Over the past few weeks, we’ve hinted at our next steps and at the future of the game. Today, we’re pleased to announce that we’re rebuilding Deathgarden’s core experience. The new gameplay elements we’re introducing will allow us to realign the game with what we’d originally envisioned; we want Runners to have a tense but exhilarating experience and want Hunters to feel powerful and utterly unstoppable.
Deathgarden is no longer a glorious sport—it’s a trial of unnatural selection.
A Battle for Resources
In the Garden, your objective is to collect as many resources as possible. The resources you successfully secure during the match will allow you to upgrade your characters’ abilities after the match (persistent upgrade on the character). This applies to both Hunter and Runner players.
Runners must locate and collect resources found within the Arena. To secure resources, Runners must deposit any resource they've collected at “resource banks.” On the other hand, the Hunter is rewarded by eliminating Runners and preventing them from collecting resources.
We’ve made several significant changes to Deathgarden’s gameplay. The first major change is the removal of the Bloodpost. The Hunter’s gameplay now focuses much more on the tracking and killing of Runners.
We wanted Hunters to be and feel unstoppable and make them feel in control of the arena. Therefore, we removed a major element that would force them to disengage from a chase (something that is enjoyable/exciting for Runners and Hunters).
The second major change is that each Runner possesses one life. Runners must now adopt a stealthier playstyle if they are to survive the trial and gather as many resources as possible. It increases tension for the Runners and makes killing Runners feel more rewarding for the Hunter.
Survival Vambrace Powers
In addition to this change, Runners now rely on “defensive” or “survival” Vambrace powers instead of offensive ones. In other words, we’ve removed all directly confrontational Vambrace powers (Stun, Blind, Slow, etc.) and replaced these with new tactical powers. (There are several new powers, which we’ll unveil in the weeks/months to come). We are still iterating on those to figure out which ones are most enjoyable and useful. This change further reinforces the fact that the Hunters are an utterly unstoppable force and that Runners are nimble escape artists.
Individual Rewards and Scoring
The final and perhaps most important change is that Runners will now adopt a more individualistic playstyle. While we’re not removing teamplay from their core experience (we will reward Runners for completing actions that benefit their team), Runners are now rewarded for what they accomplish within the Garden and awarded only what they manage to take out of the Garden.
If one Runner is carrying a set amount of resources and they see a downed ally, they’ll think twice before attempting to rescue their friend. Should the Hunter also “down” the Runner carrying resources, that Runner will lose everything he or she carries. As for the Hunter, they will be rewarded for all Runner kills.
In short, everything you accomplish in the Garden, (deliver resources, rescue Runners, down Runners, etc.) grants you XP and, ultimately, the resources you’ll need to further your characters’ progression.
A Different Balancing Mindset
On several occasions, we’ve mentioned that, in our initial vision, the Hunter was a brutal and unstoppable force. The new gameplay experience allows us to realize this fantasy. It lets us balance the game around the notions of tension and brutality rather than around those of agility and strength. The Runners and Hunter are no longer in a direct competition—everyone strives to complete the match with as many resources as possible. This means that more players should come out of the match feeling rewarded. Realigning our direction also gives us freedom as to how far we can push the asymmetry of power and experience for Hunters and Runners.
Ensuring Coherence Between Gameplay and Fantasy
We sincerely believe that the changes we’re making will ensure a strong coherence between gameplay and fantasy. Rethinking Hunter and Runner power dynamics allows us to transform Deathgarden into a much more enticing and heart-pounding experience.
Runners, will you become lone wolves, or will you work together in the face of the unstoppable Hunter? Hunters, will you allow those Runners to survive your onslaught.