Ganezzar beta - week 5

This week's changelog:

  • Added 'Maadoran is destroyed' scenario that comes with several Mind Shield checks
  • Added two NPCs in Ganezzar (a nobleman and a MG clerk), presenting a slightly different reaction to the religious fanaticism
  • Added filler NPCs in the upper districts
  • Improved Al-Akia exploration (text, visual improvements, the Qantari quarter, etc)
  • Improved the combat AI


We started working on the combat AI. Step 1 - more regular and power attacks (before the enemies switched to fast attacks too eagerly, so now they will hit less often as their THC will go down but it would hurt more). Step 2 - aimed attacks, already working on our end, will be added in the next update. Step 3 - special attacks and alchemy.

Also, we're working on an exciting (well, I'm excited!) armor change. If all goes well (i.e. we test it and it would actually work well and not just on paper), you would be able to damage enemy's armor DR and since we're all about equal opportunities, the enemies would be able to damage your armor.

Anyway, for next week we're planning to add an option to break the siege using the ship, so get your saves ready. You'll need the jellyfish artefact (it's a must) and either the mantra from Antidas' treasure room or high lore.

'til next week!

Ganezzar beta - week 4

This week's changelog:

  • Added House Crassus questline
  • Added the ruins of Al-Akia (first pass, will be developed further in the upcoming updates)
  • Added two NPCs in Ganezzar (a guard and a local guide)
  • Added descriptions in Lowtown
  • Added several new Dodge animations
  • Fixed Critical Strike's bleeding effect
  • Minor interface improvements (new talk icon, fade on dialogue start, AoO/IA tooltips on tiles, etc)

Some notes:

  1. The issue causing NPC who should be gone or dead to return should be fixed or seems to be fixed. For now it's fixed in the beta only, so if you're playing the beta and run into this problem again, please post detailed reproduction steps.
  2. The fight involving Faelan (where he takes over some enemies and turn them into allies) is too easy at the moment. The difficulty will go up once we improve the combat AI (the next task for our programmer).

Plans for next week:

  • "Maadoran is destroyed" / "House Aurelian is ruined" questlines
  • Al-Akia exploration improvements
  • Visual improvements
  • More NPCs and text descriptions

That would complete the faction questlines and allow us to focus on Ganezzar's side quests and visuals.

Ganezzar beta - week 2

This week's changelog:

  • Added House Daratan questline
  • Added two NPCs (one shows up only when the city is under siege)
  • Removed the 'horse travel', now you can exit the city via the gate and use the world map to travel.
  • Fixed the combat loop in AG7
  • Added gunner's log in the Hangar location
  • Fixed infinite XP loop when talking to Gaelius after Zamedi
  • You can now travel to Ganezzar after killing Gaelius in the AG questline
  • Added a combat panel showing your Attack and Defense stats (it's pretty cool even if I do say so myself)
  • Hovering your mouse over the enemy shows the THC breakdown
  • More tooltips and minor improvements (like color-coordinated textbox)

In the next week's episode Lord Meru will join the Dark Side. Stay tuned.

Ganezzar beta - week 1

As I mentioned in the previous announcement, we’re planning to update the Beta on a weekly basis until the third chapter is completed, then we’ll go back to monthly updates until the game is out. So, week 1...

Week 1

  • Added the Aurelian Praetor questline
  • Added the ‘Hangar’ (to unlock talk to the cartographer Domitius sent you to)
  • Added the power armor quest (at the moment the quest is available to all regardless of whether or not you got the quest in Maadoran)
  • Added a new NPC near the ‘pillar of skulls’
  • Added tooltips for the attacks
  • Added traits descriptions
  • Fixed various scripting issues and bugs (antidote should be working as advertised now)
  • Fixed journal crashes (hopefully for good, but if you do get one, let us know and describe the steps to reproduce)
  • Added filler NPCs to Lowtown in Ganezzar
  • Made visual improvements
What to expect next week:
  • Daratan Praetor questline
  • *Possibly* Crassus Praetor questline (there is a lot of stuff there so we might push it to week 3)
  • new quests
  • new NPCs
  • Improved Ganezzar (art, filler NPCs, text descriptions)
  • Various design improvements and fixes
Power armor

It’s working but it’s still rough around the edges. There are 3 modes plus an optional 4th mode. Right click on the armor’s icon in the inventory to interact with it. Once it’s charged, you’ll be able to go through the different modes the same way you go through different attacks. There are no tooltips yet to explain what does what, but they are coming. Play with it (keep in mind it’s work in progress and the very first iteration of the armor), then post your thoughts and suggestions. As usual, we’ll go through them and improve the design with your help.

As always, thank you for your support.

Jan update - Ganezzar beta is out

The beta of the third ‘chapter’ is now available to anyone who has the game in their Steam library. To access the beta build, right click on the game in your Steam library, select Properties, click on Betas tab. If it’s set on “None - Opt out of all beta programs”, change it to Test – Private Testing Branch.

Enter the Access Code (‘blacksheepwall’), click on Check Code, and wait for Steam to download the files.

About this beta. It’s a 'work in progress' build with many rough edges. It's in the same state Teron and Maadoran were when we released them to the testers, so for us it's business as usual (except for releasing it to all Early Access’ patrons rather than to the closed beta testers). For people who just want to play the next chapter expecting a few odd bugs here and there, it might be not what they expected.

To remind you, we put the very first playable build on Dec 24. We spent the next 3 weeks improving it, testing, moving things around, tweaking, etc, so the chapter is in a much better shape, but at this stage it’s still about functionality rather than form.

It would take us at least 4-5 weeks to bring it to an ‘enjoyable’ level and another 2-3 weeks to get it to the same state as Teron and Maadoran.

What makes a game city a city? In AoD it’s:

  • Interconnected faction quests that are the foundation. They are the hardest, most time-consuming development aspect. Scripting them is a nightmare.

  • Side quests that aren’t connected to anything. They are isolated situations that fill the city with activities and random things to do. They are a pleasure to write and script and can be done in 2 weeks at most.

  • Static NPCs and visual touches that would make it *look* like a city

  • Things you can click on it and read descriptions or interact with.

So far we did a rough implementation of the faction quests, which means that the city is fairly empty and lifeless, which can be jarring. So if you want more, wait a few weeks.

