No Small Feat: Endless Legend’s Third Free Update

The third free mini-expansion for Endless Legend [official site] adds a new minor faction, an extended endgame and enhanced modding tools. There’s more, and I’ll list everything below, but those are the three stand-out features. I’m always glad to see fresh content in the form of factions and the modding tools include an AI debugger, which could lead to some interesting experimentation.

It’s the new victory quest that really grabbed my attention though. The title of the update is Look To The Stars, in reference to a faction-wide final quest that allows the victor to repair a spaceship and leave the doomed planet behind. The Endless trilogy just pulled all of its threads a little tighter.

First of all, here’s the feature list:

Victory Quest: A final quest for all factions that unlocks after Faction specific Quests, where the player can repair a Spaceship and leave the planet.

Three Map Generation Presets: Players will be able to easily choose a map preset for a fresh experience:
– New World: Players start on the same island and need to conquer a new one for resources.
– Scattered: Every player starts on its own island.
– Symmetrical: Symmetrical Twin continents, perfect mirrors of each other.

The Dorgeshi Minor Faction: This new Minor Faction, chosen by the community, gives bonuses on Luxuries and has a powerful charging cavalier unit.

“Ask to declare war” diplomatic option: Players will be able to ask a faction to declare war on another one.

Three Steam Achievements: Community designed Steam Achievements. Kudos to T41, and and Teslaflux community members.

Enhanced Modding Tools: Modders will be able to have access to the game Simulation.

New Keyboard Shortcuts: As requested by the community.

For those who may not have been keeping up to date with the connections between the games in the trilogy, it goes a little something like this:

1) Endless Space came first but is the chronological endpoint. It’s a sci-fi 4X game.

2) Dungeon of the Endless takes place before the other games. It’s a roguelike/tower-defense game that befuddled and bewitched me when I lost myself in it for a couple of weeks last year. In terms of the trilogy’s plot, Dungeon of the Endless explains how Auriga, the setting of Endless Legend, came to be repopulated after the devastation of the Dust Wars (the Dust Wars took place long before the trilogy begins).

3) Endless Legend is set on Auriga and the warring factions are descendants of the survivors of Dungeon of the Endless. They kinda want to conquer the planet but they mostly want to work out how to leave. Because, and this can’t be overstated, Auriga is not a very good home away from home. Short-term? You could spend a pleasant summer there. Long-term? The harsher seasons are likely to last for thousands of years, destroying every speck of life on the planet’s surface. Rubbish.

4) The new Endless Legend victory condition, which allows the victor to escape Auriga, sows the seeds that will become Endless Space. Circle complete. Well – circle almost complete. Seems to me that there might be another story to be told, about a crew of survivors searching for a new homeworld. Endless Odyssey maybe?

Endless Legend was, of course, The Bestest Best Game of 2014. The update is already live.

25 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    I must say I really like Amplitude’s approach to lore-building. It’s never in your face, just quietly bubbling away on the side, but you can’t avoid gradually picking it up as you go. Instead of walls of explanatory text, you get only vague hints, but you can tell that it’s all part of a consistent story that is much larger than what you can see. It’s rather Dark Soulsian in that, and it’s great. That’s what fantasy (and sci-fi) should be about, I think: firing up your imagination rather than giving you a series of begats punctuated by random dragon attacks.

    And the games are great too, which helps.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think my only complaint was that in Endless Space it never really affected the game, or felt like you were actually in that world in the way that, say, Alpha Centauri merged its fiction with the game itself. You started out the same whether you were an existing ancient empire or a band of renegades.

      • Jeremy says:

        Agreed, it all felt a bit soulless.. but I also haven’t fired it up since the world has fleshed out a bit more. I wonder if that would make a difference?

        • jonfitt says:

          I first played Endless Space recently and the lore isn’t really on display too much. It needed an intro cinematic setting up the theme of the Endless war etc. and the faction cinematics needed to be a bit longer. You’re left a bit clueless until you’ve been playing quite a long time. It’s nice that they’re not all Basil Exposition, but it’s swung too far the other way.
          A bit of faction-specific text when you make first extra-solar planetfall or meet your first alien would be good too. I wouldn’t say no to galactic events either.
          Also the techs that are faction specific could have been fleshed out a bit. The only reason you know that it’s a faction tech is that it’s coloured orange.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            Oh THAT’s what that meant!

