Oct
12

Dev Blog #108: Consumables

As you’ve learned in our dev blog about crafting, you’ll soon be able to create potions. How do these fit into the game and the gameworld, and how do they work? And what about the ability to paint shields and helmets while we’re at it? All this and more in this week’s edition of our devblog for the upcoming ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC. Let’s go!

Consumables

There’s two types of consumables you’ll be able to use.

The first one you’re already familiar with – take, for example, Antidote or Goblin Poison into combat, use them in combat, benefit from them in combat. Apart from adding lots of new consumables, there’s one thing we’re changing about these in general: They no longer go into the accessory slot, but instead can be used from any of the bag slots. This way, it’s a lot more convenient to carry and use things like bandages without having to switch things around in the inventory, and using accessories like wardogs no longer prevents you from also using bandages at the same time.

The second and new type of consumables are those used exclusively on the worldmap. They can’t be equipped by your characters, but while on the worldmap, you can drag them onto the currently selected character to use them on this particular character. These include armor attachments, potions and paint items. You can identify these types of consumables by the ‘+’ on their inventory icon, and there’s also a new filter category so that they don’t get lost betweenst your other possessions. Let’s take a more detailed look on potions and paint items, then.

Potions and Drugs

Battle Brothers has always been low fantasy, and we’ve deliberately established this asymmetry of a mercenary company composed of ordinary men, led by the player, who sometimes have to fight even supernatural enemies with their earthly means. That’s a pillar of the game’s setting, and it’s not going to change. That said, we still believe that in a quasi-medieval world there’s a place for alchemy and potions while keeping things grounded for the player.

Take the ‘Potion of Knowledge’. It’s a fancy name and what it promises borders on the mystical. Take a look at the accompanying status effect, and you’ll see that things aren’t always what they seem. It’s a matter of perspective, and it’s how we’re handling potions in Battle Brothers. They’re essentially drugs.

So, with that established, here’s the deal: You’ll be able to craft both potions for use in combat, as well as potions for use on the worldmap. Potions for use in combat give benefits such as a temporary bonus to a specific attribute, let the user ignore freshly suffered injuries or see at night. Potions for use on the worldmap include faster experience gain, as you’ve seen, wound treatment, and one particular effect that many people have been asking for for a long time. Of course, the more powerful the potion, the more rare the ingredients. And because all of those are essentially drugs, there’s always the chance of overindulgence and addiction.

Paint Items

Another type of consumable which can’t be crafted, but can be bought and looted, are items with which to paint your shields and helmets in the colors of your company. Helpful also, perhaps, to establish specific color schemes for specific roles in your company.

Share
Oct
05

Dev Blog #107: The Alp

The upcoming ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC will add a variety of new beasts to the world of Battle Brothers, and we want to provide a good mix of opponents that are straight-forward to fight, and opponents that offer a more complex challenge which can’t be solved with heavy armor alone. This week we’ll take a look at the second and last spellcaster of the expansion coming soon to haunt your dreams: The Alp. Let’s go!

The Alp

In German folklore, the Alp is a malicious creature responsible for nightmares. In fact, to this day the German word for nightmare is ‘Alptraum’. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that the themes for the Alp in Battle Brothers are sleep and nightmares.

The Alp is a pale and haggard creature. It encroaches on settlements in the cover of night, invading the sleep of its helpless inhabitants with ghastful visions, and feeding on the fear and anguish of its victims like a parasite. Scholars speculate that Alps didn’t always look and behave like they do now; most Alps have eye sockets, but no eyes, and mouths with teeth, but only a rudimentary digestive system. Their pale skin peels like old parchment, their bones are frail, and their insides are dark and show signs of decay. Perhaps the Alp is the victim of an ancient curse, or perhaps it simply evolved from a different creature to the nocturnal predator it is now. Whatever it is, don’t fall asleep!

