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The Arbiters need hugs too, you know...

Hello everyone!

How are you doing? Are you hyped by the recent E3? There were quite a few interesting announcements, but here we all have been particularly impressed by the trailer of GhostWire: Tokyo from Tango Gameworks (and Shinji Mikami).

Aside from that, we've also been busy working on the thirteenth update of Dead Cells. The full patch notes, as usually, can be found here[dead-cells.com] but I will run you through the reasoning behind the main changes here.


New content

The Rampager: This is the new enemy inhabiting a variety of biomes in Boss Stem Cell 3 and higher, since the previous 3BC mob, the Arbiter was put back in its original lair only, the Cavern. More on that later.

The Rampager is reaaaaaaaally fast and will pursue you until the end of time if it sees you. You better be ready to smash that parry or dodge button when one is on your back.



Frenzy and Adrenaline mutations (Brutality): Melee and Brutality currently have a hard time recovering from their wounds, so we added two new mutations to make risky and fast-paced play style more viable. Both scales with your damage output and your Brutality stat.


Balancing

There are approximately 30 "autosell" items and weapons buffed for less than 10 "instapick" ones nerfed. Since we know seeing its favorite killing tool being nerf is never a great feeling, we wanted to offer at least some level of explanation here.

The items that have been nerfed were clearly predominant in the meta and much more effective than their counterparts and alternatives... It made every other weapon feel underwhelming and weak in comparison.

Having too powerful weapons and items go against the core experience of Dead Cells which is at least partially based on weapon variety, making every run feel same-y and uninteresting. Which is why we thrive to offer an item pool as much balanced as we can and will continue to work on improving that aspect of Dead Cells based upon community feedback.



Nerfs

Powerful Grenade: Super wide area, high damage, not so long cooldown, ability to interrupt and bump, dual scaling, that grenade had it all. The size of the area and its damage have been reduced; it's still effective, just not at the "waaaaaay-better-than-everything-else" level it was before.

Heavy Turret: Range, stun, high damage by itself and increased player's damage... err, same as above, this turret brought so much to the table that it overshadowed all the other turrets and traps.

Rampart: Such a very defensive-oriented shield shouldn't be so effective at dealing damage, thus why we decided to decrease its damage. The invulnerability time frame has also been reduced by one sixth.

Giant Killer: This sword was both great to clear a level and the best to get rid of elites and bosses, with no real downside to compensate. Now it's still the absolute best to melt elites and bosses but it's weaker for the less worthy foes.

Explosive Crossbow: Survival scaling long-range weapons are complicated to balance, and it's almost by design. It allows to get the best of all worlds; high damage, long-range, tons of health, a great shield and the best mutations in the game as of right now, resulting in a very safe and effective build. To all that, the explosive crossbow added AoE damage and an easy crit condition... We decreased its speed, but increased its damage by a bit to bring it back closer to a more "survival weapon" feeling.

Wave of Denial: Super short cooldown, repel enemy and projectiles, high damage when projecting on a wall or making use of fall damages... The point of the skill is to use it when well positioned in the middle of the enemy pack or as a panic button to save yourself from incoming threats, but the low cooldown meant you could waste it all the time and hence not really be rewarded for the "well-positioned" aspect. Thus, cooldown has been increased.

Infantry Grenade: While, to be honest, it wasn't as broken as the powerful grenade, the Infantry Grenade's super low cooldown and good damage made for an over effective skill. Its damage output has been reduced by around one fifth.

Necromancy: This mutation was dominating the meta, providing unparalleled survivability. We reduced the amount of health it gives back by enemy killed and lowered the maximum cap.


Buffs:

Most of the buffs are fairly straightforward, increasing either the speed or damage of the item. Hopefully, nobody should feel robbed by a buff, hence we see a lesser need to detail the reasoning. All the changes are listed in the patch notes[dead-cells.com]. Oh, and now you can set fire to water with some oil.

The list of items buffed includes:
War Javelin, Swift Sword, Blood Sword, Cleaver, Cursed Sword, Fast Bow, Flamme Turret, Hook, Knockback shield, Magnetic Grenade, Nutcracker, Oiled Sword, Pyrotechnics, Repeater Crossbow, Sadist's Stiletto, Seismic Blade, Shrapnel Axes, Sinew Slicer, Stun Grenade, Sonic Crossbow, Swarm Grenade, Twin Daggers, Valmont's Whip, Quick Bow, Spartan Sandal, Thunder Shield.

We hope you saw the name of your favorite weapon in there! Of course, nothing is set in stone and we looking to see you try these weapons and give us some feedback on the changes.



Level Design

As mentioned previously, the Arbiter has been replaced by the Rampager as a transversal 3BC+ mob. A bullet-hell(ish) Dead Cells is not what we want, and it had also the unforeseen impact of slowing down the pace of the game by a lot, as well as making a shield even more mandatory than it is right now.

Consequently, Inquisitors are making a comeback into higher difficulties (3BC +) to fill the lack of long-distance shooters let by the Arbiter's retreat into the Cavern.

However, this made the Prison Quarters the hardest level in the whole game (once again) in high difficulties. Being an unavoidable level as well as the only one where you're almost unequipped, an unfairly hard Prison Quarters is a major issue. The enemy density has hence been reduced, and we added back the base Zombie at higher difficulties.

Currently, it's the only level where a low-tier enemy is mixed its higher-tier counterpart, which could make for a more enjoyable and varied experience, but may also lead to hectic fights. It's by no mean a definitive decision, but if it works well, we could also decide to expand this philosophy to the rest of the game. Let us know what you think and if you like it or not!

A few more change in the bestiary of some biomes have been done to make it more consistent. All of this come with the usual batch of QoL changes and bg fixing. Details listed in the patch notes[dead-cells.com].


Well, I think that will do! Thanks for the ones braves enough to read the entirety of this news. As always, we hope you will love the many changes we brought to Dead Cells and don't hesitate to discuss, debate and suggest here on the Steam forums, on Reddit (an official thread will be opened) or on Discord.

Thanks!
The MT Team


Official Discord[discordapp.com]
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Dead Cells' Facebook [fr-fr.facebook.com]


Community Highlights

Tomb Raider™, by u/fromdreams.



That nice Fanart by Sombritas_des (again).



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