Dev Blogs #67 and #68: Progress Updates - The Little Things and Specialized Shops
Amidst all the sweeping changes to the worldmap, like different human factions and an entirely reworked contract system, there’s also a lot of smaller improvements and additions that will come with the update later in February. These are little things that address some lingering issues or are simply quality-of-life improvements, and it’s some of them that we’ll take a closer look at this week.
That’s right - you can now make camp. Put down your tents, build a nice bonfire and enjoy some of the smoked ham you got at that little hamlet two days ago. When encamped, time goes by faster, so if you’re waiting for it to become daytime, or for someone to arrive, making camp is the way to go. Your men will also recover faster from their injuries and have more time to maintain and repair their equipment.
To make it a more interesting strategic decision when and where to make camp, there’s also some drawbacks to it. Enemies will be able to see your bonfire from afar, especially at night. You’re immobile while camped and can not attack yourself - but you can easily be caught in a surprise attack by the enemy. Best not to make camp in the middle of orc territory, then, but if you must, do so on high ground, like hills, to have a better view of the surrounding lands and to spot approaching enemies before it is too late.
We’re adding the camping mechanic as a way to reduce on the downtime you’d otherwise spend waiting for your men to heal up and their equipment to be repaired - but in a way that makes sense in the context of the game world and adds some decision making. There’s also always the option of adding more depth to camping, of course, and we may decide to do so at a later time.
Paying for Repairs
Handling attrition is part of the gameplay we’re aiming for, and while making camp is a good way to maintain and repair your gear, there’s another way now that’s even faster. Smithies across the world can quickly repair both weapons and armor for you - but generally at steep prices.
Scouting the Enemy
Players need a good way to judge the strength of enemies on the worldmap in order to make an informed decision on whether to fight or retreat. Yet, attaching any kind of strength rating to enemies isn’t as easy as it may sound with a game as complex as Battle Brothers, as there’s a lot of unknowns we can’t really account for. What experience and skill does the player have? Is their group equipped or skilled in a way that handles certain types of enemies, like orcs or goblins, better or worse? No matter how we shuffle numbers with the current system, there’s no way we’ll arrive at a satisfying level of prediction, so we’re going another way.
Ultimately players always fall back to judging for themselves what enemies they can take on, so we're supporting this with a new scouting mechanic with more in-depth information to replace the relative strength label. As enemies or allies get into visual range, you can now see their troop composition and approximate numbers when hovering the cursor above them, just like it is in the engage screen before combat. In addition, their total number is shown in their name tag to see at any time and without hovering over them. It takes some experience judging what your company can take on, and probably some failed attempts along the way, but who better to make the call than their commander, anyway.
Do keep in mind that this change comes in the context of a new worldmap that has more clearly defined regions as well. With what are safer hinterlands or war-torn regions bordering on orc and goblin territory, you now have a greater level of control over what enemies you’re likely to face, depending on where you have your mercenary company seek their fortune.
Inventory Filters & Sorting
There’s quite a bunch of different weapons, armor and other gear in the game to use already, and we’ll keep on adding more. Add to this the all-new treasure items you can plunder, and the new function to filter your inventory by item type comes in handy as not to waste any time managing it. You can choose between showing everything, only weapons, only armor and helmets, and only supplies and treasure.
Also, no need to change screens anymore to sort your inventory while browsing the wares of merchants. Both sorting the inventory and filtering it are available at the shop interface as well. Speaking of the shop interface, performance has been improved and it should feel more responsive now.
A centerpiece of how individual settlements will feel distinct on the new worldmap of Battle Brothers is different buildings with a unique gameplay function. This week we'll be taking a closer look at some specialized shops that are coming with the update in February.
If you’ve watched our Update Preview Video you’ll already know that every settlement now comes with a marketplace. The marketplace works as an amalgamation of what a variety of smaller traders peddle throughout the settlement. That is, all kinds of different goods and equipment that are regionally available. Apart from supplies, such as different kinds of food, this may also include weapons, armor and shields. However, the selection on the marketplace is limited to what those traders bought themselves and are now reselling, the quality is limited to what is commonly available to and affordable by the people living there, and the equipment may have been used before and look the part. You may even find the occasional great deal here, but to outfit your growing mercenary company you’ll eventually want to look elsewhere.
For those who have the crowns, there are specialized traders available for weapons and armor which have a much larger selection of quality equipment, brand-new but also quite a bit more expensive. These traders are the weaponsmith, the armorsmith and the fletcher. You are more likely to find these in the settlements surrounding fortifications than small fishing villages, and while the smithies are more likely to be found in settlements with good access to metal, you’ll find the fletcher in settlements with good access to wood.
Whereas the weaponsmith will have a large variety of melee weapons on offer, with a few throwing weapons thrown in, the fletcher specializes in ranged weaponry. The selection of ranged weapons in the game is still limited at this time, of course, but we’ll eventually add more of them that will then make their way to the fletcher as well. To make browsing specialized shops more interesting and also worth it later in the game, you’ll now be able to sometimes find unique named weapons on offer - for kingly prices, of course.
An even more specialized shop than those three is the kennel. You can pick up a wardog or two all over the land, but if your tactics happen to rely heavily on man’s best friend, you’ll want to head out to go to the source: one of only a few kennels across the land where the best dogs of war are bred and sold in large numbers. Kennels are usually part of smaller fortifications, so they’re worth visiting for reasons different than large castles. Dogs and their handler are yet to be added to the image you see above.
There’s a bunch more buildings coming, including one that will allow you to customize the appearance of your Battle Brothers to your liking. Return here, as we’ll be revealing them in future progress updates!