1. The Great Magic Overhaul
This is the meat of this patch. We have reworked nearly everything about the magic system to have the secondary effects of spells also scale with magnitude.
Historically, secondary effects were only tied to the level of spells, increasing step by step every 25 levels. Now, area of effects, graphical effects, displacement effects, duration and blind effects will all be tied to the same factors affecting damage calculations.
- The status quo of what spells used to do at level 75 is set around using a basic bone armor with a medium speed medium rank staff. Anything above is buffed, anything below is nerfed.
- The only exceptions to this are blinds and wall of force, which are nerfed with encumbrance but have not been buffed beyond their previous values.
The way encumbrance and gear affects secondary effects is different than for damage.
Encumbrance is frontloaded for secondary effects, meaning that there isn't much difference between high end leather and metal armors, but a large difference between magical gear and physical gear.
Magical traits are also more impactful for secondary effects, which is another relative nerf to naked characters. Wearing even low rank robes should have benefits.
These changes lays a good framework for us to impact the utility of magic schools with titles, and in the short term give a valuable niche to magical characters in group fights.
As an experiment, we've added a lesser version of the stormblast displacement to lightning strike, air magic’s r50 spell. This is a test if it could be a potential flavor for air magic. To us it felt roughly equivalent but different to fire’s knockup, with some self-displacement utility.
2. New Village control point capture mechanics
After experimenting with multiple new systems, we've landed on something that felt genuinely fun to us in testing.
We're essentially going with a true king of the hill mechanic, with a capture zone clans have to spend the most time within to score capture points.
There are also higher stakes for a fight over a village control point as ongoing ownership and recaptures will now be rewarded, but so will breaking another clan's capture chain.
The intent of the whole system is to have groups of players try to stay in the capture zone of a village control point, and push out other clans.
The variation in the duration of a capture is meant to give potential opportunities to come back for all clans involved, putting emphasis on survival and giving value to each death on each sides.
Everyone involved gets rewarded with meditation, with winners receiving more immediate rewards on top of being the only ones with ongoing rewards.
The more a village is contested, the more value it holds to everyone.
- Villages become vulnerable every 23 hours and 45 minutes.
- To start capturing a vulnerable village, players have to enter and remain in a radius of 12.5 meters around the Village Control Point (VCP).
- Players and their clan will then be "engaged" in combat for this village.
- VCPs store capture progress per engaged clan.
- Looking at a VCP shows the player's clan capture progress, and those of the 3 clans having made the most progress in their capture.
- A player and his clan gets engaged with a VCP when:
- He enters the VCP capture zone.
- He damages/debuffs/heals/buffs someone part of a clan that is engaged with the VCP within the VCP lawlessness radius.
- He is damages/debuffs/heals/buffs someone part of a clan that is engaged with the VCP within the VCP lawlessness radius.
- For each clan engaged the capture time for all clans is increased, with diminishing returns.
- For each player of a clan engaged in a capture, the capture time remains constant and will require more players in the zone.
- Before any modifiers, the base meditation reward for participating in a VCP fight is 6 000 meditation points.
- For each player engaged with the VCP, the base reward is increased in a diminishing returns curve that starts at +10% per player and bottoms out to 1% per player at 25 players and beyond.
- Every player engaged with a VCP upon its capture will receive a percentage of the base meditation reward equal to its clan's capture progress.
- Rewards are further modified by the overall scaling of the current fight.
- The winning clan's members gain:
- An additional 2 000 meditation points.
- An additional physical reward in their inventories.
- Ongoing meditation rewards of 500 meditation points per hour.
- Ongoing gold rewards similar to pre-patch values.
- Capturing and recapturing a villages starts and increases an ongoing modifier:
- Ongoing modifiers increase by 1% per hour of owning a village.
- Ongoing modifiers are visible by everyone on the world map.
- When the village changed hands, the ongoing modifier is reset to 0.
- Instant rewards for a clan that is not the previous owner increase by the ongoing modifier of the previous clan.
3. Clan meditation pool and holdings upkeep
The clan meditation pool is something we've wanted to implement for a while now, as it opens up for a lot of future features like clan quest rewards, temporary clan buffs, and any form of maintenance costs where work/time should be abstracted.
We've implemented it in the form of a tax system so that clan leaders have a vested interest in having active members that participate in group activities like village control points or dungeon quests.
We're hoping that this can lead to a mutually beneficial relationship between clans and newer players, with veteran members teaching the ropes of more efficient meditation gains to newer members, helping them experience a smoother progression.
