Shattered Pixel Dungeon v0.3.0: The Wand Rework!

9 minute read

Holy crap yes it is finally here! After far too long in development the Wand Rework is upon us! This update features a completely rework to every wand in the game, a reworked mage class, and a few other goodies too. This is also the beginning of more updating focusing on raw content, and less on tweaks, source updates, and other small stuff.

You can read below to see the full list of changes. As always, your feedback is incredibly important to me, make sure to let me know if you run into any bugs, or is anything doesn’t seem balanced right. The best way to contact me is either in this announcement post, or via email.

This update should is live on the google play store, and is also available as a direct APK download. The Open Source(F-droid), Amazon, and desktop versions will be available soon, once I’ve patched any immediate issues.

Here is a list of changes, plus change context:

Mage reworked!:

- No longer starts with knuckledusters or a wand
- Can no longer equip wands
- Now starts with a unique mages staff, empowered with magic missile to start.
- Battlemage reworked, staff now deals bonus effects when used as a melee weapon.
- Warlock reworked, gains more health and fullness from gaining exp, but food no longer restores hunger.

General Wand Changes:

- Wand types are now known by default.
- Wands now each have unique sprites.
- Wands now cap at 10 charges instead of 9
- Wands now recharge faster the more charges are missing, for all classes.
- Self-targeting with wands is no longer possible.
- Wand recharge effects now give charge over time, instead of instantly.
- Wands can now be cursed!

All wands have been reworked!

Removed wands:

- Flock
- Blink
- Teleportation
- Avalanche

Reworked wands:

- Magic Missile
- Lightning
- Disintegration
- Fireblast (previously Firebolt)
- Venom (previously poison)
- Frost (previously Slowing)
- Blast Wave (previously Telekinesis)
- Corruption (previously Amok)
- Regrowth

New Wands:

- Prismatic Light
- Transfusion

New Artifacts:

- Ethereal Chains
- Lloyd’s Beacon

Misc. Balance changes:

- Blessed Ankhs now revive at 1/4hp, but also grant initiative.
- Alchemist’s Toolkit removed (will be reworked)
- Chalice of blood nerfed, now regens less hp at high levels.
- Cape of Thorns buffed, now absorbs all damage, but only deflects adjacent attacks.
- Sandals of nature adjusted, now give more seeds, less dew.
- Hunger no longer increases while fighting bosses.
- Floor 1 now spawns 10 rats every time, exactly enough to level up.
- Scrolls of recharging and mirror image are now more common.
- Mimics are now less common, stronger, & give better loot.

UI tweaks:

- New app icon!
- Shading added to main game interface
- Buffs now have descriptions, tap their icons!
- Visual indicator added for surprising enemies

Mage!

The mage has received a complete overhaul to help diversify his gameplay. He should from now on be known as the wand user, and not the weak warrior who occasionally finds a wand of firebolt. The center point of the entire rework is his new unique item, the Mage’s Staff! This staff can be fused with any wand you find, gaining its effects and keeping the higher level of the two items. The staff can be used for melee in a pinch, and recharges MUCH faster than regular wands. The staff can only be fused with one wand at a time though, and the fusing destroys the wand In the process! The core design here is to not only allow the mage some extra wand power, but to allow him to invest in wands without fear. Thanks to the staff the mage can invest in ANY wand and be able to transfer upgrades to a more preferred one if he finds one. The staff starts with magic missile, and in the early game you’ll need to lean on magic much harder than before, as you’ve lost your knuckleduster, and the staff’s melee damage is pitiful.

BattleMage & Warlock

Both subclasses have also received some new tricks. The battlemages likes to invest hard into his staff, and gains bonus effects from it as a result. This acts like a second enchantment based on the wand the staff is infused with(yes, this does stack with normal enchants), and allows the battlemage to stack up tremendous magical effects through smart staff use. The warlock, meanwhile, tends to keep things more divserse, and is more defined by his unique effects. The warlock gets extra survivability at the cost of hunger troubles. He satisfied hunger through killing, but ONLY through killing, so you’d better keep moving and fighting or you’ll starve.

Wands!

There is just waaaay too much going on here to explain in detail. To summarize, each and every wand has been reworked to be viable and fit its own strategic niche. Some, like lightning and magic missile have primarily just had numbers tweaks, others like fireblast and corruption are completely reimagined versions of their old selves. Sadly some wands didn’t make the cut, but all of their core elements are being recycled into other items and effects.

