Welcome to the third installment of our monthly dev blogs discussing ongoing development work for The Shattered Isles. In today’s blog, we will be discussing important changes to the buff system. Let’s dive right in!
The current buff system in Dauntless is very convoluted, making it not only confusing for veteran Slayers but also oftentimes entirely ignored by newer Slayers. Buffs can add a new dimension to the way you slay, so we want to make using and understanding buffs simpler for all Slayers! Come Summer 2024, you will see a major overhaul that streamlines all buffs into a set of six core buffs.
Perks, amps, cells, weapons, and other sources of buffs will all be converted to grant you stacks of one of six core buffs. These core buffs will have bounds that run in either direction (positive or negative) – more on this below!
The Six Core Buffs
- MIGHT: Attack damage changes
- CRITICAL: Critical hit chance and damage changes
- SPEED: Movement and attack speed changes
- VITALITY: HP changes
- DEFENSE: Damage reduction or increased damage taken changes
- ENDURANCE: Max stamina and stamina recovery changes
With the introduction of stack bounds in the positive and the negative (e.g. +10 or -10 MIGHT), there are a few interesting things we can do to spice up gameplay and improve balancing. We can let some creatures or Behemoths have attacks that reduce stacks of buffs. Having negative stacks could yield consequences like reduction of max health if you have negative stacks of VITALITY, or having a percentage chance of doing a weak hit instead of a strong one when you have negative stacks of CRITICAL.
Clarity at a glance
The current buff heads-up display (HUD) can sometimes be unclear and confusing, as many different buffs utilize the same icons. With no clear visual distinction, something like the crossed swords icon could represent buffs that give you extra damage, increased attack speed, or something entirely different.
Even when the icon for a buff is obvious and distinct, the benefit may sometimes not be. Most of you know that the little running man icon represents increased movement speed, but you would not know exactly how much of an increase.
In the new buff system, clarity is a priority. A single glance at your HUD will let you know which of the six core buffs you have, as well as how many stacks of it there are currently.
The stacks will be a clear indication of how much impact a perk provides. For example, if one perk grants you 20% increased damage, and another perk grants you 10% increased damage, the first one will be represented by two stacks of MIGHT, and the other by one stack. These stacks all funnel into the same MIGHT core buff, so in this example, you will see a single MIGHT icon on your HUD with three stacks filled.
Furthermore, a perk’s description will now clearly indicate which of the six core buffs it contributes to, and how many stacks it will grant or deduct. For example:
- Old description: After not taking hostile damage for 15 seconds, deal +35% damage - bonus lost when hit.
- New description: After not taking hostile damage for 15 seconds, gain 3 held stacks of MIGHT - these stacks are lost when hit.
- Old description: After dodging through an attack, gain 15% attack speed for 25 seconds.
- New description: After dodging through an attack, gain 3 temporary stacks of SPEED.
Improving build diversity
Having bounds for each core buff, including the one that governs damage, will greatly improve your build diversity.
Currently, damage is king and most players sacrifice other utility perks for more damage buffs.
In the new buff system, once you have maxed out the number of stacks in your MIGHT buff, additional perks will not add more stacks. This will encourage more creative distribution of the rest of your perks to make builds that could fit a wide variety of situations and playstyles.
The current system has many different buff effects to consider and memorize when you are making a build. That extra layer of complication makes it hard to know what to choose and how everything works together. With the new streamlined system, you can focus on making builds that are diversified yet simple to put together!
Universal stacks and teamwork
We are also looking at ways to leverage buff stacks & player builds in interesting ways via the concept of universal stacks. One idea we are currently considering is placing treasure chests on islands and having these chests require a certain number of buff stacks (of a specific core buff type) to open. The number of stacks needed may exceed an individual’s maximum for that buff type, so you may find it beneficial to team up with other players to meet the universal stack requirement that will unlock the treasure chest for everyone on your team!
Your Feedback Matters
We will share more details about this new buff system and how it ties in with changes we are making to cells and weapons later. As always, let us know your thoughts and feedback in our upcoming AMA, or anytime on Twitter, Reddit, and Discord!
We also wanted to let you know that we have heard all of your feedback on the topics previously covered in our dev blogs! We are aware that weapon swapping has raised some concerns about leaderboards and power creep. Taking your concerns into account as we move forward, we certainly expect each Behemoth encounter duration to increase slightly, despite the increased power that will come from having two weapon options.
As for Pursuits, our early thinking was to have Pursuits replace the Hunting Grounds entirely. However, after receiving passionate feedback from the community, it became clear that a large number of Slayers enjoy the freedom of hunting in the Hunting Grounds. As such, we have begun to explore a world in which Pursuits could co-exist alongside the Hunting Grounds. While we still want Pursuits to function as skill tests that allow you to make meaningful progress through the game based on your own ability, we are not quite ready to remove the Hunting Grounds entirely. We are currently experimenting with a certain progression in which Pursuits would unlock free hunting in the Hunting Grounds. Your feedback also let us know that you liked to stay and slay multiple Behemoths, explore the islands, have shorter load times for the Hunting Grounds, and have fewer loading screens. These are all great notes that will help us as we continue our development for The Shattered Isles. Community feedback continues to be a critical part of building an exciting future for Dauntless, so keep your comments coming!
Stay updated on all things Dauntless by visiting our Dauntless Community Hub. The hub is where you can find live updates on all our developmental news, in-game and community activities, and more. Get ready for a rowdy ramstravaganza as we welcome Ramsgiving this November!
Clear skies, Slayers!