Blade & Sorcery, VR’s favorite melee combat sim, is continuing to see steady updates. The game’s next update, U11 (now available in an early beta), looks to be a doozy with the studio adding an expanded magic system, stealth mechanics, a graphical overhaul on PC, and plenty more.

Update (May 6th, 2022): The Blade & Sorcery U11 update is available today in beta form on both Steam VR and Oculus PC. According to the developer, players diving in this early should expect the beta to be buggy and break mods, but they hope to gather critical bug reports and feedback from the many changes the update brings.

“Please note, the beta is a WIP and we are introducing many new system mechanics that are likely to have bugs and lacking polish around the edges; this will be the whole point of the beta,” the developer says. “As such, It is only recommended to opt into the beta if you are okay with having a buggy experience, or even better if you are interested in actively helping us find these bugs and contribute feedback on your experience that will help us polish.”

The developer has also published a lengthy video tour of the new features available in the Blade & Sorcery U11 beta. As of now there’s no word on when these improvements will reach the Quest version of the game.

The original article, which overviews the major changes coming in U11, continues below.

Original Article (April 1st, 2022): Expected in the next few months, the Blade & Sorcery U11 update is going to bring a host of improvements to the popular game which will expand the way players can play.

Expanded Magic System

Magic is getting a makeover in Blade & Sorcery, starting with a heavy rework of visual and sound effects for the game’s spells, as the studio noted in a preview earlier this month.

Spells are also getting tweaks (and in some cases new functionality); developer Warpfrog says its design goals for the game’s magic system is for Fire to be a “direct damage spell,” Gravity to be about “utility and versatile function,” and Lighting to lean toward “crowd control.”

To that end, the Fire spell is getting a ‘merging’ capability which allows the player to combine a charge from both hands into a “Kamehameha”-style attack called Meteor. Spell staves are also getting in on the action; now players can combine their Fire spell with a staff to use it to sling fireballs or slam it on the ground to launch homing fireballs.

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As for the Gravity spell, players will now be impacted by their own Gravity Bubble which can let them reach greater heights, especially when combined with the new Gravity Jump feature which provides a boosted jump when players launch the Gravity spell from both hands at the ground. Similarly, both hands can be used pointed downward to slow-fall and glide.

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Combining Gravity with a staff will allow the wielder to pick up objects and swing them around as if they’re weightless—great for using rocks to smash enemies with.

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Lighting will also have some special moves when combined with a staff; pressing and holding the alt-use button will generate an electric arc that remains in the air for a moment which can stun and maim enemies. Slamming the Lighting staff on the ground will launch out a shockwave which stuns everyone in the vicinity.

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The studio has also teased a brand new “Soul” spell, though say it probably won’t make it into the game until after the U11 update.

Improved Stealth, Armor System, & More

In February the studio noted a bevy of other features in the works for Blade & Sorcery’s U11 update.

Expanded stealth mechanics will make sneaky playstyles more viable. AI has been reworked, the studio says, to more realistically respond to sneaking players. For instance, enemies will be alerted to your presence if something is thrown in front of them, if they find a dead body, spot the player holding a torch, or hear the player clanging weapons together too loudly.

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A new light-based visibility system means players will be able to sneak through dark areas more reliably, especially when crouching. Similarly, bodies hidden in dark areas will be harder for enemies to see.

An armor system is also coming to the game to allow players to equip themselves with individual pieces of armor. Players will be able to mix and match various pieces, which the studio says will play a big role once the game’s shop is released where players can buy better armor from currency earned in the game. An inventory system is also in the works to give players a way to stash loot found in dungeons.

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Player body customization will be improving in U11 as well; the studio says it plans to allow players to customize their avatar’s faces and skin tones.

Enemy animation improvements are also in the works, though the studio says it doesn’t yet know exactly how much of it will make it into the Blade & Sorcery U11 update.

“The goal of [animation overhaul] is to make the AI more responsive in defending itself through parrying, while relying less on dodge-jumping backwards. Enemy attack animations will be improved by replacing derpier attack animations with video captured combat animations that are being custom made. And finally, some of the sillier behaviours would be ironed out, such as not having AI thrust with an axe, etc,” the studio writes.

