Sword Coast Legends had a solid start with its first community pack, the first of four updates to the game meant to overhaul the quality and respond to player feedback.
The release date for the second community pack seems to have been bumped back a bit, which means we probably won’t be seeing the third pack or Rage of Demons update anytime soon, but the company has been trying to stay on top of player communication, and as such, has decided to at least preview the patch contents before they drop.
New Playable Race: The Drow
The highlight of this community pack is, unfortunately, something to shrug your shoulders at. New races add something to aesthetic and character choice, but they hardly make up for much-needed gameplay overhauls. The drow are an iconic Dungeons and Dragons race, however, and it makes sense that they’ve been added in.
Fortunately, there’s another addition in this community pack that might refine the gameplay significantly.
Death Improvements and Hardcore Mode
In my own review of Sword Coast Legends, I made it very clear that the pause-based mechanics of the game take a backseat to the Diablo style gameplay that overshadows the need to do any actual planning, replaced instead with potion chugging and button mashing. This is made even worse by the fact that the “stabilize” mechanic is an impossible to interrupt action that lets you bring unconscious characters back to life in seconds.
Fortunately, it seems there might be a need to revisit the main campaign, because the company actually paid attention to this complaint. In a surprising twist, n-Space has made the game more difficult, as stabilizing will not only take longer to perform, but the character trying to carry out the action will actually fail if damage is dealt during that time.
To make the game even more intense, there’s going to be a “hardcore” mode that will allow players to disable the stabilize action during combat, meaning each fight will force you to actually consider the consequences of characters falling unconscious.
Another shrug-worthy option but a welcome quality of life upgrade for players who have enjoyed the online component to the game. Players can now enable an alternative loot system that individualizes item drops, rather than having the traditional click-spam every-man-for-himself loot grabbing that follows the death of an enemy.
New Additions to the Campaign Creator and Dungeon Master Mode
Again, not too exciting given the limitations of the map editing system, but with a promised tile-based level editor coming in community pack 3, these minor additions to the system will be a huge plus later on.
These additions include:
- New placeable objects and visual effects.
- A variety of preset village locations are now available for Dungeon Masters to use.
- Ambient NPC text can be placed on characters for added flavor.
- Locations can now be locked and unlocked within multiplayer games by the Dungeon Master, allowing for more interactive storytelling.
A sort of precursor to the actual map editor, this will let Dungeon Masters fiddle with the pre-generated areas that they have to choose from. They can create entrances and exits, delete existing structures and areas, and generally try to make the pre-designed zones into something of their own.
Of course, this is no real replacement for the incoming, much-needed map editor, but it is a start, and it will allow people who are new to the system to have a bit more freedom to create what they want.
No surprise here.
In the end, the most exciting change on this list is undoubtedly the overhaul to the stabilize mechanic. The fact that characters falling unconscious will no longer be trivialized will at least give players a reason to consider utilizing the pause-based mechanics while at the same time demanding the implementation of strategy for the sake of survival.
Hopefully, this update mitigates the Diablo-style combat and pushes it into the realm of the traditional RPG.
With another community update to go, along with the inevitable Rage of Demons expansion, n-Space is doing a great deal to win over the community.