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The main attraction of Phoenix Labs' co-operative action-RPG Dauntless is its challenging and memorable fights with the massive Behemoths that roam the game's Shattered Isles. And if you'd like to know how the developers plan to improve the design of these dangerous creatures while Dauntless is getting ready to enter Open Beta, you should check out this official update preview. An excerpt:
Slayers hunt Behemoths. You can craft any gear you like, leave Ramsgate with whomever you choose, and take the scenic route once you hit the island. But when all the prep work is done and you get down to it, Slayers hunt Behemoths.
Our goal is that fighting Behemoths is challenging, exciting, and memorable. They should test your skills, challenge your strategies, and defy your expectations.
Your feedback is instrumental in the development of these encounters. The Dauntless Closed Beta has given us insight into what makes Behemoths fun or frustrating, and now we’re acting on this feedback to tune these beasts and how you interact with them. These changes are part of an ongoing effort which is at the core of the Dauntless design philosophy: The Shattered Isles is an evolving world that will grow and evolve as we learn and explore it together.
EVOLUTION OF A SPECIES
The more feedback we gather, both directly from players like you and through data analysis, the closer we can bring Behemoths to meeting our ideals. Making even subtle changes to a fight results in a trove of information that informs our decisions. Which Behemoths do Slayers enjoy hunting the most? Which Behemoth attacks hit the most? Are players having their skills pushed, or are they falling back on rote behavior?
One of our goals for Behemoths is that they feel like living, deadly animals which are making effective decisions. While their behavior should be consistent with the creature’s nature, they should not be predictable. Behemoths have an animal cunning, but this also comes with an unpredictable animal nature. When challenged or backed into a corner, all bets are off.
An example of these changes is coming to Shrike with our next update. Slayers who have stalked this beast more than a handful of times quickly learn a predictable attack pattern. As an agile, curious predator, Shrike shouldn’t be an erratic or reckless beast. But, it also shouldn’t be executing a limited number of attack patterns that don’t speak to its cunning.
That’s why we’re changing Shrike’s behavior to be more challenging and responsive to the challenge at hand.
We’ve also noticed that Slayers don’t often change their behavior when they see a Behemoth enter an enraged or Aether-charged state. Our goal is that these temporary changes to the fight put pressure on Slayers to adapt their behavior on the fly, and not to turtle up. New attack patterns and Behemoth combos will force players to find new opportunities to attack.
Slayers can expect similar reworks for other Behemoths as we continue to learn more about your instincts! Expect to see updates to Embermane and Quillshot in the near future as well.
CHANGES ON THE HORIZON
Each Behemoth is the culmination of many ideas working in concert to create a seamless experience. We’re always examining new ways to make every encounter better and how other Dauntless systems can interact with Behemoths in interesting ways.
To date, breaking Behemoth parts has served to give players an opportunity for extra loot and, in a few cases, disable bothersome attacks. We’re examining new impacts that breaking parts can have on a fight. For example, breaking Embermane’s tail will now change its attack patterns and introduce deadlier hind-leg attacks. Breaking Embermane’s horn will change the pattern of its blaze elemental attacks. Instead of just removing an attack from a creature’s repertoire, we’re exploring ways that part breaks can create new choices and allow encounters to evolve.
We’re also examining the way that island layouts and terrain impact Slayer strategies. While most fights take place in open areas fit for any encounter, we’re exploring environments which are custom built for each Behemoth. This will bring new layers of depth and reward a Slayer’s understanding of islands – something we’re always keen to do! Look forward to more on these changes in a future update.
From all of us at Phoenix Labs, thank you for playing and for your continued support. We’re learning every day and from every encounter. We couldn’t do it without you, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.