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wedgeski

Comments on Teamstream #4

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Hi all, just some random observations on the features discussed in TS#4:

1. Heartily approve of research rewards being immediately available to all eligible heroes.

2. Stat requirements for research are fine, but give the player the ability to prioritize. E.g. If he needs Demonclaw Husks, then allow him to prioritize missions which provide Demonclaw Husks. So, if you're providing only one mission at a time (a-la XCOM), then how about a system which allows the player to influence what demons appear on the battlefield? (E.g. A "Sufference Cauldron", if brought to the battle, attracts Demonclaws instead of the that would normally be attracted). If you're providing multiple missions then of course it's much easier for the player to focus on missions that deliver what he needs.

3. I understand the that the relic design space needs some boundaries, but I think your current relic design definitely needs uber-powerful unique relics like swords and cloaks and so-on that aren't plugged into skills but can be equipped to a single hero and make him the current champion of that bloodline. Ah, but then you mentioned super-relics...maybe that's the place for it.

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Hi all, just some random observations on the features discussed in TS#4:

1. Heartily approve of research rewards being immediately available to all eligible heroes.

Agreed.

2. Stat requirements for research are fine, but give the player the ability to prioritize. E.g. If he needs Demonclaw Husks, then allow him to prioritize missions which provide Demonclaw Husks. So, if you're providing only one mission at a time (a-la XCOM), then how about a system which allows the player to influence what demons appear on the battlefield? (E.g. A "Sufference Cauldron", if brought to the battle, attracts Demonclaws instead of the that would normally be attracted). If you're providing multiple missions then of course it's much easier for the player to focus on missions that deliver what he needs.

Disagree. I think the game sometimes needs to just be what it is and you have to deal with it. The frustration of not having enough demonclaw husks is part of the fun imo. I'm trying to imagine an FFT or X-COM where you can actually pick the enemies you fight instead of sighing in relief or quaking in fear at what the game decides to give you, and picking is a lot less fun.

3. I understand the that the relic design space needs some boundaries, but I think your current relic design definitely needs uber-powerful unique relics like swords and cloaks and so-on that aren't plugged into skills but can be equipped to a single hero and make him the current champion of that bloodline. Ah, but then you mentioned super-relics...maybe that's the place for it.

I like materia type systems, but like you, I had initially seen the relics as swords and cloaks and basically like unique items that were passed down through generations. This was my father's hammer, passed down to him from his father, who got it from his father, etc. Perhaps this is the role of the uber relics? I feel like relics as pips kinda loses a lot of the flavor of heirlooms being passed down. Don't get me wrong this is the bone of my father's toe which strengthens me in combat and lets me channel his spirit is also pretty badass, but I don't see why relics can't be items you equip in combat that also add skill upgrades.

Equip the weapon/armor/accessory in the appropriate slot for a hero in the appropriate bloodline, and a menu pops up asking what you want to apply the relic bonus to. So you can put a warrior relic on a wizard hero from the bloodline, say his grandmother's sword, and it should still upgrade a wizard skill of his choice to relic level. Now maybe the sword also grants the ability to add a level in some warrior skill that can only be used with that relic on, as a way of showing the bloodline is warrior based. Now if the sword is on a warrior, you get the warrior skill on the sword if you don't have it, and you get it upgraded to relic level if you do already have it.

I guess you rapidly run into the problem where you have 5 relics that are all weapons and only 1 weapon slot per hero. But this is of course only a problem if Acclamation is common and produces a lot of relics. If relics are rare, you are happy for every one you get.

In any case I like the current materia system, but I'd be sad if we don't also get a unique relic weapon system so you can have a scenario where a descendent is equipping the sword of his long dead ancestor who fell in battle to a demon, but now the youngster can get his revenge, fueled by the strength of the spirits of his family. If you can't have something like Aragorn's sword Anduril, MC will have made me sad. :(

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Disagree. I think the game sometimes needs to just be what it is and you have to deal with it. The frustration of not having enough demonclaw husks is part of the fun imo. I'm trying to imagine an FFT or X-COM where you can actually pick the enemies you fight instead of sighing in relief or quaking in fear at what the game decides to give you, and picking is a lot less fun.

