You Have The Power! (Mini-Update)
From the coding end, powers are actually pretty complex. The problem with describing them is that it often confuses people to see the guts of the process, so to speak, and we don't have a nice and friendly front end for them yet. But we are going to give a try at explaining it for the layperson.
Development is not some single effort. A person does not sit in a room with an idea and a few weeks later creates a powerset. The skills needed are varied, from layout to balance. So, we instead set up a pipeline for development.
Functionally, a power is made up of multiple pieces. There is the Progression, how the powers are organized within a group, in a pretty standard tier structure. There is the Theme, or type, which tells us what kind of power it is (which can include additional power effects like burning over time, slow, knocking, etc). There is the Animation, which tells us the way it looks.
We expect players will need to see only the completed Power Sets themselves. From a player’s perspective, you will pick a Power Set, which has the Progression and Theme readily set up. Then you would pick your animations for the set. You need not worry about the Progression or Themes directly; what is described below is how we, as coders, are developing the powers.
Let us make an example. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick to the first four tiers. We want to develop a DoT-based ranged power set. Let us call it “Burning.” We do not call it “Fire” because its effects can be used to represent much more than just flame. It could represent laser beams searing opponents, napalm grenades, raining fire and brimstone, or acid burns. A player could even go all out and nuts with their theme, using it in combination with tan-colored, wind-based animations, and call themselves the “Sand Blaster."
First, we look at our Progression option templates for ranged attack Power Sets. These are examples only and do not reflect a finished product. Further, it is almost guaranteed that things will change before release as we playtest.
EXAMPLE Ranged Attack Progression templates which coders use when designing a Set:
Progression 1: T1 - quick single attack, T2 - medium single attack, T3 - cone attack, T4 - heavy single attack
Progression 2: T1 - quick single attack, T2 - cone attack, T3 - quick targeted AoE attack, T4 - medium single attack
Progression 3: T1 - quick single attack, T2 - medium single attack, T3 - moderate single attack, T4 -heavy single attack
Progression 4: T1 - quick single attack, T3 - medium single attack, T3 - quick targeted AoE attack, T4 - moderate single attack
So, we look at these, and since we want this rendition of Burning to splash over, so we (as developers) pick Progression Setup 2, which has less damage per-target, but hits more targets overall to give the same damage per second.
We then look at the damage Themes, or types (once again, these are examples only):
EXAMPLE Damage Types/Themes from which coders can choose when designing a Set:
Damage/Theme 1: DoT
Damage/Theme 2: Slow
Damage/Theme 3: Knocking-around
Damage/Theme 4: Accuracy Bonus
Once this is assembled, we have our power balancing group go over the resulting initial baseline and figure out where things can get out of hand, either overpowered or underpowered. Then we do tweaks and adjustments, to make sure that each powerset is on a level playing field. Sometimes this means swapping one power's theme out, other times adjusting the numbers like recharge, endurance, etc. Once this is done, the plan is to playtest these sets, a lot.
To make this update a bit more complete, we are including a new zone track from Hellwreckage.
Rock on everyone!