Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guide To Upgrading To A Valley Without Wind 1.2 From 1.0 Or 1.1

So!  You've played A Valley Without Wind before, but then you've been a way for a bit and we went and changed everything behind your back while you weren't looking.

And now there's all these shiny new features that you're excited about, but you feel like a newbie at the game and don't really know what part of your prior knowledge is valid anymore.  Learning and re-learning the same game in different ways could be tiresome.

The good news is, it's not as bad as all that.  Despite the enormity of the changes to the game in terms of feel and amount of content and even numbers of activities available to you, the core mechanics of the game -- the platforming and combat -- haven't changed one iota.  So you still know how to get around the world, how to fight, how to light your way or explore, etc.

What has particularly changed, aside from the aforementioned onslaught of new content (which I think anyone can get behind) is more of the "metagame" aspects.  Why you take this or that action; how you go about getting the spells you use; how a particular mission type functions, etc.

This guide is designed to give you the quick and dirty rundown from 1.0 to now about what has changed and why, so that you don't have to read tens of thousands of words of release notes to get that information.

And as for the content -- dozens of new monsters, hundreds of new room templates, lots of new buildings, an entire new region type, etc -- I'm not even going to touch on that sort of thing here, because the fun is in exploring and finding that stuff, anyway.  This guide is focused on helping you translate your knowledge of the old way the game worked into the new way the game works, and nothing more.

If you want the full release notes, they are here (and they are long):
Version 1.1 Release Notes
Version 1.2 Release Notes

Consciousness Shards And The Opal Guardian Store (Added In 1.1)
It used to be that there were 6 different colors of consciousness shards, and they were used for casting guardian powers.  Now guardian powers are used for free, and there is only one color of consciousness shard.

Also -- enemies drop consciousness shards in addition to health.  Hooray, loot drops from enemies!  That was something a lot of people didn't like not having in a game like this which vaguely resembles an RPG (even though it is not an RPG).

These consciousness shards, in turn, are something you spend on the Opal Guardian Store, which is new in the settlements.  So basically shards = currency.

The store lets you buy a wide variety of things, and you'd do well to look around in there and see what might interest you.  Some things are very expensive and only meant to be bought when "the random number generator hates you," i.e. when you can't find that thing via normal free-exploration.  A good example of this would be the wind shelter guardian power scrolls.

Procedural Spells! (New In 1.2)
It used to be that the 50-something spells all worked one way.  So you could find a favorite spell, combine it with some enchants on your body to pump it up even further, and then be stuck in that rut forevermore.  Where was the chance for experimentation?

Now each spellgem that you find in the world, or that you craft, has procedural bonus qualities to it.  So as you play, you'll find more and more powerful spellgems with various cool effects that weren't there before.  And the 50-something base spells suddenly have thousands of possible combinations.  So be prepared to experiment more, experience more of the game, and basically break out of any rut you may have found yourself in!

Paired with that, the base spell balance was vastly improved as part of 1.1 in general, as we developed a new mathematical model to better help us do our balance work.

Changes To World Map Missions (Changed In 1.2)
There are now only 8 missions per continent at most, and they all give only one kind of reward: a spellgem.  All the players who are in the mission area at the time of success get a copy of the spellgem.

No More CP (Civilization Progress; Changed In 1.1)
It used to be that the way that the world would progress was by CP going up and up.  And the way that CP went up was through your completion of world map missions.  This was bad on several levels, but mostly because it was punishing you for something that seemed to have no correlation to what you were being punished for.  And the game wasn't supposed to be punishing you in the first place, but that's how it wound up feeling.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that CP is gone, so you don't need to look for it -- there are also no hidden consequences for doing any mission, anywhere, that you see.  If you want to do it, then just do it and that's that!  No need to worry you're suddenly going to be underpowered compared to the rest of the continent.

So how exactly does the continent increase in tier (now level) in 1.2?  More on that in just a bit.

"Tiers" Have Become "Levels" (Changed In 1.2)
Functionally speaking, it's a lot more than a name change; but it doesn't affect you until you switch continents.  If you played more than one continent in the 1.0 or 1.1 versions of the game, then you know we were describing that kind of as a "New Game+" experience: you'd lose some things, like your spells, but keep other things, like your enchants and unlockables.

That was unpopular, and now we have a better way figured out to handle that.  Now there are simply "levels" instead of tiers, and that's a lot more like an RPG.  The balance is all basically the same as in 1.0 or 1.1, but the levels just go up and up as you go from one continent to the next.

