Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

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Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by phimseto » December 5th, 2017, 12:41 pm

In this latest Bard's Tale IV backer update, we delve into the mechanics of Elven Puzzle Weapons, share some info on backer rewards, have some big news about our backer portal, and invite you to take a poll.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/in ... ts/2059588

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Behind the scenes, puzzle weapons are generated from a large set of components, and found as high-tier loot as you adventure through the world. For example, a puzzle mace is constructed from a pommel, grip, collar, and bludgeon head. Each part features its own type of puzzle, and each puzzle has multiple variations and difficulties. The higher quality the item, the more ways to unlock its power you might find. The difficulty of the puzzles are based on your progress in the game, and how many other puzzle weapons you've previously solved.
All that and more in the link above! Enjoy!

- The inXile Team

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by lefty1117 » December 5th, 2017, 12:46 pm

The puzzle weapon system looks really neat. Very clever and creative approach - I like it! And I have to say, just seeing "A portal appears!" near the end of the letter made me smile. Good job finding those little BT touches that we all remember.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by demeisen » December 5th, 2017, 2:34 pm

lefty1117 wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 12:46 pm
The puzzle weapon system looks really neat. Very clever and creative approach - I like it!
I agree. I like it too. Nifty that the result you get can go different ways, such as curses if you don't abide the in-game hints about what to do.

That alone is enough incentive for me to play my first time through without referencing any internet spoilers, the use of which would detract from the fun of discovering that stuff in-game.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by ZiN » December 5th, 2017, 2:43 pm

There are no download links to backer rewards on the portal, including the classic trilogy and forum badges.

The weapon upgrading minigames look nice on paper, although I have no idea what they're doing in my classic dungeon-crawl revival. Are there also other puzzle-type items, like armours, accessories and musical instruments? Instruments in particular could be "tuned" for various effects.

I really dislike the art style for the archetypes, I simply can't accept them as fantasy avatars and especially not BT ones. The certificate of absolution, which looks cool, is the only thing that is actually BT-like.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Zombra » December 5th, 2017, 2:48 pm

"Puzzle weapons" look weird and fun. Having just played The Room, I can say that I really like this kind of stuff. Is it "classic Bard's Tale"? Of course not, but it looks like a good time - and I bet that you can find perfectly good weapons elsewhere if you're not into it.

Voted BARD for the class preview, because OF COURSE BARD. I expect Bards to be the most interesting class among a wide selection of interesting classes :)
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by sear » December 5th, 2017, 4:28 pm

ZiN wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 2:43 pm
There are no download links to backer rewards on the portal, including the classic trilogy and forum badges.
You'll get an email sent to you with your download links and any game keys (if applicable for your reward level). It might take a little while to arrive, as CrowdOx is no doubt getting hit by an influx of users right now. If you don't get it within a day or two, and it hasn't got misfiled into your spam folder, then please contact us via our Help Center page. You can also try messaging CrowdOx's support team directly - in my experience they have been very responsive to support questions.

The lack of an account/login system for CrowdOx is definitely a different approach, but the metrics we have suggest that the direct email system to get people their rewards is more effective for the majority of users - and there's no logins and passwords to remember. Your download links should continue working into the future, so you can always pull up the email from your inbox or archive if you ever need to download your goodies again.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » December 5th, 2017, 4:55 pm

ZiN wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 2:43 pm
The weapon upgrading minigames look nice on paper, although I have no idea what they're doing in my classic dungeon-crawl revival.
Indeed. At least it appears that a puzzle doesn't have to be solved again each time one wants to use a weapon's powers. That was an earlier fear, when inXile first announced the idea. I'm still not sure I care for the physical manipulation aspect of puzzle-solving. Doesn't feel all that "Bard's Tale" to me. One can imagine that if they have physical manipulation puzzles here, then they might have levers, pressure plates, buttons, chains, etc... in the dungeons.
Zombra wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 2:48 pm
Voted BARD for the class preview, because OF COURSE BARD. I expect Bards to be the most interesting class among a wide selection of interesting classes :)
Seems like it is an archtype rather than a class. Could imply that there is more than one class of Bard in the game.
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Zombra » December 5th, 2017, 5:10 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 4:55 pm
Seems like [Bard] is an archtype rather than a class. Could imply that there is more than one class of Bard in the game.
Whoa! You're right! If I'm reading this correctly, there will be at least four different Bard subclasses in the game! Mind blown! :o

(Wow, this also means 4-6 different Rogues. Mind blown again.)
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Drool » December 5th, 2017, 6:14 pm

So... Magician, Conjurer, Sorcerer, and Wizard are the archetypes under Practitioner?
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Zombra » December 5th, 2017, 7:06 pm

Drool wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 6:14 pm
So... Magician, Conjurer, Sorcerer, and Wizard are the archetypes under Practitioner?
I bet (hope) Practitioner will have all 6 classes. Weren't they talking about a Priest class at some point? (It would be cool if there WAS no healz0r class, but who knows?) Maybe Geomancer/Chronomancer will be in there too.

