Category Archives: Blessed Ones

Everything related to the Blessed Ones universe.

Blessed Ones: The Magic Wolves version 0.8 Patch Notes

There’s nothing I love more than reading patch notes–it’s probably one of my favorite things about playing a game with ongoing development. So I’m actually extremely excited to share this–especially considering there is QUITE a bit added in this patch. It more than doubles the amount of content in the game by any metric that matters! There’s nearly three times as much text as before!

In this patch, the main thing we added was the second major area of the game (inside a whale, naturally) and content surrounding it. This content entails doubling the amount of monsters as before, three new optional bosses, and a final boss for the zone (who is, technically speaking, also optional.) And none of this is just “I do nothing but physical attacks” trash mobs–every monster has some unique and obnoxious behavior and every boss has some trick to it you’d best learn if you want to do well.
The whale’s also got the town of New Portsburg in it, for some odd reason, which means there’s a truckload of new NPCs, with a few sidequests sprinkled in there, and new NPC followers–which also means there’s new variations to all the content that was already in the game, considering one of the followers pretty drastically changes how the titular Magic Wolves act towards you.
Plus, you can go straight to the whale, completely ignoring the entirety of the previous content! The game’s pretty fully non-linear. It’s pretty tough to get there first, though! I had more than a bit of trouble with it, and not to brag or anything, but I’m quite good at my own game that I made and know everything about because I made it.

This was really a massive undertaking, despite that it is largely built off of content I made over a year ago, because as I played it and worked on it I just kept adding stuff where I felt the game could use a bit more spice. The result is, well, an incredibly dense game, with secrets everywhere, some of which I can’t even remember. Which makes for an incredibly complex game, as well. But don’t take my word for it–just look at how long these patch notes are!

I guess it turns out there is something more I like than reading patch notes: writing patch notes. So, without further ado,

1. Locations
2. Enemies
3. Followers
4. Skills
5. Items
6. Cutscene Adjustments
7. Rebalance of Trait system
8. Miscellaneous
9. Closing Notes and Sappy Bullshit

  1. Locations:
    1. Removed Blockades:
      The following previously closed exits to areas have been opened, allowing access to the new areas:

      • The blockade heading south from Higgeldy’s House has been removed.
      • The blockade leaving the southeast corner of the Icicle Caves has been removed.
    2. New Areas:
      The following areas are now accessible:

      • Lumberpig’s Camp: A camp of nine hard-working Lumberpigs, whose work is currently halted by a group of confused Spriggans, and a seemingly lazy old magic wolf who was appointed boss by Mayor Wolfen.
      • Old Portsburg Beach: The eastern edge of Sleeping Owl Island was a calm beach town until a few months ago, when a giant whale known as Mortimer attacked. Now little remains, save for an old pub, an intelligent young girl, and a few houses that still dot the cliffs.
      • New Portsburg: The new town of New Portsburg has many problems fit for an adventuring group such as yourselves, mainly that it’s a town inside of a giant whale’s belly, and that, for whatever reason, the belly is full of undead.
      • Mortimer’s Stomach: Mortimer’s stomach is inhabited by a group of pirates who’ve lived there for quite some time, working with the whale to ransack ships. Recently, though, Mortimer has refused contact with them.
      • Mortimer’s ???: A strange temple located in Mortimer’s body.
      • Mortimer’s ???: Despite being a magical creature, it seems the whale Mortimer still has some structure to him.
      • Mortimer’s ???: The source of the undead menace plaguing both Mortimer and the town of New Portsburg.

      Other minor areas, such as the Mimic Queen’s house and the Portsburg Wells have been added. On Sleeping Owl Island, only diligent explorers will find everything.

