Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
Ayy! What's crackin', fellow puppers?

Pupdate powers, activate!

Lots of ground to cover this week, so let's start with this week's patch, shall we?

Patch #11 Changelog
  • Various changes to enemy defenses to account for changes in magic system
  • Added a new default magic spell, Arcane Bolt
  • Arcane Bolt is effectively the default attack, but Magical instead, and as such will be more effective against certain targets
  • A small batch of unique items has been added to the game
  • These unique items introduce new spells and abilities for the player to use
  • Fixed passability issues in a multitude of spots in the Corrupted Castle (Thanks, Laminus!)
  • Fixed an issue w/ how a particular map rendered in the Corrupted Castle
  • Added a few new secrets :)
The list this week is a bit more concise than previous weeks, as I'm trying to balance between letting you guys know what has changed, and keeping the list interesting! No one wanted to read 25 lines of "well I changed the formatting of text in this very specific instance," now do they?

Anywho, the goal of this week's patch and these changes was to encourage more diverse builds, and a wider build variety than existed before. Consider this a first pass on magic. We'll do more as necessary, but it felt important for these changes to be the foundation we build on. To delve into it a little bit more, there are already quite a few unexpected items that can be used for magic builds (Turtle Shelmet and Swiftstrike, as examples), but I felt it necessary for magic users to have different options than normal damage dealers. Specifically, I targeted archetypes that didn't exist prior to this update for builds, and aimed to fill some of those.

Without giving any item spoilers, there's a new spell that will enable Magic AOE builds. You can now be a more dedicated Healer than before, as well. Between existing spells and new spells, a Magic glass cannon build should be plenty viable now. I'd also like to note that last week, I had mentioned that I was considering the player being able to learn the signature abilities of the companions. That did not make it into this patch, but isn't out of the question for a future patch-- it's just about ensuring that if we go that route, we do it right, and that we do it in a way that adds to the game. The short of it is "I want to do it right, and didn't have enough time to put it together in a week." Any feedback that you guys have on Magic, or item requests, feel free to drop 'em on me! I'm open to any suggestions that make the game better :)

Into the Deep
You guys have been so patient with me, as I've worked out the kinks of the game and continue to build onto it! I told you a couple weeks ago that I like to be transparent (to a degree) about what's coming next, so I think it's time we unveil the next major patch, titled Into the Deep.

Major Patch #2: Into the Deep is our first major content patch for Ephemeral Tale, bringing with it a new zone, new enemies, a new boss, and a handful of new pieces of equipment! This will be the first optional zone of Ephemeral Tale, and won't be the last. I'm not quite ready to reveal everything about this update yet, but here's a screenshot to hold you over for now:



Next week, you and I will talk more about Into the Deep, and we'll start a conversation about difficulty in Ephemeral Tale, NG+, and how it all ties together.

Until next time, have fun!

-- Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
What's new, pups?

Another week, another Pupdate

This week, I want to talk about some upcoming changes that are coming down the pipe before we hop into the patch notes. First off, if you're someone who has been impacted by the "game zooms into the upper left portion of the screen" bug, that's been narrowed down to be a Windows 7 specific issue. If you're experiencing this on Windows 10, please let me know. There's now a new branch accessible from the betas tab (right click Ephemeral Tale in Steam -> Properties, then upper right) called "no_filters." That branch should resolve the zooming issue for anyone suffering from it, at the cost of some visual prettiness. Next up, there's been a lot of communication back and forth with me recently on the place of Magic in the game, and how those skills have been integrated. There are, I believe, areas where we've succeeded with magic in Ephemeral Tale, but also a fair amount of misses. So, let's talk about it.

Magic builds are kinda rough?
Wow, he just said it? That clearly? Yup! I'm here to make a game for you guys, not defend my pride. Magic builds are definitely in the "weak-sauce" department as of this moment. There are a few ways that I'm looking to address this, but the short version is: magic changes are coming, it will get better. Truth be told, you could say that about any of the areas where the game may be weak at the moment. Let me know if there's something you don't like! I love working on this game for you all, and your feedback lets me know what your expectations are for it, versus mine. Anywho, here's the dealio-- physical damage has a *lot* of ways of exploiting various systems right now (intentionally, mind you). You wanna run a crit build? Bows are dope, there's armor that works for that, there's accessories that play well with that strategy, and so on. Tanky build? Sure! Slimecoated Slime Coat, Florynthy Ring, and a couple other items and you got yourself a build! Evasive striker? Wallaboots, baby. I could go on, but the point is that there's a ton of build options for physical damage, but if you want to do something like magical glass cannon? You really can't. You want a magic AOE build? Not possible. Super less than ideal situation.

