Hello Lumia Island survivors!
As mentioned in the last Dev Journal, today’s journal will go over the upcoming changes to accessories. Let’s get started!
Changes to Accessories
We started the change to accessories by simplifying farming and changing Day 1 play to be a little more dynamic. We know that the players' current goals during Day 1 are always to complete their equipment crafting set. Put more simply, the current process comes down to how quickly you can find the 25-30 needed materials to complete your equipment.
The thing that sets Eternal Return apart from other games is our unique materials search and crafting processes. Without the building process, the three-quarter view Battle Royale genre itself may have been difficult to establish. However, if you play games from the Battle Royale genre hundreds or thousands of times, the same, repeated building process becomes stale and boring.
Figuring out the shortest distance to open boxes or the shortest time to make it to different areas is akin to ground work. If someone happens to get there before you, your entire plan could be thrown off. However, if you meet other players in the same area on Day 1, it usually goes like this: you both throw a thumbs up emote at each other, get what you need, and go without fighting.
Therefore, we wanted to reduce box searching in early game and add a few different factors instead. Beginners often don’t know what they need and run into the problem of having a full inventory. Even reducing what you carry by 1 or 2 items can make play much easier. We also thought about adding different but minor play mechanics so that experienced players aren’t “only” searching in boxes over and over.
We will be removing accessories from the current 6 types of equipment (weapons, head, chest, arms, legs, and accessories) and instead introducing new tactical skills. Tactical skills are wide-use skills that aren’t crafted from materials, but can be bought and upgraded with Credits.
By removing accessories, the search for materials will be reduced by about 15%. This also means that the time spent searching through boxes will be reduced as a whole as well. However, you’ll need to hunt Wild Animals to rack up enough Credits to first upgrade your tactical skills. Now that the timing of the first weapon skill will become faster, the Mastery merit of early game PvP battles will also increase. The addition of campfires also will become a factor in utilizing timing!
Even so, the search for boxes on Day 1 will still remain the most important part of game build-up. By the time Day 2 rolls around, you’ll most likely have Epic equipment, tactical skills, weapons skills, and some food with you. However, what you have on Day 1 may change depending on the distinct characteristics of the character you’re playing or enemies you encounter in early game.
When discussing changes to accessories, it’s also important to talk about active skills. There have been several attempts at trying out active skills through features across several seasons, but the results have admittedly not been the best. The introduction of the Mythic accessory system to Lumia Island exposed a handful of problems, and the new active skills we added during Season 9 pre-season weren’t well received, so we ended up moving them to Cobalt Protocol only.
The problems with existing active skills can be broken down into 3 major points:
① The conditions to obtain active skills were too great.
Because you can only get Mythic accessories from the Battle Zone, the players who have an advantage in the Battle Zones would wait for them, and in a sense, “reserve” the equipment for themselves. In cases where special materials are used to upgrade to Legendary equipment, only the characters who are ahead of others in the lobby could access them.
In other games, items with active skills offer players that are behind a chance to take riskier plays that may get them a high return. On the other hand, players that are ahead can take items with passives that are steadier and less risky. In other words, active skills should only be advantageous when used properly. However, in Eternal Return currently, only players that are ahead get to choose items with actives, thus making this structure not work the way it was intended.
② The difference in active skill utilization for each character was too great.
When we experimentally added a few active skills, we found they were really fun and fit well with the right test subject. On the flip side, if they didn’t fit well, there was barely any utilization, even after players worked hard to get the skill or accessory. This is why, for example, the Fantastical Punch active skill was disappointing to some and a staple to others.
③ Memorizing all of the active skills was too difficult.
It is not an easy task to choose the correct Mythic item out of all available items when you win in the Battle Zone. Even the skill explanations can be convuluted which makes it difficult to read them quickly, even if you have the time after winning. Obtaining them is also extremely difficult, so if you didn’t use Practice Mode to learn, there was almost no opportunity to get used to them.
Additionally, there were also technical problems such as not being able to choose a targeted direction and only being able to use the skill in the direction your character was looking. These issues highlighted the shortcomings of active skills.
Despite all these problems, the reason we want to keep active skills is because we believe they have the potential to be really fun.
By adding just one skill, we can increase control factors or add variables to the game. Even when we saw the mounting issues involved with active skills, we received feedback that boiled down to, “the players think they’re fun and like using them.”
Of course, the game becomes too difficult if there are too many keys to control. For this reason, we really considered the appropriate number of skills that would increase control factors but wouldn’t be too hard for players to use. All of Eternal Return’s active skills use the 5 keys QWERD. Although it varies by game, we found most three-quarter view fighting games use approximately 6-8 keys. Game playability and differences in game factors most definitely needed to be considered, but we believed that increasing from 5 to 6 keys for active skills would still keep the these factors in equilibrium.
