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Heya Space Cadets,

Today is a busy day for me, since I’m actually on the road right now, driving across the country to be with family for the holidays. So this stocking stuffer article is a jumble of cool mechanics I haven’t gotten to talk much about, smaller things that wouldn’t get their own article yet, either because my compatriots haven’t signed off on them or because they’re just things I knew where to fit yet.

Like an idea I had the other night for our Persistent Multiplayer: Service Records. Specifically, instead of treating your Heroes like MMO Characters that level up over time, something which would cause havoc for the delicate balancing of team design, we’d add a bunch of tracking metrics and let the Hero evolve over time as a result of the way you play with them, the Heroic moments where defied the odds, and that kind of stuff. Your favorite Hero would get put through a LOT, giving them a lot of characterization, and maybe some subtle bonuses too. Instead of just a +5 Damage from being level 2, it could be a +10 damage against Goblins because of the absurd amount of Goblins you’ve killed with that guy. Those kinds of choices wouldn’t ruin an enemy player’s day, and probably wouldn’t even get noticed by them at all, but it would change the way YOU play and how you feel about your units.

One big thing I would like to change is address the way defensive fighting is treated in games, especially in D&D-style RPGs since they have an Armor System I’m thinking of using for the sake of simplicity. Games usually treat defensive fighting as something different than normal fighting, yet the average swordfight is primarily a battle of feints, parries, and defensive footwork. D&D’s concept of “Fighting Defensively” is crap, since the average fight IS defensive.

What’s lacking is a “Total Offense” stance to go with “Total Defense,” something that lets you trade defensive posture for increased damage and accuracy, which would be the real benefit of armor. Being able to be a little reckless lets you hit hard with confidence, and I would like to see us explore that a bit when making our fighting classes.

I like the idea of allowing people to draft units into the match after the match is started, but making that work was making me have some headaches. I think we’re probably going to be dramatically changing the way that minerals work, from pure points to strategic resources, so Gold is likely to be the “hiring” resource. There’s really only one Game Mode where getting the most money is the Victory Condition, so this actually helps us keep the mining relevant even when the game mode is King of the Hill.

Speaking of hiring Dwarfs, one of the reasons this was important is because we’re going to be really pushing Dead Dwarf Mode in the sequel, where a Dwarf who gets beaten into a pulp is going to need to be Resurrected or will just stick around as a corpse. This makes combat a lot more dangerous, gets rid of Camping, and works well with the new Swashbuckling mechanic. It also will give the undead and necromantic enemies something to play with, since a Dead Dwarf will be a corpse that they can send into combat against you. I’m also kicking around the idea of allowing a KO’d Dwarf to be tagged by the player as an NPC Job target and carried back to an infirmary. This makes sense for allied Dwarfs, but maybe enemy ones too. You might just not resurrect them, or maybe you could, but demand a ransom, keeping them locked in a prison until then. I would like to reduce the levels of Dwarf on Dwarf murder, but I won’t let Storytelling get in the way of a good combat mechanic.

Spacelab Signing Out

Thanks for sticking with us these past few weeks, there’s a lot more to come in the future. I’ll be getting home in a day or two, and then I’ll be able to finally get some rest and relaxation, at least for a day, before it’s back to work and making up cool stuff. You’ll be able to read all about it here each Monday, Wednesday and Friday/Saturday, so see you then!

Neil Wickman wonders if Steampunk Santa brings coal to the good children.

He has been working for Lunar Giant studios since its inception, one of the lead designers and the Creative Director. Listen to his arty nonsense @LunarNeil on Twitter.