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Graphical Overhaul on PC

Image courtesy Warpfrog

Blade & Sorcery players on PC will get an extra treat with the U11 update. According to the studio’s latest teaser, there’s some major improvements to environmental visuals on the way (that won’t be brought to the Quest version of the game).

“One of the most major changes has been to the lighting tech used; in short, everything in the environment now receives dynamic, realtime lighting from a much bigger variety of light sources. Before this change, static objects had their lighting fully “baked-in”, and received dynamic lighting from only a few sources such as hand-held torches,” the studio writes. “In the [U11] update, static objects receive beautiful dynamic lighting from nearly every light source in the game, most notably from the sun, and the result is much more vibrant and crisp than ever was possible before. To keep performance high, most shadows are still baked in and static.”

Image courtesy Warpfrog

Beyond the lighting improvements, there’s been significant work done to enhance the look of brick and stone in the game. Players will see much more geometric detail in the game’s masonry, and the studio notes that “these are individual bricks that are true 3D and can be interacted with, collided with, climbed, etc,” and not just cranked-up tessellation.

Image courtesy Warpfrog

And for those worrying about performance, the studio says it took extra care with the graphical improvements, writing that “everything that was reworked is significantly more optimized than the old versions.” Hopefully that means similar performance levels as before despite the visual improvements.

What We Know About the Blade & Sorcery U11 Release Date

Studio Warpfrog hasn’t committed to a firm release date for U11 yet, though they had previously set a goal for it to launch by the end of Q1. That’s… today—and the update isn’t here yet—which means it has slipped into Q2. The studio planned its next major update (U12) for Q3, so ostensibly we’ll see U11 drop within the next three months.

And it might be sooner rather than later; as of today the studio says it has just about moved on to bug testing, one of the last steps before finalizing the U11 update to go out to the public.

Warpfrog has said previously that updates are likely to hit PC first and then come to the Quest version of the game, Blade & Sorcery: Nomad, in the months following.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • The graphical improvements looks astounding!

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  • Cragheart

    Blade & Sorcery on Quest 2 looks really bad.

    • But still plays incredibly well, especially seeing that it’s standalone with no link to a pc at all. I spend most of my BnS time in the Quest version

      • I do too — if I really want that graphical beauty I’ll switch over to PC. But most of the time that freedom to just swing around and go nuts without a wire is quite fun.

        • Arturs Gerskovics

          why would you need a cable when you switch to PC version? Unless you are using some other HMD than Quest. Because of compression?

          • PsYcHo

            that makes no sense he will be bothered by minor compression but play the insanely ugly android version,proly he doesnt have a PC aint no way anyone plays the quest version when the pc version has all the amazing mods,looks 10 years ahead and with this update 15 years ahead,you can have many more enemies i play with 6 at once with wounds and realistic blood mods etc,its a no brainer,anyone that says otherwise either dont have a PC or they pretend they do.

          • Okay, first off: learn some grammar. You type like a 3-year old on sudafed. Second off: I do have a very powerful PC, since I do VR development as a profession … I9, GTX 1080ti, 64 GB RAM. More than enough to play B&S, which I do regularly. But I enjoy playing with no wires as well and so I like to play Nomad. The fact that you assume everyone looks at things in your black & white little world says a lot about you, though.

          • PsYcHo

            im sorry are you retarded?you prefer to play such a limited and insanely downgraded version because of the wire that isnt even required for you to play the much better PC version?ever heard of virtual desktop?since you dont even know that is possible to play wireless PCVR wich the comment i replied to was all about im thinking you fall into the category of pretending to have a PC,watch you did googled “good PC gaming”? if you do VR development let me know on what joke mobile demo youre working on so i know i avoid it

          • fnjidsnvhuihdufhviunfjis

            “im sorry are retarded” is the least creative thing you could have said if you’re gonna insult someone make it new make it creative make it hurt on a personal level you cant just say “haha you retarded” to everyone when you seem to have less processing power than the QUEST 1 thats been dropped in a lake

          • Zerofool

            GTX 1080ti was “a very powerful PC” back in 2017.
            I don’t know what kind of VR developer you are if your dev box doesn’t support VRS which is the fundamental tech foveated rendering is based on and which will become absolutely essential this year.