Now that we did release something, we will update it on a weekly basis, improving the foundation, adding all the missing things, and making it an enjoyable and atmospheric location, so stay tuned.

December update - beta in January

Two days ago we put together the first playable build of the upcoming 3 locations (Ganezzar – the third city, the ruins of Al-Akia – the birthplace of the Gods, and the ‘hangar’ giving you access to your very own flying ship). As I mentioned earlier, we discussed whether or not release it now as a questionable New Year gift or sit on it for a couple of weeks.

In the end we decided to wait and push the update release to Jan 19, which gives us about 3 weeks of work. This date won’t be changed or pushed back, so consider it a promise.

It’s tempting to release it now for the sake of saying that we did release an update in Dec. After all, we’re still in Early Access and work-in-progress is the norm here (in fact, that's the idea). Still, I think that if we take some extra time to smooth over the rough edges, your experience will be a lot more enjoyable.

So, the silver lining here is that after 6 months of work we’re very, very close and almost ready to get this ball rolling. The third city was the last major hurdle to overcome and soon you’ll be able to play it.

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Since I don’t have much to add here, I’ll entertain you with our design process. As I mentioned previously, towns are the hardest, most time-consuming locations because of the multiple interwoven questlines with double-crossing and multiple solutions. The amount of scripting that goes into it is huge and it takes a long time to sort it out.

So step 1 – I write the faction questlines. It takes a while. For Ganezzar we needed 4 guilds: the Imperial Guards, assassins, thieves, and merchants. Plus 3 praetors: a praetor serving House Daratan who did not ruin House Aurelian, a Daratan praetor who did, and a praetor serving House Aurelian (they all have different paths to follow). Plus the main quest and key side quests (like the power armor quest). Overall, that’s 24 quests right there. Usually, it takes about 3-4 days per quest. When the quests are written, I enter them into the database, do ‘basic’ scripting that allows us to run through dialogues, and pass them to Oscar who is our artist/designer.

While I’m busy writing, Oscar is busy putting locations together, while Nick, Ivan, and Mazin are working on programming tasks (for example, now Nick is working on the power armor, which is a very unique item that requires its own interface), extra animations, and 2D art (portraits, icons, the aforementioned interface, quick concept art, etc). It takes about 4-5 days to fully implement a quest, so overall that’s ((3-4)+(4-5)) x 24 = 168-216 days right there (5-7 months) just to do the basic implementation.

Step 2 – the first draft:

When we have the first drafts of both the locations and the quests, we put them together, add ‘advanced’ scripting (usually checking events and variables) that allows us to run through and jump between the questlines, and see what we got there.

Basically, there is a difference between quests ‘on paper’ and an in-game questlines. Sometimes the difference is minor and can be disregarded (i.e. ‘sure, it can be tweaked here and there but overall it’s ok’), sometimes it’s not and you have to go back to the drawing board.

So, after debating it back and forth we decided that everything looks good except for the merchant guild’s questline's flow. The first quest (technically, the 7th quest) was quite good but required being sent all over the place. It was moved to the House Crassus questline as it fits it better. The merchants’ quest in question had to be replaced which is one of the reasons for the delay to January. I finished writing it last night and it’s a fun quest which will require you to perform miracles and dabble in the mysterious arts of faith healing.

Step 3 – once the first draft is discussed and approved, we start building it up. The faction questlines are a solid foundation but it takes a lot more work to turn ‘a place where quests take place’ into a city with its own atmosphere. It needs:

  • side quests
  • flavor characters to talk to
  • ‘diaries’, messages, flavor text (various descriptions)
  • various intros and endings
  • expanded conversations with main characters
  • new quest options that become clear after you play through several times

Step 4 – balance, bugs, minor things like journal and reputation

So now we’re at Step 2. I don’t think we can jump to Step 3 in 3 weeks, but we can do quite a lot, which will make your experience more enjoyable. Overall, we did release the first two towns when we hit Step 2, so it's sort of business as usual but we released it as a beta to testers. Now we're about to release it directly to Early Access, hence the desire to ensure that we give you more rather than less.

Overall, for those who’re curious about our progress rate, we released the first 3 locations in March 2012 (which included a starting town). It took us 20 months to do another town plus 6 extra locations, which were released on Nov 2013. It took us 13 months to release 6 more locations, add different states for the starting town, and almost finish the third town. Another month and we’re there.

Thank you for your support, patience, understanding and encouragement.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Recent previews and impressions

RPG Codex:

"Where I think the non-combat and combat gameplay both have their foibles, this is where Age of Decadence truly shines. The writing is top notch. I found myself reading in great detail all of the stories from the storyteller, and all the related conversations. The descriptions of what was going on in the world were just fantastic, and the setting really feels fresh. There is an air of ambiguity to everything that is so refreshing in this age of “GATHER ARMY TO FIGHT DARK EVIL”-level of storytelling.

Additionally, the quests are designed to be radically different each time you play through them. You can choose to piss everyone off – and there are multiple ways to do that. Each character I play through feels like I’m just getting one piece of a larger story, and playing through the same area with a different character you can see different angles and how things can play out differently.

Vault Dweller has always been about choices and consequences, and this game tackles that in spades. It seems like every little thing you do will have some effect on the game world. Sometimes it’s small, sometimes it’s massive – it’s always interesting, though. The way you treat people you meet, the decisions you make when deciding who to side with in conflicts – they all have long-term effects. Forget seeing all the content in one playthrough. Shit, forget seeing half the content in one playthrough. This is a game that will cut off quests as you go. But where a door closes, another one opens."

RPG Codex second preview

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4Players.de:

"Das rundenbasierte Kampfsystem von The Age of Decadence folgt zwar auf den ersten Blick klassischen Regeln inklusive Aktionspunkten, Trefferabfragen und Lebenspunkten. Aber es ist trotz des ärgerlichen Fehlens physikalischer Deckungsabfragen angenehm komplex: Je nach Bewaffnung stehen einem zig Manöver zur Verfügung – nicht nur schnelle, normale oder schwere Hiebe, sondern auch Wirbelangriffe, Finten mit Positionstausch, lokale Attacken auf Arme, Beine oder Kopf sowie gezielte Stiche in Arterien, um für eine Blutung zu sorgen. Man kann Feinde zurückwerfen, entwaffnen, blocken, vergiften. Nach einem Rechtsklick auf eine der meist historisch belegten Waffen wie dem römischen Gladius oder dem ägyptische Sichelschwert Chepesch, erkennt man alle Manöver samt ihrer Kosten in Aktionspunkten."

