It's been a hot minute, ain't it?
Hopefully you've been in the Discord following all of our progress. If not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! We thought we'd do something a little different for our upcoming alpha and share some design insight into the changes we made.
Our big emphasis with this alpha was to give you more things to during your turn. That came in a lot of big ways, specifically with changes to Abilities, Consumables, and Leveling. We're also taking the opportunity to revisit how two of our current characters play.
While at PAX we noticed a ton of people trying to use Medkits on other characters during the boss fight to heal, and we wanted to empower that action while promoting more cards in your hand. As a result, we've replaced many of the consumables with gear that provides related actions to the holder. For example, instead of Grenades you can now find a Grenade Launcher that gives you a card to play each day. Plus, this gave us the space to add something we've been wanting to for a while - tradable gear!
When we internally playtest, we all do so at high levels and with several cards in our hand. We realized it was taking y'all a lot longer to get to that point. So we reduced the costs to level for the first three levels significantly, and changed the unlocks so that you'll have three ability slots by the time you reach level three. You'll also unlock ability cards themselves as you level, to give you a core set to play with.
We're also trying out something new where any other abilities that you don't get from leveling can only be obtained in adventure mode. We generally like the experience of "hunting" for cards and the "yaaaaaaaaassss!!!" feeling of getting that drop you wanted, but are also aware that players want to make steady progress towards goals instead of relying entirely on RNG. We'll continue to tinker with the exact right balance here going forward.
With more slots, we wanted to revisit all of those ability cards and make sure core identities for each character were reinforced. This week we managed to get some nice changes in place for Buster and Lena, and the next alpha will focus on changes to Lucky Jack and Andrea.
While Buster was always designed for players who want to just shoot-and-forget, we had lost the initial vision of Buster “preparing” for the day at camp. Our goal with this alpha is to refocus Buster as a character who has options to choose from at camp, and sees them executed during the day.
We’ve revamped the two abilities that were part of our initial idea for Buster:
After review we felt like Lena was in a good place, with a core identity built around support, managing a lot of Exhaust cards, and strong Remote play that requires a Lena player to constantly be paying attention. Forcing players to decide when to use her cards during the day is something we wanted to lean into; because Tempo Shift wasn’t seeing a lot of play, nor was it an Exhaust or Remote card, it was an easy one to remove. We replaced it with a new ability that feels more relevant to her playstyle, along with a new gear to reinforce her “support-from-afar” style of play.
That's all from us for this alpha; stay tuned for our design notes on Lucky Jack and Andrea in the next!