            Do yourself a favor and get a WiFi6 router (or one of the upcoming “Air Bridge” adapters) and use Air Link when gaming. 120Hz PC graphics without the cable.

    • Looks like we got a hater here folks. If you’re gonna complain about standalone VR, you are in the wrong place, Chucko.

      • Tommy

        I would think this would be the ideal place for that considering we are all talking about VR.
        I have both. While I MUCH prefer PCVR, the Quest is good at what it does for the purchase price.

    • Jayjay

      I’ll take standalone over wireless PCVR, and pancake games over roomscale wired PCVR

      • NL_VR

        eeehm… no

      • Arturs Gerskovics

        I play this game wireless too and on Quest but via PC. This is the best combo.

    • Cless

      Its impossible to make this artstyle look good on such weak hardware as the Quest 2, is only logical.

      • Cragheart

        I stick to my 2011 idea, that VR won’t become big, until we have personal computers around 10 petaflops, which is 1000x than today and 10 000x more than in 2011.

        • Cless

          I… don’t know what your definition of big is, I’m guessing you mean mainstream, if that’s the case, I don’t think it will be 100% mainstream at any short/mid term either, but inside of “gamer circles” it could very well become quite common, just like PCs were a decade and a half ago… 10 petaflops sounds a bit of an overkill to me, I think we can figure out how to get VR to more mainstream audiences before we get there. In fact, I suspect before the next gen of consoles, we might do it, specially if PSVR2 sells.

        • Ookami

          VR is already on the verge of being big IMO. There are more Quest 2 owners (around 10 million half a year ago) than Xbox Series X owners, around 3+- million PCVR users, and with PSVR2 just around the corner we can expect many more.

          Games have been lacking for a while, but multiple high-profile games are coming out this year, and likely many more will come with the PSVR2.

          If you’re talking about graphics, well, VR games are never going to look as good as flat-screen games. We might get to a point where there’s little difference, but the fact is that a “playable” VR game needs to render something like 180 fps (90 per eye), while a “playable” flat-screen game only needs 60.

    • egwygfy78gy8uq

      what do you expect the quest 2 has the, battery the, processor the, camera the, stuff to run the game the, storage system the, screens the, cooling the, thing to connect to wifi the, whatever it is that tells where the guardian is the, thing to see when you’re to close to the guardian the, system to show it on screen the, system to handle hand tracking all packed in one and the headset can handle a full spin cycle in a washing with no issues and it doesn’t weigh as much as a brick somehow

  • Cragheart

    I hope that PC VR is the future, not mobile VR.

    • Why does everyone have to pick a side, like it’s one versus the other? Why can’t those who love PCVR go ahead and love it, and those who love Standalone VR go ahead and love that, and those of us who love both just get to be the luckiest girl at the barn dance!

      • Rosko

        Because mobile VR games suck.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Yeah, NOW they might be less than PCVR IF you have the GPU for it. But Mobile GPU’s are also progressing very fast, so in a couple of years, mobileVR is probably the way to go (ofcourse I do hope it has PC streaming).

        • Your opinion is subjective. Learn the difference between objective and subjective. There are literally millions of us who believe that standalone VR does not in fact, suck.

        • ViRGiN

          Pcvr sucked before mobile vr was a thing

        • NL_VR

          it not correct to say “mobile VR-games” because mobile VR often refered as 3dof vr using a mobilephone.

          if you reffering to Quest and say “mobile vr-games suck” that would be like saying “Mobile games suck” and reffering to Nintendo Switch ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          • Cless

            Wouldn’t be technically wrong though. The Tegra chip in the Switch is a mobile chip, making the Switch pretty much the same (and in many cases way worse) than current phones. We just created a category called “Portable gaming” from which phones are excluded from to be more specific, but hardware wise there isn’t much of a difference.

          • NL_VR

            Yes you are right but we dont call it mobile.
            Switch is unike from mobile phones and that is Quest also.

