My name is Alan and I’m the resident game designer and community manager here at Wolcen Studio. I’m the one who usually writes these articles, even though I often speak for the team as a whole.
Today I’d like to present two of the new features that you’ll be able to experience in update 0.5.0.3, the revamped defense and enemy resistance mechanics.
One of the challenges of building a modern Hack and Slash game like Wolcen resides in designing mechanics that are both deep and easily understandable to players. I always felt like armor in RPGs was difficult to conceptualize due to the reliance on complex mathematical formulas, which results in arbitrarily chosen numbers for armor values. How do you tell how much armor you need? Is 56 a lot of armor points? Plus I wasn’t satisfied with the current armor formula, as it was difficult to balance and forced me to give huge amounts of hp to the player even at level one.
The solution? Take the same basic principle of mitigation within armor range, but applied to the entire health pool once, complete with a way to visualize it. This is how it looks:
Armor is now called “Defense”, as it represents a general protection for your character more than a plate of armor. It also makes more sense for magical sources of defense like amulets or spells.
As you can see, your total amount of defense now directly covers your health globe. Health covered by Defense is worth more than its normal amount vs. physical damage, depending on your Defense Ability. This does not function like the energy shields that you may have seen in many games, as defense does not deplete (unless shattered) and characters that have health below their defense threshold are not so vulnerable that defense is necessary to even survive.
The first advantage of this mechanic is obviously its visual appeal: as you equip better armor, you’ll see directly how much your character is protected. This also includes temporary boosts to defense from passives and other sources, which you’ll be able to see. Speaking of boosts, blocking with a shield will now grant a temporary boost to defense, allowing players to build up defense even if they do not have much from their gear.
Secondly, Defense allows me to design new sub-mechanics that will be used in item affixes and passive skills: effects can be triggered when health goes above or below the defense threshold, health regeneration can be increased while above the threshold, …
This also strategizes the use of the health potions, as it gives a reason to drink them preemptively so health stays covered by defense at all times.
The other new mechanic in update 0.5.0.3 is Enemy Resistance.
Resistance on enemies now works differently that the player’s percentage-based damage reduction. Based on the type of the resistance, enemies have a pool of resistance points that will be loosed before health when taking damage of the same type. These pools are represented as secondary bars below the enemy’s health bar:
If an enemy is resistant to fire, any fire damage that you inflict to it will be absorbed by its fire resistance points, until it is depleted. Damage of any other type will be inflicted to its health.
Physical resistance is considered as armor, and additional types are available like spell resistance.
Note that having a Resistance grants immunity to negative status effects of the associated type: fire resistance prevents burning, lightning resistance prevents shock, frost resistance prevents freezing, bleeding resistance prevents bleeding and so on.
I do not think that anyone ever noticed that some enemies had armor, as it was never displayed in-game. With the new system, players will be able to make better tactical decisions.
Just like Defense, Resistance allows for new sub-mechanics to emerge: Resistance Shattering will deal increased damage to the resistance pool, while resistance piercing will ignore a part of the resistance pool and inflict damage directly to health.
Armor piercing will be a common occurrence on daggers, while fire damage will be able to shatter frost resistance with the right passive. Enemies will be able to react to their resistance being shattered, and more!
These two revamped mechanics will add depth to overall gameplay experience while making them easier to understand, and I hope you’ll have fun using them in the arena!
Finally, here’s a small tease of things to come in our screenshot of the week. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re publishing a new screenshot on Instagram every week. Follow Wolcen Studio on Instagram so you don’t miss any!