As more stuff is added to the new revamped version of Arcadia, it's time to create the Cinema! While we're still not completely sure this will be available at the end (it kind of depends how well we can solve some of the issues with the mechanics), for now we're fairly sure we want it there in some shape or form.
So, initially we kind of had hopes of having the patch up and running already. The skill changes have all been made and are fully functional, but we realized there are some more things we want to test and some things that need to be fixed before we're satisfied enough to hand over rest of the testing to you guys!

First of all, Teddy is now working on improving the player experience when playing games with high ping as we realized some of the changes we made to the combat made things desync more than we'd like in high ping situations. Of course, it won't be possible to make it 100% awesome if you happen to play with someone really far away or with a bad internet connection, as some desync in those cases simply can't be avoided. However, there are things we can do to improve the experience and make it feel more smooth to play, even when it's having difficulties.

Second, we really need to get down and dirty with the numbers, balancing each skill so it doesn't feel too OP or too crap compared to the others. To help us with this we've created a document which documents exactly how much damage each skill does at different levels, and how much that is per second, per EP, etc:


In other words, this needs quite extensive research and several playthroughs with different sets of skills, to make sure it's as balanced as possible. We also need to consider what gear is available and how strong the enemies are, and make adjustments accordingly. Already, we've noticed some not-particularly hard to get items give the player quite the boost with these new edits, so we'll have to nerf a few of those to make up for the increased strength of the skills.

It's hard to tell how long these tests will take, but hopefully we'll have the new patch up and running within another week or two! Until then, I'll focus on more Arcadia stuff and testing these things out. Stay tuned!
This week more interesting things are happening with the combat system and its skills! For one, we've upgraded the graphics of Blade Flurry, making the skill faster to use. Being rooted while casting a skill isn't exactly ideal, and Blade Flurry (especially at Gold Charge) has felt rather clunky to use as a result of that. Let's take a look at what the old version looked like:


And now, the new version:


As you can see, in the latter version your character finishes casting the skill almost immediately and is free to move after only a very short time of being rooted. Definitely feels a lot more nice!


We've also been playing around with Titan's Throw, which hasn't seen a lot of use very likely due to the fact that you throw your weapon away and won't be able to use it until you pick it up again! As mentioned in a previous post, we're adding the ability to get your sword back by holding the skill button for a short while (seen above).

We've also added a little bit of AoE damage if you do decide to pick it up manually, in order to make it more worthwhile doing so:


We also talked about adding an orb to magic weapons that deal a lower amount of damage but allows casters to stay further away from enemies. It's been implemented as well, and works quite well for those of us who prefer to keep our distance:


Again, if you're close enough to hit the enemy with your want, it won't unleash the orb but your want will do a bit more damage than the orb itself would. So whether you're into close combat or battling 'em from far away, there's pro's and cons to both options!

Finally, a closer look at a bunch of Fred's animations for these things (and some others):







Using the Aquarium as a base, I made another new building that hasn't been available in Arcadia before: The Bank. Here you'll be able to trade Essence for gold, or the other way around, something which might be useful in your quest to fully expand your town or get all unlockables:





And now the time has come to add another exciting building we're all looking forward to: the Arena! In this building you'll not only be able to battle your friends in a set of mini-games and challenges, you'll also be able to do practice runs against bosses and other cool things:





In Arcadia, we continue with adding new buildings! Here's another that weren't available in the old version of the town: the Aquarium. This place will help bring more inhabitants to your town, as well as housing a display of the fishes you've caught on your travels inside.





This week, the skill rebalance and Arcadia Rework continues!

Fred and Teddy are both hard at work getting new and reworked effects and mechanics into the game, and one of the possibly bigger changes have been coming together over the last week: the new chill and freeze effects!

The ice skills, or rather the Ice Nova and Ice Spikes, will both be able to chill and freeze every enemy on the game! Previously this was reserved for regular enemies, but now they'll affect bosses as well, drastically improving the skills which have been rather underwhelming against bosses before.