4Players.de preview

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IndieRPGs:

"So, what did I think? On first impression, the Age of Decadence is very much my speed: a deep, non-linear wRPG with lots of well-written dialog trees and choices that impact your play experience down the road. Your choice of character background determines how you start off the game, and has real effects on how other characters perceive you. AoD also features a fairly deep action point-based, turn-based combat system (one that I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to show off during the video, but which you can try for yourself in the game’s freely available demo)."

IndieRPGs preview

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PC Guru magazine:

"Despite the fact that the Age of Decadence is unfinished, it has so much content, depth and unique gameplay elements that it is nothing less but a game that every fan of the genre must have in their library."

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Game Star:

"Age of Decadence richtet sich an eine ganz genau Zielgruppe, und die kann sich das Oldschool-Rollenspiel bereits im Early Access-Zustand ohne schlechtes Gewissen zulegen. Das Spiel läuft rund, bietet schon jetzt einen enormen Umfang und kann auch spielmechanisch überzeugen. Die Kämpfe sind zwar bockeschwer, entwickeln aber einen unglaublichen Reiz, und man ist stolz wie Oskar, wenn ein harter Gegner endlich bezwungen auf dem Boden liegt.

Zudem kann ich die Facetten der Geschichte erleben, auf die ich grade Lust habe. Interessiert mich die Vergangenheit nicht? Dann lass ich sie links liegen. Rollenspielneulinge sollten sich aber erst einmal die öffentliche Beta anschauen, denn wer nicht gewillt ist in diesen Titel Zeit zu investieren, der bekommt auch nichts zurück."

Game Star preview

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Pixel Related:

"Still under construction but available through Steam’s Early Access, The Age of Decadence strives to be the sort of RPG that changes the way you play the genre. Similar to the way that Dark Souls wowed gamers years ago by bringing difficult combat back into fashion, The Age of Decadence is making huge strides in creating a world so brutal that it’s impossible to be the knight in shining armor. It gives you something you’ve never experienced before, in a way that forces you to wake up, pay attention and adapt to the game world around you. I tried to resist the force of that change. But I’m glad I saved my game first, because as predicted, I died. Now, I encourage you to take on that same worthy and exhilarating challenge."

Pixel Related preview

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Canard PC magazine:

"Comme dans la vie. The Age of Decadence est horriblement exigeant. Mais, il n’exige pas n’importe quoi. Il exige du joueur de la prudence et de l’humilité. Et une touche F5 en bon état, aussi, pour pou- voir quicksaver toutes les dix secondes. Que ce soit en matière de combat ou de dialogue, le bébé d’Iron Tower passe son temps à piéger le joueur, rendu naïf et ridiculement confiant par des années de RPG le plaçant dans le rôle d’un surhomme. Oh ! la possi- bilité de monter une arnaque à la sortie de la première taverne ? Ça doit être une quête facile. Paf, vous ratez votre skillcheck, une bonne occasion de faire de la thune et de booster vos compétences sociales. Ah ! Une jeune fille agressée par un bandit, un contre un c’est jouable. Pif, la meuf vous poignarde dans le dos tandis que le gros bras détourne votre attention. Je m’arrête là : ce jeu est un champ de mines qui, si vous avez du bol, vous entraînera au cimetière. Ou, pire, directement sur une voie de garage."

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Core RPG:

"The Age of Decadence — игра, адресованная самым хардкорным фанатам жанра. Здесь нет эпических сражений с драконами, спасения галактик и секса со всем, что передвигается на двух ногах. Если вам нравятся длинные, великолепно прописанные диалоги, эксперименты с ролевыми механиками и выборы, заставляющие применять голову по прямому назначению — The Age of Decadence, без сомнений, можно приобретать прямо сейчас."

Core-RPG preview

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Igromania:

"Задания, судя по тому, что мы имеем, обещают быть интересными. Очень много «разговорных» квестов, где хорошо подвешенный язык и соответствующие навыки (а также тугой кошелек) позволят разрешить ситуацию миром. Игра компенсирует недостаток красот атмосферными описаниями окружения и собеседников — подобное мы недавно видели в Shadowrun Returns или когда-то в Planescape: Torment. Читать и вникать в беседы — отдельное удовольствие, и за этот пункт беспокоиться не приходится.

Однако если за своими словами не следить или рискнуть сунуть нос куда не следует, дело дойдет до боя. Сражения здесь пошаговые, механика их напоминает оFallout, только с поправкой на эпоху. Они чрезвычайно непросты, и об этом игрока даже заранее предупредят. Если персонаж у вас сугубо мирный, его легко забьют и бросят на съедение крысам какие-нибудь отбросы из трущоб. Здоровье, очки действия и шанс попасть в цель очень сильно зависят от выбранного пути развития, и у интеллектуала и дипломата шансов выжить в бою почти нет."

Igromania preview

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IGN Russia

"Первый воинский «билд» я абсолютно по-дилетантски запорол. Привычка «вкачивать» мордоворотам силу и телосложение сыграла со мной злую шутку: без приличного восприятия боец просто не попадал по врагам. Жалкое зрелище: вооруженного до зубов римлянина в металлических доспехах и с огромным щитом забили ножиками охламоны из подворотни. В The Age of Decadence щит исполняет не декоративную функцию: в пошаговых боях воины им честно отражают (а иногда и отводят) удары. Обычный мужик (или женщина) со щитом – это просто кусок мяса для большинства встречающихся тут противников (даже одиночек!), но умелый ветеран может выстоять даже против четырех подлецов разом.

