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Topics - Blake Mizzi

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Armello Development / v1.4 Battle Tides - Battle System Enhancement
« on: July 01, 2016, 04:37:39 PM »
This post is relevant to the features introduced in v1.4 Battle Tides. For all of the details, see the master post here.

Dear battle hardened Armellians and newcomers alike,

We have toiled long and hard at what might seem like a small but significant enhancement to Armello’s Battle System! The crux of the upgrade to Armello's battle system was to deliver a more robust and holistic system that makes more sense to players, gives players more control, gives us the new ways to add new equipment and future proofs the system for more add-ons.

So what has changed;  We have added two NEW types of special dice to complement the existing ‘pierce dice’; These three special battle dice are:

Pierce – Penetrates and “pierces” an opponent’s shield to still cause damage, and destroys blocking shield.
Reflect – Blocks the incoming hit and bounces back the damage to the attacker, which may be blocked again by their own defences.
Poison – If this hit isn’t blocked and thus causes a wound to the target, it will “poison” the victim.

A new general special rule applies to all special dice from here forward; IF two special dice collide they will cancel each other out and behave as their base dice type. Thus a ‘pierce’ dice meeting a ‘reflect’ dice won’t pierce the ‘reflect’ and the ‘reflect’ won’t bounce back a ‘piercing’ dice.
It’s very very exciting for us to bring these new special dice effects to Armello’s battle system, it gives us more design room to create interesting new equipment and gives players new tools to counter heroes with huge amounts of body, or thick shields.

To facilitate the introduction of more special dice and to give us even more room to create new equipment we have made a very subtle but significant change to how special dice behave;

Special dice like the old ‘pierce’ dice now won’t automatically shuffle to the front of the attack queue. Instead special dice queue in the normal order and sequence which generated them, thus a card awarded locked ‘pierce’ dice locks in the attack queue before burnt card dice, and before rolled ‘pierce’ dice. Any normal attack dice, from locking, burning or rolling will also take their normal queuing position.

Basically dice now queue in the order they were generated regardless if they are special or normal – we’re not playing favourites any more ;) – The dice order is equipped card dice, burnt card dice, then rolled dice.

This is a small but significant change – let me give you an example; In the old system, Thane’s hero power which awarded a ‘pierce’ die upon burning a sword card, would shuffle that attack die to the front of the attack queue, but in the new system it won’t, the die will take its place in the queue like any other attack dice.

“Whoa!! This isn’t as powerful as the old system”, you might say! ‘I want my ‘pierces’ first in the attack queue!” well…

Remember that special dice now counter each other and a special dice’s position in the attack and defence queue can make a big difference. Also consider you now have full control over the order of your dice queue through equipment selection, you have the ability to design the best battle builds to counter other players’ builds. Whether you choose to equip items with more locked swords or equipment that give you more dice is now a more important decision. Do you want armour that gives you piles of locked shield dice? Or maybe you don’t, as you want to focus on getting reflect dice to activate early? Equipment that awards special dice effects on dice rolls or by burning cards can be used in interesting combinations with other cards and hero abilities.

This has a significant flow on effect with regards to what equipment is now best for different heroes to equip; Take Thane: A Warhammer for example takes 1 fight dice from Thane and locks in 2 swords, which take their place in the queue before Thane can burn any sword cards and lock in ‘piercing’ dice. The third attack slot is still a powerful and useful slot and likely to still encounter an opponent’s shields, but is it better than the first or second slot? Is the first slot worse if your opponent has a locked in ‘reflect’ card? Is the Battle Axe which gives Thane an extra die in battles and doesn’t add dice to the attack queue before Thane has a chance to burn swords a better card for Thane? With the Battle Axe equipped and a healthy mix of cards Thane can burn his attacks in the order that he now wishes them to strike!

