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Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels07:21 PM -- Thu March 15, 2007

Same pic. Okay, the basic layout of skills is down now. There will be twice as many as LL2 - 100. As usual, this will be broken into sets of 10. Here are the sets the game will have:
  • Passive - From LL2.
  • Attack - From LL2.
  • Throwing - From LL2.
  • Grappling - The wondrous third axe mode.
  • Thieving - See previous sneak peek, various stealth and utility skills.
  • Nature Magic - The 4 from LL2, and 6 new ones.
  • Fire Magic - Like Nature Magic.
  • Wind Magic - Again.
  • Ice Magic - Yep.
  • Death Magic - And the last!

And here are a couple sets I created and very thoroughly fleshed out with complete skill ideas, but won't be including (and yes, they do sound really fun, but 100 skills is enough/too many already!):
  • Zoid Riding - I wasn't entirely sure it would be a zoid, but something you ride on. It would let you move very quickly and inflict extra damage, but if hit once (or more times by upgrading the riding skill), you'd fall off and be yourself again, while your mount ran around crazily for a while. You couldn't ride it again until it calmed.
  • Pet Swampdog - A pet that would be quite tough and follow you around, with its own stamina bar for the moves it does. It would level up with you, and there would even be Collar items which you could equip on it to boost its power, like your own items.
  • Weregorka - Transforming into a Gorka, where you could smash things up until you ran out of stamina and returned to normal. The Gorka can't jump (it does a stomp attack instead) or cast spells (it roars instead), but has a variety of 'special moves', thanks to combinations of the three buttons. Or that is, each of the three buttons is one move, and if you roar (by pressing magic button), and then push one of the buttons during the roar, you can do a couple other moves. It generates Rage, a new meter, when it hits enemies. The more Rage it has, the more damage it does. The fancier moves (the ones that you do during a Roar) drain all your Rage and do enhanced damage/effect according to how much you had.

Those are the kind of fun ideas I like to think up, but in the end, they're too much complexity, especially to shoehorn into an existing game. Not that I couldn't have done them, they're all quite possible, but I really think going beyond 100 skills is just plain too many for the player to even be thinking about, broken into groups or not. And of course, each one is a lot of extra work, potential for bugs, and just not necessary to the core gameplay.

I've invented a lot of the new spells to fill up the 30 new spell slots, but there are more to go (feel free to propose!). Of the 6 new slots in each school, a few have specific concepts, though I haven't filled all those concepts. First, two of them are passive (to keep the spell list from being too big when you scroll through), but in different ways.

One is a regular passive boost - for example, Conflagration is the passive Fire "spell". It adds a little chance for flames to spread. That will be a fun one, I think. These skills are basically just Talents that cost Skill Points (but since they do, they're more powerful than Talents).

The other passive skill is what I am referring to in my notes as a "boost-other". That is, it's an upgrade to some other skill, not necessarily one from the same school of magic. So when you use that other skill, this skill takes effect with it, possibly making it more expensive at the same time. An example is the Wind skill Whirlygig. It upgrades your Whirl skill, adding a small Magic cost to it, and making it create a tornado like Capitan's Whirl move does. The tornado sucks in enemies, making Whirl much more powerful. As an added bonus, it boosts your armor while Whirling too.

Also, one of the 6 slots is a Grab spell. I mentioned those in the Grappling talk - they are not in the spell list normally, and only show up when you are holding an enemy (and no other spells are listed at that time, only the Grab spells). A fun example I came up with yesterday is Healing Touch (Nature). It actually heals the badguy you are holding! Why would you do that? Well, if you look back a few sneak peeks, you'll see that the damage an enemy does when thrown is dependent on his current health. So you are making him a better weapon. The same goes for Badguy Bonk, and by using this spell, you can keep a guy alive to keep using him as a club. As an added bonus, this spell restores your stamina too, so you can really keep clubbing guys. That also makes it great for Conversion... maybe too good, now that I think about it!

Another slot, though this is less solid than the others and may not be in every school, is for a "buff". That's an MMO geek term for a spell that provides a temporary boost to the player. Fire already has this slot filled, with Heat Shield. Wind has Berserk already, but will have a handy Invisibility spell also (letting you Stealth without using any stamina, and even when enemies can see you).

I have one idea for a Fire spell to go into another category, but I'm not sure if it should be a whole category, or even if this spell is worth having. The category would be "spells that use up all your Magic, and vary their power according to how much you had". I'm debating whether to do that, but I have a fondness for the idea, the ability to completely exhaust yourself with one ultimate attack.

So there are 3-4 slots just waiting for random magical mayhem (though I've gotten many ideas for many of them). One thing I'm trying to give every school is a Summon. Several of them already have them - Cryozoid, Bonehead, Toasties. I love summoning things, so I'm happy to add one for each. I'm really trying to look through the entire skill list and see what can interact with what. What kind of skills might allow for new and interesting builds. I want to make sure that the new stuff, Grappling and Thieving, aren't left out in the cold as one-trick ponies. I want to integrate them with the other skills and the new spells so that you can really explore a lot of interesting character ideas. Another thing I'm doing as a result of that is making sure that there are a bunch of sources of different things - poison, freezing, stun, flames, lightning - so that you can benefit from the talents and skills that boost those things without resorting to one specific skill.

That's about all the sneak peeking to be done on Skills. I'll be back next time with notes on traps, searching, doors, and keys. Don't forget to share your ideas.
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