So I'm gonna work on that. There's a list of things I want to start to address over the next month or so, including some bug fixes I've let slide (looking at you, boulder that likes to bug out during the cavern escape sequence), some UI improvements, these magic changes, and the next major update. Right now, the plan is for the next major update to hit on either March 3rd, or March 10th. With that said, plans can change, and this date isn't set in stone. There's a lot of work going into that update, and we'll talk more about it in the coming weeks. The magic changes I want to make are pretty much as follows:
  1. Enable more build variety for magic users
  2. Include a default spell that isn't double strike to encourage stat variation for new players
  3. Improve the variety of spells available
  4. Look into potentially allowing players to permanently acquire the signature spells of comrades (Fire, Cleave, and Heal)
I'm hoping to address most of this list in next weeks patch (2/18), but it might roll out over a couple of patches. Depends on what else gets done, how things feel-- that sort of thing. With that said, this Pupdate has gotten rather long, so let's wrap it up, shall we?

Patch #10 Changelog
  • Scrolls of Power now ask if you would like to use another one if one is available
  • Potions, Magic Waters, and Stimulants all show percentages now in the item description
  • Added dialogue text to the Faeries in the Forgotten Forest
  • Added a teeny-tiny secret to the Forgotten Forest
  • Fixed a bug where Jellies could be slammed back, multiple in a row
  • Changed the graphic for the camp fires
  • Various UI improvements
  • Doubled the player damage output of Spark
  • Changed the item use sound to be more distinct
  • Fixed an oversight where a ladder in the Time-Lost variant of the Respite could cause a tileset switch (Note: deployed earlier this week)
  • Fixed an issue where players that engaged in the v.99 beta could get their progress with Florence reset (Note: deployed earlier this week)
  • Fixed a typo where Bunnet's were getting set to level "X" instead of a number, causing them to be God-like beings (Note: deployed earlier this week)
  • Fixed a bug where the title screen would generate a junk save file
  • Additionally, added a Start Game/Exit Game option to title screen
NOTE: It would be easy enough to add an Options selector to the title screen, but is that something you guys would want? Let me know, I can throw it into next weeks patch if so.

I didn't want to bother you guys with patch notes for all the minor patches this week, so I threw their notes into the changelog for record keeping purposes. Still, here we are! We're at patch #10 already. I hope that you guys are enjoying the new gameplay experience that v.99 brought!

Before we leave for the week, I wanted to give a huge thanks to all of you for your patience with me as I worked on the v.99 patch, and a thanks to everyone who has purchased the game so far. I know that Early Access can be a wild ride with of expectations all over the place, so thank you for taking a chance on Ephemeral Tale, and bringing your passion to this project. As always, if you guys have any comments, concerns, or feedback (positive or negative), feel free to get a hold of me or leave it in the discussion forums. I'm curious to see how you guys feel about the balance changes as a community, and if there are any further tweaks needed.

Until next week, have fun, and have a great week :)

-- Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
Happy Tuesday!

Before we jump into the patch notes, a quick note regarding a change that's occurred since last week: The NPC in the Traveller's Respite meant for updating Legacy save files for the new systems is no longer available except in very specific, freak circumstances. Instead, you'll be asked to update your save file upon loading a Legacy save file. In our internal tests, players didn't seem to realize what the point was, and would just not interact with the NPC. Anywho, on to the update patch notes! This one's a doozy, so we're going over these in sections today, as opposed to individualized bullet points.

COMBAT OVERHAUL
The damage formulas throughout the entirety of the game have been reworked from the ground up. This should produce a much more consistent gameplay experience for players. With this change, every single enemy in the game (normal, rare, boss, and even those not yet released) have been rebalanced entirely. Additionally, this overhaul gives me much more granular control over the balance of the game, so any future balance issues can be dealt with in a much more efficient manner. In addition to this, the differential between enemy damage and player damage should be reduced significantly. Instead, the player now has a much larger health pool (MUCH larger).