Certainly there are now better and worse combinations of equipment with regards to different heroes than there were before and this is a good thing. Equipment choice is now more meaningful. Your combination of equipment and your decisions made in combat, when to burn or not to burn cards has more impact than before. This directly means there is more room for skilled and experienced players to find mastery in Armello and have direct impact in battle. There are now no weird queue jumping dice exceptions to the standard rule. Far more cards are now being burned in battle and this means that more cards are flowing through players hands. We understand that this subtle change has significant impact to the feel of combat and the entire game, overtime as we add more equipment cards these changes will make more and more sense. Know that these changes have enabled us to enhance Armello’s battle system and take it to the next level, our play tests have produced exciting results. We know it will take a few games to adjust your thinking to the new system and we’re excited to hear your ideas for the best builds for each hero and counter builds. We’re also excited to bring more powerful special dice effects to Armello, we know these effects are game changers and aren’t going to be easy to pull off, now it’s up to your planning and skill to make these plays.

Sharpen your steel,
Buckle on your armour,
Go forth and bring battle to your foes,
For the war for the throne just got real. 

Warmaster Blake

Hello everyone,

I wanted to take a moment to talk about our recent +1 body change in the V1.2 update.

Two things to remember before we dive into the reasons behind increasing all Heroes Body by +1; Firstly we started playing and designing Armello in physical form as a paper boardgame - always with the intention of it being a digital game - and those sessions, formed our playstyles and shaped our perspective on Armello’s core gameplay. That processed hugely helped make Armello different from other games. As a physical boardgame Armello was deliciously dangerous, Heroes wouldn’t dream of clashing unless they’d finished a Quest or two and found and equipped some good kit. Wandering armour-less in Armello meant death, and that felt good. Armello has always been a game of consequence, and the harsh roll of fate and nature’s brutality. That brutality felt very, very good in a slow form boardgame, where players take much more time to plan, and care not to die. Secondly we’ve been playing Armello for a very long time, that has clouded our view of the game compared to a brand new gamer coming for the first time into the windy plains, dark creaking forests and bustling Armellian Settlements full of farmers and thieves.

In digital form Armello is a faster game and better for it. We see the flow of negative comments from players who report frequent deaths, extreme randomness and often with very little play time – that’s ok, but we need to ask, why is this happening? Not everyone wants to play through the long Armello prologue tutorial, and again that’s ok, but we’re concerned that these players aren’t being given enough rope and room to learn Armello’s systems through experimental play. Throwing new players into a game of Armello, without giving them enough room to fail and try again is harsh. The tedious march back into the game after being respawned hurts, and quickly isn't fun for a new player whose learning to play Armello.

We also have another niggle in the late game of Armello, where the best made plans and multi-turn schemes can be quickly undone but a opportunistic Spirit Strike or similar attack. Though we accept these occurrences will happen, they take more away from the game, more than the give.

So we started playing Armello with +1 Body and it changed the game. We had played Armello in the past with +1 Body in the past and it stalemated the game, but with the constant updates and the way the community has helped us shape the game, Armello has matured. With all Heroes now starting with one more Body, early game Heroes have a little more room to survive, that one Body is usually all there is between death and hanging in by your last thread. And that feels good. Now if you hit a bad Peril, fail your first battle there’s a good chance instead of assured death, that you’ll escape, broken, bleeding but alive. It gives players a chance to heal, flee, strike back, but importantly it gives players a choice. Late game Armello Heroes are harder now, but that feels good too. Where previous battles were decided on a dash of instinct, an assessment of Cards in your Hand and a quick begging for favour by the dice spirits, we now demand players plan their attacks and post battle Action Points to ensure victory. Late game Heroes now have the survivability to live through an ill-conceived opportunistic attack, which previously would have likely resulted in a mutual death. This requires late game players to more so combine card play, card buffs and card attacks with battles to achieve victory. The added survivability also means there’s more opportunities to heal and return to the fight from the field and that feels good too.

In short form giving all Heroes +1 Body, gives players room to make “some” mistakes, lessons the impact of random and opportunistic occurrences and as payment we demand players make more use of playing cards to ensure their late game conquests.

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