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Halloween Update & Spotlight on Zhi Hun

After a long month of getting ready, I'm happy to announce that a complete demo of the first three chapters of Lore is available for download as part of the Release the Dead event! Future updates will likely flesh out some extra details and quests in the chapters (particularly Chapter 3 which, while complete for the purposes of the main storyline, doesn't feel as fully developed within the world as I would like it to eventually be.) While work begins on Chapter 4, I have to announce that I will be pausing development for the month of November while I finish submitting my PhD applications. I am excited to resume working on chapter 4, and I intend to do so as soon as possible in early December, aiming to release a download for the first 4/5ths of the game as early as late December/early January. In the meantime, I look forward to keeping up with people's input about changes they would like seen in the first three chapters and directions they would like the game to go for its last (and most likely longest) two chapters of gameplay. I am also anticipating releasing periodic blogs like this which spotlight characters and how to play them, starting with the godly empath: Zhi Hun.

A list of available skills Zhi Hun can obtain by the end of Chapter 3.
Zhi Hun is a well balanced character who focuses on buffing players and debuffing enemies through his skilled emotional manipulation. I have always wanted to write a character with empathetic magic into a game, and so it was a lot of fun to think about the ways in which this system can be implemented both in terms of story and gameplay. From a gameplay perspective, Zhi Hun diversifies the roster as a character who is focused primarily on manipulating advantages and disadvantages for the players and enemies, rather than dealing damage or healing necessarily. Playing his buffs at particular times can serve to greatly empower specific types of attacks during a difficult battle or disrupt a powerful boss' special attack with a well timed debuff. Given the diversity of options that Zhi Hun can acquire, he can be well played in any context when the player knows what to expect. Spells like Encourage are particularly useful with combinations of characters executing physical attacks that need to land successfully while Peace is most helpful when characters are focusing on dealing magic damage (particularly magic using the "Mind" element) or healing. Other spells such asFear and Sorrow can be similarly well timed to reduce the power of incoming enemy attacks or disrupt the speed at which those attacks are coming. Experimenting with his abilities in combination with other characters and certain enemy types can lead to complete sweeps of areas if played correctly or absolutely disastrous boss runs if used in a non-optimal order.

Zhi Hun learns new spells as he encounters those emotions in game.
As a god who spent millennia as a statue, Zhi Hun's powers are subprime at the beginning of Lore. However, through story and side quests, he may delve deeper into his own emotions and learn new skills. Completing quests and progressing through the story are integral to advancing Zhi Hun's spellpower and unlocking new emotions for him to cast. His journey is inherently more emotional than An Feng's, as he chooses to grapple with his personal demons through exploration of what they mean. His embrace of positive, negative, and neutral emotions alike facilitates his own growth on his path to realization that the life he had with his wife and son is gone forever. While he grapples with questions of love, both by bond with his wife and by blood with his son, Zhi Hun's journey also emphasizes the acceptance of sadness, anger, guilt, fear, and a whole range of emotions. As he learns to embrace these, on behalf of himself or others, he too learns to wield them in battle.

That's all for this week! I hope you enjoy the demo, and I will be back in the coming days (weeks?) to talk some about An Feng and Jun Lin!