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Winter Rune Forge Trial Deep Dive

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Greetings, Adventurers!

Join up to 10 max-level players in a bone-chilling gauntlet of increasingly difficult enemies. This Seasonal Trial requires teamwork to overcome Rune puzzles, slay an Icey Construct, and fell an Ancient Ice Guardian for unique rewards. Here’s an interview going behind the scenes of the Winter Rune Forge, plus a deep dive featuring the Art Team’s process.

Winter Rune Forge Design

Join Environment Artist Carlos Lopez for a glimpse into how the Art Team brought our latest Seasonal Trial to life.

Sense of Scale

Level Designer Zachary Holm, Lead Artist Brian Patenaude and I brainstormed the layout for this Trial. We were all enthusiastic about the thought of dropping down from the ice floor after an intense fight. I took inspiration from the worlds in Dark Souls and Metroid Prime, specifically their sense of scale. My goal was to immerse players in a grand area while instilling the feeling that you're just a small person walking through these historically significantly structures, each wall complete with its own story. Looking at older Trials, I wanted to make the art unique without contradicting Aeternum's established aesthetic.

Sense of Exploration

The initial idea of the chasm was too simplified — You drop through the ice, fight a boss, get the rune and leave. I wanted the chasm to feel like the structure below once had purpose above ground but eventually collapsed and fell, giving the player the ability to partially climb back up or use the dilapidated structure as a path down. Depending on where the player fell, this would add a sense of exploration.

Sense of Wonder

The bridge section follows a similar philosophy. What once was a functioning part of a previous civilization now becomes a gameplay element. Players parkour along the fallen bridge thanks to a new path of giant stalactites that have fallen from the ceiling. There’s also a sense of wonder as the player takes in a view of the gigantic cavern and teases of ancient structures. As you venture deeper, these structures slowly reveal that this isn’t a typical cave. The word grand had to play a role in every part of it.

Sense of Intrigue

I designed two paths at the bottom. The first is clearly locked, yet dangled in front of the player. Hopefully the intrigue of the vast, long destroyed bridge behind those gates makes them say “I want to go there,” despite the other path being the only accessible route forward. This designated path leads down a hall into an ever-expanding Ancient room lined with broken walls on all sides.

Sense of Satisfaction

Honestly, the Design Team’s Rune puzzle placement was a great reason to give the Art Team a bit more love on the upper sections of the map. Typically, we’d focus all of the detail on the ground where players primarily look. Now there’s a chance for players to naturally appreciate their surrounding environment.

The hope is for players to say something like, “finally! I get to see what is on the other side of this locked gate" after finishing that second fight. We want to exceed player expectations with even more interesting and diverse areas filled with memorable boss battles and visual clues teasing Aeternum’s past. Please let us know what you think of the Winter Rune Forge Trial design as we continue to work hard on new areas.


Conquer the Winter Rune Forge for trial-specific rewards like a new Artifact, 6 Named Weapons, 3 Named Armor Sets, and more.

Standard Rewards

Every time you strike down both bosses you’ll earn the following:

A random weapon or armor piece at their level from the Frostforged set

Sapphire Gypsum

Weekly Rewards

Twice per week you’ll get even more rewards for completing this trial, including a chance to uncover the Tempest Fury Artifact. You’re guaranteed to net 1 piece of Named Gear (all upgradable), 150 Dark Matter, and 4 pieces of Frostforged gear upon each of your two completions. Weekly rewards reset at 5 AM local time on Tuesday. For example, if you grab one special cache at 4:58 AM, you’ll be able to earn another at 5:01 AM.

Tempest Fury Artifact - Great Axe (10% chance)

Momentum: Successful attacks gain 3% movement speed for 3s. (Works on both weapons and stacks up to 10 times.)

Endless Spin: Whirlwind no longer needs to hit targets to continue spins, and can spin up to 12 times.

Faction Token Bundle (50% chance)

Named Weapons:

Icecleaver - Warhammer

Frozenpoint - Spear

Snowburst - Musket

Chilled Meteor - Flail

Moon of Healing - Life Staff

Sun of Knowledge - Fire Staff

Named Armor Sets:

Frostweaver - Light

Freezeframe - Medium

Ice Guardian - Heavy

Thanks for your support! We’ll see you in Aeternum.

Mar 04 2024

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