Saturday, March 30, 2013

Playstyles - The Explorer

The Explorer is a player who prefers discovering areas, learning hidden places and secrets, and solving puzzles. In contrast to the achiever, explorers are ambitious about knowing things other players don't, whether it be how to navigate between tricky areas or how to solve intricate puzzles. The explorer's knowledge and wisdom is often respected  by other players, helpful to new and experienced players alike.

Elandor Chronicles will cater for Explorers by designing a large world for players full of secrets, random encounters, and also puzzles. Some areas will be hidden deep in the world, and others will require special circumstances and puzzles to be solved in order for them to become discovered. Many players would likely benefit from the explorer's knowledge and directions when seeking specific destinations.

Unlike most mainstream MMORPGs, Elandor Chronicles won't be a world rich with lore or back story. Explorers whom may be disappointed will be compensated with a large world full of secrets. The goal of Elandor Chronicles is to create a persistent world without players being in different instances of a moving quest line or narrative.

In a multiplayer online game, it's been proposed and studied by game researcher Richard Bartle that there are four major character types. These character types define how a player acts and succeeds in a multiplayer game, and what gameplay elements and content are most important to them.These character types include the Achiever, the Explorer, the Socializer, and the Killer. Elandor Chronicles aims to provide a variety of satisfying content for each character type.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Playstyles - The Achiever

The Achiever strives to show off their skill and hold elite status to others, looking onto the Socializers to give them praise. They aim to grind to obtain the rarest and most powerful items, and are appealed by games offering special titles or exclusive items. They fight to be the best in arena-based PVP, hoping to top scoreboards with their name.

Elandor Chronicles will cater for Achievers with the inclusion of a large variety of rare items and artifacts in the game world. Some of these will incredibly difficult to obtain, such as a rare drop from an even rarer encounter. The game will also have some items that only have a limited quantity before they aren't obtainable anymore, meaning they may eventually disappear from the world entirely due to inactive players or being sold to merchants. This will make the item even more valued by players.

Elandor Chronicles will also have arena-based PVP in all major cities, pitting players against each other in combat. Each Arena will have scoreboards for each level category, for players to view. In future releases, special titles may be given to players who are high on the scoreboard, or possess rare limited quantity artifacts.

In a multiplayer online game, it's been proposed and studied by game researcher Richard Bartle that there are four major character types. These character types define how a player acts and succeeds in a multiplayer game, and what gameplay elements and content are most important to them.These character types include the Achiever, the Explorer, the Socializer, and the Killer. Elandor Chronicles aims to provide a variety of satisfying content for each character type.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Player Sprite - Update 1

Work in Progress
I'm currently developing the base player sprite. The sprite will contain animations for walking, attacking, jumping, and casting spells. Players will be able to choose their gender, skin color, hair style and color, and eye color. Once they have created their character, they are then able to explore the game world, equip different items, armors and weapons, and customize their skills, spells, attributes and play-style.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Potion System

Contrary to many modern and aged role-playing games alike, Elandor Chronicles will take a different approach to the mechanics which encompass how potions are used and work. The issue with potions in many RPGs, is that they can be spammed, allowing the player to overcome obstacles and challenges which otherwise would have been very difficult or near impossible.

Instead, Elandor Chronicles will restrict the number of potions that can be used in an interval of time by the player, promoting strategy and independence from potions. This is achieved with the use of an additional bar on the player’s interface which measures both the maximum amount of potions they can consume, and the amount currently consumed. This is measured in ‘points’ and each consumable item may spend a number of the points available.

Potions can only be used if the player has enough free consumable points left. Over time, these points regenerate. This system will implore characters to be strategic about how they use potions, and not allow them to spam them in combat.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Element System

Elandor Chronicles will utilize a dynamic element system. Instead of a relationship based element system where every attack and entity has an element, every entity will instead have a different set of weaknesses and resistances based on themselves. This allows for more flexibility. One entity for example, may be highly resistant to weapon damage, but have varying weaknesses against specific elements such as fire and ice. Each entity will have a customizable list of weaknesses and resistances, each of which can be adjusted as a percentage of damage resisted, or extra damage taken. Weapons, spells and monster attacks will have elements associated with them, but entities themselves will not.

