Dev Log 68: The Psi Question


Underrail - Psi Question

Hi guys,

On September 7th the psi update will be release on the main branch, but before that happens I want to briefly address this controversial change again and also offer a compromise.

First I'd like to restate that the reason the psi was reworked was not primarily because of its power, though it will reign that in a bit as well. I will not list all the major arguments I've given in the previous dev log here again, but the sum of it is that the psi is too cheap to spec in, in comparison to what it offers, and that there is no way to expand upon it without even further overloading it with combat versatility. There were multiple ways to address it and I went with what I think fits well. I went in a bit too hard with the restrictions, which I have since eased on a bit (check out the patch notes for details), but the point of the experimental build was to tweak these numbers and mechanics anyway. I think it's in good place now, where both the (now somewhat nerfed) pure psi wizards and hybrids are viable, though they will require more management in terms of resources and psi selection.

Now in terms of adding more management to the psi build, one could argue that this is adding unnecessary tedium, but if look back at the history of Underrail's development you will find that we do tend to add these sort of complexities and restrictions to our mechanics as we flesh them out. Player is intended to have to pay attention and do some busywork in order to keep his character going. There used to be time when we had no weight restrictions, no selling restrictions, and at one point guns didn't even require ammo, though, to be fair, that was before the game was even available to play to the public. So you may not like this part of our design approach, but it is not at all inconsistent with what we did in the past.

The difference here is, however, that the game has been released for a long time and that the way the psi currently works has been something that's been firmly established. I will concede to the argument that it may not be fair to change it at such a late time. I should have done it way sooner, back when I added the last batch of psi abilities in the late early access stage, but I didn't and I don't have a good excuse. I do, however, still maintain that this is a good and necessary change that will benefit the game in way of build diversity, especially in the long run, even if it comes a bit late.

But for those that are firmly against this change, or maybe just want to finish their current cave wizard rampage, I've made a separate Legacy branch (on both platforms) that will permanently host version of the game. It will receive no updates and no other version of the game will ever be preserved in this way in the future (don't worry, no further major mechanical changes are planned anyway). If you do hop between the version be advised that, as always, saves of a higher version are not compatible with older version of the game. So if you intend to keep playing on this version (either temporarily or permanently), you can switch now.

I hope that this compromise will be agreeable to most of you.