The Alp has two synergizing skills. The first one is called ‘Sleep’ and is an area of effect spell that can have multiple targets at once fall into an unnatural sleep. The spell can be resisted with a successful resolve check by those determined enough to stay awake, but anyone failing it will gain the ‘Sleeping’ status effect. Sleeping characters can not act, and they can’t evade or block attacks. There’s a chance that characters will awaken on their own each turn, based on their resolve and on for how long they’ve been asleep already. In addition, taking damage will wake a character immediately. Most importantly, however, any characters next to them can use the new ‘Wake Ally’ skill to reliably wake them – making cooperation and smart positioning essential when trying to beat an Alp.

The second skill of the Alp is called ‘Nightmare’ and can only be cast on a single target which is currently affected by the ‘Sleeping’ status effect. A character trapped in one of these unnatural nightmares can not act and, as dreadful visions slowly eat away at their sanity, will continually lose hitpoints each turn, the amount of which depends on their resolve. Unlike with the ‘Sleeping’ status effect, a character will never awaken on their own, and not even taking damage will break the nightmare’s hold. The only way to make it stop and save a character from eventually dying in their sleep is a nearby ally using the ‘Wake Ally’ skill. Because only sleeping characters can be affected, you can see at a glance who is threatened by the Alp, and there is a clear counterplay in denying the Alp the opportunity of using its most powerful skill.

Alps feed on the fear and terror of the victims they haunt, and grow stronger by it, but the only way they can actually hurt someone is in their sleep. The more characters sleeping and suffering from nightmares on the battlefield, the otherwise physical body of the Alp shifts into the realm of dreams, where he is untouchable. Alps have relatively fragile bodies, and no means to fight in melee at all, but existing partly in the dreams of their victims, they can become very hard to kill. Mastering your own fears and not letting your brothers succumb to sleep, then, becomes essential in order to take away an Alp’s source of power, lest you want to fight a nightmare come manifest.

Share
Sep
28

Dev Blog #106: Legendary Locations

We’ve covered the ‘beast’ part of the upcoming ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC quite a bit already, but we’ve only touched upon the ‘exploration’ part here and there. Let’s take a look this week at a major feature that’s going to make exploration in the world of Battle Brothers more interesting and worthwhile: legendary locations.

Legendary Locations

Legendary locations are supposed to capture the flair of unique and mythical places in the unknown parts of the world. It’s giant overgrown statues and hidden temples. Remnants of a different age. Places that people think only exist in myth, until they see them with their own eyes. Places that give insight into what happened in the world of Battle Brothers before your campaign.

There’s two places already in the game which we consider to fall into this category: The Black Monolith and the Goblin City, both offering a very challenging battle and a legendary item as reward. We’re going to add an illustrated introduction to both of them, as well as a powerful named opponent to one of them. But more than that, we’re adding a whole bunch of new locations, many of them more complex, scattered all across a world map that is about to become 25% larger in order to have sufficient room for exploration and hunting all of those new beasts.

Instead of just two legendary locations, you’ll be able to find about a dozen now in every campaign. Upon first approaching any such place, an event will be triggered. These events vary in complexity, and some will lead to epic battles, like with the Black Monolith, while others give opportunity for peaceful exploration, interaction and perhaps even puzzle solving. A couple of these legendary locations are intended as challenges only for very experienced mercenary companies and guarded by powerful creatures or armies, but most can be mastered at earlier stages of a campaign. As a general rule, the more distant a location from civilized lands, the more challenging it will be. All of them will offer a unique reward for the daring explorer that can’t be obtained in any other way, and which is suitably powerful for existing only once in every campaign.

With exploration becoming more rewarding, we’re also adding several new ambitions that focus on exploration, uncovering legendary locations and besting a legendary beast we have yet to reveal. And if you’re looking to get paid for all this exploration business, you might be interested to learn that there’s also a new exploration-themed contract coming together with a bunch more for a total of 10 new types of contracts in the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC.

Share
Sep
21

Dev Blog #105: Additions & Changes

The update accompanying the upcoming ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC will bring with it a host of minor additions and improvements. Each of these may not be big enough to warrant a blog post of its own, but together they make for a nice bouquet of things to look at. Let’s do so this week!

