A Slayer comes into the Broken Blade looking to form a hunting party. The spark is still in their eye, while the adventure of it all is on their mind. Giddy, excited, sharp, hungry – everyone feels the excitement differently.
Then, slowly, the reality of the task at hand sets in. Plans are drawn up. Tactics devised, shrewd choices, terse arguments, gallows humor. There’s a good a chance someone won’t make it back, and there’s no one right way to cope with that.
Assuming the hunt is successful and all parties return, there are the celebrations. A great rush of relief in the singing of songs, dulling the bite of new wounds with drink, and allowing the worst fears to fade away.
There’s a strange cadence to the comings and goings of Slayers in the Broken Blade. It’s as subtle as the ebbing, swelling, and twisting of cirrus currents. But its owner, Katerin Sorrel, has first hand experience with the hunt. They say it’s why the place has stayed open for so long.
Slayers hunt Behemoths. You can craft any gear you like, leave Ramsgate with whomever you choose, and take the scenic route once you hit the island. But when all the prep work is done and you get down to it, Slayers hunt Behemoths.
Our goal is that fighting Behemoths is challenging, exciting, and memorable. They should test your skills, challenge your strategies, and defy your expectations.
Your feedback is instrumental in the development of these encounters. The Dauntless Closed Beta has given us insight into what makes Behemoths fun or frustrating, and now we’re acting on this feedback to tune these beasts and how you interact with them. These changes are part of an ongoing effort which is at the core of the Dauntless design philosophy: The Shattered Isles is an evolving world that will grow and evolve as we learn and explore it together.
Evolution of a Species
The more feedback we gather, both directly from players like you and through data analysis, the closer we can bring Behemoths to meeting our ideals. Making even subtle changes to a fight results in a trove of information that informs our decisions. Which Behemoths do Slayers enjoy hunting the most? Which Behemoth attacks hit the most? Are players having their skills pushed, or are they falling back on rote behavior?
One of our goals for Behemoths is that they feel like living, deadly animals which are making effective decisions. While their behavior should be consistent with the creature’s nature, they should not be predictable. Behemoths have an animal cunning, but this also comes with an unpredictable animal nature. When challenged or backed into a corner, all bets are off.
An example of these changes is coming to Shrike with our next update. Slayers who have stalked this beast more than a handful of times quickly learn a predictable attack pattern. As an agile, curious predator, Shrike shouldn’t be an erratic or reckless beast. But, it also shouldn’t be executing a limited number of attack patterns that don’t speak to its cunning.
That’s why we’re changing Shrike’s behavior to be more challenging and responsive to the challenge at hand.
We’ve also noticed that Slayers don’t often change their behavior when they see a Behemoth enter an enraged or Aether-charged state. Our goal is that these temporary changes to the fight put pressure on Slayers to adapt their behavior on the fly, and not to turtle up. New attack patterns and Behemoth combos will force players to find new opportunities to attack.
Slayers can expect similar reworks for other Behemoths as we continue to learn more about your instincts! Expect to see updates to Embermane and Quillshot in the near future as well.
Our Behemothologists don’t create the beasts that roam the Shattered Isles in a vacuum. The data that emerges from your hunts and the feedback you share with us shapes our ideas and priorities. This is just a few of the ways that we’re putting that feedback to use.
One of the most distinct messages we’ve received is that the jump up to Moonreaver in the Yonder Keys is too aggressive. We’re dedicated to making Dauntless a challenging game that offers opportunities instead of apologies, but this doesn’t mean we’re excited to chuck Slayers in the deep end (at least, not too quickly…)
We’ll be modifying Moonreaver’s behavior and abilities to make the fight a smoother transition without sacrificing a challenging experience. The Behemoth double-slam attack will be getting a refinement to make its Slayer-tracking less severe and more fair. We’re also removing the infamous bleed effect from its attacks as well. It all adds up to a fight that rewards skill without unfairly punishing first-time Slayers.
It’s no coincidence that the bleed effect will also be reworked with this update. The current implementation is too aggressive and punishes Slayers without providing interesting choices. Fully disengaging from fights isn’t fun. We’ve heard your feedback loud and clear here. Going forward, we’re replacing “bleed” with “wounded”. Wounded Slayers will now take increased damage while the effect is active, and will take a chunk of damage if they deplete their entire stamina meter. All healing effects, or remaining still for a short time, will clear this effect. These changes allow Slayers to make an interesting decision – to push their luck and continue engaging while carefully managing stamina – or play it safe.
Your feedback is an integral part of these changes and we’re grateful for the contributions of our Closed Beta players. Going forward, you can expect additional tuning for Behemoth and changes to status effects.
Changes on the Horizon
Each Behemoth is the culmination of many ideas working in concert to create a seamless experience. We’re always examining new ways to make every encounter better and how other Dauntless systems can interact with Behemoths in interesting ways.
To date, breaking Behemoth parts has served to give players an opportunity for extra loot and, in a few cases, disable bothersome attacks. We’re examining new impacts that breaking parts can have on a fight. For example, breaking Embermane’s tail will now change its attack patterns and introduce deadlier hind-leg attacks. Breaking Embermane’s horn will change the pattern of its blaze elemental attacks. Instead of just removing an attack from a creature’s repertoire, we’re exploring ways that part breaks can create new choices and allow encounters to evolve.
We’re also examining the way that island layouts and terrain impact Slayer strategies. While most fights take place in open areas fit for any encounter, we’re exploring environments which are custom built for each Behemoth. This will bring new layers of depth and reward a Slayer’s understanding of islands – something we’re always keen to do! Look forward to more on these changes in a future update.
From all of us at Phoenix Labs, thank you for playing and for your continued support. We’re learning every day and from every encounter. We couldn’t do it without you, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.