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[Early Access] The Harbinger Awakens (9.0) Notes and Discussion

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FEATURES


New Boss: The Harbinger

  • Fight The Harbinger aboard his fancy-shmancy airship. If you can defeat him, you’ll earn loot you can only get from the big man himself. If you can’t, don’t worry, buddy. It just wasn’t meant to be. There are other boss fish in the evil sea.
  • This is where we would describe the fight, but honestly, you should just log in and play.

  • Also, his name is not Carl. This angers him greatly.



One New Map, Two Redone Maps

  • Airship Battle -- The Harbinger’s personal vessel of death and destruction. Powered by unadulterated malice and eco-friendly wind power.

  • Besieged versions of Throne Room and The Ramparts have been added to Campaign, Free Play and End Game. These maps introduce the story of The Harbinger.



New Cinematics

  • The next chapter of the story. These cinematics take place on the three maps in this update.



Loot V2

  • Less trash, more treasure. We’ve spent a great amount of time increasing the usefulness of loot drops and condensing the amount of loot that drops. The result is that you should find upgrades more often, feel like more of your items contribute to your build and spend much less time managing your inventory.

  • Items generate with combinations of useful base stats much more frequently. For example, items with Defense Health/Defense Power or Hero Damage/Hero Health are more common.

  • Item passive generation is no longer random. It uses a weighted system based on the stats present on the item.
    • Combat/Hero-focused passives (like extra Sword Beam damage or lifesteal) appear on items with Hero Damage, Ability Power, Hero Crit Damage, and Hero Health much more frequently.
    • Builder/Defense-focused passives (like extra defense range or speed) appear on items with Defense Power, Defense Crit Damage, and Defense Health much more frequently.

  • The amount of loot that drops has been decreased, but the ratio of high-rarity items to low-rarity items has been increased, particularly as you move through the game.

  • Based on player feedback, armor items appear more frequently than before.

  • We’ve done a significant update to the current pool of passives, from removing some passives, to refactoring existing ones, to even adding a few new ones. Our goal with these changes is to increase the number of useful and desireable passives while pulling out some of the less liked passives. This should help improve the general quality of items, by ensuring that stats are generally paired with more appropriate passives for their role.

  • Several Passives now appear on more item slots in smaller amounts:
    • Superconductor (Ability Cost)
    • Channel (Mana Regen)
    • Tripwire (Explosive Trap Damage)
    • Pyromania (Flameburst Damage)
    • Vector Corrector (Defense Range)
    • Radiance (Aura Range)
    • Amped Up (Lightning Aura Rate)
    • Power Pole (Pole Smash Damage)
    • Full Hearts (Sword Beam Damage)

  • Passives Updated / Replaced:
    • Jackpot - Random chance to quadruple gold earned from any source; replaces Leprechaun (Double Gold), Pickpocket (Gold From Hero Kills), and Mercantile (Gold From Defense Kills) on future items.
    • Construction (Build Rate) updated to encompass both Construction and Service Call (Repair/Upgrade Rate) effects; Service Call will no longer drop.
    • Finglonger (Defense Interact Range) has been removed.
    • Experience-increasing passives have been disabled from all future items.
    • Mana Bomb Cooldown is now Mana Bomb Damage.

  • New Basic Passives Added:
    • Iron Core - Increases Cannonball and Heavy Cannonball Damage
    • Shrapnel - Increases Concussive Shots and Sticky Nades Damage
    • Starlight Burst - Increases Arcane Volley Damage

  • Several Passives rebalanced to scale to much higher values at higher iPWRs:
    • Retribution (Damaged Reflect)
    • Conflagrate (Damaged Fire)
    • Regeneration (Health Regen)
    • Life Leech (Hit Heal)
    • Heavy Toe

  • Removed Magic Resistance and Physical Resistance as secondary base stat options from Armor items.

  • Lockboxes appear less frequently.

  • Pet consumables and eggs appear slightly less frequently.

