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[DEV] Frost
04-14-2014, 02:19 PM
Hello everyone,

With Christmas just around the corner, and Closed Beta so soon after, it is finally time for the long awaited combat system update! Before beginning, we would like to take a second to thank you for all of the continued support! We hope you all have a happy holidays, and look forward to seeing everyone in-game in January.

♥♥♥Bat

Over the last nine years, a plethora of different combat systems have found their way through Face of Mankind. Some of them have taken steps towards the right direction, while others have not. Ultimately, these revisions have led to the understanding behind Fall of the Dominionís system, and the fine line that will be walked towards fun and variety.

This line exists between the traditional FPS and the traditional RPG, merging parts of both to best suit the MMO environment that ♥♥♥ creates. From the traditional FPS we take the hitscan weapons and the importance of dodging. From the traditional RPG, we take the variety that supports our economy, and the progression that the game has always lacked.

The existence of consequences in the game increases the importance of the length of life, as a player cannot die instantly in the game. If they do, terminal ganking will become plenty, and the full loot drops will become too penalizing. This however increases the importance of individual damage dealt, and then the level design finalizes the obscurity of the gameís combat.

These four factors must be tightly balanced, and great care must be taken to ensure that the combat system is fun, but doesnít impact the rest of the game in a negative way. This is the goal behind the revisions in Fall of the Dominion, and the future of combat in Face of Mankind.

Weight System

The first central element to be discussed in this update is the weight system. The weight system allows us to create unique gameplay and tactical roles, without negatively effecting the overall combat system. Doing this means that the weight system cannot affect movement speed, and should instead be used to simply limit the gear that players can carry. Combat penalties should be used to prevent excess, rather than to uniformly punish all players.

While the original slot limitations are in place, once you pass the 100% weight threshold, you will immediately lose 60% of your agility, and move slower than when walking. This will allow miners and transporters to still carry reasonable amounts of equipment, while limiting the amount of gear a combatant can carry.

The source of this change is the age old issue with the game, in that there is nothing preventing a player from using the heaviest protection, and using the heaviest weapons. There is no reason to realistically use any other weapon, when you can use the best of everything at once. With the new weight system, it wonít reasonably be possible to use a DOA with heavy armor, and so it becomes important to mix and match armor, and find a balance between weight and power. Players who are good at aiming might prefer heavy armor and an SMG, while players who are not might prefer light armor and a rifle.

Keeping this balanced of course lies in the disparity between the best and the worst. If the gap is too large, then the middle ground is never used, and there is no real variety. If the gap is too small, the same effect happens. It is important then to finely balance all of this, and reach a middle ground where players have freedom.

Stamina

The next large mechanical overhaul to be discussed in this update is the revision of the stamina system. You will now only be able to run while your stamina bar is not empty, and sprinting will no longer drain stamina. For a long time, the speed of combat affected the speed of the rest of the game, and so a trip that should take five minutes would last one. The game world became incredibly small, and the potential interaction was minimized.

Sprinting in Fall of the Dominion will utilize a new sprint meter. The green ďjump iconĒ shown in many updates thus far is just that. When sprinting, this bar will drain after a few seconds, returning you back to your running state. It however, unlike stamina, will go up whenever you are not sprinting. Stamina however, will go up when you are not moving, laying, or sitting.

To prevent this from effecting the combatant system too heavily, a fine balance has been to stamina loss from running. The goal is to reach a point where people are encouraged to walk while outside of combat, expanding the size of the worlds and potential for interaction. Stamina cannot be drained by any weapon, and regen is not changed by any item in the game.

The prediction is that this change will give rise to new forms of tactical gameplay. Long-ranged attacks are more effective than they used to be, since the stamina drain from closing the gap can give an edge to the defender. Large open paths are the most dangerous, and it encourages considering your teamís movement through the world.

