Dev Blog #41: Weapon Durability and New Perks

Mar
23

Dev Blog #41: Progress Update – Weapon Durability, New Perks, Clouds

So much work! Our current focus is on getting the balance right for our upcoming Early Access release and hunting down all those pesky bugs. Over the last two weeks we had two major changes: We’ve added durability of weapons and did a rework of all 42 perks in the game. Also, we managed to squeeze in moving clouds on the worldmap.

Weapon Durability

When playtesting the game and focusing on progression, difficulty and overall balance, we realized that the game is in need of more challenges in the later stages. The player would reach a point where money is obtained too easily through looting lots of weapons and selling them, and there aren’t enough ways to spend the money once you have 12 mercenaries and decent equipment.

To remedy this, we implemented ‘weapon durability’ for all weapons similar to how armor condition already works in the game. Every weapon has a certain amount of durability points which deteriorate on hitting armor as the weapon gets damaged. Hitting unarmored or lightly armored opponents will not deteriorate a weapon’s durability, so a sword won’t ever break from hitting cloth armor. If the durability reaches zero, the weapon will be permanently destroyed. Above that, weapons will be repaired over time on the worldmap just like armor, at a cost of some resources.

weapon durability battle brothers falchion

We were originally hesitant to add a mechanic like this as we wanted to avoid unnecessary micromanagement. As it turned out, however, equipping Battle Brothers was one of the most fun aspects for many people playing the game, and actually not done all that often between battles, so its something we could expand on.

Here is a rundown of further things to know:

  • Weapons don’t break randomly, their current and maximum durability can be seen in the game.
  • Different weapons have different durability, further reinforcing their specialties. While swords inflict more damage against unarmored targets, they’ll break much sooner against well-armored targets than a warhammer does.
  • Weapons don’t usually break in a single battle unless in really drawn-out engagements, against highly-armored opponents or if the weapon in question is seriously ill-suited for making forceful impact with armor (such as a simple knife).
  • There is now more incentive to equip your Battle Brothers with spare weapons and to pick up dropped weapons mid-battle, which was a rare occurence before.
  • Damaged weapons, just as damaged armor, will be sold for a reduced price. Looted equipment will now generally bring less money and no longer be the primary source of income. This makes fulfilling contracts more rewarding over just fighting and looting randomly. It’s a good thing because we don’t want to lose focus on the player being a mercenary.

loot durability condition battle brothers

In conclusion we keep the way of letting you loot what you can see your opponents using, including the odd high tier weapon early in the game. However, these weapons may be damaged now and thus require some investment of resources and time to get to a good condition unless you want to run the risk of them breaking permanently in combat. You’ll still be rewarded for taking on well-equipment opponents, just not as much that it completely turns over balance and progression in the long-run.

This new mechanic seems to work out nicely so far, but we’ll keep a close eye on it for potential further adjustments.

New Perks

We’ve gone through with a complete rework of all 42 perks in the game because the old ones weren’t really cutting it. We really want choosing a perk on levelup always be something to look forward to, a tough decision because there are just so many good looking options. The new perks should give the player more of a reason to really think about how they want to use a certain Battle Brother and what role to specialize in.

Perks are still divided into offense, defense and utility and each tree is divided into three tiers that are unlocked as more points are invested into them. In the third and final tier are two especially powerful perks of which only one can be unlocked. It’s up to you to decide whether to concentrate on one tree to unlock the powerful third tier as soon as possible or go with more of a generalist build with your Battle Brothers.

Previously, all perks were passive and this made for a clean separation between active skills from weapons and passive skills from perks. After some discussion we’ve changed our minds and now there are several active skills that can be unlocked within the perk trees. These skills provide different utility missing before and open up new tactical options – like the ‘Taunt’ skill described below. None of them are attacks, however. Those are still exclusive to the weapons you equip your Battle Brothers with.

So how do these new perks look like? Here’s three examples, one from each tree.

berserk icon battle brothers Berserk (Passive). RAAARGH! Upon killing an opponent, 4 Action Points are immediately regained. Characters can not gain more than their maximum action points, but this perk allows for a rampage especially against fragile opponents.

 

9lives icon perk battle brothersNine Lives (Passive). Has this character survive with a few hitpoints left on taking a killing blow once every battle. A good insurance for your favorite Battle Brother.

 

taunt perk icon battle brothersTaunt (Active). How appropriate, you fight like a cow! Using this skill increases the chance for opponents to take offensive actions instead of defensive ones (such as covering behind their shields), and to attack this character over another, potentially more vulnerable one. The higher this character’s bravery, the more effective the taunting is. This also means that characters with the ‘Cocky’ character trait are better at taunting their opponents.

Not all is good, however. Many enemies in the game make use of those very same perks available to you. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to hear that an Orc Berserker has the ‘Berserker’ perk as well and can go on a true killing spree through your ranks if he ever gets started.

