single mission structure. Since they are considerably faster now, we’ve adjusted the rewards accordingly.

  • Reduced the XP from PvP missions by about 20%. The proximity of the mission locations and speed at which players could complete missions led to a quicker rate of XP gain than intended.

  • Arenas will now require one party member to have a Tuning Orb for entry.

    • Increased the rewards for completing an Arena.

    • Like Expedition Orbs, Tuning Orbs will be given during an initial quest and can then be crafted from materials found around Aeternum.

  • Added the crafting missions we removed from faction missions to town projects. Thematically, this felt like a better place for this type of activity.

    • Along with the move to town projects, cooking and armor and armament crafting missions have been overhauled and changed to be more accessible:

      • Requirements here have been made easier for cooking missions, with a maximum of 4 ingredients for any mission and less of each ingredient type.

      • Tuned armor and armament missions to require less of each material.

      • Rather than requiring materials from tier 2 to tier 5, these missions now require materials from tier 1 to tier 4.

  • Raised the cap on the number of active buy and sell contracts to 100 per character.

  • We re-ordered and tuned the list of territory standing bonuses offered at each level:

    • The new order has bonuses more relevant to the early game rolling at the earlier territory standing levels, such as town storage, territory standing bonuses, and XP bonuses.

    • Generally (but not always), standing bonuses should offer a choice between similar things. For instance, one set of bonuses will pick between taxes and fees, while the other set will pick between advancement bonuses such as territory standing bonuses or faction token bonuses.

    • Increased the amount of furnishing points granted by the furnishing standing bonus from 1 to 5.

      • This required a reduction to the overall number of times this bonus is offered. We wanted to stay close to our previous hard cap at max standing, but we also wanted to grant more than 1 point at a time.

Loot & Gear

  • Grey rarity gear no longer binds on equip. This will eliminate the confirmation pop-up when equipping grey rarity gear, which should reduce pop-ups and complexity during the first few levels for new players.

Gear Rewards

We are continuing to add more gear to the game and improve the visual appearance of all gear in the game.

  • Added 50 new armor sets that can be obtained through a variety of in-game activities.

    • Updated visuals, stats, and perks for many of the unique weapons and armor sets that can be found as rewards in the following locations and game modes:

      • Invasions

      • Wars

      • Corrupted Breaches

      • Outpost Rush

      • Lazarus Well

      • Garden of Genesis

      • The Depths

      • Shattered Obelisk

      • Arenas

      • Many endgame Elite POIs

  • The possible perks from each source have been narrowed to give each piece more focus on the benefits they provide. This is intended to reduce the chance of getting a “less than ideal” combination of perks, depending on what kind of character build you are looking to make.

  • Added 27 new trinket rewards for War, Breach, Invasion, and Outpost Rush.

  • Updated the color scheme on a slew of weapons throughout the game:

    • Updated all uniquely colored weapons dropped by Lost enemies.

    • Updated the base set color on spears, rapiers, and great axes dropped by Angry Earth enemies to correctly match the other Angry Earth weapons.

    • Updated the base set color on spears and rapiers dropped by Ancient enemies to better match the other Ancient weapons.

    • Updated the color scheme on the base set of ice gauntlets dropped by all families of enemies to match the colors seen on each of their unique weapon sets.

  • Added two unique tradeskill apparel sets that can discovered throughout Aeternum. These apparel sets will not provide much benefit in combat, but each set is stacked with perks—one set to improve crafting, and the other to improve gathering abilities.

  • Added named weapon drops to the global list of drops that can occur anywhere in the game. These weapons have a low chance to drop, but should add excitement to global drops.

    • The weapons on this list are all bind-on-equip, so they can be traded between players until they are equipped the first time.

Crafting

  • Jewelcrafting: Trinkets are now created with embedded gems that cannot be changed.

  • Jewelcrafting: Added crafting recipes for carnelian and amber trinkets.


UX/UI

Main Menu

The Main Menu and initial character creation flow have received an update. In addition to streamlining the flow and adding key functionality, we wanted to draw players into the world of Aeternum immediately after booting-up the game. Our new main menu displays a new dynamic tile grid, which will surface content updates or important information about the living world of Aeternum. In future versions we hope to be able to deliver streaming video via these tiles, but for now they will open a web browser for more information.

On the new character select screen, you’ll see your available character slots and receive important server messaging before advancing into the game. The world list has been replaced with your character slots, which you have 2 of per region. You now only need to choose a world when initially creating your character.

As a new player, you’ll get a streamlined character creation flow, with a ‘choose a world' step that shows a recommended world choice based on current queue times and if any Steam friends are online and playing on that server. You can optionally expand the world list and choose any world as you can now.

Gameplay UI Polish

Combat UI has been adjusted to provide more information in moment-to-moment gameplay. It should now be easier to tell what types of attacks are being used, how effective the attacks are, and when status effects are being applied.

  • Added icons to floating damage numbers showing the damage type of all attacks.

  • Added indicator and colors to show if an attack has improved or reduced effectiveness against its target due to the attack’s type.

  • Status effects now generate a floating text and icon to clearly indicate the status effect’s name when applied to either players or mobs.

  • Status effect icons are more clear and prominently place above the enemy’s name, rather than on the right side.

 The Compass has had some polish too, including

  • When in a POI, the Compass will display the POI’s name permanently until you exit the POI boundary. Both entrance and exit into a POI now have an SFX cue to aid in recognizing when you can set camp.

  • Distances are now only shown for the compass icon closest to the center of the compass (where the camera is aiming). This improves legibility of distances significantly by removing overlapping text, and allows us to show distances for more icon types.

