October 01, 2019
Alpha #4 - General Mechanics

Hello everyone,

As we were saying in last week's post, we are satisfied overall with the fight mechanics following the data collected in Alpha 0.3. However, there are still a few points to improve, and they are the subject of this Devblog article. Here's a presentation of the changes made to the combat system.

Gauge, Gauge, and Nothing but Gauge!

Companions are a strength in our fight mechanic. They provide depth to the game by offering an additional range of strategic possibilities. We would like to put this strength to good use and avoid the inverse effect where the only strategy would be to generate maximum gauge in as little time as possible. From that, it was clear that we had to reduce companions' domination in fights, without necessarily impacting their lifespan or damage, as the last two points were entirely satisfactory overall. So, here are the changes that have been made:
  • Companions' power has been lowered slightly.
  • The power of gauge-generating spells has been lowered slightly.
  • The power of spells that generate reserve AP has been increased.
  • The power of spells that cost 7 AP or more has been increased.
  • Cardinal spells no longer provide element gauge.

These changes have several goals, but the main goal is to strengthen the power of alternative strategies rather than drastically reducing companions' power; this is to give players real decision to make, without hindering combat speed. Let's get into more detail!


Enhance Strategies Based on Reserve Gains

  • The power of spells that generate reserve AP has been increased.
  • The power of spells that cost 7 AP or more has been increased.

The combination of casting constraints and high AP costs for certain spells justified their inclusion in decks only rarely. The risk of an unusable draw at the start of a game, the ease of countering a spell by lowering an opponent's AP reserve, and even the rigidity of deck sequences formed a set of constraints that we had under-estimated. Of course, it was not a question of deleting them, so we therefore opted to enhance the power of the spells concerned.
What is more, as spells that generate reserve AP are now more powerful, the loss of tempo linked to their use is smaller.


Cardinal Spells Must Be Attractive Utility Spells

  • Cardinal spells no longer provide element gauge.

This is the largest change in version 0.4 and deserves the most explanation.

During Alpha 0.3, the cardinal spells were used massively, but their main objective was to provide utility effects; they were mainly chosen for the gauge points they provided. Thus, many Iops used Radiation without aura, or Jump without taking advantage of the move, with the sole purpose of generating 3 gauge points for 3 AP. We were stuck. Increasing their AP cost would deprive them of their utilitarian nature and limiting the gain to a single gauge would make them elemental and not multi-element.

We therefore opted to simply remove the gauge gains, turning the multi-element spells into neutral spells. Of course, to compensate for this change, we revised all their values and/or AP costs.

We think this change will be beneficial in combat, notably because of the following points:
  • Better adaptability to the meta: If you want to play Shield rather than Jump because you realize the meta has gone from a "companion rush" to a "huge spell" meta, you can. You couldn't before because the gauges prevented his shift. But that was then.
  • Disappearance of "unplayable" weapons because a utility spell in a current meta doesn't offer the right elements: Goodbye former Osamodas who couldn't play Earth or Water because Ferreting About was in those elements. Ditto for the Sram who had to exploit Shadow Skin's Air and Fire gauges to be competitive.
  • The Transformation and Aura spells can have more impacting values: Since they no longer generate gauge, the values of Auras and Transformation statistics have been increased. Do you want to focus your deck on transforming your Iop into a solo war machine? You can.
  • Summons have been reset in terms of balancing: For example, the Sacrier Tattoo Blade was still too strong despite the major nerfing, but lowering its life would have made it the equivalent of simple armor, limiting the strategic depth of the game. Now, the summons can keep an impacting effect with enough life to take advantage of it.

We are also aware that this will have an impact on the multi-element game mode, and we of course want to preserve this aspect of the game. We are therefore reflecting on how to best integrate this aspect of the game without unbalancing the entire combat system in place.


Invalid Casting Conditions

  • The limit of 3 on the number of summons no longer exists.
  • The limit of 5 on the number of mechanisms no longer exists.

During future posts, you'll discover that many changes have been introduced to naturally limit the number of entities present on the field. What is more, this had already begun with the changes to Sinistros. We therefore think that these limits, which made sense a few months ago, are no longer indispensable today.
The ones who benefit the most are undoubtedly Srams, but they need a bit of a hand and the former system was really too punitive for them.

Please note that we will pay special attention to how this change might be misused and be very reactive in that event.

Here we are at the end of this first Devblog entry, and if you don't yet know how to approach it, just remember that many changes have been made and transposing today's data to what you saw in version 0.3 isn't enough to give you an exact idea of the reality of Alpha 0.4.

Coming up next is the Osamodas revamp, and then the strengthening of the class identities. See you soon!