January is almost over so, as we announced, we want to share some information with you about what we’re currently working on, our plans and considerations for the future.
As many of you have requested, we want this article to give you some more detailed plans instead of just describing what has already been done. Our plans for the near future. We want you to be up to date with everything that is going on in our workshop. :)
For now, a quick summary - as you know, in the previous year, we focused on implementing maps and bosses from The Pride of Taern. This was the most important thing we wanted to achieve. Of course, for many of you these things were completely new and, thanks to that, you could have a lot of fun with something fresh. The more new players we have, the better the game is for everyone, wouldn’t you say? However, variety is the spice of life, so now we want to give something to our veterans. The next major update will focus mostly on you. Of course, some of the changes will affect every player (at all level ranges) and they will be huge!
The update will feature:
- gear reform,
- instance difficulty settings (instances 2.0),
- epics 2.0,
- a new instance for high level players (ca. level 120-140).
Let’s discuss these changes one at a time.
We announced the return to the occupied Thalia as a new playable area. We wanted it to be a map for levels 40-60 (as this is the point where the storyline so far ends) that also features some endgame content. Our initial plans were to create the city’s sewer system. We had the time needed to draw it and the project’s premise (areas for players level 40-60 and 120+) in mind. However, when preparing the concept… we decided it wouldn’t work out. It’d be hardly gripping or exciting - yes, basically boring. Sewers, or any underground maps, are places you can travel through very fast and are visually unappealing (often monotonous). We have enough underground locations in the game. Because of this, we shifted our design and decided to move the action to the surface, to a sea of Taernian ruins that would stress the war with Utor and the destruction of Taern even more. It’d be a much better eye candy and would also provide more variety and have a bigger gameplay potential. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, constructing an atmospheric city is a much bigger challenge than a labyrinth in the sewers. In addition to that, our plans to add various level ranges into the same location became problematic - after many discussions and concepts, we decided that we simply don’t want to do this. This region, if we want to keep it coherent, should focus on a single level range, without cramming in an extra area for high level players. At the same time, we really wanted to give our veterans a new instance that would provide a new challenge to those already at the highest level. Hence, we had to make the tough decision to separate these two things and delay the Utor-occupied Thalia.
As step one, in the next major content patch, we’ll add a completely new instance for high level players. This instance will have no relation to the new Thalia. It’ll be located in one of the winter areas of the world and we hope it’ll provide a good alternative to the current endgame content (Tarul, Morana). This will not put too much extra stress on us - we still have a lot of unused ideas that are just asking to be implemented into the game. The new boss and mobs will be transferred from Thalia to a snowy land to expand the game world a little. You will have new gear to collect and, more importantly, a new challenge to overcome. :)
At the same time, we’ll continue with the more time-consuming work on the Utor-controlled Thalia. It’ll be introduced in the next content update together with the next part of the main storyline. The whole area will be dedicated to mid-level players (40-60).
We know that, for many of you, this decision will be difficult to accept. Believe us when we say that it was very difficult for us, too. After a crazy year where we wanted to add all the missing content, we want to switch our workflow to “we want to deliver something really good and new” instead of rushing from one update to another, sacrificing quality and your satisfaction just to get the content in faster. We hope that we’ll be able to meet your expectations and your patience will be handsomely rewarded.
Now let’s get to the things you’ve been asking about the most - gear reform, epics, and instance difficulty settings.
As our veterans know very well, gear variety in Broken Ranks has been expanded by the addition of synergetics, which were not present in The Pride of Taern. They became very popular mainly due to their three advantages: high availability, merge potential, and the ability to customize them (you can choose any modifier you want). For these reasons, at lower levels they became much more popular than other legendary gear and at higher levels they are very comparable. The gear hierarchy has become disrupted - players no longer want rares in spite of the fact that they make their characters objectively more powerful.
Synergetics have solved many problems that the previous version of the game had. They provided an alternative when gearing your character, made it possible for players with less time to get something other than shop gear, and made doing instances more fun - the sight of interesting loot from a boss became more common. On the other hand, they also made some issues with legendary gear more visible.
For a long time, there have been two issues - low longevity and lack of customization options. Simply put, players outgrow their rares very quickly and, at the end, everyone wears almost exactly the same gear with similar properties. These are the things we tried to focus on the most but other issues will also be addressed.
What is our plan for gear reform?
Below you will find a couple of paragraphs where we explain what changes in gear you can expect. However, we want to stress that over time and as a result of testing and feedback, we may modify some of them.
1. Rares vs psychorares
Gear will no longer be divided into rares and psychorares. As you have noticed (which is evident through your gear choices), it hasn’t been working as intended for a long time - in the end, the modifiers win most of the time, especially if it’s one of the more needed ones. More often than not, synergetics with the right modifier are regarded as better than rares even if the latter have more attributes. For this reason, it will be possible for all legendary gear to have a modifier.
2. Modifier socketing system
Modifiers will no longer be assigned to gear permanently. When a rare is looted, it’ll have a certain number of sockets (depending on the rank) where you can insert any modifier you want. They’ll be items you can loot in instances. For a price, you’ll also be able to remove them from a rare, replace them, or move to a different piece of gear. Low rank modifier items will provide less % than high rank ones, but you’ll likely be able to combine them into a more powerful version.