Additionally, wands can now be cursed, and charge faster for all classes! As you don’t equip them, cursed wands will instead act in a random and chaotic manner, but if you’re lucky they might be randomly helpful. Giving increases to wand charging should go a big way towards making wands viable for all classes, but the mage still gets his staff and other class bonuses to make them extra good for him.

I am super excited to hear your stories on how these new wands work for you! Naturally balance is a big concern with a rework this large, so I’ll be keeping an eye on how everything is working and will tune these wands accordingly in patches.

Artifacts!

Two new artifacts also feature in this update! The ethereal chains open up lots of creative positioning possibilities, and effectively replace the wand of blink. Try to be creative, with the chains walls become more of a suggestion than a full obstacle. Meanwhile the beacon gets some new tricks, inheriting some properties from the wand of teleportation!

Ankhs

My original intention with the ankh/dew vial rework was to make the ankh relevant again, and to reduce the ability for the player to get free revives. I feel like I accomplished that goal well, but my original rework introduced additional problems. Now the paradigm is stacking multiple revives as a means of converting dew into health potions, and for ankhs to take huge precedence over the dew vial. This change nerfs that somewhat, While still keeping the safety of revives and the ability to stack them. Ankhs will now restore you with much less health than before, but in exchange they will almost guarantee that you will get to act before your opponents (only fair as you’re revived without a big health buffer). This means that the choice to bless an ankh is now a meaningful trade between a full heal from the vial, and the safety net of a revive plus ability to collect more dew.

Toolkit

Well that didn’t quite work out, now did it? I’ve been hearing for a little while now about how much the toolkit sucks, and while I was initially resistant, I’ve changed my stance. I do still think the toolkit isn’t useless, but the niche it fits into doesn’t appear commonly enough, and even when you do get it to work the resulting gameplay is not nearly as interesting as it could be. So I’m going back to the drawing board. The toolkit will return, and it will be MUCH more interesting than it is currently, but for now, seeing as most people hate to get it as a drop, I’ve removed it from the drop tables.

Chalice

Already very strong, the rework to the warlock and the changes to hunger in bosses would have pushed the chalice over the top. This is in addition to previous hunger changes(floor descending), and players generally figuring out how to use the item. The chalice still pays you back in spades for risking your life on it, but its power is now more adequately tuned in an environment where knowledge on how to safely upgrade it is more common, and where the player is slowly being given more tools to deal with hunger.

Thorns

This one’s pretty simple, as a means of buffing the cape in the lategame, where many enemies are magic based, the cape now reduces damage from all attacks, not just melee. However, you have to be next to your opponent to deflect that reduced damage back at them.

Sandals

Sandals now give less dew, but more seeds. In addition seeds are now very slightly more common in general. This should help sandals users upgrade their artifact and reap rewards from it more quickly. Giving less dew means the sandals will serve less to heal you, but more to give gameplay possibilities through extra seeds.

Hunger in bosses

Hunger now no longer increases when a floor is locked (currently only happens against bosses). This change is primarily there to open up design space for larger, more intricate boss fights, which would create hunger issues without this change. There is a new buff indicator to make it clear this is in effect. It’s worth noting that while you will not gain hunger or take damage from starving, other gameplay implications of hunger are still in effect. For example, a freerunner will still not move at full speed if he enters the boss starving.

Floor 1

A common complaint from new players is that it is difficult to get to level 2 without wasting time and food waiting around on floor 1, or taking damage from fighting gnolls while underlevelled. In contrast, hitting level 3 by floor 3, 4 by 4, etc, is much easier due to exp being a bit more generous at those floors. I’m generally not inclined to give guarantees like this, but seeing as this is floor 1 I can make an exception. Floor 1 will now spawn exactly 10 sleeping rats (no more), such that if it is explored thoroughly a player is guaranteed to get level 2. Mob spawning has been tweaked a little to ensure you will (almost) never open a door to find 5 rats at once, but you’ll still need to avoid being ganged up on.

Items not included

as per the teaser from 2 weeks ago, I originally intended to include 2 additional wands and a reworked ring of magic in this update. Those are still coming, but due to technical and design issues, plus wanting to get this update finished this month, I have delayed their release slightly. Look for those items soon, in either patches for 0.3.0 or in 0.3.1, which I am going to publish next month.

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