The elements that will be in Elandor Chronicles include the above; weapon, fire, nature, earth, electric, water, ice, magic, light and dark. Spells, skills and enchanted weapons and armor may grant element damage or resistances, which can be valuable against combating specific enemies. A rock golem, for example may have very high weapon resistance and immunity fire, electric and water, so a player may require a spell or special weapon which can deal ice or earth damage.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Player Experience Goals

Elandor Chronicles will have a number of goals which reflect how players will enjoy and interact with the game. These goals are essential to both developing a fan-base of players, and also revolving the game mechanics and design around. Listed below are the primary player experience goals for Elandor Chronicles-
  • Elandor Chronicles aims to bring back the nostalgic game-play present in older titles such as 'The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past' on Super Nintendo. This includes beautiful custom pixel art graphics, which both will look polished and original, and will also run smoothly on even dated systems. In unison with the graphics, the game will present an incredible and memorable soundtrack of MIDI music and 8 bit sound effects. The graphics and music of Elandor Chronicles aims to be nostalgic and bring back popular game-play from earlier popular titles in gaming history.
  • Elandor Chronicles aims to make players feel like they belong to the game world. This includes making them feel inclined to talk to other players, and care about their social stature in the game. As an earlier blog entry outlined, Elandor chronicles will adopt and implement a variety of features and mechanics which will strive to both immerse and involve players in the game, and leave out any potentially threatening features which will discourage players from trading and socializing.
  • Elandor Chronicles aims to listen to players, both through play testing, and a feedback system and forum. As both a game designer and a game player, I'm doing my best to find what features and systems players will most enjoy and react positively towards, and make changes features and formulas in the best interest of the player-base. I'm aiming to give players a lot of content and variety per character level, to keep them content and not bored from gameplay.
  • Elandor Chronicles aims to make implement new features and make changes to common mechanics found in popular online role-playing games such as 'World of Warcraft'. This includes rethinking even basic features such as requirements to using items, and shifting emphasis from in-game activities, so that leveling to max level isn't the primary player objective.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Armor, Block, Evade, Barrier and Resist

There are five types of defense in Elandor Chronicles. Armor reduces weapon damage, Block has a chance to negate weapon damage, Evade has a chance to negate all types of damage, Barrier reduces magical damage, and Resist provides protection against specific elements. Each defense is primarily associated with an attribute, so different character builds will be able to use different defenses.

Armor is perhaps the most common defense. Most strength-based equipment will provide high defensive armor to the wearer. Armor is essential to all players because it reduces weapon damage taken by all hits. It does not reduce magical damage however, which may leave strength-based builds weak to spells.

Block is primarily associated with shields. It gives the player a chance to negate often most if not all damage from an incoming melee or ranged weapon attack. It's another strength-based defense, which gives players the opportunity to have extended defense capabilities at the expense of not being able to dual wield or use weapons two handed (A feature which is planned post-release).

Evade is a specialized defense mostly seen in speed and occasionally magic-based equipment. It gives players the chance to dodge all types attacks, including both melee and ranged weapons, and also spells. While evade is a good defense for all players to have, focusing in high levels of it will allow players to have higher chances of evading even the most powerful spells and attacks.

Barrier is defense against magical damage, mostly seen in spells but also some enchanted weapons. Similarly to armor, it reduces the amount of magical damage taken from every hit. Magical damage refers to all the different spell elements such as fire and ice damage. Barrier stacks with resistance.

Resistance is a very specific defense which applies individually to each element. Resistance applies damage reduction to one or more elements. Different equipment may add defense against different elements, and players are able to wear specific equipment to focus protection against one or more elements depending on their environment and enemies.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Strength, Speed and Magic

Strength, Speed and Magic. The 3 primary attributes which are used to define your character. They are simple, and few, but I've been thinking it out, and recently also iteratively developed formulas until defense, health, item requirements, and so forth worked together and were balanced, no matter the play-style or character build. So what do each of them do?

