Two months ago we spoke about the new things we were working on, and today we’re reopening signups for joining the next round of Alpha testing, the first time these new features will be playable! Create an account and we’ll email out details soon.
Probably the biggest new feature is a complete revamp of how the world is laid out, and the identity of these different zones. We call these biomes, and the game will have four distinct ones to begin with: the Wilderness, Expanse, Remnants, and Badlands. Jeremy talked about these in his blog post a few weeks ago, but perhaps bigger than the biomes themselves is how they let us flesh out exploration and discovery in Worlds. Each biome will have its own loot tables, so certain types of lore or schematics will only be found in certain biomes. Even the salvageable scrap metal you find protruding out of the ground will depend on the biome. And of course, the weather barriers we introduced a couple Alpha rounds ago will now serve their intended purpose of separating the different biomes.
Secondly, we’ve given your skyfaring nomad some additional acrobatic skills. She can now climb on almost anything! This should make getting on ships a lot less tricky, as well as give you a nice way to find a vantage point:
Something else that has been changed significantly is how players add atlas sky cores to their ship. The interference between multiple cores has intensified, meaning each ship will only be able to hold a single one! However, with the reveal of additional biomes, players will finally have access to the barely-understood technology the ancient civilizations invented to improve the performance of their sky cores. This has a lot of consequences for gameplay – for example, you will be able to see progression in your ship as you upgrade the sky cores to increase its weight limit; you’ll also only ever need to defend one central core, creating more tactical choices in how boarding parties and defenders interact.
Speaking of ships, one thing we’ve been dying to show off is the new look ship parts have now. The entire art team has been working very hard to transform the placeholder look we had before into the scavenger aesthetic of a shattered world, so that ships and other assets would match the gorgeous islands coming out from the Island Creator community. Of course, the process isn’t complete yet – and there will be more art tweaks to come – but players will start to see these updates in Alpha 6:
Also, the lumpy root vegetables ancient Saborians carved their revival chambers into have also had a (tiny) little visual update:
One thing our island makers in particular have been waiting for is the new lighting system for island caves and interiors, which will make their environments look better than ever. This is getting a rollout in Alpha 6 as well:
There’s more: something we’ve been talking about for a while that’s finally coming into the game is an object lifecycle on islands. Loose objects players leave behind will start to deteriorate and sink into the ground. As the tempestuous death clouds strike the islands with lightning bolts from below, exciting the atlas buried within and creating mini-earthquakes, some of these objects will become completely buried. At the same time, other forgotten relics of the past will be brought to the surface.
We’ll leave all other tweaks for you guys to find when Alpha 6 begins, but one last thing worth mentioning is the fleshed out set of respawn rules. Increasing timers have been added, and using anything but the personal reviver will sever your connection to your personal reviver. In addition, the “random” respawn option is limited to two uses per day now and always keeps you within the current zone. As always, we’re going to be listening intently to your feedback on how to tweak the rules further to prevent exploits, reduce griefing, while still keeping the game fun.
Keep an eye on your emails for the Alpha signup questionnaire (or register if you haven’t yet) and more details in the days to come. See you in the skies!