That's a fair point and I don't disagree that strongly, but I did think, for example, that my enjoyment of XCOM suffered when I desperately needed to engineer something for which I didn't have enough corpses, or navigation computers, or whatever. That was an impediment to my progress that I had no control over fixing at all, I just had to sit back and wait for the right mission.

I felt very strongly at the time that the grey market should have provided for purchases as well as sales, but that wouldn't have fit with the game's fiction very well and looking back I think that would have been a terrible idea. :) Simply buying what you need, and massaging the game into giving you what you need via the strategic layer, are different things though.

I guess you rapidly run into the problem where you have 5 relics that are all weapons and only 1 weapon slot per hero. But this is of course only a problem if Acclamation is common and produces a lot of relics. If relics are rare, you are happy for every one you get.

Yup, agreed. Sockets are absolutely fine and will work well as described, but they turn relics into just another resource and lose the "legacy of my bloodline" flavour that the guys have conjured in my head over the course of the project so far.

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I guess you rapidly run into the problem where you have 5 relics that are all weapons and only 1 weapon slot per hero. But this is of course only a problem if Acclamation is common and produces a lot of relics. If relics are rare, you are happy for every one you get.

Yup, agreed. Sockets are absolutely fine and will work well as described, but they turn relics into just another resource and lose the "legacy of my bloodline" flavour that the guys have conjured in my head over the course of the project so far.

I can't recall now, did they mention the possibility of a super relic in the last team stream? I thought I remembered 'super' or something like that attached to relics, but maybe it was attached to the skill system instead. Hm.

Smiles

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I can't recall now, did they mention the possibility of a super relic in the last team stream? I thought I remembered 'super' or something like that attached to relics, but maybe it was attached to the skill system instead. Hm.

Yup they totally did, just as I was writing that para of my post. :) It was only mentioned in passing though so I decided to stick with what I'd written.

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Disagree. I think the game sometimes needs to just be what it is and you have to deal with it. The frustration of not having enough demonclaw husks is part of the fun imo. I'm trying to imagine an FFT or X-COM where you can actually pick the enemies you fight instead of sighing in relief or quaking in fear at what the game decides to give you, and picking is a lot less fun.

That's a fair point and I don't disagree that strongly, but I did think, for example, that my enjoyment of XCOM suffered when I desperately needed to engineer something for which I didn't have enough corpses, or navigation computers, or whatever. That was an impediment to my progress that I had no control over fixing at all, I just had to sit back and wait for the right mission.

if MC does have limited mission choices (like alien abductions), that seems to me to be a perfect balance between both of your opinions. then youd have some means of influencing what you get but also youd be at the mercy of the game somewhat.

as has been suggested before, what if you could assign people to be spies around the countryside and depending on how well developed your spy/ranger network is, they could report on some or all of enemy types in some of the missions on choice. this could be just numbers so could be super cheap to implement. it could also be expanded so that you decide how many you want per region, add features with keep buildings and equipment etc.

or if you dont want spies (why would you not want spies) maybe a completely random system where farmers report on enemy types sometimes. so it could be 100% tweakable and/or player-strategized (ie the player decides how important they think this is and enables the feature) to what extent you get information.

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In regards to relics being in weapon form, I think the biggest issue with that is trying to scope for it in the limited budget. To get around that, maybe it would be a good idea to have the death of the very first hero (or first acclaimed hero, since people might retire them immediately) give you your 'super relic' for that bloodline? Since this first hero also establishes the class of the bloodline, this would allow the team to have only a few items for each class, one of which is randomly given to that bloodline (along with a cool, randomised name) on its first acclaimed hero's death. Throughout the game, this item could gradually increase in power with each death of subsequent acclaimed wielders, all contributing their 'blood' for stat boosts so that it scales well into the endgame. That way, you could have the awesome flavour of a special item, without trying to design something that's way outside the scope of the project. Also, I think it compliments the gem system well, since that system is based entirely around the bloodline flowing through your heroes and this system follows that same principle, especially since these items improve with each successive heroic death, chanelling that energy into the current wielder.

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Thematically we love the idea of a father's sword being passed to his daughter, and on and on through the ages, getting powered up. But John and I talked about this a lot, trying to figure out how to make it work.

If a hero uses a sword on the battlefield a lot and then dies in combat, it makes sense that some of his essence could go into his sword, powering it up for the next member of the bloodline to use it.