So in other words, continent 1 is levels 1-5, continent 2 is level 6-10, etc.  That has a number of cool ramifications, such as your being able to keep your level 5/6 spells while still having something new to strive for.  It also makes it so that some of the unlockables that seem impossible if you are on continent 1 suddenly become feasible if you return from continent 2 to continent 1 after you've leveled up a bit more.

Lastly, it also means that if you unlock something like the Nightfall spell, that's it -- you have it forever.  It doesn't have levels (and never had tiers), so there's no need to re-learn it on every continent.  That was annoying.

Levels Go Up By Killing Lieutenants (Changed In 1.1)
Now each overlord has 4 lieutenants instead of 3.  Also, they no longer directly go to his aid in his throne room, but rather lend him 2 levels for each of them that is still alive.  The overlord thus starts out much higher-level than you could ever hope to take on, but as you kill lieutenants he drops lower and lower.

The lieutenant towers have also been streamlined and made smaller, so that they aren't a chore to go through.  And they have interesting traps and other things of that nature in them now, to mix it up some, too.

The very act of defeating a lieutenant (and you can take your pick as to which one) is a demonstration that you are ready for the next level.  So when the level goes up after you killed the lieutenant... this is okay, and you're prepared.  There's no "oops, now things are too hard for a while" moment there.  You can't "accidentally" kill off a lieutenant.

Changes To Spell Crafting (Changed In 1.2)
Since spells are now procedural, as mentioned above, that makes them unique.  And so the old model of "learn once, equip as many times as you want" doesn't make any sense anymore.  Now you can either get a spell as a mission reward, or you can choose to craft it at a certain level.

This means: once you have a spellgem, you'll want to hang onto it until it's too low level and you no longer need it.  Then you can drop it into the incinerator in town and get some consciousness shards for it.

It also means that the Equip section of the crafting menu is gone; in its place, you can now hold down alt and drag items in your inventory to make copies of a single item on multiple inventory rows.  This is enormously superior to the old Equip menu, because this even works on non-spell items like wood platforms -- which has been a major request from players for quite some time.

So where do you get ingredients now, anyway?  Common ingredients are all found in the same places they always were (and you can look in the materials reference if you don't remember).  But knock down a cherry tree and get a cherry, break a vase and get some clay, etc.

Arcane ingredients were previously solely granted by missions, but now missions never give them.  Instead you find these in stash rooms during your free exploration.  Something else you'll find from time to time are "rarity orbs" which let you craft especially powerful versions of spells that you want.

As part of all this, all the crafting costs for all the spells were redone, so that will be familiar and yet different at the same time; we kept to the original spirit of most of them, but had to change around the specifics since they no longer vary in cost by what level they are (since there are infinite levels as opposed to 5 tiers).

More Starting Arcane Ingredients, But Some Specific Spells Need Unlocking (Changed In 1.2)
So the idea is that many more of the arcane ingredients started out unlocked now.  Copper and iron ore, for instance, and clay and cherries.  Previously you could shoot yourself in the foot by over-exploring before unlocking those materials, and now you can't do that.

On the other hand, unlocking stuff is fun.  So now some of the more esoteric spells that were being gated by material-unlockables in the past are now directly gated by unlockables on themselves.  So for instance if you want all four kinds of shield spells, there are specific unlockables to look into.

More On Rarity Orbs (Added In 1.2)
I should mention that the old "Tier Orbs" went away, since they became pointless with the change to the level system.  So when you get a new spellgem or craft one, you get it at the current level of your world plus one.  Easy enough.

In their place, however, there are now rarity orbs.  Normally a spell that you get is considered Common.  But in stash rooms you can find Uncommon and Rare orbs.  Killing a lieutenant will sometimes give an Epic orb, and killing an overlord always gives a Legendary orb.

When you combine those with the regular crafting ingredients for a spell, you can make a more powerful version of that spell.  Not only do they get more procedural effects applied to themselves, but also those spells will automatically level up for a while.

A common spell of level 6 would have to be crafted or found again at level 7 (or you'd have to craft or find some other common spell).  But an uncommon spell of level 6 would automatically go up to level 7 when you leveled up.  A rare spell of level 6 would go all the way to level 8, and so on.

Elite Monsters (Added In 1.1)
This is bordering on being just new content, but I'm going to mention it anyhow.  As the level of a given continent goes up, the overlord now gets to spend some points internally on unlocking special "elite" versions of various monsters.

These elite versions of monsters look the same as their regular counterparts, but have different behaviors, stats, skills, and so forth.  So suddenly you find yourself facing Sonic Bats rather than regular bats once the level goes up on one continent.  Whereas on the next continent you might always face regular bats, but instead you're facing Skelebot Tre-Elementalists.

