ETTINS have been added. These two-headed giant humanoids are ill-tempered and wield both an axe and a spiked club and can swing both of them in the same turn. Ettins are included in The Hidden Realm (starting at level 5) plus you can encounter them in both The Caverns of Grimlock and The Swampy Isles.

SPEARS are now one-handed weapons. This is to correct an original design issue that has always bugged me. Spears and Polearms are unique in that they are the only melee weapons that can reach two grid squares, but polearms have always felt much superior to spears because they do more damage and both have an equal chance of knockdown. Spears also don’t have as much blocking as polearms, plus polearms have a higher bleed chance. So to balance this out, I changed spears to a one-handed weapon. They’re still pretty much the same otherwise. But this allows you to also use a shield in your left hand, which is an advantage all its own that polearms don’t have. And they still reach two squares.

I integrated a requested feature into an existing feature. F9 now toggles status bars (stamina/health) between three modes: Display All, Display None, and Display Only the Selected Character. This last mode is the new one. The selected character is usually the character whose turn it is, but if you click on a monster, or another character, they are selected and they display their bars over them in this mode. This can help during battles where a lot of creatures are packed in adjacent squares and the status bars overlap.

F7 now toggles the grid lines on the ground on or off. This was in at some point but I think got inadvertently disabled.

If you get PUSHED BACK, you lose half your MP on your next turn.

The relative amount of XP granted for monsters is now displayed on the BESTIARY page. This will give you a general idea of how much a given creature is worth compared to others. The actual amount of XP can still vary by level. x1.0 is considered “average”.

Any creatures that activate SURPRISE as they initially appear when combat starts will get a 2x INIT bonus when calculating the turn order.

Few other minor bug fixes and tweaks. The full list can be seen in the release notes:

I continue to receive feedback and this update has many improvements and small bug fixes. The most obvious change is that loot containers will now turn a dark gray color on the mini-map after you’ve emptied them. This will help you to easily identify which ones you’ve checked already.

Another significant change is the monster AI was tweaked so that more intelligent creatures, and higher level creatures, will attempt to conserve stamina more around the 50% level so as not to incur penalties, instead of “blowing it all right away”. This should lead to more challenging combat at higher levels. Also, for those at level 15 or above, monster stats (health, stamina, stamina regen, accuracy and defense) will significantly increase because it was too heavily skewed toward players, and higher-end weapon stats were lowered a bit. This is just one of many improvements, especially for higher levels, that will come in the near future.

For those that don’t like the requirement for the extra hit to kill after someone reaches zero HP, there is now an optional switch in SETTINGS under the GAME page to turn that off. Plus, I also added an optional switch to freeze hireling morale and remove requirements for lodging or performing preferred activities in town. Using this mode you can still take part in activities for a potential positive effect, but hireling morale will always stay neutral no matter what. That is a significant departure from my original design for the game and will dramatically change it, but I also feel that players should be able to play the way they want so I added it. But, again, both of these are optional and by default the game requires the extra hit to kill and uses hireling morale.

Another noticeable change is when using Area-of-Effect abilities, the space under allies or enemies will only highlight if they will be affected by the ability. For example, if using a support ability like HEAL OTHERS, the targeting circle will appear green but not under a monster. Similarly, when using an offensive ability that only targets enemies, the ground under allies will not be highlighted red. But an offensive ability that affects everyone will highlight under everyone, indicating that you could potentially harm an ally.

Due to an issue that some users had, you can now no longer use the DROP button from the INVENTORY screen in town. If you have an item that you wish to dispose of, you need to sell it to the Merchant (even if its for zero coin). I also got rid of the chance of dying while completing an odd job in town. You can still receive a negative effect if it goes badly, but there is no chance of dying now.

There are lots of other small changes and bug fixes. I keep a running list of build updates here:

Significant changes to accuracy to make battles go faster and be more enjoyable

I received a lot of feedback in the first week of release here. It seems that the biggest complaint about the game is the hit rate is so low that battles last too long with far too many misses, and that your stamina is depleted and then too hard to replenish. So I’ve made some significant changes to the battle system to make it a more enjoyable experience, especially for new players.

Overall accuracy for both characters and monsters has increased, which will result in a greater hit rate. I also put limits on a lot of stuff during initial character creation to ensure that players choose appropriate weapons and skills for their character, based on class, to ensure maximum accuracy. And Dexterity points will now contribute +2 to MELEE ACCURACY as well as RANGED ACCURACY.

Previously, you had to have a successful DEFEND (meaning used it and weren’t hit) to replenish any of your MAXIMUM STAMINA, which is the white bar that caps your STAMINA at any given time. And even with that it would replenish at a trickle. Now, just using DEFEND (even if you’re hit) will replenish maximum stamina by 50% of your normal stamina regeneration rate, and a successful DEFEND will replenish at 100%. You still have to monitor stamina in the game, but you’re far less likely to run out of it and get stuck there.

But what if you liked the difficulty involved in the original conception of the game? Well, you’re in luck. I have added an OLD-SCHOOL switch under the SETTINGS menu that will use the old stamina regeneration system. And if you bump the DIFFICULTY setting up one notch, that will fairly match the prior difficulty.

Another change is that the lowest quality weapons of ALL TYPES are now affordable for initial characters (previously you couldn’t initially afford weapons like a two-handed sword or a two-handed hammer).

I also added a SETTING to change the color of menu highlights to blue for easier viewing by those with color-blindness.

Finally, some players didn’t like having their stamina run down while exploring and having to camp often, so while this is still the default for the game, there is an option in SETTINGS to disable this if you prefer.