New Settlement Situations

We’re adding a total of 23 new settlement situations. Some of them will be linked to new contracts and new beasts terrorizing villages, but most of the new situations occur randomly for specific types of settlements and make for a more dynamic economy. Cities can have big fairs now, mining towns can suffer cave-ins or discover particularly rich veins, fishing towns can lose boats at sea or have their fishers return with full nets, public executions and local holidays provide entertainment for the masses, and refugees during a late game crisis put a strain on local economies. Settlements now rebuild their burned-down attached locations, such as outlying farms, by first gathering building materials, and are willing to pay good coin for it. All of this means that opportunities to buy, sell and hire may change over the course of a campaign.

Hiring Changes

When looking at the list of potential recruits, you now have the option to give each individual a tryout, meaning a proper inspection to reveal all of their character traits. The cost of giving a tryout scales with the hiring fee of the recruit, but it’s probably a good idea to conduct a tryout for your more expensive hires.

Being able to see a potential recruit’s character traits will come in even more handy because we’ve also added 13 new character traits to the game.

New Retreat Mechanics

There’s a couple of things less than ideal with the current retreat mechanics. In order to safely retreat, you have to manually move your men to the edges of the map, but doing so, especially if the enemy is unable to catch you, can be quite tedious. On the other hand, you’re able to instantly teleport all your men to safety at the cost of only one temporary injury. That’s going to change.

The new mechanics work like this: If your men are already on the edges of the map, you’ll safely retreat as before. If they aren’t, they’ll now attempt to speedily move to the edges of the map automatically and by themselves until either they succeed or die. While this is going on, they’ll get a defense bonus for moving through zones of control, the amount of which scales with the chosen difficulty level. They can still fail at getting away, get shot in the process and whatnot, but there’s a reasonable chance that they succeed, so that retreating always remains an option. Once they reach the edge of the map, they’ll instantly retreat to safety and don’t stick around to wait for the others, so things are also less congested than before.

The new mechanics speed up the process of safely retreating quite a bit if the enemy isn’t able to close the distance anyway, but it also means that you can’t just teleport everyone to safety anymore if you’re already engaged. The skill and equipment of your men, your positioning, and who you’re fighting against now all have an impact on your chances to retreat unscathed, and it’s no longer just random injuries for everyone.

End Round Button

See that button below? Clicking it (or using the hotkey) and confirming your choice in the following dialog will have all your men skip their turns for the current round. If you’re just waiting for the next round, this can help speed things along.

Improvements to AI

Adding new types of enemies with their own AI is a great reason to also revisit the AI of existing enemies. With the coming update, all enemies will benefit from better positioning and better coordination amongst their ranks. They’ll be better at protecting their vulnerable units, changing between offensive and defensive strategies, and identifying bait from the player. Good thing you’re getting those new weapons, then!

Share
Sep
14

Dev Blog #104: The Schrat

Hostile plant life makes its entry into the world of Battle Brothers in this week’s edition of our dev blog for the upcoming ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC. Get your axes ready!

The Schrat

The Waldschrat, or Schrat for short, is a fabled living tree found in the most remote forests of the world. A creature of bark and wood, it resembles no other, and its mind is truly alien. It blends between trees and shambles slowly, its roots digging through the soil. A frightening night time story tells of how trees watered with the blood of the unjustly killed turn into twisted living trees, out to strangle and choke the life out of children that don’t behave.

A Schrat can grow limbs at a whim, and so they grow and regrowth what resembles a wooden shield to protect their more vulnerable parts. While this shield is up, they’ll be much harder to hit and damage. The shield can be destroyed like any other with the ‘Split Shield’ skill, and doing so will reveal the Schrat’s much softer innards; although Schrats can be destroyed either way, they’ll take significantly more damage without the shield’s protection. In a surprising twist, then, axes are particularly useful against trees.

A Schrat attacks by slamming its thorned roots up from below ground, knocking up and impaling whatever is above ground. It’s an area of effect attack that always hits three tiles in a straight line, starting from the tile the Schrat sits on and going outwards along how their roots grew. Anyone hit will receive the ‘Staggered’ status effect – they’ll be off-balance, scrambling and late to act for their next turn. The Schrat has the potential to inflict a lot of damage when hitting three targets with a single attack, but they’re much less dangerous if you use smart positioning and work around their limitation of only being able to hit multiple targets if they’re in a straight line from it.