Etc.  I bring this up mainly so that you aren't surprised by the discrepancy between continents -- the fact that continents are unique compared to one another is actually really cool.

Enchant Acquisition Methods (Changed In 1.1, And Then Further In 1.2)
Wow this has changed a lot.  But most of it is just "of course it works better that way" sort of improvements, so going into it in detail is probably not the best use of your reading time.  Essentially:

- The quality of the enchants that you get now starts off higher.
- When you join a multiplayer game late, you now get catchup enchants immediately.
- Enchant quality doesn't improve by how many of that enchant you get, but rather increases as your world level goes up.

New "Upgrade" Enchant Slots, No More Upgrade Stones (Changed In 1.1)
Upgrade stones were neat in concept for customizing your character, but they were never able to be balanced properly.  If you were doing poorly or just starting, then they were annoyingly scarce.  If you had been playing for a while and were doing well, they were in pointless abundance.

So we took out upgrade stones and instead added three new enchant slots: Health, Attack, and Mana.  These basically work exactly the same as the upgrade stones did, except that you can switch around how many points are allocated into each slot at will in "safe zones" (whenever you are in a settlement, mission staging area, warp gate, or destroyed room).

This makes things a lot more flexible, lets you experiment with different builds, and doesn't punish you when your character dies.  Hooray!  Better all around, and quite simple to use.  You get the upgrade enchants for cheap at the opal guardian store.

New "Feet" Enchant Slot (Added In 1.1)
Previously, the jump-related enchants were all on your Legs slot; which meant that all the other enchants on your Legs slot got just about no use if you were like most players.  So we split it out so that now the jump-related stuff is all on the Feet slot, and the rest of the Legs stuff thus became viable to use alongside it.

And if you're averse to jump-related enchants (as some players noted they were), we added some "elven boots" for the feet enchant slot that give some minor bonuses of various sorts without being jump-related.  Most players will ignore the elven boots, and that's perfectly fine.

Loot Goals (aka Shopping Lists; Added In 1.1)
When you want to craft a specific spell, that takes a variety of ingredients to do so.  If you find that you need to go search out several of those at once, it might be a while.  The encyclopedia in-game has all the information to remind you of what you're searching for, but it can be tedious to go back to that repeatedly to try to remind yourself what you were looking for, especially if you're pursuing several spells at once.

Thus the "loot goals" feature was added.  It's just a button on the interface whenever you are looking at the crafting screen or encyclopedia screen for a spell, and it lets you basically add that spell to your shopping list.  Then anytime you hit the Escape key to bring up the in-game menu, you also will see your shopping list, and your progress towards your goals.  Much easier to keep track of, that way!

Heavily Revised Missions (Changed In 1.1)
Fix the Anachronism, Supply Depot Meteor Storm, Journey To Perfection, and Lava Escape missions have all been heavily redone based on player feedback.  To the point of almost being different missions compared to their 1.0 counterparts in a lot of cases.  There is also a more gradual ramp-up in difficulty on these and other missions that started out really hard right at the start.

If you tried one of these mission types in the 1.0 version and were really turned off by it, know that you stand a much better chance of enjoying them now.  Worth another look, anyway.

New Windstorm Mechanics (Changed In 1.1)
Windstorms previously used to buff up the strength of monsters.  Now, instead, monsters remain the same but your health constantly drains while you're in a windstorm.  The further into windstorm areas you go, the more pronounced this effect.  The windstorm won't kill you outright, but will take you all the way down to 1 health where the slightest tap from an enemy will kill you.

So the strategy for staying alive in windstorms is to kill monsters often enough that you outpace the health drain.  Or just avoid windstorms as much as you can by building wind shelters!

Revised Ocean Experience (Changed In 1.1, Then Further In 1.2)
At 1.0, the ocean tile experience was seriously lacking.  First of all, there were several bugs preventing much from seeding there of any interest.  Secondly, there was the annoying mechanic that when you jumped out of your canoe into the ocean, you'd wind up stranded in the middle of the ocean (unlike all the other regions).  And there were some super annoying bugs with tall walls at the edge of each ocean chunk, etc, requiring lots of vertical movement.

Now the oceans work more consistently with other regions, the bugs are fixed, and there are new goodies that seed there.  Plus there are now some mysterious floating underwater vessels that actually let you get stash rooms in the ocean, which is a new thing.  That makes oceans actually valid for exploring to a similar degree as other regions, whereas before they were basically deadlands that could block you on the world map but little more.

