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Ethereal Version Update 1.2.2

April 21, 2017
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Ethereal Version 1.2.2 is here!

I am excited to release version 1.2.2 today, which includes a handful of adjustments and improvements to make for a more polished experience.  Current players can grab the free update via the Steam right now.

Ethereal Version 1.2.2 Update Notes

  • All enemies will now be spawned at an adjusted level relative to the player’s level once the Celestial Nexus has been completed.
    • This should help add greater difficulty to earlier realms for endgame players.
  • Signet Rings are now a 100% drop from their respective enemies.
  • Enemy info displayed while locked on target will now include the target’s current ATK, DEF, and SPD stats.
  • Slight variations were introduced to all enemy’s stat figures in an attempt to improve game balance.
  • Several areas around Arcadia were improved for better performance and collision.
  • Foliage in Shiitake Temple will no longer accept rendered Area of Effect decals.
  • A staircase was added to Empyrean Gardens that should help make the gate puzzle less annoying for first-timers.
  • Fixed a handful of collision issues in various realms.
  • Fixed errors concerning the legibility of special characters in text widgets.
  • Fixed errors where some Signet monsters would drop Potions instead of their intended rewards.

 

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Ethereal Version Update 1.2.1

April 2, 2017
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Ethereal Legends version 1.2.1 is here!  Grab the free update now via the Steam client.

This is a small update, adding a handful of new features and fixing a few minor bugs.  I am most excited for this update because for those of you on the Green Team, Ethereal Legends now supports the Nvidia Ansel screenshot tool!  Ansel allows players with Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 or better graphics cards to take beautiful high resolution or 360 degree screenshots while in game.  For more information about how Ansel works, see this post.

One of the most significant changes in this update is the removal of the Simul trueSKY plugin, with all skies now having been replaced with custom solutions that no longer require engine modifications.  I decided to remove trueSKY for three reasons: First, trueSKY is cumbersome to work with, especially when building cross-platform. Don’t get me wrong… once it’s compiled and you’re working with it in the editor, it’s pretty great.  Actually getting it to compile successfully, and shipping a build with it?  That’s not nearly as easy as I would like it to be.  The trueSKY plugin makes changes to Unreal Engine that require you to overwrite Epic’s source code – it’s a series of ambitious changes to an already complicated engine that adds a relatively significant amount of technical debt to my work.  Which leads me into my third, and most important reason for removing trueSKY:  Ethereal Legends simply did not put it to good use.  Ethereal is a fantasy game, set in fantasy locales.  Simul’s trueSKY, on the other hand, does exactly what it’s name implies: creates true, realistic skies.  It’s a fantastic plugin, but it simply can’t do fantasy.  Despite how great trueSKY looks, I found it impossible to make any skies that looked “unnatural“.  Because of this, I was only using trueSKY in 50% of Ethereal‘s maps (Arcadia, Shiitake, Boreal, and Empyrean – other Realms were already using custom skies before this update).  With all of this in mind, I decided to remove trueSKY entirely and recover from the technical debt incurred from supporting trueSKY.

Also in this update is one of the most requested features I’ve had since release – the ability to purchase multiple consumable items from the shop!

Now without further ado:

Ethereal Version 1.2.1 Release Notes

  • Updated to Unreal Engine 4.15.1
  • Added Nvidia Ansel support.
    • Open Ansel in game by pressing Alt-F2.
    • Requires an Ansel supported GPU.
    • For more information on the operation of Ansel, view this post.
  • Removed Simul trueSKY plugin.
    • Skies in all Realms have been replaced with custom solutions.
    • Due to this change, lighting in all Realms has been adjusted.
  • Players can now purchase multiple quantities of consumable items from Lilster’s shop.
  • Adjusted the attenuation falloff radius of certain ambient sound effects.
  • Made polishing adjustments to certain enemy attack effects.

 

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Ethereal Version Update 1.2

March 20, 2017
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I’ve spent the last few weeks implementing the first of Ethereal‘s “end game” content, which I am excited to release today!

Ethereal Legends Version 1.2 is now available for all users, directly through the Steam client.

