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Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels03:24 PM -- Mon March 12, 2007

To clarify something people keep asking, this is a new game. Obviously it's more than a little similar to Loonyland 2, but just pretend that's a coincidence. It's like Quake and Ratchet & Clank, or Candyland and Tony Hawk, or Tic-Tac-Toe and Gradius. Two different games. I hope that is clear. Not an expansion, not a patch, a new game. It's one of those "If you liked Loonyland 2, you'll love Titan Tunnels!" kind of things, in marketing terms. And the reason it's not Loonyland 2: Titan Tunnels (by the way, this is just the working title, anyway) is that this is just a "side story" to the whole Loonyland saga. It's not a part of Loonyland 2. I was thinking of Loonyland Side Story, but that's long and ugly (there's a console RPG that does that, though).

So, with that said, here's a new thing in LL:TT: Classes! The concept is pretty simple, but affects the entire game a lot. When you begin, you choose your class, like any RPG. But the only class available initially is Peasant, which is nothing at all. When you open treasure chests while playing, there's a chance of finding Class Manuals for the other classes, so you gradually unlock them.

All the classes other than Peasant have a set of 3 Primary Skills, and 2 Primary Talents (or maybe it was just 1). You begin the game with those skills and talents unlocked. You have to find the others, which are randomly hidden like in LL2. But there's a downside of sorts to having Primary Skills and Talents. Your other Skills can never be higher than the lowest of your Primary Skills (not counting bonuses from items and such). So that basically forces you to level up those 3 skills (but then, you chose to play this class, so they are presumably skills you want to use). Talents are similar - you better work on leveling your primaries, because your other talents won't level up unless they are lower than your primary talents.

In this way, your class forces you to play a certain way to an extent. You can certainly bend any class to do anything, since you have access to all skills and talents (eventually), but you will need to level up the primary stuff first. So if you are playing a Warrior, you'll be doing a lot of axe swinging, and presumably you'll stick with it the whole game, because you'll have leveled those skills up the most.

There's another thing that pushes you into a certain playstyle. Each class has a specific bonus. For example, the Warrior just mentioned has +10% damage with an axe. So that's all the more reason to really focus on using the axe instead of casting spells.

The last thing going for a class is a starting item. The starting item you get is a little better than normal, but certainly won't last the whole game. It's just to give you a start. Since we're talking Warrior, he of course gets a magic Axe. It has a random magical bonus, a +1 to Axe Mastery, and stats of around 4/4 maybe. Maybe 3/3. I don't know yet.

There is one more thing to know about classes. I haven't really worked on this concept at all yet, but instead of achievements, this game I want to have Class Goals. So depending on the class you play, you get a set of 5 or 10 achievements to seek. Some are generic - one will definitely be "Win the game", and others are unique to the class (generally based around which skills that class uses, like a Necromancer might have "2,000 enemies beaten by Boneheads"). Since there are a ton of skills, there shall be a ton of classes. Before I even added many of the skill ideas, I had a list of 20 classes. So the game is intended to be played many many times, playing every class.

What can you earn by completing Class Goals? I'm not sure yet. Maybe that should be how you get classes instead of random finds - you buy them with stars you get completing Class Goals. So you need to complete maybe 1 goal as a Peasant before you get your next class, then between those two classes, you need to complete 2 more goals to unlock a 3rd. Each class could require 1 more goal to open, but you have a wider variety of options to get it from.

I also like the idea, which I have not really considered much yet, of having Hero Classes. That's an idea that Blizzard talked about being in World of Warcraft that still is not in. It's a super-duper class they were going to let you switch to at max level. In my case, it'd just be an overpowered class. It'd be very hard to unlock, either requiring a lot of stars in the above system, or otherwise (wouldn't it be cool if there was a Hero version of every class, and you unlocked it by getting all goals of that class?). These classes would have some absurd advantages, and start with golden items (or a specific artifact?) and a bunch of money and stuff. Just a walk in the park version of the game, pretty much. The Hero Warrior (Champion?) for example could have as his bonus power "1% damage bonus for every point in a Swinging Skill". That's both very powerful and a unique thing. Or maybe instead of a walk in the park, Hero characters play a Heroic difficulty mode, like a lesser version of Madcap.

That sounds good - off the top of my head, Heroic Mode would let you buy Madcap items, but you start at level 1 and all. The enemies are boosted by an increasing amount, according to your level. So once you reach level 50, the enemies are exactly equal to Madcap in LL2. But as you get there, they keep ramping up, so you need to work on those Madcap Items. Maybe that's a bit questionable, since you wouldn't really be able to move forward in the dungeon, as it would keep getting tougher as you leveled up, until you reached 50. But perhaps your Heroness would counter that somewhat. It's an interesting situation that sounds fun to me. And brings to mind two obvious new Modifiers: Hero (isn't there one called that already? Anyway, this one would put you in Heroic Mode even if you are not a Hero class), and Wimp (puts you in normal mode even if you are playing a Hero class).

So, a lot of ideas there. As you can see, it's not solidified yet, and you are welcome to toss around your own ideas. I do listen!
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