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A Deep Preview of Release 4

Hello Wildlanders! We hope you've had a wonderful summer thus far, and sincerest apologies for not checking in sooner. This summer has been jam-packed with unforeseen IRL responsibilities for me (Dylan), and I've only now been free enough to write a proper progress report.

Stinky news first, and I'll give it to you straight: we are pushing the next update to Q4 2023. We made this decision because I've had far less dev time this summer than we anticipated, and we want to ensure our update is thoroughly cooked so we can deliver the finest meal to you chefs. We pinky promise it'll be out by Q4's end, and we are tremendously thankful for your patience.

Now, the good news: we think the update is shaping up really nicely, and we think you'll be excited about it too. There are a LOT of features and fixes going in, and it's far and away our most ambitious update yet—so make sure to tune into our next development stream on Thursday, July 27th @ 12:00pm PST to see some of these features firsthand!

Finally, before we dive in, I want to stress how much work Lizzy has put into this update. While I've been handling my IRL business, she has been steadily building and fixing—and she's almost singularly responsible for the fixes and development thus far. We love you Lizzy!

Previewing Release 4 (formerly known as update 1.2)

First thing's first: we're kicking off our new naming scheme with this next update, which is now Release 4 (or R4 for short). We think this is a well-precedented style that will hopefully simplify updates for y'all.

R4's two major focuses are Jobs and Religion, as many of you know. However, R4 is getting a lot of balance fixes, bug fixes, and general improvements for our biggest outstanding issues and most common player feedback.

No More Missing Missives

We've long loved Missives for the depth and roleplaying opportunities it adds to settlements, but it doesn't take a rocket biologist to see where some additions are warranted.

Thankfully, Lizzy has gone absolutely bonkers with her homegrown Missives expansion. "Expansion" is the only word for it, too:

  • Where there were once nine Missive types available per hold, there are now thirty-five. (Yes, you read that number right.) These include crafting missives, cooking missives, fishing missives, and more.
  • Every Outlaw Refuge now contains a "Dark Missives" board, offering sixteen new missive types for unlawful characters—such as pickpocketing contracts, murder contracts, racketeering, and more we'll let you discover yourself. ;)
  • More locations have been added for thievery missives, so you aren't visiting the same locations all the time. (And these improvements carry over to Thieves Guild quests!)
  • Missive rewards now scale with missive difficulty. For example, crafting and gathering missives will factor in the value of produced and gathered goods, and kill missives will pay more for dangerous enemies. This keeps missives worth your time, even as your character grows.
  • There are new missive boards in nearly every town with an inn: Riverwood, Rorikstead, Ivarstead, Stonehills, Skaal Village, Dragon Bridge, Darkwater Crossing, Old Hroldan, and Kynesgrove!
  • Missive titles provide more details, so you know what you're getting into before you accept a contract.
  • Missives now recognize a much wider list of items and ingredients, including hunting resources, fishing resources, and mod-specific alchemy ingredients.
  • Completing missives for NPCs now raises their disposition.
  • General quality of life improvements and bug fixes. Most notably, guards no longer auto-kill disguised vampires, and bounties placed on your head for stealing delivery items will reflect the value of the stolen item(s).

If it's not obvious, we are really excited about these changes. We think they massively expand roleplaying opportunities and the general experience of trade work in Wildlander. They also give us an awesome framework for additional content in the far future; some items from our wishlist include advertisements for player homes, notes containing local gossip and points of interest, and advertisements for local quests.

Fifty Shades of Pray

This brings us to Religion, the other major expansion in R4. Our implementation is an expansion of the excellent Religion 3.0 by IronDusk33, whose help has been instrumental thus far.

Here's a quick summary of the features, if you've missed any of the dev streams:

  • The current religion buffs are replaced by a full-fledged worship system for all nine Divines, all seventeen Daedra, and all thirteen constellations.
  • Worshipping is simple and natural. Act according to a entity's principles, and gain favor; defy a entity's principles, and be shunned (or worse).
  • You can worship as many entities as you like. There are natural benefits to worshipping entities who get along, and natural consequences to worshipping entities who conflict.
  • Entities look at all kinds of things when forming an opinion about you: your deeds, your trade, your interactions with others, your pass times, your clothing, where you worship, and more.
  • The stronger your bond with an entity, the stronger the blessings you'll receive (or the stronger their curses, if they really dislike you!)
  • You can ask an entity for guidance or blessings at any time—though be careful not to annoy the temperamental Daedra.

We intend for these mechanics to augment your characters' stories in organic, meaningful ways—and we hope that's the experience you'll have upon release. (There's also LOT of complexity here, so we hope we can count on your feedback for balancing and tweaking once R4 goes live!)

Piping Hot Fixes

Finally: the general fixes so numerous we felt they deserved their own section. R4 was not initially this fix-heavy, but there have been so many big discoveries—both within our team and the community at large—that we felt it necessary to expand the scope a bit and get these puppies in.

