Fabrice's TotE Developer Diary

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1. Alternate upgrades
Why / how did you decide to create alternate upgrades for each creature in Heroes V?

The alternate upgrades is the major innovation that we had planned from a long time to include into “Tribes of the East”. This feature was actually hinted at in “Hammers of Fate”, with the renegades being the alternate upgrade for the Haven troops. It does increase the number of playable creatures by +50% - logically :) – and helps us smash a total of more than 170 creatures overall.

The basic gameplay idea behind the alternate upgrades is to give the players a new range of tactics, and to be able to adapt to each battle situation. Each range of upgrades has its own orientation, and you can easily mix any type of creatures to create your perfect tool on the battlefield.

Regarding the access to all upgrades, we have chosen to leave a complete liberty to the players. You are free to choose at any time which upgrade you want to buy, for a similar cost. You can also retrain your creature to change the upgrade, for a reduced cost. So you can adapt your army between each battle if needed.

Do they imply a lot of new tactics? Can you hint at some of them?
Can you give us some examples of new creatures?

All creatures have a new way of playing and fighting with the alternate upgrades :) Take for instance the alternate gremlin who will fix during the battle your faulty golems – quite a handy man ! Or the skeleton footman who will complement the archer quite well, being more resilient and more aggressive. The elven sprites alternate upgrades have a use similar to the gremlins : they can heal your treants while healing themselves – you wont need them much until you get these treants, but they will be critical afterwards !

2. Other improvements
Are you creating new special abilities for creatures? Can you give some examples?

We are introducing a very specific capacity for the Dungeon alternate upgrade : invisibility. It works like a stalking ability. The creatures will not be seen by the enemy when they are placed on the battlefield initially. It can last up to three turns, which is highly enough to reach the enemy lines. The creature is revealed when attacking, but can also be spotted with magic abilities.

What other improvements can player expect from Tribes of the East?

There are many improvements to be expected ! We have been working extensively on the storytelling tools. The jump in quality is clear from H5 to Hammers of Fate, and you can expect the same kind of quality leap from HoF to Tribes of the East. This is critical to deliver a perfect ending for the story arc covering all of the campaign chapters started with the demon invasion. A small but interesting point for the fans is the addition of an adventure building that will allow the heroes to redistribute their skills :) Another important point is of course the inclusion of the Orc faction, with their own special blood rage ability :)

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