In addition to a number of bug fixes and improvements, Ethereal version 1.2 contains a new endgame system that I call “Signet Notorious Monsters“.  I’ve made six additions to the Arcadia map; six boss arenas each locked by an elemental gate.  Behind each gate is a confrontation with the most difficult monsters yet, and defeating these monsters will reward players with new and powerful items.

Arcadia Map

An overhead view of Arcadia, revealing points of interest in the area.

Before players can unlock the gates, they must collect “Signet Rings” from the boss within each corresponding Ethereal Realm.  Use the Portal to travel to new Realms, and defeat the boss there to find the elemental Signet Ring.  For example, you’ll find the Aqua Signet within the Shiitake Temple as a common drop from the Death Cap boss enemy.  Signet Rings are not 100% guaranteed drops.  For more information on loot and where to find it, see the Loot Table.

Once a player has obtained a Signet Ring, they can use it to unlock the corresponding gate.  Signet Rings are destroyed upon use, and the gate will remain unlocked while the player stays within Arcadia.  Traveling to a new Realm or exiting the game will cause all gates to lock, requiring players to obtain another Signet Ring to unlock each gate.

Defeating the enemies found behind the Signet gates will reward the player with some of the game’s rarest and most powerful items.


Ethereal Version Update 1.2

  • Signet Notorious Monster (SNM) system was added.
    • To participate in an SNM battle, players must first locate and unlock a Signet Gate found in Arcadia.  Players must defeat the monsters found beyond the Signet Gates to obtain powerful rewards.
    • The following SNMs were added:
      • Daemon  (Aqua Signet)
      • Ghost  (Flame Signet)
      • Ice Knight  (Ice Signet)
      • Earth Golem  (Earth Signet)
      • Sky Dragon  (Sky Signet)
      • Proto Zhan  (Star Signet)
    • Signet Gates require a corresponding elemental Signet Ring to unlock.
      • Signet Rings can be found as common drops from boss enemies in their respective Realms.
    • Signet Rings are consumed upon use.
      • After using a Signet Ring, Gates will remain unlocked until the player leaves the area.
  • The following items were added:  (For complete item descriptions and locations, visit the Loot Table)
    • Aqua Signet
    • Flame Signet
    • Ice Signet
    • Earth Signet
    • Sky Signet
    • Star Signet
    • Hunter’s Hood
    • Hunter’s Coat
    • Hunter’s Gloves
    • Hunter’s Pants
    • Hunter’s Boots
    • Crimson Helm
    • Crimson Heart
    • Crimson Gauntlets
    • Crimson Slacks
    • Crimson Greaves
    • Death’s Void
    • Dragon Shield
    • Pulse Arrows
    • Rune Bow
    • Apocalypse
    • Defending Ring
    • Conquerer
    • Valkyrie
  • New audio and visual effects were added to a number of weapons.
  • The price of certain consumable items was adjusted.
  • The items dropped by certain enemies have been changed.
  • Fixed a number of collision issues in Arcadia.
  • The player character was slightly increased in scale.
  • The player character’s maximum movement speed was slightly increased for all movement modes.
  • Enemies can no longer aggro by sight from behind walls or beneath floors.
  • Enemies that receive an adjusted level will now spawn between 5 and 15 levels greater than the player.
    • As of version 1.2, the only enemies that receive adjusted levels are SNMs and the skeletons found in the Arcadian graveyard after completing the tutorial.
  • Basic doors in Arcadia now have a sound effect when opened.
  • Gates found in Arcadia now have an additional visual effect when opened.

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Ethereal Version Update 1.1

February 26, 2017
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I must admit that Ethereal‘s release has not gone as well as I had hoped.  I obviously made some significant mistakes, and I am now listening intently to all of the feedback and I’m working hard to improve the game as quickly as I can in order to meet the expectations of more players.

I’m not ready to do a full postmortem or make any further comments on the game’s release.  At this time I’d rather let my actions and updates speak for me.  With that in mind, I’m just going to jump into the changes I made over the weekend that should help improve the experience for new players.  My hope is that the changes made here will more successfully funnel new players into the tutorial, and make it easier to get into the rest of the game.  Additionally, having some magic equipped by default should help new players learn the game’s rules more intuitively by simply pressing buttons, as well as progress through the game’s intro more easily.

