Jul
10

Dev Blog #143: Nomads

With the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC releasing on August 13, we’ve now entered the final leg of development. We’re currently ironing out all the bugs and balancing issues, and we’ll be able to show you actual gameplay in motion before release. For now, let’s take a look at a new human faction that we only mentioned in passing so far. Read on!

Nomads

The southern deserts are dominated by mighty city states that impose their will on the surrounding lands. Outside their gates lies barren wasteland that is home to another people, called the Nomads. They’re a proud and free people that reject the strict and sometimes oppressive city state laws, their harsh criminal system and their corruption. But by doing so, they also reject the many achievements of the city states, which, for all their flaws, are also a place where knowledge and science have displaced superstition, where there is stability and order, and where there is food and water aplenty.

Nomads travel the barren desert from one source of water to the next, hunting and scavenging, and living the freedom that they chose. Faced with surviving in this harsh environment, many nomads turn to banditry. It’s not all of them, of course, but as a mercenary in this world it’s who you’ll be dealing with most of the time. Nomads have a roster of their own, roughly similar to that of northern brigands, but with their own equipment and a unique skill.

Home in the desert and experienced in desert warfare, nomads use the environment to their advantage. Quite literally, in that they may throw sand in the faces of their opponents, inflicting the new ‘Distracted’ status effect. A distracted target will inflict less damage and have less initiative for a single turn.

Cutthroats and Outlaws

Nomad Cutthroats and Nomad Outlaws are roughly equivalent to Brigand Thugs and Brigand Raiders. They tend to have less armor than their northern cousins in crime, but are more evasive, and their cultural pride affords them a slightly higher resolve and thus makes them slightly harder to break.

Wearing traditional nomad armor fashioned from leather and hemp, they’re armed with commonly available southern weapons like saifs, scimitars and spears, but they also make use of whips in battle and use the nomad mace not found elsewhere.

Slingers and Archers

Nomad Slingers and Nomad Archers are roughly equivalent to Brigand Poachers and Brigand Marksmen. Slingers are armed with nomad slings, a different variant of the regular staff sling, while archers use the composite bow. This bow has lower range than regular bows, but performs better against armor, putting it in between regular bows and crossbows on the spectrum.

Leaders and Specialists

Larger congregations of nomads are led by a Nomad Leader, roughly equivalent to a Brigand Leader, and may also be supported by higher tier specialists. The Desert Stalker is a master of using bows and killing from afar, the Nomad Executioner is a heavily armed and armored individual that likes to solve disputes by slugging it out with two-handed weapons, and the Desert Devil is a bladedancer of sorts, a whirlwind on the battlefield wielding a shamshir or a swordlance. He’s not quite as skilled in a duel as a Swordmaster, but makes up this fact by being considerably more agile and less vulnerable to getting peppered with arrows. Naturally, all of these characters may also appear as champions with named gear if you own the Warriors of the North DLC.

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Jul
03

Release Date Announcement

The largest and most ambitious DLC for Battle Brothers yet is almost ready. We’re happy to announce that the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC for Battle Brothers will be released on August 13th for the price of $14.99 or your regional equivalent. You can already find and wishlist it on Steam right here and on GOG here.

The artwork above can also be downloaded as a wallpaper here.

The ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC for Battle Brothers expands the game with new lands of burning deserts and lush oases to the south. Visit independent city states, fight in the arena, face desert raiders and southern beasts in battle. Wear new gear inspired by Arabian and Persian cultures of the medieval ages, employ alchemical contraptions and primitive firearms, and forge your own path when the fires of religious turmoil threaten to engulf the world in a new late game crisis.

Features

  • New Lands – Visit new lands to the south with independent city-states that have their own lore, equipment and services, as well as entirely new character backgrounds to recruit.
  • Retinue – Hire non-combat followers for your retinue to customize your campaign experience to fit your playstyle. Hire a drill sergeant to train your men. Never lose shields again with a blacksmith that can repair gear no matter how damaged. Buy carts for additional inventory space.
  • Arena – Fight in front of cheering spectators to earn coin, experience and unique rewards as an alternative to mercenary work.
  • New Crisis – Survive a new late game crisis that tests the mettle of your company in the fires of religious turmoil.
  • New Opponents Face new factions of city state soldiers and desert raiders, complete with their own gear and unique mechanics. Hunt down and get hunted by desert beasts.
  • New Origins – Play using one of three new southern-themed origins, each with special rules that shape your campaign into a different experience from beginning to end.
  • New Banners and Gear Dress in style with a collection of new banners, shields, helmets and armors inspired by Arabic and Persian culture. Use new weapons, alchemical contraptions and primitive firearms.
  • Legendary Location – Visit a new legendary location and fight a new boss in a quest that leads to a legendary reward.
  • New Location Environments – Fight amidst southern ruins and nomad tents on the tactical combat map, in addition to graveyards and encampments by brigands, orcs and goblins that come with a free update to the base game.
  • New Contracts and Events – Earn your stay in the south by taking on new contracts. Immerse yourself in leading a mercenary company with even more illustrated events.
  • New Music – Several new music tracks set the mood on your adventures.
  • New Achievements – Challenge yourself with new achievements.