There are other minor changes throughout the systems as well, such as bug fixes, Guard granting MP, Meditate's MP bonus being significantly upped, and plenty of other small changes that I won't bother to list here. We've already got a few changes charted out for next weeks patch as well that weren't quite ready for this patch.

STAT OVERHAUL
The stats in the game have been reworked as an accessory to the above. One was not possible without the other. Players now grow at a much (much) faster rate than they did previously. In addition to the points that you assign, players will now gain a set amount per level that is roughly 4x what it was before. Enemy scaling is much less aggressive, and due to the new stat differential between the player and enemy, every additional point in a stat has more value. This will come into play more with gear as you get deeper into this new patch. Long story short, it should feel significantly better and allow for better expression of the player power fantasy. Additionally, the infamous Scroll of Power bug has been resolved thanks to the rework.

There are, like with the combat overhaul, lots of other changes that have occurred as well. Hit rates should be near 100% consistent, and crit rate now requires more Luck in order to raise. Escape rate is much more aggressively raised, and Agility is more heavily weighted in turn-order. Companion stats were reworked in an effort to make them more valuable (since they had to be rebalanced anyway under this new system, why not make them better?), and the companions should now fit their niches much better (Tank/Healer/DPS... DPT? I don't know).

EQUIPMENT OVERHAUL
Equipment has been overhauled from the ground up. The most important difference is that gear will no longer scale with you as a player. If you got something cool in the Lost Caverns, leveled up a bunch, and then thought you were going to roll on some dudes in the next zone? You may find that you've outpaced your gear. Without getting into the technical details too much, here's how gear works now:
  • Each piece of gear has base stats
  • Gear still has various levels of quality (White, Green, Blue, Purple, Orange)
  • When acquired, a piece of gear gets a number of points put into it based on the players current level (+1 point at Level 1, + 10 at Level 10, + 50 at Level 50)
  • In addition, extra points are put into the gear based on its quality (0% extra at White, 50% at Orange)
  • Gear will drop at roughly your level, give or take
The end result is that gear now feels significantly more exciting, impactful, and has meaning. Ephemeral Tale should now feel what it is: a loot game. So if you're someone that loves to min-max, you now have a lot of potential to do so. Between the various rarities, level of the gear, and bonus points put into the gear, there should be plenty of loot to hunt for. Speaking of loot to hunt, thanks to community feedback, there is now more non-unique loot in the game that can drop from a world loot pool. These can have slightly higher stats than their unique counterparts, so if you need a bit of a push in a particular stat you can use these to round things out. More loot, better loot, cooler loot.

VENDOR REWORK PT.2
This one I kept a secret, as I wanted to ensure I had at least one surprise for you guys! Repair kits are, at community request, finally in the game. With the reworks to the above systems, it felt like the right time to introduce this mechanic. You'll be able to buy these from a special (hidden) unlock-able vendor. In addition, they'll drop from Mimics, chests, rarely from the world-pool, and one other source: when a piece of equipment breaks on you, it will give you a repair kit. Now your worthless gear can have worth!

These repair kits will repair durability on each equipped piece of gear. There's no need to worry about having enough for all your items. These repair kits will come in three sizes: Small Repair Kit, Medium Repair Kit, and Large Repair Kit. They'll repair 20, 50, and 100 durability respectively. Oh... and you can repair items past their starting durability, all the way up to 200 (Note: This is currently bugged and can be pushed past 200, but it's a bug that doesn't hurt the game, so I'll fix it later!). Rumor has it that there may even be an even greater repair kit coming, but we can neither confirm nor deny these baseless rumors. Don't trust everything you hear.

Oh, and you can sell old, poopoo tier gear to the new vendor in exchange for Power.

