After completing the Battle of Zama, which concludes Part VIII, a lot of time and effort went into playtesting and rebalancing the whole game. The subsequent changes were especially aimed at the second campaign, but some extended to the content included in the demo. Let's take a look at them.
The confusing mechanism that reduced the success rate of Recover actions after suffering an attack has been removed. Now, every fighter has a chance of skipping his action during a combat round. This is based on Quickness, but is also affected by Stance, Morale and Fatigue. So, whenever you lower the Stance of your enemies, they are more likely to fail at acting when their turn comes. This could work wonders against slow enemies and is very helpful even against fast ones. Of course, the same applies to your character, so be prepared.
Whenever a fighter fails to act during a round, the following simple effect is shown. There are no messages and pauses because I feel they detract from the "immediateness" of combat. You can find details of what happened in the combat log anyway.
Like before, a character can perform a Second Action during a combat round, if a Quickness check is passed. To avoid confusion, this effect is shown like this:
The No Action and Second Action chances are displayed on the Equipment screen (some pieces of equipment may reduce your Quickness and influence these values). Also, I've added a more extensive help.
The impact of Morale and Attitude has been somewhat reduced. Both are still very important.
Let me explain with an example: suppose you want to attack an enemy, aiming at his head. A score that incorporates a lot of factors, including your Weapon Skill, Stance, the Handiness of your current weapon, the difficulty coefficient of the head, etc, is compared to a defensive score obtained in a similar way for the enemy. Suppose that your score, after considering all those factors, is 120. If your Morale is Superb (the highest possible level), your score is increased by 15% (it was 20% before this version) and the actual value becomes 138. Consider that Morale is applied to every check in the game short of Training/Workout activities and you should get an idea of how useful it can be. Any level below Content will penalize you.
Besides, the impact of Fatigue has been increased. An Exhausted fighter will be severely impaired.
Messages alerting the player that a Training activity is becoming less efficient now appear much sooner than before. You will see the first alert when the overall chance of improvement with your selected training is below 50%:
The second alert is shown when the chance gets below 30%.
A third and a fourth alert are displayed when the chances are below 15% and 5% respectively.
The chance of losing Morale when exercising too much has been increased slightly. The tooltips for Training and Workout activities have been extended to make players aware of this mechanism.
Finally, the improvement curve of most Training types have been changed a little, although you probably won't even notice in the demo. This will mostly affect later stages of the game.
Several enemies are more skilled now, especially the Caetrati. Their previous Skill levels were a legacy of early versions, when player characters had less room for improvement before they could meet these opponents.
A lot of Opinion improvements and penalties have been changed and rebalanced.
When you meet the Opinion requirement for a promotion, it's now easier to find a vacant position. If there are none, but your Virtue is low enough, you can still attempt a "shortcut" at your own risk.
The Offer Sacrifice activity can now be used only once between major battles.
Several defensive checks against ranged attacks are a little harder.
A more extensive list of changes is available here.