03-01-2016, 05:32 AM
Greetings dear readers, and welcome to another installment of our Pre-Alpha Dev Update Series, where we share with you our progress, and sometimes our emotional states.
First off, we hope the beginning of 2016 was not too hard on you.
For our part, having a new team member around (Louis) to help us develop, code, and integrate is a big, big help. We made some great progress in the past few weeks and we are happy to share some of it with you today. As always, we’re pouring our hearts into this project and are quite pleased to see it all coming together.
In a nutshell, during the month that passed since our last update, we kept on pumping visual assets, reviewed Quests/Events/Encounters, worked on a rehaul of the world map, refined the navigation on the map to implement resting, traveling, path drawing, multiple party deployment, built the draft sequence that starts with every new campaign, designed and integrated the tutorial section, put together an entire objective and sub objective system to guide new players, built, animated and integrated the game’s main menu, integrated most SFXs for combat scenarios and the main tracks of the OST.
We also got to perform a ton of debugging tasks and run tests on multiple systems. Regarding combat, most previous issues now seem to be fixed, although we are still wrestling with some upkeep bugs popping here and there. Most UI panels and menus in the game are now integrated, with our latest additions being at the forefront of this update.
Alright, now that you know what we we’ve been up to, let’s delve in more details into some of the newest content additions!
We know you guys like to meet the fierce creatures your adventurers will soon face during their travels. Hence, we are happy to present to you the Skeletons! Be careful though… for they seem to have a bone to pick! And not the funny kind… (Yeah, we know).
Once again, we aimed at creating comical, yet fierce looking enemies. First, we have the Skeletal Warrior who’s the average grunt. Like all Skeletons, he benefits from strong resistances to physical attacks, but is vulnerable to arcane damage. The Shade, on the other hand, is an ice damage dealing specialist. The third one is the mighty Skeletal Knight, who delivers a strong punch. These 3 combatants are supported by 2 magic users. The Wraith is the first one, and he’s pretty much an ice damage glass cannon, while the second one is the Cursed Corpse, whose role is to throw unsettling debuffs at your adventurers.
We still have quite a few enemy races and types to unveil, and the task of creating and integrating them in the game is something we’re gonna be tackling in the upcoming weeks, so expect new enemies to be a recurring addition to our next few updates!
What would a video game be without a proper main menu?
We decided to go with a simple yet functional design for the this element, one that leaves room for update-related information and recent news. Basically, you’ll always only be a click away from reading the latest patch notes whenever you launch the game.
We also decided to link our forums directly from the Main Menu, so that players have a quick way of providing us with feedback (or finding support) during the Alpha and Early-Access stages of release. Speaking of which, we’ll soon be creating new Forum sub-sections dedicated to bug reporting, feedback and support in order for community members to know what problems are already reported, pending balance issues, etc.
Long story short, the main menu is now built and almost fully integrated, and we thought it would be neat to show it to you.
We don’t want to spoil too much, but like most of you already know by now, the campaign begins with a draft. As the rookie Manager of your very own adventuring agency, you’ll will need to recruit lots of Adventurers. We thought it would be nice to offer you the first one for free, and the Draft is the place to pick him!
16 candidates will be lined up for you to select from, one from each of the basic classes in the game. All of them will always be Level 1 characters, with an Epicness rating of 5 (max growth potential). That being said, they are individuals, and as such they will each come with different Character Traits, some positive, some negative. It’s up to you to decide who’s going to be the first member of your prestigious agency!
Drafting an adventurer is nice and all, but what shall you do with this brave little guy you ask? Well, organizing parties and deploying them on the map in order to accomplish Quests should be the next order of business! The core gameplay loop of the game is precisely that: hire, organize, quest, profit.
