Darkest Dungeon II: The Altar of Hope

Oct 11, 2022

Build 0.16.38854 - live on retail!

BE ADVISED:

This update is a wholesale rework of the fundamental underpinnings of Darkest Dungeon II’s metagame & progression.  Your current Hope score will be reset, resulting in a wipe of item unlocks & hero availability.  Any in-progress expeditions will also be reset.  

Hero backstory progress & associated skill unlocks, as well as Confession boss unlocks will be preserved.

You will be awarded 20 Candles of Hope to expedite your exposure to the Altar of Hope.
The Altar of Hope Update introduces a massive new progression system to Darkest Dungeon II which allows you to invest in upgrades, perks, and unlocks that suit your play style and strategy.

On your Expeditions, you will collect Candles of Hope by completing objectives, progressing through areas, and defeating evils along the way.  In true Darkest Dungeon fashion, the best results come from daring deeds. You’ll also need to choose when to take a safer path.

The best rewards can be gained by making it all the way to the Confession boss. Of course, this is not always possible. Fortunately, Candles can be earned with incremental successes as well.

  • Cashing out: If you choose to, you can end any Expedition gracefully at any Inn. You'll keep whatever Candles you have earned so far on that journey.

  • Risking it: If you choose to push on past the Inn, be aware that a mid-region party wipe or abandoned Expedition will penalize your total Candles earned. It’s always better to make it to the next Inn.

  • The Pinnacle: If you reach the Mountain, you will keep every Candle you've earned that Expedition even if you fall. You have no reason not to face your failures...

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to press forward after a moment’s sanctuary at the Inn should be something that weighs heavily when tending to your party and surveying what challenges lie ahead. There is no shame in ending your Expedition here, carrying your Candles home, and spending them on upgrades at the Altar. It is crucial to recollect more of what has been forgotten to the darkness. Eventually, you will find yourself making it farther and farther on each journey, until you ultimately reach the Mountain.

For more information on the Altar of Hope, refer to this BLOG POST

A New Ally, The Bounty Hunter

Unlike the core group of adventurers who rally at the Crossroads, the Bounty Hunter wanders from Inn to Inn, in search of his next job.  If you are lucky enough to stumble upon him, and are willing to pay the price, he will replace one of your active heroes for the duration of the next region.

A consummate professional, the Bounty Hunter will not gain or lose affinity with the party.  He is here to do his job, and has no interest in fostering friendships, or petty bickering.  He is still vulnerable to stress, however, as any sane person should be.

For more information on the Bounty Hunter, refer to this BLOG POST.


GAMEPLAY MISCELLANEOUS
  • All quirks and diseases are now unlocked at profile start, as the Altar doesn’t have a quirk/disease section.

  • HERO STATS balanced to account for the numerous Altar of Hope buffs available on each hero's advancement track

  • Monsters and bosses with multiple standard actions (not including Start Round / End Round skills) will now roll their additional actions at a stacking initiative penalty in order to decrease, but not eliminate, the chances of multiple actions in a row

  • INN CHANGES: Inns now vary in how much they heal. Reintroduction of stitching kit as an Inn item

  • ITEM LOOT FIXES: there were some spreadsheet offsets, leading to incorrect supply item loot quantities. This should be fixed and it should be harder to get offset again

  • CONFESSION BOSS BATTLE MODIFIER: when facing the end boss(es), heroes will now face a substantial Deathblow Resist penalty. This allows us to keep the fights challenging and deadly without it involving endless hero-death-door-juggling

  • REMOVED Loathing restoration from Guardian fights because they are not optional

  • VALLEY: swapped order of StoryAssist and Hoarder for all narration configurations

  • VALLEY: changed order of Assist Encounter and Hoarder, since what you get at the Assist location may influence your shopping choices

  • VALLEY ASSIST ENCOUNTER: now the player will have a choice between different loot options, instead of always getting food. Also restores full torch now since the placement of this encounter within the Valley changed

  • VALLEY: the road fight now awards 2 Mastery instead of 1. Take that, enemies!

