This week I had a chance to see a new build for the upcoming Solasta: Crown of the Magister with a developer led showcase courtesy of Tactical Adventures. Mathiey Girard, Creative Director, CEO, and Founder of Tactical Adventures, and Emile Zhang, Community Manager, walked me through some more of what to expect when Solasta: Crown of the Magister hits Early Access next week.
Throughout this demo, I was able to not only see more combat, but also learn about the story and non-combat world interactions.
Already Improved Solasta: Crown of the Magister Features
Before diving too deep into the completely new elements, there were a few quality of life improvements that the team at Tactical Adventures was able to add to the game since the Steam demo released earlier this year. The first big one is assisting the players while creating a new character. While picking your different race and classes, you now have options to see what subclasses you can diversify into. You'll also have a way to see what abilities your character will get at higher level. For a player who is either new to a class, or even Dungeons and Dragons 5e, there's no guarantee you'll form a balanced party off level 1 abilities. By giving players the knowledge of final abilities and skills, it helps you plan out their development. It's a great idea not only lowering the barrier for entry with all information presented at the start, but will also somewhat mitigate a player getting eight hours in before realizing they've made a mistake.
The second great feature is that every die roll that occurs in the game is represented on screen by a die roll. As a player who enjoys knowing the numbers behind the game, I found myself viewing the log frequently in the demo to see what rolls were happening. Why did I miss that? How close was I? What that a Critical hit? This is all information I enjoy knowing immediately when playing D&D, and this now allows that same transparency and excitement. This won't be a feature that everyone cares as much about, but Tactical Adventures has done a lot in even the customization of these dice rolls. You can customize the appearance of the die down to what kind of damage they represent. You can have red dice represent fire damage, or green dice represent ice damage (if you're some kind of monster...).
New Beginnings in the Solasta Story
Unlike the Steam demo the content shown in the hourlong presentation was from the beginning of the game, including the party introduction/meeting, as well as segments from the first two story missions. Your party of adventurers will meet one another just like any good campaign does: in the Tavern. So as to not have your party destroying boxes or hunting rats at the start of the game, Tactical Adventures has intergrated Solasta's tutorial into the previous adventures of the party. Each will recount their journey arriving to the city, and each will teach players key features of Solasta ,such as navigating in the dark or the focus on verticality.
With this focus on verticality, on high bridges you're able to shove monsters off for high damage. I was also told that the enemies you fight also know how to push and shove. Stories of playtesters working their way through the game only to lose a character immediately to being too close to an edge is a scary thing to hear. The rules laid out in Solasta follow those in Dungeons and Dragons 5e, so make sure when using the verticality to gain the upper hand, that you also aren't putting yourself in a precarious position. While there isn't going to be a difficulty system in the Early Access game, the team at Tactical Adventures is looking at disengaging some systems like enemy shoving to scale the difficulty.
So your party now knows each other a bit better (as do you), but what are they all doing here in the first place? Your characters were gathered because they've been hired by the city to investigate an outpost of soldiers that have stopped reporting in. This outpost is out near the Badlands where all kinds of creatures call home. This quest is what leads you to discovering that a race of creatures known as the Soraks have reappeared and are terrorizing the lands. Previously, the Soraks were believed to be only bogeyman-like monsters, stories told to children to get them in bed at night. The Soraks are the main enemy throughout Solasta's campaign.
Interacting With the World in Solasta
While dialog and investigation was very briefly touched upon in the Steam demo, at the outpost we were shown off a number of ways that stats and character backgrounds can affect the plot. A character with the Spy background was able to use a password, and those with high charisma might get special prompts. But it's also not just a numbers game. It was explained that one of the dialog checks was possible, but with an incredible high DC like 30. While the game is primarily about the numbers, there will also be situations where you need to read the room and pick an appropriate choice.
The rationale behind an almost-impossible check is to make sure players aren't brute forcing their way through the game with one very high-stat character. You need to know the situation, relationships between characters, and pick the right options to fit the conversation. Any time in a conversation a stat needs to be rolled, it's always rolled using the modifiers of the character most proficient in it.
Another feature shown off during the showcase was the Quest Log, Adventure Log, and Bestiary. The Quest Log will show you your different main and side objectives as you'd expect, and the Adventure Log shows you everything you've done. This Adventure Log goes DEEP too; every choice made, dialogue had, places traveled are all logged day to day. No matter how long you might put this game down between Early Access and its full release in 2021 or even between sessions, you can look back and see what you were getting up to.
The Bestiary logs all of the creatures you've fought in battle; after first taking on an enemy you'll only have the base information. After repeated encounters and some good survival rolls, you'll get to learn creatures' AC, average health, stat blocks, and even weaknesses and resistances. The kinds of things you'd begin to slowly learn through playing the game naturally will be taught to your characters. This knowledge about enemies also turns around and has an added effect in gameplay. When your ranger picks their Favored Foe, that damage increases with your knowledge.
We're less than a week now from the launch of Solasta: Crown of the Magister onto Steam Early Access. It will be available for $34.99 during Early Access and will increase to a currently unknown amount at launch. The Early Access edition of the game is planned to have about 10 hours' worth of combat, depending on how quickly you get through combat. Tactical Adventures is expecting the Early Access period to last at least six months, giving them enough time to work on feedback from the community, but not long enough that it looks like it's not going to come out.
Are you excited to get your hands on Solasta next week? Is there anything that you didn't see in the demo you're hoping is in the full release?