GAMEPLAY DETAILS! Part 3 of 3
And now for the final-ish post on gameplay details and mechanics:
In other words, how or why will you keep playing this game? Even after you’ve beaten it? Or even after you’ve uncovered its deeper secrets? On to replay, narrative, level caps, and all the reasons you’ll delve for years!
IMPORTANT: Please remember that the game is still in development, and the features and systems listed below are (mostly) not 100% final. We may have to make changes to ensure the best experience possible. But we’ll let you know as things are adjusted, and we hope you can help us find the best solutions through early Alpha Access! ($25 tier and up)
The story in Delver’s Drop is probably familiar to you by now — you’re a ne’er-do-well, scoundrel, a miscreant, whatever. You’ve been imprisoned unjustly, or maybe sorta justly. You probably deserve it, if we’re really honest with ourselves. So you’re set “free”, with the big caveat of being stuck in a giant deadly maze where you have to jump down a hole called the Drop to progress. And you just want to find your way out, right?
As it turns out, there is more to the Drop than fighting toward the exit and collecting some treasure along the way. There are bigger things happening than just the life-and-death struggle of a prisoner trying to find their way out of a mountain dungeon complex. Much bigger things.
So what do you do with your altruistic bent toward fighting the good fight, finding all the secrets, freeing the prisoners, and generally becoming a hero? Well you’ll probably just die a lot, until you learn to survive. But if you happen to die less often, or you really don’t mind the prospect of death, these are amazing adventures and achievements in store for you.
The narrative will be communicated in several ways: environmental ambience; secret tomes, tablets, and messages; player character monologue and non-player character (NPC) dialog. The story will be revealed organically, based on the random generation of levels, items, and NPCs, as well as how / when / where the player encounters these elements.
These will be conveyed through text boxes that pop up naturally in the game space, and fade from view when you move the character away. No game-pausing dialog boxes where you button-mashing through walls of text! Think Chrono Trigger, but even more ambient.
The game won’t be chatty - you can even ignore or walk away from NPCs or objects who will promptly shut up and allow you to go about your business. We do, however, want to convey a lot of interesting story fragments, so the player characters will react to events and objects, enemies will spout the occasional babble, and even the walls themselves may talk...
Each class will have unique dialog that fits their character, which means that you’ll have to play the game with all of them to see their unique points of view and get their entire background story. We will also pepper the levels with clues and books for them to find that will also reveal more about the overarching narrative. NPCs will play heavily into this as well, as they pass along legends and rumors about the Drop and its inhabitants.
Since each character’s backstory will be slowly revealed across multiple zones, this is a huge motivator for replay. So while you can swap classes at any time, those who want the full story may prefer to play the game through multiple times with a different character for each run.
We’re also going to have a number of alternate endings depending on how you play, how many secrets you uncover, and how many of the Drop’s magically-ensnared prisoners you interact with.
We may also offer a “New Game Plus” story mode with a completely alternate narrative path — but only if the higher Stretch Goals are reached!
Beyond the story elements in the main campaign and our myriad of alternate modes (see Update #2!), here are a few additional motivating factors to play the game through multiple times:
- Randomization! — Every time you play, you’ll see a totally different set of dungeons. The variety of dungeon layouts is truly infinite.
- Unlockables — Some Classes and many items will have requirements that must be met before they can be found.
- Maxing out Characters — You’ll want to level up every class to their full potential to experience the extent of their powers.
- Achievements — We will have a lot of in-game achievements, ranging from the unusual to the mundane to the insanely eccentric.
- Completion — We’ll have a percentage completion stat, which will show you how many of these item’s you’ve uncovered overall.
You can only truly complete the game to 100% if you find every item and weapon, kill every enemy at least once, uncover all of the endings, max out all characters, and find all the secrets. This will be a massive endeavor for most players!
You will eventually reach the limit of your perk tree, but that’s not the end — we will have a very high level cap. So why should you keep leveling up? For one, increasing your level also increases the likelihood that you will find rarer loot. Secondly, we want to give the player the flexibility to re-spec and alter the branches of the perk tree. This allows you to try out another path — for instance swapping your special ability’s fire elemental modifier for an ice modifier.
We will include at least one secret character class (more if we reach Stretch Goal expansions), and some classes that you have to unlock before they are playable. Some will be easy to unlock — either unlocked by time played or zones completed — while others will be story based or hidden in secrets wrapped in enigmatic bundles of mystery.
We will also have a very special version of each class that you can unlock if you both max out that character’s level / perk tree, and complete the story (and/or other requirements) with that character. Think of this as a “New Game Plus” mode for an individual class, giving them new or different abilities while adding challenge.
We’ll be offering in-game achievements, and will try to support as many external achievement systems as possible. For instance, if we get through Steam’s Greenlight (go vote for us!) we will definitely have Steam Achievements.
We’ll have a wide variety of stats that are tracked and achievements that you’ll gain through extended play or by doing fun and crazy things in the game. Here are a few random examples:
- Kill every enemy in the game at least once
- Kill certain enemies a certain number of times
- Find a complete “set” of items
- Find all the unique items in the game
- Find every secret vault
- Carry a useless item from the top of the Drop all the way to the bottom
- Hit 10 spiders with costly magical tomes!
Because of the near-endless replay possibilities, we want to offer a robust system for meta-gameplay enjoyment!
Thanks for reading our Gameplay Mechanics, part 3 of 3. We still have a lot more to show over the next two+ weeks of the campaign, so keep checking back!
These are additional questions that have been asked about the game features, but are a little too detailed to put into the general home page FAQs:
Q: Can I save the game? What if I want to start over?
A: Yes, the game will be automatically saved at various intervals. We will offer several save profiles, with the option of deleting a profile to start the game fresh.
Q: Can I have true permadeath? I want to punish myself.
A: Yes, we may offer a “hardcore” setting (from the options menu) that will force the player to start at the very beginning every time they die. No shortcuts, no “semi-permadeath,” and no incremental progress. The Drop would be re-sealed, all levels re-randomized, and all progress lost. Totally optional!
Q: Will some classes be required to complete certain puzzles? Will the game be easier with certain classes?
A: No, the game can be completed with any of the character classes - meaning all puzzles will be solvable. There is always the chance that some scenarios will be better with one class than another. But we will balance them so that players will have adequate challenge in any situation, with any class.
Q: Will weapons / armor / items be reflected on the character?
A: Weapons and shields will be visible and reflect the actual equipped items. We are currently not planning on changing the character art to reflect any other equipment, since this would vastly increase our art needs.
Q: Will I be able to change the look of my character?
A: Probably not, for similar reasons mentioned above – the cost would be very great. We will look into some minor forms of customization or alternate costumes for some classes, but the choices may be limited to 1-2 alternates per class, and these may be randomized when a new character is spawned. We will allow options for color swaps or alternate costumes in multiplayer (if the associated stretch goals are met).
Q: What are the special Kickstarter voting classes?
A: We’ll reveal this soon, but in the meantime, here is a teaser of some of our ideas for additional classes and their primary weapons! I’m burying it here at the bottom in hopes that no one will actually read this far...
- Huntsman — Longbow
- Templar — Spear
- DeathDealer — Katana
- Bard — Instruments
- Shaman — Whip
- Cleric — Flail
- Murkromancer — ???