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News from the front : Epic Update Preview
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Greetings friends and fellow managers!

It’s already been awhile since our last patch in September, and you might have wondered what our team was up to. Well, we’ve been very hard at work for the past two months here at ManaVoid HQ, working on the next patch which will be the biggest one Epic Manager has ever received! 

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Following v.0.2.7, our original plan was to add a few mechanics and push a new patch some weeks later, but as we were adding said features, mechanics and contents (plus your very crucial feedback that we read every day!), we realized that going at this piece-meal would be more difficult than intended, considering how many of these new systems were going to be intricately working with one another. And so we finally decided on a new approach, to aim for a massive update instead of many small ones. 

TL-DR: We’re happy to report that this “Mother of all updates” is almost ready! It should roll out at the end of November, and the patch notes for this single update will be longer than the ones from all previous updates combined! Big Grin 

We’re going to finish up all of our new mechanics, features and contents in the next few weeks, and we are then going to test and balance the game extensively until we are sure the build is stable and fun before releasing it to you. 

Here is a quick look at (some) of what the next patch will be adding to the game: 

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Unlock New Advanced Merchants:

Unlockable through the Agency Research Panel, players will now be able to visit two new merchants in Astraeus, the Alchemist and the Enchanter! 

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The Alchemist

Will be able to add and subtract traits for an adventurer. The more traits an adventurer will have, the more it will cost to add a new one. This should add a new flair to the game when people want to min-max their best/favorite characters. 

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Will be able to add and modify an item’s magical properties. The more properties an item will have, the more it will cost to modify it. This should also add a new flair to the game for players who like to min-max their equipment. 

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Adventurer Trading With Other Agencies

We’ve added a new Scout Action in the game, called the ‘Trading Block’, that’s unlockable through the Agency Research Panel. It can always be visited by the player on any given turn. The trading block showcases four adventurers who are on ‘Waivers’ by an opposing agency. In exchange for gold and/or one of your adventurers, you can buy/trade for the adventurer put on waivers by other agencies. 

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Each adventurer on the trading block is accompanied by a series of ‘Wants’ from the agency that put him up. If you have an adventurer that meets those ‘Wants’, the agency will trade him one for one and ask for no gold. If you have an adventurer that meets a few of the agency’s ‘Wants’, then the price will be reduced, but there will still be some gold to pay in exchange for the trading block adventurer’s contract. 

Oftentimes, the adventurer on the trading block will be slightly better than some in your agency, so it does become an good strategy to have a look and see what is available on trading block every few turns. Also, if an adventurer starts getting too many wounds and/or negative traits, trading for him on the block might be a way to save some time and money on a useless contract. 

Skill Quests - A new alternative to Battle Scenarios

We’ve transformed/added many quests so they could become ‘Skill Quests’. These quests work much like a Skill Check does in random encounters. When approaching a Skill Quest, the player will have a series of dice to throw that is associated to a specific adventurer (or party) and of a specific type (Combat, Agility, Arcana, Charisma). 

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Scouting the quest beforehand will give you an idea of what kind of stat types will be required to accomplish the quest, giving the player an opportunity to build up a party that is more centered towards those skill-sets instead of straight up combat. 

We hope this will give the player a new way to build parties, approach quests and ultimately diversify the way quests can be completed in the game. 

Difficulty Settings

You asked and we’ve delivered! We have added some difficulty settings that will alleviate a lot of the stress and difficulty brought on by the current league elimination mechanic. The current game’s difficulty would be what we consider the ‘Normal Mode’ and there would be an ‘Easy Mode’ where agencies generate about 25%-50% less fame per turn and a ‘Hard Mode’ where agencies generate about 25%-50% more fame (for the pros! Big Grin). 

We know many of you have asked for a casual/infinite mode where elimination wasn’t important and we believe our easy mode will scratch that itch for those of you who don’t want to be stressed by time in the game. Our internal tests with an infinite mode weren’t very conclusive, the game is fun because of the short-term and long-term goals that the player needs to manage around to succeed. When we take some of those away, the game loses a lot of its fun-factor. 

Also, narratively, the quests can hardly be story-lines in an infinite mode and although it is possible to generate quests procedurally, those quests would have pretty generic writing and would end up feeling repetitive after a few dozen turns. 

Prestige Classes

We have (so far) added 12 new prestige classes in the game to go EVEN FURTHER BEYOND! Prestige classes work a lot like the class system did in Final Fantasy Tactics. By mastering certain classes, it will unlock the recipe to choose a new prestige class! Prestige classes have active skills that are better than what you can find with basic classes and have a slightly higher stat gain. For example, the Bardbarian’s Crecendo of Fists drains the adventurer of all of his AP, but the damage output is directly linked to how much AP was used. 