Бесславно погибнув в подворотне, я взялся за ум и начал вчитываться в описания характеристик, навыков и параметров. Это заняло какое-то время – никто и не обещал, что будет просто, – но в итоге маленький городок был усеян телами моих врагов. В другой раз я создал классического дипломата: бонус к урону – минус (!) десять процентов. Зато высокий интеллект. Ту же самую главу я преодолел, ни разу не вынув меча из ножен (только зря его купил). Естественно, некоторые бои можно избежать лишь одним способом: не нарываться на неприятности. Подвешенный язык не гарантирует безопасность. Если вы видите в трущобах очень странных господ с копьями и кинжалами, то их, наверное, не стоит спрашивать о последних событиях в этом районе."

IGN Russia preview

 

 

October update - improvements, changes, and fixes

Our October update is a bit late but as you all know, better late than never is a principle we live by. The Steam build will be updated tonight - a bunch of tweaks and fixes, but no new content as Ganezzar remains our top and only priority at the moment.

So what’s taking so long, you ask?

A lot of scripting, which often takes time to figure out. It’s kind of like a puzzle. When you have tightly interwoven questlines, you often don’t have much room because what you can do in the remaining ‘quest space’ is limited by the events established by other questlines.

Usually we start with ‘broad strokes’.  We start with the siege mentioned at the end of your Maadoran adventures (if it wasn't mentioned then you arrive to Ganezzar before the siege or maybe even participate in the events that triggered it). Obviously, there should be two main outcomes: the city is taken vs the siege is broken, House Aurelian vs House Crassus.  Logically, the Imperial Guards will play the role of a ‘kingmaker’, whoever they side with wins. The thieves were tasked with helping House Aurelian, which makes sense (they use the tunnels for smuggling and thus best positioned to be able to find a way into the castle). The merchants will start in the pro-Meru camp but should be able to switch sides instantly. Plus they have the secret weapon – the Sellsword legion and, if you switched sides already, the Antidas-Carrinas alliance, which was created for this very opportunity to kick ass when least expected (a shaved knuckle, so to speak)

Meru will be actively trying to bring back the Gods (kinda now or never situation), the Aurelian and Daratan praetors will be scheming and plotting in a jamesbondian manner, giving knight-diplomats everywhere a bad name.

That’s the big picture but the devil is in the detail. Logically, each path should be ripe with double- and triple-crossing opportunities. What if you fail carrying out one of the thieves’ task and are caught and delivered to Meru? Failing is a logical outcome. The only question is what to do with you after, kill outright or let you live. If we let you live, you’re now working for Meru and your goal is to lead the army into an ambush, which is interesting because it gives Meru a chance to break the siege without relying on third parties and being in their debt. But if we let you talk to the thieves (instead of going straight to the ambush), you should have an option to tell them what Meru’s planning and do a triple-cross. Again, it’s logical, it’s not an option for the sake of options, most players won’t even see it as to trigger it you need to be playing as a thief and fail at a certain point, but it adds quite a lot and is a nice reward for those who do fail and discover a hidden branch.

Or let’s say that Paullus agrees to side with Meru and break the siege in exchange for ‘valuable considerations’. What if you tell him what Meru is really up to? How would he react and how it would affect everything else? What if you don't tell him? It's kinda cool to have a very different outcome just because you casually mentioned something.

Now, multiply it by several questlines and you’ll get some idea of what we’re dealing with. Plus the different ‘starting points’. If you’re playing a praetor, you can be a Daratan praetor who did the right thing and talked Serenas out of raiding the Slums, in which case the siege is on. Or you can be a praetor who helped Serenas to ‘step off a cliff’ and House Aurelian is no more. In which case, there is no siege and Meru’s free to do whatever he wants.

Anyway, after months of work (I think we started in May and worked through the summer and fall), we’re almost there. We’re aiming to release the first, admittedly rough version (like the first Maadoran build) in December.  Thank you for your support and patience. Since AoD isn’t and will never be a top seller, it’s fair to say that this game wouldn’t exist without people willing to support us and stand by us.

September update - improvements, changes, and fixes

First and foremost, we're still working on Ganezzar. It's coming along well but at a slower pace than we've anticipated. Too much work (as we didn't cut any corners and didn't shy away from any options or consequences), not enough hours in a day. We'll post some screens and concept art on our forums in a few days, so you're more than welcome to visit our forums and participate in design discussions.

As for this month's update, it fixes most issues in "new Teron", adds balance changes, expands some dialogues (for example, you can discuss the situation with Antidas when you return to Teron), and numerous tweaks and changes, adding flanking, mobility bonus, a new crafting techique, and god knows what else.

Fixes:

  • Fixed issue with Feng not being in Teron when you get back to town.
  • Fixed issues with Map travel in new Teron.
  • Fixed issue when talking to the healer in new Teron.
  • Fixed issue when talking to the undertaker in new Terons.
  • Fixed issue when talking to the storyteller in new Terons.
  • Fixed issue when talking to the innkeeper in new Terons.
  • Fixed issue when exploring the smithy's interior.
  • Fixed issue when exploring Feng's house.
  • The Arbiter is now properly recognized for critical strikes checks.
  • Fixed issue that sent you to Old Teron after the ending with the alliance between IG and Daratan.
  • Fixed issue that broke Paullus conversation when you arrived from Caer-Tor.
  • If you go to the camp after Teron has ended and you've never been there, the description of the raiders is no longer triggered.
  • Fixed issue that if you destroy the mine when everyone has been killed, you stay inside the mine.
  • Fixed coordinates issue with Tiberius cage.
  • Fixed issue with respawning deleted characters (for example, Hermon's Gang after being killed and bodies deleted).