Character Appearance Options

A plethora of new character appearance options are now available when creating your character including new faces, hair styles, facial hair styles, eye colors, skin features, scars, and tattoos. Here are just a few examples:

Other UX Polish

  • Tooltips no longer cover up the item you’re pointing at. Instead, they clamp to the side of the focused item. In addition, the ‘Actions’ panel has been scaled down and condensed so that tooltips take up less overall room on the inventory screen. Streamlining of the Dye screen and color picker, including the ability to preview colors on the character model by hovering and not clicking on them.

  • Added unique icons for group members instead of identical diamonds with different colors for colorblind accessibility.

  • When accessing a storage shed, you will no longer receive the storage shed informational notification in the upper right corner except on the very first time.

  • Players who are crouched or prone no longer generate a ‘typing’ bubble when communicating in global chat, allowing players to remain stealthy when engaging in open-world PvP.

Combat

Default control scheme update:

We have updated our default control scheme to resolve some combat, PVP, and quality of life issues:

  • Dodge is now bound to [SHIFT] by default.

  • Jump is now bound to [SPACE] by default

  • Removed Sprint as an input, it will now occur automatically.

    • Sprinting will now occur automatically and will not require you to press or hold down [SHIFT] to engage. We’re trying this quality of life change to remove the need of holding down an input for a large amount of the gameplay experience and tiring out your pinky finger.

  • Combat actions will cause a brief time delay before sprinting turns on automatically. We’ve added in these delays to help reduce the run-away game that has been occurring in PvP and to help melee characters close in against ranged opponents by not allowing the opponent to disengage as easily. This will also slightly reduce the ability of players to run in circles while kiting enemies in expeditions. The delays are as follows:

    • You cannot sprint for 1.5s after the beginning of an outgoing attack.

    • You cannot sprint for 2.0s after you are hit by an incoming melee attack.

  • We saw that accidentally performing special navigation (such as hurdling and ledge grabs) was occurring during combat. To perform special navigation now you need to press the jump input, which is by default set to [SPACE]. You will no longer automatically perform special navigation while navigating (unless you enter auto-run mode).

Movement navigation

We have also made updates to player navigation that pair with the default control scheme update. These updates have been made to reduce the sprint jump from being used in combat to gain an advantage, which was never intended. We also needed to allow stamina regeneration during navigation since sprint is now automatic.

  • Removed the roll on sprint-jump unless a player is landing from an elevated height.

  • Sprint-jump no longer exceeds sprint speed.

  • Stamina will regenerate while navigating.

  • Removed the stamina cost from jump.

Block Break, Blocking, and Stamina

Block Break has been updated to be a more disadvantageous state, as our current block break could be used as an advantage during boss fights and trivialized certain encounters. We’ve made updates to our blocking state and stamina regeneration rules to offer a more active version of tanking and to give options to the blocking player:

  • After block break, you will not be able to dodge or block for 3s.

  • Stamina will now reset to full after 3s instead of 1.5s.

  • Players cannot block at 0 stamina.

  • Stamina will not regenerate while blocking.

  • After a player releases block there is a 1s delay before stamina starts to regenerate.

  • Stamina will regenerate while attacking.

  • Default stamina regeneration rate has been reduced from 33 stamina per second to 20 stamina per second.

Death’s Door
  • All damaging, debuffing, and buffing status effects are removed when entering death's door.

    • Timers, food buffs, and other tracking effects are not removed on death's door.

Sheathed and Prone attack updates
    • You can now trigger abilities and attacks directly from the sheathed state. Pressing an ability button while sheathed will now go straight into the attack.

    • Basic attacks and abilities can also be performed directly from the prone position.

Balance

Staves and Gauntlets
  • Lowered base damage of staves by 12% and increased ability damage by 12%.

  • Lowered base damage of the ice gauntlet by 13%, and increased ability damage by 13%.

  • Increased heavy attack damage for staves and the ice gauntlet from 130% base weapon damage to 140% base weapon damage.

Fire Staff
  • Fireball

    • Fireball can now be blocked with a shield.

    • Fireball has been updated to a 3m AoE attack at 125% weapon damage that causes scorched earth.

  • Reheat Pyro Ultimate

    • Reduced Reheat Pyro Ultimate from 500% mana regeneration rate after not using an ability for 5s to 400% after 6s.

  • Incinerate

    • Removed stagger; increased knockback to compensate for stagger removal.

    • Updated functionality so damage over time effects will not heal the player while the Cauterize Wounds modifier is active.

    • Reduced healing to 20% of damage done, as the AoE attack was healing for too much against multiple targets.

  • Prophet of a Fire God

    • Reduced critical damage bonus from 35% to 20%.

Musket
  • Trapper Ultimate

    • Redesigned Compounded Adrenaline to now be Lethal Combo: Grants a 40% base damage increase to musket attacks on targets that have any of the status effects applied by the Trapper tree active abilities.

  • Tactical Reload

    • Extended the cooldown for using Tactical Reload from 2s to 3s.

Ice Gauntlet
  • Replaced Stabbing Winds perk with Unending Thaw: Makes frost effects remain on enemies for 2s after exiting Ice Storm.

Life Staff
  • The Mending Touch passive and Purify modifier for Splash of Light now only remove a single debuff from targets affected instead of all debuffs.

War Hammer
  • Adjusted homing for the heavy attack, so it will direct the player slightly towards the target.

Great Axe
  • Adjusted homing for the heavy attack, so it will direct the player slightly towards the target.

Perks
  • Cruel perk updated to only affect crowd control status effects (root, slows, and stuns) instead of all debuffs.

    • Increased the effectiveness by 2%, from 4/6/8/10% to 6/8/10/12% respectively.