Astronarch - Just set it and forget it. Indie Auto-battler Roguelike by Dale Turner

Before I say anything, I think it’s important to note that this is a fully released game. Astronarch IS NOT IN EARLY ACCESS. That’s right, there’a a brand new indie game out and it’s fully functional. Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.

@misguided first mentioned Astronarch a few days ago in our indie games thread. He went into pretty good detail about what the game has to offer, so I’ll quote him just below the Steam link so as to consolidate my power the discussion of the game.

Everything he said here is correct, and after 4 hours with the game I’ve decided I like the game as much as he does. In fact, I like it a lot more than other games such as Slay the Spire because I can do all my planning for an encounter once and then (mostly) just sit back and watch events unfold. I only say “mostly” sit back because there’s a potion system you can trigger during the game, so that keeps it from being 100% auto-battling in my book, but except for the 3 potions you can equip at once, it’s close enough.

After buying this last night, Steam tells me that I’ve played for about 4 hours over the last 2 days. And after half a dozen or so failed attempts “learning experiences”, I just finished my first successful run. HOORAY:

The power of this particular party far, FAR out-measured the powers of all parties that came before it. These guys were almost unstoppable, where most of my other runs ended at or before the very first boss. This particular party focused on the Cleric. I tried to boost his mana generation and equipped him with an upgraded item that would do massive damage to enemies every time he healed, and he was a spam-healing machine. He pretty much carried this whole game. I also chose pyromancer at the start in order to synergize with my Paladin’s fire attack passive, but although my Pyro does good damage, I’m not exactly sure how well that particular synergy pays off.

At the moment I’m finding my default Tank/DPS/Healer to be the best starting group, but I haven’t unlocked everybody in the tavern yet and I’m not sure what else might work out later on.

One thing I find especially important is that players not skimp on potions. They’re very easy to ignore because they’re consumable and I always find it hard to waste money on consumables (use once and it’s gone for good), but I’ve learned I just can’t ignore them. You can buy more at shops, and occasionally loot them, but it’s in your best interest to keep them on hand as much as possible. They really will make a difference when timed appropriately.

Even though the game is an auto-battler, the potions offer the only real-time action a player can take during combat. And with my current parties I’ve been finding one particular types of potions to be far better than all the others, potions that interfere with an enemy’s ability to use their ACTIVE ability. Whether it’s a potion that drains their mana when triggered at a crucial moment, or a potion that stuns them, or a potion that slows them down, the most important thing so far has been to reset their mana if possible, but interrupt or delay that active ability, pronto. Timing a single potion correctly can make or break encounters.

Personally, while I like having potions around it does keep the game from being a true auto-battler (as I see it anyway)–at least until you’ve used your (up to 3) potions for that encounter, but they’re nice to have.

This is fun! Thanks for the rec.

Just died with Hydra (assuming act 3 boss is the end of the game, since I lost 50-whatever morale when my last dude dropped) at like 5 percent left on its last head. Second run!

Assassin as a hard carry is strooong especially with an upgraded Reverie Totem on him. Woof!

Almost, but not quite. Also, a party wipe vs a boss is game over, regardless of morale. So, don’t waste a potion on a fight that’s less important leading up to one, among other things

The perk that doubles the effect of potions is absurdly strong

That’s the mirror that does an additional heal whenever you heal an ally by any means? I never thought of trying that. I certainly haven’t used a cleric as a damage dealer, which perfectly encapsulates why this game is so great: there are all kinds of crazy build you can come up with. This is the Monster Train of Autobattlers
FYI, the game is still being actively developed. There is a big free update coming later this month with a new mode and a new hero, plus more items/events/etc

case in point, one of the elites in act three has a high-mp-cost ability that one shots whoever has done the most damage

Yea, I worded that poorly. I loaded up on healing and mana gen items so that the cleric’s passive Smite ability would pump out the damage. I fully upgraded the Cleric’s passive and active abilities, and fully upgraded the mirror for maximum healing to multiple targets. The blue thing tosses another heal when each 50 mana is spent, and the amulet generates more mana per second. So I had heals firing off on multiple targets, and all those instances of healing would each trigger smite.

You can see for the Damage Dealt that 90% of the cleric’s damage is blue, meaning it’s spell damage. That’s all Smite damage. I can’t remember what those blessings are in the upper left, and they aren’t in the game’s library, so I just have to assume they were awesome for healing too.

In other news, I just lost to the final boss twice in a row on Corruption 1 difficulty. Once was because I faced some archers just before him and I forgot I still had my tanks in the back when I reached the boss (such a dumb mistake), and on the other I was simply obliterated.

Also, there’s an item that raises your attack speed 4/6/8% or something every time you attack. Give that to a brawler and he’ll be doing 400dps base damage just from standard melee attacks when his attack speed quickly becomes 0.0. I love that item when upgraded.

I knew what you meant, just making sure I remembered what item that was

That’s what I was wondering. That’s crazy! I’d love to see a detailed combat log so it was easier to tell. For instance, shields are listed as healing under the existing summary, but when I tried using an item that triggered off of healing, it didn’t seem to work.