Additionally, there is a need for wide-use skills to overcome the limitations of each character's skill structures. The unique system of weapons skills, which sets Eternal Return apart from other games, also plays into this to some extent. However, due to the difference in minor attributes for each character, they haven’t become perfect wide-use skills. Bridging this gap was one of the most important goals for active skill changes, but all of our previous attempts have actually become a disadvantage thanks to the large deviations in each character.
In creating tactical skills, we used our previous experiences to really fix the issues for the effects we want.
As mentioned earlier, we have simplified the conditions for obtaining tactical skills. Now anyone can purchase them with Credits. This means we’re also removing the existing condition in which you could only obtain Mythic items by winning in the Battle Zones. These tactical skills can be leveled up in three stages. You can raise the skill to the second stage by using a Remote Drone, but to get to the third stage, you’ll need to use a Transfer Console. Due to this, stage differences may occur depending on the growth pace among players and their play styles. However, the existing problem of “one character has extremely powerful skills while others have none at all” will disappear. Starting from Day 2, everyone should have, at the minimum, a Level 1 tactical skill.
In addition, we are releasing 12 new skills at the same time, so now any test subject will be able to get their hands on a useful tactical skill. Depending on the tactical value of the skill, there will be skills good for initiating or tanks, ones good for melee-based characters, ones good for ranged characters or spellcasters, and ones good for support. The addition of these tactical skills will help reduce the power difference between test subjects.
We're also working to fix the problem of "too much learning". Currently, there are a small number of Mythic accessories you can win from the Battle Zones, but choosing which you want takes too much time because of all the reading and learning you have to do. On the contrary, the new tactical skills will be included in your Saved Plans when you start the game. At first, beginners will only need to read the recommended skill in the Saved Plan from the plan’s creator. Then, as they grow more used to the game and the skills involved, they will be able to use their game preparation time to look into other tactical skills that may work even better!
Examples of Tactical Skills
Out of the 12 tactical skills we’re preparing for official launch, here are a few examples:
Blade of Truth is a skill based on the existing Psyche’s Blade. It deals strong damage to nearby enemies and increases their damage taken. This skill will be good for fighters or assassins who mainly use melee attacks.
Protocol Violation is a skill we reworked based on the existing E.M.O.T.E. When a drone is installed in the vicinity, it explodes after a certain period of time and emits a wave that increases team Max HP and reduces enemy’s defense. This is a great skill to use for support.
Blink is a skill that has improved upon Arc Reactor’s handling. It gives the ability to teleport short distances which can create several variables in play styles. Characters with lacking mobility can compensate with this skill, but the available range of movement is pretty short in early game. You’ll need to upgrade it to increase its utilization.
Electric Shift can also help you teleport short distances. It cannot go over walls, but since its range slightly increases for a short period of time, it can be used by ranged-based characters to regain position.
Quake is a ground pound-type skill that slows nearby enemies for a certain period of time. This skill is good for destroying formations or continuously chasing enemies. It works well with tanks and their tanking abilities.
That was our sneak peek into some new representative skills based on character play styles. Depending on whether you use a tank, fighter, or ranged-based character, you'll have 2 to 3 options to choose from. This way, you can select skills that suit your character’s abilities better.
These tactical skills will bring about a huge change to the game system itself. At the same time, the little details are extremely important, so things may look a lot different once official launch rolls around.
While it may take some time (and, admittedly, a lot of effort!), we'll keep working hard to address problems we’ve noticed with active skills to make them even better. The best part? Tactical skills will take strategic game to the next level and bring thrilling moments of control and fun to Lumia Island!
Tactical Skills Positioning
For current players, tactical skills might feel like an alternative to accessories, but for new players, tactical skills will be bundled together with weapon skills to make a wide-use skill system. Both weapons and tactical skills complement character skills and can be upgraded from Level 0 to Level 3.
The overall equipment and skill system will consist of five equipment slots (weapons, head, chest, arms, legs), five character skills (using the QWERT keys), and two wide-use skills (weapon/tactical skills).
You can level up your weapon skills through Mastery and upgrade your tactical skills with Credits. Both have a different growth approach that sets them apart from the usual box search process. So basically, Mastery, Credits, and material search are the three ways to grow, as you can see the above example of the new pop-up screen. We'll delve into Mastery and Crafting in more detail later.
Changes to accessories are closely linked to other game system changes that you’ll be able to see in future Dev Journals, such as Credit Restructuring, Game Phases, Cameras and Traps, and more!
Our next Dev Journal will cover changes to Saved Plans which will include the tactical skills we’ve introduced here today. See you soon!
*All preview images released in the Dev Journals are subject to change during the development process.
You can get WP from the Dev Journals on our web event page. Web Points(WP) are event points that can be obtained and used throughout the Season 9 web events