  • ORDAINMENT: monsters in the first region past the Valley now will never be Ordained. Monsters in the final region before the Mountain will be Ordained 90% of the time (was 80%)

  • REGION MUTATORS: Added two new ones: "Blood and Hope" and "Peace and Hope" (candle generation chance boosts at certain locations)

  • Changed "Secret, Safe" region goal to be "fight less than 6 road battles" since previously it was sometimes impossible

  • REGION GOAL REWARDS: added Candles into the mix!

  • Stealth Tokens can now stack to a maximum of 2 and are consumed at a rate of 1 per turn, regardless of action taken unless otherwise noted on a skill

  • Adjusted color of Daze/Stun text/tokens to better reflect their role as negative tokens

  • Discarding items no longer rewards anything

  • Occultist's self-Burn related information is now shown on the Conditions tab instead of on Unchecked Power tokens

  • Lairs in the Tangle can now contain Champion mashes when appropriate

  • Cultist Altars can no longer spawn in region 1 as part of 0 torch ambushes or maximum Loathing Exemplar battles

  • Tokens previewed at Oblivion’s Ingress locations will now reflect their normal color regardless of the side to which they are applied

  • Region goals and modifiers will be unique per region choice

  • Caches can now appear in the SLUICE. (Part of the effort to ensure that SLUICE is a good risk/reward balance.)

  • Valley leaf piles will sometimes yield loot, as the Academic intended

HEROES

General

  • Fixed an issue where Heroes would never want to head towards Oblivion's Ingress at a crossroad

  • Base Deathblow Resistance has been reduced to 60% from 75%

  • HP, SPD, RES base values have been adjusted down on many Heroes


Grave Robber

  • Shadow Fade now grants 2 Stealth tokens instead of 1

  • Shadow Fade+ now grants 2 Stealth tokens instead of 1

  • Shadow Fade now has a 2 round cooldown

  • Shadow Fade+ now has a 2 round cooldown

  • Dead of Night+ now grants 2 Stealth tokens instead of 1


Hellion

  • Howling End cooldown increased to 3 from 1

  • Howling End+ cooldown increased to 2 from 1


Man-at-Arms

  • Retribution now has a 1 round cooldown

  • Retribution+ now has a 1 round cooldown

  • Strategic Withdrawal now has a 1 round cooldown

  • Strategic Withdrawal+ now has a 1 round cooldown


Runaway

  • Run and Hide now grants 2 Stealth tokens instead of 1

  • Run and Hide+ now grants 2 Stealth tokens instead of 1

  • Run and Hide cooldown increased to 2 from 1

  • Run and Hide+ cooldown increased to 2 from 1


HERO PATH CHANGES

General

  • Apprentice and Master Paths have been removed from the game


Grave Robber

  • Deadeye: Ranged DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%

  • Deadeye: Melee DMG penalty reduced to -25% from -50%

  • Nightsworn: HP penalty reduced to -20% from -25%

  • Nightsworn: Lunge/Pirouette DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%