A SCRUMPTIOUS TREAT
A new secret has made its entrance. Without giving too much away, let's just say there are (Chris Houlihan inspired) rooms filled with chests for you to get excited over. Should you find your way into one of these rooms, however, be careful... There's deception beneath some of these lids. I'll leave the finding of how things work to you guys, but I hope you enjoy this secret! :)

Alright! That covers the first major patch of Ephemeral Tale! This is only the first of many to come. I currently expect the next major patch to hit in about a month from now. I suggest you learn how to swim. No worries, however, as we'll continue to have weekly bug fixes and balance changes as necessary until then! To finish off our Weekly Pupdate here (the company is called Dawdling Dog, you didn't expect a pun?), I'd like to ask that if you have any feedback (positive or negative!) to feel free to leave it in the discussion board, pop us an email (contact@dawdlingdog.com), or reach out on Twitter (@DawdlingDogltd). In the future, we'll be having a group discussion as a community about what you guys want from the end-game content experience, but if you have ideas for that before then, let us know! I'm so excited for you guys to try this patch, and I hope that you guys enjoy the new gameplay experience!

Have fun,

--Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
What's new, Puppy-dogs?

The work on Major Patch #1 continues on! I'm gonna pull back the curtain a bit this week, and give you guys some insights to the development cycle on this patch. So, let's start with the goal of Major Patch #1 and what that means. The goal of this patch is first and foremost to overhaul the balance of the game, in-and-out, front-to-back. This has been the #1 issue present in Ephemeral Tale's life so far. I touched on this some last week, but the gist is that the damage formula, the basis and foundation of all stats and damage numbers that the game is built on, was super-omega messed up. You wanna see? Like I said, I'm pulling back the curtain today! Today's pupdate is VERY reading heavy, so if you aren't into the nitty-gritty, just hop to the bottom two paragraphs for a summary!

(((user.Attack*1.3)+user.Attack*1.1)/(target.Defense*1.6))*(user.Attack*1.3)

As a formula, this was built for the purpose of allowing the players attack to out-scale a targets defense, regardless of statistical disadvantage. This was built for a former project in the Ephemeral Tale universe that never saw the light of day (Hey, never say never! Sequels are all the rage, baby), that was pretty linear. When work on Ephemeral Tale started, the previous project was used as a foundation with which to build upon. Initially, Ephemeral Tale was also a linear game! You would go from the Forgotten Forest to the Occluded Oasis, then to the Corrupted Castle, and so forth. At some point, I made the decision to cut the linear path to allow for player freedom in builds. By forcing the player down a set path, I was intrinsically limiting the possible builds that they could make, which harmed the replayability element that I was aiming for. Less options meant a quicker solve for the meta, which meant less replayability. I've spoken personally with a few of you about potentially making the game linear again, and you generally caught onto hesitance on my part. This is the reason for that-- there's a way to have more flexibility, more options, more choices, and still be better balanced. That was when I decided that an overhaul was necessary, and that we would have to start with the biggest problem: the damage formula. Of course, changing that would also mean having to change everything that it touched, and everything that touched, ad infinitum... But the results could be pretty awesome.



So, I took off to my favorite place to talk about games, development, and head-wrinklers like the above: the Something Classic discord! Seriously, a big shoutout to our friends over at Something Classic. They have a clear love for all things JRPG, and the deep dives that we regularly get into about player psychology, stat crunching, and all that fun stuff has been hugely beneficial for Ephemeral Tale as a game. After a long discussion between a few of us there, I finally nailed down what I wanted to accomplish with the formula, and how I would go about it. See, there's a very clever fellow named Patrick Holleman who wrote a few books who was nice enough to chat with me for a little while, and was just an absolute goldmine of information. If you're interested in seeing some of your favorite JRPGs dissected, I highly recommend checking out those books! Anyway, thanks to him and the rest of the Something Classic gang, I was able to chart out a damage formula in a spreadsheet, calculating how much damage the player should do at each level. From there, I was able to determine what stat ranges I needed to have across enemies and gear in order to accomplish these numbers. So now, let's go back to that overarching goal of the patch: overhaul the balance of the game, in-and-out, front-to-back. How do we do this, now that we have the numbers?
  1. Change the combat formula to be more malleable
  2. Change enemy stats to be built around the above formula
  3. Change how gear is made and the stat ranges on it to work with the above two elements
  4. Change drop rates and acquisition methods to work with the above
  5. Change gameplay loop to work with (you'll never guess) the above
As you might be able to tell, this is a simplification of the whole process, but I hope this gives you some insight as to the amount of changes that have had to occur to make this patch work. Because of how many systems were touched by just changing the combat formula, it wasn't really possible to feasibly roll this out in waves, either. The downside is that this meant you guys having to wait for this patch to put the game in this much better state; the upside is that I can now give you a firm release date for the update! Right now, I'm planning on the patch releasing in 7 days-- February 4th! I'm currently putting the finishing touches on the update, and testing those changes. There's been no major issues with the balance in our internal tests, and there's a ton of bug fixes and tweaks to fix inconsistencies, as well. This patch has also let me start to really nail down what Ephemeral Tale can be, which was the entire goal of going into Early Access! You guys seem to dig the loot (awesome!), zones (sweet!), and want more world building. It's good to have goals to aim at, so now I can start to focus on really bringing that to you guys! In a couple of weeks, the Pupdate will likely be focused on the end-game experience, as that's a conversation I'd like to have with you guys once you've tried the new gameplay experience.