Ethereal Version Update 1.1

  • Updated to Unreal Engine 4.15
    • Improved stability, increased performance
  • A great number of changes were made to the Arcadia map.
    • The map was reduced in size and scale, and changes were made to it’s layout and design.
    • The map’s average performance has increased, thanks to the new design.
  • The tutorial quest was slightly changed to direct players into a new area beneath the Portal.
  • Added the “Return” spell.
    • “Return” will teleport you to the starting location of the current Realm.
    • New players start the game with “Return” equipped.
  • New players will now start the game with “Cure” and “Dash” spells equipped.
  • Added the “Rune Blade” one-handed weapon.
  • Undead Warriors now deal slightly reduced damage, and have a slightly longer attack delay.
  • The Skeleton King’s potential loot pool was changed.

If you have any further feedback, be sure to hit me up and let me know!

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Ethereal Version Update 1.0.1

February 23, 2017
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Whew!  The last few days has been interesting!

First, a HUGE thanks to everyone who purchased a copy of Ethereal Legends on launch day and took the time to play my game or tell me about their experience.  I truly value your opinions and feedback, and I want to incorporate more of it into Ethereal to make this the best game I can.

This is a real quick update to address a couple issues I noticed from players after the first few post-release gameplay videos started coming out.  First, I noticed that some players had severe performance issues, so they immediately went into the options menu and starting tinkering with video settings.  While nearly all of them worked, the resolution settings were misconfigured, and since that was the first thing they all tried, it didn’t leave a great impression. The game defaulted to “Fullscreen Borderless”, which is a mode that doesn’t seem to recognize realtime resolution changes, and so players would mess with the resolution settings and they would appear to not work.  I’ve fixed up the video settings to avoid all this, and it should now be a much improved experience.

The second thing these players would do was just wander around, not knowing where to go.  They spent a good while figuring out how to initiate the tutorial quest simply because they started walking in the wrong direction.  Since the objective is ultimately to enter the Portal, I figured that having the Portal explode on the main menu when you hit “New Game” would be enough to draw the player’s attention and make them want to head towards the Portal.  I was obviously wrong… because the Portal explodes, then the player ends up immediately kicking a chicken, after which they get distracted and wander right past the Gatekeeper and off into an area where nothing else exists.  I’ll admit, it’s bad game design… it’s just something I didn’t recognize until I watched those videos.  In a vain attempt to quickly fix this, I’ve simply moved the player start directly in front of the Gatekeeper.  He should be near impossible to miss now, and will hopefully become the very first thing most new players interact with.

I’m listening to all of the complaints about the overall performance, and I’m working hard to make things smoother and bring down the minimum system requirements.  I’ve also heard concerns about the map’s size in contrast to the character’s walking speed, and I’m keeping an eye on where that discussion leads.  I’m waiting for more people to get Haste and the movement speed leg armors before making any decisions, because I think it’s less of an issue once you’re moving quickly.  Arcadia is the starting area, and the largest in the game.  For what it’s worth, the map was built so large because I initially wanted to have a lot more content in this area, split into sections which would unlock as you progressed and completed the Portal Realms.  I still want to put all that stuff in the game, so I don’t want to resize the map just yet if I don’t have to!

In the meantime, I hope these small fixes will help improve the new player experience!

Ethereal Version Update 1.0.1

  • Start location was changed, so that new players should have an easier time initiating the tutorial quest.
  • The “Fullscreen Borderless” video mode was removed from the options menu.
    • “Fullscreen” and “Windowed” are now the only available options.
    • “Windowed” mode is borderless by default.
  • Changing screen resolutions or the video mode will now have an immediate effect.
  • The game will now load in “Fullscreen” mode by default, and set itself to the resolution of your current display device.
    • This resolution is saved for later use.
    • Upon subsequent restarts, the game will load in the last saved configuration.
  • Motion Blur is now set to zero by default.
  • Fixed the “Reset to Defaults” option so that it actually works as intended.

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Ethereal Legends now available on Steam!

February 20, 2017
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Ethereal Legends is now available on Steam!

The big day is here!  I am proud to announce that Ethereal Legends is now available on Steam!

