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The big Way Forward early access update for Ink Stains Games’ turn-based RPG Stoneshard is now live. The update’s main new features improve the game’s dungeon generation and overhaul its AI. As a result, the enemies will now act more intelligently, be they bandits, skeletons, or boars.
Apart from that, the update also introduces plenty of new enemies, adjusts the game’s balance and fixes some miscellaneous bugs. And now that the next major update is set to expand the game with its first major city, its price will soon be going up. As such, if you’re interested in this title, now might be the best time to pick it up.
Here’s more on all that:
VISUALS & SOUND
- Complete rework of the dungeon generator. Bastions, Catacombs, and Crypts now have a new generation algorithm and numerous new room templates.
- Basic AI was completely reworked There are still ways to go, and we still need to perform many tweaks to make things work exactly as planned, but even with just this update the following features will be introduced to the AI:
- New decision-making system. Instead of relying on RNG when choosing which Ability to use, enemies now use a weight system - each Ability gained a number of specific conditions which either increase or decrease its weight depending on the situation. Enemies will use Abilities with the highest weight at any given time.
- New pathfinding system. Pathfinding was rebuilt from the ground up - the shortest way to a mob’s target is now modified by numerous conditions. Enemies will attempt to avoid traps, wait out AoE effects, stay away from locations where they can be easily knocked into walls, and more.
- Enemies learned to trade places when fighting in corridors and tight spaces. Enemies who prefer to fight in melee will try to swap out archers, retreating enemies will attempt to swap with those who can still fight, and those who have high Health - with those who are about to die.
- Archers and mages prefer to keep their distance and retreat when approached by enemies, wearing them down with arrows and spells.
- Mobs now use a new system to decide which targets to prioritize, trying to focus on the highest threat.
- Archers’ ammunition is now limited. They also learned to swap to melee weapon when they run out of ammo or when their enemy finally manages to catch up.
- Most aggressive animals will first try to intimidate your character and only attack if you don’t leave their territory within a number of turns. Different animals have their intimidation phase set at different duration - wolves, for example, will attack almost immediately.
- Some enemies might decide to retreat in case the fight is going badly for them, attempting to leave the location. The chance to trigger a retreat is influenced by many factors: low Health, allies’ death, whether they have injuries or debuffs.
- The ecosystem is now much more in-depth. Boars and moose will hold their ground and defend against the player and predators, foxes will hunt rabbits, and deer will run away the moment they hear the player approaching.
- Added secret rooms which can only be discovered by highly perceptive characters. Rich loot awaits inside!
- 100+ new containers and decorations across all dungeons.
- New enemy skills: mancatchers gained “Net Throw” and “Sic!”, dogs gained “Loud Barking” and “Grab ‘Em!”, wraiths learned “Grave Chill” and “Dissipation”, ghouls gained “Bone Throw”, ghasts and necromancers - “Death Touch” and “Soul Sacrifice”.
- 25 new undead enemy types: two lineups of high-level skeletons, a lineup of restless dead, as well as ghasts - undead mages, wielding special spells.
- Certain changes to hostage rescue contracts: from now on abducted NPCs will be held in designated cells, requiring you to find a key before you can rescue them.
- Added acorns and burnet.
- New culling system.
- Reworked light rendering.
- New fog of war rendering system.
- Updated steppes.
- Added fireflies.
- Visual updates to the Prologue rooms.
- Added four new music tracks, including two battle themes.
FIXES & UX
- Balance changes to most undead enemies.
- Increased the Abomination’s Health, but decreased its base damage.
- Most enemies gained a larger line of sight.
- “Taking Aim”: reduced Accuracy bonus (+75% > +50%).
- Removed unique items from graves and added them to secret rooms.
- Ravens now generate noise when they take off.
- Mannshire crypth has its danger level increased.
RAISING THE PRICE
- Reworked turn and priority system for various actions.
- Made significant improvements to enemies following the player between zones.
- Added hotkeys for switching between hotbars.
- Fixed sudden Health and Energy replenishment when entering an already visited location.
- Brigands gained new phrases when retreating. The phrases upon getting injured are now tied to specific body parts instead of just triggering a generic response.
- Added lots of log messages.
- Fixed flickering stack numbers on stances’ buff icons.
- Removed the possibility of preemptively destroying the statues in the Prologue before the fight even begins.
Way Forward is an important structural update, after the release of which we can finally move onto expanding the map. In the next major update, which is planned for the winter of 2020-2021, we will add the first major city, its surrounding area, and lots of accompanying content. Before that we also plan to release a few interim updates to add the remaining weapon skill trees and more.
Because of this, the base price for the game will be increased by 30% in all regions. If you wish to purchase the game at a lower price, now might be the best time for it!
That’s all for now.
Have fun playing!