Two more features join the list for the update on February 29th this week. Taverns are a hub for information and mood management of your men, and tracking allows you to follow or avoid other parties on the worldmap more easily. That leaves us with only one more feature left following these that we really want to include in the update, and that’s a better tutorial as you start a new campaign. But for now, let’s take a look at taverns and tracking!
Taverns with the capacity to serve a mercenary company can be found in larger settlements, cities and castles, and the odd small village along trade routes. Laughter can be heard coming from it pretty much around the clock, as it’s one of the few buildings that can be entered both day and night. It’s also the first instance that we’re using small atmospheric images in the UI, as you’ll see below, and the idea is to have a whole bunch of them complement the events in the game as we skin the UI later down the road.
Although taverns aren’t the most critical of buildings, they nevertheless fill with the services they offer what was previously a vacant spot in the world of Battle Brothers. These services revolve heavily around beverages, and they’re talking to the patrons for news and rumors while sharing a beer, and paying a round for your own men in order to get their spirits up. We’ll look at each of them in detail.
As you enter the tavern, you’ll immediately pick up some talk amongst the patrons. What they talk about comes in different categories, and we may add additional useful ones as the game progresses in development.
Patrons can talk about potential work for you that they’ve heard about – as the world has become a bit larger now, it’s quite useful to get directions to people that are looking to hire sellswords so that you have a better idea of where to head next.
Patrons can also talk about nearby hidden locations. If you’ve played previous versions of Battle Brothers, you may remember contracts that have you find locations based on vague directions. Those type of contracts aren’t in the game anymore, but that same mechanic is now used for entirely optional locations, potentially full of treasure, you may head out to plunder on your own. The level of directions that individual people can give will differ, so it’s sometimes useful to get directions from several people in order to better pin down where a location might be. You can pay a round for everyone in order to loosen their tongues and have them share more news and rumors with you.
Finally, patrons will also give you flavor responses that tell you more about their situation, the lore of the world and the settlement you’re in, and news about what’s happening in the realm. They may also share light gameplay tips, such as soldiers explaining the advantage of high ground or talking about their experience of fighting goblins and how best to approach it. These types of responses depend heavily on where you are, so you’ll more likely be talking with soldiers at castles, and fishermen at fishing villages. We want the world to feel more lively, more lived in, and this is another step towards that goal.
The other service available at taverns is paying a round for your own men. This will generally lift everyone’s spirits and make them forget the horrors of battle for a while, but it comes with its own risk and reward.
Every time you pay a round and the men cheer to different things, there’s a chance that the mood of people improves, but also of them getting drunk. Mood is more important now as we attached additional benefits and penalties to it, and it should become more interesting in general as we do a minor rework of how the mood system works in the future. Being drunk, on the other hand, is a new status effect quite detrimental to combat effectiveness, although it does make people more brave. It doesn’t persist for long, but is succeeded by a hangover, which is a more mild debuff. Whether people get drunk or not heavily depends on their traits. For example, strong and tough characters don’t get drunk easily, whereas tiny and fragile characters do. All this then comes down to the decision of how many rounds you want to spend for your men in order to increase the mood of the company vs. the increasing risk of them getting drunk and being severely handicapped the following day.
All parties now leave tracks for you to follow that look like footprints on the map. Different factions use their own footprints so that you can see at a glance whether it’s humans, orcs or beasts who moved though. Footprints also scale with the size of the party, so you’ll have a rough idea on how many individuals it is that you’re tracking. Note that we’re still experimenting with the visuals right now, so it may end up looking slightly different in the game.
We’re adding the tracking mechanic in order to give you a better idea on what’s happening around the limited radius of vision you have on the worldmap, and to introduce new gameplay opportunities. Even if you lose sight of a party now, you’ll still be able to follow their tracks. You can also potentially follow the tracks of the bandit raiders you just bested back to their camp, and you have more options to both find and avoid parties on the worldmap. Don’t follow large orc or goblin tracks if you aren’t prepared for what lies ahead!