As a one-man studio who is creator, developer, and publisher of Ethereal Legends, I am so unbelievably proud to be able to bring you an experience almost entirely of my own making.  I truly hope you enjoy playing it!  It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally here.  I am so excited to get everyone playing the game and to start hearing what everyone thinks!  Ethereal is a game built with passion, and I hope every ounce of that seeps into the experience as you play through and bring Zhan to justice.

Please note that the game is designed for and plays best with a gamepad/controller, and while you can use a keyboard/mouse, I don’t recommend it.

Additionally, please be sure you meet the game’s recommended system requirements before playing, as published on the Steam Store Page.  Built with Unreal Engine 4, the game is graphically intensive and requires a modern gaming PC to run at a smooth 60 fps.

A handful of minor, known issues do exist thanks to my excellent beta testers.  I have documented possible fixes on this post, so if you experience any problems playing Ethereal Legends, your first stop should be there.  Of course, I would love to hear any and all feedback you may have, so hit me up on any of the community channels or send your thoughts in an email to info@soverance.com.

For the most arduous adventurers, I have published a full list of the nearly 100 available items on this page.  There, you’ll find a full loot table, complete with item descriptions, effects, and locations.  Everything you need to get the most out of the game!


 

A fan asked me last night to add some special content (a kitty!) so I wanted to get that included before release day.  Along with that addition, I’ve made a couple extra “quality of life” updates that should make for a much improved experience.  It’s a small one because I was short on time, but this brings us up to an official 1.0 release, and you guys can all go grab it now!

Ethereal Release Version Update 1.0

  • Improved dynamic lighting performance in all Realms.
    • Achieved by decreasing the primary sunlight’s total number of shadow cascades, as well as decreasing it’s overall effective shadowing distance.
  • Improved the Arcadian landscape material to be more realistic.
    • Removed specular textures and added tessellation.
  • Drop rates for all enemies were adjusted:
    • Common – 60%
    • Uncommon – 30%
    • Rare – 10%
  • The additional effect for Assassin’s Boots was replaced with “Cure Potency +10%
  • Sneak Ring was added.
  • Feral Band was added.
  • The following armor sets can now be purchased from the armor vendor:
    • Crusaders
    • Assassins
  • A friendly cat can now be found inside the Arcadian bar.
  • Fixed a handful of collision issues in Arcadia and Shiitake Temple.
  • Added footstep effects to the landscape comprising the Arcadian outskirts.
  • Fixed a bug where the final return portal dropped by the Eternal would never disappear.
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Ethereal Beta Version Update 0.9.9

February 17, 2017
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Last update before release!

This one puts the finishing touches on everything right before release, and is generally filled with bug fixes and final lighting improvements.

Version 0.9.9 will be the final version uploaded to the “Ethereal Beta Demo” branch.  If the game’s title in your Steam library reads “Ethereal Beta Demo“, you will no longer receive post-release updates.  If you were a beta tester and have not yet received a full release Steam key, send an email to info@soverance.com from the address you used to register for the beta, and I’ll hook you up.

Beta Version 0.9.9 Update Notes

  • Built all maps with Production lighting.
  • Reconfigured the trueSKY dynamic lighting for all realms.
  • Slowed the trueSKY clock speed for all realms.
  • The following realms now have day/night cycles:
    • Boreal Core
    • Yggdrasil
  • The rock wall in Boreal Core that prevents your escape from the boss arena will now slide back up upon your death, allowing re-entry.
  • The Lava Knight is now more difficult to lock into Hit animations.
  • Updated the map markers for all points of interest to their final release versions.
  • Arcadian enemies will now scale to the player’s level once the tutorial is completed.
  • A simple Gate puzzle was added to Empyrean Gardens.
  • Disabled shadows on foliage in Arcadia for performance reasons.
  • Tightened up certain collision volumes within Empyrean Gardens.
  • Fixed a collision issue in Arcadia that allowed players to fall into the river.
  • Fixed a bug with the Goomba Stomper achievement so that it can now be correctly unlocked.
  • Fixed a bug where Golem enemies would sometimes not correctly pop out of their balled state upon aggro.
  • Fixed a bug where certain enemy spawn locations in Yggdrasil would not correctly spawn enemies.
  • Fixed a bug where being defeated by the Skeleton King and selecting ‘Restart’ would raise you in place, instead of at the intended safe spot.
  • Fixed a bug where bound magic icons were not properly reset when starting a New Game.
  • Fixed bugs for a handful of instances with the logical tutorial progress sequence for players who would commit certain unintended actions before completing the tutorial.
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Ethereal Legends Release Date Feb. 21!

