Welcome survivors, to another Judgment dev diary.
In our last diary I focused on the new professions that will be introduced in the full release. Today I want to continue this trend by talking about endgame weapons and armor.
In Judgment, most weapons, armor, and accessories are gated behind tier-based research that requires unique research materials. These materials, in turn, are most commonly found in the outside world, protected by higher-tier enemies - so you need to defeat tier 3 enemies before you can unlock tier 3 research. Acquiring the necessary research materials and advancing to the next research tier is one of the more challenging milestones in the game..
The current Early Access version includes the first three tiers. The release version will include new items in existing tiers and two additional tiers, essentially doubling the amount of content in the game. These are accompanied by new, more dangerous foes, the very lords of hell, but I will write about those in a future dev diary. For now, I want to discuss your tools for fighting those demons.
The task to design new weapons for the full release was twofold. It included both coming up with convincing and interesting weapons, but also finding ways to fill up holes we had in our previous weapon roster.
Many of our survivors have starting skills that provide benefits when using certain types of weapons – such as bonuses to pistols, tech weapons, automatic weapons and such. However, some categories didn’t have enough useful weapons to complement them.
Finding suitable weapons to fit into the previous three tiers had been fun, and resulted in some cool new weapons such as the Holy Preacher and the Witchbane - new lower tier occult weapons.
The main task, however, was designing endgame weapons. The goal here is not just to make more powerful and interesting weapons – but to slowly add more tactical options as the player progresses in the game. The lords of hell can not be defeated by sheer brute force - it will also require the cunning application of abilities and powers. Higher tier weapons do not rely on more damage alone, but also on stronger and more diverse effects and abilities.
Some of these new weapons are simply a linear progression of weapons you already know – the Sniper Rifle leads to the 50-Caliber Rifle and finally to an advanced, tech-based sniper rifle that fires guided projectiles and offers incredible range and accuracy. Similarly, the Coilgun will be replaced by the mightier Railgun as you advance in the tiers, then by a Laser Rifle and a Beam Cannon – all adding increasingly powerful focused shot abilities.
Other weapons offer far more interesting options. The tier 5 Bazooka has low fire rate and accuracy but is buffed by an incredibly powerful splash damage effect that makes it a superb weapon against tight groups of demons. The Minigun will quickly dispatch hordes of low-health enemies such as hell hounds, but will prove less effective against more robust opponents. The Incinerator and Acid Gun will deal splash damage that applies a burning effect, reducing the armor of the demon horde and softening them for an effective long-range attack.
It was also a chance to add weapons that had some interesting and unorthodox inspiration, including allusions to theology, such as the the Angelic Arbalest, a divine bow forged in heaven. Another interesting creation is the the Acid Gun, a steampunk-esque invention hailing back to the days of alchemy, now crafted with advanced technology.
Adding additional armor choices had been a somewhat more challenging task, so I focused on the end goal – adding armors that aren’t just better, but also open new tactical options and active combat abilities. Thinking about what sort of abilities I wanted to be granted by the new armor pieces helped me, in turn, come up with the armor choices themselves.
So, in tier 5, you will unlock the Combat Suit that gives a temporary buff to damage while the Rocket Suit gives a significant boost to movement speed. Unlike the Holy Armor in tier 2, a Paladin’s Vestment does not grant the active bless ability, but has a bless aura that allows the champion to lead troops into battle. The Armor of Souls is a new dark armor that grants a passive buff to damage, while Gaia's Wrath is an incredibly rare and powerful nature armor that can make its wearer nearly invulnerability to damage, temporarily, at the cost of speed.
In conclusion, the full release comes with dozens of new weapons and armor – we only touched a fragment of what we plan to include. Keep following our dev diaries for more insight into the new content coming in the full release and our thought processes designing it.