Now we've had a lot of discussion today about why this patch had to happen, why it had to be so system inclusive, and what that means moving forward. But there's one thing that we haven't addressed yet: what about those who have existing save files? This one is a tough one to deal with. Some of you guys have already played for an incredible amount of time, gathered all the coolest gear, and hit level cap. With that said, the stats that those folks have, and the gear they have, those were made for an almost entirely different game (numbers wise). So what's the best path forward? There are a couple of options that I've whittled it down to. While I could invalidate the old save files entirely, that's what we in the business call "rude as hell." Another option would be to simply ask (politely, mind you!) that you start a new save file, for the sake of your own player experience. After all, whacking the bosses for a silly amount is only fun until you can't get a challenge out of it anymore. The last option would be to simply manually reconfigure all of the save files to match with the new statistics. You'd lose some stats, but that's anticipated with a change like this. Unfortunately, the stats aren't really the issue, it's the gear-- and replacing gear isn't as easy as one might think.

So here's the proposal: I'm asking you to restart the game. I know, it's a bold move. For those who absolutely, positively, refuse to make a new save? That's cool, boo. For a few weeks following Major Patch #1, there will be an NPC available in the Traveller's Respite to those on an older patch. You'll be asked if you want to re-initialize your character, and if you do, your characters stats will be adjusted to (more or less) the correct values. Doing this will cost all of your current gear, but in order to ease the pain you will be given gear back in return. Of course, that gear will be randomly generated under the new system. After this period of time, there will be no way to convert your old save file to the new stat system. Again, the preferred option is that you start a new game-- I have no clue what weird oddities will come about because of this patch with old saves. To the best of my efforts, it should be backwards compatible (minus the stats being completely out of whack), but unfortunately you can just never be 100% sure. Solid 95% though!

Wow, we've really covered a lot of ground today, huh? I won't take up anymore of your time this week, but next week the patch will be dropping at 12:01EST, Tuesday morning. :) The pupdate will be early that day as well, so that you know what's in the patch! We'll be stress-testing the hell out of the update through then, but as usual, if you guys have any issues in the interim, feel free to let me know. I'm here to make the game better, after all! I'll see you guys again soon,

-- Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
What's new, my puppers?

I've been keeping very busy this past week, between your amazing feedback and my own personal goals for Ephemeral Tale! I thought now would be a great time to give you guys some insight on the launch of the game, the issues faced, why they existed, and where we're heading in the near future. So let's start at the top, and tackle the launch:

Launch Day Blues

Any of you who played the game the first day are aware that the game launched in (quite frankly, an unacceptable) a not great state. Defending myself here is pointless, because at the end of the day, I'm asking you for your money, time, and energy-- to be honest, I truly had no clue that the game was in such a chaotic state of balance. During internal testing, there was 3 ways that I tested numbers: Level 1 with starter gear, level 25 with green gear, and max level with maxed gear. These three benchmarks were within what I felt was a certain range of tolerance. I expected that at most, players would have maybe 200 points in a given stat at level cap. But..



Y'all went bananas. Which is okay! That's my fault, and something that I should have anticipated better. Lessons learned, and all that. So, on the one hand, some players were absolutely breaking the limits of the game. This lead to an emergency patch that attempted to band-aid these issues by rubber-banding the numbers back a bit. If you were lower leveled, you'd go from say 80 points in a stat to maybe 65-- but if you had 500+? You got pulled way back to 300 some odd. But this also caused an issue: now, Scrolls of Power weren't giving enough points to offset the rubber-banding that was occurring, so even though you were receiving those points, you got none of the benefits of them. Rough day, huh?