Changes:

  • Added more kadura leaves to traders.
  • Poison damage changed from 5,6,7,8,9 to 3,5,7,9,11.
  • Increased potent poison extra damage from 2 to 3.
  • Poison now lasts on the weapon for 20 hits.
  • Displayed hidden INT check when entering the Abyss.
  • Reduced INT bonus by 5 overall. Now it goes from 0 to 30.
  • Showing the map to Domitius now gives you 5 SP (instead of 15).
  • Increased the price of the arena trader's unique item from 600 to 1200, and the trading check is increased from 4 to 5, lowering the price to 800.
  • Increased the price of the exotic trader's unique item from 300 to 600; the trading check lowers the price to 500.
  • Increased the price of the ordu trader's unique item from 200 to 400; the trading check lowers the price to 300.
  • Increased the price of the ranged weapons' trader's unique item from 250 to 500; the trading check lowers the price to 400.
  • Increased the price of the imperial weapons' trader's unique item from 500 to 1000; the trading check lowers the price to 900.
  • Increased the price of the shield trader's unique item from 200 to 400; the trading check lowers the price to 300.
  • Reduced combat SP from fights.
  • Constitution now gives a bonus to block (strength doesn't).
  • The balanced technique no longer lowers the weapon AP, but adds THC: 3 at level 2, 6 at level 4, 9 at level 6, 12 at level 8 and 15 at level 10.
  • Implemented serrated edge technique, increases CS: 3 at level 3, 6 at level 5, 9 at level 7, 12 at level 9 and 15 at level 10.
  • Implemented flanking, side hits give 5 extra THC/CS, back hits give 10 extra THC/CS.
  • Dodgers now get a "mobility bonus" of 3 points for each passable tile around them.
  • Armor sets have been rebalanced, increased dodge penalties for all armors, and lower CS defence for lighter armor.
  • Increase Bash success chance by 10.

Combat Balance:

  • Teron: raiders: There is one less raider, all raiders have 1 point more in attack and defence; Esbenus has a masterwork gladius, wounded raiders have 5 HP less.
  • Teron Bandits: Fight gives 5 combat points.
  • Mining Outpost: There is one less soldier, all soldiers have 1 point more in CS.
  • Mining Outpost: Fight gives 5 combat points outside and 4 inside.
  • Maadoran Gate: the thugs: Increased attack and defence by 1, increased CS from 1 to 5.
  • Basil: the thugs: Increased attack and defence by 1, increased CS from 2 to 5.
  • Quintus: the thugs: Increased attack and defence by 1, increased CS from 2 to 5.
  • Leon's Mercs: Increased attack and defence by 1.
  • Senna's Guards: Increased attack by 1.
  • Valla's Mercs: Increased attack, defence and CS by 2.
  • Lord Varus' sons: increased CS by 1.
  • Arena: Thief has 1 CS more.
  • Arena: Zealot has 1 CS more.
  • Arena: Isatis has 1 more attack and CS.
  • Arena: Yochan has 1 more attack and CS.
  • Arena: Raider has 1 more attack, defence and CS.
  • Arena: All barbari have 1 CS more.
  • Arena: Nicander has 1 more attack and 2 more CS.
  • Arena: Bendidoros has 1 more defense and 2 more CS.
  • Arena: Sarpedon has 1 more defense and 2 more CS.
  • Arena: Ordu warrior has 1 more CS, ordu archer has 2 more CS.
  • Arena: Butcher has 1 CS more.
  • Arena: Mack has 1 CS more.
  • Arena: All triarii have 1 attack more.
  • Arena: Al-Sahir has 1 CS more.

That's about it. Now, keep in mind that these changes aren't set in stone. We have an opportunity to try different things and see what works and what doesn't. If we went too far somewhere, we'll scale it back.

As always, your feedback is vital and much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

August update - back to Teron

Welcome to update # 8. It’s a big update that adds all kinds of things but very little new content, unfortunately.

1. You can return to Teron now. There isn’t much to do there yet as the unfinished quests have been resolved without you (thanks for nothing) and new content will be triggered by the events in Ganezzar, which hasn’t been released yet.

So much like Caer-Tor, the new Teron maps (there are two actually, one where the Imperial Guards took over, the other where House Daratan reigns supreme and the town is swarmed with mercenaries) are nothing but a foundation on which new content will be build.

Still, you can walk around, chat with people, admire Antidas’ grave, stop in front of crucified Miltiades, meet a mercenary captain who will replace Mercato if you had him killed, and report any bugs and consistency issues (people who should be dead being alive and kicking, etc).

2. We split the Teron map into 3 to improve performance. The old map included the mine and the raiders’ camp, which wasn’t the best way to handle it. Now Teron, the mine, and the camp are truly separate locations, which - in theory - can cause all kinds of issues but hopefully won’t.

We tweaked the mine location a bit, replacing the old tower with something equally Roman but more combat-friendly, plus made it easier to explore it outside of text adventure. Overall, there is less ‘teleporting’ now.

3. We tweaked Alchemy as per very helpful players’ suggestions

  • Added more reagents to Maadoran and Teron alchemists' inventories
  • Increased poison damage by 1 point for all levels.
  • Bombs and liquid fire no longer miss.
  • Bombs critical chance (knockdown effect) is now 50 - (victim's constitution - 6) x 15.
  • Alchemy level 9: Black Powder Bomb (Frag) has vsDR 5.
  • Alchemy level 10: Berserk potion homeostasis gives 3 DR and takes 5 HP at the end of the effect.
  • Alchemy level 10: Neurostimulant (Eagle Eye) gives 25 THC bonus.

4.Difficulty

As many of you noticed the difficulty takes a nosedive in Maadoran. One of the reason for that is that the metal bonuses greatly increase your offensive and defensive capabilities. Each metal adds 2 points. Whereas in Teron adding 2 points is a good bonus (and iron weapons are harder to find), it's relatively easy to buy high quality gear in Maadoran and increase your damage output and/or DR by 5-7 points, which is too much.

So, the no-name crafted items are removed from trader inventories (if you want them, invest in Crafting). Some of them have been replaced by much more expensive unique items. Coincidentally, each metal now adds only 1 point, so getting your hands on some blue steel will increase your damage/DR by 3 instead of 6.

We also tweaked some stats of unique items to make sure they are consistent with the overall balance.

5. A number of bug fixes and minor improvements.

* * *

As always, thank you for your continuous support and patronage. This update is a stepping stone toward a much larger update which will include 3 new locations, so your feedback and suggestions will be much appreciated.

July update - new characters and items

We're still working on Ganezzar, which is coming along nicely. I'd say we're half done now and the hardest part is behind us now. At this stage we have all the questlines and they flow, interweave, and arrive to logical conclusions quite nicely. They are more focused and interconnected and as a result there is a larger number of options and double-crossing opportunities.

Thus this update is also light on content as Ganezzar is a priority for us as we want to release it as soon as humanly possible.

So, what’s in this update?

