A catastrophic plague has left a trail of destruction across 14th century Europe. Survivors confront sickness and scarce resources in a land rife with banditry. Attempt to find a cure, acquire power, learn skills and adapt to survive. Those lucky enough to survive have come to call it ‘The Black Death'.
Recent Reviews:
Mostly Positive (29) - 75% of the 29 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Mixed (845) - 61% of the 845 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Apr 19, 2016

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“We have brought The Black Death to the Early Access community because we want players to join us in shaping this new medieval role-playing experience that offers a unique take on survival. As a multiplayer game, continuous community feedback is vital for us to enhance and evolve the strong foundations that we have built. This is your chance to get involved. Those who choose to take part in the Early Access scheme should expect bugs and potentially game-breaking issues, but can look forward to a dramatic and rapidly evolving simulation of medieval life.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Our release date is still being planned. We are enough time to allow us to act on invaluable community feedback, add and extend features, improve performance and fix bugs.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full release version of The Black Death will include a whole host of features, many of which we have already begun work on. Server stability is a big focus for us, and testing through Early Access should allow us to incorporate an even more dense population and thriving world without sacrificing performance. The full release will have more playable professions and an increase in the size of the playable area and content included within the game.

We have a roadmap and are looking forward to working with the community with iterating and including their ideas.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

The Black Death currently has a strong foundation on which we can continue to build, with core mechanics such as combat, trading, hunger, crafting and plague systems already in place. We have a large Western European themed world, with a range of NPCs, animals, towns, mines, castle ruins and dramatic landscapes, providing an engaging sandbox experience.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Yes, the game price will increase after Early Access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We have exciting plans for the future of The Black Death and will work actively with the community to gather issues, feedback and ideas to further enhance the game. We’ll continue to provide updates, keeping players informed of changes/improvements through Steam and social media and will work closely with the community to create a roadmap of future features.”
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Recent updates View all (91)

October 19

Patch Notes: V0.19 – Pestilence

Welcome adventurers to our long awaited update V0.19 Pestilence!

This update we have lots of new features, systems and changes to The Black Death. New character creation options, Journal and Context Wheel, Questing, Profession progression changes, Housing update, Dissections, Sickness stages and more!

Here’s what’s in Patch V0.19…

Character Creation Screen









You can now create your own appearance and choose from different hairstyles, head types and clothes combos. You can also choose from any unlocked titles you may have in this section too. Titles can also be changed once in game in the new Journal.

Expect to see more options for character customisations in our future updates.

Journal & Context Wheel





Our UI has undergone a Medieval makeover in the form of the Journal and Context Wheel.

The inventory has been replaced with a journal where you can view recipes, craft items and get info such as view days survived, Knowledge/Experience and World Map. The goal is to be a one-stop shop for all your needs, easily viewable and digestible information displayed in a compact UI. The Map can also be accessed from in the Journal too.

The interaction wheel is a new addition to the game, this can be used to quickly talk to NPCs, use items, equip items, gather resources and much more. Holding “E” brings up this wheel, a simple mouse over a selection and a left click.

These improvements should make it easier for new players to understand some of the more complex systems. It should also prove quite useful for experienced players who want a quick way to get to key items, switching weapons in combat for example and using healing items without the need to open a full menu.

Character Progression and Professions



Professions now include Plague Doctor, Peasant, Hunter, Cook, Bandit, Militia, Smith & Artisan. You will find recipes from before and also new additions too, more cooking recipes and even a Crown and Royal Tunic can be crafted!

Choose a tab and begin unlocking skills. Mix and match between multiple professions to create a character that suits you or focus on a single profession and becomes a master of that area.

Questing



You can now uncover more information about the lands and people of Mercia and the devastating effects the plague is having on them. And pick up some tasty rewards as you go!

As with the other features, this system is very expandable. Depending on what works expect to see more quests popping up in future updates. An epic quest to the depths of Raven’s Reach Crypt anyone.

Sickness, Infection & Dissections







Starting out with the basic plague doctor skills inspect parts of the corpse you are studying such as the groin, armpits and other gruesome areas, open wounds with crafted scalpels and wash parts of the corpse with boiled clean water. As you progress down the plague doctor tree you will unlock more dissection skills which can allow players to even harvest organs!

Some dissection skills require tools. Each tool is craftable and requires various materials, some which require other professions to access.

The plague itself has undergone some changes as well.

Stage 1 sickness will cap your health at 25%, this means that you will need to keep a close eye on your food, thirst and infection level. If you catch the plague again you will encounter…

Stage 2 sickness. This is hard to recover from, your character will start to cough and vomit more, you can take this as an opportunity to find other healthy adventurers and infect them too, or try to craft or steal a cure!