What the heck, let's look at all the old classes and speculate.

Fighter
Paladin
Warrior
Monk

Practitioner
Archmage
Chronomancer
Conjurer
Geomancer
Sorcerer
Wizard

Rogue
Rogue
Hunter

Bard
Bard

If each Archetype has at least 4 classes, this means at least 6 all-new classes! Excitement!
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Loswaith » December 5th, 2017, 7:25 pm

Thanks for the update.

While the puzzle weapons look interesting, I feel the curse aspect will just make them either mostly ignored or just not tinkered with. While the tinkering feels like that is where the fun in even having the puzzle on the items lies.

As with most puzzles or riddles there are 1000s of wrong answers but only ever one correct one, meaning most items will become cursed. This is likely to teach players not to tinker with them at all unless they are certain of the answer (and then make sure it is the correct one by some means), meaning they just wont be tinkered with much at all (which seems just sad to do). Thus essentially just making the upgrades a milestone reward system and not really puzzles at all.

Then there is also that aspect of once you are wrong, the right answer is potentially locked out (ie. put in the wrong gem and now you cant change it because its cursed, or worse that gem you used was meant for something else so now both are locked out).
Likewise with rotating bits, does that mean there will be getting wrong answers along the way to the right answer as you click through the options, despite knowing the correct ones.
Can curses even be cured from the items?


The curse concept could work though if only some clearly wrong answers (with a bit of research) gave a curse, while most wrong ones don't. This way players would have an incentive (the game would teach them) to tinker somewhat with part of the answer, but still unlikely to blindly brute force things they know nothing about.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 5th, 2017, 8:33 pm

Zombra wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 5:10 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 4:55 pm
Seems like [Bard] is an archtype rather than a class. Could imply that there is more than one class of Bard in the game.
Whoa! You're right! If I'm reading this correctly, there will be at least four different Bard subclasses in the game! Mind blown! :o

(Wow, this also means 4-6 different Rogues. Mind blown again.)
In Dragonlance, there were three kinds of Wizards; Red robes, White robes, and Black robes... And it meant that each type only got a few of the wizard spells in the game; with the really useful spells being split between the different wizard orders. I hope that doesn't mean Bards in BT4 with severe restrictions like not able to learn or sing half the songs in the game; or not being able to use certain instruments. I don't want a whole character class divided into thirds, and passed off as three variations.

**What I wouldn't mind though, is bards that can be attacked—to stop their singing (effects); and variant bards having different resistance to that...(among other differences).

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by MParmeter » December 5th, 2017, 8:58 pm

I have some serious concerns about the amount of time needed for mastering all of this. It strikes me as way too complicated to be any fun for someone that has maybe 30 minutes in a day to play. You're asking a lot of someone who is already busy.

How do you plan on getting these items into people's hands that don't have the time to search through every nook and shadow? How are you going to remind those that do luck into them how they work and what the requirements are once they are found?

I get wanting to give people a custom experience in the game. Is there a better way to do that which isn't this complicated and unwieldy?

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by ZiN » December 6th, 2017, 12:25 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 4:55 pm
One can imagine that if they have physical manipulation puzzles here, then they might have levers, pressure plates, buttons, chains, etc... in the dungeons.
Yes, those things are a vital part of actual dungeon-crawling gameplay, instead of being gimmicks.
Zombra wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 5:10 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 4:55 pm
Seems like [Bard] is an archtype rather than a class. Could imply that there is more than one class of Bard in the game.
Whoa! You're right! If I'm reading this correctly, there will be at least four different Bard subclasses in the game! Mind blown! :o

(Wow, this also means 4-6 different Rogues. Mind blown again.)
Maybe. From what I've seen so far, they are more like specializations/builds than full fledged classes. Think Diablo 2 with its hundreds of possible builds. Of course, that game had very robust itemization to back it up. On second thought, I'd rather say this will be more like WoW, where the characters spec will more or less determine the role, such as tank, dps, healer, support, control, etc.
Imagine Pureshield paladin tanks, Sword of Zar dps warriors, Spectre Snare drummer cc bards, etc. I just doubt they have the passion and talent to pull it off in a Bard's Tale way.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by ZZGO » December 6th, 2017, 12:47 am

So item interaction is going to be yet more important in this game. Looks fun. Are the magic weapons (puzzles) procedurally generated, or designed individually?

