Root-pulling Stubborn Guzzlers (New Abilities & Traits)

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13th March 2020 – Perry

“There were a few abilities that seemed a bit underwhelming, so we decided to make some changes.”

Recently I’ve been feeling it was high time for some new traits to enter the pool. We’ve been brainstorming new traits for quite some time, as we wanted to make sure the new traits had fun interactions, and that the negative traits weren’t too frustrating. We also wanted to keep an even mix of positive, neutral and negative traits. To clarify, the additions mentioned in this blog will feature in the game’s next update.

Traits

New negative traits:

  • Accident-prone – An accident-prone dwarf will injure themselves performing menial tasks, and fumble more frequently in combat. Not to be confused with the Careless trait where the dwarf will run afoul of your own traps.
  • Berserker – A berserker dwarf cannot be controlled while in combat, but deals +1 damage. Essentially as long as they’re being attacked, you cannot move them, although you can still switch their stances. This can however spawn in combination with the neutral trait Blood-thirsty, which only allows aggressive stance but gains bonus combat exp. Give this dwarf the Mighty trait as well and you’ve got one truly lethal combination.

New neutral traits:

  • Stubborn – A stubborn dwarf gains experience and levels up 15% quicker with any class, but once they’re level 3, they will no longer switch classes. So you’ll want to decide what kind of role you want them to have in your clan before this happens. The experience gain from the stubborn trait can also stack with other exp-related traits, such as nutty.
  • Kleptomaniac – A kleptomaniac dwarf will occasionally pick up items while they’re idle. Although we had originally depicted this as a negative trait, we realised there were some cases where this might benefit you. We’ll leave you to figure out what those are however.

New positive traits:

  • Thinker – A thinker dwarf is inspired by and works faster around sculptures. When they’re near a sculpture, they’ll gain bonus attack and their job timers will be reduced. Any class can benefit from this trait, but only around sculptures.
  • Guzzler – A guzzling dwarf gets 50% better use out of potions or ales; for example a HP potion will regenerate 50% more health. While potions are currently rare in chapter 1 and ales don’t even exist, as we develop the tech tree further we plan on both of those becoming craftable items, which will give this trait more pertinence.
  • Candle-bright – A dwarf with a brighter candle has their light and sight radius increased. This is a lesser equivalent of a new miner ability which will be explained below, but the effects of both can stack.

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Abilities

We’ve also been making adjustments to some of the abilities your dwarves can have. For those of you who aren’t aware, when a dwarf levels up for the first time they’ll unlock a class ability, and you are presented with 3 abilities to choose from (image below). The two following levels will then improve that ability, and then at level 5, the dwarf will unlock a second higher tier ability (and again at level 8). While we are really happy with this design and what the abilities add to the game and the development of your dwarves, there were a few existing abilities that seemed a bit underwhelming. So we decided to make some changes. Note these may still be changed in the future as we continue to experiment and balance them.

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Firstly, the miner’s level 5 ability ‘Structure-sense’ has been merged into their level 2 ability ‘Hard-hat’. Not only did having two abilities for cave-ins seem a bit overkill, but neither of those abilities seemed as good as the alternatives. So now hard-hat not only protects your dwarf from cave-ins but they will also label structural weaknesses on your behalf.

A new level 5 ability has been added for the miner called ‘Heavy Hauler’. As the name might suggest, this dwarf is able to carry heavier loads (more than 10 items at once), and will continue to mine until they can’t carry any more. Note this ability doesn’t currently impact the world-map screen, only when carrying items within a map. We will get around to amending the world-map item selection at a later point, but the suspicion is it’s not a simple fix.

We’ve removed the ‘Gravel-panner’ ability as we felt this was underwhelming for a level 5 ability, and replaced it with a new ability: ‘Toothed-pick’. Toothed-pick gives your miner a chance to inflict bleed-damage when attacking an enemy. Since abilities carry over between classes, you could combo toothed-pick alongside some warrior abilities for an even more deadly swing. We wanted to follow a trend that every class has at least one ability that improves their combat skill, to give multi-classing more of an edge. The only class missing one now is the forager, but we have a few ideas for that for a future update.

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For warriors, we’ve replaced ‘Rock-puncher’ with ‘Wall-puncher’. The reason for this one is a bit more subtle, but it was essentially because there was very little difference between rock-puncher and log-blocker. You were going to find both rocks and roots in every map, and that made the choice between them a little arbitrary. Walls on the other hand are much more prevalent in ruins, and when you don’t have ruins you can always build walls, meaning your engineers can affect your warriors’ ability.

We’ve removed the Forager’s ‘Moisture-eyes’ ability. Although we liked the idea of the forager being able to detect the moisture level of an environment, it just didn’t hold up to the other two abilities you can get. To replace moisture-eyes, we’ve introduced ‘Root-hugger’, which gives the forager a chance to receive more wood from the roots they harvest. We’ve also introduced a similar level 5 ability ‘Root-puller’ which reveals the roots network when you harvest them, making it easier to find them.

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We’ve also added a new level 8 ability for each class:

The miner now has ‘tunnel-vision’: Increased sight-range. A bit less interesting than the other abilities, but not one to be overlooked. With this ability, you can peer into an enemy base without them seeing you, which could be a game-changer in the right circumstances.

The forager now has ‘creature-friendly’: Bats, spiders and other natural creatures will not attack this dwarf, unless provoked. This could be a cool way to scope out the threat-level of a spider’s nest, or simply harvest the roots or mushrooms beside them.

The engineer now has ‘reconstruction’: When attacking an enemy building, this engineer will convert it to your team instead of destroying it. This only works for dwarf-compatible buildings, so you won’t be able to convert goblin-specific buildings, however you could convert a dwarf claim if you’re enemies with them. If you want to take over an enemy base, this would be one way to do it.

The warrior now has ‘back-breaker’: Inflicts bonus damage when flanking an enemy (attacking from behind). We like abilities that have a strategic or circumstantial benefit, and this one is great if you like setting up ambushes.

We still have two more level 8 abilities to add to each class, so we’ll keep you posted on our progress. If you have any ideas or suggestions for new abilities or traits, feel free to share through the steam forum, via email or on discord!

Until next time, have a good weekend!

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