Iris Story Arc

Sign up here to join the upcoming mission Beta event.  This time we’re showing off three new kinds of mission content: story arcs, challenge missions, and holiday missions.

We have big plans for this guy.

The largest amount of new content is in our first story arc.  This begins by talking to Ambassador; every character now receives an introductory mission to speak with him.  Later on, Ambassador will help players keep track of different story arcs, as well as providing one of his own.  For now, he’ll explain a few things about how the ship is organized, then send you off to help Iris the Great, the elected archmage of the Mage’s Guild.  Of course, an experienced player can also cancel the introductory mission and go straight to Iris.

Or you can stop and chat with the receptionist for a little extra context.

The Iris Arc is intended to have high replayability. In some ways, it is the most complicated of all the ones we currently have planned, which is why it needs the most testing. Some mages support Iris as their leader. Some, known as the Red Sigil, want to replace her and take over the whole ship. And some are indifferent.

Mages get all the cool toys. Just look at this place!

As a hero, you’ll have several opportunities to affect the course of events, changing dialog and making the Red Sigil stronger or weaker in future missions. Without spoiling too much, we’ll say that there are three versions of the final mission in the arc with different effects on the enemies present, so you may want to play through multiple times and see what changes. And there is a badge which rewards making intelligent choices. Or just trying every combination of options in the arc. We won’t judge…

A clever response can pull indifferent mages to your side… or push them away.

While we hope everything flows smoothly when you play, we’re testing a lot of new features in the background.  Some dialog is voiced using automated voices.  They’re more limited than professional voice actors, but they’re also cheap and easy to reconfigure.  Multiple lines acknowledge you by name, at least in text, and at one point an NPC recognizes it if you’re playing a mage hero – or rather, if he thinks you’re a mage hero.

Your true backstory is, as always, up to you to decide in the character creator.

Outside of the Iris Arc, you’ll be able to try two challenge missions.  These are meant to be focused on combat rather than on intricate stories, though every mission has something to add.  Challenge missions should be challenging, but we’ll almost certainly change the balance based on your feedback.  In the future, they will provide higher rewards than story arc missions, matching their difficulty.

Everyone knows that bosses have all the good loot.

One mission is available from Dr. Strikewell.  To find her, go inside the hospital building at the northern end of Apotheosis city, and turn left on the first floor.  You’ll also meet her during the Iris Arc, so you can pick up her challenge mission at the same time.

Just like any modern hospital, this building handles many related tasks.

The other comes from Sword Blossom, who you’ll find in the engineering maintenance tunnels.  The entrance to her office is on the east side of Apotheosis City, near the bridge.  We recommend using flight to get over the chain-link fence if you don’t want to go around, or else jumping over from a hilltop.

If you see this, you’re in the right place.

Finally, the Snow Lair we showed off in late 2020 is now open to players.  To get in, go across the bridge to the hazard zone in the southern part of Apotheosis city, then head southwest, and look for a cave entrance.  In the cave is a portal to the Beta Club, which connects to the Snow Lair.  This area has three missions, plus several cool features like weather, snow drifts, and holiday-themed enemies.

The portal is out here because no one wants snow monsters getting loose in their backyard.

Many of you have been supporting our efforts for years; some of you probably heard about us for the first time this week.  When the mission Beta event opens, jump in and play for a while!  We are looking forward to your comments.  Registration for the event will begin on July 31st on the Ship of Heroes website, the event opens for donors on August 7th, and the event opens for non-donors on August 14th.  We’re deliberately opening the mission Beta a week early for our donors as a thank you for all of your contributions.  Which also means any game bugs will fall onto the donors first – sorry about that, but you guys can handle it.

 

The next newsletter will cover what has changed technically since the last time we invited the public into a beta event, which was about nine months ago.

Technical Notes:

1. When the beta opens, we will keep a list of known bugs updated on the forums. We have a few bugs – it is a beta, after all – and they are all currently of the “I can’t replicate that!” variety.  Help us track them down!

 

2. We also plan to post an updated list of commands, emotes, and general instructions on the SoH website as a reference.

 

3. We advise waiting until a few days before the event begins to download the game. We might be patching until that last minute, hypothetically… who are we kidding?  We’ll be patching until the last minute.  You can anticipate a 21 GB download.  The good news is, full downloads are much more stable than incremental patches.

 

4. Please remember that in Ship of Heroes, augments take the place of gear – you add them semi-permanently to your character, and they are generally always active. Infusions work like potions in other games; they give your character a specific boost for about one minute, or a direct heal.

 

5. When we devs play these missions, we get killed… some of us more often than others. So we are expecting that some players will think the game is too hard, while super-pros may think it too easy.  Be prepared!  And remember, there is no penalty for being killed in the current version of the game.  We’ve also given every player access to a rez power for reviving fallen teammates.

 

6. Again, the link to register for the Beta event is here.