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Dev Diary: Divine Research II

Hello again Descendants, KIX_Standard here again.

With this next patch, we’re expanding on the Divine Legion research. But this isn’t like any research you’ve seen before. It is my sincere hope that what you’re seeing is a glimpse into the future of Rise of Firstborn.

When we released the Divine equipment, one of my design goals was to limit the need to swap equipment in the heat of battle by making it more generic. Gone were bonuses to specific troop types, and in its place was the more universal “troop” buff. Back then I liked to repeat that the equipment was only the first step of a bigger picture. And if you’ll indulge a tortured metaphor, I invite you to take the next step with me today.

How to Train Your Army

With equipment being more focused on “troop” power, there was the question of how we want Lords to develop their armies. I’m excited to be able to unveil a new style of research, which captures the fantasy of actually training your army by teaching them the basics, and improving on their tactics. We’re putting the choice of how to raise your army in your hands, by providing a research tree for each type of troop.

Patch 7.9 adds three new research trees:

  • Paladin Training
  • Inquisitor Training
  • Crusader Training

All three of these trees unlock when your Academy reaches level 45. From there, if you want to go all in on the Crusader, you can! There’s no Inquisitor requirements to stop you. (We are not removing or changing the existing Divine Legion research, so extra power is still available there in the classic manner.)

When you pop open one of these trees, you’ll be faced with choices. There are very few prerequisites inside the tree as it exists today. In fact, there’s only one node that has a prerequisite in each tree. Whatever attribute you value, in whatever order you need: go for it.

Each of the troop trees have the same layout:

  • Increase their (base) damage
  • Increase their (base) defense
  • Increase their (base) HP
  • Increase % damage against the same type troop
  • Increase % damage against their strong-leverage troop
  • Increase % damage against their weak-leverage troop
  • Increase their movement speed
  • Decrease their training time
  • A special power when you deploy only that troop

We have also made sure to invest energy in enriching the lore of the game. No more “Tier 8 Infantry Attack”, now you’ll be training Swordsmanship. Tier 8 Infantry Training Time Reduction will be accomplished by spreading the teachings of St. Malorn. I’ll leave the rest of the trees to be discovered by you after the update. Long time readers are probably picking up that this is an obsession of mine.

Squad Goals

Enough bloviating about fancy names, what about this special power.

Each troop in the Divine Legion will now gain a unique ability when you deploy a march that contains only that type of troop. The quantity doesn’t matter, but the makeup does.

Zealous Frenzy – When Paladins don’t have to worry about protecting anybody else, they can enter a zealous frenzy. Dramatically increase damage at the expense of defense when Paladins are the only troop deployed.

Unexpected Inquisition – The chief weapon of Inquisitors is surprise. Employ hit and run tactics with preemptive strike when only Inquisitors are deployed.

Charge of the Martyrs – The first troops into battle are usually the most damned. But outflanking their opponents and catching them off guard is the specialty of Crusaders. Decrease the defense of troops when attacking when only Crusaders are deployed.

I’m going to be completely honest with you: I’ve gone conservative with these abilities. They started with the fantasy, and the mechanics grew from there. They aren’t intended to be gamebreaking; they should provide some rich flavour and extra choice to your warfaring. With that said, this is us dipping a toe. If it’s a hit, then we’ll lean into it in the future. I’m crossing my fingers that it adds the right kind of complexity to a battle.

Thank you again for coming with me on this little journey. I’m very excited about having this new, fantasy-first approach to research. And for it to be the home for how armies get strengthened and developed, with far more choice than ever before.

After all of this I know more about horses than I used to,