Because there was no way we could use the old effect on enemies as big as the bosses, we had to sit down and try to solve this issue by making an entirely new freeze shader instead. This was all done by Teddy and has had several steps of iteration, two of which can be seen below:



After some effects were added by Fred, we're left with the result seen below:


The difference between a chilled and frozen enemy is pretty drastic. A chilled enemy will have a slightly altered hue, snowflakes appearing around them and frost beneath their feet. Every once in a while, an enemy might be frozen, which makes it completely unable to move. If an enemy is chilled first, the chance of this happening doubles.

Visually, a frozen enemy is tinted blue and becomes shiny, the frost and snowflakes remaining around it. There's an increased chance of landing crits on frozen enemies, but they will only remain frozen for a short period of time or until you've hit it 3 times with regular-damage attacks or once if it's a hit with bigger impact (such as the final hit of a gold-charge Heroic Slam).
The skill rebalance is on it's way, and Fred has wasted no time jumping into refining and reworking the effects. One of the skills that's getting a visual and mechanic change is the Flamethrower, which as mentioned earlier won't deal damage as you move. This meant new smoke effects had to be used:


When we talked about this last, we decided that neither silver nor gold charge would deal damage when moving. However, upon seeing various players distress at the idea of making it that much less OP, we've decided to try to keep the damage-while-moving on the gold charge level (which also has new graphics, by the way!):


We'll balance this with a damage reduction instead, and if we still feel it's too OP we might still do the full nerf with no damage while moving. Our initial idea with Flamethrower was that positioning would be key to use it, and being able to move and do damage at the same time kind of takes away from that, which is the reason we wanted to make this change to begin with (aside from the skill being too OP, especially at silver level, compared to others). 

Hopefully this compromise will keep the fun feel of the skill while not making it too crazy good. It's always difficult nerfing skills in any game because when you're used to a skill being really OP, it typically also feels really great using it. Using such a skill after a nerf will of course cause some disappointment, but hopefully the game will be better and more balanced overall after some of these have been made. 

Next, there's been some additional graphics added to the Smash and its new ball!


Each time you hit the ball it changes color and does more damage. After three hits it'll disappear, so you have to summon it anew. We're still fiddling around with the arrow indicating which way the ball will go, and the graphic is likely to be changed again, at least slightly. 

We're listening to all of your feedback on our changes thus far, and it's no secret Smash is the source of a lot of discussion. We'll continue on this path for now, finalizing this version of the skill and uploading it with the rest once they're done. Once you can try all the rebalanced skills all at once we'll see how things turn out! There's still a possibility Smash might get scrapped altogether, it all depends on what you guys feel when it's all patched and ready for testing.

Finally, here's a bunch of the new and improved effects Fred has been working on:







Next there's another addition to Arcadia which weren't available before: the farm! This building will house a set of animals - once you catch them. You'll have the option to either let the animals roam free in town or keep them inside the pasture surrounding the farm, where no doubt Oak will be working:





The clock tower is a brand new addition to Arcadia, by which you'll be able to change the time of day from day to night (and possibly somewhere in between: we'll see!). In this video I also add the Bishop, with a new and improved Grindea statue, and remake the old notice board:






Now, time to focus on Arcadia and its rework. There's a lot of stuff left to do before it's anywhere near complete, so it's time to get a move on! Here's the next part, featuring the Inn:


The Inn will house several characters that are able to give you quests, and will help in making Arcadia a more lively town with more inhabitants.



You've already seen some of our work on improving the skills, but as mentioned we have plans to improve or make tiny adjustments to almost every single skill in the game. This is all part of our rebalancing effort, which hopefully will end up with the game being a more fun and stable experience regardless of which sets of skills you pick. Here's the complete rundown:


1-Handed Skills

Dodging Strike will get increased damage, and synergy with Reaper's Blade (the new utility skill). A Gold Charge Dodging Strike will now automatically cast Reaper's Blade on the target in front of you: level one by default, but if you put more points in the skill it will automatically use the level you have it at.