Strength is required for using heavy, burly weapons. Such weapons might include axes, maces, swords and throwing axes. It also gives small bonuses to melee weapon damage and health. Strength is also needed to wear heavy armors which provide defense against melee and ranged weapon attacks.

Speed is required to use swift and ranged weapons. These include a variety of bows, throwing weapons, daggers and swords. It also gives small bonuses to ranged weapon damage and stamina. Speed is also important to wear cloaks and other specialized light armors which provide evasion to help avoid most attacks.

Magic is required to use magic or enchanted weapons. These weapons primarily include wands, but also rare enchanted weapons of all types. It also gives small bonuses to magic damage and mana. Magic is also required to use magical armors such as robes or enchanted mail which provide protection against elements as well as limited defense against weapon attacks.

Focusing in strength will constitute a powerful warrior capable of using heavy armors and weapons. They will have more a bonus to health, and both deal and deduct high weapon damage. Unfortunately, they will have low stamina for skills, and have very little magic protection and be unable to use any magical gear or tactical weapons.

Focusing in speed will develop a powerful rogue or ranger, capable of using fast melee or ranged weapons, and also have a large bank of stamina for using different skills to give them a tactical advantage on the battlefield. They will have a high evasion which will allow them to dodge both weapon and some magical attacks.

Focusing in magic will create a powerful wizard, capable of casting devastating spells and using magical gear. They will have a high amount of mana, however very little defense against weapon attacks and less-then average health. They will have the highest protection against elemental attacks and spells.

Combinations are necessary for different player-styles and weapon and armor requirements. Examples include sharing attribute points between speed and strength to use gallant swords and have a combination of strength and speed (skills) in combat. Strength and Magic on the otherhand will allow a player to effectively cast spells and use weapons, equipping heavier armors, including rarer enchanted plate armors requiring both strength and magic.

To compliment this, players will be able to use specific weapons and skills to a strong advantage. One build option, for example, is using weapons which can cause bleeding, with skills which hit hard dealing additional damage. Bleeding causes a percentage of the weapon hit to deal damage to the target over time. By using a skill to deal more damage and perhaps increase chances of bleeding, a player could adapt a play-style frequently dealing heavy bleeding damage to foes to bring them down.

The potion system I have in play will not allow potion spamming, neither for health, stamina or mana. The descriptions above are just general, to give an idea of the importance of each skill. I'll delve into more game-play mechanics and features in the future to elaborate on play-styles, builds, and balancing.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Social Community in Elandor

What I personally feel is lacking from most modern games, is a social community where each player feels like they belong to the game world, and are inclined to roleplay or socialize with others. One of the main problems is that most games today are played today to beat the game or become the best, and not so much to become part of the world and get to know others. A lot of MMORPG/ORPGs also use different instances for players not in a party, so it only feels like your not in a world with others. This is done at the expense of allowing each player to have all their own content, loot, and spawns. Elandor Chronicles however will have players sharing the whole world together. To avoid overpopulation, different servers will open up, but zones and even dungeons will never be instanced.

On the road, players will find themselves sharing the world, and might be eager to travel together for company. As such, I will be implementing a variety of systems and features to encourage social interaction. A social community is important in Elandor Chronicles, and as such not only will ill-behavior be moderated, but incentives will also be promoted. For example, by partying with other players, not only will it be easier to take on harder areas or dungeons, but you'll get a small XP bonus, have company on a long road, and in particular situations, be able to co-operate to explore areas or achieve tasks that otherwise one player would not be able to.

I'll be looking into planning many different systems and ideas to encourage role-play and socializing in Elandor Chronicles. I'll also be stripping down common features in modern games which do damage the social aspect. Features such as the 'auction house', which has almost entirely stopped players from trading amongst each other, and has made it too easy for them to acquire and sell almost any item they desire. I predict with the removal of the auction house, players will return to using the trade chat channel, and assembling in a town square to sell their goods.