What it will be like to play Alteil Horizons
This week has only just gotten rolling and it’s already a roller coaster ride. I’ve done two more interviews (for 91.8 the fan and Defective Geeks) and we’ve been preparing some announcements for the end of this week and the beginning of next week. The press we were expecting last Friday just started hitting today, but it looks like a lot of the articles we’ve been waiting for are still to come. Keep an eye out!
I’ve been talking with you (yes, you!) our backers, and found, while there are a lot of features you are all excited about, you’d like to know how they will all work together to form a complete gaming experience. After all, we’re rewriting every line of code from scratch, and re-calibrating redesigning or redoing every element present in the original game, from matchmaking to monetization. So I thought I’d take some time to explain my vision of Alteil Horizons as a completed game. Now keep in mind this may include some stretch goals, and that’s on purpose. Some of the stretch goals are part of our big picture design of the game, and if they are not met then of course we’re going to try to fit them in after launch as development schedules and budget allows.
Also, this is my personal vision as designer, which of will be influenced by many things over the coming months, including the voices of you, our backers. Game development can be an organic process, and with so many talented people working together, new ideas pop up all the time. But for now, this gives a good idea of the overall direction.
You’ll be able to log in on any device. Everyone will be able to play everyone else, and the system won’t treat you any differently. When you first log in, you’ll be sent to a big arena area. The lower half of the screen will be overlayed with a large global chat, filled with the hustle and bustle of duelists chatting. You can check to see if you got any messages since you last logged in, filter out only your friends or guildmates, or open a private chat. You may want to take a moment to ask when the last time Batora has attacked, ambushing the players. If it hasn’t happened in a day or so, you’ll have to be on guard.
On the top of the screen will be your Avatar. In Alteil horizons, while it plays in some ways like Might and Magic Duel of Champions, there is no “champion”. YOU are the one leading your troops on the field, in the form of your Avatar (which is why when you’re out of soul cards you have 1 Life Point left, representing your avatar). You’ll be able to click on it to modify its appearance and equipment.
In the center of the screen will be the main dueling area, filled with dueling rooms that represent everything going on in Alteil Horizons. You can scroll through the list and see who’s fighting who, normal duels, practice duels, tournaments all happening right there. You can click on any of them to watch. If you want to share one, you can just paste a link into the chat or email and whoever receives it will be able to watch too, just by clicking on it. If one of the rooms is a tournament, you can click on it to join.
If you click on “Battle Start” it will pop up a battle launch menu with a number of options. You can choose practice match, beginner’s match, normal match, start a practice tournament or a real tournament, etc. If you make a practice match against a human opponent, you can invite a friend or just leave it open, creating a room where anyone who wants to join can jump in. If you pick a normal match, the game will check to see what deck you have equipped. If it’s a Horizons Core deck (made up of the Core cards plus recent expansions – the ‘Tournament Legal’ cardpool) then the system will attempt to match you up with another Horizons Core player as well, and give you some bonuses (like experience or Treasure Battle chances). If you’re not Horizons Core (uses cards from the first Alteil that have not been tagged as core), it will try and match you up with another “anything goes” player and you will not get any bonuses. If you start a tournament, you will be able to control the parameters, and the system will match you up with other players looking for a tournament. As more tournament types are built, you’ll get more and more options – such as team, multiplayer, or drafting. You can even manage tournaments for the community and offer prizes. After each community tournament your players will rate you and the better your rating, the better prizes you will be able to offer.
As you duel, you’ll earn cards that will drop like treasure-drops in a looting game. This will be the primary way free players will get cards. The drop rate will be calibrated so you’ll be able to upgrade your decks in between each card release.
There will also be a row of options off to one side if you’re not here to fight. The first one will be Settings, where you can adjust preferences in sound effects, music, language, and control the level of animations played – in case you’ve got a slow internet connection or are on a mobile device. Next will be Achievements, where you can check your progress on Alteil Horizons achievements and look at the Achievements of your friends, guildmates, and anyone in the central chat room. This will include an Underdog system, where finding the strong points of underused cards will earn you extra rewards.
The Alteil deck builder, generally known as the File Editor in Alteil 1, is next on the list. Here you will be able to browse your cards, build decks and compare them. When you build a deck you’ll also choose that deck’s Soul Card lineup and see a preview of your Life Points. You’ll be able to search by cards that fit certain achievements, including the Underdog achievements, and when you’re save the deck builder will give you a quick data sheet on your file – including if it’s ‘Tournament Legal’ or not, or if using it qualifies you for certain achievements.
Below the deck builder, there will be a button that takes you to your single player modules. You’ll start with a bunch of beginner’s modules, which together will work as the tutorials, and you can get more in various ways. They will work like “story modes” with NPC’s and dialogues. You will be able to purchase new ones, and single player modules that cost money will reward you with cards for beating them. Eventually, you’ll be able to create your own single player modules with a simple module-builder, and share them (possibly sell them at some point) with the other players.
The last place you can check out is the Marketplace/shop area. In the marketplace, you’ll be able to sell or trade cards with other players. In the shop, you’ll be able to buy a variety of pre-built decks which will be ideal for players who want to play something different than the starters and don’t want to wait until they get enough treasure drops to build something new or mess around with random cards. There will be standard boxes and packs of cards from the newest expansions and the current Horizons Core Set for collectors (A rotating core set of cards that is considered ‘Tournament Legal’ and is rigidly maintained for balance purposes). In addition there will be a “Legacy Shop” button that will take you to a shop where you can buy Alteil 1 cards, which while won’t necessarily be Horizons Core legal, they will let you do fun things in custom tournaments or “anything goes” duels. They also, of course, may be “rotated in” to Horizons Core in the future.
As I said before, this is just my current vision, and details may be influenced by how the Kickstarter does and input from the backers and of course the other members of my team. But I hope it gives you a good idea what it will be like to play Alteil Horizons. Feel free to sound off in the comments if I’ve forgotten anything!