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.
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.
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.