    3. Miscellaneous changes to old areas:
      • Soda Springs:
        • The entrance to the flooded silver mines has been added, just behind Higgeldy’s house. It is currently inaccessible, and will be added in a later patch.
        • A shortcut has been added to make access to the Lumberpig’s Camp easier.
      • Roth Farms:
        • Due to changes in how we were handling Signs, the doors you can knock on in Roth Farms now have more to say as you progress through Marco and the Mountaineer’s plotline.
      • Roth Castle:
        • Fixed the path of a trainer who was basically inaccessible due to how we were handling movement of NPCs who were off-screen. Additionally, added a couple new NPCs.
  2. Enemies
    1. Many, many new enemies have been added. So as not to spoil quite everything, we’re leaving them as names with simple hints as to their behaviors:
      • Shaaark!!!
        After tearing the flesh off their opponents, they’ll go into a frenzy, attacking any enemies who have been bloodied.
      • Ocean Nymph
        Buffing their own and their ally’s damage, these fey will dish out big attacks with ocean storms.
      • Seeweed
        A mostly sedentary plant whose actions unnerve the party.
      • Amoeba
        They’ll secrete digestive acids on the party in order to keep themselves alive, and in a pinch, undergo cellular division to ensure longevity of the species.
      • Mad Marionette
        This obnoxious little animate will try to get you under its control, and after being destroyed, seeks a last bit of revenge by disabling some attacks.
      • Seafaring Nymph
        Control of the weather is naturally advantageous to pirates, and these fey will call in deadly lightning storms that can strike anyone for strong damage after each turn.
      • Captain Mad Maddie
        As the captain of a rather unruly group of pirates, she mostly attacks by fencing and lobbing explosives, or loading her cannons with cannonballs both mystical and physical.
      • Mermaid
        A xenophobic tribe of Mermaids are on Sleeping Owl Island, looking for something they lost. They fight by enchanting their tridents and then unleashing quick attacks.
      • Formal Zombie’s Date
        This sad, nervous zombie just wants to impress you, and maybe get a hug. Unfortunately, his actions tend to go a bit awry.
      • Batty Cat
        Though seemingly as weak as their Catty Bat cousins, these tricky kittens can woozy you and their multi-scratch frenzy has an increased crit chance, so don’t let your guard down.
      • Zombie Neuron
        One little piece of Mortimer’s brain that has broken free due to some evil magic.
      • Lich Witch
        Attacks the party with her life force, until she’s prepared to make the fatal blow. Ideally, you should take her out before she does.
      • Mimics
        Animates that covet their treasures and will fight to ensure they stay safely locked inside.
      • Mimic Queen
        The self-titled Queen of all Mimics. What she does is a mystery. Why she does it is an even further mystery.
      • Sleeping Wolf
        A lazy, good-for-nothing magic wolf who has been appointed the leader of the Lumberpig’s Camp by Mayor Wolfen. But is she really lazy? Or just tired from old age?
      • Wolf Necromancer
        The no good magic wolf behind it all.
    2. Additionally, a few changes to enemy item drop rates have been made:
      • Items that were intended to be rare have had their drop rates decreased.
      • Enemy MP drops at the end of battle have been decreased. This coincides with an increase to many items that restore MP, in order to give the players more responsibility for MP management. MP rewards for defeating Fey have either remained the same or been increased slightly.
      • Enemy Silver drops have been decreased slightly. Fighting optional bosses lead to spikes in Silver, allowing the player to get large rewards for facing strong challenges; we’ve decided to double down on this design choice by making individual fights give slightly reduced rewards, encouraging players to spend Silver wisely, and enjoy getting chests with lots of Silver more. Additionally, this coincides with a change to Higgeldy’s follower ability; he now slightly increases the Silver that enemies drop as well as reducing silver lost.
      • Some enemies have had their damage slightly increased and their HP slightly lowered.
    3. Followers
      1. New Followers:
        Two new followers have been added to the game.