Please note: You’ll be able to continue your current campaign with the DLC, but you won’t have access to all of the new content until you start a new campaign. Starting a new campaign is very much recommended.

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Jun
26

Dev Blog #142: The Arena

Things are coming together, and we’ll announce a release date for the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC in next week’s devblog! In the meantime we expand on a feature that many of you have asked us for more details on: The Arena. To arms!

The Arena

While northerners will duel for honor, southerners do so for the entertainment of the masses, and not always willingly. Arena fights are to the death, or at the very least incapacitation, and in front of crowds that cheer for the most gruesome manner in which lives are dispatched. It is a different way to earn money with advantages and disadvantages over mercenary contracts. The arena is a building found in the city states, and entering it you start an arena contract.

Unlike with mercenary contracts, in arena matches you’re limited to fight with just three men of your choice against various opponents. Also unlike mercenary contracts, you’ll know exactly which and how many opponents you’re about to face – a certain number of beasts, slaves, captured desert raiders or professional gladiators, for example. If the upcoming arena match is not to your liking, you can simply wait until the next day and the next arena match. There’s no lengthy travelling involved, nor ambushes along the road, and you’re paid well for quick battles – but only if you win. If you’re looking for a quickstart into the gladiator lifestyle, the ‘Gladiators’ origin is a good pick.

Once you accept to fight in the arena, you’re given arena collars to equip up to three men of your choice with that are to partake in the match. Because an arena collar is worn in the accessory slot, this also means that you can’t take wardogs into the arena with you – you’ll have to do the fighting yourself!

Arena bouts are fought on a smaller map than regular battles and in front of cheering spectators. Your every move is commented with cheers and boos; missed that attack with a 95% chance to hit? People will gasp alongside you. Killed that beast with one swift stroke? People will cheer and applaud. Flee from your opponents? People will boo, because they paid for a match to the death and expect you to die proper bloody. Unlike with mercenary contracts, you can’t retreat once a battle has started and you won’t be able to loot your victims after the battle has ended. But if your men survive long enough, fighting in the arena will earn them unique traits as they climb the ranks from pit fighter to veteran of the arena. Traits that aid them both inside and outside of the arena.

Every fifth arena match is a special one; you’ll face harder opposition than usual in front of particularly important spectators that crave entertainment most thrilling, but you’ll also earn a piece of rare gladiator equipment not otherwise available in the game if you manage to win. Because of the perils of the gladiator profession, hiring a Surgeon for your retinue of non-combat followers may be a good investment to ensure that your men survive after a lost bout to entertain the crowd another day.

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Jun
19

Dev Blog #141: Holy War

The upcoming ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will introduce a new late game crisis to the mix. This week we’re taking a closer look at what this crisis is about and what it adds to the game. To arms!

Holy War

In a harsh world where every single day is a struggle for survival, where man is but prey to terrifying beasts that stalk the woods, to savage greenskins that cannot be reasoned with, and to horrors from beyond the grave, man needs a powerful ally. The barbarians of the frozen wastes appeal to their dead ancestors to aid them in life. The people of the north pray to a pantheon of gods, often referred to as the old gods, for good harvests, health and victory in battle. And the south belief in but a single true god, the Gilder, sometimes referred to as the new god, manifest in the sun in whose shine they bask day in and out. The new late game crisis is about conflict between the religions of the north and the south, and called ‘Holy War’.

As a mercenary, war means opportunity for profit, and this war is no different. As a holy war is declared, the fires of religious turmoil engulf the southern city states on one side and the two southernmost noble houses on the other. Each faction offers contracts for you to aid them in their war efforts, and you’re free to work for either side, switch sides if the opportunity presents itself, or stay neutral. Like the war between noble houses, this crisis will bring misery and economic disaster to a part of the world, but it will not outright threaten to exterminate it, like a crisis with greenskins or undead do. Playing through this crisis will allow you to learn more about the pantheon of the old gods and the Gilder, as well as the history of the world of Battle Brothers.

A major objective during the holy war is access to and control of three holy sites that date back to the era of the Ancient Empire and a shared history of north and south. They all hold religious and cultural significance to both sides and are the destination of pilgrimages, if for different reasons. One of them, for example, a large meteorite, is believed by the northerners to be an imprisoned god, expelled by his own kind, while southerners believe it a teardrop of the Gilder. As the war is ongoing, you’ll be tasked both to conquer and defend those sites, as well as other places of strategic importance. Siding with the north, you’ll face armies of the city states in battle with terrifying warmachines for a fresh challenge.

The conflict will be proclaimed to be about irreconcilable differences in religion, but it is just as much about differences in culture, about grabbing land and gaining wealth, and about pride and prestige, all thinly veiled behind religious dogma to rally the masses. As a mercenary, you’ll be in a unique position to make up your own mind or dive deep into the madness that is a holy war yourself.

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Jun
12

Dev Blog #140: New Origins

The upcoming ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will introduce new southern-themed company origins for you to pick from. This week we’re taking a closer look at what these are. Just keep in mind that things are in development and the specifics may still change. Let’s go!

