I've been meaning to write up a post on this for quite some time now and it just kept getting pushed back with all the other craziness going on since launch. But, without further ado, here we go!
On Monday, January 29th we'll be releasing Content Patch One, our first major update to the game since launch. Some parts of this content patch have already been slowly going out since we initially announced it, including the surname system and the in-game lore books. However, the biggest "chunk" of content is definitely going to be the stuff coming out on Monday.
The Tradu Mines
The Tradu Mines are our end-game dungeon. It's a massive, sprawling subterranean complex that was built long ago, long even before the fall of Laegonelle, by the enigmatic Esasa, who you may have heard hints about during the Main Story Quest. You'll continue to find out more about them as you explore these dungeons and get your first glimpse of their culture and technology.
The dungeon features four wings, each with a different and unique design. Each wing has two bosses. These fights have been designed to really test your abilities in the game, and aren't your standard "stand around and shoot" experiences. Instead each one has unique mechanics which will force you to play the game in new and interesting ways. We anticipate that it will take seasoned groups several attempts to figure out and conquer each of these encounters.
Difficulty-wise, these fights have been tuned so that they can be accomplished by a group of Level 20 characters with Rare-level gear. If you have mostly Epic-level gear you may find the fights a little easier; but at the same time a lot of the challenge is actually figuring out the strategy needed to overcome them, so that's not something that higher-level gear will totally negate. But we just want to be clear that you don't have to farm the Wilds for a hundred hours to get Epic drops to do these -- the intent is that you basically hit max level, do a little grinding to get your basic Level 20 gear set, and then can hop right in assuming you prefer this type of PvE content over Open World PvP.
The dungeon also features a new World Boss, which must be summoned by gathering tokens which drop after each boss kill. The intent is that it will take multiple parties farming tokens and coming together to defeat the World Boss.
Note that on Monday, the first two wings of the dungeon will be playable, with the final two and the World Boss coming online a couple of weeks later. We hoped to get them all done for Monday's launch but a few things conspired against us to keep that from happening, including quite frankly the launch of the game going much better than we expected (which is a good problem to have, but also soaked up a lot of our time).
Loot System Improvements
One of the pieces of feedback we've been hearing, especially from players who have reached max level, is that the loot system can seem unfair. Part of that is because the current content, such as running World Bosses to get equipment drops, was just a band-aid while we were waiting on the new end-game dungeons to arrive. But part of it was also that it was just too RNG-dependent on who got what drops.
With this new patch, we're making a few changes to the loot system that should result in a better overall experience for everyone.
For the new end-game dungeons, whenever a boss is killed it will choose one person from the party to get a guaranteed piece of loot. At that point the person will be marked as having received their guaranteed loot from that dungeon for the day, and will be ineligible to receive guaranteed loot from that dungeon again until the following day. Note that for the purposes of this system, each wing of the Tradu Mines is considered a separate dungeon.
What this means in practice, is that assuming you have a group of five players, if you run the same dungeon wing 2.5 times (killing 5 bosses total), everyone in the group is guaranteed to get an equipment drop. This should eliminate situations where one person in the group seems to keep getting lucky over and over again with others getting nothing for their efforts.
Note that this guaranteed drop is in addition to the base drop chance that you have to get a drop from a boss. So it's entirely possible you may get another drop on top of your guaranteed one, it's just that this makes it such that you know there's a minimum number of drops you will definitely get. It also encourages you to not just do the same wing over and over again, since you greatly increase your loot chances by moving on to another wing after everyone has already gotten their guaranteed drop for the day in the previous one. At the same time, if you're in a more casual group that only has time to do a few runs per day, you can master a single wing and really get good at it without feeling like you're missing out.
A new Journal page will be introduced which shows you a list of all "Dungeons" in the game, and whether or not you are currently eligible to get a guaranteed drop from that dungeon. Once you've received your guaranteed drop, it will be indicated as such until the reset.
Changes to World Boss Loot
We're also making a change to the loot table of World Bosses. These were never really intended to be the primary method by which end-game groups were acquiring equipment drops, and it only led to a lot of problems with competition for shared resources in ways that were never meant to happen.
As such, we'll be modifying World Bosses so that they only drop their particular rings and capes, and they do not drop regular equipment. As part of this change, we'll be drastically increasing the drop rate of those rings and capes so that you can run the boss much fewer times to acquire them.
Finally, for World Bosses in particular the loot system will be changing such that it will no longer use the same "divided rewards" system as the rest of the game. Instead, there will be a minimum threshold of participation that is needed to get "credit" for the kill. Once that threshold is reached, you will receive a fixed chance to receive a reward. Therefore, there's no longer any penalty to bringing additional people to the World Boss raid, as they do not decrease your own chances of getting loot at all.
There will be a new level of loot introduced with the Tradu Mines dungeon. This is going to be slightly better gear than what's already been available via the World Bosses and Wilds. So the gear tiering system will look like this:
Tier 1-2: Uncommon and Rare Leveling Gear (1-19)
Tier 3: Rare Level 20 Gear (e.g. from higher-level leveling content, dungeons, and Wilds)
Tier 4: Epic Level 20 Gear (e.g. what's been available from Wilds and World Bosses previously)
Tier 4.25: Epic Level 20.25 Gear (available in the new Tradu Mines Dungeons)
Tier 5: Epic and Legendary Level 20 through 21 Gear (available in the upcoming Shard Dungeons)
Tier 6: Epic and Legendary Level 21 Gear (available in the upcoming Raids)
So essentially this new gear will feature new models and styling, and it will be slightly more powerful than what was available before, but it's not going to be as large of a jump as what will be available in the Shard Dungeons in Content Patch Two. Then the most powerful gear will be available in the Raids in Content Patch Three.
The Tournament of Mages
The Tournament of Mages is going to be a skills-based challenge designed to crown the "best Mage" in OrbusVR. The game is pretty simple: there will be a series of practice dummies which spawn in on a sequence. Each one only reacts to a certain Runemage spell (as indicated by a symbol above its head). Whoever can cast their spells the fastest and most reliably, and therefore defeat the dummies the fastest, is the winner.
Later next week we'll be releasing a "Practice Arena" where you can begin playing the game to hone your skills. We're keeping track of the best scores of those practice runs, and then we'll invite the mages that have shown a knack for the best times to participate in the public tournament, which will be held later in February.
We're really excited to bringing all this great new content to the game, and we'll see you on Monday! The patch should go live at 12 PM (Noon) US Central Time.