February 13, 2017
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I am extremely excited to finally announce the official release date of Ethereal Legends on Steam as February 21st, 2017!


 

ABOUT THIS GAME

Ethereal Legends is a modern indie action RPG, built (mostly) by one person in Unreal Engine 4 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

A powerful foe has descended upon the world of Arcadia. The Ethereal Knights, protectors of the realm, have nearly all been destroyed.

Only you remain.

Enter the portal and defend the Ethereal Realms from the evil which plagues them. Battle deadly monsters and huge bosses, wield numerous weapons, cast powerful spells, solve challenging puzzles, and use all the tools at your disposal to put an end to the madness.

Active Combat

Your combat style is determined by the spells, weapons, and armor you choose to equip. With 3 distinct weapon types and a great number of spells, items, and armor pieces to choose from, you are provided with countless options to defeat your enemies.

Environment Puzzles

A plethora of brain teasers awaits deep within the darkest corners of Arcadia. Explore and interact with the world around you to unlock new paths and discover secrets hidden in the Ethereal Realms.

Epic High Fantasy

A pure story of good versus evil. Explore gorgeous elemental locales reaching into the sky and beyond. Battle massive enemies, experience the powerful soundtrack, and enjoy a beautifully rendered fantasy world powered by Unreal Engine 4.

Open Source

Want to build your own game, based on Ethereal Legends? You can! The C++ code used to create this game can be found on Github, under the open source Apache 2.0 license. Maybe you simply want to help make Ethereal better. This is the place to start! I welcome all contributions, and successful pull requests will have their author credited in-game.


Details and Pricing

Ethereal Legends will launch at $9.99, with a 10% discount during the first week (so it’ll be $8.99 if you buy during launch).

Please note that the game is designed for and plays best with a gamepad/controller, and while you can use a keyboard/mouse, I don’t recommend it.

Additionally, please be sure you meet the game’s minimum system requirements before purchasing, as published on the Steam Store Page.  Built with Unreal Engine 4, the game is graphically intensive and requires a decent gaming PC to run at a smooth 60 fps.

A handful of minor, known issues do exist thanks to my excellent beta testers.  I have documented possible fixes on this post, so if you experience any problems playing Ethereal Legends, your first stop should be there.  Of course, I would love to hear any and all feedback you may have, so hit me up on any of the community channels or send your thoughts in an email to info@soverance.com.

For the most arduous adventurers, I have published a full list of the nearly 100 available items on this page.  There, you’ll find a full loot table, complete with item descriptions, effects, and locations.  Everything you need to get the most out of the game!

Press

Members of the press interested in covering Ethereal Legends should direct themselves to the game’s official Presskit:  http://soverance.com/ethereal/presskit/

If you are a YouTuber, Twitch streamer, or other influencer with a significant subscriber count and you would like to feature Ethereal Legends on your channel, you can request a free Steam key via Keymailer at this link.  I cannot guarantee I will honor your request, but I’ll do my best!


As a one-man studio who is creator, developer, and publisher of Ethereal Legends, I am so unbelievably proud to be able to bring you an experience almost entirely of my own making.  This is a huge moment for me – Ethereal Legends is the culmination of a nearly five-year effort to bring myself into the gaming industry, and I feel like it’s release finally proves me capable of being a game developer.

Ethereal Legends was inspired by my adventures in Final Fantasy XI with members of the Ethereal Linkshell.  They were some of my favorite experiences in my gaming history, and many of the people from Ethereal LS have become life-long friends.  Making a game inspired by that experience seemed like a fitting way to honor those memories.  As a huge fan of the fantasy action genre, I’ve taken much inspiration from the Final Fantasy and Dark Souls series to create an original expression of epic high fantasy.  While influence of other popular games and my own limitations as a game developer have certainly helped guide the path, Ethereal Legends is truly a shining example of someone building a game they’ve always wanted to play.