But if a hero uses a sword on the battlefield a lot and then retires, the sword should be usable by another member of the bloodline. But the original hero is still alive... so should it get more powerful when he retires? When he dies? Is there a connection between him and the sword? When is that created?

This just proved to be too complicated to try to tackle. There are plenty of fish to fry in our designs, and the simpler pip-driven system allows us to do a lot of things!

1) Enable some cool fiction for powered up ancestor attacks like our original artwork!

2) Work in some of the weird Christian Relic-type visuals for bones and skulls of your ancestors.

3) Separate out the Research system from the Relic system, so they can be developed and balanced individually.

Ultimately I feel like this is the best call for the game, but losing the flavor of a weapon that's passed down through the generations is kind of a bummer. This is one of the weird parts of open development - usually you guys wouldn't see us making these hard decisions! :D! But I feel like it's valuable for us to be so open about it - hopefully it helps everyone understand how games are made!

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Ooh, a reply from Brad! Got the tingles, it's like meeting a celebrity :D

Thanks for responding, I'd never even considered the issues of retirement that come with the game's bloodline system, that would be hard to balance. If it was made that only heroes dying powered it, then that would lead to purposeful deaths of heroes, and other 'gamey' things. Sort of reminds me of Fire Emblem: Awakening; I absolutely adore that game, but in order to make characters powerful you have to reclass them, grind up, then make them into a master class. It just doesn't flow well, and I ended up not using some of my favourite characters for a bit because I didn't have enough reclassing items (second seals). I'm sure crazy min/maxing suits some people, but having the game flow well is more important to me.

As long as the pip system is represented in a visually and lorelly (don't know the corresponding word for lore?) interesting way, that should go a long way to making the loss of specific weapons not matter so much. Upgrading skills to an awesome extent via relics and having your ancestral spirits flow behind you, as in the first concept art for the game, would be super awesome. Also can't wait to see how those polish-inspired thingies on people's backs turn out.

Bring on the next Teamstream!

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Thematically we love the idea of a father's sword being passed to his daughter, and on and on through the ages, getting powered up. But John and I talked about this a lot, trying to figure out how to make it work.

If a hero uses a sword on the battlefield a lot and then dies in combat, it makes sense that some of his essence could go into his sword, powering it up for the next member of the bloodline to use it.

But if a hero uses a sword on the battlefield a lot and then retires, the sword should be usable by another member of the bloodline. But the original hero is still alive... so should it get more powerful when he retires?

No. He's retired, the sword is no longer his. It only gained power because he was using it in battle.

When he dies?

No again. I think what makes relic weapons special is they don't grow old and die. So you can have a hero only reach level 3 before he dies of old age. Because of the training system, his children will reach level 5, and so on and so on, until the final generation is able to reach max level, say level 10. But swords don't die of old age. So you can have a level 10 hero wielding a level 15 or level 20 weapon. If weapons gain experience through combat, they become cross-generational power sources for the player that mitigate the power drop when older heroes retire.

Is there a connection between him and the sword? When is that created?

No, there is no special bond. it simply gains experience as he uses it and then is passed on to gain more experience in the hands of his children. As the sword gains experience, it levels up, the same way a hero does, and because it cannot die of old age, it eventually becomes a relic of extreme power.

This just proved to be too complicated to try to tackle. There are plenty of fish to fry in our designs, and the simpler pip-driven system allows us to do a lot of things!

1) Enable some cool fiction for powered up ancestor attacks like our original artwork!

2) Work in some of the weird Christian Relic-type visuals for bones and skulls of your ancestors.

3) Separate out the Research system from the Relic system, so they can be developed and balanced individually.

Ultimately I feel like this is the best call for the game, but losing the flavor of a weapon that's passed down through the generations is kind of a bummer.

I think even a simple system like swords gaining exp and leveling up and becoming stronger over the course of many generations is a far superior system to pips, which in the end simply become a fungible resource. The player loses his/her attachment to the relic if it cannot be distinguished from any other relic and merely serves as a boost to a skill. I think there's also a cool fictional and thematic connection lost there. Ancient relics wielded by long dead heroes screams massive chalice, and I think not exploiting that natural connection is a missed opportunity.

This is one of the weird parts of open development - usually you guys wouldn't see us making these hard decisions! :D! But I feel like it's valuable for us to be so open about it - hopefully it helps everyone understand how games are made!

