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Warhammer RTS Realms of Ruin promises improvements to unit balance, AI difficulty, controls and UI after “loud and clear” open beta feedback

Team shift focus from second open beta planned for next month to implementing changes before release

A close up of a Kruleboyz Killaboss  in Warhammer Age Of Sigmar: Realms Of Ruin
Image credit: Frontier Developments

Realms of Ruin, the first RTS set in the world of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar - that’s the shiny fantasy sibling to Warhammer 40k’s gritty sci-fi universe - will see a host of improvements and fixes in the wake of its recent open beta, developers Frontier have promised. Among the biggest incoming changes are better balancing, UI polish and a fix to its most annoying issue of accidental retreats caused by shared key bindings.

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Frontier ran the first open beta for Realms of Ruin earlier this month, collecting feedback from one-on-one multiplayer matches between actual humans and games against an AI opponent. According to the devs, the open beta test was a big success, with “vast amounts of AI data” and “a huge amount of feedback” around unit balancing obtained, spanning more than 7,000 player comments across the game’s Discord and social media channels alone.

In response, Frontier has detailed a whole gamut of fixes, changes and improvements to Realms of Ruin, ranging from the major to the more minor.

Chief among the improvements is a change to perhaps Realms of Ruin’s biggest gripe: the fact that ability and retreat commands for units shared the same key, resulting in accidentally yoinking units out of battle if you timed it wrong.

“We have heard your feedback loud and clear on this one!” Frontier said in the blog post, confirming that abilities and retreat would be bound to different keys in the final game. A new addition will be a separate key that allows the player to retreat groups of units with a single press.

Orruks capture an arcane conduit point in a multiplayer match in Warhammer Age Of Sigmar: Realms Of Ruin
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Frontier Developments

Another big improvement will be to Realms of Ruin’s AI difficulty, which - speaking from experience in the smoking hole a ‘normal’ computer opponent left me in, wiping away my hubris at winning multiple matches online - will be much fairer at launch.

“The AI was not balanced for the Open Beta,” Frontier said. “We would like to thank you for the vast amounts of AI data you helped us gather, even if it meant defeat at the hands of a suspiciously deadly ‘very easy’ AI.”

In the same way, the devs said that Stormcast and Orruk units would be balanced based on player feedback on the units deemed to be weak or overpowered, combined with its own data.

Fantasy warriors in a Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin screenshot.
Image credit: Frontier Developments

Polish to Realms of Ruin’s UI will add options to scale the UI for bigger screens, automatically closing menus when player click away, adding tooltips that explain units’ unique abilities, making it clearer which units benefit from tech tree upgrades and introducing a dedicated Codex for all of the game’s units that details their lore and place in the world.

Control improvements, meanwhile, will remap the movement keys to WASD rather than the arrow keys, make the cursor more visible on consoles and allow players to move around the map by clicking the minimap. Y’know, RTS stuff.

Other spots of polish mentioned in the length breakdown of ‘next steps’ include adding background music to battles, more combat sounds, upping unit responsiveness from the slightly delayed commands of the beta and introducing the ability to change bastion type - allowing the structures built on conduits to be a bit more strategic.

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The full game, which doesn’t have a release date beyond “2023” just yet, will also feature a properly meaty campaign mode with a story from veteran Warhammer fiction writer Gav Thorpe. There’ll also be two more factions on top of the Stormcast Eternals (the fantasy setting’s heavily armoured ‘Sigmarines’) and Orruk Kruleboyz (which are, er, orks) playable during the beta.

Frontier said that the response from the first open beta had been so successful that the team had shifted its focus from a second open beta planned for August to working on getting the various improvements live before the game’s release.

With Katharine far from alone in finding Realms of Ruin’s open beta pretty darn fun even in an unpolished state, the indication that its nitpicks will be thoroughly cleaned up before release hopefully bodes very well for the promising RTS.

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