The previous blog post about progression has stirred a lot of discussion, and I want to follow up a little bit, before I go into the main topic of this post. If you haven’t read the previous post, I recommend doing it first.
First of all, my comment about my lack of desire to implement complex management a’la Dwarf Fortress made a few people worried, so I want to clarify. I didn’t mean that there won’t be any new features of this kind, only that it’s not the main focus of KeeperRL, which should be obvious by now 🙂 . So you won’t see detailed tracking of minions’ emotions, fluid simulation, etc., but there is new stuff coming even in the next update.
Second, some of you were worried that the new progression based on mana would interfere with other elements of the economy. I had a nice discussion with Steam player WarMaster GoreHowl, and he postulated that major expenses, like technology, should use different resources than more minor things, like crafting, because otherwise the player is too conflicted about spending on the minor things.
It’s a fair point, and it made me play with another idea of using gold for technology and population advancement. Unfortunately this didn’t work well, because there are multiple sources of gold in KeeperRL, and it’s hard to make sure the rewards for conquest are balanced well. Mana, on the other hand, can be more easily curated to make sure that players are getting the right amount, for example two technologies per each major villain conquered. My current choice, therefore, is to use mana only for technologies and population (everything else that uses mana will be switched to another resource). Exact amounts of tech and population costs are to be resolved later, of course. Note that nothing is set in stone, and further testing or feedback might change my mind again. 🙂
Together with the progression overhaul, I’ve planned a set of drastic changes around the combat in KeeperRL, as this part of the game is severely lacking right now. My main motivation was to make spellcasting creatures more significant. This includes the Keeper, most importantly. I decided that all damage dealt in combat will be of one of these three types: Melee, Ranged, and Magical. Every creature will have an attribute for each of the types that dictates how much damage it deals. For example, an orc with Melee Damage 25 and a +8 sword will deal 33 damage, and when an orc shaman with Magical Damage 18 casts an offensive spell, it will deal 18 damage every single time. The current attributes Strength and Dexterity will be removed, and as a consequence, there will be no missed attacks anymore (although an attack against a well protected opponent may deal zero damage).
It was tempting to also add a separate Defense attribute for each type of damage, but it proved to be too convoluted. So instead every creature has one Defense value against all types of attack, although it can receive a “resistant/vulnerable to <damage type>” buff, intrinsically or via a spell or potion. For example, all ogres will be vulnerable to magic attacks, cyclopes will be resistant to ranged attacks, and minions will be able to learn a spell that protects them from melee attacks.
Naturally, the three damage attributes need to have training possibilities. Each will have a separate path: the Training Room will train Melee Damage and Defense, the Library will increase Magical Damage, and a new room, Archery Range will improve Ranged Damage. Every creature will have predefined maximum levels that they can reach at each kind of training, for example an orc shaman will train up to +3 in the training room, and up to +7 at the library. The library and archery range will require upgrades to train minions to the fullest, just like the training room does at the moment.
Since we will have more offensive (and also healing) spells now, they will add more interesting tactics to the game. I decided that this should be accompanied with a long planned tactical feature: full turn-based control of a team. By default you control only your team leader, but you can switch to a mode where you make moves for every minion on the team, which is extremely useful in combat! Sorry for the horrible gif. 😛
This makes combat more similar to the Civ games, with the difference that creatures act sequentially, and thus almost always make only one move at a time, and you can’t “wait” and go back to a creature later in the turn. The play is a bit clunky because of that, although it still feels extremely fun to me. I’ve also added common line of sight between all minions, so if one minion can see something, then everyone can (even outside of the team).
You’re probably getting dizzy from all these new features, so let’s move on to the last one. As you can see above, the game displays health bars over wounded creatures. This feature comes with underlying changes to damage and health calculations. The result is that combat is much slower and less random, there are fewer surprising insta-deaths, and also it’s easier to overwhelm a strong enemy with a large number of weaker creatures. Things that many players have asked for.
This was a very speedy summary of all the incoming new stuff! In reality, it also comes with a lot of smaller, accompanying changes, including many in the UI department. All of the things mentioned are already implemented, but the game is now terribly unbalanced and needs a lot of testing. I’m eager to hear your comments and criticism, although I think that to get concrete feedback I need to release a testing build with all the changes, which will hopefully happen soon.
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