Elliot Cannon, Studio Creative Director (Myscha_Sleddog)
Upcoming Campaign Changes
While a number of folks continue with new Incursion maps, new gear, and the Mystic, another strike team continues to work with me on overhauling the existing campaign, game structure, and experience into something much smarter and more cohesive. This will affect all players, but mostly brand new and returning players. If you have heroes that have not hit 50 and beaten the campaign or geared well enough to enter Nightmare I, you’ll definitely want to check this out. These changes are slated to release at the same time as the Mystic (tentatively slated for late September) so it’s not far off.
Overview of Campaign Changes
Here’s a brief overview. Look for much more visuals from the team soon here, on social media, and on our Devstreams:
- All maps (18 in total) are in a new order and interconnected by an overarching story thread. It all starts with the intro video and ends with your climactic defeat of the Har… er… main bad guy.
- Story elements appear on both map-specific loading screens and in-game videos at key moments. We added a continue button to the map specific loading screens so you have a chance to check them out.
- The campaign takes you from 1-50. Yep, 50!
- The new campaign gears you for Nightmare I by the time you’re done. Finish the campaign and you’re a walking wave of destruction ready to get into much harder content right away.
- You can play through the campaign in 9-10 hours if you don’t lose and rush through everything. We’ve found most folks play through in around 16 hours or so, by doing extra activities such as meticulously upgrading four heroes along the way, enchanting, testing, goofing around with pets, etc.
- We have unlocked all NPC shops in the Heroes’ Marketplace at Level 1. Enchanting, Pets, Relics, Blacksmith, have at thee.
- Many minor things that the game used to lock out by an arbitrary level is gone and ready for you from the moment you start.
- A super brief starter quest points brand new players to the War Table, explains the Hero Deck, multiple heroes, how to unlock them, how to earn Defender Medals then sends you on your first chapter of the story. Brief, to the point, get playing.
- The flow of first install to playing is much cooler, cleaner, and faster. We’re cleaning up the Create Hero UI so you can jump to heroes faster and improving the flows.
- Over the course of the campaign, you need to win each map before you can play the next. We do this with a self-contained quest so you never have to go back to town! If you already beat campaign, nothing is gated.
- We’ve added a NEXT MAP button to every map in the campaign and in defense mode so you can keep playing. All the maps have the same story-driven order.
- We’ve adjusted the warm-up timers and end game timers. Warmup is immediate and controlled by you now. End game timers are gone, so you can collect loot, gear up, and take your time before you go to your next map. We felt that having to go back to town all the time killed fun and momentum. We use the “G” up type mechanic here at better spots to promote smoother play on your terms.
- When you win maps in the campaign, you get Defender Medals and gems! By the time you win that 18th map, you’ll easily have about 5,000 Defender Medals to give you a boost before you jump into Nightmare I, work on heroes, or horde them for future goodies.
- Freeplay and Endgame are gone! Campaign prepares you for Nightmare I. /flex
- The Campaign rewards much better gear drops, and at key chapters, tailored gear.
- We’ve remapped the old quest chain so if you were midstream in that or sub 50 previously, we put you in a great spot to go forward. Since we’re leveling you faster and you’re earning gear that is much more powerful sooner, we place you in a spot based on your iPWR so you can keep making progression.
- Enemy introductions fit the new progression of the story.
- Pacing is snappier and more meaningful. Many maps have less waves and almost all have more boss-style climaxes.
- Maps are harder, and we offer two difficulties for the campaign to choose from (Normal and Hard) which you can jump back and forth on with no penalty.
- The game’s tutorial is freestanding and accessible off the main menu. We’re adding some V.O. here and there for personality for now. We have grander plans for an in-game strategy guide, but for now, this allows you to access the tutorial when you feel like it.
- We’re redesigning the Main Menu with much more visual punch and a better flow for both console and PC (Continue Campaign, Go to Town, Go to Private Tavern, updates on the game, videos, social media, and all kinds of smart stuff). I’ll let visuals speak for themselves, so stay tuned!
- The Game Browser has a better linear flow for campaign, as each map is part of a 6-chapter story; we present each chapter in a linear sequence so you can get a feel for where you are in the bigger picture.
- We’ve expanded the Create Game section with more room for game messages, images, cleaner flow, and less iPWR monkey business in your face. Less clicks to get playing for sure.
- If you’ve previously finished the campaign on your account, you can still go back and play the campaign maps in any order you want to gear up which is actually pretty fun now that everything is connected better feeling more like a single-player RPG journey with meaning.
- You can of course play the entire campaign with friends in multiplayer.
- I could not convince the art team to make a DD2 style UT 99 Flak Cannon. Will keep working on them.
As we said earlier this year, making solid strides towards finishing the game is on point here. The content and changes we have planned through the rest of the year are even more compelling. Dynamic difficulty and enemy scaling, scaling for number of players, a huge range of difficulty to challenge players forever, hero specific gear, leaderboards, and tons more. Keep tuned in for more on the next Incursion, the Mystic hero, and the Campaign changes!
Tim Shannon, PS4 and Live Producer (TimmyTrashTier)
In other news, this week is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We’re working on finalizing our next content update. From the PS4 side of things, we’re working on adding split-screen support to gameplay options as well as other improvements to controller configuration. On the live team side, we’re following up on a number of issues including: lag during matches, loading times on PS4, and adding Loot V2 support to all the new heroes. Next week should see a patch coming out that solves some of the issues with the Lavamancer release and the first round of controller updates.