3. Leveling up modifier items
Due to the above change, you will no longer need to level up psychorares. Instead, the modifier items will be able to gain experience. When moving an item from one rare to another, most of the experience gained will be retained, so you won’t have to level up every new piece of gear from scratch. In addition to that, we want you to be able to choose which modifier you’ll be leveling up without the need to remove all other gear.
4. More control over attributes
A separate gear socket will be dedicated to increasing the number of attributes the gear provides - this will be a less efficient option than upgrading but also less random. The attribute item will be acquired by destroying gear (similar to how you get essences). The number of attributes added this way will not affect the attributes gained by the current upgrade system. The attribute gain will be lowered, but you’ll be able to upgrade a wider variety of attributes, e.g. resistances.
5. Stars system
We’re completely abandoning the idea of adding stars to some gear - instead, we’ll be adding stars to all of the gear. ;) The feature will also be much expanded - the number of stars and attribute distribution will not be completely fixed. We want to implement the ability to generate the attributes again and increase the number of stars to make the rare even better.
6. Additional properties
We are also planning to add some new properties that will make rares stand out even more. We want some rares (even before adding modifiers and sinking gold into them) to be interesting, with unique effects not present on synergetics or shop items. However, these properties will have less upgrade possibilities.
7. Epics and new epic weapons
The current epics will use a similar mechanism as rares, but they’ll be much better than other pieces of gear for their level. After the reform, they’ll continue to be much more powerful compared to other weapons. In addition to that, we’ll also implement the long-awaited epics 2.0 that will continue the legacy of current epic weapons. However, we don’t want them to be lootable - you’ll need to do some crafting and grinding, and you won’t be able to simply buy the ingredients.The new versions of the epics will gain more than just extra properties. They’ll also have a more epic appearance with extra visual effects that aren’t available in the game yet.
You’ll be able to socket set gear, too, but creating the right combination will enable an additional, unique effect.
9. Pet gear
Pet gear will not be affected by the gear reform. Pet rares will continue to work as they do now - they’ll be a separate gear category. However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t be changing them in the future.
10. Shop gear
We plan to implement high level shop gear (thanks to this, the gear models that were removed due to rank changes will make a reappearance).
We don’t want to mess around with synergetics too much. They should play the same role they were supposed to from the start - a cheaper, weaker alternative to rares. However, we plan to add requirements to them.
We want the above changes to result in:
- extending the longevity of rares,
- making gear more customizable,
- adding new features allowing for gear upgrades,
- implementing another method of repurposing rares (apart from melting),
- increasing the value of rare gear.
However, let us remind you once again that some of the above changes may not be implemented and may change if needed as a result of tests.
Changeable difficulty level of instances
Together with the gear reform, we also want to introduce the ability to change the difficulty level of instances. These two features are closely related and there’s no way to keep them separate. Why do we want to implement them and why together with the gear reform? Let’s try to answer these questions:
- Characters are more powerful now than in The Pride of Taern - there is more gear variety and better character development possibilities. Also, many of you know the game inside-out and pass this knowledge to new players. As a result, the game is not as challenging as it used to be.
- The new difficulty system will increase the amount of content for both party play and for those who prefer the company of their close circle of friends or simply pets.
- The gear reform will allow for better customization, making your characters even more powerful - the harder versions of instance will allow you to fully utilize this potential. In addition to that, we need to be able to determine the power of characters in new gear before we properly balance instances.
- Defeating a harder instance should give you rewards that go beyond just satisfaction so that it's worth trying even when you're not completely overleveling it yet. Higher difficulties will reward you with more experience and better loot.
Who is the target?
The current instances will remain targeted at an averaged-geared party at the level of the boss. The harder version will be meant for those seeking challenges and better loot - even strong characters for the given level will have problems with it. On the other hand, the easier version will be better suited for those preferring solo play or a small party.
Properties of instances
The new difficulty levels will be an upscaled or a downscaled version of the current version. The harder the instances, the stronger the opponents - they’ll have higher attributes, more health, resistances, and other parameters translating into their strength. As a reward, they’ll provide better prizes: more experience, psychoexperience, and gold. The loot chance and quality will also differ - higher difficulty level means more stars, better modifiers, and different items allowing for gear upgrades.
How many difficulty settings?
The number of difficulty settings won’t be the same for every instance. Most likely some instances won’t get this feature immediately - we’ll be adding them over time. Moreover, the instances meant for solo play and the highest level ones are unlikely to get an easier version.
The entrance fee for the current instances will remain unchanged. However, we may modify it for the easier and harder versions.
Current “twin” instances
Instances like Commander and Admiral will be treated as separate and not various difficulty settings of one instance. This means that both of them will get their own difficulty settings.
We hope that the information above gave you a general idea what to expect and answered some of the more pressing questions. Of course, we’ll be happy to hear your feedback. Remember that the plans presented above are subject to change - also as a result of your suggestions. Thank you for being with us and good luck on the path!