I love the openness of the development process of MC. It has been educational and great fun for me as I am interested in game design and you guys keep it entertaining and informative. Regardless of whether or not the public agrees with your decisions I hope you continue to allow us our looks into the process.

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I think even a simple system like swords gaining exp and leveling up and becoming stronger over the course of many generations is a far superior system to pips, which in the end simply become a fungible resource. The player loses his/her attachment to the relic if it cannot be distinguished from any other relic and merely serves as a boost to a skill. I think there's also a cool fictional and thematic connection lost there. Ancient relics wielded by long dead heroes screams massive chalice, and I think not exploiting that natural connection is a missed opportunity.

The idea of relics passed through generations accruing experience is definitely a fun thing to think about. For pips, I'm sure they'll try to make 'em unique, interesting, and memorable, through both interfacey things information displays (like "Hm, who gave me this foot relic? Oh, it was Great Grandfather Muir!") and through incorporating the relics into the lore and the general thematic feel of everything.

Once we get a better sense of how things are really shaping up, instead of in the current squishy development phase we're in now, I think we'll be better off!

Smiles

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One of the biggest things that got me excited for MASSIVE CHALICE is the idea of weapons and armor as relics being passed down the generations, hearing that it won't be in there is very disappointing. I think if they could implement it through weapons getting experience like suggested would be great and I hope they reconsider. Even if its just one type of weapon per house that gains experience and might be a fun interesting design aspect for the backers that get their bloodlines in as well. Say house Muir is known for their great defense so they have a chestpiece relic that gain experience when a Muir wears it and house Battleaxe has a Battleaxe that gains experience, that doesn't seem like it should be too difficult and then maybe if someone dies while wielding it the weapon or armor could gain a little XP boost or the player could choose a special skill like fire def or fire attack with choices opening with how many enemy types got killed or hit the armor. That would be cool.

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http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130313013744/kingofdragonpass/images/6/65/ElvesWoundedCaptured.jpg

Now y'all one of the concerns with leveling-up gear is if it's outpaced by research upgrades vs research upgrades being too weak vs not being able to equip the kind of gear you want b/c you must rely on the relic.

As a possible solution, what if relics were abstracted into spiritual concepts? Rather than a concrete pauldron or spear it's the essence of a pauldron or spear which can be attached to any actual pauldron or spear. This would create a best-of-both-worlds situation where the latest armor/weapon tech could be combined with the leveled-up relic. As the relic would be effectively an enchantment, a buff to any existing equipment like 2x attacks per round or +50% durability.

The other concern the team voiced was players gaming the system to kill-off their heroes just to gain item bonuses. A simple solution to that issue is making items bonuses based on heroes deeds and provide no bonus based on death. So Jack "Fiendslayer" Johnson imbues his battleaxe with +5 to hit from all the heads it has taken and this bonus is conferred to a lesser degree to anyone else of his bloodline who equips it (+3) and even less for anyone outside the bloodline who equips it (+1) so that it doesn't matter if he's alive or dead. The risk-reward decision is whether you want to keep l33t gear with l33t heroes so they can max its' potential as high as possible or if you want to level gear up only a little bit before passing it onto rookie heroes to compensate for their w34kness.

Additionally, a decay to relic infusion values could be added to punish players who let their relic-equipped heroes die or fail to equip their relics. This could create a LotR scenario where the family sword is shattered into pieces and needs reforged (CYOA miniquest?).

Just as the level system of X-com projects if a scenario's easy, medium, hard, or very hard so the MC system could project how difficult a level it'll generate will be, the likelyhood of heroes surviving, etc. These projections could be taken as far as ghosts, hidden simulations the game engine runs of how it would play the encounter if it controlled the player party, as the Grand Turismo series does with racers, and/or there could be a skill tracking system like SC2, and/or there could be a "coolness' rating for various moves as from the Devil May Cry Series, so how well a player's hero performs in a round of combat (or at the end of the level) vs his projected performance, if over a certain threshold, results in various buff-bars beginning to build on his relic (built up for bows in general for example, doesn't reset if he changes bows). Initially this value's hidden as it's beneath the amount needed to create a relic. But if players keep up a certain playstyle or perform great enough feats then a relic is created, giving a bonus to the player's most-favored gear (wand, staff, glaive, whatever). Such a system could be rendered more simply and crudely by giving each enemy-type a challenge rating, each hero a challenge-rating based on his level rating and ability, and assigning relic-creating bonuses based on discrepancies between these values (6-7=-1 means atleast one party member should've died but they all survived so the relic value of the party goes +1). If the programmers wanted to put in more work they could provide modifiers based on strenght/weakness of certain builds against one another (berserker vs mage) and conditions (highground vs lowground).

