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Beamdog's project director Luke Rideout is back with another development update for his team's roguelite adventure MythForce. This time around he brings us the first in a series of articles dedicated to some upcoming metagame changes aimed at making MythForce more dynamic and varied in the long run.
To kick things off, he identifies a number of problems with the current iteration of the game's meta progression and goes over some of the planned changes that should hopefully fix them. These include a more granular and rewarding progression, systems that encourage players to experiment with their loadouts, and a narrative-rich home base.
Here's more on that:
Greetings, friends. Project Director Luke here with the third in our series about big updates coming to MythForce.
Last week, I described the “under the hood” changes with our upgrade to Unreal 5. This week, I want to scratch the surface of the overhaul to the metagame. There’s a lot of ground to cover, as the changes are extensive, so I’ll address this topic across several blogs over the next few weeks.
Let’s start with why we’re changing the metagame in the first place.
Currently in MythForce, the game loop is simply “adventure in the dungeon, get XP, rank up, return to the main menu, see what you got, make one infusion choice, maybe also get to spend an ability point.” Then it takes a few more adventures before you get to do it again. The infusions system worked, but it was unsatisfying because making one choice of three down strict paths—often with choices that had obvious winners—meant that you would often make a choice once and rarely if ever reconsider it.
Ability upgrades and artifacts suffer from similar limitations. They each have a small pool of options with clear standouts. Once you’ve decided what you want and have raised your rank to 10, there’s little incentive to experiment or improve your build.
Was that fun? Sure it was. It’s satisfying to improve your character over time and feel like those improvements have an impact on the game. But at the end of the day, there wasn’t much reason to engage beyond a few distinct milestones, making the experience “samey” and halting the sense of constantly becoming more powerful.
With that in mind, our primary goal with the updated metagame is to give you more control over how your character grows through frequent, smaller upgrades. Our approach combines efforts to be less prescriptive about your progression path and to give you more options for experimentation.
We measured all of our decisions in the metagame revision against a pillar of “impactful choices at meaningful moments.” We wanted your choices to feel like they would give you something of value every time and to come at the moment that made the most sense.
We’ve taken some game elements that were “set and forget,” like artifacts and ability upgrades, and moved them to our in-session perk and equipment systems. There they provide more impactful choices during each dungeon delve, improving the parts of the game that make it roguelite—a part of MythForce’s identity we wanted to reinforce.
We also evaluated how and when players make existing in-session choices. Feedback told us that, for decisions like weapon use, many players were never changing their minds after an initial choice. We saw that players would even reject higher-level, higher-rarity weapons of a different type in favor of the one chosen at the start. Even more importantly, some perk selections made changing your mind mid-session a liability, invalidating a build you may have been working toward over the course of many levels. Where we found that player choices were being rejected or were counterproductive if made during the session, we moved those choices to the metagame.
Layered on top of those considerations, our second goal for the updated metagame is to provide an opportunity for players to experience more of the people and places of Eldryth. We’re introducing a layer of narrative and a “home base” in the metagame by recontextualizing our menus into an interactive city map of the capital of Solaire, the Citadel of the Sun. There you can meet important allies who support your mission to defeat Deadalus.
In the Citadel, you can interact with buildings like the Sun Disc, where Queen Ancilla offers a new system of semi-permanent attribute upgrades, replacing our infusion system. In the Armory, Captain of the Royal Guard Sir Lucien provides weapons as well as upgrades to make them more powerful. In the Conclave, Sylvia the Weaver helps strengthen and expand your pool of perks. And that’s not all!
Over the next few blogs, we’ll take a deeper look into all of these changes, starting with some of the individual buildings. Then we’ll explore how to power up your hero in the new and improved MythForce metagame.