Author Topic: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses  (Read 5063 times)

Offline x4000

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Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« on: November 30, 2011, 03:20:35 PM »
This is something that came up in the "making permadeath matter more" thread, and I think that it's 100% needed.  It also ties in well with some of the ideas from the thread about redesigning health, and health tanks, specifically.

The core idea here is this: there are some ways to improve your specific character (bonuses), and if that character dies then those bonuses are lost.  The bonuses need to not be so huge that it's like going up a bunch of civ levels, and they need to not be so time consuming to collect that players will be inclined to save scum.  Whatever the final design is needs to conform to this paragraph, but that's a lot of flexibility.

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The first thing that comes to mind for me is Cave Story, which had an awesome three-level system for each weapon you used, and you'd collect EXP for that specific weapon in the form of these little triforce-looking shards that popped out of most enemies that you killed.  Of course, this encouraged grinding enemies, but it also encouraged not getting hit.  And grinding all the way back up to level 3 on a weapon gets progressively easier as you go, since your weapon power is increasing as you grind, which is satisfying all on its own.

It seems clear to me that whatever this bonus structure is, it really probably needs to be something that you can get by killing regular monsters.  If EXP is going away, and mana potions/drops are going away, then it really would make a lot of sense to be having enemies dropping these little pieces of "bonus" for you, that get applied to you.

But I don't think that trying to apply that per spell, or even per spell color, is a very good idea.  First of all that would require a lot of new HUD clutter, and the game just doesn't need that.  But secondly, unlike Cave Story, here you can have lots of weapons equipped at once and it's not even clear which weapon you are "currently using" unless you just mean "the last offensive spell I used," which would be kind of arbitrary in a lot of battles especially with the proposed combo systems that reward you for switching between several spells in tandem.

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Anyhow, really this is more about the CHARACTER than their weapons or equipment, anyway.  This is something that gets applied to the character, and which makes you a little sadder to lose that character when the character dies.  So the most obvious thing to apply this to, which several players already suggested in another thread, is to health.

Having your character have a low "base health" and then have some form of "magical shielding" or similar on top of the base health, which gets charged up (even leveled up, potentially) based on these enemy drops, could be interesting in a similar fashion to what was going on with Cave Story. 

But I'm not sure it should end there, and there were some other really interesting ideas having to do with health capsules that fracture as you take damage, or things like heart pieces that could be combined into new health capsules that would later break, etc.  This whole idea with the stacked bonuses seems like it could play very well with some system like that, but it seems like it could even go beyond it.

At the moment I need to run, but those are just some of my current thoughts jotted down.  Would definitely love to hear what others think on this, as I think this is something that's needed to tie several elements together.  See the flow chart in this thread for more info on how I think it fits in: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9534.0.html
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Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2011, 03:37:36 PM »
See here Chris: I have a day job.  So when you throw out such interesting topics to brainstorm on, I find it significantly more difficult to concentrate at work.  I'll chime in here when I can.  But know just thinking about this thread alone will probably cost me like 5% of my productivity.

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2011, 03:43:04 PM »
I'm absolutely in favor of this idea.

I also like the idea of base damage being able to be buffed in this manner. Maybe something like, collect x bonus pieces allows you to add either z base health or y base damage. Then, x*2 bonus pieces allows you to add the other (maybe x*3 for the third addition, or something). Or, if you added y damage the first time, maybe you can add y*.90 damage the second time y*.80 the third and so on. The idea being that the initial y and z values aren't that big.

The reason for the diminishing returns is so that there is a soft limit to how OPed someone could make their character, but, if the character lives a REALLY long time, there's not really a hard cap, and the character can still get stronger.

Obviously the exact values of x, y and z as well as the exact value of the modifiers would have to be playtested and balanced, but the basic idea is that you can keep adding bonuses to your character, but each one takes longer to get, and each additional one powers you up a little less.

Offline Hunam

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2011, 04:36:26 PM »
I think a system that allowed you to pick certain bonuses every now and then would be interesting. However, I would like to be able to customize my character beyond just base damage or health. I know there has been discussion about classes such as having an explorer or a warrior. I think it would be great if I could say every 5 levels or so pick a new ability for my character. Quick poorly formed examples could be...

Scaleskin: slightly increased fire resistance
Stormsage: increased electric damage attack
Leader: slight increased morale bonus
Delver: bonus chance of finding better loot underground or something....

If you die you lose these bonuses, and even though your civ level may be level 23 you would still have to level up 5 levels you get a "slot" to add a new ability. I feel like this would make me care more about my character because they would be unique, and I could create a specialist explorer but still be able to do all the base abilities. The more powerful I became the more conservative my playstyle would become which would help balance the power.