  • 13 new Achievements
  • A new conversation with Lorenza
  • If you had a pickpocket encounter in Teron and decided to take Livia to Cado (thieves only option, obviously) instead of killing her or letting her go, you can meet her in Maadoran now and get a glimpse of the role she's going to play in Act 4 (endgame).
  • You asked for a good dagger and we listened. If you manage to save a trader upon arrival to Maadoran, he'll reward you with a nice custom jambia.
  • A new merchant in the Slums who can sell you an axe called Black Dow.
  • Added text explaining what happened if you leave the Monastery area without doing anything and return later when you're good and ready.
  • Added a text-based option to sneak into the vaults as well as the dialogue options depending on how you handled the raiders.
  • Fixed an older dialogue that wasn't triggered correctly - after talking to Old Azra and learning that she spent her youth in Maadoran, you can ask the street 'guide' about her.
  • Fixed a number of minor bugs including the critical strike issue in Aemolas' village

As always, thank you for your continuous support and patronage. If there is something you wish to see in the next update, be it specific items (that won't require new animations), different character types, or certain characters' viewpoints or past, let us know and we'll do our best to add them.

June update - new characters and various improvements

Right now our focus is on Ganezzar, Al-Akia, and the Hangar (aka Chapter 3, which should be released by the end of the summer). It’s a big chunk of content and we’re working 12-14 hours a day to deliver a quality chapter with a unique theme, atmosphere, and quests.

That’s why this month’s update is a bit light on content as we simply didn’t have time to add new locations or quests. So, what’s in this update?

  • 6 new characters to talk to

    We added a healer and an annalist to Caer-Tor. The healer can tell you more about the camp, the annalist can tell you about the history of the Imperial Guards and the demise of four Noble Houses.

    We added a youth and a guard to the Monastery. The youth can tell you about the lower, sealed chambers and what this place was before the war. The guard can offer his perspective on your visit and what it means for the locals (hint: nothing good).

    We also added an assassin and a farmer in Maadoran. The farmer can talk about, well, farming and dealing with the Commercium, the assassin is an intro character when you first come to the city and approach the guild.

  • Now you’re able to leave Caer-Tor after completing Paullus’ quest and explore other locations or return to Maadoran.

  • A number of bug fixes

    • AG4: Added an option to attack the beggar to avoid a progress lock if you don’t have a dagger, or money, or decent bodycount rep, or any points in Trading skill.
    • TG3: Fixed a Charisma check at the gate.
    • Maadoran: Changed Calvus’ text to reflect the actual amount of gold received.
    • Monastery: completing the quest by talking to the healer gives you skill points.
    • Monastery: Fighting your way through gives you skill points in addition to the satisfaction of the job well done.
    • Saross: Finding the hidden chamber showers with your skill points.
    • Arch: Now you get skill points for both having a pleasant conversation AND killing Esbenus and his merry bunch of slavers.
    • Inferiae: Escaping the tower with your life – yeah, you guessed it – gives you skill points.


  • Engine optimization to improve performance and loading time

  • Improved the collision system and building/floor system

  • The “journal crash” should be fixed (at least we fixed what we suspect was the issue there), if there are any other issues, they will be easier to pinpoint due to changes in the crash submission system.


As always, thank you for your continuous support and patronage.

May update - new location and improvements

New Location: Caer-Tor 

It’s the Imperial Guards’ headquarters and thus available only to the Guards after dealing with the Ordu. This isn’t a ‘single stop’ location and it will remain active (new quests and solutions to other quests) until the end of the game, so you’ll have reasons to revisit it later. 

At this stage, you’re still viewed with suspicion (on account of being associated with a rogue commander), so step 1 is to prove yourself once again. Should you succeed, you’ll become an agent of destruction who can be instantly disavowed and whose screw-ups or even involvement cab be blamed on said rogue commander. 

Characters of interest: 

Dux Paullus who rules supreme, Legatus Raenas who’s a bit too young but extremely loyal and not very bright, Legatus Carbo whom you’ve already met, three Centurions, and a Quartermaster with an exceptionally sunny outlook. 

Improvements and changes: 

  • You can now properly explore the chamber at the bottom of the Abyss (before it was done via the dialogue window). 
  • Added Snipe attack for the scoped crossbow – a high AP attack that removes the THC distance penalty (but adds a penalty for close combat attacks) and increases Critical Strike chance. 
  • Increased the effect of the regeneration potion to 4 HP per turn. 
  • Reduced Khopesh and Shamshir counter-attack bonus to 10. 
  • Increased the effect of hammers’ knockdown attack to 2 turns.

Fixes: 

  • Abyss: Fixed the SP loop on leaving without touching anything. 
  • Aemolas village: Fixed a critical strike issue when you kill a raider while sneaking. 
  • Aemolas village: Fixed the 'ghost NPC' issue when you kill the raiders via the sniping text adventure. 
  • Aemolas village: Fixed 'getting the gold twice' issue if you sneak in first and then kill everyone. 
  • Inferiae: Fixed the portal issue when you sneak inside, activate the portal and try to escape through it. 
  • Inferiae: Fixed 'combat not starting' bug when you sneak inside, activate the portal and then attack the demon. 
  • Zamedi: Fixed an ending slide error when you ran away from the demon and end the game.
  • Zamedi: Fixed 'escaping the tower' SP loop. 
  • Mountain Pass: Ramirus no longer sells infinite ghost hand gloves. 
  • Mountain Pass: Fixed 'questioning Ramirus' issue. 
  • Monastery: Now the villagers will go hostile if attacked after leaving the location and coming back. 
  • Misc: Fixed wrong tag showing merchant instead of grifter. 
  • Misc: Fixed wrong rank showing Legionary instead of Mind Shield. 
  • Weapons: Fixed an issue with hammers not getting the passive bonus increase. 
  • Weapons: Fixed an issue with swords and bows not getting the CS passive bonus. 
  • Weapons: Fixed the stats of the scoped crossbows.


As always, we’re very grateful to the Steam community for their support and willingness to try new things. We couldn't have made it this far without you, guys. 

April update - 5 new locations!

