Our fifth Closed Alpha test is quickly approaching! It will be held this Friday beginning at 12 PM (Noon) US Central Time, and last for approximately 35 hours. Here's a handy countdown clock so you can know when it's starting.
I'm pleased to report that we're making pretty good time getting everything that we wanted to do done for the test. Player trading is in, as well as the first version of the Alchemy crafting discipline (which we'll discuss in just a moment). In addition to that, we've re-done some of the way that the NPC interaction works in the game, and we're trying to get some of our first "real" quests in for the test in the form of our initial player tutorial. Lots to look forward to! But for now, let's focus on Alchemy.
The science of mixing stuff together
At its core, we want Alchemy to feel like a mixture of a precise endeavor along with that of being a mad scientist, combining powerful (and often barely understood) ingredients together to see what happens. Is it possible you might lose an eyebrow or two or turn your skin green in the process? Yes! But you'll also have the opportunity to make some truly neat stuff that will cause your fellow players to come clambering for your creations.
The basic core of Alchemy is pretty simple and straightforward. You'll find that you now have a little cauldron sitting on the table in your house. Like the Lure Crafting station, it has its own little chest where you can place Alchemy ingredients, which will then appear on the Alchemy table for you to pick up and use.
To being creating a potion, just toss an ingredient into the cauldron. The pot will begin to bubble as the ingredient is absorbed and begins to affect the potion. At this point, the potion will begin to change, going through a series of "colors" (you can think of this as the potion "cooking"). When it's reached the proper stage, you add the next ingredient. Rinse and repeat until the potion is completed, at which point you grab an empty bottle and dip it into the cauldron to finish the procedure and claim your reward.
That means that an Alchemy recipe is made up not only of a set of ingredients, but also correct timing for adding each ingredient to the pot. For example, the recipe for creating a Basic Healing Potion is:
Add 1 Queen's Ear
Wait until the potion turns Green
Add 1 Roto Spore, 1 Jocud Osheoth, and 1 Queen's Ear right after each other (while the potion is still Blue)
Wait until the potion turns Yellow
Add 1 Sunfish
Finish the potion by dipping in your empty bottle (while the potion is still Blue)
...and now you've got a basic Healing Potion! Higher-level potions will require harder to find ingredients, as well as a more complicated set of steps to create the potion.
If you mess up a recipe by using an incorrect ingredient or mis-timing the potion, you'll end up with a Ruined Potion...you can still try drinking it, but you may not be happy with the results.
Advanced Potions: Aging
In addition to creating basic potions, we've added a special twist that we're very excited about: potion aging. Basically, every potion that you create can be aged by placing it in a special "potion rack" in the basement of your house. While on the rack, the potion will age over time. Potions all have an additional effect that will trigger once they reach a certain age. For example, a Healing Potion which has been aged at least one in-game week (which would be around 35 real-time hours) will become an Aged Healing Potion. In addition to healing the imbiber, it will also provide a heal-over-time effect, making it even more useful.
In addition to basic aging, if you want to really dive into the secrets of the alchemical arts you can experiment with long-term aging of your potions to unlock some truly interesting effects. Some potions may require months of aging to unlock their true potential. But don't leave it on your rack too long or it will eventually spoil and then it's worthless...
In addition to adding some mystery and experimentation to the game, the aging process is interesting from an economy standpoint as well. If there is a shortage of aged healing potions for end-game content, which will be very helpful for conquering high-level dungeons, you can't simply farm a bunch of extras at the moment when you need them. We anticipate that there will be an ebb and flow to the supply of aged potions, and truly dedicated mixologists that have a stockpile ready at the right time could make a very good income on having these to sell to other players. The aged versions aren't so much better than their non-aged counterparts that you can't play without them, but they definitely give an edge to well-prepared groups who are tackling tough dungeons.
Note that the ability to age potions might not make it in this test depending on how quickly we get things done.
Once you've created a potion, it can be equipped to your Tool slot (like the Harvester). Once there, you can simply grab the potion off of your belt, bring it up to your mouth, and "drink" it to use the potion. Potions are stackable items, and for example if you have 5 Healing Potions equipped, you can use each one in turn without needing to re-equip them. Of course, since Tools are considered equipment, you cannot equip potions once you are in combat, so be sure to consider what potions you might want to take with you before the battle gets underway. There is also a cooldown which prevents you from drinking your potions too rapidly.
Some potions are meant to be used in combat (like Healing Potions), while others provide you with long-term buffs that persist through death (such as the Empowered Strikes potion) -- you just need to drink those once every now and then, in-between fights to keep the effect up.
Here's a list of the potions that will be available during the Closed Alpha test this weekend:
Healing Potion: A basic potion which can cure light wounds of the imbiber.
Luck Potion: A rare potion which increases the luck of its user, leading to higher rates of treasure. Lasts for one hour and persists through death.
Giant Potion: A potion which can make its user giant for a very short period of time...mostly as a fun distraction. Cannot be used in combat.
Empowered Strikes Potion: A potion which increases the critical strike chance of the imbiber for one hour. Persists through death.
Speed Potion: A rare potion which greatly increases the movement speed of the imbiber for a short period of time.
We'll be releasing the recipes for some of these potions on the Wiki as we get closer to the test. In the live game, Alchemy recipes will be acquired through a combination of quests with the Master Alchemist and through exploring the world and finding them in ruins, books, etc.
See you in-game on Friday!