  • Venomdrop: Ranged DMG penalty reduced to -25% from -50%

  • Venomdrop: Flashing Daggers Blight increased to 2 from 1

  • Venomdrop: Flashing Daggers+ Blight increased to 4 from 2


Hellion

  • Berserker: HP penalty reduced to -20% from -33%

  • Berserker: Deathblow Resist bonus reduced from +20% to +10%

  • Ravager: HP bonus reduced to +20% from +33%

  • Ravager: Rank 1 DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%

  • Ravager: Turn Start Bleed effect can now be resisted


Highwayman

  • Rogue: Rank 1 DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%

  • Rogue: Rank 3 DMG penalty reduced to -25% from -50%

  • Sharpshot: Ranged DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%

  • Sharpshot: Melee DMG penalty reduced to -25% from -50%


Jester

  • Soloist: DMG bonus reduced to +20% from +33%

  • Soloist: HP penalty reduced to -20% from -33%

  • Virtuoso: HP bonus reduced to +20% from +33%

  • Virtuoso: Bleed/Blight/Burn RES penalty reduced to -20% from -33%


Leper

  • Poet: Self-heal bonus reduced to +50% from +100%

  • Poet: Stun/Move RES bonuses reduced to +50% from +100%

  • Tempest: Chop DMG bonus reduced to +33% from +50%

  • Tempest: HP penalty reduced to -25% from -33%


Man-at-Arms

  • Vanguard: DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%

  • Vanguard: Burn/Blight/Bleed RES penalty reduced to -20% from -33%

  • Bulwark: DMG penalty reduced to -25% from -50%

  • Sergeant: DMG penalty reduced to -20% from -33%


Occultist

  • Aspirant: Melee DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%

  • Aspirant: Anamnesis DMG bonus reduced to +125% from +150%

  • Warlock: HP penalty reduced to -20% from -33%

  • Warlock: Ranged DMG bonus reduced to +25% from +50%


Plague Doctor

  • Alchemist: Bleed/Blight/Burn RES bonus reduced to +20% from +33%

  • Alchemist: HP penalty reduced to -20% from -33%

  • Surgeon: HP bonus reduced to +25% from +33%

  • Surgeon: Melee DMG bonus reduced to +50% from +100%


Runaway

  • Arsonist: DMG penalty reduced to -25% from -33%

  • Arsonist: Turn Start Burn DOT can now be resisted

  • Survivor: Added a -20% penalty to Burn chance


MONSTERS

Oblivion's Rampart

  • Battles no longer roll for random battle modifiers

  • Battles are now a single fight instead of 2 waves

  • Region 1 is now a Cultist mash with a guaranteed Altar

  • Region 2 is now either a Deacon or Cardinal mash with a guaranteed Altar

  • Region 3 is now an Exemplar and an Altar


Mountain Fights

  • Fights on the Mountain no longer roll for random battle modifiers

  • Oblivion's Ingress 1 is now a random Deacon mash instead of an Exemplar

  • Oblivion's Ingress 2 is now a random Cardinal mash instead of a Deacon + Cardinal


Cultists

  • A number of mash arrangements and spawn rates have been adjusted

  • Oblivion’s Rampart: added torch restoration to the loot so players won't get ambushed between Oblivion’s Rampart and Inn

  • Altars can no longer spawn in region 1 outside of Oblivion's Rampart

  • "Out of position" attacks (Brisk Bedevilment, Rush Judgement, Disharmony) have a slightly reduced chance of granting Worship

  • Herald: First Trumpet damage reduced to 3-5 from 3-7

  • Herald: Inversion self-move reduced to back 1 from back 2

  • Herald: Clarion Call launch ranks changed to 3 4 from 1 2 3 4

  • Herald: Clarion Call stress reduced to 2 from 2-3

  • Herald: Clarion Call can no longer CRIT

  • Herald: Harmonious End has been replaced with Disharmony, a front ranks attack

  • Exemplar: Exultation CRIT rate reduced to 5% from 10%

  • Exemplar: DMG range of Exultation reduced to 10-20 from 15-25

  • Exemplar: DMG range of The Fall reduced to 10-16 from 10-20

  • Exemplar: Stun RES reduced to 60% from 75%


Fanatics

  • Her Ladyship: Combustion skill now correctly deals 200% of remaining Burn DOT on the target


The Shroud

  • Fog stress chance reduced to 33% from 66%

  • Fog Blind chance reduced to 75% from 100%


Fisherfolk

  • Bosun: Heave Ho CRIT reduced to 10% from 15%

  • Bosun: Heave Ho DMG reduced to 3-6 from 3-7

  • Bosun: Spearfishing DMG reduced to 2-5 from 3-6

  • Bosun: Sodden Rigging cooldown increased to 2 from 1

  • Cabin Boy: Unstable Incubation now heals slightly less

  • Cabin Boy: Spawning Grounds stress reduced to 2 from 3

  • Captain: Fixed an issue where All Hands on Deck could target corpses

  • Docker: Debuff RES reduced to 20% from 30%

  • Docker: Make Way no longer has a 25% chance to deal an additional point of stress

