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Nightingale update 0.2 makes big changes to the divisive survival game

Gaslamp fantasy survival game Nightingale saw a rough launch with mixed Steam reviews, but this new update makes the first big changes.

Nightingale update 0.2 brings first big upgrades to the troubled survival game - A woman wearing a wide-brimmed red hat holds up an ornate revolver.

The gorgeous world and delightful gaslamp fantasy designs of Nightingale really caught my eye, but a rocky launch via Steam Early Access has left the survival game with mixed reviews, with Inflexion Games CEO Aaryn Flynn admitting he was “not satisfied” with the launch. The developer has just taken a first big step on the road to recovery, however, with the release of Nightingale update 0.2, which brings a pretty sizable count of upgrades to the table as the team works on offline mode and increased build limits.

With most of the major launch wobbles out of the way, this new update boasts the first big round of dramatic upgrades for the survival game. “Up until now we’ve primarily been focusing on bug fixing for the original launch build,” community manager Steph Herdman explains. Nightingale patch 0.2, however, introduces some larger gameplay changes and new quality-of-life features.

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You’ll now be able to craft using resources in nearby chests, meaning you won’t need to go sorting through your base to find the materials you need every time. I’m always a big fan of this feature, and Herdman notes that the current range is 12 meters, which for quick reference is the width or height of three building tiles. You can also queue up to six items at the crafting bench and leave them to be made while you go do other things.

Crafting itself is also changing fairly drastically. Senior designer David Holmes explains that now when you add materials to an item during crafting, they’ll also add their corresponding stats even if the base item didn’t have it – you could, for example, add a stealth rating to a gun that previously wouldn’t have offered it.

“To balance out the fact that we’re going to have new stats on items, we’re going to make a change across the board so that resources will have a reduced number of stats,” Holmes describes, but says that “one of the things we’re trying really hard to make sure of is that the spirit of a resource remains the same.” That means that if, for example, a certain resource was particularly good at boosting melee damage, it’ll still be focused on that in the new update.

Nightingale update 0.2 - The new crafting system in action.

Crucially, the ability to stack the same material type onto an item multiple times is being brought back. This was something players were doing at launch to create some rather overpowered builds by going all-in on a given effect, but this wasn’t originally intended by Inflexion Games (and in some instances was breaking the game at a more fundamental level, even preventing players from logging in) and so it was patched out.

However, Holmes says the team “discovered that players really liked how this had been working, so we’ve listened, and we’re working on turning this back on in a designed and sustainable way.” The new system, which will arrive in a future update, will introduce soft and hard caps to item stats, meaning that the more of a given material you pump into an item the less effective it’ll be with each subsequent bump.

Combat has also had a big overhaul, as described by lead gameplay Michael Carter. There are two new enemies to watch out for – the Bound Aegis is a heavy, shield-carrying unit that specializes in protecting its allies, while Bound Breaker has a cannon on the back to pelt you over long range. Quite a few of the other enemies have been changed as well, with changed or additional abilities for their repertoire.

Nightingale update 0.2 - The Bound Aegis, a new shield-wielding enemy type.

To deal with these additional threats, players are getting some new long-ranged Nightingale weapons that you can get your hands on early on: throwing knives, grenades, and a blunderbuss. The first two of these can also be used in your off-hand to help complement one-handed weapons, which Carter says felt in need of some love. In addition to this, one-handed weapons are also getting some new tricks – a parry for the knife, a boomerang-style throw for the sickle, and a rapid-fire flurry for the hammer.

Stat changes have also been made. Stamina efficiency is no more, as “it was confusing for players,” blocking efficiency has been combined with injury resistance, and environmental resistances have been consolidated into one stat (note that damage resistances for various types of damage remain separate). Strength has been removed too – “It led to a muddiness in the way that players were using our tools and added confusion around when a creature would or wouldn’t react.” Finally, range is now “a core part of weapon identity” and has been removed as a stat.

That’s all for update 0.2, although Herdman also takes a moment to address the team’s update prioritization, along with how the offline mode is coming along. Because Nightingale usually splits its workload between your local machine and the server, she explains, the team is having to retool everything to operate locally while keeping it “as close as possible to the online version.”

Nightingale update 0.2 - A massive Sun Giant collapses to its knees, breaking apart.

The game having been built primarily with Nightingale multiplayer in mind means this will take some time to do. “We’ve made pretty significant progress on the offline mode, and even have instances of it running on our PCs,” Herdman notes, but says that ongoing testing means there’s no concrete date yet for when it will arrive.

The team is also working on increasing the maximum build limits, with Herdman saying that “the current limits we have in the game are some of the highest stable limits that we have seen in testing. Work is going on to completely restructure how we handle building data so we can increase these limits, but these will take some time.”

Larger content updates are planned for the summer, Herdman says in closing, but adds that we can expect to see some smaller patches like this one arrive before then that introduce the likes of new Bound enemies, weapons, and quality-of-life updates. Hopefully this just a first step in seeing Nightingale fulfill the potential that its beautiful world design promises.

If you’re jumping back in with this update, or starting for the first time, our Nightingale guide is the best place to start. We’ve got more of the best sandbox games on PC right now, too, if you’re looking for more ways to embrace your creative side.

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