Offline FallingStar

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2011, 05:18:35 PM »
I'd like to see it go a bit further than just mana or health buffs/additions from pickups.  Perk systems are in vogue right now, and while it might work I'm not sure if I'd like to see it entirely that way.

Maybe a personna goal based system?  IE you could pick one overall goals (set in stone at character choice, or perhaps alterable at a shrine): "I want to become the most powerful,"  "I wish to heal the lands," "I desire mastery over my glyph," or whatever.  Then its sort of like an automated perk system based on your overall character goal.  Randomly giving you perks from a pool based on your goal, new perks granted based on certain actions taken (ie saving settlement, killing bosses or whatever) or perhaps on monster drops.  Make additional perks harder to get over time.  That way you're not having to pick from popups or perk trees, and you're not becoming too min/maxed OP so that you're encouraged to save scum if the character dies.  Could even have special personna goals discovered or granted by Illari that you might be able to pick for future characters.  So kinda like Sims 3 life goals mixed with a perk system. 

Would be a pretty simple mechanic on the player side especially if you picked only at character choice.  It also might be a way for players to pick their playstyle a bit more concretely, then try something different when their character died.  So have that stick of your powerful character being lost, and that's a setback, but a carrot of getting to try a different playstyle, or perhaps a slot machine effect/desire of getting 5x of a certain perk in that same goal pool you tried last time and ending up even more powerful that would prevent save scumming.

Anyways, might be more depth than is needed on it, but struck me as interesting, so I offer it up to the brainstorming gods.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2011, 05:41:44 PM »
This bonus system, together with the team idea from the other thread, gave me another idea: maybe you'd want to retire your character early and in a sense 'save' that character and its bonuses into a pool of characters. That character would then wander the world and have a chance of doing different things. When up against a really tough enemy that requires a certain strategy that matches the bonuses your one-time character had, you could choose to enter the body of that character again. You'd build up a cache of characters, each ready for different strategies.

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2011, 06:29:47 PM »
The system I talked about could certainly have other buffs, I just used those two for the sake of simplicity.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2011, 06:39:44 PM »
See here Chris: I have a day job.  So when you throw out such interesting topics to brainstorm on, I find it significantly more difficult to concentrate at work.  I'll chime in here when I can.  But know just thinking about this thread alone will probably cost me like 5% of my productivity.

Sorry about that. ;)

This bonus system, together with the team idea from the other thread, gave me another idea: maybe you'd want to retire your character early and in a sense 'save' that character and its bonuses into a pool of characters. That character would then wander the world and have a chance of doing different things. When up against a really tough enemy that requires a certain strategy that matches the bonuses your one-time character had, you could choose to enter the body of that character again. You'd build up a cache of characters, each ready for different strategies.

Actually, you can already do this in some fashions with the Transfer Glyph spell scroll.

IE you could pick one overall goals (set in stone at character choice, or perhaps alterable at a shrine): "I want to become the most powerful,"  "I wish to heal the lands," "I desire mastery over my glyph," or whatever.  Then its sort of like an automated perk system based on your overall character goal.  Randomly giving you perks from a pool based on your goal, new perks granted based on certain actions taken (ie saving settlement, killing bosses or whatever) or perhaps on monster drops.

I like this a lot!  Actually, it could be a literal "Personality" or something similar that is randomly set on the characters you have to choose from when you are selecting a new character (or when you are transferring a glyph to a new character, too.  The idea being that whatever little "pieces of buff" you're picking up are going into predetermined benefits based on your personality/class/whatever, rather than being something you have to keep choosing over time.

Another way to handle that would be via enchants.  Normally your "accumulated power" or whatever would just buff your health, but via enchants you could set it so that any characters you had would accumulate power that did other things instead.  Of course, having a character die or swapping out the enchant on your glyph would start you back over on the accumulated power, but still. 

And I actually would put a hard cap on the accumulated power value, I think, just so that there wouldn't be this incentive to NEVER swap out your enchant if it was done that way (and so that people wouldn't be defacto save scumming because they had 100 hours in on this character that was now 10% more powerful instead of the normal 8% that they could get after 2 hours (or whatever it would be on real numbers, of course).  Some people really would not want to let go of that prestigious extra 2%, or even 0.5%, so there has to be a pretty finite cap that you can reasonably hit within some smallish amount of time.  Probably. ;)
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2011, 09:25:01 PM »
I am also very much in favor of Fallingstar's idea about personalities --- that said, it seems like you would want to be able to add minor goals or switch every once in a while, so that when a character does survive ten levels (missions?) he isn't an awesome jumper but not commensurately good at anything else.s