  • Slightly increased the total odds a weapon will drop with a Defense stat over a Hero stat.
    • Increased the weight of Defense Power moderately.
    • Increased the weight of Defense Crit Damage slightly.



End Game Unlocked at Level 40

  • End Game, non-Nightmare playlists now unlocks at level 40 (this includes End Game Incursion and End Game Onslaught). This should help address the tedious level 38-50 grind.

  • End Game Nightmare playlists still unlock at level 50.



New Costumes and Premium Pet

  • The Awakening Costume Pack
    • Dark Disciple Squire
    • Galactic Assassin Huntress:  Includes new jetpack VFX
    • Dark Shawl Monk:  Includes new spawn VFX
    • Arcanatrooper Apprentice:  Includes idle stream breath VFX
    • G4-T0 Pet:  Four custom faces, new animation set, new “Radial Blast” ability

  • Humbug Holiday Costumes
    • Nymph of Yesteryear Huntress
    • Mournful Moorley Monk
    • Lord of Winter’s Bounty Squire
    • Reaper of Future Winters Apprentice



War Cache & Galactic Weapons

  • Because you hit 80,000 followers in the Official Steam Group, we’ve added the War Cache to the Tavern! The War Cache is a temporary addition to the game and will give you one random Legendary Galactic Weapon.

  • If you want the rest of the weapons, you’ll need to join the Steam Group and meet the following milestones:
    • 125,000 members:
      • Wield the Squire’s Crystalline Saber!
      • This milestone unlocks this weapon as a permanent drop in the game.
      • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.
    • 175,000 members:
      • Brandish the Huntress’ Bow-Blaster!
      • This milestone unlocks this weapon as a permanent drop in the game.
      • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.
    • ??? members:
      • Command the Apprentice’s Blaster-Caster!
      • This milestone unlocks this weapon as a permanent drop in the game.
      • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.
    • ??? members:
      • Unleash the Monk’s Crystalline Twin-Blade!
      • This milestone unlocks this weapon as a permanent drop in the game.
      • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.

  • The War Cache is disguised as a present. You can find it by walking over to the gigantic tree in the tavern.

  • The weapon that will be given to you in the present will be based off of the Item Power of the hero that opens it.



Four New Build Weapons + 1 Build Shield

  • Defeat the Harbinger to get these new build weapons and a new build shield!

  • The four weapons have the chance to drop with either a Defense Build Passive or a Hero Build Passive. Find them all!



Winter Event

  • Six maps have been given the winter treatment. Play on these maps to find new Winter Lockboxes!

  • The Winter Lockboxes contain exclusive winter accessories for all four heroes and have the chance to drop the Humbug Holiday Costumes!

  • The event ends on January 12th.



NPC Shop Update

  • Updated the Blacksmith (Armor & Weapons) and the Relic Hunter (Relics) shops to have more useful gear for your heroes.

  • Shops will now roll gear for your heroes based on their average Item Power up to a certain Item Power range.

  • Shops will now roll 12 items.



Accessory Progression Changes

  • When you buy a costume, you now have instant access to all of the accessories. No more upgrading or purchasing with gold to get each piece. We wanted to reduce complication, increase the value/customization of our costumes and increase the immediate joy factor.
  • Mythical Accessories are now simply rare accessories, not upgradeable accessories. The text for each costume has been updated to reflect the new number of mythical accessories it comes with.

  • The accessories now show up under the base costume, as opposed to in the upgrade menu.

  • There are still upgradeable accessories for the base costume. However, when you purchase these, their upgrades only take 1 xp to unlock. In the future we are going to find a better way to organize these upgradeable accessories and may / may not simply remove them.

