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Hey everyone, Craig here.
The “Difficulty Smoothing” update is now out! For those not aware, the update prior to this one was huge, adding in a ton of new perks and also altering the balance significantly (for reasons I’ll go into below). Unfortunately, the balance was a bit too much on the difficult side, and this update should hopefully address that.
Before I go into the changes for this update, let me first explain why the changes for the previous update were needed. For a good while now, overly strong damage boosting upgrades have had an unhealthy grip on the game, causing the following problems:
1) The ability to stack upgrades to such a degree that the end game would become trivial. There have been many times when we’ve seen players tear through the final super boss of the game in a matter of seconds, and this was not a rare occurrence. It’s fine to hit an occasionally super powerful run that allows the player to do this, but it was happening way too often.
2) Having damage bonus numbers in the region of 50% to 75% for perks would mean that there would be no real choice for the player to make when choosing them. A player is always going to choose 50% damage over 2 extra missiles or a 25 bonus to energy, so coming up with perks to compete with those damage numbers would be very difficult.
3) As a result of the out-of-control damage bonuses, in the event that a player would get unlucky with RNG, and not encounter any, the game would become a very hard slog. Defensive builds could not really be used without the player intentionally wanting to handicap themselves.
4) In order to keep the game challenging so that players weren’t tearing through the end game, we would have to keep upping the HP on late game enemies which would make defensive builds even more worthless. It was a bad cycle.
Our Solution In The Last Update
In order to break free from the stranglehold of the above challenges so that other parts of the game -- like perks -- could flourish, we had to reduce the amount damage bonuses would give you. Then we needed to try and tone down the enemy HP so that there was a bit more of a balance between damage and defense.
We did this, and we knew that this might cause some short-term balance issues. We tried to mitigate this by running a few betas over the course of a couple of months, but unfortunately it seems that wasn’t enough. The build was indeed certainly much too on the difficult side, and overly tanky in particular. For a few folks, we know that was super duper frustrating, so thanks for bearing with us on that and also helping us find the trouble spots.
So What's In This Update?
Now we finally get to the changes for this update. :)
As a result of feedback since the build went out, we’ve managed to adjust a lot in order to get the current build much more nicely balanced. Here are the major changes:
1) Enemy HP has been reduced across the board by 25%. From our play-testing, this seems to have worked well and the game is in a much nicer place now. Far less tanky, and runs are a fair bit shorter too.
2) Damage bonuses have been adjusted back up somewhat. I went a little bit too heavy with the nerfbat on these and so most have been buffed significantly.
3) Health pickup frequency has been increased, and we have also added two new variants of pickup -- so it’s now possible to grab health packs worth 2 and 3 health. These also now appear in the cheap item shop, so you now have more options to spend your credits on.
4) Specific overly-dangerous or tanky enemies have been adjusted. Many enemies on floors 6 and 7 had been pushed up too much in difficulty as a result of trying to compensate for the previously out-of-control damage boosts; so now they needed to be nerfed a fair bit. Rusted Lumiflare in particular!
5) Quite a few rooms have been adjusted to reduce enemy density. A few of these rooms were just too crowded, making them unusual difficulty spikes.
So that’s it, everyone! We hope that this build proves to be a lot nicer in terms of difficulty. Thanks to everyone for their feedback and patience while we were fixing this up. We wouldn’t be able to keep improving the game without your help, so it’s really appreciated. Thanks!
Hey everyone, Quinn here.
Since about August, we've been pretty quiet. We've pushed several betas in the past few weeks, and with the help of the beta testers, we've decided that it is now time to push the update to the main branch. The entire team has been working really hard on making this game even better and trying to make it a more enjoyable experience that matches with the vision we have in our minds.
Why The Perks Overhaul?
The main focus of this update has been the perks and very late game balance (floors 6 and 7). For a long while, the perks have been a bit lacklustre, and so with help and ideas from the community (a huge thank you to everyone who gave us feedback) this part of the game has now been overhauled.