        • Emma Wolf: A magic wolf who will assist the party after some coercion and assistance. She’s relatively compassionate for a wolf, and has the wisdom of age to thank for that. She assists the party by debuffing enemies at the start of battle, so that they can focus their efforts on the sick and weak. Some NPCs will be unnerved by her presence.
        • Kendra: An observant young girl living in the wreckage of Portsburg. She’s kinda smart and kinda dumb, but mostly naive, curious, and inventive. She assists the party by finding usable items–sometimes gear–from the surrounding area while the party is fighting.
      2. Follower changes:
        • Higgeldy: Higgeldy is keeping his master haggling abilities, still reducing Silver lost upon defeat. However, he is now an even more skilled haggler, convincing enemies to give up more Silver upon defeat. We made this change as we felt more skilled and experienced players tended to ignore Higgeldy, as they likely would not die.
        • Albrecht: To coincide with the addition of locked chests, Albrecht is also able to lockpick chests even if the party does not have the appropriate key. He now also slightly increases drop rates of items, as he knows where enemies tend to hide their valuables. We did this as we felt there wasn’t enough incentive to use Albrecht when exploring normally, as in testing some players used him only to open locked doors then switched back to another follower.
        • Mirra: Mirra’s MP restoration has been slightly reduced by increasing the number of battles necessary for her to recharge her ability to ten, from eight. Mirra made MP management relatively trivial, and her ability felt more mandatory than we originally intended. We made this change to discourage players from using her as a crutch at the cost of ignoring all the other followers.
    4. Skills:
      1. New Skills:
        The following hybrid skills have been added:

        • Scream: Peacebringer/Feralist – Lowers an enemy’s Speed while raising either the user’s Speed, or the party’s speed
        • Wild Heal: Feralist/Eremist – Heals HP of every battle participant. Can either remove 1 debuff from everything, or give everything 1 stack of Ferocity.
        • Strike Mirror: Feralist/Artificer – Grants an ally a Physical attack reflection shield. Whenever an attack is reflected, either a 10% chance to Woozy or 20% chance to Glass the attacker.
        • Ghost Fauna: Feralist/Venerant – Either: give 1 ally a stack of Ferocity for each current ghost, or give 1 stack of Ferocity to an ally and it chains to the next ally for each current ghost.
        • Beer Belly: Chef/Eremist – Grants an ally a damage shield, and either cook a food item to raise their stat or use your current Overgrowth multiplier to boost the amount of shields granted.
        • To the Heart: Chef/Venerant – Either: each ghost charms a random enemy, or charm 1 enemy for an amount of turns augmented by your current ghosts.
        • Slow Cooker: Chef/Artificer – Grants a damage shield for 1 ally and applies it and the end of the next turn. The bonus choice adds a Resolve effect to the shield, or gives it a 5% chance to generate another random shield after being applied on the target.
        • Reuse: Eremist/Artificer – Either: grant 1 ally a 50% chance to be refunded the HP or MP cost of their skills, or grant the whole party a 25% chance to do the same.
        • Mystic Shield: Venerant/Artificer – Either: grant 1 ally a Mystical attack reflection shield that reflects 1 attack for each current ghost, or grant Mystical reflect shields to random allies for each current ghost.
        • Veneration: Venerant/Peacebringer – Either: restore the party’s HP and MP whenever an enemy is KO’d, or heal the party and also grant HP Regeneration whenever an enemy is KO’d.
        • Ancestral Gardener: Venerant/Eremist – The Ancestral skills are the class-specific skills of Venerants. They last for the entire battle and generally function as global effects. This increases the healing amount for everything in battle, and also has a choice to either make debuffs last 1 extra turn, or boost the bonus healing amount based on the total number of active Ancestral skills.
    5. Items:
      1. New Items: Many, many new items have been added. Rather than list every individual item, we’ll focus on the new classes of items: Perfumes and Kendra’s special consumables.
        • Perfumes:
          The perfumier located inside Mortimer’s belly is excited to have adventurers around to try her wares. Her perfumes are consumable items that, when used, prevent a status from afflicting any participant in a battle, at all, from getting specific status effects. Eight perfumes are available for either a significant price or trade, and you can only hold one of each type at a time.
        • Consumables:
          Kendra finds items from the surrounding area where battles take place. While these include Artifacts and Food items, she also has several consumable items that are unique to her, such as Snowballs, Ocean Water, and Stones.
      2. Changed Items:
        • Berries: MP restoration changed from 7/turn for 4 turns to 6/turn for 4 turns. Berry MP restoration was too high, making clever use of them make MP management trivial, and this slight nerf should prevent them from being overpowered, but still good.
        • Berry Jam: To coincide with the nerf to Berries, Berry Jam new restores 15 instead of 20 MP.
          Snapped Strings: Changed from restoring 5 MP to raising MDEF by 1 for four turns.
        • Hand Mirror: Changed from inflicting blind to raising PDEF by 1 for four turns. Both of these changes to artifact items were made for similar: one, to bring them in line with the other three artifacts, which already increase stats, and two, to move status-inflicting items to Kendra’s consumables and retain Food items as restoration-focused consumables.
    6. Cutscene Adjustments:
      A lot of cutscenes have been updated, but the following cutscenes have had new major, easy-to-point-out variations added to them:

      • Meeting Albrecht: Two new versions have been added: one for having Emma as a follower, and one for having Kendra as a follower.
      • Encountering the Mountaineer in Soda Springs: As Emma is a compatriot of the Mountaineer, this scene will play differently with Emma. Additionally, this scene will play differently if the player first completes the entirety of the New Portsburg storyline before coming back here.
      • All scenes with Marco while climbing the Roth Mountains: changes caused by either having Emma in your party, or having Emma in your party when encounteering the Mountaineer earlier. These scenes now have many more variations, almost as many as they’ll have at launch.
      • Fighting the Mountaineer: Again, as Emma is a compatriot of the Mountaineer, this scene will play quite differently with Emma. This scene will also change if the player first completes the entirety of the New Portsburg storyline before facing the Mountaineer.

      Many other cutscenes and NPCs have additional minor variations in dialogues contingent on if the player has finished certain plotlines, or reliant on the new followers.

    7. Rebalance of Trait System:
      In general, the traits providing straight increases to one stat were picked too often in testing. To counter this, we both increased the strength of many other traits, while adding stat decreases to these traits. We also did this to prevent an individual character being capable of filling every role at once.
      We’re planning a further rebalance of traits–adding costs to more of the ones that add additional effects to your attacks, and increasing the chances for those effects to work–but that’ll come further down the line, I’m afraid.
    8. Miscellaneous:
      • Added Credits page, found both in the manual and from the title screen. This lists the people who worked on the game (literally 3) and the people who helped us by testing the game.
      • Added new locations to the temporary map. The map will be interactable later, providing information on visited locations. I don’t know why it’s so small.
      • Fixed a whole lot of bugs. There’s still plenty of them (we have a big list to prove it!), but we’re prompt about fixing anything that people report.
    9. Closing Notes and Sappy Bullshit
      Anyway, that’s the end of the patch notes. I hope you had fun reading them. Unless you just skipped straight to this after seeing it in the table of contents–in which case, I hope you have fun reading them next! We will have a tinier patch adding a tiny amount of stuff soon, and a bigger patch in a couple of months, while we work on a prototype for our next game, in order to take a break. If you somehow missed it while reading these six pages of patch notes for an indie game that two people made, The Magic Wolves is a behemoth of a game. It’s huge. It’s dense. It’s a labor of love, but sometimes, you gotta take a step back from a labor of love or else you’ll stop loving it, because the labor becomes too much for the love to handle. Lotta Ls in that sentence. Kinda hurts my head.
      And if you just read the patch notes and are thinking “what the shit is this game” I urge you to buy it and support us because we are broke as fuck so not only do we really need it, but it would also really help us believe that this labor of love we’ve spent so much of our lives on has a real audience. Or at least share it. Or buy it and share it with your friends. We don’t really have anyone in our lives who can get this out there into a broad public view. We are the underdoggiest of underdogs. So any word of mouth would help.
      And, come on, the game is 8 bucks. That’s like a trip to McDonald’s. Trust me, you’ll remember it a lot more than your five dollar footlong and soda. (And I hope you’re buying Piggeldy Brand Mineral Waters with your fast food purchases, too. Higgeldy’s gonna throw a fit if you don’t.)
      Whatever, I just felt like saying a bit more. Have fun with the game. It’s a blast.
      –Claire