  • Docker: dramatically reduced the likelihood that he will use Make Way on his first action

  • Fish Monger: Whetstone now has a 50% chance to grant Dodge or Dodge+ instead of 100% Dodge+

  • The Hull Keeper: Heave Ho DMG range adjusted to 4-8 from 6-7

  • The Hull Keeper: Sodden Rigging stress reduced to 1-2 from 2


Lost Battalion

  • Bullseye Barrett's "Marked for Death" skill has been renamed to "Chosen Target"


BOSSES

Fanatic Librarian

  • Book Stacks now spawn in a varied range of conditions instead of all being full

  • CRIT hits from any skill now apply Burn 3 to the target

  • HP increased to 116 from 101

  • Ignited Librarian's HP increased to 140 from 125

  • SPD increased to 4 from 2

  • Ignited Librarian's SPD increased to 6 from 4

  • Burnout DMG increased to 4-8 from 2-4

  • Burnout now applies Burn 2

  • Mandatory Reading DMG increased to 4-8 from 3-6

  • Mandatory Reading CRIT rate increased to 10% from 5%

  • Mandatory Reading now deals 1 Stress damage guaranteed instead of a 50% chance

  • Smokestack launch ranks changed to 2 3 4 from 3 4

  • Smokestack target ranks changed to 1 2 3 4 from 3 4

  • Smokestack no longer deals damage

  • Smokestack now inflicts 1 Vulnerable in addition to existing effects

  • Smokestack CRIT rate increased to 20% from 5%

  • Categorize now ignores Dodge and Stealth

  • Categorize can no longer unintentionally consume a CRIT token on the Librarian

  • Burning Bright now ignores Stealth


Leviathan

  • Eyes of the Storm now ignores Blind, Dodge, and Stealth

  • Eyes of the Storm now targets only the 2 Heroes that will receive the Call of the Deep token instead of all Heroes

  • Eye of the Storm now shares the same Ignores as Eyes of the Storm

  • Fixed an issue where Eye of the Storm could consume a CRIT token on Leviathan unnecessarily


The Seething Sigh

  • Fixed an issue where a Damaged Lung could be cleared by untargeted corpse clearing skills like Magnesium Rain

  • Updated description of the Breath token for clarity

  • Sundering Exhalation no longer occurs if there are no Breath tokens left at the end of the round

  • Sundering Exhalation now deals increased stress damage; 2 for Shallow Breath, 3 for Deep Breath

  • Damage required to break a Breath token has been reduced to 12 (front) and 9 (back) from 20 and 15

  • Sundering Exhalation's single Breath token damage increased to 10-20 from 6-9

  • Sundering Exhalation's double Breath token damage increased to 20-30 from 15-30

  • Main body HP reduced to 280 from 350


ITEMS

General Item Changes

  • Stagecoach Upgrades have been renamed Stagecoach Equipment

  • Item tags have been added to select items

  • Combat items, Inn items, and Stagecoach Equipment tooltip color for item type has been updated to match the item frame

  • "Caltrops" combat item has been renamed "Crow's Feet"

  • Added signature inn items for each hero, after they have been fully upgrade on their altar tracks

  • Several trinkets that modify healing received now only apply to healing effects from skills; Minor Bouncer's Belt, Bouncer's Belt, Greater Bouncer's Belt, Minor Heartseeker, Heartseeker, Snap Judgment, Dark Impulse (healing variation), Hags Hoard, Ghastly Gruel, Rat Skull, Foreclosure Notice


Stagecoach Equipment

  • Tooltips for Stagecoach Equipment that produce items have been updated for consistency

  • Tinker's Bench: Now produces Noisemaker and Pyrotechnic Dazzler

  • Mortar and Pestle: No longer produces Nightshade Concoction

  • Alchemical Gear: Now produces Chalk Dust and Nightshade Concoction. No longer produces Pyrotechnic Dazzler and Healing Salve

  • Merchants Guild Seal: Now lists price reduction for Inn and Combat items instead of consumable items


Trinkets

  • 1 new trinket has been added to each region (excluding The Sluice)

  • Oblivion Rampart rewards now guarantee a Dark Impulse in the first region

  • [COMM] Thrilling Tablet: Now sold by The Hoarder 


REGION GENERATION CHANGES

This is part of a larger effort to provide more texture to the expedition from Valley to Mountain. We will be monitoring feedback, so let us know how you feel!