The Southern Mercenaries

This is the southern variant of the ‘A New Company’ quickstart. It’s well-suited both for a southern-themed playthrough and for checking out right away many of the new things found in the south. 

Just as with the northern quickstart, you’ll start with three companions. They’re southerners, however, with southern gear and starting right next to one of the city states. Where to go from here is your choice; will you fight in the arena? Work for the Viziers of the city? Travel up north?

The Slave Drivers

If you prefer to overwhelm your enemies with superior numbers, and the commander you’re playing as is ruthless enough not to mind using expendable troops, then this origin offers a fresh campaign experience. Loosely based on historic slave armies of the middle-east, you can have a company of expendable slaves that don’t get paid in crowns instead of relying on expensive sellswords that you can’t afford to lose.

You’ll start with 2 slave-drivers and 4 slaves, and you can take up to 16 men into battle at once. Winning battles against human opponents will allow you to press any survivors into fighting for you in order to bolster your ranks as you go, and you can also just buy slaves in the city states. They’re treated harshly in your company, however, gaining experience at only half their normal rate and never surviving with a permanent injury if struck down. All those who are not slaves in your company gain a unique skill called ‘Whip Slave’, which instantly resets the morale of any slave within 3 tiles range to ‘Steady’ and gives them the ‘Whipped’ status effect. With a forceful reminder to give their everything for their masters, up to and including their lives, these slaves gain substantial bonuses in combat, the exact amount of which scales with the level of the character doing the whipping. Your men expect slaves to do the heavy lifting, and if there should ever be less slaves than non-slaves in your company, the men will get dissatisfied. Some northern backgrounds will also take offense with slavery and may not fit well with your company, lest you want to deal with it in events.

Rather than having a tightly knit team of experienced mercenaries, this origin promotes having a small team of slave drivers (of any background you want) and a mass of expendable troops to drown the enemy in numbers and to distract them. Because slaves get substantial bonuses from being whipped into line, even a fresh slave can instantly be a valuable asset, and lost slaves can easily be replaced. Essentially, as long as you keep your non-slaves alive and level them, they can uplift slaves to their level. Should a slave happen to survive long enough to gather experience and become good on their own, that’s a bonus, and you can always decide to grant a particular slave their freedom.

The Gladiators

A different take on the popular ‘Lone Wolf’ origin, this origin has you start not with a hedge knight, but with three experienced gladiators. Once an unbeaten team in the arena, now starting a life as mercenaries, your three gladiators are at the very core of your company.

Each of your three gladiators comes well-equipped and experienced. Like a team of bare-breasted superheroes, each one of them also brings a unique perk that aids them in combat and opens up new synergies. They’re the team, and everyone else you hire is just there for support and to make them look good. Spoiled by adoring fans and an expensive lifestyle, they demand high pay right from the start. Even though they will never desert you, and you can not fire them, they will suck your coffers dry with expensive spa visits and buying jewelry that spells their name if you don’t ensure a steady cash flow. Playing this origin, you essentially have three lives – should all three gladiators die, the company will be left without their icons and dissolve, and the campaign will end. And because this origin only ever allows you to have 12 men in your roster, there’s no putting them in the backline without leaving you at a disadvantage. Despite starting out with very strong characters, this origin is a challenge best suited for experienced players that know what they’re doing.

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Jun
05

Dev Blog #139: The Serpent

The bestiary of the south grows by another entry as we take a look at a scaled and slithery opponent this week: The Serpent. Read on!

The Serpent

While much of the south is made up of barren wasteland, the seas of sand are dotted with green islands that promise a treasure most sparse in these parts: water. Water means life in the great deserts, and so any caravans seeking to travel them will hop from one oasis to the next. They are lush refuges teeming with life, but also with danger, for they are home to a slithery predator: The Serpent.

The Serpent is a large non-venomous snake that preys on animals and humans alike in and around oases. Well-camouflaged on the ground, they are not always easily spotted from afar, but they are also slower on the world map than other beasts. Using their forked tongue to sample the air, they have a directional sense of smell and can hunt equally well in the darkness of night as they can in the bright of day.

In battle, a Serpent will seek to wind itself around their prey, to constrict their movement and breath, and to drag them away from allies where they can be more easily killed in isolation. Similar to human opponents using the ‘Hook’ skill of Billhooks, Serpents can pull apart a formation, drag your men into being surrounded by several opponents, and expose your backline. Although Serpents are not venomous, they will attack using their fangs until their victim is either dead or limp enough to be devoured whole.

Serpents can be dangerous for anyone traveling the south, but they also offer an opportunity for earning crowns. The body of a Serpent is covered with overlapping scales of different colors, and some serpent skin, particularly rainbow colored scales, is worth a lot to the upper class of the city states that seek to flaunt their wealth. A mercenary captain will often find contracts to hunt down Serpents, whether to turn them into expensive-looking slippers or simply because too many a caravan hand lost their live along a trade route so that business begins to suffer. The shimmering scales are quite resistant to heat and fire, and a taxidermist can also craft an armor attachment out of these for use with your own men.

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