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Some Prestige Classes take two basic classes to unlock, but the better ones take three or four! We hope this mechanic will add new short-term goals for players to explore different classes and figure out how the game works. This mechanic also becomes a consideration during the recruitment campaigns and gives added value to adventurers who have less conventional class builds. A bard and a warrior might seem like a weird combo, but when they become a Bardbarian all hell breaks loose! 

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More Quests

We’ve added a good number of new quests to the game, mostly endgame quests that wrap up the faction storylines and allows parties to do quests all the way up to threat level 10. 

More Random Encounters

We’ve added a bunch of new random encounters. Some players were reporting that they were seeing the same random encounters pop-up too often, this should mitigate that. 

New Recruitment Campaigns

We’ve added about 10 new Recruitment Campaigns that now allow the recruitment of specific class types, lower level adventurers with higher epicness levels, etc. This should allow a wider array of deployable strategies, particularly in the mid-game, for the player. The management of class types and epicness levels will also be important for the new ‘Prestige Class’ feature, which we will touch on a bit later. 

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User-Created Content

When we launched our Kickstarter back in 2014, a bunch of our backers chose reward tiers allowing them to make their mark in the world of Astraeus through the naming of adventurers, writing of quests and random encounters, designing of prestige classes, items, etc. We have been collecting this information from our backers for some time and have already begun implementing it in the game. Some of the adventurer names and bios are pretty funny, make sure you give them a look when you see that an adventurer has been created by a member of the community. 

New Boss Fights

We’ve added several new bosses to the game to keep things intriguing and to punish players who don’t scout their quests ahead of time… Hehehe... 

New Enemies: Lizardmen

We’ve added a new endgame monster race, the Lizardmen! You will have to discover their strengths and weaknesses on your own, but these swamp dwellers are nothing to mess with! 

Final Boss

Won’t say much about this, except that he/she/it will be there, waiting for you at the end… Big Grin 

Endgame Narrative / Scoreboard

We’ve added a sequence at the end of the game that explains the narrative of what happens to the factions you’ve helped more than others throughout the gameplay. If you read the storylines and are interested in the game’s lore (some people care, we swear!), we hope this will give you the closure you need for having helped out all of those factions! 

Also, we’ve added a fame multiplier that will be impacted by the trophies won each trimester and will multiply the total fame gained throughout the game at the end. This will give the player some form of a “High Score” that we will be linking to Steam achievements somewhere down the road. 

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We have done a TON of work on balancing the game’s values for adventurers, monsters, contracts, traits, combat, etc. in light of what was said on our forums, the Steam discussions and the game’s new features and content. The rehaul is quite intensive and it’s why we want to test the game thoroughly before releasing it to the public. We’ve also fixed a bunch of typos and bugs! We will explain all of the changes in the patch notes on release. Also, we changed this: 

AP Rehaul

The backend for AP Regeneration is now decimal based. This allowed us a MUCH better flexibility when linking the charisma stat to AP Regen. It used to be 1 AP regen per 400 Charisma, it’s now 0.1 AP regen per 40 Charisma. This means that a character with 200 Charisma will still generate an extra AP every two turns, which is actually a pretty significant factor in combat. 

Quicker Combat Animations

A lot of people on our forums and Steam discussions mentioned the lengthy combat animations, so we’ve shortened them! Combat should go about 50% faster than it used to. 

In-game Manual: Epicopedia

We are adding bunch of information on each mechanic that will be linked to the Epicopedia button in the top right corner of the world map screen. Our game is pretty complex and has a ton of interwoven mechanics that can take a significant amount of time to understand. Some people like the crash and burn method, but a lot of people like to read and understand everything before making the first move and they will now be able to do that! 

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That’s about it for the big pieces coming up in the next patch! Of course, there are MANY other changes and improvements that weren't listed above, and we'll make sure to have an exhaustive list of all patch notes when the update is rolled-out! 

As for the timeline of it all, it really depends on how quickly our in-house tests feel right. Although we don’t foresee any big problems, this is game development and you never know… Wink 

Finally, let us take some time again to thank all of your for your continued encouragement, support and precious feedback! Also, a special thank you to everyone who keeps writing on our forums and Steam discussion pages, you're awesome and it's always a pleasure for us to read from you. 

We still do try to answer to every post and comment, although we're concentrating pretty much all our efforts these days into making sure the next patch will come out as soon as possible. 

Until next time friends, stay in touch! 
Best regards from the whole ManaVoid Dev Team 

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Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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Wheeee!! Wheeee!! Wheeeee!!!

I will try to elabo-

Wheee!! Wheeee!! Wheeeeee!!!
Win 7 64bit – i7-4700MQ 2.4GHz – 8GB RAM – AMD Radeon HD8970M --- (probably time to shove it off the cliff, I know)
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