There are too many to list entirely, so here are some of the biggest impactors:

  • Equip Groups are now fixed and fully functioning again. (Lizzy)
  • Identified and nullified our longest standing mystery crash. (NPCs would clip with laundry tubs or other geometry when exiting cells, causing the crash.) (Lizzy)
  • Recalculated the value of player-made potions to make alchemy less overpowered, and to more closely match the value of player potions with standard potions. (Lizzy)
  • Reworked regeneration to be less punishing for builds without high burst DPS. (Dylan)
  • Restored sneak attack bonuses on several endgame enemies, to make stealth builds less punishing at high levels. (Dylan)
  • Replaced broken follower AI. (Dylan)
  • Fixed an issue where the inventory menu was sorting strangely and not in alignment with expected behavior. (Dylan and jn64)
  • Reduced the time elapse for building Hearthfire homes. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed an issue where dragons would not spawn as configured. (lilebonymace and Dylan)
  • NPC facegen is no longer generated at runtime, which should open the door for Steam Deck support in the future. (Dylan)
  • Skinned animals now display a skinned carcass. (Richard Webster and jjensen6823)
  • Lanterns now require fuel, and are no longer a free infinite light source. (Quantumyilmaz)
  • Random enemy aggression is significantly reduced, and more easily fixed if it does occur. (wSkeever)
  • Favorited items can no longer be broken down or used in crafting recipes. (powerofthree)
  • Fixed several College of Winterhold quests that sometimes failed to start properly, including the Staff of Magnus. (wSkeever)
  • Proper perks have been added to tons of followers and NPCs who did not have them previously. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed an issue where combat music would continue to play after combat ended. (dTry and doodlum)
  • You can now have multiple instances of NPC favor quests, instead of just one per quest type. (Sacralletius)
  • Deadwood and branches on the ground can now be collected. (wizkid34)
  • Fixed an issue where sleeping on the ground provided a Well Rested bonus. (Dylan)
  • Added missing beneficial effects to several food recipes. (Lizzy)
  • Added several missing Requiem scrolls to Spell Research. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed elemental arrows not being usable with elemental bows. (Lizzy)
  • Fishing loot tables are better balanced, and contain additional loot types. (Lizzy)
  • Hawks can now be located and looted once shot. (Lizzy)
  • The College of Winterhold now has a bath. (Sorc)
  • Hearthfire homes now have baths. (Redprincess79 and SarahSyna)
  • Hearthfire chickens now lay eggs every day, instead of just once. (Ceruulean and shumkar)
  • Certain weathers should no longer make the sky glow green inexplicably. (doodlum)
  • Fixed Absorb spells not gaining experience. (Lizzy and DoomBlades)
  • Fixed some prisoners instantly attacking the player once jailed. (Lizzy)
  • Thralls will no longer disintegrate between load screens. (powerofthree)
  • The "Fugitive" encounter will no longer force greet you during combat, or while you're sneaking. (tarlazo)
  • Fixed an issue where races with "Strong Stomach" could sometimes still get food poisoning from raw food. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed various environmental graphics issues with Hjerim before it's purchased by the player. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed several NPCs and enemies becoming permanently stuck in the bleedout state. (Lizzy)
  • Stewards are now dismissable, so you don't permanently lose a follower when making them your steward. (Parapets)
  • Added several NPCs to the Missives blacklist to prevent wonky behavior. (Lizzy)
  • Locked several valuable vaults within forts, to prevent easy looting. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed several broken meshes. (wSkeever)
  • Added missing breakdown recipes for several pieces of gear. (Lizzy)
  • Added missing keywords to several pieces of gear. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed several training dummies that did not allow training. (Lizzy)
  • Fixed several instances of clipping objects around the world. (Lizzy)
  • And SO much more!

Special Thanks

Our utmost thanks to the following modders and contributors for their work, their ideas, and their time: IronDusk33, wankingSkeever, Sacralletius, Simon Magus, Parapets, Noah, doodlum, Fuzzles, Monica, powerofthree, Quantumyilmaz, Nightfallstorm, lilebonymace, Peon the Grate, Ashen, asrak, sasnikol, Ric Bulow, ItsSK, Liam (Parz), KaiC94, ProbablyManuel, uranreactor, DoomBlades, tarlazo, Giblets, Fornication, Total, Noxcrab, Abandoned_by_Arkay, Luca, JTK, Althro, Crit, johnskyrim, RedPrincess79, Richard Webster, jjensen6823, Plasmana, AurothL, SarahSyna, dTry,Sorc, Excinerus, Ceruulean, Yuril, shumkar, and more to come as we add additional mods.

(Religion thumbnails courtesy of johnskyrim.)

That's all for now, folks! We hope you're as excited about R4 as we are—and we also hope to see you at next Thursday's stream!

All our best,

-- Dylan and the Wildlander Team