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, I love the idea of a space game being mysterious, like each step you have no idea what you’re going to encounter. It kinda happened in Spore, but then it turned out that your empire was unable to defend itself and you had to run around mopping up pirates even with a fully upgraded planetary defence system.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I agree with the general idea of keeping things a bit mysterious and “emergent” for the player. It also gives the developers some leeway in building lore as they go along, instead of locking everything down right away. That said, there are some pretty big gaps in the apparent lore of Endless Space in particular, where things just don’t make sense without some more explanation.

      For example, why do you start the game with Heroes from the other factions, that you haven’t even met in space yet? How did that happen? Why are they willing to participate in exterminating their own faction, working for your side? And how did the United Empire regress to a single planet, when they were large enough at one point to split off other factions like Horation, the Sheredyn, and Pilgrims?

      Okay, a 4X game has to start with all factions more or less balanced, but the background lore in the faction descriptions fights against it sometimes.

  2. Kempston Wiggler says:

    Does it break savegames? I’m playing through my first one just now, 120 turns in….would be a shame to eject all that to enjoy the new content.

    • Azhrarn says:

      It usually doesn’t (they’ll note in the patchnotes that a change breaks saves), games in progress carry their own game-states. The newly added things won’t spawn (as their lairs are generated on World Creation), and while it may be possible for the new end quest to trigger should you reach it, if anyone is on the verge of winning through the old route, I imagine that may still work as it always would have.

    • Lamb Chop says:

      I loaded up my current game and within two turns I was asked to declare war on the vaulters.

  3. Skeletor68 says:

    Anyone know of a good guide or let’s play of Endless Legend? I started it up a few months back while I was very busy with other things and correctly identified it as an all-consuming time-sink to be returned to in happier times. I was playing as some giant knowledge/peace-loving dragon man which was fun but felt like I wasn’t getting the most out of each turn.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      The Drakken are a bit advanced and expect you to already understand some of the core mechanics to play them properly. I’d recommend starting with the Vaulters or the Wild Walkers on normal difficulty or below, which should give you ample opportunity to learn the ropes without punishing you for your inevitable mistakes.

      Each of the factions breaks the game in its own way, but these two are the most “normal”, which makes them good learning material.

    • Lim-Dul says:

      This guy has a ton of Let’s Play/Tutorial videos:

      link to youtube.com

      I believe he uploaded a series for each faction at least once. He’s pretty good at explaining the reasoning behind his moves.

  4. Gothnak says:

    I love the style, i find the combat and units a bit meh, and the fact that the level ups add %s mainly… The quests are interesting, but i’ve stopped playing before finishing my first playthrough… I’ve mainly defeated my neighbour, and there is no threat coming from anywhere else, so it’s all a bit dull sadly…

    I think i was on default difficulty, maybe i can raise it?

    • Jeremy says:

      I found the default difficulty to be very forgiving, and I’ve also found that the world set up makes a huge difference in the difficulty level as well. If you play a lower level, and an AI starts on a smaller island/continent, they will be essentially useless for the entire play through until you meet them and steam roll them. I try to break the map down into 4 chaotic continents, which tends to put me closer to 2 or 3 AI right off the bat, which makes survival quite a bit more difficult.

  5. sonson says:

    Potential tip to anyone new reading this: I’ve found that much Endless Legend’s appeal (and challenge) comes as much from the geography and the world itself and the way it ties the factions and races together. With that in mind, I started my last game by randomisng the terrain somewhat to make it more formidable. Obviously this could lead to things becoming unbalanced, probably does in fact, but it’s not the sort of game I play for balance so much as the experience and story.

    I also limited turn times in combat because I had heard combat was too easy. That goes some way towards making it a more taxing exercise than it might otherwise be.

    Biggest tip though: role play. That’s how I nearly always have played strategy games since i was nipper-often the reason I love them in fact, as they frequently presented the best chance of crating your own story to tell-but this is a game that is positively *made* for that. The AI is a bit lackluster at present (in absolute terms that is-relative to the vast majority of other 4x’s the difference isn’t really perceptible, a human who can think will always beat a series of algorithms when starting on an equal footing) but if you just focus on the experience of making an empire for yourself, following quests and interacting with other parties I guarantee you will have a good time.