Each usage of an item-type could fill a bar towards a skill-progression related to that item, as in The Elder Scrolls series, or more generally, each attack/ability could be grouped in one of a few pools (melee, ranged, magic) and advance a universal value within that pool which in turn can be spent on advancements for abilities/items which fall under that sub-category as in the Fable series. These advances could be as simple as basic value boosts like the Weapon Focus feats of Fighters in DnD 3.5 or they could apply affects like the split-tree abilities of Mass Effect 3 or the socketable gems of Diablo 3, poisonous damage-over time, weakness to future attacks, a freezing reduction to enemy movement/attack speed, etc. This would create different feelings for heroes who had been leveled up by the same means (basic warrior doing lots of sword damage) as one player may choose a higher risk-reward ability like a sword-throw attack while another player chooses a more mild but constant passive deflection chance boost.

To save on art assets, relics could be represented by a luminescent texture on basic equipment. So a Broadword's relic is represented by a shiny basic sword, regardless of the level/type of the broadsword. Or, when an item's infused with the Relic-magic, its' default texture could be overwritten with the shiny Relic texture, so it's easy to read in battle where the relic items are. Akin to golden upgrades in the original Bioshock.

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/10/2a/38/102a3882a2d127a06a08d33ae446a51e.jpg

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Thematically we love the idea of a father's sword being passed to his daughter, and on and on through the ages, getting powered up. But John and I talked about this a lot, trying to figure out how to make it work.

If a hero uses a sword on the battlefield a lot and then dies in combat, it makes sense that some of his essence could go into his sword, powering it up for the next member of the bloodline to use it.

But if a hero uses a sword on the battlefield a lot and then retires, the sword should be usable by another member of the bloodline. But the original hero is still alive... so should it get more powerful when he retires? When he dies? Is there a connection between him and the sword? When is that created?

This just proved to be too complicated to try to tackle. There are plenty of fish to fry in our designs, and the simpler pip-driven system allows us to do a lot of things!

1) Enable some cool fiction for powered up ancestor attacks like our original artwork!

2) Work in some of the weird Christian Relic-type visuals for bones and skulls of your ancestors.

3) Separate out the Research system from the Relic system, so they can be developed and balanced individually.

Ultimately I feel like this is the best call for the game, but losing the flavor of a weapon that's passed down through the generations is kind of a bummer. This is one of the weird parts of open development - usually you guys wouldn't see us making these hard decisions! :D! But I feel like it's valuable for us to be so open about it - hopefully it helps everyone understand how games are made!

I wish I knew what you'd talked about earlier as I don't want to waste time with redundancies. I would love to hear more in depth about what you discussed, what were the problems, why something wouldn't work, and not just the conclusion. Either way, have you thought about a system that considers every hero having essences? quantified into seperate elements like strength, plain more damage, defences or skills? It could simply be an invisible (or may as well be visible, actually) trait.

have the essence charge on the weapon be affected by time with use ([728/364] = +2 strength. Or whatever's appropriately balanced, of course.) and have the charge also be affected by appropriate use (number of attacks (25)*[5], + number of kills (7)*[25] = 300). Essence effect could simply not have a benefit for the character if you're only interested in the legacy, but have you considered having the effect actually being doubled? The fact that the person has spent decades with that specific tool in hand should be more beneficial than legacy, but that's just my thought. I mean it seems like the game is about connections, and blood bonds are just one, a man and his craft, another, and a man and his tool, yet another.

This should complement your priority of meaningful choices as the player will have to consider whether to have the character power up the item further, risk more fights, or hope the character survives longer, or immediately pass the torch as the rookie is going to need it. You could also end up with the character who is, due to his other traits, unfit for fight, yet his essence is strong, so you're tempted to keep pushing him. By the way, have you found a better way for players to make these meaningful choices, because it seems like most of them are just long term vs short term?

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