But as any fan of Soulslike will tell you, there’s more to multiplayer than just basic functionality. The real fun comes from the specials you get on a grand scale – as communities form, languages evolve and players duel each other going from mechanics to live magic.
Shane and I are clearly both longtime Soulslike fans, and know that particular brand of magic – its hasty alliances with strangers, its quirky gestures, its dedication to fashion over function, new weapon combos and strategies due to hours of investment in different things building the path – not something we are likely to find in development. Even with hundreds of hours of internal testing, we still only play with a handful of people at a time. So this network test, while also being a great source of information on balance, traffic, matchmaking and technical issues, is also the first time we can legally participate in these Online antics with random people. In other words: finally getting to experience the Soul magic we’ve been building since we started working on the game.
And experience it, we did.
After spending this precious few weeks before launch alternating between full (most) final code co-op plays, tweaking move sets, drop rate, damage ratio, etc., they I can’t wait to experience this with more people. Salt and Sacrifice builds on the fighting style of Salt and Sanctuary, with a variety of attacks, moves and aerial combos, but now includes sprint, sprint attack and Runic Arts: abilities Special abilities associated with specific weapons. If I had a bit of breathing space during the boss fight, I could launch some slow-moving Dancing Spores from my Damp-Rot Stave, then switch to my katana-style Blazebrand, casting it to Deals flame damage over time and charges into battle. There’s a certain magic to seeing different playstyles and complementary payloads, where aerial combos, effect attack zones, heavy melee break protection, and attacks Fairly fast daggers all work together to cut through hordes of enemies.
Multiplayer in Salt and Sacrifice includes PvP, and as we announce that, the primary concern of players is that too strong griefers will ruin their experience. As Soulslike fans, this is something we are very involved with. We’ve seen countless conversations online about invasion mechanics, with one side insisting it’s part of the game, the other saying it’s not fun to have someone with thousands hours of experience and intentionally overwhelming PvP builds.
Intentions were more frequent in our network test (because you know, in testing!), but in Salt and Sacrifice, we’re following the standard set in Dark Souls 3: you can only be invaded if you have summoned a friendly ally. We’ve also included a full co-op mode where you can progress with a friend throughout the entire game (minus the tutorial). This co-op mode also grants immunity to random invasions, unless the two summon a third ally.
But hey, if you’re in a duel mood, you can waive all of these invasion requests by lighting a special item called a red candle; Its ominous light signals that you don’t mind being invaded and can be invaded by anyone at any time. The foundational nature of the game, coupled with the dynamic and varied combat, means that certain weapon combinations and runic attacks may be better suited to different types of terrain, and chase each other through The traps and falling dangers are a contest of its own; you might get outrun, but if you wall jump on the mine shaft, things might not go well for anyone who follows. Impromptu battle clubs can spawn in all sorts of exciting locations around the world, and we’re excited to see players take advantage of the variety of landscapes in their PvP experience.
Shane and I have filled the world of Salt and Sacrifice with all sorts of interesting things over the past two years. From our expansive game map, to unique enemies, to the weapons and armor you’ll loot and craft to overcome them, there’s a lot more work to be done to get to this point. . But it wasn’t until we got to experience it with you – the community – that we could finally see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
We’re excited to see you all in the game, as friends of the Inquisitors or on the battlefield, when it launches tomorrow!