Auro 2.0 Patch Notes
This one is a doozy – it’s even larger than our legendary 1.29 patch notes. Later on, we’ll have more articles about specific aspects of this patch, as well as a podcast episode. As of the time of this writing, this patch is available in the new Steam release version. The update will be coming, in full, to Mobile relatively soon, however.
After each note, I’ve put some explanation in gold text. Look forward to more detail in an upcoming Dinofarm Podcast episode! Now, on to the notes!
Auro 2.0 Patch Notes
- The setting of the game is now a series of magical tournaments called “The Bumping Games”. Auro faces off against several other rival Princes and Princesses. We’ll be writing an article soon going into detail about this, but you’ll be meeting more characters as you play, providing more feedback for doing better.
- New “silent tutorial“. We’ve written an article about this, but in general, the feeling with the previous tutorial was that it was long, tedious, and felt really nothing like playing Auro. Now you can dive right in and start bumping as you learn.
- Click and hold while using a spell or basic bump action to see a (limited) preview of what will happen. We’ve found that players weren’t grasping basic concepts about how movement and bumping works, so now players can have a moment to see “what might happen if I do this…“, etc.
- The game now locks off most content in the first few ranks and unlocks more as you progress.
- There are popups that explain what various game elements are in the first few ranks of the Play Hub
- New “magnifying glass” button at the top of the screen allows players to inspect any part of the game or HUD and get information about it
- Auro now moves “on release” by default. The Quick Play option now returns it to “on click”. This is a useability improvement for new players, which allows the preview function.
- Placement test is now only accessible if you’re on a large win or loss streak. The reason for this is that before players would be too focused on kind of gaming the system with placement matches instead of just playing the game normally.
- Practice mode removed. The problem with Practice mode is that it allows players to avoid the self-balancing nature of the game. Players may think that it would be more fun to play at a level far below their abilities, but we think that’s a mistake which will result in a worse experience.
- “Intro” movie removed. At some point, we’ll be adding a new intro movie which addresses the new theme.
- Hotkeys added for PC version
- New widescreen HUD for PC version
- Dozens of bug-fixes and other small improvements
- Monsters that are bumped into the water now spawn a “monster tile”. Monster tiles are identical to normal floor tiles except in appearance. Their color reflects the number of points achieved with the monster-kill. Note that this means that Squids will never spawn during a game anymore. This is a much, much more elegant answer to “abusing a funneling situation” than Squids ever were, and it’s also much more effective. The way Squids worked meant that you could always funnel two monsters, at the cost of spawning a Squid. But generally speaking, players just paid that cost happily, so it didn’t really work. On top of the increased elegance, this rule also means that maps are dynamically changing throughout the map, which has strategic ramifications.
- Any character, while frozen, is considered heavy. For this reason, Floe-ing a flier over water will kill it instantly, for instance. The reasons for this are complicated, but it has to do with keeping the Snowball ability un-abuseable and making Abomination way more interesting.
- Bumping a flier back now creates a vortex on the tile the flier was on. The primary reasoning for this was not to make fliers easier to deal with, but rather to give players another way to add complexity to the game. In general, we want there to be more adding of vortexes, floe and flame to the game during play in more emergent ways – not just through spell use.
- Play Mode levels are now a circular shape, and you start on the bottom, and there’s only one of them (no teleporters). This will hopefully help send the signal to players that the game’s objective has nothing to do with traversing space. This was done almost entirely to help players avoid making the mistake of thinking that the objective of the game had to do with “getting far”. The old “track-like” level layout sent the signal, subconsciously, that you’re trying to get somewhere, position wise, which has never been the case. In addition to addressing this problem, the new circular levels are also much more dynamic in terms of movement patterns – players seem to move all around, back and forth, allowing them to re-use terrain that they’ve modified. Finally, these new levels seem to be less solvable than the old levels, which had one constant “upper shore” that you could cling to and abuse a little.
- Candies are now re-themed as “runes” – a floor tile type that gets absorbed, like Power Tiles. Otherwise they function the same, but there are exactly 2 of them in the same spots on every stage, forming an equilateral triangle with the player’s start position. This is mostly a visual upgrade, but also hopefully helps unify the power tiles and the runes into one unified language. Having them be in the two fixed spots means that they’re more balanced match to match than ever before.
- “Notes” removed from the game.
- Liches now freeze you for a turn with their attack (and, as was previously the case, while frozen, you’re invincible). As we’ve written about previously, it’s important to us that as many enemies as possible have a way in which they can be useful to the player. Liches are arguably the most threatening monster in the game, so it’s great if they’re also something you can use to your advantage.
