What’s New in This Update

For Players

Dunefolk overhaul sample screenshot

Players will be automatically upgraded to a new stable series for the first time since Wesnoth was released due to our use of more modern distribution platforms such as Steam, itch.io, Flathub, and others. To support this, an option will be shown the first time 1.16.0 is started after being upgraded from 1.14.17. This will provide the option to migrate settings as well as download the 1.16 version of any add-ons that are installed, if they have been updated to work with 1.16. To go along with that, Wesnoth is now able to select save files from previous versions from within the game itself.

Addressing a long-standing pain point, especially for players with low download speeds and/or data limits, updating add-ons will no longer result in the entire add-on being re-downloaded — instead only the files that have actually changed will be downloaded, which will significantly reduce both the time it takes to update add-ons as well as how much data is used when updating. Additionally, any version of an add-on that has been recently uploaded by the author can be selected for download, thus allowing for downgrading an add-on if needed for any reason.

Many aspects of the AI have seen improvements as well, with much of the experimental AI having been merged into the default AI. This allows it to better handle healers, poison, retreating, and other behaviour.

Finally, the entire Dunefolk faction has been reworked and re-balanced, including a re-imagining of the unit lines, new unit descriptions and sprites, and reworking of the liminal alignment. They should now be much closer to the factions in the Default era in terms of overall strength as well as be more interesting to play.


Campaigns menu screenshot

Descent into Darkness, Liberty, and Sceptre of Fire have received a multitude of revisions, including streamlining of the game-play, addition of RPG elements, various story-line and dialogue rewrites, and visual and balance updates. For those looking for something befitting the upcoming night of Halloween, the overhauled, undead-heavy Descent into Darkness as well as the Secrets of the Ancients are the campaigns to play! Under the Burning Suns also received revamped maps and the Quenoth faction was re-balanced to better match the other mainline factions.

To accompany the improved AI that was added in this development cycle, all campaigns were adjusted to retain their intended difficulties and to prevent unusual difficulty spikes throughout the campaign, most notably in Eastern Invasion. The novice level campaigns were also reduced in difficulty to make them more accessible to newer players.

The Hammer of Thursagan had several scenarios revised and others removed to modernize the story and game-play, especially to focus more on dwarven culture and the interactions between their clans. Secrets of the Ancients also received a minor game-play update with new zombie variations available for creation and recruiting.

Finally, accompanying the various modernization changes and adjustments to many of the mainline campaigns, a new campaign menu was made featuring several stunning backgrounds drawn by Emilien Rotival (LordBob), Stefan, and Kathrin Polikeit (Kitty).


Isar's Cross background

There have been two major additions to Wesnoth’s multiplayer content: Isle of Mists and World Conquest. Isle of Mists is a co-op survival scenario in the vein of Dark Forecast, the latter of which has had its difficulty reduced with the former taking its place in terms of challenge. World Conquest, formerly the add-on World Conquest II, is a multiplayer campaign with RPG elements where up to three players can co-operate to survive, upgrade their units, and defeat the armies opposing them.

The add-on Plan Unit Advance is also now included in mainline. When enabled, this allows players to pre-emptively choose what they want their units to become if they advance on another player’s turn in multiplayer. Separately complementing this, units whose advancement has not been planned will now always advance into the same unit rather than choosing one at random when there are multiple options available.

This update also includes a large number of balance updates to the default era factions, especially gold and hit-points tweaks to key units. Certain match-ups and units should now be more balanced and allow for greater diversity in game-play.

Another significant change is a new feature which isolates add-on content from each other once a game has started. This will prevent add-ons that are not being used in a game from interfering with each other, thereby significantly reducing the occurrence of strange bugs and out of sync errors.

Improvements for game hosts to better handle unwanted players have also been implemented — bans from individual games are now enforced by username rather than just by IP address, people on a player’s ignore list are now automatically banned from joining their games, and observers are now also required to enter the password to join password protected games rather than just players.

For Content Creators

Royal Warrior portrait

To go along with the new incremental downloads of add-on updates mentioned above, this release also includes incremental uploads for add-on authors; when uploading a new version of your add-on you will only send the files that have changed rather than the entire add-on. Additionally, add-ons can now provide translations of their titles and descriptions for multiple languages in the _server.pbl file. A minor security improvement has also been made to _server.pbl handling — it is no longer required for the passphrase field to be stored plain-text in the file; instead Wesnoth will prompt you to enter the passphrase if it is not present.

More significantly, though perhaps less visible, are the various and sundry improvements made to the WML, Lua, and Wesnoth Formula Language (WFL) APIs. First and foremost, many of the existing Lua functions have been re-organized into sub-modules, and a comprehensive list of these changes can be found here. While the existing names of re-organized functions will still work, content authors are nevertheless encouraged to update existing code to the new modules. Separately, the version of Lua that comes packaged with Wesnoth has been updated to 5.4 from 5.3.

The formula= attribute is now also supported in the [variable] conditional tag. This allows the use of conditions that would otherwise require the use of more complex WML or Lua, as well as being generally a more concise way to express complex conditions.

The male_voice= and female_voice= attributes are now supported in [message] to better allow for voice acting for add-ons.

The new tag [modify_unit_type] has been added for campaigns, eras, and modifications to allow for changing certain unit types’ experience, cost, and advancement options. In particular, this is meant to be the replacement for the no longer supported [advancefrom] tag.

Programmatically working with WML from within Lua has also been expanded and simplified with the addition of the wml.merge, wml.diff, wml.patch, wml.find_child, wml.attribute_count, wml.equal, wml.valid, and wml.interpolate functions.

New terrain

A great deal of new art has been added to many different areas of the game. Portraits have been added for the Royal Warrior, Jinn, Naga Ophidian, Naga Ringcaster, and others. New terrains such as Catacombs, Ancient Stone floors and walls, and Overgrown Walls are now available for use in the editor, along with many improved terrain transitions. A variety of wildlife units have also been added, including the Crocodile, Cave Bear, Icemonax, Fire Ant, Horned Scarab, Seahorse, and more.


The Battle for Wesnoth is constantly being improved and expanded upon by a multitude of international volunteers from diverse backgrounds. Since its inception in July 2003, hundreds of people have contributed to all areas of the game, from mainline content shipped as part of the official releases to hundreds of player-made projects available to download from our add-ons server. Whether you need help beating a particular scenario or adding a feature to your custom maps, Wesnoth boasts a massive community of players and creators always willing to help.

Besides creating your own add-on content, there are many other ways you can help Wesnoth:

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