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Default Bard's Tale IV - Puzzle Weapons

December 5th, 2017, 23:03
The latest update for The Bard's Tale IV focuses on Puzzle Weapons, the backer portal and a vote.

Update 39: Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal, and a Vote!

TL;DR - Puzzle Weapons, Backer Portal Reopens, Contest Winner, Backer Rewards Update, Crowdfunding Corner

Greetings, citizens of Caith! David Rogers here with another update for you. Today I'd like to talk about puzzle weapons in The Bard's Tale IV, one of our features that we teased during the Kickstarter campaign that is now beginning to take shape. What are puzzle weapons exactly, and how will they work? That's what I'm here to talk about today, so let's dive in!

The Hidden Power of Puzzle Weapons

Puzzle weapons are our spin on magic weapons in the world of The Bardís Tale, and part of the Enhanced Crafting System stretch goal that you helped achieve. We want the sense of discovery to begin anew when you loot a magic weapon, rather than end as soon as you look at the tooltip. If you think back to the Kickstarter, you might remember this concept video:

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We used that mockup to explore several core concepts about puzzle weapons that really enchanted us. We loved the idea that a weapon could hold dormant power, and that you could be holding onto one of these weapons for hours or days without realizing exactly how powerful the weapon truly was. We loved the idea that not every part of the weapon was fully obvious, and that you might have to poke around to find how to unlock the next step. We also liked the idea that your weapon would transform in some way when its true power was finally unlocked. These are all core tenets we held onto when designing the full puzzle weapon system for The Bards Tale IV.



A puzzle weapon in full 3d glory

This is what a puzzle weapon looks like now. Puzzle weapons were crafted by the elves in ages past, and left in the realm of men. Theyíre infused with powerful magic that can only be unlocked by the worthy. When the player finds them, their true power lays dormant. To unleash that power and allow it to flow fully through the weapon, you must manipulate and examine the item in 3D. Components of the weapon may be missing, puzzles might be scrambled, and riddles are most definitely accounted for.

Behind the scenes, puzzle weapons are generated from a large set of components, and found as high-tier loot as you adventure through the world. For example, a puzzle mace is constructed from a pommel, grip, collar, and bludgeon head. Each part features its own type of puzzle, and each puzzle has multiple variations and difficulties. The higher quality the item, the more ways to unlock its power you might find. The difficulty of the puzzles are based on your progress in the game, and how many other puzzle weapons you've previously solved.


The anatomy of a puzzle weapon

In addition to self-contained puzzles that see you manipulating components on the item, there are also puzzles that interact with other elements of gameplay. Some puzzle weapons have you scouring merchants for magic gems for your weapon; others having you seeking out ancient shrines; while others still have you seeking to defeat specific enemies to feed the weapon with their blood; all the while youíre looking for hidden buttons, secret compartments, and manipulating small elements.

An In-Depth Look at Puzzle Weapon Mechanics

Let's go through an example. You've just found an Elven Mace with an empty power gem slot, and a set of interlocking rings around it. Rotate those rings the right way, and you'll spell out a riddle written in Elven language. The verse might read something as obvious as ďAs pure as snow and bright as moon, thy shining light is evil's doom.Ē - but many may be more cryptic.

Using the riddle, you'll determine which of the five differently colored Elven Seed Gems need to be inserted. Of course, finding one might require you to explore the world, barter with a merchant, or defeat a powerful enemy guarding it.

With the correct Elven Seed Gem inserted into the pommel, the weapon now has its power source, and begins glowing with magic! So what happens next?

Each time you solve a component on a puzzle weapon, that weapon earns a boon. Boons are special effects that come in multiple strengths, and can evolve as you continue to unlock your weapon's powers. One boon category is the Elder boon, which has three strengths: Elder, Of Ancient Slumber, and Ancestral. Your elven mace may become an Elder Elven Mace, meaning that its ability gains damage every single turn. Solve another component, and it becomes an Elven Mace of Ancient Slumber, which means that the first time itís used in combat, itís awoken, and deals a massive amount of bonus damage. Fully unlocking the weapon's true power could turn your mace into an Ancestral Elven Mace, which would cause this weapon to accumulate a large amount of bonus damage each turn it goes unused. And just to drive the point home, when you achieve the final tier of boon, the weapon visibly transforms to indicate that its magic is fully realized.

[…]
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December 5th, 2017, 23:17
I approve of this update. Sounds like a fun way to incorporate powerful items.
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December 6th, 2017, 00:55
Learned this from a recent podcast with Brian Fargo.
http://mediajuicestudios.com/2017/12…t-brian-fargo/

There will be a special video in January for The Bards Tale IV. The crowdfunding for BT4 is less than 25% of total funding. So maybe 7 million invested?

Also Brian says that Steam being uncurated is bad for small indies.
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December 6th, 2017, 17:28
This sounds like a nice idea unless you have to solve the puzzle every time you want to buff your weapon.
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December 6th, 2017, 19:08
Yeah it's a really interesting idea, but I can't tell if it will be cool and unique or gimmicky and annoying. But even if it doesn't work I'm happy to see them trying something new.
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December 7th, 2017, 00:09
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
This sounds like a nice idea unless you have to solve the puzzle every time you want to buff your weapon.
Haha, I'm pretty sure that won't be the case.

The only thing I'm reserved about is the fact that the weapons will be generated. If the selection of different parts is too limited, there's a risk. "Oh, that pommel puzzle again. How fun…"
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December 7th, 2017, 01:22
I hope they make their money back. Blobbers aren't exactly in the middle of the mainstream.
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