Clouds

While balancing and bug hunting is our focus, we also did a little cosmetic upgrade to the worldmap to have it look more alive and give it some more depth. That upgrade is clouds that gracefully pass over the lands. We’re still working on the exact look but here is a first impression for you.

 clouds_cut2

16 comments

  • Asterix_von_TWC
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 16:03 pm

    Thanks for the update! Big changes, especially in terms of weapon durability — its really good that you can pick up spare weapons off of dead bodies during a battle. Can you taunt undead? This looks really good… although the amount of love you guys have put into this game is rarely precedent in Early Access… and often absent from full releases :D

    Reply
    • Rap
      Rap
      Mar 23, 2015 @ 16:05 pm

      Yes, you can also taunt undead. Think of it more in terms of “getting their attention” than insulting their pride and making them mad ;)

      Reply
  • Jago
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 16:37 pm

    Oh Yeah! Superb update! The weapon durability makes sense. Can weapons break during the battle, or will a weapon with 0% durability break when the battle is over? First is more immersive, but the idea to loose my weapons during the battle scares me – in a good way! :D

    Arms are repaired automatically over time, right? But only the equipment that is worn, so if I want that nice looted chainmail to be repaired I have to equip it? Unequipped items are not repaired? Or can I flag certain items in my inventory as “to-be repaired”?

    The new perks look very nice, too! Have you thought about an analyze-skill that allows you to detect the traits of your enemies? Maybe as an additional utility-skill? Not sure though if that fits.

    The clouds look awesome, great job! I assume there are only so many clouds on the pic for demonstrating purposes, but in-game there should be less. Maybe you could include an option to turn clouds on/off.

    Man, I can’t wait for EA!

    Reply
    • Rap
      Rap
      Mar 23, 2015 @ 21:27 pm

      Weapons can break during battle. Items equipped on characters (including the bag slots) are repaired automatically, items in the stash can be marked to be repaired or not (they aren’t by default). It’s not the most intuitive or clear way of doing this but it’ll do until we have the time to implement this the proper way.

      I don’t think an analyze skill has come up yet. Interesting idea. We don’t have a proper ‘info window’ on enemies yet that would show perks and such. Once we do, we’ll figure out the degree of information we want to show and whether we’ll lock some of it behind thresholds (e.g. information could be unlocked in bits each time you fight a specific enemy and after the tenth or so time you have access to it all), perks or otherwise. I feel this is also a decent opportunity to present ingame lore about different enemies via texts and images showing them from a different perspective.

      Yeah, the clouds are doing their photo pose. They’re still work-in-progress and we’ll see to it that they don’t occlude too much of what is going on in the world.

      Reply
      • Jago
        Mar 24, 2015 @ 0:19 am

        Cool, thanks for the info.

        Reply
  • Malthus
    Malthus
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 18:08 pm

    “Arms are repaired automatically over time, right? But only the equipment that is worn, so if I want that nice looted chainmail to be repaired I have to equip it? Unequipped items are not repaired? Or can I flag certain items in my inventory as “to-be repaired”?”

    If this is true to flag wanted items would indeed be a good idea.

    Reply
  • prithupaul
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 18:35 pm

    Its a brilliant idea. But I hope its balanced in such a way that the early game does not become too difficult because of this.

    The perks look awesome.

    Reply
  • screeg
    screeg
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 21:37 pm

    Are there going to be any special “reward” perks? Like you save a kidnapped nobleman’s daughter so he offers to teach one BB an otherwise unattainable archery perk? How about unusual or unique weapons offered as one-off rewards, or as an alternative to a straight monetary reward?

    Reply
    • Jago
      Mar 24, 2015 @ 0:11 am

      Unique perks, similar to unique/magical equipment sounds like a really good idea! But either they should not be to powerful or very hard to achieve.
      So far there are going to be perks for crippling wounds, like “one-eyed” or “traumatized” for example. It’s probably still far down the road though.

      Reply
    • Rap
      Rap
      Mar 24, 2015 @ 19:37 pm

      Yes, we want to have rare equipment as reward for contracts later on. Not sure about perks. Maybe.

      Reply
  • Zaist
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 23:53 pm

    Really nice update. The durability of weapons is a nice feature. Artefacts are plans ? I really like the loot in game, some random effect can be nice on equipement. But no big deal if it’s not, it seems you have a lot of different gear in this game !

    March is always the aim for the early access ?

    Reply
    • Jago
      Mar 24, 2015 @ 0:17 am

      According to their facebook page, it’s early April now.

      Reply
      • Zaist
        Mar 24, 2015 @ 22:41 pm

        Thank’s Jago ! I don’t follow the news on facebook =)

        Reply
    • Rap
      Rap
      Mar 24, 2015 @ 19:43 pm

      Yes, artefacts – or legendary items – are planned. Those will be quite rare and hard to get, though.

      Jago is right, it’s looking like an early April release currently. It’s not just the game but also the business side of things that is keeping us busy. We’ll let you know as soon as we have a definite release date.

      Reply
      • Zaist
        Mar 24, 2015 @ 22:52 pm

        Really nice. I follow the progress of the game since 8 month, and I really like the care you provide to it, even if it include a retard on the EA.

        Good luck for the realease !

        Reply
        • Rap
          Rap
          Mar 25, 2015 @ 0:33 am

          Thanks for your support! :)

          Reply

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