Combat Healing

Historically, medical supplies in Face of Mankind have always existed as a sort of shield. They have negated damage dealt, which has proved to be a difficult thing to balance. Even a seemingly insignificant change will have a large impact on the length of life, and too much will create incredibly dramatic tanking situations. This has been altered however, with the emphasis now being placed on permanent damage in fights, rather than regeneration.

The end result of this change is that armor protects more, and that medical supplies will heal less. Super-tanking is removed, but it doesnít dramatically decrease the length of life in the game, so players donít feel dissatisfied. Medikits are still useful of course, depending on the weight, but the end result is a system that places less value on spazzing, and more on tactics.

With the weight system there is no need for medikit cooldowns, and the ability to now use medikits on other players further increases the number of ways players can heal each other. It is also worth noting that the static health regen only takes effect after 60%, rewarding those who stay above it.

Item Classes

As mentioned periodically, items now have classes, as an expansion of the old quality level system. The difference between item classes are slight, but not so insignificant that there is no incentive to use them. As an example, the Class 1 Zanathid does 4.6 damage per shot, while the class 2 does 5.1 damage per shot. These numbers of course are somewhat irrelevant considering the lack of specifics on armor protection and medical supplies, but their demonstration of the growth should be sufficient.

Skill System

Tied to the item class system is the skill system, bringing a degree of mechanical progression into the game. If you do not have an appropriate skill, it will not be possible for you to equip or use items of certain types and classes. For instance, to use a Class 3 Zanathid, you will need Pistol Marksmanship III. Through exclusion we create a clear need for specialization, and reward the players who invest the most time into mastering a specific thing.

With this, we now have a new dynamic that did not exist before. In terms of progression, the game has only ever had the skill based combat and social hierarchy. With the addition of this system, it now also rewards players for the effort and time that they put into their chosen direction in the game.

The universal equalizer to all of this of course is the full loot drops. On death, a combatant in class 5 and a combatant in class 1 are no different, other than the fact that the class 5 gear costs more ♥♥♥♥♥, and will fetch the victor a better prize. The result of this is that players will not always be wearing their best gear, and the differences between classes only matter in important conflicts, while common fights are on equal footing.

In addition, since the gaps between classes are not incredibly dramatic, it is still possible for a good combatant wearing class 1 to kill a lesser combatant wearing class 5, although there is a very clear advantage for the combatant in the more expensive gear.

[DEV] Frost
04-14-2014, 02:25 PM
Weapon Types

Structured around the skills, there are a handful of basic weapon “types,” each with their own advantages and disadvantages. It is worth noting that most of these types has an energy counterpart. Energy weapons deal slightly more damage, but cost slightly more;

Pistol: The lightest of all weapon types, the pistol can make an effective side-arm, or a relatively useful primary for a player looking to save on inventory space and cash. They are the cheapest weapons that ♥♥♥♥♥ can buy, and so you won’t feel bad if you lose one in a fight.

Rifle: The second to heaviest of the weapon types. They deal a large amount of damage. They will run you up a pretty penny, so you should be cautious about where and when you start waving around your PP7 or DOA.

Sniper Rifles: The heaviest and highest damage dealing weapons in the game, they are a force to be reckoned with, for those willing to burden themselves with the scope requirement.

Knives: There’s technically only a single knife, but if we ever add more melee weapons, this will become an entire category. For now though, a lot of value has actually been added to knives, and they are a force to be reckoned with! They are light, cheap, and deal a nice amount of damage.

SMG: These mid-range weapons will do more damage than a rifle if you can manage to hit most of the bullets. They are the hardest weapons to use, but offer the most benefit to those who can use them effectively.

Grenades: Now in working order, these actually make a useful tool in combat. Break apart a large zerg, or use them to scatter a firing line before attacking. Whatever the case, they are sure to make a more relevant impact on combat in Fall of the Dominion.