In terms of the late game balance, the game is now going to be harder than it was before. Previously, damage ups were way too strong, so by the time you got to floors 6 and 7 you would probably be super overpowered.
This balance has been changed significantly, so no more murdering enemies before they can respond. Enemies can now take a good bit of damage, without feeling too bullet spongy, and get off their patterns. Basically, those evil Rusted Lumiflares, which are the embodiment of the bullet hell side of the game, can actually get their pattern off before they die. Damage perks have certainly been hit by the nerfbat, but not so hard that they aren't still a good choice. In fact, they are now a hard choice to make. Do I want the extra damage or do I want some other cool perk?
Speaking of cool perks, we've added a ton of those! We tried to come up with a bunch of interesting ideas, then put the interesting ideas together and let you choose only one. We're mean like that. ;) Get ready for perks such as Savings Interest, An Eye For an Eye, Bloody Rage, Big Game Hunter, and many more.
Changes To Higher Floors
Despite loving to murder... er, I mean help players, we did make some really nice changes to make the game more fair. No more lower level enemies doing more damage on later floors for no reason! We also made the floors shorter, since we don't want to make Running Mech Simulator 2017 (tm). That also helps with the attrition that is now going on.
But Wait! We're Fair!
Wait a minute! You just said you were making the game more fair! Well, I also said we are mean. Now, most things do 2 points of damage, but you can only heal for one point. This means that you're less likely to steamroll your way to the end of the game leaving behind piles of health pickups, and much more likely to have to fight your way there, and actually pay attention to the pretty shapes the bullets make.
Side Effects Lead To Other Cool Things
The attrition does have a plus side though! The consumables in the game are REALLY nice. It used to be "Oh, I don't need consumables, I can steamroll my way through the floor", now it is "Ooh, this consumable will save my life more than likely on this floor. If not, I'm almost certainly going to be using it on the next. Unless you're Misery. Then you just ignore logic and win regardless.
Energy weapons are also more valuable now, since every enemy doesn't drop dead in a matter of nanoseconds, so the damage you deal actually, you know, matters. So the more energy you have, the more damage you can do, which means the faster you can kill things, so you take less damage. Its a great cycle!
Now, About Those New Items...
You remember the XP bubble things right? There are more types of them, that give more XP, so you'll enjoy those.
There are some new modules now too. Personally, I like the one that causes a giant ring of ice around you. It helps increase the amount of damage you do to most enemies and limits the danger of things like bulldogs. NB. Bulldogs and chargers are still going to mess you up even with this module. You still have to shoot them and play smart.
And New Enemies...
We've also added some new enemies! There are little popcorn enemies, that aren't really dangerous unless there are a lot of them, then there are defensive enemies, which block your shots (But they're rare, so you're relatively safe), and then there are maze types, which work well in complicated corridors.
Horrible news time: Misery got his hands on the dev tools. He made a super Blaze Cannon called an Inferno Cannon. In his words: "You'll die to these. A lot. You thought Blaze Cannons were bad? Haha. They're nothing compared to these nightmares. Fortunately for you, they only appear on later floors and they're somewhat rare. Unfortunately for you, it only takes one of these to make a room extremely dangerous in a way that no other enemy can. Like Blaze Cannons these guys fire sparking missiles that go through walls. It's what those missiles DO that makes them so very deadly." In conclusion, run. Run fast and far to escape the Inferno Cannons.
He may have, uh, also gotten his hands on the tools for creating a new boss. So you might notice that there is a new boss that is going to make your life suck. That's all his fault.
This has been a pretty huge update, there have been a ton of improvements, changes, bugfixes, and additions, most of which we probably can't even remember -- it's a good job we have a changelog then! Thanks everyone! We hope you enjoy the new build. :) Relevant release notes are versions 1.502 to 1.506 if you haven't been playing the beta.
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