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Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader gets a ‘gargantuan’ patch that makes over 1,800 changes to the game, in an overhaul so drastic it gives you a free shot at respeccing your party

I was excited about Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader when I previewed it in 2022, but the final product left a lot to be desired, according to Jody’s review. The game’s sweeping sci-fi drama was undermined by tedious combat in which “there’s never one interesting tactical battle when there could be three samey ones to grind down your resources,” he lamented, while the experience was further hobbled by an infestation of bugs.

Yet Jody notes in that same review, “if you played Owlcat’s previous RPGs at launch, you’ll be familiar with the feeling you’re playing the worst version of the game” and “it’s not impossible that Rogue Trader could get a significant overhaul.” Well, that overhaul has just arrived. Yesterday, Owlcat issued the mother of all patches. In fact, it’s less of a patch and more a whole new pair of trousers, an overhaul so extensive that the developers have added a special item into the game that lets you respec your characters.

Described as “gargantuan” by Owlcat in the studio’s Steam announcement, update 1.1.28 makes over 1,800 changes to Rogue Trader. The patch notes, which are 17,000 words long, cover virtually every aspect of the game. It includes bug fixes, narrative changes, tweaks to individual story acts, item modifications, location adjustments, visual tuning, UI improvements, sound additions, and much more.

It’s so much that it’s hard to know where to start, but the most fundamental changes are mechanical, with a huge number of balance changes and fixes for items that weren’t working correctly. For example, enemies throughout the game have had their stats rebalanced, particularly to perception and agility, making the Dodge ability more viable for the player in combat. Space Marines have received damage buffs, while Officers have had their mobility nerfed.

Meanwhile, many items and abilities that provided damage bonuses to weapons with burst fire mode now provide percentage bonuses, which Owlcat says is to prevent “absurdly powerful multiplication in the endgame”.

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Regarding narrative, Owlcat has added a brand new voiceover for the prologue, as well as extra voiceover for companion chatter “across the game”. Rogue Trader now also keeps track of major story decisions the player makes on the character screen, and adds a big reward for one specific choice the player can make in the game.

There are also a ton of more specific fixes to individual quests, relationships, romance scenes, character epilogues, and dialogue sequences. There’s even a fix for “a few remaining cases of invisible chair riding that could block cutscenes and quests from starting.”

The UI has seen significant work too, with Owlcat adding alphabetic sorting for talents and abilities, new categories for those same talents, and a tweak that closes the loot window automatically when you click the button to gather all scattered goodies at once. Space exploration sequences have also received numerous fixes and tweaks, with information about quests and rumours displayed in a system info window on the global map, while individual star systems now display info about available resources and installed extractums.

These changes are very much intended to make a substantial difference to the game’s stability and balance, but Owlcat is aware that they might be disadvantageous to some players, so the studio has attempted to compensate.

In the changelog’s miscellaneous section, the studio writes, “Due to the massive changes to the mechanics, all members of the current party in existing saves will receive a special ability, allowing them to perform a one-time respecialization.” Owlcat notes the “main purpose” of this is to “make sure you can rebuild your characters after the major mechanical changes of this patch in case of not having access to the High Factotum [a character who offers respec opportunities].”

You can read the full changelog here, although Owlcat advises caution when doing so because the list unavoidably details “massive spoilers” for the story. Let’s hope these changes make Rogue Trader the game it deserved to be, as what I played of it had huge potential to be a truly great CRPG.

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