It's been a while since we had a meaty blog post, so let's discuss some things.
Yak and I have spent a lot of time recently poring over our plans for 2018/2019: making sure we're comfortable with how we're allocating our budget and giving ourselves enough time to get key features in. Not our favourite area of work, but projects have to be managed.
In the midst of that, I put together a formal set of design documents for Rise of Winterchill. (Not for public viewing I'm afraid! :P)
The reason: I tend to throw out ideas a lot, and over time that can get confusing for whoever is listening. It's not always easy to know which ideas I'm serious about for RoW, and which ones I'm just enthusiastic about because I find them interesting. Having a centralised set of "latest" documents helps!
There are also ideas and features that I've thought about, but I am acutely aware that I don't know everything about them, or how they'll play out. That's what iteration is for! Those are now comprehensively listed.
A related note: While I believe RoW will appeal to a lot of people, it factually won't appeal to everyone, and I can't get trapped trying to make a game for everyone. That never works.
There may be hard decisions and compromises during the testing process, and I think the best remedy for that is full transparency on what the game is about.
In brief, RoW's design goals are to:
- Bring out the Best in Teamwork and Leadership
You should not only expect other players to be receptive to playing a team game: you should get used to it.
- Promote Community Health
We welcome everyone, but negativity must be left at the door. You should feel empowered as part of our community, both when encountering negative and positive players.
- Give People Control
You should have a strong ability to influence the outcome, and a sense of personal control over the match. You should never be stuck thinking "I can't win...".
- Respect Users' Time
The game should be easy to understand, easy to spectate, and easy to get back into (even years of patches later). Matches should last no longer than they need to, and 100% of every match should be peak gameplay.
- Facilitate Expression
The game should strive to be a medium for personal and creative expression: play, build, lead, discover, and share the game in your own way.
In short: the vision is clear. You'll be hearing more about these headings in future Design Articles, once I can set aside some time to write. The headings might change over time, depending on how well they work as a communication tool, and in reaction to dialogue with players (because we are the listening sort, after all).
In any case, I am going to find a place to put them where they can reliably found, discussed, pointed at whenever we're not delivering on them.
I'll also write a little about the system formerly known as "Ghost Talents". It's mentioned on the front page, and is RoW's equivalent to items/talents as seen in other games.
This is now known as the Advisor System.
I won't drop many details here, but it's a major component of the goal to Facilitate Expression above. You should be able to play heroes your way, build them your way, and do teamwork your way.
In some games you might be willing to listen to Shepherd, whose advice would help you establish and control territory, and protect your sheep. (No, I didn't just call your team sheep...) In another match, maybe you decide to listen to Psycho. Psycho has great ideas about what to do, usually involving more damage. Or perhaps take a stroll with Nomad?
They are a helpful bunch, and let you play the same character in multiple ways depending on whose advice you heed in each match. (If you have suggestions for Advisor names, feel free to tweet them at me!)
Finally, I want to let you know that if you're interested in game and moba development, and like what we're doing, do get in touch! Getting a moba off the ground isn't easy, and we're going to need extra hands in many areas over the coming months.
If you're not already hanging out in our discord, it is a good place to catch the latest from us!
Until next time,