Dev Blog #72: Progress Update - Tutorial, Music, Experienced Mercs - Battle Brothers Developer Blog

Feb
19

Dev Blog #72: Progress Update – Tutorial, Music, Experienced Mercs

With the finishing line in sight, this will be our last regular progress update before the big update on the 29th. Today we’ll cover some more changes to the game and our reasoning behind them: A new introduction and tutorial, new music and the ability to hire experienced mercenaries.

Over the course of next week, our very own Jaysen will start a new Let’s Play series to showcase and explain all the new features, additions and changes made to the game. But for now, read on!

Introduction and Tutorial

What’s the first thing you’re greeted with when starting a new campaign right now? A big wall of text. And then an even bigger one as you pick up the tutorial contract. Being dropped into an open world with little idea of what to do and what the game even allows you to do can be daunting. In fact, the tutorial contract was actually missed by quite a few people in the beginning as they attacked the nearby bandits without hiring a single man, only to get slaughtered. That makes for an odd first impression. What the game needed was a proper introduction that gradually helps the player get into the game and gives context to their role in the world, without being overbearing.

intro

The above is the new very first thing you see when starting a new campaign. This leads into a first battle and a short story about how you end up being the commander of a mercenary company, sets a suitably grim but not hopeless mood, and gives you a tour through the core gameplay loop. It’s presented as a short contract involving several steps and a series of events and dialogs with manageable bits of text and pretty pictures. And it also gives some explanation as to why you aren’t fighting on the battlefield yourself.

During the tutorial the player is introduced to basic combat mechanics without the danger of being instantly slaughtered, learns about hiring new men and buying equipment, camping and repairing, as well as other important aspects. It’s presented as individual characters explaining things and giving their opinions, and it’s all things specific to this game and doesn’t tax your patience with basic stuff like moving the camera. Although we recommend playing through the introduction at least once, it can be skipped after the first few minutes and you’re free to go anywhere in the world you want.

Raid Battle Track

While working on all the new features you’ve read about these past months, our talented musicians from Breakdown Epiphanies haven’t been lazy, either. We’re happy to say that several new music tracks will come with the update, among them one you can listen to right now.

This one is titled the ‘Farm Raiding Battle Track’ and is intended to play when slaughtering peasants and burning down their farmsteads, which is a new thing you may be asked to do with contracts now. It sets a dark and somber mood fitting a scenario like this, and it’s a great track in its own right that will play on various occasions throughout the game – including the very introduction you’ve just learned about.

Hiring Experienced Mercs

Here’s a dilemma: Battles are supposed to be deadly and you’re supposed to be losing men every now and then, yet losing men can hurt a lot in the late game because of the difference in power between fresh recruits and veterans, and because it takes a long time to train up again starting from level 1. We’ve talked about an extended roster as a way to cushion the impact of this in the future, but there’s another thing we’re introducing with the upcoming update: Hiring people that come with a few levels already.

pre-leveled

Depending on their background, recruits may now come with higher starting levels. Finding a fisherman or farmhand with combat experience is pretty much out of the question. Not so with a raider, a retired soldier or a sellsword. These backgrounds can be found with some or even a lot of combat experience under their belt, but they’ll ask to be paid handsomely for it. It’s generally cheaper to build up people on your own than to hire ready-made veterans, and you won’t be able to afford any higher level hedge knights in the beginning. In order to not take away too much from the progression of characters, the maximum level at which recruits may come is currently at 5, and that’s already only for a select few backgrounds.

You’ll be able to distribute the attribute points and pick perks yourself upon hiring one of the more experienced recruits. By alleviating the severeness of losing an experienced man and having to start with a new one, we’re hopeful that players are more open to living with the consequences of their men dying in battle.

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14 comments

  • scaryned
    Feb 19, 2016 @ 18:08 pm

    the music is gorgeous. and this is just a sample of many more?
    you guys really live up to the name of Overhype :D

  • JayneCobb88
    JayneCobb88
    Feb 19, 2016 @ 18:21 pm

    the experienced mercenary solution for the roster issues is brilliant

  • Holy.Death
    Holy.Death
    Feb 19, 2016 @ 18:46 pm

    This is the last regular update? What about 26th?

    • Rap
      Rap
      Feb 19, 2016 @ 18:49 pm

      We’ll be posting Let’s Plays.

      • Holy.Death
        Holy.Death
        Feb 20, 2016 @ 12:53 pm

        Thanks. I subscribed to your YouTube channel.

  • Drustos
    Drustos
    Feb 19, 2016 @ 19:15 pm

    The option to hire experienced mercs is great, the lack of it is actually something I’ve found extremely frustrating in Darkest Dungeon. It’s bad enough when you lose a hero you’ve spent hours getting from the start of the game to the near-finish, with no option to reload the game normally to save them. But it’s so much worse when you pull their level 0 clone in off the Fresh Meatwagon and have to pretend to care about doing it all over again.

  • Kern
    Feb 19, 2016 @ 19:31 pm

    I like being able to hire higher level mercs. Hopefully it’s the beginning of playing iron man being more viable.

    I’m not sure how much I like the explanation for why the player character doesn’t fight. To be honest I was hoping the devs would take an idea suggested on the forums and replace the unseen player character with a captain from the ranks of the in game brothers. Guess we’ll see how I feel about it in about a week when the new patch goes live.

  • screeg
    screeg
    Feb 19, 2016 @ 21:02 pm

    It doesn’t actually take long to train up recruits. The disparity in level is quickly made up with higher distributed XP. More options are good though.

  • Holy.Death
    Holy.Death
    Feb 20, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

    A thought – does this mean that players are encouraged by design to hire certain backgrounds that “fit” in the mercenary role of the company (killers)? Because people were thinking already that it’s better to hire more expensive backgrounds because of stats. Adding experience of top of that is only going to reinforce that trend. Or are you planning on making non-warrior backgrounds to have more perks that help outside combat?

    • McKing
      Feb 20, 2016 @ 21:01 pm

      That’s an interesting point. Cheaper backgrounds would be kind of moot in the late game otherwise, and we would lose any chance of seeing events related with them, which would be a shame.

  • Koranis
    Feb 20, 2016 @ 21:56 pm

    Please, please make the tutorial completely optional. I expect to play the game a lot, starting a lot of new games and getting through the always the same tutorial detracts from the experience, once you know the ropes, even if it’s short.

    Although I agree that currently the game’s beginning is pretty rough, I must say its setup is just so beautiful and simple: you spared enough money to start your own merc company. Nothing melodramatic, business as usual. Elegant and to the point.

    It would be better if the game gave you the possibility to skip tutorial. If you skip, then there you go, you spared enough money for your merc company and the sky is the limit. If you proceed with the tutorial then you get through that melodramatic battle and so on, that teaches you ropes.

    what say you?

    • Holy.Death
      Holy.Death
      Feb 20, 2016 @ 22:32 pm

      From what I can see you can skip it?

      “Although we recommend playing through the introduction at least once, it can be skipped after the first few minutes and you’re free to go anywhere in the world you want.”

      • Koranis
        Feb 21, 2016 @ 0:37 am

        “after first minutes”. You don’t know exactly how much of the tutorial you will be forced to play. Why not make it like many other games do: “Do you want to skip tutorial? Yes/No”. Problem solved.

        • spamtaboo
          Feb 24, 2016 @ 11:50 am

          Completely agree on that. Koranis has a strong point here, forcing player to tutorial is not the best experience.

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