But what about the other end of the balance scale? Well, turns out that balancing the game around your own skill level is a bad idea (who'da thunk it besides everyone that did?). So, if you were someone with patience for the rather old-school approach of "slap-em-until-they-cry," you generally persevered and came out the other end with a pile of gear with which to inflict that pain unto further generations. If not? Suddenly, the game was a frustrating, cruel, punishing experience.

---

---

And on top of all of this, you have game-stopping bugs! It's like getting kicked in the shins after stubbing your toe-- you know it'll feel better eventually, but hot damn does it sting in the moment. Thankfully, with a lot of hours clocked in the engine over the past week, I've ironed out most (if not all) of the game-breaking bugs that have been reported, save a weird zoom issue that I've failed to recreate across ~8 machines or so. So what's next, then?

The Path Forward

Despite our rocky launch, I'm still excited for the future. Heck, I might be even more excited now. You guys put Ephemeral Tale through its paces, and came out the other side with constructive feedback, ideas for future content drops, and most importantly: your passion. Normally, there exists a kind of barrier between a player base of a game, and its developer. I want that to be as small a wall as possible. You may find me holding some secrets about content I'm working on from time to time in the future, but that's because part of this relationship is that I want to surprise you. I want to make you happy. I want to bring joy to your life. If it's in the form of a cool content drop, or a neat narrative sprinkle, or whatever else may come down the line. But for the time being, let's talk about the next two weeks.

Right now, the game is in an alright state. The balance isn't where I'd like it to be, but it should be playable, if a bit less than ideal. As for more niche issues, just because there hasn't been a patch pushed to the main branch in a couple of days, doesn't mean that I've forgotten about y'all. Quite the opposite, actually! I'm currently working on the first Major Patch of Ephemeral Tale. This patch won't be completely ready for a couple of weeks, but here's the scope of the update:
  • Combat overhaul
  • Enemy overhaul
  • Gear overhaul
  • Two smaller secrets
  • Expanded loot pool

Everything has been overhauled, balance wise. Started from scratch, rebuilt from the ground up for the way that you guys have engaged with the game. I've also drastically changed the testing process, as well. We've had a handful of separate players try the new version and give us feedback on the balance of the update. So far, things are going well, but there's still a lot left to change, test, rebalance, and retweak. If you're someone who bought and played Ephemeral Tale day 1, thank you so much for believing in me, supporting me, and more importantly, for believing and supporting Ephemeral Tale. If you're just jumping in now, I hope that you have fun with the current state of the game. Major Update #1 will drastically change the way the game feels, so don't worry if the game doesn't feel right quite yet. We've got a long road ahead of us. I won't go anymore into specifics quite yet about Major Update #1, but here's a sneak peek for you to close out the Pupdate:



I'll have more info on MP#1 for you in a week or so. Until then, if you have encounter any bugs or issues, feel free to report them in the usual ways (Discussion boards, email, twitter, whatever is most convenient)!

Have fun,

--Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
This one is just a couple of bullet points!

  • Fixed a bug where you could acquire Siegfried in the Lost Caverns (big oof)
  • Added more visual feedback to a certain area
  • Changed the ladder rocks in the Occluded Oasis to be more visually apparent
  • Fixed an issue (mostly, at least) where the screen could jitter if the player moved vertically before a map fully loaded

The last one might not be 100% resolved, but can easily be tuned until the issue is gone. Feel free to let me know if you have any problems.

Balance overhaul has begun development as well! So far, everything is looking very promising. If you'd like to test it, let me know and I can make that happen!

Have fun,

-- Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
Hey all,
Today's patch is another smaller one focused on refining the current balance. Also fixed a couple of bugs, and sprinkled a few lines of new dialogue in there. At some point in the future, there will be a patch that adds a chat option to your mercenary friends, further fleshing out the world and characters. Ideally, they'll each get a quest line that will take you to special areas eventually. No clue when the quest lines will be added, but I'll be sure to let you know when I have more of a grasp on that.