The "curses" as described are relatively mild in their effect, but depending on how exactly tinkering with/investigating a magic weapon works the risk/reward ratio needs careful consideration. And there's also fun to be had with a system of design-it-yourself magic weapons that allows players to compose their magic weapons from individual components, to tailor suit their weapon to a given skill set, party or combat tactic.

A minor gripe, for me, is that the artwork for the magic weapons is too... artsy. I'm a fan of realistic, functional weapons (and items in general) such as shown in the GoT TV series, and I hate the stylized, impractical and silly weapons often seen in computer games. Perhaps tone it down a bit for this game. Back in the day, Bard's Tale was pretty down to earth with how items looked and I liked that better.

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by kilobug » December 6th, 2017, 1:05 am

Thanks for the update ! The puzzle weapon systems seems very interesting and original, I've a slight fear that it might become frustrating (depending how the puzzles are designed), I'll have to see it "for real" to fully dispel that concern, but well, I trust you guys :)

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Gizmo » December 6th, 2017, 7:58 am

ZZGO wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 12:47 am
A minor gripe, for me, is that the artwork for the magic weapons is too... artsy. I'm a fan of realistic, functional weapons (and items in general) such as shown in the GoT TV series, and I hate the stylized, impractical and silly weapons often seen in computer games. Perhaps tone it down a bit for this game.
I generally feel the same way about art design... but in the case of magic items (clothes and armor, trinkets), I don't think that their appearance needs to conform to anyone's functional norm—they are magical in nature. Of course this doesn't mean that anything & everything is explained or excused—because it's...
Image
... It means that the item's appearance can be intentional, and doesn't impair it. The 75 pound 6'x1' broadsword wielded by a waif, is not unlike Thor's conventional looking warhammer—of selectively infinite weight. It means that even bikini-plate armor could work as full-plate armor (by magical means); perhaps even by manipulating fate, or the mind of an attacker. Imagine such an armor, that telepathically afforded top-notch protection in combat, but didn't protect against heat or falling debris. Would your character wear an oversized floppy red Santa hat—if it allowed travel through chimneys of any size, and caused aggressive non-animal NPC's to not notice them? Impractical or not, it'd be wonderful attire for a thief.

With this in mind, I take less issue with the extremely gaudy or impractical designs of magical equipment; some of which might look intentionally ridiculous while conferring their bonus—but the user benefits from that bonus.
(And this is why I do take issue with allowing the item to be worn, but not shown... as with optionally visible helmets, full-armor, and cloaks of blur.)

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by Zombra » December 6th, 2017, 9:19 am

In "game terms", there's nothing wrong with weird looking equipment ... but I think it harms a setting for stuff to look silly. Giant spiky pauldrons, swords that look like they weigh 600 pounds, color schemes straight out of Candyland ... no matter how you justify it, stuff like this looks ugly and tasteless.

Now, bikini plate ... that's the good kind of tasteless. ;)
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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by demeisen » December 6th, 2017, 9:27 am

ZZGO wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 12:47 am
So item interaction is going to be yet more important in this game. Looks fun. Are the magic weapons (puzzles) procedurally generated, or designed individually?

The "curses" as described are relatively mild in their effect, but depending on how exactly tinkering with/investigating a magic weapon works the risk/reward ratio needs careful consideration.
I was wondering about that procedural puzzle idea too, perhaps parameterized somehow on a random factor. I don't know how it really works in the game or if that's possible in the system, though. The example they gave was a riddle to solve, which may not lend itself easily to that.

While I can't know how any of this will feel in the game, I like (most of) what I've seen of the general direction so far. Riddles and puzzles to solve, mysterious items that change as you discover new things, combat that makes me think a little and not just mindlessly button-mash, and some apparently nice graphics to back it all up. +1 to all that.

I hope, too, that we'll see the kind of resource based gameplay that BT-classics had (survive your dungeon delve, not just a single fight at a time being made whole after each one), but I haven't seen any hints about that either way. It was a key element of the originals, for me, but it's a hard sell with today's gamers more used to "action" style dynamics. (Cough - I'm looking at you, POE2).

Just stay far, far away from slapstick or silliness, and we're good. :lol:

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Re: Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

Post by demeisen » December 6th, 2017, 9:37 am

BTW, I've seen some complaints about release dates, and everyone will have a different opinion there, but here's mine: release it when you feel it's ready. I don't mind waiting for a good game (within reason... if it's gonna be 8 years or something, that might be a little much). Point is, modern games are extremely complex projects with many moving parts, and schedules can only be predicted so well in advance. All games will ship with bugs, because they're simply too complex not to, but it's still better to avoid a game that feels "rushed out the door", than to hit some arbitrary date.

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