The first use of the clan meditation pool will be to have a maintenance cost for holdings, as an added logistic constraint to owning large empires. We're starting with low amounts, which we'll increase after player feedback.
The intent is to have holdings be reserved to active clans only, and to funnel players towards the most time efficient meditation sources for groups: village control points.
Of course, we've added a way to abandon holdings for clans, which should also serve as a way to trade holdings until a better system can be implemented.
- Clan members will now be taxed 10% of their meditation gains.
- A clan can stockpile up to 75 000 meditation points.
- When the cap is reached, members are no longer taxed and keep 100% of their meditation.
- A city will cost 5 000 meditation points per day to maintain.
- A hamlet will cost 2 500 meditation points per day to maintain.
- Upkeep costs will automatically be taken from the clan's meditation pool once every 24h.
- A clan can be in debt for 10 days before its holdings go neutral. There will be 10% interest per days in dept.
- When a holding goes neutral, the bank will be destroyed and any clan can capture it with a clan shard.
- Supreme generals and generals can abandon a holding as an option for the "alternate use" menu of bindstones.
- A flag is shown on top of the bindstone, similar to house taxes, showing if upkeep costs have been paid.
4. Clan prime time and vulnerability windows
One of the most attrition inducing factors we've witnessed in Darkfall are off-hour sieges.
This is how we want to solve the problem: give defenders control over when they can be attacked, keep some leeway for the attackers.
This coincides with the upkeep additions, as the drawback for this system.
- A day will now be cut in 3 windows:
- Invulnerability window:
- Lasts 16 hours.
- Holdings cannot be sieged.
- A vulnerability window:
- Lasts 5 hours.
- Sieges behave as pre-patch.
- A soft vulnerability window after the vulnerability window:
- Lasts 3 hours.
- Siege wagers are increased.
- Clan leaders can set their prime time, which will be the start of the vulnerability window in the main menu's conquest window.
- The start of a clan's prime time is set at 6PM GMT by default.
- Prime time can be changed only once per week.
This is a starting point, but we are looking at tweaking values based on feedback.
5. Dynamic Tombstones and monster death polish
For this patch we spend quite some time trying to polish one of the early immersion breaker for new players: Monsters sliding after death.
And while we were redoing monster deaths, we also added some much requested quality of life for looting/skinning.
- Monster graves will now show their status to players:
- They will no longer glow when empty.
- They will transform into a small bag on the ground when they have been skinned.
- Monsters should no longer slide or have a hitbox after their death, and graves should appear and disappear instantly.
- When a monster is dead but still in its death animation, its health bar should look empty to reduce confusion.
6. Rework of armor durability losses
Historically, durability losses were quite random, with some items never losing any durability.
We have redone the system. Now, all armors will lose durability in proportion to the amount of paperdoll slots taken.
Durability damage is constant and spread on the equipped items, which means that being close to naked will make individual items last less and balance out risk/rewards a bit better.
7. Collision system improvements
This change is probably the most gruelling one in this patch.
We've spent well over a month investigating the physics and collision engine to start addressing the geometry exploits that are prevalent in Darkfall.
This ranges from how entities are spawned, to handling rotations and movement near geometry.
We know we have not fixed yet all issues, but what worries us more is that players might get stuck now when they would not have before.
So please, stay on the lookout, and if you notice geometry bugs that have not been addressed yet, please send them our way.
We should now be able to fix/address these type of issues much faster now that we have a good understanding of the whole system.
8. Performances and stuttering
This is the final performance patch we'll do during InDev, and judging by the effects it had on our setups, it may be the most noticeable one.
In addition, we believe we've found the most probable cause of stuttering and fixed it. Hopefully, those that have had that issue should see an improvement.
If you had, or if you knew anyone with performances issue, please let us know.
9. Miscellaneous and bug fixes
- The new leather and cloth resources we've added now have in-inventory graphics.
- Hunt quests have received a new calculation formula. Gone are the days of OP rewards, they should now be more in line with Dungeon dailies and VCP rewards.
- Operation screenshakes: Screenshakes will now occur only on the player being hit or very close to it.
- Power hour and general levelling should now impact secondary skills as intended.
- Siege stones will not spawn close to a monster spawn or NPC guard towers.
- Siege stones and strongboxes should now require more room around them before spawning.
- Map markers in holdings should now be correct.
- All linked spawns have been removed from the game.
- Draw distance can now be increased much further in video options.
- Fall damages will start at lower velocities in a more granular way.
- Velocity should now properly be reset when mounting/dismounting.
- When a holding changes hands or goes neutral, all characters bound should properly be kicked.