  • Fixed a bug where Shoddy Twine’s ability would stay active when unequipped
  • Upped base player Hit Rate
  • Drastically lowered Evade Rate on all enemies
  • Adjusted stats on some enemies
  • Upped Kingpinch’s Health pool by 20%
  • Further adjusted stats on Clarke, Merlin, and Siegfried
  • Small universal adjustment to enemy health pools
  • Added a few lines of dialogue here and there
  • Fixed a bug where a room in the Corrupted Castle was inaccessible

This patch is focused mostly on balance stuff again, with another fix included! Additionally, a few lines of dialogue have been added to help with world building and expanding the story. While I never really envisioned Ephemeral Tale as particularly dialogue heavy (I prefer more exposition style storytelling, ala Dark Souls, personally), there has been feedback that implies that you guys may want more depth to the narrative. As much as I can add to that, I’m committed to doing!

I’m currently beginning to plan the combat/statistic overhaul. I’m guessing that it may take a few weeks to fully prepare it for Live, as there’s a few systemic changes that will need to be made. While I can’t guarantee that this will be exactly how it plays out, here’s the general goals of the changes and what I hope to accomplish:
  1. Player has stats that go up per level, like classic JRPGs
  2. Player can also assign bonus stats manually, to encourage building around their gear set
  3. Enemies will provide a consistent experience assuming even stat distribution and no bonus stats distributed
  4. Players can go to any zone in any order, with exceptions (first and last dungeon)
  5. Gear will not scale with the player, adding another vector for replacement and experimentation
I feel that most of these are pretty self explanatory, but we'll go through em anyway just to be clear. Points 1 and 2 are to allow for both player experimentation with builds, but also avoiding the player messing up their character beyond redemption. Think of it as "you can do whatever you want, but there's a safety net in case you're a big 'ol dumdum."

Points 3 and 4 are again tied together, where I'd like players to be able to go to any zone in any order (including future zones). Assuming that you move from the Forgotten Forest to the Corrupted Castle with the exact same gear, same level, etc., the enemies should pose roughly the same threat to you. I'll be focusing on Green rarity gear as a baseline for difficulty, so that those with higher geared characters can express their power advantage over enemies.

Point 5 is a bit harder to sum up in a bullet-point, but it's more or less about shifting the gear to be closer to other loot driven RPGs. So if you're level 25, you won't want to use that Legendary item you got in the Caverns at level 5. This change will likely result in the doubling of all item durability, or the removal of durability entirely.

As these are large, sweeping, systemic changes, they won't be something that drops in a random patch (say tomorrow, this weekend, next week, etc.), it'll be in a weekly patch and stated in advance. Anyway, keep the awesome feedback coming, and I'll keep working on improving and extending the game!

Have fun,

-- Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
Hey all,

Small patch tonight. There may be some lingering issues w/ pushable blocks in the last dungeon, if there are please let me know!
  • Fixed a bug where the “fog of war” effect of the last zone would persist when leaving the zone.
  • Fixed a bug where Kingpinch would continue to inspire his followers, even in death.
  • Adjusted some text to give proper feedback on Upholstergeist’s Ethereal ability
  • Adjusted Merlin's base stats to make him less of a FSU-Kinda guy (he got the nerf, but smol-boi nerf)

Wanted to give you guys an update on a current bug, as well. Right now, Scrolls of Power will appear to have no impact on player stats. From what I can tell in my testing, this is due to the clamping of stats that I implemented in v.98. Your stats are being upped, but the current formula is lowering them more than they're going up so it's not visually showing in the menu.

This is going to be addressed in a future patch. I'm leaning towards leaving the game in it's current balance state for a few days to a week as I work on a complete overhaul of all the in-game systems. This would include:
  1. Damage formulas
  2. Stat formulas
  3. Stat numbers
  4. Gear drops
  5. Boss mechanics

Pretty much, completely change the damage numbers you see in combat, completely change the numbers in the menu, change how gear stats are determined, make boss mechanics more intuitive, and add non-unique (no special ability) gear to a world-pool. SirSquatch has given me some awesome ideas and feedback, along with Sylardean as well. To implement it requires taking the time to ensure that the changes are made properly.

In theory, these changes shouldn't be incompatible with existing saves, but I don't want to mislead you and say that your saves will 100% be forward compatible with this overhaul. I feel comfortable saying I'm 80% certain they will, though.