Welcome to update #4. It’s a ‘major’ update for us (and a big chunk of content, bringing the number of available locations to 15 out of 22) and we’d like to introduce it properly to make sure that the players won’t miss the new locations (which is easy to do since the game is non-linear). Without further ado: 

Aemolas’ village

This location is available only if you: 

  • Helped a group of refugees get into Teron 
  • Talked to Aemolas after and were deemed trustworthy enough (positive Word of Honor reputation) to be asked to retrieve his stash.

The village is full of raiders, but there are quite a few options there, including a rare opportunity to put your scoped crossbow to good use or have some double- and triple-crossing fun. Sorta like a menage a trois where everyone gets fucked but you. 

The Library of Saross

Available only if you talked to Abukar the Mad and learned about his trip to the Library. It’s an important location because: 

  • You finally get to use that sphere you found at the beginning of the game (IF you found it) 
  • You learn more information, provided you can get into the hidden chamber and translate the message 
  • You can unlock an optional and very creepy (but extremely rewarding) ending. Naturally, you don’t get that ending right away, but you unlock the path that can lead you to it. If you have the balls. 
  • Unlock the Arch and Inferiae locations.
The Arch

There are two ways to unlock it: the above-mention Library or faithful service to Lord Meru. Since the latter isn’t available yet, look for the clues at the library. So, what makes this location special and why should you care? 

  • You should. You really, really should. It’s that place where you wave Kansas good-bye. 
  • You will finally be able to use both the eye and the glove. How exciting. 
  • You will meet your old pal Esbenus. Unless you killed him, in which case you’ll miss out on a beautiful relationship. 
  • You will make new friends. Powerful friends. From the other side. 
  • You can unlock Inferiae in case you failed to do so at the Library.
Inferiae

It's a desert village sitting on top of a place of power. Points of interest: 

  • You’ll meet the very first character who’s actually been inside the temple you’re seeking (thus confirming that it does exist, among other things). 
  • Play your cards right and you’ll be thrown into the ‘underworld’, which unlocks a bumpy ride that will lead you all the way to the top (of one of Maadoran’s minarets). The Eye thing will come in handy there. 
  • You can unlock another location that will lead you to the temple. For obvious reasons this location isn’t included in this update. 
  • You can learn how to use one of those fancy semi-sphere consoles. 
  • You can learn more lore stuff and connect more dots.
The Monastery

You can unlock this location by becoming a repeat customer of the healer (heavy wounds only). Impressed by your badassery (or at least your ability to survive the most grievous of injuries), the healer will ask you to fetch an ancient elixir that will improve your self-esteem and cellular regeneration, whatever that is. 

Points of interest: 

  • Raiders 
  • Ancient mysteries and sacred liquids 
  • Chambers deep inside a mountain 
  • Huge doors that can’t be opened by mortal hands 
  • Moral choices (must have morals in the first place to qualify), otherwise just join the raiders and have yourself a lovely day, full of plundering and pillaging.

The next month’s update will add another location - Caer-Tor, the Imperial Guards’ headquarters, which will introduce Dux Paullus and unlock the path to yet another ending where the Guards becomes Templars – the guardians of the temple. 

The remaining 6 end-game locations will be released when the game is out. We’re aiming to start the final beta test in June and expect it to run for 2-3 months. We’ll continue to update and improve the Early Access build on a monthly basis, adding more content (characters, dialogues, items, etc) and general improvements. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: 

While your saves should work, we recommend starting a new game to avoid any scripting issues.

March update - new quests, characters, and improvements

Our third update is out, officially making it a pattern! What’s in it? All kinds of cool things! Step right up and take a look! 

Places to go, People to see, Things to get: 

  • Changed the area around the temple in the Slums to make it look like a busy little bazaar. We added a new, rather colorful character who greets you when you enter this square and introduces the area. 
  • Added another character and his followers near the tower of Zamedi. He will provide a fresh perspective on the tower and share valuable insights with you. 
  • Added a new artefact (a mechanical eye). You can acquire it and, in the best traditions of the Planescape Torment, swap it for one of your own. The eye doesn’t shoot lasers (would be totally cool if you did though), but it can see into other planes, which makes it a rather useful thing to have ... in your eye socket. 
  • The hammer crowd complained that they don’t have a cool hammer, so we gave them … *drumroll* … the Perforator! It’s a handy spiked hammer with a unique icon. 
  • 3 journal pages (not the entire journal yet, but it’s a good start). Now in addition to Quests and Techniques, you get Lore (to collect what you learned from different people in one place), Items for all the Artefacts you managed to get your hands on, and Characters to keep track of people you double- and triple-crossed. The Characters page has only the portrait and the intro text for each character; the effect of your actions will be added in the upcoming updates. Overall, you get 17 Lore entries, 29 character entries, and 15 Artefact entries. There will be a lot more in the full game, obviously. 
  • Added several rare alchemy components in the tower’s library. 
Quest Improvements: 
  • The trial-by-combat is now more customer-oriented. You will be offered a crappy weapon of your choice and even a shield! 
  • Now you can fight Hamza in MG5 if you decide to go to the meeting alone. Aso, you can convince Strabos to tell you what he knows without having to fight Hamza in IG4. You can thank Brandon and his 'smart soldier' and 'tough trader' characters for this suggestion.
  • Now you can handle TG5 peacefully by paying the assassins crew a visit and discussing the situation with them, which means that now you can play the entire thieves questline without having to fight.
  • Now you can get the key to the tower of Zamedi as a Daratan praetor and thief (not only as a Gaelius’ faithful servant), which should make the game more open. We’ll extend this option to the assassins in the upcoming updates. 
General Improvements: 
  • The scroll in Feng's house increases Lore to level 2. If you have 2 or more, you get 5 non-combat skill points instead.
  • The scroll in Antidas’ palace increases Etiquette to level 2. If you have 2 or more, you get 5 non-combat skill points instead.
  • The workbench in the blacksmith house increases Crafting to level 2. If you have 2 or more, you get 5 non-combat points.
  • Coltan either teaches you some Alchemy increasing it to level 2 or gives you a bunch of reagents plus a bottle of liquid fire, if you skill is 2 or more.
  • In Belios house in Teron you get a couple of quicksilver roots instead of a flat Alchemy increase.
  • The amount of money you can give to Reggie has been reduced to reflect the adjusted economy.
  • Added money and reputation rewards for the Arena fights and rebalanced SP gains.
  • Infiltrating the palace now awards some SP.
  • Fixed miscellaneous issues, dialogue loops, camera angles, icons, and such.

