April 3, 2018 at 4:39 pm #12697
Target: Game mechanics that revolve around player, playable character, monsters, areas, loot, experience, combat.
Goal: Reward player for progressing, exploring, learning, improving both as a player and as a played character. Provide many hours of meaningful gameplay for different types of players, be it grinders or rushers, casuals or hardcores, or anything in-between.
I will try to explain things from a Diablo II point of a view and will mostly use references from that game as examples.
Basic idea – the more of the same monster you kill and\or the same area you visit, the less of a reward you get. But not the simple way it is done in most games!
Lets say in the start of a game you encounter a Zombie, who is a “Zombie” type of an “Undead” monsters. You kill this zombie and you get experience, loot, but also additional data is recorded – “+1 “Zombie” monster killed“, “+1 “Zombie” type killed“, “+1 “Undead” killed. This not only as a statistical data! The next “Zombie” monster you encounter will be slightly easier to kill and also will give you slightly less experience, less loot, etc. You might stay around and kill 100 more zombies until they are barely a challenge to you but also no significant reward either. Next you might encounter some “Fallen“, “Skeleton” monsters. Soon enough you meet “Hungry Dead” monster, which is a second tier of “Zombie” type. You killed 100 “Zombie” types before, as well as 100 skeletons which were “Undead” so you got 200 “Undead” monsters killed total. And all these values will influence how difficult and how rewarding it is to kill the “Hungry Dead“. And so on.
Same can apply to areas too. You killed 300 monsters in “Grassy area” of “Blood Moor“. You became bit better fighting in “Blood Moor“, and in “Grassy area” in general, but since there are many things you are familiar with already, there’s less to learn there, less to be gained.
In Diablo II you found yourself at cows or at Mephisto, or in baalruns 99% of time. Yes, you are good at herding cows now, since you killed a million of them, you know all the layouts of cow level, you know their every weakness. The only reason you keep returning there is because they drop good runes at good rate. While there are many areas in the game that you visited only once or less! And the monsters you haven’t seen much at all! But there’s no drive to go there as you know there are no rewards to be found in there that would be worth of your time. Do you know the 6 statues near the waypoint in the River of flame? They turn their heads to follow where you go. You teleported past them many thousands of times to reach diablo – your only interest.
With my suggested system, most efficiently, every single area will probably be visited equally, as well as every single monster killed same amount of times. That also means you will have same amount of time to notice and admire environmental details and its art. Or maybe your first character will become an epic “Undead” slayer with little experience against “Demons” or anything else, but then you make another and replay they game with something new to experience and see. And this is where my idea can continue into combat mechanics.
After killing several zombies you notice that when you hit them in the back of their head when they are in certain point of their animation, they seem to take more damage. You as a player can google all these weaknesses that other players found or learn it all yourself, but there’s also mechanical skill you need to acquire to pull that off, among other things. However, maybe you don’t want to strain yourself with these kind of intricacies, so just kill more of these zombies and as your playable character learns, game will allow you to hit the the weakspot with increasingly less precise positioning and timing. Maybe one day your ranged character will earn the tittle of “Arrow To The Knee” because you kept shooting all the guards to their knees to keep them slowed and you – out of their reach.
Late in game you encounter “Defiled Warrior”. You know a lot about “Undead” monsters, you know enough about “Reanimated Horde” monster type, you know how to find your way around “Snowy areas”, you know the right skills and tactics that work well in these kind of situations – you grinded quite a lot for this. So after exploring this new area a bit and killing few of these creatures to see exactly whats different here, you are ready to face the “Pindleskin”. You use tornado and kick the snow into his face to blind, knock his minions to a side with your shield, jump behind him and push your searing dagger of holy fire trough the back of pindleskins neck right into his brain.
Ideally, this might require combat system revamp to make it really shine, but to a degree this can work even on diablo 2 type of engine. You can track frames of monster animation and the direction from which the hit lands. Examples: “Fireball” knocks monster back if at that moment only one foot of a monster is touching the ground, knocks to the ground if monster is facing away from you. “Smite” makes monster drop weapon if you hit it at the same time it hits you, making monster deal much less damage or go and get its weapon. Easy to come up with many different cases and effects.
All in all, these features could go long way with the story, environment, the game world as a whole. It takes nothing away from hack and slash as you are still free to point and click the whole game spamming the same spell, yet you have options for as much more as you need.
There might be something I missed or failed to describe properly, or just didn’t want to drift too far by going into too much details. I will be happy to add.
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