Dan Fornace's upcoming game, Rivals of Aether, has been in Early Access for a few months now. The game, appearing on Xbox One and PC, has drawn quite some attention for it’s Smash Bros styled gameplay, with interesting twists to the formula. So far, the roster has contained six characters; Zetterburn, Orcane, Wrastor, Kragg, Forsburn and Maypul. However, the update today adds many new things and changes to the game, including the 7th fighter and first “secret” character, Absa! This article will feature some of the big changes that landed today. Without further ado, it’s time to look at the major changes to Rivals!
Absa: The Storm ArchitectAbsa appears as the second character representing the element of air alongside Wrastor, and the 7th character overall. However, while Wrastor utilizes the wind for his abilities, Absa utilizes the storms and electricity to fight. The creator of a defensive mechanism alongside the Archai Mountains, she studies and mastered the arts of storms for offense. Sensing danger and turmoil that could break the powerful defense, she hones her skills in case the time comes. In the Early Access, Absa is available to play as from the start; however, in the final game, she will be unlockable.
Absa’s playstyle and abilities draw some parallels to Ness and Zelda. Some of Absa’s moves take some inspiration from them in particular, such as all of her aerials, some of her tilts, and her Smash attacks. In addition, she has a floaty second jump, akin to the PK Kids.
Absa’s Normal, Side and Down Specials are all intertwined; they all relate to thunderclouds. Using her neutral special or side special will summon a cloud; the neutral special will set it above or below Absa, while the side is controlled like Din’s Fire. Pressing Neutral Special with a cloud out will cause it to detonate and damage any nearby opponents, but holding the button will create a large electrical wave between Absa and the cloud, damaging anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the blast. Using Side Special with another cloud out will make the previous one disappear, but it won’t detonate. Absa’s Up Special is very similar to Quick Attack, but unlike Pikachu’s Up Special, using it on the ground once does not take away her jump, allowing for some powerful coverage with the move offstage. Lastly, Absa’s Down Special is her most powerful. Without any clouds active, a small circle of electricity will form around her; anyone who is caught in the vicinity of the blast when it fully forms will suffer heavy damage, and potential stock loss at higher percents. However, with a cloud active, this becomes a stationary land mine. The combo potential and stage control with her clouds, as well as her excellent aerials, makes her a character that definitely fits into the Rivals mold.
Developer Mode: Customized Changes
Thanks to Trevor, the team has added in a special new setting for local play. Introducing Developer Mode, a new take on modifications. Rivals of Aether has a specific folder with a complete set of files, allowing specific variables to be changed on a whim. These are separate from the main game and don’t affect anything outside of this special mode. Said changes can even be implemented in real time by refreshing the game, using F3! Use the C:\Users~yourusername\AppData\Local\RivalsofAether\dev_mode folder to edit things, and toggle on the Devmode setting in Versus; this will enable Devmode and any made changes. This feature won’t work online, but it is a fun thing to play around with.
Game Changes: Global Changes Abound
Like many of the Rivals of Aether patches so far, they have added changes to the core game. This update has featured a variety of changes to each character and the game’s system. Here’s a few of the major changes:
- New Xmas themed-palettes for each character have arrived and replace the Halloween outfits, replacing that orange and purple tint with some red, white and green.
- Directional Influence has been changed as a whole again. Rivals as 3 kinds of DI: Traditional DI, Automatic Smash DI and Drift DI. While regular DI wasn’t changed, Automatic Smash DI was changed to work against multi-hit moves, and Drift DI was slightly weakened. This better balances the rift between the defensive game and the offensive game that Rivals tries to aim for.
- Startup times for hitboxes are more accurate. While this benefits the faster characters more, it is being watched to ensure that the change doesn’t make anything too unbalanced.
- The start points for the majority of maps has changed for 2 players; stages like Treetop Lodge now no longer start both characters close to each other.
- Zetterburn has been balanced to make him less dominating at low level play but slightly more effective in high level play.
- Kragg’s defensive abilities have been edited to be a bit less safe, including a new counter to his Side Special.
- Forsburn’s Forward Strong was reworked to be less reliable and require more effort from the player, as well as a few other chan purely to his damage output, including Bubble and Back Air nerfs, and Forward Strong, Down Tilt and Up Strong getting buffs.
- Wrastor’s knockback was reduced, allowing other Rivals to KO him a bit better and combo him more reliably. In addition, he received changes to his aerial recovery on some of his Strong Attacks.
- Maypul’s Lily has received a few changes; it now has permanence, but can’t trap players unless they are both marked and in hitstun. In addition, she’s received a handful of other changes to adjust her camping and make it better to play against.
- Gameplay Slowdown due to GPU issues has been acted on; if a computer can’t run the game at 60 PS (such as online, when things could lag), then the game speeds up to match the normal speed. This has been done to prevent awful input lag during online matches.
Overall, this has been a major change for Rivals, and definitely for the better. A new Rival has approached the cast, adding a new layer to the metagame. The identity of the last Rival remains a mystery, however; all that is known is that it’s the second water-themed fighter. That knowledge will no doubt find its way to the public in due time; until then, Rivals players have a new goat to look forward with, and many requested changes being put in for the better of the game.
Want to view the full list of changes, including specific edits to characters? They can be found here.
Rivals of Aether has an official Smashboards Thread, which can be viewed here.
Want to get Rivals of Aether on Steam’s Early Access Program, and start playing today? The game is available on Steam!