Hand To Hand Combat, Player Knockouts And Carrying Other Players

You no longer have to craft a weapon to begin beating up your friends, punching has arrived! Left click for jab and right click for a right hook.

You also have a 10% chance to be knocked out when you are hit by a punch. Providing you’re not wearing a helmet!

When knocked other players can steal from you and pick you up. This allows you to knock people out and carry them back to your house for dissection…

Housing Updates



Housing Plots are now represented by a Housing Workbench atop a base structure and can be found in the world in place of where the old houses were located. Now to claim land you must purchase a housing plot from a Town Earl, once you have acquired this visit any plot and use it at the workbench available.

Once purchased you are able to deposit resources into your houses storage. You’ll have to do this to meet your house’s upkeep cost. A Peasant Contract can also be purchased from the Town Earl, giving you the ability to have a Farmhand at your property.

Housing now has “upkeep” implemented, much like a medieval rent system, keep your storage full of gold and resources to prevent your newly bought home falling to pieces.

When upgrading your house the cost of the upgrade will also come from this pool of items. Once the house has been upgraded you will have several nodes throughout the building, each represented by a small pile of rubble and tools. Accessing these gives you options as to what you would like to build in that specific spot. You can even hire NPC Guards to help defend your property.

Health



Hunger and thirst now directly link to your health “state” meaning the more well-fed you are the more your health will increase over time, obviously, this means it can go the other way, the more hungry you are, the slower your health increases, which will eventually result in health loss. Don’t worry though, swabs, bandages, and gauzes still increase health but act as a “buff” over time.

All players, Barricades, and NPCs have health bars when in sight of your crosshair. NPCs and players also have their health bars displayed alongside these.

This should make it easier to judge progress as you smash your way into your friend’s house and then kill your friend!

New Main Menu & Quick Play



Our Main Menu has had a Plague makeover with this gruesome opening scene to welcome you into Mercia!

Those of you who are keenly eyed may have noticed the addition of our “Quick Play” option. Selecting this will instantly log you into your last played Server and get you straight into the action without having to select through the Server Browser.

The First kingdom in Bywick

The first version of the Kingdom system is in. This is a location in Bywick, for a large sum of gold you can purchase yourself a Kingdom with a vast amount of upgrade options including your very own blacksmiths, merchants, and bakers.

NPC Behaviour

To make the world feel more natural NPC’s have had improvements made, they now look at you and wander the world giving more opportunities for adventure and realism. They can also spread the plague dynamically, the more NPCs clustered together the faster the plague will spread, this is clearly shown by how ill the NPC looks, so keep an eye out for sick peasants walking your way.

New Enemy NPCs has also been added including beggars, monks, and templars looking to deal divine justice upon the unclean.

Updated locations

Most Towns have had raidable houses set up so you can break down barricades of infected homes to find loot and bodies inside. These are clearly marked with the red “X”.







Freeman’s port has been changed into a new landing area for players starting out, rich with content and art, this has allowed us to use it as a testbed and keep an eye on performance. Hopefully, this will result in us treating the rest of the game with similar quality and design.







Bywick has had a visual and gameplay improvement to give the feeling of infection and how the outer villages are ridden with the plague and are now abandoned and left to rot.







Dunstead has had some progress made, to make it feel more atmospheric and in line the rest of the larger towns.







KNOWN ISSUES
  • Changing your house door code within the house workbench will 0 out the 3rd digit. (Initially setting the code on house claim works fine).
  • Bleeding currently cannot be stopped with healing.
  • Barricades will sometimes not display the correct broken state
  • A.I. can sometimes block all directions at once.
  • Sometimes the first quest/tutorial will reset when you log in
  • NPCs will sometimes “ignore” you and walk aware when you are interacting with them
  • Your house position will not display on the compass
  • The first slot in your recipe/craftable will sometimes be non-responsive this will require you clearing automatic recipe fills prior to crafting your chosen recipe.
  • Some weapons will not block correctly

    * These are the most serious issues we currently have listed. There are more minor ones. Expect hot fixes soon.

    …See you in Mercia!

    // The SIG Team
17 comments Read more

October 19

Dev Blog #44: Delving Deeper Into Dissections, Infections & Sickness

Welcome one and all to our weekly Dev Blog!

This week we are taking a look into Dissections, infections & sickness, as well as a look into the new Housing system and a, peek at Guilds!

Patch Notes for our V0.19 - Pestilence update are coming soon...

Dissections & Infections







Dissection is one of the core mechanics we are introducing in V0.19. You will be able to perform them on NPCs, Animals, and other players…

Starting out with the basic plague doctor skills inspect parts of the corpse you are studying such as the groin, armpits and other gruesome areas, disinfect wounds with crafted Cotton Swabs and wash parts of the corpse with boiled clean water. As you progress down the plague doctor tree you will unlock more dissection skills.