      • ZarathustraDK

        Because the avalanche of cheapo facebook mobile/standalone headsets sucks away developers and incentivizes them to make low-fi polygonal “experiences” instead building towards discrete gpu’s capabilities. Facebook/Meta is holding back VR by dooming to obscurity any indie-dev who’d dare go beyond the XR2-chips pitiful performance, and so PCVR suffers. This is the grade-A student that could’ve gone to MIT and changed the world but didn’t because his fanatically inclusive school made him tutor the kid that ate glue. So yeah, Quest can go suck a fat one in that aspect. I recognize that some people don’t want to blow the bank on a more expensive option, and as such the quest can be used via link/airlink, all the more power to that; but let’s not ignore the negative impact it has had on the quality and fidelity of VR-games.

        • Totally disagree. You sound like a gamer who is upset because his Quest can’t play games like his Switch can. Whine, whine, bitch and complain. Meanwhile, the tech has grown so much that now a VR device smaller than a shoe and costing less than $300 can provide an experience that could previously only be provided by a very large, very expensive system. Can you not extrapolate what that tech will be like in 5 more years? No, you’re just too salty and butthurt right now that Minecraft looks like shit on standalone. Also, you need to grasp the concept that NOT ALL VR USERS ARE GAMERS. I personally work as a VR developer for a large Industrial training company. We make MILLIONS of dollars developing applications for standalone VR that are literally changing the way industrial training is done. So go ahead and bitch about the fidelity of your game graphics — the rest of us are plugging into the future and changing the world.

          • Cless

            … Sure, you realize in 5 years mobile tech will be way better than now, but, so will the PC desktop?

            I’m hoping we are going to get stuck at around a PS5 quality level, because many games will be made for the PSVR2 making it the new “threshold” instead of the Quest 2 and its puny XR2.
            At least I’m hoping hard about that because I would be hugely disappointed if Facebook kept being massively relevant in the future of VR the way it is now, and hope they lose their huge market cap as years go by.

            VR applications for industrial and game development are nothing alike, comparing both markets makes no sense. Here we are talking about VR games, you bringing that into the equation is irrelevant.

          • “VR applications for industrial and game development are nothing alike” — really? Have you actually done either? Because we build our training apps in Unity and Unreal Engine and they behave just like video games. If you have not done any development for VR Training apps, then please do not act like you have an informed opinion. And as far as PCs in 5 years? Continued decline, just like we’ve seen in the last 10 years. Everyone other than hardcore PC gamers are moving away from the “giant beige box” to tablets, phones, consoles and other portable devices.

          • Cless

            Happy to inform you I’ve actually done both! But mainly focus on game development lately. So yeah, your appeal to authority fallacy is quite ineffective, even if it weren’t so unsubstantiated.

            Also, quite interesting you are seeing that PCs have declined in the last 10 years… hmm… I wonder, can you prove any of those claims?
            I’m asking because just by taking a small peak, only at Steam’s numbers would put your argument to absolute shame, imagine looking at the whole platform.

            Edit: typos

        • ViRGiN

          2 years later and nothing happened on PCVR, you gotta cope harder

    • Jayjay

      It’s practically the same game on both platforms other than graphics and max enemy count

      Except the Quest version loads faster for me than the PCVR version 8^)

      • Tommy

        The main attra tion for me over the Quest version is the mods. The Quest would have a very hard time pushing many of them, especially the Outer Rim mods.

  • Gotta start preparing to rip Infinity Blade armor sets apart for this customization system 0o0

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Looks much better. Must be getting ready for that eventual PSVR 2 port being that Unity is one of the platforms engines. PC and PSVR 2 are going to benefit greatly. High end is making a comeback. Thanks Sony.

    • PsYcHo

      yep thanks sonny,and i would thank moders too,been playing nothing but triple A games with a vr mod,similar to re7 on psvr hopefully sony implements that back like they said they will,i dont even need motion controls i just wanna see how it is to be in the last of us enviorments

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  • Richard R Garabedian

    after years i finally gave this game a shot…and its a joke…hopefully they made it much better

  • Tommy

    I’m not really a fan of either version. Although, playing with light sabers for a bit is fun.

  • Richard R Garabedian

    My only problem with this game was its super simplistic style…like it was made for first time vr users. and the enemy Ai was so stupid and got way too close when attacking so much that when you would strike back you would swing past them…hopefully both these are fixed now

  • Ookami

    I love how the majority of comments here only have passing relevance to Blade and Sorcery.

  • GhostBear

    How long will this take to get to Blade and Sorcery Nomad on the Quest 2? If it is of course.

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