If a Schrat takes sufficient damage from a single blow to sever a large enough part of them, it will spawn a Sapling upon hitting the ground. They’re miniature Schrats that are much weaker, at least until they’re fully grown in a hundred years or so, but they can still whittle your men down. It’s a trade-off then; fight Schrats with heavy weaponry and they’ll die quicker, but you’ll also have to fight Saplings. Fight with light weaponry, and it’ll take longer to beat down a Schrat, but you won’t have to fight Saplings as well.

Share
Sep
07

Dev Blog #103: Crafting

You may be wondering by now why you’d even want to take on some of the dangerous new beasts coming to Battle Brothers. Why risk your favorite guy getting charmed by a Hexe and hacking your other men to pieces? Well, firstly, because people will pay you to. And secondly, because the slain beasts will provide you with trophies from which to craft unique items. Let’s delve into the details!

The Taxidermist

Battle Brothers had crafting events for a long time – things like a tailor being able to craft unique armor from the pelts dropped by Direwolves. This was fine before, because those events were primarily supposed to just add flavor to particular backgrounds. However, if we’re going to have crafting as a full gameplay mechanic, the game needs to have a more reliable way for you to craft what you want to and when. We’re keeping some of the crafting events for flavor, but for most things we’re introducing an entirely new crafting system.

The way it works is this: Every beastly opponent comes with a couple of new trophy items, and which one you can proudly claim upon slaying them is randomized. Existing beasts like the Direwolf, Nachzehrer and Lindwurm also receive a loot overhaul if you have the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC installed. These trophies can then be taken to a new building found in settlements across the world: The taxidermist. No worries, you’ll have a bit more room in your inventory so that things don’t get too crowded with all the new loot while you’re on your way there.

For a price, the taxidermist is able to create all kinds of new items that suitably reflect your achievements in big game hunting from the trophies that you bring him – charms, cloaks, armor plating, armor for your wardogs, shields, antidotes, drugs, and more. At first, you’ll only see a list of things for which you have all the necessary components to craft in your inventory, so you should drop by every now and then with your new trophies to see what can be done with them. Once you’ve crafted an item, however, you’ll always see its ‘recipe’ and all the necessary components, missing or not, so you’ll know exactly what you need to get in order to craft another one.

Fighting beasts is about to become much more rewarding, which in turn means more variety in the battles that you should pick, even in the early game. Of course, the more powerful the item to craft, the more and the more rare trophies you’ll need to provide. And here we first touch upon the exploration aspect of the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC; even though some of the new beasts will be quite common, the most valuable trophies will be found only by defeating the strongest of beasts, lurking in the wilderness far away from civilization. If you want to get the ultimate hunting trophies, you’ll have to venture out and explore the unknown corners of the world!

Armor Customization

So what’s so great about these items that you can craft? Well, one of the major new things that the taxidermist can create for you are attachments with which to customize your armor.

What says ‘I myself bested a giant beast of the frozen wastes’ better than donning its fur as a cloak for everyone to see? You’ve seen the Unhold with its white fur. Go and collect that fur as a trophy, bring it to the taxidermist and have him craft you a cloak out of it. This cloak can then be permanently attached to any armor of your choosing. Not only will it make you look like a veteran mercenary badass, each armor attachment also gives a particular benefit – for example, a fur cloak may make the wearer more impervious to ranged attacks, while replacement padding spun out of a certain creature’s silk may make an armor lighter. It means new choices for a mercenary commander, because a single armor can only be adorned with a single attachment.

Not all armor attachments need to be crafted. We’re also adding a couple of more common ones made out of metal and leather which you’ll be able to buy in shops and loot from places across the world. Those add additional protection and weight to any armor they’re attached to, but generally at a better ratio than using straight-up heavier armor. Also, they allow for more visual customization of your men, which is always nice.

Share