Focus On The Legionnaire & Female Centaur Concept & Video Jun 16, 2015 11:50:03 GMT -8
Post by Chrissy The Blesser on Jun 16, 2015 11:50:03 GMT -8
THE LEGIONNAIRE: TACTICAL SUPPORT
Since I already talked about the origin of the Centaur's lore, I thought it would be good to circle back around to the archetypes we selected as combatants, and the "roles" that we used to define (or describe) them.
In our "Meet the Combatants" update, we referred to the Legionnaire as our “first real support class.”
Wow, seems like maybe that was a poor choice of terms because there seems to be a HUGE amount of confusion about what we mean by “support class”. Fair enough. People have hundreds (thousands) of hours of gameplay experience under a particular set of assumptions, and it's hard to make that mental leap when some of those core assumptions change.
This has actually been brewing for a while. It started back when we announced that we weren't going to have dedicated " and a lot of people were shocked (and, FWIW, really upset). I think part of the confusion stemmed from many people misreading our statement to mean "no healing at all," which is not accurate.
The question remains: The holy trinity (tank, DPS, healer) has existed for decades, why would we change it now?
The answer is simple: We're building a different game.
The core loop of a PvE game revolves around a team mechanic. In the DikuMUD days, it was optimized around a party of two to six players fulfilling some combination of four roles (obviously derived from AD&D):
- The thief/rogue, who could dish out a huge amount of damage initially (via backstab), but then his damage output fell off quickly, and he was relegated to debuffs (poisons, blinds, bleeds, etc.)
- The tank, who had the most health and damage resistance, the most consistent damage, and the ability to draw the attack.
- The 'glass cannon' mages who, in addition to a diverse array of other tools, could dish out damage but not take it.
- The cleric, who was supposed to be an extension of the tank. His or her job was to keep the tank from falling because if the tank went down, everything went to hell.
The PvE game was optimized for these core roles. You could be effective with a subset of them -- as long as you had at least two, the tank and a cleric.
This party-based design pattern really is the core of the PvE experience. It worked well, and you could add a WIDE degree of variation by changing the rules slightly to keep it feeling fresh for a long time. (This boss mob changes targets randomly! This boss mob can force your tank to occasionally run away! This boss mob will target your mage! This boss mob will make you fumble your weapon! – and so forth.)
Most importantly, however, you could scale the experience (and difficulty) by just increasing the numbers on both ends. Higher damage and higher health numbers means more "rounds" of combat. More rounds of combat means more chances for someone on the team to screw up and the party to lose.
Raids were basically just another form of scaling. You need MORE players to fulfill each of the core roles.
So, here's the problem: What if your game doesn't scale numerically, like a traditional PvE game?
If you remove that numerical scaling as your primary method of scaling difficulty--i.e. monster health and damage numbers don't increase exponentially, because the game is NOT based on a linear progression of dungeons/adventure areas--suddenly everything needs to be reconsidered.
If players are not expected to take down a boss monster with 400,000 health, you don't need or want to keep in the capacity for players to counter balance against opponents with 400,000 health. If you leave that in, then combat between player groups won't be about skill; the numbers will decide that the fight is always about which team brings more firehose clerics.
The idea of the support class, however, is alive and well in our design. It's just not as simple as "watch a bar go down, press a button to refill it" and (in turn) "bring more people to do that."
Instead, support becomes more tactical. Players will have to master the rules-based exceptions that I mentioned above (which includes buffs and debuffs, of course -- but also includes environmental factors, battle field position, and the interactivity of objects in the 3D simulation).
My personal opinion is that it doesn't take a HUGE number of tools to lead to a very, very wide array of emergent results; you just need to make those tools very different and interesting.
With the Legionnaire, we tried to make him a hybrid role, a tank/support archetype that was a solid tank (though not as solid as the Knight), highly mobile (which makes sense, given his nature), and to give him a small number of tools that he could use to facilitate team-based play at the tactical level.
We've been using the words "tank" and "DPS" and "support" for our roles. When we say he's a support archetype that's accurate -- but it's also probably not what you are thinking, given that we are building a different game. Perhaps we should call him 'tactical support'? Jump over to the forum and tell us what you think.
LEGIONNAIRES: STYLISH YET FUNCTIONAL
The Legionnaire decked out in all of his Romanesque glory
Taking a concept from the creative director’s vision to a visual reality isn’t always easy, but the Art team delivers. Virtual life finds a way.
Centaurs: An artist's dream come true
First look: The female Legionnaire
Follow along as Dave Greco narrates the painting process in this time-lapsed video