The Party panel is where you will organize your troops into groups of up to 4 members. On that panel, you’ll have access to multiple useful stats regarding the party you are putting together and its members. Shall you go all-out Combat classes and deliver a brutal punch? Or perhaps a full roster of magic users dealing arcane and elemental damage? What about healers? You could maybe include a support character class to give you damage bonuses or resistances in order to negate enemy attacks? Or perhaps hinder enemies directly with debuffs?
Well, we’re not about to tell you what to do - just open up the party panel and you will have all the tools to manage your agency to fame, glory, and riches!
Alright, so after much deliberation, you’re done getting your party together. Well, that’s great but it is not enough. Those adventurers will want to be paid come payday, and you need to earn gold in order to pay the bills! Not paying an adventurer his due wages is a severe offense for any self respecting agency manager, and shall be met with heavy penalties in fame that even increase as you climb up the League Ladders.
As a manager, your main income source is Quests. First off, you need to use your scout to gather potential ones and add them to your Quest log. Then, get one of your parties to a selected Quest’s location, deal with whatever danger is lurking, and then get paid!
Seems straightforward enough right? Well, soon your Quest log will be full of requests from around the realm, and your roster filled with adventurers… and the delicate balance of solvability will rest in your hands. But remember that in the end, this solvability balance is but a mean to and end. In Astraeus, the Fame you gather while Questing is the real measure of your success… or failure, depending on how you fare.
This last point now brings us to....
Like we just said, your Fame is the real measuring stick for the Agencies of Astraeus. As a newly appointed manager, you begin in the Bronze league and will need to finish in the top 3 positions (at the end of the first game year) in order to graduate to the silver league. Manager licenses are in high demand and, thus, failure is not an option. Every quarter, the two lowest ranking agencies, in every league, will be eliminated in order to only keep the best and brightest managers at the head of the Realm’s registered agencies. Remember that in Astraeus, agencies are charged with protecting the realm and keeping the king’s peace… there’s simply no place for unskilled managers, for too much is at stake!
The League Rankings Panel will allow you to understand at a glance how you’re faring at any moment, in comparison to your current league opponents. You will also have access to stats for the current season and other interesting tidbits of information.
Luckily, you’ll have help to accomplish your goals …
Just like any good business, your core activities need to be supported by a strong cast of back-office workers. All staff members come in 4 different power levels, that will become unlocked as your agency progresses. For an agency manager such a yourself, there are 3 key positions that will need to be filled.
First off, there’s the Head Trainer. Your trainer grants a special permanent bonus to your adventurers when they level up. That means any and all adventurers that gain a level while a Head Trainer is present will earn its stacking bonus and keep it forever, even if that specific trainer is replaced down the line.
Secondly, we have the Head Priest. The one you assign will grant a passive bonus to your entire agency roster, for as long as he’s in place. It is also worth noting that each adventurer comes with an allegiance toward one of the Gods of Astraeus. These allegiances will sometimes confer interesting bonuses, and adventurers that share the same godly allegiance as your current Head Priest will receive twice the bonus.
The third and final staff member is the Head Scout. Your scout works a bit like the Head Priest, in the sense that he grants a passive bonus while under your employment. The main difference is that the Head Scout does not give any bonuses to your adventurers, but to the agency itself. These bonuses range from lowering contract costs, to boosting Fame received per Quest completed, and many other things in between.
We’re eager to see how HQ Staff members will influence game progression, and we want to make sure all the available ones are balanced and offer relevant options.
So there you have it friends! The past few weeks have been pretty prolific, although we still have some ways to go.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading this update and being part of this great adventure with us. We hope that you liked what you saw/read here today and we will definitely have more to show you again soon!
We said it before, but we do feel honored and grateful to have the opportunity to work full time on Epic Manager with 100% creative freedom and we owe much of it to you awesome folks!
This is yet another long update so we’ll stop here for now, and leave you with a quote… because why not?
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
- Terry Pratchett, Jingo
As always, thanks for reading, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions and comments and, above all, stay Epic!
Best regards from the whole ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team.
Simon 'OISIN' Girard