Spring is coming, but an alpha update is here.
In nature, the coming of spring is marked by longer days, warmer afternoons, and sightings of the first tender sprouts of nature's bounty.
At Larian Studios, the coming of spring is marked by impatient emails, a QA department inching rapidly toward the dark side of the Smeagol-Gollum continuum, and a wild Swen who's managed to replace most of his bodily fluids with caffeinated beverages.
Nevertheless, we're very happy to bring a new alpha/ Early Access update implementing lots of community feedback and revealing a variety of new features, improvements, and system enhancements.
Furthermore, we're excited to share two "spoiler" videos from the press discussing the game at length and showcasing several never-before-seen regions.
And stay tuned! This will be the last update before we make a new region of Cyseal, featuring new characters, combat, and (main) questing available for the alpha.
What new features have been implemented?
We've squashed lots of bugs, made some big leaps and bounds in the area of status effects, improved the look of the Cysealian hinterlands, and amended some of our rule systems. Check out the following video in which Farhang highlights some of the more exciting changes available in the latest Early Access update. Read on for more info, or click here to see a full changelist for this update.
The most well-explored region of the game has gotten a bit more depth and style with a new tunnel leading out from the graveyard (a tunnel under a graveyard? Curious... curious indeed...).
Through the beach beyond the skelebot cave, you'll find a revamped region with lovelier scenery leading up to your favourite wizard-poet.
Furthermore, and to Arhu's tremendous relief, the city's zombie-zapping ballistas now effectively zap zombies.
- Enemies now enjoy smarter target selection, meaning you'll no longer reap the benefits of what you thought was simple orcish idiocy.
- Combat now offers decreased experience points. You'll have to flex your muscles a bit more to get that next level-up! In addition, fewer ability points may mean an existential crisis (and a push to explore, fight, and quest even more) for the wizard who dreamed of being a charming, telekinetic, body-building powerhouse.
- You'll be able to plan fireball launches, winter blasts, and earthquakes with more precision now that skill previews have been implemented, meaning you'll see exactly how and where your spell will launch before you commit to it.
New (unfinished, but still very cool) music added
The hills are alive with the sound of Kirill! Our composer has leant some new music tracks for this update. Expect further improvements before launch, but these should add some new flavour to the areas you'll be exploring.
Statuses! Statuses everywhere!
Stoic heroes be damned! Now you can enjoy (or not) the thrill of being Chilled, Warm, Burning, Wet, Bleeding, Crippled, Blind, Cursed, Weak, Invisible, Slowed, Hasted, Raged, Lucky, Diseased, Infectious Disease, Fortified, Petrified, Blessed or Drunk.
Be careful! Each of these statuses will affect game play in some way. It may be fun stumbling around Cyseal as a drunken Source Hunter with increased luck, but be wary of your decreased initiative and intelligence. (Also, that buff to charm is only in your mind. Trust us on this one.)
Improvements to generic behaviours
Our in-house puppet masters have been hard at work regulating and improving the way NPCs react to you. Acts like theft, vandalism, murder, and breaking out of jail will now have more consistent consequences.
In the News:
IGN calls D:OS the new Baldur's Gate
Get the full scoop in this gameplay commentary video. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! http://www.ign.com/videos/2014/02/27/divinity-original-sin-gameplay-commentary
...and Rock, Paper, Shotgun calls it Ultima VII-2
Click below for a set of extensive gameplay videos featuring Swen and LOTS OF SPOILERS! http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/02/28/a-game-and-a-chat-divinity-original-sins-divine-depth/
Behind the scenes, there are other scenes:
In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Nathan Grayson, Swen gives an in-depth look into Larian's history with publishers, rough releases, and what it means to be an independent developer both in the age of the game-making behemoths and into the indie renaissance.
In the piece, Swen discusses the importance of new systems like Kickstarter (that's you guys!) and Early Access for the health and creative freedom of independent game studios, as well as hints of what's to come after the release of Divinity: Original Sin.
And just in case we don't say it enough... Thank you, thank you, thank you for your efforts in providing us with so much useful and intelligent feedback on the alpha. In case you haven't checked out our forums, feel free to have a look and share your thoughts. We're not just listening-- we're taking notes!