Yesterday was absolutely amazing - we are now past 35% and with 500 backers behind us.The team at Pixelated Milk would like to thank you all for this amazing show of support!
As of today, we will be starting a series of regular content updates where we will discuss various aspects of the game in greater detail. Let's take an extended look at one of the most important parts of any (J)RPG - combat!
Before we begin, we would like to address a popular complaint, one that many of you voiced yesterday - that battlegrounds' grids looked empty. We wanted to resolve this ASAP, and so, we've been working through the night to present you with improved battlegrounds, enriched with debris and impassable objects.
This is just a simple proof of concept, but we are actively working on upgrading all of our existing battlegrounds to this level.
You guys also complained that all the battlegrounds are square.
You're right, and we completely agree that it makes them rather dull. It seems we have been focusing too much on visual variety while sacrificing the variety of grid layouts. To fix this, we have started working on a completely new battle background, which will feature an interesting, non-square shape. Moreover, it will also feature things of tactical importance, like corridors and choke points. Obviously, this process will take a while, but you can expect this new battlefield to be delivered before the end of our Kickstarter campaign.
Okay, now moving on to the meat of things - actual combat!
In Regalia, battles take place on an isometric grid, in sequences of turns. Every combatant can activate at least once per turn. The order of these activations depends on an attribute called Initiative - the higher the Initiative, the bigger the chance a character will be the first to activate; additionally, combatants blessed with very high Initiative also have a chance to activate twice or even thrice per turn.
Every character can do two things per activation: move and/or perform an action. These can be executed in any order and you can keep moving as long as you have movement points left; in other words, you can move a little bit, perform an action and then move again. Three different types of actions may be performed by each character: Attack, Skill and Item. Unlike movement, actions are more constrained, as only one action can be performed during a single activation.
Health Points (HP) are of extreme importance, chiefly because there is no healing - no regeneration spells, no restorative potions whatsoever, nothing at all. As dungeons are cleared in series of chains, each health point lost becomes a crucial factor in the ultimate success or failure of your current dungeon run. When Health is reduced to 0, a character becomes unable to participate in fights. This isn't a permanent "death", mind you - as soon as tshe party comes back to town or sets up a camp, he or she will be good to go.
Action Points (AP) are necessary to use skills. Every combatant can store up to 10 AP, and the exact method of generating those varies from character to character. More precisely, it is tied to their innate Character Class.
There are four Classes in Regalia:
Strikers generate AP whenever they hit with their regular attack
Sentinels generate AP whenever they are hit by hostile attacks or skills
Spellcasters generate 1 AP at the start of the turn and additional AP whenever they end a turn next to a power source (positioning matters!)
Sovereigns have a chance of generating AP whenever one of other friendly combatants generate AP
Shield Points (SP) are a mechanic designed to offset the lack of healing in the game. Every combatant can store an amount of SP equal to his maximum health. Shield Points act like a second HP bar and must be depleted before the combatant starts losing his actual health. While Sentinels are inherently better at generating SP than other classes, everyone can actually stack these points, as they may be granted by skills and usable items.
We've balanced our combat in a way that makes unshielded non-Sentinels really squishy when attacked directly. This is doubly true for Spellcasters who depend on power source spots for their AP generation. You simply cannot hide on the edge of the map and cast spells from your safe haven - risks are necessary!
A typical JRPG has tons of different status effects that can be applied during combat, and Regalia is no different in this matter. Various skills and items can apply effects ranging from positive buffs to negative debuffs.
To keep things clear and comprehensible, a single, unified pool of status effects is shared between all skills and items in the game. If you ever played Dragon Age: Inqusition, you know that many abilities could inflict a universal Burning effect, for example. Regalia is quite a bit like this. At the same time, specific skill sources may modify the duration and (sometimes) the intensity of an effect.
Below you can see a compiled summary of all status effects available in the game. Keep in mind that It's not entirely finalized and some things can still be added or removed; however, the general bulk of them remains as seen below.
What's a combat system without skills? In Regalia, every combatant has at least four of those, all of them unique. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to have a smaller pool yet more diverse pool of abilities - abilities which can be then upgraded over the course of the game, significantly changing their properties. We think this creates more interesting choices for the players instead of twenty samey variations of good old fireball (duh).
What kind of things can the skills in Regalia do?
Damage your enemies. As obvious as it sounds, skills and attacks in the game can deal six different types of damage: Slashing, Crushing, Piercing, Fire, Ice and Thunder. We will discuss this more in the Items and Equipment update, to avoid bloating this one too much.
Apply various status effects (scroll up!), with percentage chances of that happening.
Have ranges and areas of effect with different shapes and sizes: diamonds, crosses, lines, squares and cones. There also skills which affect all enemies, all friendlies or a random set of cells
Summon new units for aid. For example, Aliss (our resident friendly pyromaniac) can call upon this friendly dude:
Spawn both active and passive objects on the battlefield. This includes things like impassable walls, traversable, damaging walls, buff-bestowing objects (think inspiring banners) or even traps
Move units around the battlefield. You can push, pull and teleport stuff around.
Combo with passives and status effects. For example, Kay has a passive skill, which grants some SP to nearby allies whenever he uses a skill.
Morph themselves or other skills into something else. For example, Griffith can change stances, which replaces some of his skill with new ones.
Hit friendly units. Things can get really crowded on the battlefield and you gotta be careful when you use that huge-ass Inferno skill - Griffith hates fire!
Are there still more things to come to the battle system?
Yes! Everything described in this post is already implemented and working in-game (although it's still buggy as hell). We do have plans for a couple of additional features, which hopefully will enrichen the combat even more. As of now, the road map looks like this:
Large 2x2 units. Large monsters, bosses and summons will be properly menacing when they are twice the size of a regular character.
Line of sight. As we have projectile weapons in the game, we are planning to implement a simple LoS system to force some positioning choices.
Note that these are not stretch goals but a part of the base package.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
We would like to bring your attention to two amazing projects made by guys who helped a lot in spreading the word about Regalia.
This is one FANTASTIC project. If you enjoy games like Regalia, then we are sure that Tokyo Dark should be a no-brainer pledge. As a mix of an adventure game and a visual novel, with great art and tense, gripping gameplay, Tokyo Dark reminds us a lot of the Danganronpa series - and that is really the best recommendation one can give about Japanese adventure games. Please back it!
Umbra nails all the important things we like in games. Dynamic Action RPG combat, free character progression and big, open world. Plus...you can't deny that it looks stuuuuuunning. Also, their music is also composed by GAF, so we bet the soundtrack will blow our socks off. Recommended!