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The City of Gold early access update for Ink Stains Games' turn-based RPG Stoneshard is now live, introducing the game's first major city, a number of new and updated gameplay systems, and the ability to save your progress when exiting the game. The link above has a list of all the new features, while this earlier article provides a more detailed overview and an updated roadmap. Check it out:
The City of Gold update is soon to be released: the approximate time is 21:00 MSK, November 18th. Right now is a good moment to give a summary of the progress we’ve made, talk about the update’s new features and what will be added to the game until the end of the year, and also discuss our plans for the future development of Stoneshard.
Global Map and Rumor System
The City of Gold update will feature the long-awaited expansion of the game’s world: the old 17x11 map will be replaced with a 40x40 one - there’ll also be a new menu for navigating it. This map will be filled with numerous Points of Interest, including monster dens and some new unique locations.
As for finding these locations, you’ll need to make use of the new Rumor System - chatting with NPCs will occasionally provide you with valuable (and sometimes not so valuable) hints about places that are worth checking out.
Paper maps will be reintroduced into the game at a later date as an alternative way of finding Points of Interest and all kinds of treasures and hidden stashes.
The first major city will open its gates before you. It’s composed of four separate districts, each having its own vibe and special merchants.
Saving on Exit
After the update is released, you’ll no longer need to rush to a nearby tavern or camp when you need to urgently exit the game - your progress will be automatically saved on exit. It’s worth mentioning that saving on exit isn’t the same as quick saves - exit saves are deleted upon loading, so in case of your character’s death, the game will continue from the closest “hard” save made by sleeping.
On top of that, the new system will preserve information on lots of variables, including the state of tiles and the fog of war, dungeons’ layout, and more. This means that you won’t have to re-explore locations upon loading the game.
Expect to encounter three new dangerous enemy types that come with their own nests: deathstinger swarms, crawlers, and harpies. Each of these enemies will require a special approach, so make sure to exercise caution while hunting them!
You’ll also be able to hunt birds!
Expand your arsenal with throwable bombs: fire, acid, and the one that unleashes a swarm of enraged deathstingers.
And after you survive a difficult fight, treat yourself to some new dishes.
New Loot Type: Artefacts
Artefacts are incredibly valuable relics of the past that possess various unique properties. Some of them grant passive bonuses while occupying your inventory, and others require activation.
You’ll have a certain chance to discover them in distant dungeons - hidden locations inhabited by the most dangerous enemies. These dungeons don’t have contracts associated with them, so you’ll need to find them first...
Changes to Combat
The Combat System received many important changes: let’s start with the most prominent ones - changes to armor. In City of Gold the Protection value from every equipped item will no longer stack. Instead, armor will only affect the body part it’s equipped on - this will make combat even deadlier, and there’ll be much more strategy involved in gearing up.
We also reworked two key defensive stats: Dodge and Block Chances. Dodge Chance now transforms successful attacks into fumbles, and fumbles - into misses. Block Chance received an additional mechanic: successful blocking now spends some Block Power, which takes time to recover, so if you want to use shields to their full potential, make sure to check out the corresponding Ability Tree!
Improved Leveling and Trainers
The Attribute System was reworked as well: Attributes now grant different, more powerful bonuses, but you’ll be getting less Stat Points upon leveling up. In addition, every 5 points invested into an Attribute will grant you a major bonus to certain stats.
The Ability Trees’ structure was affected too. In order to make leveling more engaging and fluid, each Ability Tree now has multiple starting paths, and reading treatises will no longer be the only way to unlock higher tier Abilities - it can also be done by meeting Attribute requirements. In addition to that, it will be possible to unlock initially unavailable Ability Trees with the help of trainers, which will give you access to the first tier of them.
This update will feature the first batch of 40 Steam achievements. A large portion of them will be awarded for maxing out Ability Trees, but some will require you performing unorthodox feats. For instance:
- Leechfeast – have leeches applied on six Injured body parts at the same time.
- Shovel Knight – kill the Ancient Troll with a shovel.
- What A Time to be Alive – experience 4 Deadly effects at the same time.
- Totally Bear-able – kill a bear with a level one character.
- Dr. Phlogiston, I Presume – have 7 enemies on fire at the same time.
- I Have No Arms And I Must Kill – kill an enemy with a melee attack while both your arms are Severely Injured.
We plan to release a series of patches and small updates over the course of December and January to polish the existing content and add some new stuff. This will mostly affect Brynn: we want to introduce interiors to every house and add at least half a dozen extra buildings. In February you can also expect a small surprise on the second anniversary of the game’s Early Access release - but more about it later...
After we finish all that, we’ll start working on the Rags to Riches update, which will flesh out the global map and introduce two new Ability Trees to the game - Armor and one of the magic schools (we'll share the details later).
Wizard’s Fate, the update coming after Rags to Riches, will almost be entirely dedicated to magic - other than new magic schools, Wands, and Magic Mastery, we’ll also implement new systems that will make playing as a sorcerer not as easy and serve as a foundation for the full-fledged character generator.
An important mention: we will no longer be giving approximate release dates. The updates will be released only after we are sure that everything is ready. Exact release dates will be announced during the final stages of development and testing - one month before a patch’s release or so.
That’s all for now. See you in the lands of Aldor on November 18th!