Length Variation

Now, region 1 (the first region past the Valley) will be a little shorter than standard regions, and region 3 (third region past the Valley) will be a bit longer than standard regions. Region 2 will be a "standard" region. (However, this “standard” has been slightly shortened in general.)

Despite Ordainment and some other behind-the-scenes mechanics (e.g. concentration of easier battles spawned in region 1; greater proportion of harder battles spawned in region 3) we still would like to explore ways to make the difficulty curve of the expedition less front-loaded. Slightly shortening the first region and lengthening the last region helps this, in addition to providing variety. Region 1 is crucial for early Candle-gathering for new players.

Related to the length tuning, we have also adjusted some location generation limits to provide additional texture:

  • Watchtowers are not guaranteed to spawn in short regions

  • Oases and Creature Dens are not guaranteed to spawn in any regions (the idea is to make them feel a little more special when they are present)

  • Spawn rates of Academic's Studies increased some. Have fun hunting more Shamblers!

  • Spawn rates of Cultist encounter locations increased some.


Region Variation

We are also experimenting with making each region feel different in paths and contents.


THE SPRAWL:

  • generally more location choices (2 to 3 per “row”)

  • more Hoarders and Field Hospitals

  • less Academic’s Caches

  • no Oasis or Creature Den

  • more Resist encounter fights than normal (slightly less Oblivion’s Ingress, Assists)


THE FOETOR:

  • standard balance of location choices (varies 1 to 3 per row)

  • less Field Hospitals

  • more Academic’s Caches

  • less Oases

  • guaranteed Creature Den

  • more Assist encounters than normal (slightly less Resists and Academic’s Studies)


THE TANGLE:

  • standard balance of location choices

  • less Watchtowers

  • less Hoarders

  • less Field Hospitals

  • more Oases

  • guaranteed Creature Den

  • more Academic's Studies (slightly less Assists and Resists, standard Oblivion’s Ingress)


THE SHROUD:

  • always 2 location choices per row

  • guaranteed Watchtowers (lighthouses!)

  • Guaranteed Oases

  • standard mix of Assist, Resist, Oblivion’s Ingress, Academic’s Studies


THE SLUICE:

  • always 1-2 location choices per row

  • Increased region length by 1 row

  • Cultist fights no longer guaranteed to happen

  • New Location: Swine Caches! (helps ensure some good loot when going to the Sluice)


BATTLE LOOT AUDIT

We did a full audit of all battle-based loot, as it had been a while and we wanted to strengthen the identity of various fights as well as make some adjustments based upon the recent community loot survey.

  • MASTERY: In general, reduced Mastery rewards a little. We would like to achieve a balance where it's not guaranteed to have enough Mastery to upgrade all 5 assigned hero skills for all 4 heroes by the time you reach the Mountain

  • FOOD: now food cannot be found in combats. Food should be searched for at Assist Encounters or purchased from stores

  • ROAD COMBATS: Reduced road combat loot a little overall, but also strengthened the identity of loot between pillager, gaunt, and faction road combats. Improved loot from Anty-Q fights and Ghoul fights

  • CULTIST AMBUSHES (0 torch or max loathing): removed all loot except torch restoration and loathing reduction. These are meant to be punitive fights and should be avoided at all costs. Not intended to be farmed for good loot.

  • FACTION RESISTANCE ENCOUNTERS: added bonus treasure chance and increased SC upgrade chance a little. Reduced Mastery chance a bit, reduced Inn item chance.