My carry has been wild mage with a tiny shield regen every tick.

I haven’t had luck with the Wild mage, but haven’t tried him since I started getting a better feel for everything

I just lost vs The King for the second time, one of the final bosses. That encounter is a beast, at least for the builds I’ve tried so far.

One tip about building around Poison… well, the Alchemist’s poison-duplicating Active Ability specifically: Don’t just load your party up with a billion little poison items. Try to have only poison items that will give huge poison ticks, because when your alchemist duplicates poisons you’ll want him to duplicate all the big ticks, not a bunch of little 3-dmg ticks.

I made this mistake with my last run and realized the problem about half way through when I had one item that would give 50 poison a tick and a bunch of others that would cause 3-4, and the 50 was unlikely to be duplicated. Luckily I rectified that about halfway through the second map but in the end it didn’t even matter, because I went so far and I tried so hard but The King and his entourage kicked my ass anyway.

Yeah, I’m not sure how much I like pairing the outlaw with the alchemist for that reason.

FYI, there was an update yesterday that added new ways to unlock characters. Just botched a run trying to unlock the ranger 😂. There were some balance changes too

Well, I started off with a poison party. But on map #3 I picked up an Ancient Codex and fully upgraded it and put it on my Juggernaut. OMFG.

  1. A fully Upgraded Juggernaut does 600% attack damage with his Active Ability.
  2. An upgraded Ancient Codex will reduce the cost of an Active Ability by 75 mana when he’s low on health, so he begins to spam it relentlessly.
  3. Combine these two things together, and you’ll notice that my Poison party no longer gives two craps about poison, as evidenced by the damage spread.

For what it’s worth, before my Juggernaut became that much of a monster, Coupling Assassin’s upgraded Passive with Alchemist’s upgraded Active can still cause a world of hurt, but oh my god that Ancient Codex changed everything for my Jugg and the party as a whole.

Got my first win last night. Third run overall. Base mode leaves a lot of room for error.

Started out with Wild Mage and a Lover’s Bracelet (shield every 2 seconds if 1 or 0 adjacent allies). Not bad. But loading up a Berserker with upgraded Zephyr Pendant and whatever attack boosting things I could find was also pretty good. Later, Cleric with the drain sword got some work done. Paladin was unimpressive overall. Frostmancer was my last dude, and he was actually quite strong with the thing that gives you a brick of speed at the start of combats to get his frost going.

Really liking this game.

illusionist feels awful to me

I haven’t figured out Illusionist yet myself. The only notable thing about him is that he seems to take a while to pin down and kill because of his doubles, which gives D.O.T.s like poison more ticks, but beyond that I’m not sure what his trick is except for maybe creating multiple allies that eat enemy attacks and spells or something.

Haven’t done that, but it reminds me of when I put Final bastion and enchanter’s Mail on my Paladin

From the dev:

The Illusionist is no doubt a hero you centre your comp around. A successful Illusionist comp will delay the enemy long enough for duplicates to flood the field. At that point you just grind down your opponents. The idea with the Illusionist passive is to help get a reset when things go wrong. My first victory in C20 was with Illusionist, once you see the C20 modifier I think things will become more clear why it is useful at that difficulty especially.

Got the ranger unlocked last night. I keep hearing he can be incredibly strong, so looking forward to messing with him.

This item was just nerfed into that version, which makes it a lot more tricky to use. Still great, though.

the illusionist decoys seem to die so fast and do horrible damage, on top of that as you go you have less spots on the field for them.

I tried this, and… I dunno. I understand the concept, and I can get the whole “wind 'em up and let 'em go” approach, but I find it hard to make strategic adjustments because things in the battle just happen so fast.

There are multiple bars filling and things flying and icons popping up over people and disappearing, and it’s hard to keep track of any of the cause and effect of any of it because it’s all happening in a kinetic blaze of animation with little explanation during or after.

Like… I know there’s a difference between the kind of opponents you face on the three different tracks, but even after a couple playthroughs I couldn’t explain how they’re mechanically different because it’s hard for me to grasp how much damage is being done by what. There are the damage totals, but unless I’ve missed something you can’t dig down into them in any meaningful way.

Is there an ability to do a deeper analysis that I’m missing? I’ve never played an autobattler before, it’s possible the genre’s just not for me. :)

Are you looking very carefully at what each enemy does? Not seeing how the tracks are mechanically different suggests you haven’t. Damage is color-coded, but basically you need to look at what the enemies do. For instance, stacking shields is useless against enemies that deal piercing damage or use heavy DoTs. Enemies that inflict ruin will make your healing less effective. if they cleanse themselves or stack negate, your poison/bleed/burn build is going to struggle, etc.

the analysis is primarily pre-fight. If you are getting hammered, you should already know why. The only analysis mid-fight is when/whether to use a potion, and even then I generally have that sorted before a fight begins.

Yeah, there’s a lot of tooltip-reading involved. I got much better once I moved to two dudes who can take hits and adjusted positioning for fights that allowed me to split incoming damage, too.