A lot of large changes have been implemented in the last few weeks with regard to the battle mechanics in Allacrost. These are large design changes that were created to improve the battle experience and as such, I'd like to take a moment to discuss what these changes are, why they were made, and how we see them improving the gameplay experience.
In the last release, our new designers identified several issues with our battle mechanics and experience. We started by identifying what sort of battle system we desired for Allacrost and decided to focus on the following.
- Remove the tediousness of players needing to go to the party menu to heal/restore HP and SP after battle
- Every character skill should be viable to use in any battle; We do not want players to only use their most basic skills for normal encounters and only their most powerful skills for boss fights
- The player should be penalized if they use their most powerful attacks too frequently
- Players should have a long-term strategy to a dungeon. They shouldn't chose actions thinking only about the current battle, but future battles as well.
- Determine a way for SP to restore naturally during battle so that the player feels encouraged to use more powerful skills regularly in battle
You may notice that these traits align closely with the game's overall design goals. We threw around a lot of ideas to figure out how to realize a system that met all of these design criteria. And we came up with a central feature that meets this design, which we call battle fatigue. Below is an outline of how our new system with battle fatigue works.
- All characters are restored to full HP and SP at the end of every battle.
- SP regenerates a small amount every turn in battle.
- When a character loses HP, they accumulate HP fatigue. This fatigue reduces the max health HP of the character.
- When a character consumes SP (by using a skill), they accumulate SP fatigue. This fatigue reduces their max SP of the character.
- Fatigue persists between battles, meaning that the more battles the character party fights, the lower their max HP and max SP becomes.
- Fatigue is only removed by visiting an inn and resting. It is not something you can remove with an item or other readily available mechanic.
- Characters have two attributes that determine fatigue accumulation: stamina for HP fatigue, and resilience for SP fatigue.
- A higher stamina attribute causes HP fatigue to accumulate more slowly. The same holds true for resilience and SP fatigue.
There are several implications to player strategy with this battle fatigue feature. If the player is constantly using their most powerful abilities to end a battle quickly, toward the end of the dungeon they'll find that their max SP is very low and they will struggle a little more against tougher enemies and bosses. At the same time, if the player is too conservative with their skill usage and takes too much damage from drawn-out battles, their HP fatigue climbs greatly and they have a lower max HP when they face the tougher enemies deeper into a dungeon. The player must develop a strategy and carefully manage both types of battle fatigue to be successful.
Personally, I am very excited for these design changes to be fully realized. They are implemented and functional in the game already, but we need to do further balancing work in order for them to feel like they make the game a decent challenge, but not a frustrating and impossible one. Of course, these are not the only changes you'll see in this month's release, but they are definitely the most impactful. We look forward to publishing our first release with the battle fatigue feature and are anxious to hear feedback from our players on this new battle mechanic.