  • CULTIST OBLIVION'S INGRESS ENCOUNTERS: removed relics chance, but slightly increased trinket rewards

  • SHAMBLER: increased Mastery rewards to 2 and added Otherworldly fragments as loot

  • LAIR pre-wave fights: reduced combat item draw chance

  • LAIR boss fights: added guaranteed combat item draw; added guaranteed rest item draw; added bonus treasure draw

  • OBLIVION'S RAMPART: removed relics and food (Cultists don't collect these things) but increased other loot (guaranteed combat item and inn item, added SC upgrade chance and bonus treasure draw). Ensured torch is awarded so no more getting ambushed by more cultists between the Rampart and the Inn.

  • CREATURE DEN: made combat item guaranteed; made rest item guaranteed; removed trinkets draw; slightly reduced Mastery chance; slightly increased SC upgrade chance


THE INFERNAL FLAME

The Infernal Flame now awards scoring bonuses and is obtained differently. (Note: this is step 1 in a larger plan to add more optional difficulty modifiers later.)

  • Unlock the Infernal Torch at the Altar of Hope (at the Intrepid Coast track)

  • Once unlocked, the Infernal Torch will be awarded to you each time that you arrive at the Valley Inn.

  • You may equip it to your stagecoach if you wish. This must be done at the Inn.

  • With this item equipped, the Flame will be permanently set to 1 during your expedition.

  • The Infernal Flame gives sizable scoring bonuses (bonus Candles) in most scoring categories. 


MISC FIXES
  • Fixed an issue at The Academic's Study where Trinket reward glyphs were appearing on the enemy side during a choice.

  • Creature Den: fixed an issue with a story choice implying that it would Blind enemies when it would actually Daze them

  • Hero Shrine: fixed an issue where loading into the Jester's Violinist duel could cause the fight's steps to get out of order

  • Tutorial edit: hero replacement tutorial clarified so player understands that multiple heroes can be replaced at any given Inn, as long as those heroes are unlocked on the player's profile

  • Added new idle poses for all heroes for the crossroads and character sheets

  • Added polish to various region environments assets and presentation

  • Numerous text edits and typo fixes throughout

  • Added missing disease bark strings

  • Added barks for the new signature inn items

  • Updated Coastal Lair environment art candle lights to all be teal instead of yellow

  • Fixed an issue with "Kill" being appended to "Clear Corpse" text in some tool tips

  • Fixed an issue where The Still Waters trophy wasn't available as a reward from The Shroud's Lair boss.

  • Fixed an issue where baubles were being rewarded in road battles outside of their designated region.

  • Fixes Riposte skill label coloring to represent if it's coming from a hero or enemy team

  • Fixed an issue where buying out a shop row causes the ui to misbehave and has the entire stock jump down a row

  • Fixed Windchime description to display its effect trigger as "Random Hero After Each Location" rather than "After Each Location".

  • Fixed Coast road encounters to properly award COAST trinket loot, not CAVE trinket loot

  • Fix to Valley Assist encounter torch restoration preview so it says +100

  • Fixed item tooltip inconsistencies for text that was italicized when it shouldn't

  • Fix to Jester Altar node that said "Health" and should have been "Sturdiness"

  • Fix to damage not saving and max hp not being accurate when loading save

  • Adjusted item quote styling and moved the position of flavor text to be after item tags on tooltips

  • Fixed an issue where the hero portraits remained enabled after dismissing Oasis rewards window

  • Brightness and Overall Lighting Adjustments: We were unhappy with the overall values appearing in screenshots and streams, and have adjusted lighting and tinting in every environment.  This is an ongoing process

  • Improved and added strings relating to the various save invalidation states to better describe why your save won't load.

  • Updated various tutorials to now account for the gameplay changes introduced with M5 - The Altar of Hope update

  • The Crossroads now has a tab to show quirks and resistances

  • Brightness and Overall Lighting Adjustments: We were unhappy with the overall values appearing in screenshots and streams, and have adjusted lighting and tinting in every environment.  This is an ongoing process

  • Updated subtitle positioning