Experimental Branch Update

We’re happy to announce an Experimental Branch Update available with some significant changes to core systems, new features, and a huge host of bug fixes, and minor tweaks. The password to the branch will be given at the end of the post.

But Jay-Nic, why is this update in the experimental branch?

I’m glad you asked, JoePlayer.
It is of the utmost importance that you read this post with regards to the new systems. They’re pretty raw, there’s no tutorials around them, and they aren’t explained directly in the game yet. So for now this is the only place where you can understand how it works. We put this out in it’s most playable state, not the most polished.

This is an Experimental update designed for us to put major changes into the wild and gather feedback based on them. Please be considerate in any reviews you write if they are at all influenced by this branch (be they good or bad) as they are related to the systems within it. Understand that these changes may or may not stick around. We’ve played with them, we’ve thought hard about them, and we’re pretty happy with them. But as logical people: we can’t deny that we might have some rose coloured glasses on.

I’ll get in to the statistical specifics of the system changes later, for now: please read the following overview.

tl;dr? Fine then… I didn’t work hard on this or anything… just jump here: Specific Experimental Changes

New Timeline

Enough of your prattling, Jay-Nic! What am I looking at here?

Ok ok… This is the new timeline! It’s designed to show you the most important events as they march toward you over time. Instead of progressing along the timeline: the timeline now simply shifts towards you as time progresses, like a conveyor belt. The current round is represented on the left, and the current character has an enlarged portrait. Each round: the timeline shifts, and the events march toward you.

So what are these “major changes” you’re talking about?

First and foremost: Quest time limits are gone and the Chaos system as you know it is radically different. Instead of a torrent of Chaos punishing you for being over a time limit, Chaos now trickles in like a hunger mechanic and you as the player can make your own decisions on how to deal with it. We’ve given you more options, and more decisions to make on your own, in your own time. You can also see it coming, which lets you strategize how to deal with it.

The end result (we feel) is that it no longer feels like you’re being yanked along by a chain between objectives. You can complete the objectives at any time, but you always have to deal with the looming threat of Chaos.

But Jay-Nic, doesn’t this mean you could just level up indefinitely and break the game?

Good question, and no. In addition to the diminishing point of return from low level farming that already exists in the game, as Chaos creeps in: enemies get stronger. No more other-worldly effects that you need to keep track of that are specific to each level. Things are simple. As Chaos increases:
•Enemies get more hp
•More Chaos Land Hexes spawn in the world

The only caveat is that at max Chaos: the chaos beasts still spawn in to wreck you.
So if you just sat around and tried to farm, the enemies would get stronger (even the ones below your level) and your returns would continue to diminish!

You talk too much, what else?

In addition to the Chaos trickling in: we’ve now abstracted the notion of Lives/Revivals out of the Chaos system completely. You now have a pool of lives that are directly expended when getting a character back on his feet.

Ok, so Chaos trickles in, and revivals get consumed. How do you get rid of Chaos, and how do you get more lives?

Chaos is still decremented when you complete story quests. If you have a Chaos level active: the Chaos level will decrease. If you don’t have a Chaos level: then lowering the Chaos will simply remove the next incoming Chaos off the timeline, buying you more time.
In addition to that: there are now Chaos reduction sidequests in each town that can be taken. Towns still have the same sidequest limitations, but we give you the tools to make your own choices with what sidequests you want to take.

A revealed Chas Generator
And on top of that: there are now hidden Chaos generators in each realm (just like the one in the Guardian Forest main quest) that when located, will give you a choice between

•Knocking back Chaos
•Getting another life
•Eliminating a Scourge from the Timeline

We put the balance of your playthrough into your hands. You make the decision, and you strategize accordingly.

Right, I forgot about Scourges… How have they changed?

The Scourges themselves haven’t changed. They have the same effect as they have previously. The only difference is that they are now decoupled from Chaos. Scourges will appear as incoming events on your timeline. When they reach zero hour: they’ll be activated. We don’t blindside you with them, and you get time to find them and beat them beforehand.

Ok, so you guys have taken all these previous gameplay elements, and stripped them out into their own separate game mechanics and ensured they’re designed to complement each other to form a complete and coherent gameplay system…

Wow, JoePlayer… How eloquently put.

Ok Jay-Nic, I’ve read all your crap… (It’s like The Wheel of Time up in here…) Get to the specifics

Specific Experimental Changes

Quest Time Limits
•Gone. In favour of a “hunger mechanic” type Chaos Event system

•Chaos trickles in over time. The higher the difficulty, the less time between Chaos events
•Chaos in the Chaos meter increments enemy health by 5% each time
•Chaos in the Chaos meter increments the number of spawning Chaos Hexes in the world adding navigation challenges
•Dying no longer increases Chaos

Chaos Reduction
•Chaos can be removed via story quests, sidequests, and hidden Chaos Generators in each realm
•There is one Chaos Generator in each realm (this includes the first act where the Generator is already made visible)

Chaos Generators
•Each realm has one hidden Generator (except in the first act, where the generator is made visible in the story quest)
•These can be consumed and used once to choose between: Knocking back Chaos, getting another life, cancelling an incoming Scourge

Dying/Sanctums/Life Pool
•Dying no longer increases Chaos
•The life pool decreases when a character is revived
•If a character has a Sanctum, the Sanctum crumbles instead of taking a life
•The life pool can currently only be refilled by finding a hidden Chaos Generator
•The life pool can be filled beyond what you start with

•Scourges are not connected to Chaos, they appear on the timeline and activate over time
•Scourges can be knocked off the timeline by finding a hidden Chaos Generator
•Scourges no longer knock back Chaos


Getting the Experimental Branch Update

If you’ve never done it before: you can change the branch of the game in Steam via the game properties Beta tab.
Steam game properties Beta tab

Select “xbranch – Experimental” (you may need to restart steam)

Your previous save-games will not work in the new update.There was previously an issue with Lore and Unlocks being reset. This has been fixed!


Most Importantly: Give us feedback

If you post your thoughts here in the forums, or in steam discussions, be sure to reference that you’re explicitly referring to the experimental branch by putting XBRANCH in the post title.

Let us know what you think. We love it so far, but we don’t count. Are you having more fun, is it easier, is it harder, is it more rewarding, is it just a different type of challenge. And as always: make sure you tell us about any bugs.
On that note: we know the localization for the new systems is not yet in place. So you’ll see a lot of things that look like this:
Missing loc text

Don’t worry, we know about that stuff.

For the King!

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