Ethereal Legends has been extremely difficult to build.  Like many new developers, when I first began this project in 2013 I had an idea that was massive in scope, and I was certainly not skilled enough to build it myself.  I made many sacrifices to buy the time and materials necessary to make this game.  I encountered countless obstacles during development, and significant public skepticism about my ability to finish it.  I failed to build a good team, and I failed to keep my office space.  I was forced to build the overwhelming majority of this game alone, in a tiny apartment, while working a part-time job as a systems administrator for $25k/year.  However, because I am a stubborn person, I persisted… and now we’re here.  I encountered a lot of success along the way, too.  My efforts have been showcased in videos and blogs, I’ve been invited to speak at conferences, and the game has even been publicly recognized by Taco Bell!  Unreal Engine has allowed me to stand on the shoulders of giants; they have allowed me to bring my vision to you unencumbered, free from the control of profit-seekers and gatekeepers.  They’ve given me the ability to create whatever I can imagine and publish those ideas to the world – it’s an extremely empowering ability that they’ve given to me, and to you as well.

The years spent building this game has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my life.  I have learned so much about myself, so much about others, and so much about the world that is simply invaluable – an intangible profit from the game that won’t be declared on my taxes.  No matter how well the game does financially post-release, I at least earned that knowledge.

While Ethereal releases next week on Steam, this is really only the beginning of the Ethereal franchise and my vision for Soverance Studios.  I have lots of ideas for additional content that I plan to add over the next 12 to 18 months, and of course I’ve still got the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game planned for later this year.  I am confident this is the start of something big, and I’m excited to have you all along for the ride!

I greatly appreciate the support of everyone who has followed Ethereal Legends over the years, championed the game, and given me good feedback to help make the game better.  I couldn’t have gotten this far without the assistance of everyone else who has played a part, and for that, I thank you!

See you all on the other side, after February 21st!

 

 

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Ethereal Beta Version Update 0.9.8

February 11, 2017
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Things are moving fast over here!  The biggest part of this update is that I’ve officially moved the game over to the final Steamworks release branch.  Version 0.9.8 will be the final update for Steam Beta testers, and the Ethereal Beta test is now officially closed.  I greatly appreciate all of the input and feedback I received – your efforts were truly helpful!

This one is all polish and bug fixes, so I’ll just get straight to the notes in order to save time:

Version 0.9.8 Update Notes

  • Moved to the Steamworks release branch.
    • “Ethereal Legends Demo” will be deprecated going forward and will not be updated past Version 1.0.  Beta Testers can simply enter a legitimate key for Ethereal Legends to upgrade to the full release branch.  If you are a current Beta Tester and have not already received a Steam key for the release branch, please contact me at info@soverance.com using the same address you registered for the Beta, and I’ll be sure to get you one free of charge.
  • Added Steam Cloud functionality.
    • Beta Testers will be able to keep whatever progress they have made when upgrading to the Release branch; Steam will automatically sync files where necessary.
  • Updated a number of armor pieces with new additional effects.
  • Two Handed weapon attacks now have cam shakes and force feedback, whether you hit an enemy or not.
  • Both Ranged and Two Handed weapons now feature new camera effects during their attack’s “charge” phase.
  • The items dropped by certain enemies have been changed.
  • Updated the additional effect text on some armor pieces to be more descriptive.
  • Added additional environmental effects to Boreal Core.
  • Reduced the damage over time effect of Poison and Burn by half, and increased their durations by 50%.
  • Added Confuse status effect, which will invert the player’s movement while active.
  • Added Silence status effect, which will prevent the player from casting magic spells.
  • Added the Echo Herb consumable item, which can remove the effects of Silence.
  • Disabled trueSKY god rays, as they were the cause of the black seam in Arcadia’s sky, as well as much flickering.
    • Simul is aware of this issue, and will hopefully have a fix soon!
  • Fixed a bug where diff values would always show zero if there was no item currently bound to a slot.
  • Fixed a bug where the Gaia Titan boss would get up too slowly when first aggroed.
  • Fixed a bug where the Death Cap boss enemy would begin attacking too quickly.
  • Fixed a bug where the Lava Knight could be locked into his hit animation by landing too many successive attacks.
  • Fixed a bug where incorrect diff values were displayed if there was no item bound to compare to.
  • Fixed a bug where players could prevent further progress if they somehow managed to defeat the Skeleton King without first speaking to the Gatekeeper and initiating the tutorial.
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Ethereal Beta Version Update 0.9.7

February 7, 2017
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C-c-c-combo!

