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!
In our last post, we alluded to the fact that you may need to spend something other than Crowns to upgrade your ability and gear cards. Coming in next week's alpha, you'll be able to obtain new rare resources from bosses and new minibosses, aided by a new tool - the extractor.
Your extractor can unlock the ability to harvest specific rare resources. Unlocking a resource on your extractor costs crowns, but once you do it, that unlock is permanent, and you'll be able to harvest that specific resource forever. Unlocking a resource on your extractor only gives you the ability to harvest, it doesn't actually give you a copy of that card. To do that, you'll need to head out into the field. Each boss now drops a specific rare resource. There are also new minibosses available in the shop for you to add to the deck in adventure mode - these minibosses also drop rare resources. If you're looking to get your hands on that Irradiated Core, you'll need to tackle the new Radioactive Minibehemoth after upgrading your extractor.
Upgrading your cards is designed to be a long-term goal with intermediate steps that benefit all of your characters account-wide. Alongside the more achievement-oriented leveling system that's very character-driven, and the rare card hunting baked into adventure mode, we hope we've struck a balance in giving you lots of different paths to rewards and goals! Help us test it out next weekend - our September alpha is September 27-29. Don't have a key? Join the Discord, dummy!
As our players are already discovering, abilities and gear that felt super strong in the Wastes are barely strong enough to get you through the Dunes. And with more zones incoming very soon, each way harder than the Dunes, we thought you might want some upgrades. Specifically, card upgrades.
For the September alpha, you'll be able to permanently upgrade most ability and gear cards to a "Level 2" version. In the above image, Backup Singer has been upgraded to Level 2, increasing the CP it grants from +2 to +4. This upgrade is permanent on your account so long as you have at least one copy of that card. Some other upgrades you'll be able to unlock:
Now, upgrading cards ain't free. Nothing is out here. You're gonna have to pay through the nose for it, and not just with crowns. But that's for another blog post.
You'd think we'd know by now that we're making a card game, and rule #1 is that things should be cards! That means even the most basic things like attack. So for the next alpha, you won't be dragging your portraits to attack anymore - you'll be playing a card, just like everything else.
Drag the card and it acts like any of our other "targeted" cards, where you can target the monster you'd like to attack. Once you play the card, it acts just like before - dice will roll, animations will play, robots will be smashed! Each character starts the session with a brand new attack card, and (just like ability cards) it doesn't go away when you play it.
Notice that Mods section? Attack cards opened up an opportunity for them to be modified as you play, so we added a bucket of new consumables to do just that. These can be found right now only as drops from monsters - either directly from bio monsters, or when you bust up a mech monster. Possible modifications right now include:
We've got a long list of additional ones that will be added as we go, but we wanted to make sure the system works first. So playtest the crap out of it in the next alpha - and if you don't have an alpha key, join the discord already!
PS: We're also doing the same thing with the Escape action ^_^
We're back from Play NYC and we've got a new feature to preview for our upcoming August alpha - the victory screen!
In our last post we detailed a new leveling experience, and in July our community had the first chance to try it out. The response was positive, but with some key takeaways:
We're taking the opportunity to use this fix as a way to introduce an end-of-session screen that we've wanted for a while. Now, whether you win or lose, you'll be presented with a recap at the end of the session before transitioning back to the title. Here you'll see the crowns you've earned, any cards unlocked, and most importantly, you'll have the opportunity to assign XP.
XP can be assigned to any character you controlled during the session. You need to have started with that character - rewards are disabled for characters that changed owners mid-session because someone disconnected or something like that.
The pool of XP you receive has also undergone some balancing, and is now focused on three primary things:
While we're sensitive to the fact that XP gains as a solo player are slow, we didn't want to do away with increased XP for playing with others entirely. This is a multiplayer game, and we want to encourage you to play multiplayer. But, there's also a benefit to you being able to play a few solo games to quickly level up one specific character so you can play with your friends with that character. We're going to keep an eye on this balance and, if we feel it's leading people to avoid multiplayer because solo play is easier to get set up, we'll adjust accordingly.
Additionally, during this screen, you'll receive a pop-up if you've completed any leveling objective during that session, or if you've leveled. That way you don't have to constantly go back to loadout to check "ok, what did I actually do?"
Lastly, we're including locked slots in the loadout screen to let you know what's coming as you level up. The exact rewards at each level are going to change in an upcoming alpha, but you'll have to wait for more info on all that ;)
As always, don't forget to join the Discord if you'd like an alpha key to test all of this out! Our next monthly alpha is August 23-25!