- Curse Kids now move 1 tile per turn, can attack every turn, and do not give a Curse Candy (which have been removed from the game). When they die, they now spawn a Demon Squid, which is a scoreless flying version of themselves. A weird thing we noticed about the old Curse Kids was that their two-tile movement really crushed the gamespace a lot, especially when you have two or more of them in a given situation. We like that Bats move two tiles per turn, but if more monsters are doing that, it’s too suffocating for the player. As to Curse Candies – those never worked the way we wanted them to. They’re a bit of a vestigial RPG “cursed item” type of concept and it just didn’t work in the game, other than acting as a “cyanide pill” when the player ran out of moves. What’s also nice about Demon Squids (and Cinder Squids) is that they’re unifying the language of “scoreless monsters” – Squids don’t give points!
- Lord Vargas now spawns Cinder Squids, which are basically the same as Demon Squids, except they trail flame when bumped and give the player Smokey Flavor with their attacks. This is mostly thematic cleanup, but also having Vargas spawn two-tile-movers as he used to caused a suffocation effect more than we liked.
- Foxies now knock the player back a tile with their attacks, and now arc their attack, allowing them to attack you over other monsters. With this being the case, Foxies can now have interactions with floe, vortices, etc. This is also a buff to them; when things got crowded before it was almost impossible for them to hit you.
- Yetis removed from the game. Yetis were a nice idea, but for a different game. They just clog up the works more than they’re worth. And they never really did the “tension-increasing” job that we wanted them to anyway.
- Charles the Slime removed from the game. Charles is in a weird spot, because while we love his 2-tile push, the rest of him isn’t very Jelly-ish. With that said, we may actually revert this change in the future. You may have not seen the last of Charles!
- Gwenny removed from the game. With Foxies pushing back a tile, Gwenny would mostly be the same thing. Not different enough to justify her existence – sorry Gwenny fans!
- Rotisserie now leaves a vortex on your tile. Since the old vestigial and incorrect idea of “spell trees” is gone from the game entirely now, we can have some ex-Fire spells leave vortices, some ex-Air spells leave floe, and so on. This is a way to help give these spells a bit more utility than they would otherwise have.
- Dash changed dramatically.
- Swap functionality removed. This was the way dash got used 90% of the time, and almost always just to get a single kill against the water. It was pretty degenerate. We plan to add another Swap ability later on that doesn’t allow for that specific issue.
- Dash no longer needs something to “dash to”. You now simply move up to two tiles in a direction of your choice. This is nice because it’s easier to understand, but also because it’s just a lot more useful, which the spell needs having lost the Swap function.
- Dash now trails one vortex from the origin and two tiles of floe. More cross-discipline goodness. Dash now synergizes with many other spells.
- Snowball now arcs to a tile 2 tiles away, and pushes back. Other than that it’s the same, although if you throw it on water you get 1 tile of Floe. Snowball has been a degenerate ability almost since the beginning. With the 1.31 version, it probably went too far in the other direction, and became difficult to use. So we’ve brought back the pushback effect but now limit the ability to “exactly two tiles away”. A slightly sad thing about this is that Auro can now no longer freeze himself, but it’s probably worth that cost.
- Blast now is only 2 tiles long and the pushback no longer “bumps” monsters. This is primarily a balancing issue, but the “bumping” effect was strange. There’s no other ability that bumps in that way.
- Gale no longer produces vortexes, unless you gale Fliers. This is a minor nerf to Gale which was always strong but now is ridiculously strong with the new level design.
- Firebomb now targets adjacent tiles. This makes it a lot less like Rotisserie, and also grants the player some mobility.
- Abomination is now a single-click use spell that targets all adjacent tiles with a “suplex” throw that tosses characters two tiles in the opposite direction (over Auro’s head). The old Abomination was really, really complicated and just felt strange to use. This is vastly simpler to understand and a lot more fun.
- An all-new Auro sprite!
- New tileset/water artwork. The game now has “3D looking”, all-new tile artwork, and 24 frames of animated water, as well as tile-reflections and many other neat things. We feel like this really helps tell the player that that blue stuff out there is, in fact, water.
- Improvement to game palette unification. Blake will probably write an article about this at some point – stay tuned.
- Walls removed. Walls didn’t really come into play much at all, and now with the magical arena concept, they’re less important than ever.
- Curse Kid’s head is much smaller. This is part of a general effort by Blake to unify the visual language of characters throughout the game
- New game icon!
- General improvements to the color palette of the game.
- Four colored HUDs that change based on the rank you’re currently in
- Fonts replaced throughout the game. We have a much more stylistically appropriate font for large text, and body text has a way-more-readable font for it.
- New logo!
- New Title screen (for PC version)
Let us know what you think of the changes! Thanks for reading.