Two-Handed weapons get a massive change in this update, giving them their own unique style and feel, and finally making the weapon type feel more useful throughout the game.  I know the Two-Handed weapons weren’t seen as useful at all by many beta testers, and I’m really excited to finally have found an implementation I’m happy with to hopefully fix this issue.  In previous versions, the two-handed attack animation was very basic, and felt too similar to one-handed weapon attacks. Just press A and swing; with no real weight behind them the animation happened too quickly and was not satisfying.  In version 0.9.7, Two-Handed weapons now operate a bit like a combination of Ranged and One-Handed weapons: Hold the A button to bring the weapon over your head, and once charged (indicated by the same flare Ranged weapons use), you may release the button to begin a downswing that deals heavy damage.  I also implemented movement penalties during the Two-Handed weapon attack process – you run at half speed while charging a Two-Handed attack, and you can’t move at all during the attack’s downswing.  I feel like these movement penalties are a good trade-off to gain the Two-Handed weapon’s increased base damage, and they do the more important job of making Two-Handed weapons feel heavier to use.

Another addition I’m pretty happy about is what I call the “Diff” system, which is more or less the ability for you to see exactly how a piece of equipment compares to whatever you currently have equipped.  This is a pretty common feature in item-based RPGs that was missing from Ethereal, and while Ethereal‘s stat system is pretty basic compared to other RPGs, it is still necessary to compare and contrast items in order to equip the best items for your play style.  Now when you’re in the menu looking at new equipment to bind, you’ll see the plus or minus stats outlined and highlighted to help determine how equipping that item will affect your stats.  This system was more or less built along with the armor system, so all the math was already working behind the scenes, I simply hadn’t made any method to display this data to the player.  Now I have!

The Diff column appears only when you are selecting items from your inventory – Gains earned are shown in green, while Losses are shown in red.  This screen shows a diff of the Assassin’s Vest as compared to the Adaman Cuirass.

Ethereal Beta Testers can go download the 0.9.7 version update from the Steam client, now.

While the change to Two-Handed weapons is easily the biggest change in this version, there’s a lot of other good fixes and balancing patches in this update!  See below for the full update notes.

Ethereal Version 0.9.7 Update Notes

  • Two Handed weapon attacks were significantly changed.
    • Two-Handed attacks must now be charged by holding the Attack button, similar to how Ranged weapons are used.
    • Releasing the Attack button will begin a Two-Handed “Downswing”.
    • Players move at half speed while charging a Two-Handed weapon attack.
    • Players cannot move during a Two-Handed Downswing.
  • Players will now see a “Diff” column when selecting gear, to help determine the value of equipping that item.
  • The base damage of all Two-Handed weapons was increased.
  • The player’s available melee radius was increased.
  • The Haste spell will no longer prevent the movement penalties associated with blocking or being locked on a target.
  • Blocking states were added for both the Ranged and Unarmed weapon modes.
  • Adjusted the homing target location for Ranged projectiles.
  • The following weapons were updated with new audio/visual effects:
    • Juggernaut
    • Claymore
    • Marauder
    • Temperance
  • The following armor pieces were updated with new additional effects:
    • Assassin’s Cuffs  (Ranged Attack Boost)
    • War Gloves  (Ranged Attack Boost)
    • Leather Gloves  (Two-Handed Attack Boost)
    • Crusader’s Mitts  (Two-Handed Attack Boost)
    • Adaman Gauntlets  (One-Handed Attack Boost)
    • Valhalla Gauntlets  (One-Handed Attack Boost)
    • Valhalla Helm  (Refresh +5)
    • Valhalla Greaves  (Regen +5)
  • The Restore Ring’s additional effect was modified.
    • Players now receive +1 to both Regen and Refresh for every level they have gained.
    • The boost gained from Restore Ring is capped at +60  (current level cap).
  • The gear details panel will now resize correctly, based on the menu’s current tab.
  • Fixed a bug where, on systems with low-end hardware, occasionally the player would load beneath the Realm’s floor and enter a persistent falling state.
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