Welcome to the fourth installment of our monthly dev blogs discussing ongoing development work for The Shattered Isles. In today’s blog, we share how the world of the Shattered Isles will be transforming, and what you can look forward to in this brave new world. Let’s dive right in!
Defend the Frontier
The world of Dauntless, shaped by aether and replete with lush forests of towering trees and active volcanoes, plays host to humanity and a myriad of other creatures – some docile, some dangerous. Up until now, we have not placed much focus on truly fleshing this world out to its full potential. Instead of simply being set dressing for hunts and fights, we want our world to be a place you actually care about – one that offers you a more immersive gameplay experience.
To that end, we have been working on several new additions and improvements.
- A brand-new world map will give you a closer look at the shape of the Frontier, show you the threats the world is currently facing, and highlight the impact that you have on the world, as a Slayer.
- New complex creatures will add more variety to the ecosystem and affirm Behemoths as the apex predators in the Shattered Isles.
- Additional world fixtures will give more character to the islands.
- Improved island events will make the world more dynamic.
- Brand-new Legend Hunts will tell unique stories about specific enemies.
The World Map
To guide you through your adventure in the Shattered Isles, we are introducing a brand-new world map. For the first time in the history of Dauntless, you will get a detailed and clear look at the shape of the Frontier! The world map will also show where each region lies in comparison to other notable places in the isles. You will be able to see the edges of Avellainia, distinguish the borders of Ostia, and observe just how remote the Skaldeskar Isles are from the rest of humanity.
Aside from being a visual compass, the new world map will replace the [H] hunt screen as your main menu for selecting hunts.
The map will be divided into six regions: The Monstrous Verge, Skaldeskar Lowlands, Stormwall, Ostian Borderlands, The Reach, and The Crystal Sorrow. Each region comprises four islands, one of which is the main font of power in that region – the Escalation island. As you explore each region, there will be unique masteries, collections, and story quests for you to learn more about what is happening in that corner of the world.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, here is a preview of The Monstrous Verge. The islands are always drifting, leading these ones to settle near the heavy pull of terra aether in Arbourhome for now. This region will be home to many terra Behemoths, unlike The Monstrous Verge you may be familiar with from open beta, which had a mix of islands of different elements.
With Behemoths being a persistent threat in the Shattered Isles, it is your job as Slayers to defend the islands and keep these beasts at bay. As such, we will introduce a new mechanic – defense scores.
What are defense scores?
You will have a defense score on each island. This score measures the combined activity by you and your guildmates on that island. At the end of every season, each island’s defense score resets to 0 and everyone in the guild will be rewarded based on the score achieved.
Defense scores represent the fact that Behemoths are a persistent and ongoing threat in our world, and that each island must be defended by Slayers like you.
Through this mechanic, we want to encourage new Slayers to join guilds, give more experienced Slayers something worthwhile to compete for, and foster the opportunity for guildmates to work together.
Guilds with the highest score on a particular island will become the rulers of that island the following season. This means that your guild title and tag will be displayed for all to see – all season long! We are talking about top-tier bragging rights here, as you deserve.
The world of the Shattered Isles is inhabited by more than just humans and Behemoths. Come Summer 2024, get ready to meet three new creatures: orquids, vespers, and chaoxes!
- Orquids have sharp appendages and the ability to launch elemental projectiles. They are stealthy creatures that will ambush any unwitting creature or Slayer.
- Vespers are extremely territorial flying insects that hatch from nests. They have poisonous stingers and will defend their nests with their lives.
- Chaoxes are a new type of theropod. They are highly intelligent, hunt in packs, and their mixed subspecies specialize in different forms of attacks.
You might be asking, why add new creatures? For starters, we wanted to bring more diversity to the types of encounters available to you on the islands. These small moments of surprise can break up the monotony of hunting Behemoths. Having these creatures roam the islands also allows us to demonstrate the complexity and wonder of the world’s ecosystem, all while firmly cementing Behemoths as the apex predators in this world. Behemoths are the biggest enemy you will come across, but they are certainly not the only foes out there!
We know small creatures that perish after a hit or two often present more of an annoying distraction rather than a meaningful challenge. With this in mind, we designed fights with orquids, vespers, and chaoxes to be more substantial encounters of their own. These creatures will boast a series of interesting attacks that can do real damage. Unlike the smaller creatures we currently have (e.g. gruk-gruks), the new creatures are not simple kills – they will require some focused combat to defeat. Fights with them are intended to be more challenging than the smaller creatures, but less challenging than a Behemoth.
We are still working on finding the right balance for these creatures and their corresponding rewards. Currently, drops include materials that can be used to craft tonics, grenades, and pylons. This would replace the passive act of gathering materials. Additionally, these creatures might also guard little secrets on the islands, and reward you with things like bonuses, chests, and more.
Aside from new creatures, we have also been adding more interactive world fixtures. We are currently exploring having shrines that grant temporary power-ups when unlocked, chests that require special abilities to open, and special quests that can only be completed while you are on an island. Our goal is to make exploring other parts of an island not just rewarding, but also fun! All of these would still be in service of the key thing that matters most in Dauntless – slaying Behemoths.
We have been making some changes to the way we approach island events. We plan to have island events happen island-wide, not just in a single arena. Island events will also have more known start times, so you will not have to wonder when they will begin.
We want to make sure there are clear goals on an island. You would still be able to explore freely if you wanted to, but those who like having some sort of guidance or direction could benefit from this. We are also exploring ways we can make island events contribute to you feeling like you are making a difference in the world of the Shattered Isles.
Legend Hunts are a brand-new hunt type. These hunts will let you take the fight directly to the Behemoths’ lairs, where you will then face off with fearsome foes boasting new models and updated movesets. These hunts should challenge even seasoned Slayers who think they have learnt a Behemoth’s rotation!
Each hunt will reveal unique stories about specific enemies. Some of the legend Behemoths we are working on are Setikai the Fallen King, Roc the Roost Mother, and Kagu the Black Flame.
Feedback and Community Playtest
We will share more details about the world as we continue to develop and make changes. As always, let us know your thoughts and feedback in our upcoming AMA, or anytime on Twitter, Reddit, and Discord!
As the year draws to a close, we are getting ready to host our first community playtest for The Shattered Isles. Sign up for our newsletter now for a chance to gain early access to this upcoming playtest. Don’t miss the opportunity to get a playable preview of what we have been working on so far, and to share your feedback directly with us.
Continue to 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 season of frosty fun as we celebrate Frostfall this December!
Clear skies, Slayers!