I love role playing game’s (RPGs). At its core Fallen Enchantress is half 4x strategy game and half RPG. The best mechanics for Fallen Enchantress are applicable at an RPG and 4x level. In particular we are trying to push the RPG side of the game so that it feels like a 4x game set in an RPG world.
There are a lot of game mechanics and implementation details (flavor) that support this focus. But one of my favorites in Fallen Enchantress is Traits.
Traits are used in a few ways. They are assigned to monsters and champions much as abilities are in War of Magic (at an implementation level traits are abilities, the ability system has just received a lot of new functionality to support what we need traits to do). They are also used when you design units. So you can design a unit with their equipment, mounts and any special traits you want to assign to them (the amount of traits and the traits you have to choose from depend on your techs).
But my favorite use of traits is that you no longer simply add points when your champions level up. Instead you have a random selection of traits to choose from. Some traits are common, some are uncommon and some are rare. They are random so that players can’t simply choose their favorites every time. It also allows us to make traits unbalanced, rare traits can be pretty cool without making common traits useless. And it helps make your champions more unique if one of them got some cool ability when he hit 2nd level (instead of having that trait require a min level of 10 or another balancing control).
Fallen Enchantress offers 5 random traits for the unit to pick from when they level up and the player gets to choose one. The traits offered may depend on the traits the unit already has, for example champions that produce gildar may get traits that allow them to improve that ability. Champions will have the ability to improve their spell casting proficiency by traits (access to spells isn’t limited to intelligence in Fallen Enchantress), to improve their stats, or to gain new skills.
We have lots of fun traits planned. But I’m excited to hear from you so tomorrow we will be starting a Design a Trait contest. What abilities would you like units to gain when they level up?
Watch the http://www.elementalgame.com/contest for the contest to go live tomorrow.
Update on 3/17/2011: Conditional Traits
One of the most interesting features of traits is that they can be conditional in Fallen Enchantress (unlike abilities). So they can only apply in specific situations. we currently have tags for:
vsDamaged- This trait only takes effect when you are attacking a damaged unit
vsHigher- This trait only takes effect when you are attacking a unit with a higher (whatever UnitStat is specified).
vsLower- This trait only takes effect when you are attacking a unit with a lower (whatever UnitStat is specified).
vsOtherAllegiance- This trait only takes effect when you are attacking a unit of the opposite allegiance (kingdom attacking fallen or vise versa).
vsUnitType- Unit Type is a new attribute in Fallen Enchantress, all units are either Beasts, Elementals, Twisted, Humans, Construct or Dragons. This allows a trait to only be active when you are attacking the specified unit type.
WhenUnderPercentHitPoints- This trait is only active when the unit with it is under the specified percentage of their hit points.
xActions- This trait is only active for the specified amount of actions in tactical combat. This is how we give Plaguestalkers a huge movement and attack boost just for their first action.