Offline Olreich

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2011, 09:31:15 PM »
And I actually would put a hard cap on the accumulated power value, I think, just so that there wouldn't be this incentive to NEVER swap out your enchant if it was done that way (and so that people wouldn't be defacto save scumming because they had 100 hours in on this character that was now 10% more powerful instead of the normal 8% that they could get after 2 hours (or whatever it would be on real numbers, of course).  Some people really would not want to let go of that prestigious extra 2%, or even 0.5%, so there has to be a pretty finite cap that you can reasonably hit within some smallish amount of time.  Probably. ;)

If you did that, me, and a whole bunch of other people would mindlessly send zombies against the horde to defeat bosses (the current system). The cap has to be soft, but make the returns diminishing or make them become more rare; diminishing will probably be more effective over the long-term, as you will always be getting a bonus, but it will slowly become less and less effective. Save-scumming will still happen to some extent (as it does in any permadeath-with-bite system), but if you keep the bonuses not overpowering, and/or based around creating convenience, then you'll minimize it well. A character with 400 mission may still incur save-scumming, but if you cap it to where it only takes a few hours to get back to max, then there's not much reason to keep characters around.

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2011, 09:53:50 PM »
Health tanks should NOT be considered stacked bonuses if they are damage-able.  They really would be a separate system more like equipping yourself with the proper expendable "armor" rather than improving your character long term.  Increases to base health, if each health tank was the size of your base health pool, should be considered a stacked bonus.  Just wanted to get that thought out of my head before I forget.


Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2011, 10:50:53 PM »
Save-scumming will still happen to some extent (as it does in any permadeath-with-bite system), but if you keep the bonuses not overpowering, and/or based around creating convenience, then you'll minimize it well. A character with 400 mission may still incur save-scumming, but if you cap it to where it only takes a few hours to get back to max, then there's not much reason to keep characters around.

I don't want to get in argument with Olreich, but I see the goals for permadeath really differently.  I think I'm in the minority here, but  for me one of the things that sounded really cool about the game pre-beta was Chris's ideas about character death (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,8507.msg75817.html#msg75817) --- it wasn't "permadeath with a bite," but "the player should feel the loss."  I don't think this is something that comes from losing bonuses --- I really like Spelunky, which has that kind of permadeath, but when I fall on some spikes there I don't feel like one little explorer is gone for good; another one is up and running in about twenty seconds, just with no shotgun.

At the time, Chris said that "death that you feel" was an immutable design goal, but I don't see it on the new list, so maybe it's gone.  Anyway, I hope it's not --- I don't know how to make it happen, but I really hope we see some more ideas on this front and that Arcen can explore some ways of making death seem like a real and serious event rather than an inconvenience.

Offline Olreich

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2011, 11:02:49 PM »
Death of characters that have been around for awhile having an impact on the world is definitely something I can get behind. I agree with you Martyn, deaths you feel should happen. Idk how that will work, and currently, permadeath is completely moot, though I'd like to think that some sort of gameplay affect would only add to that effect.

Offline Baleyg

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2011, 11:20:38 PM »
Here's a thought.  What if, in addition to any effects on the character you're playing, the settlements can also obtain traits like generals in Total War?

Lose a character who has hit the bonus cap and the settlement gains, for example, "A hero to avenge:  This settlement has lost a beloved hero and will fight all the harder to give his/her sacrifice meaning.  +10% effectiveness in strategic combat."
Lose a bunch of fresh characters by zerg rushing a boss and you might gain, say, "Broken in spirit:  So many failed heroes have come from this settlement that everyone seems ready to submit to the overlord.  -20% effectiveness in strategic combat."
Take down an army in the metroidvania game and earn something like "A hero of legend: The champion of this settlement is so powerful that citizens already consider themselves free.  -10% effectiveness in strategic combat, +30 morale."

Each success or failure, along with random chance, will slowly mold a settlement into a unique blend of traits.  Gaining positive traits and removing negative traits could be rewards for side missions.

Cross posting this in the Permadeath thread because it's relevant there, as well.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Temporary/Volatile Per-Character Stacked Bonuses
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2011, 11:04:59 AM »
Responded to the death stuff in the permadeath thread.

Baleyg: Regarding the settlement bonuses that does sound really interesting to me, but it also seems like something for post-1.0 as it would be a significant scope expansion to do that right.  Not that that's a bad thing, it just means it doesn't fit in pre-1.0 to my mind.  If Keith had extra time and felt differently that could change, but I think things would be too tight for it.  It's worth going in mantis, though, for sure.
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