Retcon, short for "retroactive continuity" is an old comic book gimmick where the writer occasionally changes a character's past to suit the current story line. For the purposes of Twilight Heroes, retcon is our code word for an option where you can replay the game's quests with a wide range of challenges and benefits. Retcon is designed to be the heart of Twilight Heroes, because it will make each new attempt to beat the game a unique experience.
When you get to the end of the core story line (all the quests through level 11), you will unlock an option to replay those quests. You don't have to -- Twilight Heroes has plenty of other things to do beyond level 11, including quests, opponents, and gear designed to be a challenge at least until level 70, and in most cases beyond that. But if you choose to, you can also have your character start over at level 1 to replay the quests, maybe as a different class, maybe with challenging (but rewarding) restrictions.
When you restart you'll be able to pick a number of options regarding your access to items, skills, and sidekicks, as well as choices regarding what foods you can eat or drink. With each restart you also get the chance to permanently remember one of your skills from your previous run, allowing your character to grow more powerful each time.
Depending on the difficulty of the run, you'll also unlock special gear, avatars, food, and other powerful items, which your character can buy with "mettle" -- a currency of sorts that you earn based on the difficulty of each run.
Along with the ability to replay the core quests, there are a number of leaderboards for lifetime stats and to compare the speed of runs for different difficulty brackets. These are a way for players to compete against each other if they like, or those stats can be used for you to compete against yourself.
When you choose to start a new run, you will be presented with a number of choices. Each choice has a difficulty (mettle) value, and the combination of all of your choices puts you into one of four brackets basted on your total mettle.
The first choice is to pick a class -- you can keep the same one or try a new one, as you like.
- Just for choosing a class, your run gets a base value of 5 (+5 mettle)
Pulls affect how your items are handled. You will never lose any of your items (with a few exceptions for quest items and computers) or chips, but you have options where they will temporarily be moved to what is called Deep Storage (a location in Somerset). Many of the choices involve "pulls" -- your items are sent away, but then each day you can pull a certain number of items from deep storage to use during the run. Your options are:
- All items available immediately (-4 mettle)
- Max pulls (10/day) and get a break after 48 hours of patrolling, where you get all of your items back (-2 mettle)
- Max pulls (10/day) (0 mettle)
- Some pulls (5/day) (+2 mettle)
- Daily pull (1/day) (+3 mettle)
- Heirloom item (1 total) (+4 mettle)
- No pulls -- all items stay in deep storage until the end of the level 11 quest (+5 mettle)
Skills Each run you finish, you get to permanently keep one of the skills you learned that run (there's an exception for the easiest runs, where you can't perm a skill). You might optionally restrict your ability to use some of those skills, in return for additional mettle:
- All permed skills available (0 mettle)
- Permed skills remembered, but only class skills can have skill points applied (+2 mettle)
- No permed skills remembered (+5 mettle)
Beginning heroes can make use of two different types of food, caffeine and sugar, to give themselves more turns. In retcon you can choose to have access to both, just one, or none of those foods.
- Both caffeine and sugar (0 mettle)
- Decaf (no caffeine) (+3 mettle)
- Diet (no sugar) (+2 mettle)
- Naturally hyper: no caffeine or sugar, but +1 hour/day (+3 mettle)
- Abstainer (no caffeine, no sugar) (+5 mettle)
The first time through, a hero must earn his understudy as a permanent sidekick. In later runs, you can choose whether to have your sidekick from the beginning or to re-earn that sidekick later on. This does not affect temporary sidekicks, like those summoned by skills or items.
- Sidekick with you from the beginning (0 mettle)
- Sidekick has to be recruited at level 9 (+2 mettle)
Leaderboard Brackets and Mettle
The total mettle score for your run affects both how much mettle (as currency) you earn when you start your next run, and also the bracket for your current run. Brackets are:
- Sundown: 1-4 Mettle
- Dusk: 5-9 Mettle
- Midnight: 10-14 Mettle
- Dawn: 15+ Mettle
The mettle the you earn can be spent in the Nocturne's store, a location in Downtown Twilight. There are 8 pieces of epic equipment available in the store, two for each class. These have to be unlocked by playing runs as that class, at a sufficient difficulty. There are also four foods (two sugar, two caffeine) available in the store (also need to be unlocked, by performing a run where you limit yourself to just that one food type). There are a number of other items that can be unlocked in the store (class avatars, more gear, transportation, and a sidekick, but we won't spoil those details here just yet).