    Whereas most strategy games are about the struggle to get a snowball to predictable dominance, Endless Legend is much more about an eventful and far more random experience on the way to an end game.

  6. Tiax says:

    Amplitude, please tell us about your next game ASAP, I really can’t wait !

  7. Martel says:

    Amplitude has quickly become one of my favorite developers. I sort of backed into getting one of their games and now own all three and love them all.

  8. deadly.by.design says:

    Thanks for explaining how all three titles fit together. I only own DotE, but haven’t bit the bullet on buying the others.

    Like most roguelikes, it had me obsessively hooked for a few weeks of my life.

    • jonfitt says:

      I just played it recently, and it’s really good! Nothing I read on it really managed to convey how it actually played, because it’s such a mashup of genres.
      The main thrust is tower defence in a randomized dungeon. But you also have movable hero “towers” who are slightly DOTA hero-esque. The heroes have lite-rpg elements, like levels/stats, equipment, active/passive powers. There’s a currency for buying towers, but also another for researching tower upgrades, and one for leveling up heroes.
      You also don’t always have enough dust to power all of the rooms containing towers, and powered rooms don’t spawn monsters so you have to plan where the monsters will come from. The spawning and the main game time advance is triggered by opening a door. So there’s a push your luck element of opening another door vs escaping the level.
      Throw in permadeath for the heroes, and additional heroes to discover/unlock, and you’ve got a really interesting game.

  9. jonfitt says:

    I love the Endless lore, and I would definitely read a book based on any of the games. It’s incredibly evocative in what could otherwise be a standard sci-fi/fantasy universe.

    So Endless Space starts after the Vaulters leave Auriga (I guess they’re the canonical space victory winners) but a long time afterwards so that they have forgotten where Auriga is.

    But my question is: what was going on before Dungeon of the Endless? The people there were on a prison transport going to/from somewhere. They’re not the Endless, so presumably they post-date the Endless Concrete/Virtual war. But they pre-date the Endless Space timeframe I think? So presumably they’re not from any of those factions?

    Or perhaps they are. Perhaps they’re from the United Empire and Endless Space actually bookends both Dungeon and Legend? Perhaps Dungeon and Legend actually is the telling of the creation of the Vaulter faction within Endless Space?

  10. Dawngreeter says:

    I’m stupidly excited about this, even though I only have Endless Legend at the moment, and I didn’t get to do a single playthrough yet. Stupid Guild Wars 2 obsession kicking in again. But I really want to love all three of these games. And I really love the update.

    Days really need to start lasting longer. I realize that at approximately two to four hours a day of gaming I am well above the employed and married standard of gaming time, but it isn’t nearly enough to play all the games I want AND have an MMO addiction.

  11. Zenicetus says:

    The new final quest to leave the planet will be a great addition to the game. It feels like it should have been an organic part of the design to begin with, since it ties in so well with the planet’s deterioration. So it’s nice that it’s coming in a free DLC. Well done, Amplitude!

    I’m not so sure about the value of the upcoming paid “Guardians” expansion, although I’ll buy it anyway to support this developer. There will be some Civ-like unique wonders to build, but the main feature looks to be the Guardians — elemental colossus things, which will probably be a late game unit that takes lot of resources to build.

    They sound a bit similar in concept to the Giant Death Robot in Civ 5, or maybe the Death Star in Galactic Civilizations 2. In those games, the final uber unit only showed up right at the end of the game, and was mainly used to just speed up the final sweep of a conquest victory. I hope the Guardians have a little more depth and usefulness than that. t will depend on whether the AI knows how to build them too, and if they can show up before most of us will reach a win condition anyway.

  12. airmikee says:

    This is pretty sweet. Amplitude giving away for free what they could charge as DLC. FHI announcing that all the planned DLC for XXL will be given away for free. EA giving away all the DLC for Titanfall for free. I seriously hope all this free DLC is a trend and not just a temporary fad.

    • jonfitt says:

      I think it’s good business. It gets news stories about Endless Legend on RPS, PC Gamer, etc. and they will see more sales as a result.