Blessed Ones Design: Resource Management

Japanese RPGs used to have very little focus on cutscenes, characters, or dialog and instead were all about diving into dungeons and fighting monsters that would kick your teeth in every few steps. Both the original Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy were what we now call dungeon crawlers: dungeons rarely featured boss fights, there were no save points outside of towns, and enemy encounters were designed to test your party’s endurance by hitting really hard or being tough to take down (making you spend more resources to defeat them efficiently). Final Fantasy had pretty much abandoned severe resource management by the time of Final Fantasy VI, but Dragon Quest kept at it, toning down the encounters somewhat and adding more boss fights in dungeons (this article explains this in more depth than I can elucidate now). Emulating this specific kind of dungeon crawler was a major design goal for Blessed Ones, but we spent a lot of time thinking about how to handle it.

 

The most important decision we made was about MP and what kinds of resources would be available to the party. We argued for hours about completely ditching an MP system altogether (I was most definitely not a fan of that), but these debates really got to the core of what I find compelling about the resource management of Dragon Quest. When enemy encounters provide just the right amount of resistance, it makes me want to spend MP so I can get through them without having to spend more resources healing my party later. One huge problem with this implementation in the Dragon Quest series is there are a ton of abilities that cost 0 MP, including the one nobody ever thinks about – the Fight command! Claire argued that the reason 0 MP abilities are so much more preferable is because they’re effectively like driving a car with infinite gas mileage; sure you could have a car with 50 miles-per-gallon mileage, but that’s still completely dwarfed by being able to drive forever. In addition to that, many 0 MP abilities in Dragon Quest fulfill the same function as other abilities that do cost MP (namely, dealing damage). Why does the basic magic attack spell Blaze cost 2 MP when Fight is 0 MP for everyone and does at least the same amount of (and most likely much more) damage? Why should non-mage classes not have to think about managing MP at all? Through our arguments we determined the problem we needed to solve: how do you keep what I like about resource management, while also making sure the player won’t hesitate to spend resources in normal encounters?

 

We came up with two answers: 1) Make everything cost MP or 2) Make almost nothing cost MP. It’s important to keep in mind that whichever option we chose, the important thing is to balance all skills that fulfill similar functions against each other. MP is one of these balancing metrics, but there’s still a lot of other ones like damage, accuracy, range (eg. single target vs. group), or type effectiveness. The Pokemon games already do this by making every command cost 1 PP and varying the max PP a command starts (in addition to damage and accuracy).

 

We ultimately decided on option 1. This decision meant that even the Fight and Defend commands had to have a cost as well, which meant we could think of those as just another skill a class can use, which meant we could add flavor to those commands by giving them each a unique name and making each class more distinct (in fact we even toyed with the idea of putting those commands in the Skills sub-menu in the battle UI). I do feel that option 1 is more frustrating players to figure out, and it’s a little clumsy in Blessed Ones because we wanted long-term resource management to be important, meaning we needed to give every class a large MP pool to start with (starting the game with 150/150 MP is kinda weird). This is actually the opposite of how Magic: The Gathering resource management works, because in that game the player starts out with an empty resource pool every match and has to build it up from there. We’re still not completely set on this option, and we’ve discussed releasing an additional mode as a free update after release that re-balances the whole game to use option 2. If we did this that would also open up the potential to make each encounter group a lot more difficult, shifting the strategy from long-term resource management to short-term tactical decisions; right now the game tries to achieve a balance of both of those aspects. We also have ideas on iterations we could use for a sequel, which would make it play a bit closer to Magic’s intent.