Some dissection skills require tools. Each tool is craftable and requires various materials, some which require other professions to access.

Sickness Stages





As mentioned in our last Dev Blog, we have added more variety of NPCs into The Black Death. Some of these include Townsfolk who spread the Plague.

Stage 1 sickness will cap your health at 25%, this means that you will need to keep a close eye on your food, thirst and infection level. If you catch the plague again you will encounter…

Stage 2 sickness. This is hard to recover from, your character will start to cough and vomit more, you can take this as an opportunity to find other healthy adventurers and infect them too, or try to craft or steal a cure!

Housing Update







Houses are still a big investment. Now to claim land you must purchase a housing plot from a town earl, once you have acquired this visit any plot and use it at the workbench available. Once purchased you are able to deposit resources into your houses storage. You’ll have to do this to meet your houses upkeep cost.

When upgrading your house the cost of the upgrade will also come from this pool of items.

Once the house has been upgraded you will have several nodes throughout the building, each represented by a small pile of rubble and tools. Accessing these gives you options as to what you would like to build in that specific spot.



Guilds & social functionality

A very hot topic.

As some of you may have noticed there were placeholder screens for some of these features in the PCgamesN stream.

The good news is these are the groundworks for implementing these features and we definitely plan on adding them.

However, that’s all we can tell you for now. We’re still in the process of working out exactly how we want these features to function in the game and what we’ll need to do to achieve that functionality. Once V0.19 is out there I’m sure work will begin to move forward on these.

That’s all for this week!

…See you in Mercia!

// The SIG Team
6 comments Read more
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Reviews

“There's a kernel of something special here, and if it keeps building, I'd love to come back, dreary as the Middle Ages may be.”
PC Gamer

“Drown in bubonic plague with your pals.”
PCgamesN

“Two NPCs charged at me with clubs raised and death in their eyes, trying to end my miserable existence. Outnumbered, my “Fight or Flight” decision process very heavily favored the second option – so I mashed the “Sprint” key and made a run for it.”
MMO games

About This Game



A catastrophic plague has left a trail of destruction across 14th century Europe. Survivors confront sickness and scarce resources in a land rife with banditry. Attempt to find a cure, acquire power, learn skills and adapt to survive.

Those lucky enough to survive have come to call it ‘The Black Death’.

CAN YOU SURVIVE THE BLACK DEATH?
Take on the role of a medieval man of science, a plague doctor, hell-bent on finding a cure to the horrific plague spreading across the land. Study the effects of the infection through experiments and autopsies on man and beast alike, with the ongoing risk of your own infection - and in danger of being lynched by townsfolk who believe science to be heresy!

FORGE YOUR OWN PATH
Take advantage of different realistic medieval professions: Crafting fine armors to protect yourself from deadly raiders as a Blacksmith, taming animals and farming the land as a Peasant, tricking players with counterfeit goods as a Bandit, and much, much more.

A GRITTY MEDIEVAL MULTIPLAYER WORLD
Embark on a journey through a dark and gritty open-world depiction of a plague-infested Medieval Europe. Witness the plague spread in real-time through the population including your friends and enemies whilst exploring bustling towns, striking castles and plague-infested mines in your search for the cure to this deadly infection. Interact with hundreds of NPC’s; trade with merchants and hunters, clash with crusaders and bandits and be wary of infected beggars.
You don't have to face these horrors alone - team up with other players and work together to prosper or become a menace to the world and take everything you can! But be careful who you trust…

Try to rebuild society by building a homestead by yourself, or with friends. Develop your building skills and turn a rickety shack into a powerful estate, complete with an ultimate medieval research lab to help you perform your experiments and find a cure.



Key Features in Early Access -
  • Enter the world as a plague doctor, looking for a cure to the deadliest pandemic of the Middle Ages.
  • Learn skills from a number of different professions to help you survive.
  • A huge open world (8km2) based in 14th century Western Europe. Explore thriving castles, bandit camps, busy ports and abandoned mines.
  • Learn more about the plague through physical examinations and autopsies of infected animals and humans.
  • A living world with hundreds of NPC’s and day / night cycle. Trade with merchants, hunt animals, talk to townsfolk and fight bandits.
  • Over 300 in game items. Craft over 40 different weapon and armour pieces, using medieval tools and utilities.
  • Buy deeds to houses, upgrade them, and hire staff to work on your estate.
  • Large scale multiplayer, with up to 50 players per server

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7 / 8 / 10 (64bit OS)
    • Processor: 2 GHz Dual-Core 64-bit CPU
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Compatible GPU with 1 GB Video RAM
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 10 GB available space
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