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Dev Diary: Divine Era Blog #1

Greetings Descendants, KIX_Standard here with the first of what we hope to be a regular series of dev blog posts. Coming over the next few weeks, a new equipment regime is coming to complement the tier 8 Divine Legion troops, ushering in the official start of the Divine Era. We have some new changes that we’re excited to share with you today! 

Before we get started, I want to acknowledge the lack of a road map up to this point. Without going into too many details, the reality of our small team trying to manage this complex game means things always take much, much longer than we expected. I take all the blame for our silence because I wanted to avoid promising something we couldn’t deliver on when there have been far too many unknowns along the way to have any kind of certainty. This game you all love is a complex beast, making changes difficult to predict. I hope with the information here we can build some faith that we do have a plan. What I can promise you is that this is only the very first step in what we think is a very exciting future for Rise of Firstborn.

Divine Equipment

The headline for today’s post is that equipment is going through a bit of a shakeup. 

We are adding a large amount of new equipment into the game. This will include new economy sets for your Architect, Scholar, Infirmary Officer and Drill Sergeant, as well as new battle equipment in the head, torso, main-hand and off-hand slots.

It’s also so much more than just a few new pieces of equipment. We’ve done a lot of thinking about how equipment works, what the fantasy of it is, and where we think it isn’t living up to a great gaming experience. So let’s go over some changes!


Equipment will be more available

Gameplay will now be a viable path to equipping all of your heroes! Over the coming weeks, you’ll find that a large number of sources will provide a good chance to earn equipment, including the True World & Blood Moon stores, Victorious Sanctuary, Ancient People’s Tower and a new world map event called the King’s Bounty (more on that later). 

It is our belief that all players who conquer the game’s challenges – on their own schedule! – should have access to a plentiful supply of competitive equipment.


We’re reducing the emphasis on crafting

In most cases, your equipment will now be earned whole, with no need to craft it. Upgrading and enhancing will still be in play.

We just haven’t been able to reconcile crafting as a value-add piece of gameplay on the scale that it is used today. While the fantasy of it is great, we just don’t see the experience living up. When it comes to your main equipment, we’re removing the burden of having to gather and merge materials, and craft the pieces.


Upgrading uses a common material – Stardust

Now that equipment doesn’t have its own materials, when you want to promote from epic to immortal, you will need a general resource called Stardust. This will come from a variety of sources we’ll touch on later.


Enhancing uses a common material – Medallions

Instead of using duplicates of the same equipment to enhance, this new equipment will utilize a new accessory: the Divine Medallion. This particular piece of equipment is the only one that needs to be crafted, and will require materials that come from doing a variety of activities.


Duplicate equipment is more valuable

The change to enhancement doesn’t mean that duplicate equipment is now worthless. Quite the opposite! When selling, instead of a trivial amount of silver  you will now receive a chest that provides the materials you need to upgrade equipment and craft medallions. So even after your heroes are all fully equipped, you’ll still be rewarded for finding more equipment.


Sets play a reduced role

For the time being, combat equipment will not have set bonuses. Economy equipment will still have the traditional set. 

We’re doing this for a variety of reasons: we aren’t very happy with the flexibility of the set system, but also we feel that it is too limiting on choice. Now, you can mix and match equipment freely, without having to worry about losing a set bonus.


Investment in equipment isn’t a sunk cost

When you sell your equipment, you receive valuable materials. The higher grade that equipment is, the better your reward will be. 

When you dismantle an enhanced piece of equipment, instead of getting back a number of copies of the equipment you didn’t want in the first place, now you will get back the majority of the medallions that you put in. These medallions can then be used to enhance a different piece of equipment.


Keep it simple, Descendants

We are dramatically simplifying the universe of effects that equipment will have. The major reason for this change is that we desperately want to reduce the amount of equipment presets that you need to have, and use on a frequent basis. For technical reasons, expanding presets is not a solution we can turn to yet. And so, we have to come at it a different way. 

(I’ll admit that this problem isn’t entirely solved, since this release does nothing to change existing accessories, pets and runes – like we’ve said, this is just a start).

In addition to the preset problem, this simplification is also establishing a new baseline. You’ll notice an emphasis is placed on “Troop” buffs, like “Increase Tier 8 Troop Attack by X”. As a philosophy, we are seeing that sort of specialization better suited for research and buildings, with some strategically, fantasy-rich pieces of equipment to supplement. Now you can have a more general set of equipment and use your troop composition to achieve better leverage to destroy your target.

Why are you doing this? 

Fair question! There are many outstanding things on our to do list that you have all asked for, and yet we chose to introduce new equipment. Let me walk you through our thinking.

We’ve heard you when you’ve asked for more players and that you want a more thriving and competitive community, and so we have been thinking about ways to grow Rise of Firstborn. To be perfectly frank, our assessment of the game is that it is outright hostile to new players. This change is our first move to alter the systems of the game that can make up a very negative experience. 

An umbrella initiative we’re working under is to be able to compartmentalize what we’re calling different “eras”. We think that this will allow us to better create onramps for new players, giving them level-appropriate challenges and directing them on how to progress. 

That is great for new players, but what’s in it for our most loyal Lords? An abstract benefit is that you will have a cleaner game experience with fewer abandoned systems that you still have to tend to (town mode, anyone?). More concretely, stuff that would otherwise be sitting around in your inventory will now have value towards your power progression. Gameplay will become a viable way to progress and contribute to your Alliance’s war efforts. 

There’s so much more to talk about in the coming weeks and months that we are looking forward to opening a dialog about. But for now, this is a lot to digest. In upcoming posts we’ll go into more depth on what we mean when we say “Divine Era”, and explore the King’s Bounty. 


Until next time,