  • For those who already unlocked accessories, we’re giving out the following rewards:
    • 1-5 Accessories unlocked – 100K Gold, 1 Lockbox Key
    • 5-10 Accessories unlocked – 200K Gold, 1 Lockbox Key
    • 11-20 Accessories unlocked – 400K Gold, 2 Lockbox Keys
    • 21-30 Accessories unlocked – 600K Gold, 2 Lockbox Keys
    • 31 or more Accessories unlocked – 1M Gold, 3 Lockbox Keys



New Challenges & Quests

  • New challenges have been added for The Harbinger. Complete all of these challenges to earn two new titles!

  • Added three new quests during the Campaign stretch for the new Harbinger content.



New Festive Tavern

  • New holiday Tavern with festive new music!



Costume/Premium Pet/Inventory Sales

  • Added in the ability to put items on sale in the Costume Shop, Pet Shop, and the Inventory.



Tutorial Revamp

  • We’ve streamlined the tutorial to play out a bit snappier and help players jump into the game a bit quicker.



Improved Controller Support and Keybinding Support

  • Additional functionality to rebind commands on the controller and keyboard.
    • Added the ability to use modular command bindings on controller and PC (CTRL+5, etc.).

  • Moved the ‘Use Controller’ and ‘Invert’ options to a more visible location in the options menu.




     

BALANCE

   

Onslaught Loot Update

  • Onslaught loot ramps up in Item Power much more quickly.
    • Pre-Nightmare IV Onslaught maps ramp to maximum iPWR loot in 3 or 4 rounds (down from 13).
    • Nightmare IV Onslaught maps ramp to maximum iPWR loot in 7 rounds (down from 13).



End Game and Incursion Experience

  • End Game, Non-Nightmare, Difficulties now provide experience.

  • Heroes in the level 40-50 range should focus their levelling experience on End Game Hard and End Game Insane difficulties.



Item Power Progression and Difficulty Updates

  • We wanted to make some slight tweaks to the overall difficulty to ensure that players smoothly progressed from one difficulty to the next with iPWR progressing smoothly alongside them. This has a resulted in a small increase in difficulty in some parts of the game. We also refactored our iPWR recommendations in many parts of the game, to better reflect what we think is the ‘target’ iPWR for those difficulties.
    • Increased difficulty in Free Play hard slightly.
    • Increased difficulty in End Game Normal and Hard significantly.
    • Increased difficulty in End Game Insane moderately.
    • Increasing difficulty in Nightmare 1-3 modes slightly.
    • Increasing difficulty in Nightmare 4 incursions slightly.

  • We’ve also gone through and tried to take a serious look at iPWR progression, all the way from Campaign end to Nightmare IV. We’ve updated our iPWR recommendations for a lot of content to reflect what we think is a reasonable challenge. We hope this makes it much clearer as to which maps you should tackle next with the gear available on your heroes.   



Enemy Stat Updates

  • Increased Enemy Health and Damage Growth rates by 12.5%
    • Enemies overall will see very little change at lower levels and slightly more stats at very high levels.

  • Rebalanced some of the Introduction Enemies to be a bit easier (and one a bit harder!).




     

BUG FIXES

   

General Bug Fixes

  • Fixed the REALLY LOUD CINEMATICS. Cinematic volume is now controlled by the Master Volume slider.

  • Fixed an issue where ranged enemies were clogging lanes.

  • Fixed multiple geometry holes where enemies said farewell to life before you could do it for them.

  • Fixed an issue where the game couldn’t go from Fullscreen Windowed to Fullscreen unless the resolution was also changed.

  • Fixed an issue where players were having issues inviting players into Private/Group Taverns.

  • Fixed an issue where Pet Ability Rerolls were not dropping from Pet Reroll Boxes.

  • Fixed an issue where rerolled pet stats were not updating in the Stable.

  • Fixed multiple crash cases. Plural.

  • Fixed an issue where the Pet Evolution popup was displaying inaccurate pet stat growth.

  • Fixed missing loot events on some special/intro enemies (Kobold Flier, Explodinator).

  • Fixed an issue where comparing fast and slow weapons were showing reverse for minus and plus.

  • Fixed an issue with Poison Tip and Sandstorm pet abilities that was causing server crashes and unintended instant boss killing.