So don't overlook these just because of how they used to be!

Exploit Closed: Clamping The Ranges Of Player Spells (Changed In 1.1)
Most players don't even notice this.  But if you were one of the clever souls who figured out that with projectile speed increases you could just snipe bosses from way offscreen, then know that loophole has now been closed.  Where was the fun in that?

More Mystery Clues, New Ways To Find Them (Changed In 1.2)
The number of mystery clues in the game has more than doubled; which lets you at a lot more lore to help you figure out just what is going on with this strange and broken world.

However, at 1.0 in particular a lot of people didn't even find the mystery clues that were already there.  That was because the puzzle rooms that would grant you a clue were extremely rare, and were the only way to get said clues.  The mystery rooms were also really unpopular.  Now the mystery rooms are gone, and secret missions will grant you a mystery clue in addition to their regular reward if you've currently got a mystery unlocked and in-progress.

New Character Selection Process (Changed In 1.1)
In 1.0 you got a lengthy list of characters to choose from, but if you didn't like any of them you had to choose one, suicide them, and then try again.  Now the character select screen is more informative in general, only gives you four options at a time (so no scrolling), but gives you a Re-Roll option.  It also lets you filter by time period if you're looking for a specific time period.

Related to this there are now time-period-specific bonuses to characters that give them things like bonuses to scouting, or to melee protection, or whatever else.  And also there are new Glyph Retirement Scrolls added in 1.2 that let you peaceably retire one character (without suiciding them!) and choose a new character.

Oh, and as soon as you choose a new character you get to choose if you want to rename them or not.

Revised Mechanics For "The Deep" (Changed In 1.1)
In the past, we had The Deep using regular monsters but making them two levels higher.  That had various kinds of ramifications, few of them great.  Now The Deep has its own unique monsters (as so many regions do now), and the tier buff has been removed.

Those monsters from The Deep are really unusually tough, though -- as if they were two levels higher, even though they are not.  That means when they migrate out of the Deep (starting when two of the lieutenants are dead on the continent), their difficulty inherently spills over into nearby regions.  Watch out for that!

Multiplayer Improvements (Some In 1.1, More In 1.2)
There have been a number of new anti-griefing admin commands added in 1.1.  Also the ability to rename your actual profile name both before connecting to a server and anytime.

There have been other balance changes to encourage players to work together as well as to specialize more.  The inventory of crafting ingredients is no longer shared, but each player in a chunk gets a copy of the ingredient at once.  And when players play together, monsters do not get quite the same health multiplier that they used to; you can still adventure apart as much as you like, and with good success, but working together is now clearly much more favored.

A Whole New Citybuilding System (New In 1.2)
This is one of the biggest features of 1.2, along with the procedural spells and improvements to how levels/tiers work.  The long explanation is here: A Strategy Guide For Citybuilding In A Valley Without Wind 1.2

The short explanation is that, basically, you can now build a variety of structures on the world map.  These in turn help your NPCs, and you can also get a bunch of items that you find in stashes to help your NPCs.  Once your NPCs have a certain profession skill and positive mood, you can send them on Dispatch Missions to do things for you in return: find rare crafting ingredients, attack the overlord or ice pirates, and so on.

And That's Basically It!
There's a lot of new content, and things like infestations that show up in chunks and make things interesting with traps and whatnot.  Tons of new enemies of new sorts, and even new ways that bosses get elemental bonuses to encourage experimentation.

But the thing is, all of that is incidental to play -- it's all important and a big improvement compared to 1.0 or 1.1 as the case may be, but it's not something that requires any re-training on your part.  When you see it you'll "get it," and it will be just one of those interesting things that you find via exploration in a vast procedural world.

What this upgrade guide has been focused on is solely stuff that we thought might trip you up, or things that you might have overlooked based on them being particularly underwhelming (and off to the side) in prior versions of the game.

Hopefully this serves as a nice consolidated resource for anyone who played 1.0 but then saw those giant release notes and felt some trepidation at wading back into the game.  I felt like 1.1 was practically a different game compared to 1.1, and even though 1.2 is smaller in scope its changes are even more substantial in other ways -- it really does play like a different, much more fun game than even 1.1.  We hope you enjoy!


Tankor Smash said...

AVWW 1.2 is actually called 1.115 or something right? My game only got updated about that far,as of a few minutes ago

Christopher M. Park said...

Yep, the final version hasn't yet come out, but that's the latest at the moment. No worries! :)

TyberZann said...

AVWW is currently doing release candidates for 1.2. So it is essentially 1.2 right now but they are checking for bugs before they officially call it 1.2.