Kickstarter Update #33 – Do Androids Dream of Electric Weresheep?

The tracks are fresh in the mud, water slowly pooling in the imprint. You raise your head to stare down the path of broken leaves. You'd heard that the AI had been improved in the latest patch, and were looking forward to a challenge, but it looks like this hunt will be as simple as ever. 

You haul your crossbow up to your shoulder and start creeping through the swamp. 

You've been hunting these two Voidwoken for an hour, and now you nearly have them. You're so close to leveling up, these two kills will easily give you the XP you need. Although you'd be a lot happier if you didn’t have to drag yourself through this midge-infested swamp to find them. 

Peering across a fallen tree trunk you spot movement in the bushes. There! One of the Voidwoken! You place your helmet on the tree trunk, and slowly – silently – ready your crossbow. You hook a hard steel bolt into place, lay the bow across the tree trunk to stabilise it, ease the cool wood against your shoulder, and take aim. 

Pfft, is this what you call "smarter AI", Larian? The Voidwoken’s just hanging out in a bush! “It’s probably a pathing issue”, you muse. You rest your finger on the trigger, take a deep breath, and- The leaves beside your head part as the face of the second Voidwoken emerges, just inches away from your cheek. 

Your eyes dart to the side as its rancid breath fills your nostrils. 

“Clever girl…”

You swing your crossbow in desperation, but the Voidwoken leaps from the bushes, sinks its claws into your chest, and screeches- 

Welcome to Kickstarter Update #33!

It's our first update of 2017, which we're hoping will be a very good year for us indeed (it’s already off to a good start, with Gamestar.de ranking Divinity: Original Sin 2 as the best Early Access game of 2016). But we're getting ahead of ourselves – today we're here to talk about PAX, a patch, and plans. Here's Swen with the latest:

AI Caramba!  

Yes, that's right, you now have more reason than ever to fear your new robot overlords! The AI of our NPCs has been turned up to 00110001 00110001, and they're not taking any prisoners. When you face off against an NPC in combat it won't just be a question of "beep boop, throw fireball and spend five turns phoenix diving across the map" anymore. Now the NPC will know to look at its surroundings and use height, surfaces, and every other trick in the USB flash drive to make sure it wins.

AI 2.0 won’t just blow up barrels: it will manipulate existing surfaces to make combat much more challenging, it will use your statuses against you, it will use spells and abilities in ways that even we never imagined, and- frankly if we’re not careful, it may be well on its way to world domination.

The way this AI has been using our combat system has already caused us to take a step back and have another look at how some of the unintended uses our skills and spells can have. Because it considers every possible outcome, we’ve seen AI 2.0 take advantage of things that we thought were relatively insignificant and using them deviously to fit the situation they happened to be in at the time (such as healing people on full health because the want the “Well Rested” status that the First Aid skill gives you, or passing up the opportunity to do a small amount of damage in order to create an oil surface to slow you down and remove your “Haste” status.)

AI 2.0 has proven so devious that we’ll probably have to disable it in the easier game modes, but those of you that want to take it on will have to step it up a notch to survive. However, if you do learn how to defeat our new, ruthless AI then you'll be equipped with an impressive set of combat skills. And of course if the campaign isn’t providing enough of a challenge, then you can always step into the arena for a pure combat experience. And speaking of the arena…

Maximus Badassimus

It's not just our NPCs’ brains that have been revamped: we’ve given them a general tune-up and you now have three brand-new arenas to explore! With this patch you'll be able to enjoy (by which we mean 'murder your friends in') the Forbidden Valley, Enemy at the Gates, and Ravenshaw maps. These new levels are the perfect place to check out all of our combat improvements and tweaks, which include:

  • Better animations for combat and skills 
  •  New durability system 
  • Tell your companions what class you want them to be 
  • A new defensive ability called Perseverance 
  • And much more 

Much, much more…  

You didn't think that was it, did you? Of course not! Patch 3.0.31.292 has over 100 additions, fixes, and tweaks.  

  • We’ve improved our loot works (more gold, less gear).  
  • We’ve added a system that lets you choose your companion’s starting class.  
  • We’ve improved item textures and several other visual elements.  
  • We’ve tweaked several skills/statuses including Invisibility, Fortified, Poisoned, Ground Smash, and Sneaking.  
  • We’ve updated the journal so questing is clearer.  
  • And we’ve quashed a small colony of bugs.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of each and every change, then click here to get the patchnotes and a full rundown of what’s different.