Piercing Dash will have its damage improved slightly.

Shadow Clone will be automatically nerfed as we lower the damage one 1-handed normal attacks, but it's likely we'll lower the base damage of this skill even further.

2-Handed Skills

Smash will be changed, as you've already seen. A ball will spawn when charging the skill, giving you something to hit enemies with for maximum damage.

For Titan's Throw, we'll add the option to get your sword back by channeling for a short while at bronze level. Right now, you have to pick the sword up manually until you get the gold charge, but we felt this has been limiting this skill a great deal. So instead, you'll now be able to get your sword back from the beginning, though it won't deal damage to enemies on its way back until gold charge.

Magic Skills

The Fireball will have increased speed, a graphic update (part of which has already been shown), and a more polished on-hit effect.

For the Meteor, we'll increase the damage, and add more aoe.

You will no longer be able to damage enemies while moving, using the Flamethrower. If you start moving, the flames will die down until you stand still again.
Frosty friend will have a cap of how many enemies can attack him. On the first level this will be a single enemy, but with each charge level he'll be able to occupy one more enemy. This is to make sure he won't be a complete meat shield, distracting all the enemies at all times. Instead, he won't be able to die when shielding.

The Ice Spikes and Ice Nova will get a damage increase.

Summon Plant's melee plants will have increased range, while the ranged plants will have less range.

Chain Lightning will get increased damage, possibly decreased range.

Static Touch will likely remain unchanged, but we are discussing whether to make a change so that you collect the cubes by battling, and by keeping on battling enemies they will get more and more charged. With this change you'd either be able to unleash the cubes upon a single enemy by using the skill again, or they'd be unleashed automatically when they've reached max charge level. Again, we haven't decided whether to actually make this change yet, though.

As mentioned before, our next main goal is to do a complete rebalancing of the skills in the game. This includes making bigger changes to some of our old darlings, such as Smash.

Smash has been kind of difficult to use since hitting the first enemy does not do a lot of damage: it's smashing it onto others that's the main source of epic damage. However, in some cases this isn't exactly easy to do. In fact, most of the time it probably isn't for most people, unless they're in a very crowded area. If you're facing few enemies, it might be hard to aim where the first one will go, making it near impossible to optimize the damage. Against bosses, the skill has been more or less useless.

So, how do we change this? I'd lie if I said we haven't considered replacing the skill completely, and I suppose it might still happen. However, our first try will be to improve aiming and giving you something to use against bosses or in those cases where there simply isn't enough enemies.

SO: the next time you charge your Smash skill (once the patch airs), a magical ball will appear in front of the player. You can hit this ball instead of an enemy, smashing it into approaching foes (or bosses) for maximum damage. To make aiming easier we've played around with a couple ideas as well:


In the first one, a set of dots appear behind the ball, indicating where it's going, including how it would bounce off walls and the like.

Below, there's a second version, using a more cone-like shape. It's important to remember that both of these indicators use placeholder graphics, and that in the end, regardless of which one we pick, it'll look more fitting to the game.


As it is, we feel the second one has better potential of having a clean look, so it's probably the one we'll go for. Hopefully these additions to the skill will make it a little more fun and useful. Otherwise, it's probably back to the drawing board for this skill!

Time to add some much-needed decorations around the Player House!

Next in the desert, we need a few more Sailors - it is a port town after all. Here's another sailor from the Merchant Isles, to help fix that problem:




Finally, we get to the part with the Player house! This is especially important since we want to use what we make here in Evergrind City (for Story Mode) as well! In this first part I'll begin with the house itself, and make another, shorter video later featuring the immediate surroundings.


The colors I selected were based on the Collector color scheme, which is blue and yellow. Seeing as the technology behind the house is designed, developed and used by collectors, we though these were fitting colors.


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