Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Steven Peeler on Traits in Zombacite

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 9, 2015

Steven Peeler of Soldak Entertainment – the dude behind Depths of Peril, Din’s Curse, and Drox Operative, has a bit to say about a new mechanic in the fantasy-zombie-apocalypse RPG in development, Zombacite. The mechanic is traits – special passive abilities that can be acquired via increased stats. He hopes that it will help encourage people to level up some statistics that they might not normally increase for a particular character class (like intelligence for a warrior).

“Traits can significantly change your character. This is because they have major positives, but also because they all have negatives. You will need to take into account the positives and negatives and make a difficult choice to take the skill or not. Since you still need to use a few skill points to get the skill, getting the skill is not automatic when you meet the attribute requirement.”

More information can be found here.

One of the trickiest things when balancing a game is making sure that an option doesn’t become a “non-decision” because it is too useful, too useless, or simply doesn’t make enough of a difference with other options. ¬†It looks like he’s addressing that.

Personally, I’m not so sure about the negatives with his examples, but I imagine that will come out in playtesting. I don’t know if a projectile continuing on to hit other targets is worth a 15% hit to damage, especially when I have to pay skill points for the privilege of the damage reduction across the board… but I’m sure Steven¬†does. If killing things at a range to avoid infection is such a major deal, and enemies tend to come in hordes rather than single ‘boss’ type monsters, then it might make lots of sense.



Filed Under: Design - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Mat Willows said,

    I think one of the best games that does this is Path of Exile. There’s a tone of significant passive abilities that have huge upside with corresponding downside like “immune to stun, cannot dodge attacks” “Convert all damage to fire, lower damage by %50” “Minions are twice as powerful, cannot do damage directly” etc… They work really well and entire builds are created around them, which seems like would be the same for Zombacite. Its so game and balance dependent though. Avoiding stun has to be _worth_ losing evade, but combine it with a skill that converts all evasion to armor and its great build. If one is dex based and one is str based then you’re accomplishing the goal of getting people to develop multiple attributes.

  • Cuthalion said,

    I always hate it when I “solve” a game, because then I have to fight my own instinct to try and have fun with it instead of repeating the formula that gives me the optimal chances/party/profit over and over again until I’m bored. I like the idea of challenge modes, inherent in some achievements, though I never get around to self-imposing them on repeat playthroughs of games — things like, “only use cavalry units” or “make everyone in your party a mage”. But again, I never get around to trying that, despite the fact that they might break me out of “solving” the game.