This patch has a wealth of important changes which will change combat in many respects. (Check out the notes here.) These changes have been building over many months internally, and have been heavily inspired by player feedback The goal of these changes has been to solve three distinct problems:

  1. Increase the predictability of both warrior damage and interruption rates for magic spells.
  2. Increase the options for players to end fights sooner
  3. Introduce opportunity cost to warrior combat through meaningful decision making and tactics.

From Agility to Stamina

Stamina now takes the place of Agility in combat calculations for swing speed and movement speed. As Stamina is inherited from Agility, this is a like for like switch in some respects; however, things start to change as player characters become exhausted during combat.

Stamina now regenerates extremely slowly and is regained by consuming stamina potions and resting at a campfire. Primary and secondary weapon abilities now cost substantially less to use, and Bleed, Stun, Mortal Strike and other powerful abilities now leave the victim immune to that attack for a 12 seconds.

The large Stamina pool available and relatively low cost of weapon abilities allows players to be situational in how and when they spend their Stamina. In many ways, this is comparable to how a Mage relies upon mana. The crucial difference is that a warrior is far from useless when his stamina is exhausted, but instead operates at a reduced capacity.

Swing speed has a fairly straightforward translation. 50 Agility grants 100 Stamina and offers the same swing speed bonus as prepatch. Reducing your stamina to 0 will result in a swing speed equal to that of a 10 Agility character. Similarly, players at 100 Stamina will experience a maximum runspeed of 120%, whilst a player with exhausted Stamina will receive only 90% runspeed.

Critical Hits

Critical hits were implemented to tackle one problem: The need for spell interruptions. Going into our combat design, we knew we wanted a high hit rate and thus could not rely upon standard hits to cause spell fizzles, as this would make casting spells virtually impossible. Critical hits were born and naturally took on a higher damage output, reducing regular hit damage to compensate.

What we have found both in our testing and in feedback from players is that weapon damage has suffered from its wide distribution, critical hits have failed to have the intended interrupt impact due to their random nature, and melee characters themselves find the reliability of damage too low and the spikes too random.

For these reasons, critical hits have been removed and standard weapon damage has been raised to a competitive level.

Spell interruptions now occur in the following situations:

  • Spell damage inflicted on the caster
  • Damage ticks from the ‘Bleed’ weapon ability
  • When stunned
  • When silenced

The result of these changes are that combat between warriors and mages becomes much  less random, damage is predictable and the dynamics between spell interruptions and a warrior’s special abilities feature strongly in the ebb and flow of combat. Warriors can prevent a mage from casting, but doing so will come at the cost of his/her stamina and combat efficiency.

New Secondary Ability: Mortal Strike

Mortal Strike delivers 50% of normal weapon damage and renders the target unable to heal or be healed for 8 seconds. 8 second immunity timer upon removal.

New Archer Prestige: Hunters Mark

Marking a player character renders them unable to hide or become invisible for 2 minutes. All projectile damage is also increased against the target by 25%. Hunters Mark is the replacement for Snipe.

New Rogue Prestige: Vanish

Vanish immediately puts a character into stealth. Vanish removes all debuffs and negative effects active on a player (including Hunter’s Mark). Vanish is the replacement for Backstab.

New Craftable Potions: Stamina & Mana

Two other major tweaks to our combat balancing is the reduction of the potion cooldown to one minute and the addition of Stamina & Mana potions. Coming in the same lesser/regular/greater varieties as heal potions, these player-crafted potions will create meaningful choices in combat.

Shooting whilst moving.

Archery now allows for more mobility through allowing the swing reset timer to run whilst the character is in motion. This means that you no longer have to remain stationary for the full length of the swing timer to get a shot off. Standing stationary for 1 second is enough time to notch and loose an arrow, provided your swing timer has reset.

Heavy & Light Armor Proficiency.

With critical hits now gone, heavy and light armor have been reworked to operate as proficiencies in either armor type. Only Grandmasters in a chosen armor type will receive the full benefits of its defence rating.

Will has landed.

The Will stat now confers a chance to resist any ability which results in a lasting effect, notably Bleed, Mortal Strike, Paralysis and Hamstring.

Weapon Ability miss rates.

The accuracy of primary and secondary weapon abilities are now determined by your weapon ability. Your chance to land a weapon ability is equal to your weapon skill.

Heal Spell Reduction

The Manifestation spell ‘Heal’ has had its effect reduced. In the last patch, we went from approximately 40 per heal up to 80 – players can now expect a Heal spell at GM Manifestation to deliver approximately 65 per heal (the range being 59-67).

Important Bug Fixes

  • Shields can now be equipped at the same time as spellbooks.
  • Animal Lore is now required to tame/control animals and beasts.
  • 2-Handed weapons can no longer be used with shields

Fast Travel

We’ve begun the final implementation for our fast travel system. Celador will soon be densely populated with player housing, and it’s important that our fast travel system accommodates the social interactions that will make the world livable. We also want to ensure that fast travel is not a cheap and frivolous feature, but one which is accessible to warriors and mages alike.

  • The recall spell has been removed.
  • Blank runes may now be bound to a location using the Manifestation spell ‘Mark’.
  • When selected as the target of a ‘Portal’ spell, a two-way gate is created between the caster’s location and the bound location of a marked rune.
  • Runes can also be ‘buried’ by player characters, creating a portal between the locations but at the cost of consuming the rune.
  • Runes cannot be marked in the Barren Lands or the Black Forest.
  • Runes cannot be marked inside housing plots or inside dungeon interiors.
  • You cannot cast portal in a dungeon interior.
  • Portals created in regions which do not permit the marking of runes will create a one way portal, noted by its red color.
  • Red player characters are still subject to fast travel restrictions and will not be permitted through portals.

We will need plenty of testing and feedback, but this represents an important step in the development of the game.