Thanks to you guys, we've improved the game a massive amount already. I can't wait to see where it is in a month! I hope that despite the wild-ass balancing issues, you're enjoying your time with Ephemeral Tale! I'm enjoying updating it for you, even if I've started forming my first gray hairs due to it.

Thanks a ton, and have fun!

-- Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
Hey all,

Got a micro patch here. This was supposed to be .98b but I had already uploaded and tested the build by the time I noticed I didn't update the header. So now it's .98a2!

Mostly balance changes from the feedback I've seen today, and a bug fix thrown in for good measure. I'm still looking for more information on the bug where bridges become unusable in the Oasis, so if you've encountered this and can recall anything, let me know!
  • Lowered encounter rate in the Forgotten Forest
  • Lowered encounter rate in the Corrupted Castle
  • Adjusted the scaling of enemies stats universally
  • Adjusted potential stat variation on equipment generation
    Previously, items could generate with up to +4 points in each stat. As of today, they will generate with up to +2 points in each stat.
  • Adjusted scaling of players stat
  • Adjusted damage formulas to be more forgiving
  • Fixed an issue where losing against a boss would still reward the Guardians’ various blessings

Finally, because of the changes in regards to balance today, those of you who have amassed (hoarded) a trove of treasures (Lv. 5 gear) will probably (almost definitely) be a tad overpowered. Last night's 3am patch had some negative impacts on less geared out players, and at the moment it's hard to tell what of that was new gear being had from the update versus scaling changes gone awry. I decided that it's likely better to let the strongest of you have fun whappin' on everything like the brutal loot-seekers that you are, than to punish those who aren't quite at that level yet.

It's incredibly likely that once the balance is in a tolerable, if not a bit painful state, I'll be going through and retuning everything to better fit the current needs of the sandbox. Damage formulas will likely be done from scratch, enemy scaling, equipment scaling, etcetera. Because that's a much larger endeavor than these adjustments I've been making so far, I'm not committing to a specific time frame for that quite yet-- it'll require a lot of internal testing, then probably slowly bringing it for you guys to ensure that it scales well on the higher end.

Again, thank you guys for all the patience as I sort through these issues, and for your awesome (no, seriously, it's amazing) feedback! As always, if there are any problems that flare up, let me know in the discussion forums!

Have fun :)

-- Ryan
Ephemeral Tale - ZServ
Hey all,

Sorry for the late night patch! Due to the issues with items not feeling significant enough, .98 took some drastic measures to increase the feeling of satisfaction given by items. Unfortunately, I may have swung the pendulum a bit too far in the opposite direction and caused some issues. One of our members at the discussion forums managed to one-shot a boss, dealing almost 40,000 damage in a single blow. At the risk of being the fun police, I thought I should address it before it got too bananas.

  • Fixed a bug where Dabby’s chat option could lock up
  • Lowered bonus stat rate of higher rarity items. For example, the boost from .98 was 40% on a Lv. 5 item. It is now 20%.
  • Fixed a bug where you couldn’t interact with the Keeper during a certain sequence.
  • Fixed a bug where after draining the Oasis, re-entering could cause you to enter the wrong instance of the Oasis (drained, but you went into full, for example)
  • Added a few folks to the credits for their amazing help w/ the game
  • Adjusted how parameters (atk/def/mat/mdf/agi/luk) interact with stat rate from higher rarity items

These other changes are due to feedback again given on the discussion forums. I apologize immensely for the necessity of these quick-succession patches-- there's a lot of moving parts to the balance of this game, and my small testing circle can only catch so much. We had 3 separate, successful completions of the game without issue (minus balance concerns), so to find out that there's these many annoying little bugs still left is super frustrating for me as a developer.

Regardless, I'm obviously still in it for the long haul and plan on making this into the best game it can be. To me, it doesn't matter that we're in Early Access-- I'm asking you for your hard earned money, so it's on me to deliver a product that you feel is worthy of your time and effort. Hopefully the majority of you feel that we're there, or on our way there. If you don't, then I apologize and hope to do right by you in the weeks and months to come.

Anyway, it's 3am and I've been working on patches for 14 hours today, so I'm going to bed! I'll see you guys on the flip side :)

Have fun!
-- Ryan
...

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