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Of Yules And Rules: Banner Saga's Holiday Update

What do boulder-shouldered fantasy Vikings do for the holidays? It's a question that I've pondered far more than I care to admit, but I've never been able to come up with a conclusive answer. Evidently, however, I just wasn't looking in the right places. Instead of scouring their mead halls in search of wafting feast fumes and bawdy tunes, I should've headed straight for the most axe-strewn, arrow-speckled of battlefields. The Banner Saga's Vikings, you see, continue to duke it out even as we speak, and a new Yuletide update's trotted some formidable toys out to the frontline. Thanks, nasty, brutish Viking Santa!

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The biggest change is that all 12 classes planned for Factions' full release are now in place. Another 12, meanwhile, will apparently see the light of day once the single-player campaign launches. Also stewing away in warm cauldrons beneath, erm, Austin, Texas' frigid wastes is a full-blown tutorial, but for now, Stoic's added help tabs that give detailed descriptions of skills, abilities, stats, and things of the like.

The new endgame Pillage mode is also a welcome change, given that players with only one character left previously gained a disproportionately huge upper hand in turn order. Now, though, the system's far less skewed.

There's still plenty of potential for tide-turning, though. It just makes more sense now - by way of a magic horn, naturally. It can slowly build up a surplus of willpower points, which you can then bestow upon characters at a moment of your choosing. So then, want to gain an early upper hand with damage-boosted attacks? Or maybe you want to have a brute force failsafe in case your tactics prove to be hilariously inadequate. It's your call.

Beyond that, Stoic's also dropped in quite a number of interface and usability tweaks. Oh, and even if you didn't kickstart The Banner Saga, you can now donate a mere $5 to its turn-based cause and jump right into Factions' beta. So that's good news. Unless you hate Vikings and turn-based battles of wits. But if that's the case, well, what do you even like?

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