  • Fixed a bug where “Transaction Error” popped up after pressing Play on the Main Menu.

  • Item Enhancement should now always give stat points when upgrading gear.

  • The Apprentice’s Range Skill Spheres now give the proper 10% increase to Flamethrower Towers.

  • Fixed an issue where the Frostbite Tower would rapidly machinegun the frost beam if the tower was blocked by an object but detected enemies behind it.

  • Fixed an issue where the incubation timers on eggs could be anywhere between 3 - 15 seconds longer than they were supposed to be.

  • The Spooky Bow had a generic name before. Its new name is Bow o’Lantern. Like every major life change, it needs some positive reinforcement to boost its confidence. Jump in and give it company.

  • The Monk’s onslaught polearm will now correctly spawn a Kobold Flier.

  • Fixed an issue where the Challenge Complete notifications were not always appearing.

  • Fixed an issue where the Hero Health Small Skill Sphere was giving the actual health of the stat value and not being scaled by the hero modifiers.

  • Fixed an issue where some towers placed near Betsy’s nest would become invincible.

  • Fixed creeper species pet ability “Gravebolt” so the lifesteal does % damage.

  • Fixed frost element pet ability “Frost Shards” homing and projectile speed for consistent hits.

  • Fixed earth element pet ability “Stalagmite” to now do damage to bosses even though knockup is negated.

  • Region Select dropdown font for "US East (Northern Virginia) NEAREST" wouldn't fit on the widget.

  • Fixed the special enemy’s pathfinding issue in the Spooky maps.

  • Like quitting an addiction, Reviving Skeletons no longer count as a kill each time they “die.” It only counts on their last death.

  • Fixed an issue where Skeleton Goblins and Melee Goblins couldn’t hit the cores in Throne Room, Ramparts and both Spooky maps.

  • Apprentice Cooldown Spheres now give the correct % when combined or equipped in certain combinations.

  • Towers can no longer be placed inside the wall near the Crashed Balcony enemy spawner on Ramparts.

  • Fixed a draw distance issue in the Tavern.

  • The Onslaught build phase timers between waves will now appear for solo Onslaught matches.

  • Fixed an issue with transparency around the edges of billboards.

  • Fixed a graphics bug in the Costume Shop.

  • Playlists/difficulties that you have not unlocked are now distinctly locked.

  • Fixed weird "robot" audio issue with king clapping during victory state.

  • Fixed an issue where the keyboard activation key would not work during dialogue with the Use Controller option on.

  • Skeletons should drop mana in Onslaught again.

  • Fixed an issue where Private Tavern player kicking wouldn’t work.

  • Fixed an issue where the mouse Y input was not scaled correctly when Use Controller was checked in the Options menu.

  • Fixed a collision issue on Nimbus Reach.

  • Fixed an issue where Elemental Stats were not generating on all weapons.

  • Fixed an issue where the egg cores didn’t have collision during the end game countdown.

  • Fixed an area without collision on The Wyvern Den.

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I'll just put it here: Since most feedback ist negative,i'd like to say that the new boss fight was well designed and i actually enjoy it. Sure, the current implementation needs to be "fixed" but design-wise i like it and i am perfectly fine with the fact, that not every encounter is catered for solo play but some requires a group.

The encounter (i think) wants us to use certain roles and types of defenses and i actually look forward to try it after fixing.


Loot composition however is bad. You promoted your changes to useful loot so much and yet you see the many drops that make no sense and are not usefull. This is especially sad for stuff that will be hard to get i guess. (again after fixing).


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Several Passives now appear on more item slots in smaller amounts:
  • Full Hearts (Sword Beam Damage)


This joke is so unfunny...

I know in nearly every game there is a swordbeam squire noobing around with that op noob spell. They are really annoying, everywhere this mellee beam squires. When you join a game without a beam squire you get kicked often.

But the balance can be dropped as new items ingame, so in any way there is oblique still some balance in the patch.

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