Do you remember that time we offered a new difficulty mode that was easier than easy, and it caused everyone in the community to think we’d lost our minds? We remember. We remember it so hard that we’ve been tossing and turning in our beds thinking of a way to show you we hadn’t lost our minds. Because we haven’t lost our minds. We haven’t, so stop saying we have, Mother! Early March we’re targeting the release of Patch 1.3.3, lovingly titled “Death & Taxes.” You can tell that we’re not messing around here. This is exactly the sort of update that those among you who chided the idea of a story mode are going to love. And we get it, because pain is fun. In this update we’re adding a few new features, including Permanent Death (aka “Permadeath”), an optional Difficult Skill Checks Mode, and Respeccing. Read on for the gory details.
No matter how many bullets fly past you or how many enemies you’re assaulting at one time, you’re never really going to feel the threat of despair until you’re able to lose a character. And by lose, we don’t mean misplace, we mean lose to death. With permadeath, you’re going to get exactly that because it works exactly how you think it should. When activated at a game’s start, it turns your nearly immortal-ish digital characters into something more or less mortal (for a video game), and means they’ll croak when their health reaches zero.
One other important note here is that we’ve made the decision to keep Permadeath as a single player-only feature which cannot be enabled in multiplayer. As much fun as is to watch your friends subjected to painful and horrific video game deaths, co-op splits the team down the middle, and one player losing everyone and then watching for (potentially) hours until the other can make it back to Ranger HQ just isn’t a good time.
The Permanent Death feature also cannot be disabled once you have opted in at the start of your game. So choose, and choose wisely. If you have the Permanent Death feature enabled:
When life runs out a Ranger will go into a Downed state, and you'll have X rounds to bring them back into the battle. If you fail to do so you'd normally be able to bring them back with a Nitro Spike or visit to a Doc, but with Permadeath turned on party members permanently DIE. This is really going to bum someone out who didn’t read the fine print.
When a party member dies, they will dump their equipment to the local party’s shared inventory. Though they may not still be with you in your journey, at least you've robbed their corpse of their worldly belongings.
Once a party member shuffles off their mortal coil, their Party Portrait is removed from the HUD and other game interfaces, and they can no longer be selected or used. This is because they are dead.
Lest you thought that you would be able to commune with the dead via the Party Screen back at HQ, you cannot. Much as necromancers would have you believe otherwise, you cannot add the dead back into your party.
God forbid, if all Rangers in your party are killed permanently at any one time, you will earn a non-negotiable, do-not-pass-go, Game Over death screen. This is because the light of life has been extinguished from the party and the forces of evil have triumphed. Unless you were the forces of evil, in which case perhaps the forces of light and good prevailed when they killed you.
As an additional note, permanent death enabled games will be noted as such in the save game directory menu – that way you’ll have a good idea at a glance at which of your sessions are more prone to give you indigestion and make your heart palpitate wildly from time to time.
Difficult Skill Checks
Perhaps the idea of permanently dead Rangers isn’t your speed? Or maybe you’re looking for the ultimate challenge with Supreme Jerk, Permadeath, AND something that’ll put your point-spending prowess to the test. Introducing Difficult Skill Checks Mode.
This option is toggleable when starting a new game on the Select Difficulty Window, within the Customize Difficulty sub-menu. When turned on, this will increase all skill checks in the game by +2, up to a maximum of 10.
World interactions (Ex: locked doors)
Conversation interactions (Ex: kiss-ass checks in conversations)
Hacking and Taming checks on animals and robots
Item skill requirements on gear (ex: weapons have skill requirements)
Attribute requirements on gear (ex: heavy armor requires strength)
(Look. We know. We know it's not just skills. But we wanted to go the extra mile for you. Yes, you, reading this, right now. You're worth it.)
This optional mode was designed to force your Ranger team to hyper-specialize to be successful, making your jack-of-all-trades 'master-of-all' party no longer possible. This is great for a 2nd run-through if you want to be forced into some hard character build decisions.
Also coming in 1.3.3, you’re going to be able to re-specialize your characters, with a caveat or two. Firstly, this can only happen back at Ranger HQ, within the Manage Squad screen. HQ is a relatively warm and comfortable place, so naturally it makes sense that we’d offer such a posh option there. Secondly, there will be a cost for respeccing or recruiting Rangers beyond the first two at HQ. No one teaches for free (except maybe those folks on YouTube) so expect to eventually shell out some in-game coin to be able to do so.
If you are loading a pre-1.3.3 save beyond the initial recruitment point at Ranger HQ, we’re still going to offer you two more free recruit customizations. Beyond that, the cost for respeccing increases by 1.75x (rounded to the nearest $50), up to a maximum of $3000, each time you use it. Additionally, Hiring and Retraining fees increase across the entire squad, not per-character.
Character Customization Additions
When you’re digging into that new Permadeath run you’re going to be able to do so in style. It’s not like a cool helmet design is necessarily going to save the day, but it might just make you feel badass enough to do the thing that makes the thing happen that blows up the thing. In Patch 1.3.3 we’re baking in 23 new character customization options (tattoos, scars, and helmets) that were born of another partnership with renown post-apoc costume designers. We’ll share more specific details about those in an upcoming article. Stay tuned.
Colorado’s just getting warmed up.
Well heck! We’re not even into the meat of the year and Colorado is already looking 100% finer than it did at the close of 2020. Did we mention 1.3.3 is getting a heck-ton* of improvements and fixes as well? Well it is! Full patch notes will be delivered when the patch goes live next month.
Thanks all for your continued badassery and general attention to helping us improve Wasteland 3. You rock, and we salute you for that. *Actual unit of measurement recognized in some countries.