Q. Do I have to try retcon?
A. No, it's completely optional. But we think for most people it's likely to add a lot of interesting options to the game, and be more fun than not trying it.
Q. Will I lose any items?
A. No, you don't lose items (except a very few quest items). At worst they go into Deep Storage and you have to wait a while to get them back, but even that option is completely in your control.
Q. Do I lose skills? What happens to skill points?
A. You get to perm (remember permanently) one skill each run (if it is greater than 1 mettle). Every time you start over you lose any unpermed skills. All skill points are zeroed out each time, too, but you will earn more skill points to re-invest. There are a few other exceptions, like Passable Pilot which can't be permed and need to be re-learned each run, or the Criminology Lab skill which is automatically permed when you learn it the first time, because it's so difficult to acquire. Skills purchased from the Wok of Stars are always permanent.
Q. What about transmogrifying? Will it go away?
A. Transmogrify will stay around, mostly as a way to change class during a run. While transmogrifying resets your level to 1 and gives you a new class, unlike retcon it does not affect any other quest statuses or affect the mettle value of your run.
Q. What if I start a run and don't like the restrictions?
A. Inside your Account Settings you can drop any of your restrictions, if you like. When you do this you also lose the mettle value for that restriction. Note that you have to drop all the way down to the basic option -- you cannot go from "abstainer (no caffeine, no sugar) to diet (no sugar), you have to drop all the way down to "both caffeine and sugar."
Q. What happens to the time, bedtime, and extra turns when I retcon?
A. Using the R.E.T.C.O.N. Device puts you back as if you'd just started your very first day in Twilight. It will be 6 p.m., you'll have the standard allotment of turns, and you'll have room for your daily dose of caffeine and sugar. It does mean if you have any turns left when you activate the device, they are simply lost, so use your existing turns before you start over, if you want them.
Q. What about buffs from other players?
A. If you're under any item restrictions, you cannot receive buffs from other players. As soon as those restrictions are lifted (or if you're in a run where they don't apply), you can receive buffs.
Q. What happens if a player sends me items while I'm in a run?
A. Items are automatically sent to Deep Storage, to be retrieved later.
Q. What about the Auction House, or trades?
A. If you're under any item restrictions, you cannot buy things from the Auction House or participate in trades with other players. You can give items to others, if you like.
Q. What happens to my computer at retcon? And the software?
A. Computers are erased at retcon, taking all software with it. The exception is the Personal Copy of the Internet, which isn't actually consumed when you install it in the first place, so you've got a backup copy to reinstall later.
Q. Will my understudy forget any of his skills?
A. Nope. Once learned, those are permanent. You may not always have your understudy around, but when you do all skills are available.
Q. At what point does a run end for leaderboard purposes?
A. Runs are recorded when Susan Novak gives you the R.E.T.C.O.N. device.
Q. What items are lost at retcon?
A. Mostly quest items. The exceptions are installed computers and software (noted above) and unused units in the Recyclonizer and Digitizer. Quest items include things like (this is not an exhaustive list, but should be indicative of the types and reasons that things would be deleted): all rental gear, steel knuckles, the Bard's script, skeptic sandals, gray sand, black sand, bland sack, bicycle built for two fish, 77 Habits of Highly Effective Heroes, capo key, Secpass B, Quincy's rental coupon, Frostheim key card, the dreamer's clock or any components, black box, cereal port scanner, pre-vandalism radio, grappling hook, and trimensional cortex.
Q: What happens to my chips when I retcon?
A: First, you won't lose a single chip by retconning; however, your access may be limited, depending on the type of retcon you choose. Should you choose the "all items" option, you won't notice any changes, your chips will be right there with you. If you pick an item restricted run, all your chips will be moved to Deep Storage, just like your items. Unlike your items, though, you won't be able to access your chips until you either complete the run, or end the restriction (either by the 48 hour break option or dropping the restriction). There are some high value items that might be pulled and sold, however.