And as ever, we do need to remind you that this patch affects so many areas that previous saved games will no longer be compatible. Not to worry, though, if you want to continue playing an old saved game you can still do so by following these instructions:

1. In your Steam library, right click the game Divinity: Original Sin 2 and select Properties


 

2. In the Properties screen, click on the tab BETAS


 

3. In BETAS, click the arrow to open the dropdown


 

4. Choose the branch you would like to play (ea_version_1 – For saves with version 2.0.1.165.341 if you want to play the original launch version of D:OS2, ea_version_2 – For saves with version 3.0.5.530 to play the first patch, or ea_version_3 – For saves with version 3.0.14.546 to play the second patch) and click Close.


 

Now Steam will not update your version, so you will be able to load your old savegames and keep soldiering on.

PAX to the Max!  

We kicked 2017 off with a bang, rushing over to San Antonio, Texas, for PAX South.

We had an absolute ball showing off the game (including the latest patch) to all of the fans that dropped by to say hello. We had lines stretching around the booth, some great laughs, and some really amazing feedback. Getting out there and seeing you folks face-to-face is always such a boost for us: we can't wait for PAX East!


 


 


 


 

Just a small selection of the loot on offer.

 

Just a small selection of the loot on offer.

Of course, we couldn't have offered the fantastic Larian experience at PAX South without our volunteers. You folks came out to help and were an absolute joy to work with. Thank you so much for your time, energy, and enthusiasm, and we hope you had as much fun as we did.

Thanks, folks! We had a blast.

 

Thanks, folks! We had a blast.

Answer the Call!  

Are you a brave adventurer? Do you make orcs quake in their boots? Can you tear a goblin in half with your bare hands? Well… I mean that’s cool and all, but we’re mostly just looking for someone friendly to help us out with our booth. What’s your charisma score like?

2017 is has got off to a great start, and it can only get better. We’ll be at PAX East (March 10th-12th), where we’ll showcase the latest features coming to Divinity: Original Sin 2, including PvP and campaign mode, to every lucky soul that can get near our booth. But we can’t do it alone.

We’re putting out a call for people to help us man our booth at PAX East in Boston, so if you’ve ever wanted to be part of Team Larian, or just to get a behind-the-scenes look at how events like PAX are run, this is your chance! 

As a volunteer, you’ll help us run our booth, organise lunches, manage the queue of players, direct press to the dev team, and be a useful distraction if we have any more “incidents” with the local dragon clans. 

Volunteering with us is a great way to meet some of the dev team, share the fans’ excitement, and see PAX from an exhibitor’s point of view. You’ll also get a three day pass, and you'll have time to explore the PAX floor when you’re not manning the booth. 

We’re looking for fun-loving, energetic and sociable fans who love our games as much as we do. 

If you’re interesting with volunteering with us, just fill out the form here

(Please note that while we are happy to supply all volunteers with passes, and feed you on the days you’re working with us, we cannot cover travel or accommodation costs.)

The Future is… Soon  

As we steam forward towards our as-yet-unannounced-but-we'll-let-you-know-when-the-time-is-right-we-swear release date, we're starting to see the game really come together in an exciting way. A lot of the features which were at the “that sounds like a fun idea” stage at the start of 2016 have been designed, implemented, and are being tested now. You’ll see more and more of these features being added to the game in the coming months, and while we can’t give you many details right now, here’s a few of the things you can look forward to trying in the coming months:

  • Skill crafting  
  • Relationship systems  
  • Systemic tags  
  • New Origin stories  
  • The Undead  
  • The modding tool  
  • Game Master mode  
  • And plenty more!

We’re very excited to get these features out so we can hear what you think, but we want to make sure we get them right.  

There will be plenty more updates in the coming months with new features, big announcements, and a timetable for release, but until then – well, it’s probably time for us to get back to work.

Shoutouts


 

It's crowdfunding time and, if you haven't already noticed, it's been a bumper month! First off, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire has been announced, and they've already blasted through their initial goal. But it's not too late to help them scratch off a stretch goal or two, so why not check them out, have a look at the gorgeous world they're building and, if it's your mug of ale, pitch in!


 

And of course, there are other RPGs sailing into view this month. Banner Saga 3 has launched the Kickstarter campaign that will carry them to the end of their epic tale. Banner Saga is an utterly gorgeous series that features breath-taking animation, art style, and soundtrack. It's heaps of fun, and if you've let the series pass you by so far, this is the perfect time to grab your axe and dive in!


And finally, for those who want an off-screen experience, there's Dusk City Outlaws – a roleplaying game that lets you step into the shoes of a cartel member planning the heist of a lifetime. If you've ever thought "sure, I like Ocean's Eleven, but how much easier would it have been with dragons?" then this might be the game for you! If you're looking for a fantastically devious tabletop narrative roleplaying experience, then sidle over to their page and see what takes your fancy.