While of course this could be further broken down into all of the unique weapons, these are the general types that are available. Stun weapons will allow an alternative to killing, while weapons that deal machine damage can be used to destroy deployables much faster. Medical weapons will play a large role with the decreased effectiveness of medical supplies, and together they create an interesting combat system

Ammunition is also changing slightly in Fall of the Dominion, with the magazine sizes being decreased, and a uniform type system being used. All pistols use the same ammunition, all rifles use the same ammunition, so on and so forth. Magazines have been balanced so that you can kill an opponent in class 3 armor with a class 3 weapon without reloading, assuming you have a reasonable hit to miss ratio.

It is worth noting as well that the mechanics behind range have changed. All weapons now have a nearly infinite range, but their effectiveness decreases past their maximum effective range. This means that pistol and SMG bullets won’t spontaneously vanish, and will still hit targets beyond the range of the weapon.

Armor Types

Following the same principle behind weapons, armor has also been divided into types based on their usefulness again. This time however, the point of the distinction is not variety, but rather utility. In general, combat armor will be used, but a piece of two of utility armor may be used under certain circumstances.

Heavy Energy/Ballistic Armors: Offering up the most protection, this armor is also the heaviest. It decreases the player’s agility slightly, creation a distinction between light and heavy armor, but not so much that it removes the middle ground.

Light Energy/Ballistic Armors: This armor type has less armor than heavy armor, but actually increases the player’s agility slightly. This further increases the gap between light and heavy armor, while again, not removing the middle ground.

Standard Armor: Having a very slight agility penalty, this armor type is the middle ground between light and heavy armor. It gives a nice amount of protection and mobility.

These are the three combat armor types, and will be the three most used types of armor. Each suits a different type of play style, and will allow players some depth and customization in their armor choices. These, coupled with the weapons will create some interesting roles in combat, and allow players a lot of freedom and control.

The utility armor types are all circumstantial, and will instead suit a specific purpose.

Atomic Compression: This armor will decrease the weight of all of the items you are carrying. It however has a very insignificant amount of protection, and mostly just exists to allow players a way to carry a large amount of items without being slowed down. (Yes I know compressing atoms wouldn’t decrease the mass, go away)

Hacking Armor: This armor will increase the effectiveness of hacking tools.

Medical Armor: This armor will increase the duration of medikits. The actual impact this makes is that you need to spend less on medikits, but the actual impact on combat isn’t as significant as a health regen boost. It is worth noting that this effect also works on Biocells.

Powered Armor: Since Augmentations now require medical terminals to install, a new type of armor has been created to allow people more on-the-fly customization. Powered armor provides more across the board protection than other types of armor. Although heavy ballistic has higher ballistic and heavy armor has higher armor, generally this armor provides better overall protection from all types. The catch to this however, is that this armor must be activated, and it will drain bio-energy while in use.

Augmentation

The only new thing worth mentioning about augmentations is in the way they scale with classes. Each augmentation type will always have the same effect, but higher classes have a decreased bio-drain. The benefit then is that less biocells need to be carried, and they are able to use it longer.

Drugs and Food

One of the biggest things that we wanted to avoid with drugs and food in Fall of the Dominion is necessity. If we had a stamina booster, everyone would HAVE to use it. If we had a weight booster, everyone would HAVE to use it. This means that virtually all boosters immediately become useless, which is not what we want. Instead, their role must be truly optional, and players should be able to decide what suits their build the best.

Food will not have any negative effects, which is the incentive to use them instead of drugs. Drugs offer a larger effect, but there is a negative effect which penalizes their use slightly. When you combine two boosters that affect each other, you will still have a net positive however, so it isn’t entirely pointless. In addition to this, two foods can be used at once.

Deployables

Deployables in Fall of the Dominion will provide some new and interesting elements to combat. Just as a simple example, imagine the usefulness of deployable shields with the stamina system. You have to jump over them, which is a nice hit to stamina. You could use them to delay a zerg, or block off a route from attackers.

Conclusion

The end result of all of these changes is an interesting new combat system that provides variety for the economy and tactics, without losing the core value of a skill-based combat system. It rewards players who invest time, and it rewards those who have a natural talent. Our ultimate goal is something that is fun, and in testing this system has proven to be just that.