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Risk Of Rain 2 brings magma worm down to earth with a fiery update

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Risk Of Rain 2 is the second roguelikelike shooter that falsely declares itself to be about weather when it’s really about firing innumerable bullets at hellish demons. This one is in 3D, and some players have been frowning and muttering about various shortcomings, like bosses being “too grindy”. An update yesterday hopes to turn those frowns rightside-around, making one fiery baddie in particular a little more interesting to fight. The gargantuan magma worm is getting a small but important change in his snakey behaviour. Let's see what that means below the jump. But because I'm quite nosey, I've also asked developers Hopoo Games about other possible features, such as the ability to revive your mates when they die, which is something I want right now, wah wah wah, but a feature they’re still undecided about.

First, let’s address the giant lava annelid in the room. The magma worm is a boss creature with a massive health bar and a love of jumping into the air over and over, which makes fighting him somewhat repetitive, and half the time you can’t even hit him. The creators have now made it so the gloopy warm monster now slithers on the ground as well. Which sounds terrifying but at least gives you a chance to blast the big fella.

“The intent is to give a break from the Worm’s constant leaping and to give short-range characters a chance to attack,” say the devs in the patch notes to yesterday's update. “The Worm should also be an intense fight, not a slog.”

There’s also a change to many of the elite baddies “to try to make them all equally threatening.” For example, the lightning elites will spawn with full shields, whereas the fire elites will be a little less keen with their burning attacks, after players voiced their annoyance at being too quickly turned to ash by that enemy’s stacking burns.

“Fire elites are the only purely offensive elite-type,” say the makers, “so they should be causing deaths. It should just feel less BS now.”

There are a lot more changes and fixes in those notes. For instance, a “3-second invincibility period” when first appearing on a new level (good for not getting whomped in the opening seconds, before you even know where you are).

But I’m more interested in what’s to come. We barged into the email inbox of developers Paul Morse and Duncan Drummond to ask them about future plans. They wouldn’t open up about new characters, but they did openly scratch their chins about the possibility of reviving your comrades.

“We think it could be neat,” they said, “but need to make sure it fits in the theme of the game. A part of early access is listening to what the community wants and seeing if, when and where we can implement it.”

That’s no confirmation. But it’s something I’d like to see. My most negative memory of the hell-shooter is spectating my friends as they chipped away at spongey bosses for ages but being unable to jump back in myself and help out. Sitting out a fight on the death bench was frustrating. But maybe I’m just bad. (If you're as garbage as me, our boy Ollie has been making plenty of Risk Of Rain 2 guides.)

The ping system is also going to get tweaked, they said. This feature lets players tap a button to mark a treasure box or to point out a place to their mates. It was added early in development, said Drummond and Morse, but when they played among themselves in the studio it “largely got forgotten and was never used”. And then Apex Legends came along.

“...we never used it internally since whenever we played it was in the office so we could all just talk about what we saw in game… When we saw Apex launch and how much people used it for quick communications, we decided to beefed up [sic] our ping system a little as well and shipped with it. We plan on adding more features to it during early access to expand it.”

Maybe all these small changes will be enough to make our Matt come back to the bullet fields. He felt the game was neat but a little too repetitive when he gave us his Risk Of Rain 2 impressions. He is probably just upset it has nothing to do with deducing the chance of precipitation. And quite right. How long will Hopoo get away with this injustice? How long will they withhold the meteorological percentage sign we all truly crave? I don't know, because I forgot to ask them that question.

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