In our June alpha, we found that players didn't understand our leveling system like, at all. Our levels were designed to be less reflective of "how much you've played" like traditional XP systems, and more reflective of whether you could tackle more challenging content. We had "Power" which increased as you bought cards for that particular character. But it didn't do what we wanted at all:
So, out with the old and in with the new. Meet the new leveling system:
Each character now has their own checklist of things to achieve to reach the next level. Sometimes it gets at the same thing as Power was trying to get at - buy this particular ability, buy 4 blueprints for this character, etc. But now, it's a flexible system that allows us to add all manner of "achievement-style" tasks for you to level.
Characters now also gain XP. The more players you play with, the more XP you'll earn for the characters you control in that game. You'll need to both fill out the checklist and gain enough XP to make it to the next level.
Levels still provide the same bonuses as before - additional slots for ability cards and augment cards, and the opportunity to equip higher level augment cards. In August we'll be releasing some more changes to what you get at each level. But you'll be able to start the grind in just a few weeks when this new leveling system gets added to our July alpha! Don't have a key? Get in the Discord and ask for one!
Oh look another intern post!
I’m Cooper and for the past few weeks we’ve been working on a back-end overhaul of the online system. For the most part, there will be no visible difference to you. The changes were mainly to restructure the process that your client takes to talk to the game server in order to find, create, and join games. These changes alone make absolutely no change in the eyes of the player. So why would we go through all of this trouble? So that we could implement matchmaking!
This new online system allows for easy creation of a matchmaking service. After a quick ui change, a few line of code, and many, many, JSON errors, the map screen now allows players to queue up for matchmaking as an alternative to creating a custom game. Just simply select a zone, choose between Adventure and Story mode, and you’re good to go!
Here’s how it matches you. The two modes are matched completely separately, so if you are planning on grinding out in Adventure mode, you will not be matched with Story mode players and vice versa.
We're breaking ground on our new zone, and we couldn't be more excited. Meet the Shrapnel Whirlwind.
We recognized that the Wastes were not only fairly easy, but also set up a lot of promises. As your playing, it feels like there are cool things just over the horizon - synergies and strategies, a world to explore, and lots of difficult moments to overcome through cooperation. Our next zone - the Dunes - is (hopefully) us delivering on that promise. Along with exploring some new mechanics, of course!
That's all for today! If you haven't signed up for our newsletter, DO IT SO WE CAN SEND YOU AN ALPHA KEY.
Hi, I’m Shany Perez and I had the opportunity to be part of Razbury Games as an intern. I worked on From Rust and I would like to share with you the two features I worked on during my time there.
In order to make it easy to understand what each keyword means I created a keyword glossary where players can select a keyword from the menu or manually search for them by using the search bar. Selecting a keyword will make its description appear on the right side of the glossary panel. This glossary can be accessed by clicking on "help" and then switching to the keyword tab.
I also helped with the game localization. With the objective of keeping things organized I’ve created multiple CSV files, one for each category: Cards, Dialogue, Keywords and UI. Any text object will be processed through the language manager and then replaced with the correct string in the correct language.
This week we got to work on some of the tools we'll need to balance this game. Currently, the numbers in the game related to metacontent - how much a card costs, what your rewards are, how many cards you need to advance to the next level - are all made up completely, with really no consideration whatsoever beyond me wanting to get the system implemented. With our alpha rapidly approaching, we thought we should change that.
Dan has made a handy little tool that allows us to plug in all kinds of numbers and spit out other numbers. Right now, we can assign it prices for all of the cards and it will tell us how many sessions a player would have to win to, e.g., get a specific Lucky Jack ability card that it wants. Next up, Dan is going to add to it so we can ask it the question "how many sessions, on average, does a player have to play to get from Level X to Level Y?" It's a pretty neat thing that beats my old way of balancing for Vidar, which was forcing my husband to play ever possible puzzle option and timing him.
I've also been building tools to help support inevitable balance - we've added realtime logging so we can see what's happening in a session as it's happening. This is using AWS "CloudWatch", and getting it to work with Unity wasn't *too* bad now that I have some experience jamming AWS products into our project. Right now, for each session we're merely reporting the Zone and the Mode, but in theory the system is extensible enough to record anything we want from a session up to the cloud, without having to rely on Unity's sometimes-frustrating logging system. And without having to wait for a session to end.
That's all for this week! If you're interested in joining our community alpha, don't forget to sign up for the newsletter so we can send you a key <3