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Heritic 2.5 Comments

The Quest Team has come up with character promotion in Heretic 2.0. This applies their work to another application/story.

Index

Backstory

Corvus has defeated the serpent rider. All it takes to launch a good multi-class background game is to have him free prisoners before they all start on their way home. Bing, you have races, types and everything else ready to go on the trip and quest to find the way home. Plenty of explanation for just about any type of character or creature in the group.

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Commands/Keyboard Use/Etc.

The concept of keyboarding should be expanded.  The left hand key set should be linked to optional functions/abilities/spells.  Thus [q][w][e][r][t] to [z][x][c][v][b] would provide up to fifteen spells or skills or combinations ready to go.

That allows for a lot more flexibility and challenge in some issues. BTW, I don't see anything wrong with making some skills consume mana just like spells consume it.  Makes for easier play balancing (and less of the need to fumble characters every-so-often.  "Strong" fumbles are an indication of design failure. "Weak" fumbles add texture.  E.g. "you can do this special move, but some disaster might happen" is an indication that play balance couldn't be achieved through good design.  "You can do this special move, but it often comes at a price" is game design.  For a magic user the "price" is mana/energy.  There isn't any reason not to make all the special skills/etc. somewhat supramundane and costing in mana).

At a "special" (skill or access to a spell) at about every level (either adding a new one or improving an old one at each level), every character class should have 15 to 20 special skills, abilities, spells, psionic disciplines, etc. available to them by level twenty.  I'm assuming that each town should take the character through about three to four .

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Difficulty Levels

I know that the some design teams think that they can take those out and make the game locations take over that function.  However ... I think that keeping difficulty levels is important.

  1. I am impressed by how many long-term players (your core group for buying supplements) prefer to use difficulty levels to replay the "easy" parts of the game.

  2. The levels allow more "casual" players to complete the game while allowing dedicated fans to play at insanely difficult settings.  Note that Origin's Wing Commander series has moved completely to this approach, following the lead set by iD.  It has resulted in major increases in gameplay and user satisfaction.

  3. The use of levels allows for prolonged character life -- something important to many players.  I am familiar with the debate between "reach a 'master' level and retire the character" vs "no top end should ever be in sight."  TSR went through those issues as did Chaosium.  Commercially, the second choice dominates as the only success.

It may seem strange for me to be one of the people espousing extended game play.  I'm not a long term, repeat for hours sort of player.  *But* I also have design and successful game credits back into the 1970s and know a lot of consumers <g>.  This is just my two bits about what makes a better game and what is important commercially.  Imagine if QuakeII did not have difficulty levels...

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Durability

I'm not sure about durability, unless you want to use it as a replacement for charges on some weapons, with recharges limited to places between levels (the trade towns).

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Characters

Blade (Strength) (Corvus)

  • Blade Staff

  • Blade Bolt (Hellstaff mode)

  • Sidhe Bow

  • Phoenix Bow

  • Different attacks with the staff (make the different attacks things tied to level increases).

  • E.g blade storm (Corvus spins, blades spin out from him in every direction).

Archer (Dex)

  • Long knife (blade replacement)

  • Firebow (hellstaff mode)

  • Storm Bow

  • Phoenix Bow

  • Crossbow (spell replacement)

  • Sling Bow (spell replacement)

  • Special arrows (make extra things/spells that are arrow like  -- homing arrow, exploding arrow, etc.).

Sorcerer (Offensive Mana)

  • Knife

  • Hellstaff

  • Magic Bow

  • Phoenix Bow

  • Spells

Wizard (Defensive Mana)

  • Staff (no blade, bladestaff replacement)

  • Hellstaff

  • Staff Bow

  • Phoenix Bow

  • Spells

Angel/Demon (Hit Points)

  • Sword

  • Hellstaff

  • Bow

  • Phoenix Bow

  • Spells

Note the game engine requires that everyone have a blade or blade replacement, everyone have a hellstaff, and that every character have two bows (weapon slots are hard wired to require those). But, you can play a little with the graphics through skin control, etc.

Most spells will be implemented through defensive mana.

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Spells

It is easy to set up sets/families of damage spells:

  • Fire

    1. fire fist (the short range fireball type spell now in use)

    2. fire wave/breath

    3. fire ball (a rocket launcher sort of spell)

    4. fire wall

    5. circular wall

    6. fire storm (an irregular exploding fire wall).

    7. fire nova/moving circular wall

    8. apocalypse/super spell

  • Magic

    1. bolt

    2. flash

    3. blast

    4. spirit wall

    5. magic hedge

    6. storm/moving wall

    7. illuminate/moving circular wall

    8. holy flash/super spell

  • Lightening

    1. sparkling bolts

    2. thunder

    3. lightning bolt

    4. wall of lightening

    5. lightning shield

    6. chain lightening

    7. nova

    8. hammer of thor/super spell

  • Blades

    1. Spinning blades (an explosion of blades radiating out from the caster)

    2. Fire blade (the blade staff erupts into a flaming weapon)

    3. Ice blade (the blade staff freezes/slows everything it hits.  When powered up, the effect reaches out to those who are nearby).

    4. Spear -- the blade extends out to strike at a distance.

    5. Etc.

You get the idea from the examples. The fun begins if you can do invisibility, see in the dark, healing and similar spells. For an idea of what you can do if you don't have "shapes of damage" as your limit, visit norns.

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Housekeeping

The game, now that we are running on SVGA or better and 17" or better monitors for the most part, could really use Corvus, etc. at 2/3 scale of where Heretic II puts them. Perhaps 3/4 scale.

I'm all for a scenario structure that runs like this:

  • Initial entry to level set, sets tone (e.g. barrens)

    • level one

    • level two

    • fortress, etc., boss for level set

    • town, market, trading place, caravan, etc.

  • Next level set.

Next, with progression you have the difficulty of how to store character status.

The easy way is to use console commands, stored in a script, as the method for saving status. Obviously this is easily hacked.  So, on the server side, you have filters -- characters at each level can only have access to certain game levels, can only have certain spells, items, etc. The net result is that if you cheat all you are really doing is selecing a different level to play on, not gaining any advantage.

For single player, your status is saved to your computer.

This keeps both co-op and death match style games under control.  It does mean that there isn't as much room for a wide range of items, etc., but the current engine doesn't allow for that anyway.

link Heroquests (Chaosium/Runequest)
link Shattered Norns
link Runequest Scenarios
link Wing Commander
link
King of the City  -- a proposal.
link Hellfire -- the Barbarian, Bard and Cow Quest
link Diablo 1.5 -- Fallen Angels

 

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