Keep in mind that while your save games are still compatible, some changes won’t take any effect until you restart the game. 

As always, we’re very grateful to the Steam community for their support and willingness to try new things. So far, we’re on track for the next month update which should include 5 new locations. We did 2 locations in February and should be able to do the remaining 3 in March. Stay tuned! 

January update - achievements, new characters & quests

Our second update just went live and we’d like to thank you for your support and feedback, which helps us improve and refine the game. 

While we have our own milestones, we’ll continue to release monthly updates based on the feedback we receive. For example, the initial feedback was: 

  • need a tutorial to learn the system without having to restart the game all the time 
  • need more info on the character screen to understand the system better 
  • need more traders in Maadoran and better inventories 
  • more alchemical ingredients

So, that's what we added in the first update. The second main request is more content for Maadoran. Namely, more quests (especially non-combat quests for loremasters, thieves, and grifters) and more characters to talk to in general. In fact, more characters to talk to (and more worldbuilding) is request #1. 

So Update #2 adds: 

  • 65 Achievements to track your progress and playstyles. 
  • 3 characters you can talk to (a storyteller in the local inn – his story is related to what Cassius tells you in Teron, if you escort him to the palace; a beggar (near the entrance to the Slums) who served Antidas during his war with House Aurelian, and a clerk working for one of the caravan masters in the Gate district). 
  • A small adventure for loremasters and explorers of long-forgotten places; to initiate, enter the Slums and talk to the man standing near a well to the left of the entrance. 
  • An arrival of a caravan (an intro quest; just walk towards the arena when you enter the city)
  • A quest revolving around a gem surprisingly similar to the one Feng tries to sell you. To initiate, talk to the owner of the rug store in the Trade district. 
  • 2 unique weapons we didn't have time to do before; explore the lower level of the tower of Zamedi to get this ball rolling (disclaimer: crafting skill required). 
  • Training with Kemnebi and Erebus. 
  • Increased carry weight (you’re welcome). 
  • Historically accurate “wolf” helmet and capes – generous contribution from Lexx, one of the community members 
  • Bug fixes, balance fixes, reputation tweaks, quest reward tweaks (money and skill points), etc.

Enjoy the game. 

December update - tutorial, gui changes, improvements

First of all, we want to thank you for your support, for giving the game a chance and not giving up after dying in the first fight. Means a lot to us.

We're going to update the game regularly, adding more quests and quest solutions, characters, items, techniques, locations, and improving the overall design and visuals, so stay tuned for more updates.

The launch highlighted many issues and generated a lot of feedback, so we spent the last 4 weeks working on the first update. Notable changes:

  • A long overdue tutorial. Now you can fight in a mini-arena against several opponents before you start the game, which will make it easier for new players to learn the system, without the story elements getting in the way and the need to make a new character every time you’re killed. It replaces the awesome difficulty mode, which wasn’t really that awesome or helpful.
  • A new and improved character screen! Now with 50% more info! Must see to believe!
  • 6 new traders in Maadoran with improved inventories and unique items to spend your hard-earned money on.
  • Speaking of your hard-earned money, the economic reforms aimed to deliver prosperity have failed and wiped out everyone’s savings. So, no more running around with pockets full of gold. A free soup kitchen DLC will be added later.
  • A truckload of bug fixes, balance tweaks, reputation adjustments, quest improvements. For example, now you can talk your way out of the ambush in the merchants guild’s questline, have more options during the infiltration of Gaelius’ palace, options during the fight at the Antidas’ compound , Antidas dying now lowers the morale of the Daratan guards, reducing their attack and defense.
  • More training. Earning more skill points and weapon bonuses has never been easier. Just talk to many ever-helpful NPCs (like Dellar and Feng) and they will gladly impart their wisdom unto you (may require high reputation and charisma, terms and conditions may apply).
  • The crafting techniques you have now will no longer have to be acquired in-game as we don’t want you to invest valuable points into Crafting and then fail to find more than 2-3 techniques. New, appropriately rare techniques will be added instead. So, you keep what you have now as your standard set of techniques and get rare techniques if you’re lucky.
  • We’ve started adding alchemical ingredients that you will be able to gather at different places. The demo alchemist will stick around until we finish it.
  • The game now features a built-in crash reporting system. Send us a crash report, and we will know when, how, and how the hell your game crashed!

For a complete and detailed list of changes, check here: Update 1 Changelog

Also, we’re working on Achievements (will be added in the next update). The first batch is 65 achievements tracking your adventures and glory, but we’ll probably have around 120-150 due to the high number of different things you can do in-game.

Sneak preview:

  • Interrogator
  • On His Lordship’s Secret Service
  • "Good Morrow to You, Magistrate!"
  • Under New Management
  • “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger... And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you."
  • Killed more people than malaria (for men of much violence and fans of Justified)
  • "Is life always this hard?"

Achievements Icons Preview

Well, that’s about it. So, go try the updated demo and EA and let us know what you think. Thank you again for your support. We would have never made it this far without you.

Now Available on Steam Early Access - The Age of Decadence

The Age of Decadence is Now Available on Steam Early Access!

The Age of Decadence is an isometric, turn-based, single-player role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world, inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. The game features a detailed skill-based character system, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees.

Traditionally, many fantasy RPGs are about killing things, clearing up dungeons, and being a hero. Now, there is nothing wrong with mindless fun and wish fulfillment, but we serve a different meal here. Quoting from one of the reviews:

“Well, if you want a hardcore, heavy metal roleplaying experience that challenges you, this is the ticket. Otherwise, take a pass. The game is vicious, both in its lack of morality and its merciless systems. If you want to be the hero of a story, run and don’t look back. If you want to be Attia of the Julii or be a power player, this is your RPG.”

The focus of the game is not on killing monsters, but rather on dealing with fellow humans and factions, trying to survive – easier said than done – and making a name for yourself. Naturally, to accommodate all that scheming, plotting, and backstabbing, we give the player plenty of choices, from multiple solutions to quests to different paths you can take through the game. You (and your actions) will determine who your friends and enemies are. There are no default good and bad guys.

Steam