Three months ago, we decided to postpone our release date to give the final material more polish. The result of that decision was our previous update, “The Neighbors”, that introduced the neighboring settlements mechanic and many other improvements and features.
In Update 14 we focused on polish and ease of life while rebalancing the skill tree and other problem areas, and adding some new content and mechanics.
In this update, we continue the polish and problem-solving trend, while still adding some new content and mechanics that we felt were missing. One of the problems we tried to tackle was repetitiveness in later stages of the game, and we did that by adding more unique items and making enemies different from one another in more than just some stats.
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A full list of changes, check out our Steam post.
More Unique Demons
Survival in the harsh world of Judgement is in no way easy, but we also didn’t want it to be predictable. We offered a wide range of equipment and abilities that can shake up combat and turn the tides of the battle, but so far it has been pretty much one-sided. In update 15 we change that.
Many higher tier enemies will now have new, powerful, passive abilities that may very well require you to change your standard strategy based on your enemy’s composition. A Succubus will create an aura that will bedazzle male survivors around it. Others will rend your armor, cause splash damage or more lasting damage than normal.
More enemy abilities will be added in subsequent updates.
One of the biggest concerns we’ve heard from you, the community, in the past few months has been concerning traders. We heard that the mechanic is not serving its purpose and is pretty much useless.
We were in a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, we didn’t want traders to be overpowered and provide an easy way for players to gain high tier equipment, making research and crafting redundant. On the other hand, we did want them to be a viable way to boost your strength, and for the arrival of traders to be something that players look forward to.
So in this update, we’ve made some changes to improve traders. First, we increased the chance of a trader offering something that the player will be interested in. Traders will now offer more items, a few of which are guaranteed to be equipment. We also changed the item selection algorithm, instead of being completely random, we now try to prioritize at least a few items that you are likely to be interested in, in your current situation. This algorithm is moddable and can be tweaked. Second, we added some valuable items that can only be acquired through trade. Last, we increased the selling price of equipment to 25%, like raw materials, so it’s a bit easier to acquire enough scrap to buy valuable equipment.
So far in the beta branch, the feedback has been positive and we believe we got this right, although we may still tweak and improve it.
As explained above, traders will now offer a new range of usable items that are capable of benefiting the players in numerous ways. You will find journals that allow you to retrain your survivor’s skills, get an XP boost or learn an entirely new skill. Others may gain you research points, or help you rescue additional survivors to join your colony.
In the Inventory window, there is now a new “Use” tab that lets you use these items that you purchased.
Auras & Splash Damage
Two new combat mechanics have been added - Auras, and Splash Damage.
Auras are a passive ability that can boost or debuff surrounding units. The Succubus, for example, now debuffs male survivors around it, making them less efficient. Two new items that your survivors can wield have been added as well, providing various benefits to surrounding survivors.
Splash damage is a passive modifier that allows a unit’s basic attacks to deal a percent of its damage to other units surrounding its target. For example, the fire-spitting Caorthannach will deal 50% of it’s damage to other survivors. Shotguns will deal some of their damage to surrounding enemies as well.
We hope these new mechanics will increase the tactics involved in combat missions further beyond cover, flanking and active abilities.
This feature has been requested many times by the community – the ability to designate ‘rally points’ for your survivors, pre-selected positions they should take when the demons invade. A new ‘Defense Planning Mode’ option in the Colony Management window, will let you view each survivor’s designated position and assign new positions.
You will also get two warnings before any imminent invasion to your base – one will be in time to recall some of your task forces back to base, and another one right before the invasion, just in time to activate the defense plan and send your survivors to their defensive positions.
Temporary and Lasting Damage
Another feature strongly influenced by community feedback, Temporary Damage is a new mechanic that has a meaningful effect on the flow of the game. Most of the damage your survivors receive will now be temporary. This damage can be healed using medkits or other active combat abilities and is also automatically healed as soon as the fight is over.
A smaller percent of that damage will be longer term ‘Lasting Damage’, and can only be healed by resting at your base or by using medicine at the infirmary. Natural healing has also changed a little, survivors will no longer regain health while working, however, they will regain health much faster while sleeping.
This new mechanic allows you to engage in multiple fights in distant biomes before being forced back to camp, making exploration less tedious but also deeper strategically, as you now have to carefully consider your survivor’s health both inside and outside of combat.
You can read more about this in our Dev Diary post.
Every update we deal with the arduous task of making Judgement both challenging yet rewarding. Whenever a new mechanic or new content are introduced, we have to make sure they don’t make the game too easy or too hard, and we always strive to improve our difficulty curve to be gradual and make sense.
There have been many changes under the hood in Update 15, many of them aimed toward the mid and late game, something that will become even more important as we get closer to the full release of the game that will be longer with more content.
We reworked the random enemy generator used for scavenging, defense, rescue and much more. It is now more flexible to control, and we used that flexibility to make the difficulty curve more gradual and scale better.
As always, we also offer a wide range of visual updates and improvements. There have been improvements to many structures and doodads such as barrels and bodies, and you should see this mostly in new the slums biome maps. We’ve also improved the blackish fog that covers the world post-demon-invasion.
Another new feature will make all armor worn by survivors visible in the game view, although this can be disabled via the options menu if you prefer to see the customizable clothing of your survivors.
We’ve updated the modding guide[modding.judgmentgame.com] to match our latest changes and explained some of the previously unexplained mechanics around the enemy generator algorithm[judgment.wikia.com]. We also included in the latest build pretty much all the configuration files that were previously not included, such as those configuring the random events and the possible portrait combinations for survivors you find. Most of these are not yet covered in the guide but feel free to check the original files and ask us questions (preferably through our Discord Server[discordapp.com]) if you don’t understand something.
Other company news
In addition to our effort in improving Judgment we have some other company news as well. A new team member, Harel, has joined us and taken over many of the design, marketing, and community management aspects.
We also recently launched a new Discord Server[discordapp.com] which you are welcome to join. We are very easy to reach through there, and you’re welcome to chat with us, other survivors or leave feedback / bug reports. We have a Settlement Name Poll going on right now, where you can offer names for settlements that will be added in the full release.
Previous saves and mods
Happily, the changes in Update 15 allowed us to continue to support older saved games, from Update 14. You should be able to continue your previous saves without any issues, even most of the balancing changes should easily catch up once you update.
Many mods written for previous versions should be able to work with this new update as well, but some, especially those adding or modifying world map biomes or difficulty settings will need to be updated. Also, any mods adding enemies or items in tiers higher than those we have in the game will need to make some updates to support traders and the new enemy generation algorithm. See here for a list of backward-compatibility breaking changes[judgment.wikia.com].
Older versions of the game are available through the "Betas" tab of steam (right click the game in the library, choose properties, then the betas tab, and select the version you want from the drop-down).