Doomsaw Dev Blog: July 19th 2013

Hello all,

Friday dev blog time. I’m going to write efficiently since we have a lot to do this weekend to make the game great for you.

Defense System

We’ve done a lot of work on the new defense system this week. We are calling it the survivability system since defense is a part of it, but not all of it.

Some changes we’ve have made internally or are in process of making:

  1. We are going to a percentage based defense system with diminishing returns. This is very similar to what most games have. We’ve done a ton of research (and used our personal experiences) to make sure this is being done perfectly, so it’s fun and fair.

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  1. There will be no heroes that can only be “tanks” in the game. There will be melee heroes who all need to be able to survive in the game. Some heroes will have “tank” powers that they can level up (taunts, damage reduction, etc), but nobody should be forced to tank unless they want to. EVERY melee hero should be able to dish out tons of damage while surviving in melee and most melee heroes (Hulk, Thing, Colossus, Thor, Spider-Man, etc.) should be able to use certain abilities that temporarily reduce damage for extreme survivability if they wish to do so – completely at their option. If you want to do some tanky stuff you can, but you aren’t forced to do it.
  1. Extreme damage scaling is being phased out of the game. You won’t see enemies doing 500% bonus damage unless it’s specifically designed as part of the fight. For example, the completely-redesigned Limbo (A.K.A. Midtown Patrol) does not use this tool to create challenge, instead it uses Supervillian groups to create challenge, which is much more interactive and balanced (and insanely fun), while still being difficult.
  1. Ignores Defenses is now out of the game completely. It won’t return unless a boss has a specific power that uses it with appropriate warning. We are looking at "Deals more damage" to ensure it’s challenging but reasonable. We will be adding more enemy powers that are more interactive that don’t punish melee to such an extreme degree.
  1. We are adding and adjusting powers to be more and more engaging and more of a test of skill. It’s not cool to one-shot a player with a regular attack, but it’s completely fair to one-shot a player if they don’t move out of the fire after a few seconds warning.
  1. We are looking at adding mitigation powers with long cooldowns for some heroes, particularly melee. These powers will allow us to make some very cool boss abilities and give players and emergency button under certain circumstances.

There are a few other under-the-hood adjustments we’re making, so at the end of the day you will have heroes that play exactly how you want to play them. You still need to be smart, but you don’t need to fear a guy with a machine gun in a warehouse if you’re the thing and you don’t need to fear hitting someone in the face with your hammer if you are a Norse god.

Short-Term Hero Upgrades

Within 2 weeks, we’ll be pushing live a series of upgrades to EVERY hero. The feedback threads have been extremely helpful in helping us identify parts of each hero that are considered weak or unfun by players. We’ve also advanced our thinking on what makes a fun hero and are upgrading every hero to meet that enhanced criteria.

Some heroes may have minor tweaks and some will have many powers adjusted. A big focus will be making sure every hero has multiple builds and that melee can melee.

Long-Term Hero Upgrades

A smaller group of heroes will be receiving large upgrades to their power sets. Guys like Hulk, Thor, Colossus (and quite a few other melee) will get a lot more options to increase build options, fun and melee survivability. Example: Thor should have a brutal melee build, a “caster” build and a highly effective and interesting hybrid build that combines both elements.

Ranged heroes will also receive quality of life improvements and may also receive new powers or adjusted power to give them new build options. Deadpool needs the option to have a powerful melee build, Punchclops needs more build options, Hawkeye needs more build options and so on. We’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks.

New Heroes

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The New Heroes Team has been working day and night on Human Torch. He’s gone through several iterations of improvements and is in good shape. He has 25 powers, some of which still need visual effects and animation tweaking, but all are working well and synergize nicely. He feels crisp, powerful and fun, like as heroes should be.

Emma Frost still needs rounds of iteration before she’s ready, then our focus will shift to Squirrel Girl, Luke Cage and finally Nova. Nova will be interesting, since decisions will need to be made based on the current Marvel storyline. We’ll talk more about that in a future blog.

Movement Buffs in Hubs

In the next patch, players will be able to use movement powers in hubs. It was turned off temporarily due to some teleport issues, but those issues are fixed and we’re ready to go live. We are all extremely happy about this, since superheroes shouldn’t have to walk when they have flight, leap, teleport, etc.

X-Men Mansion

I’ve heard through the grape vine that some very evil people are planning to attack the X-Men Mansion. I hope you will help defend it when it happens.

Buffs and Debuff Display

This is something we’re considering as an option for players. It could be turned off by default for new players, so they don’t get information overload, but toggled on for advanced players if it’s something they are interested in. This is something that we may start to see in September after we finish work on some of the bigger systems.

Unique Items

As you can imagine, we are in development of unique items. These will be “brown” (like medals) and have the level of rarity you will expect from uniques. We’ll start previewing these in the coming weeks.

Super-Team Items

We are introducing a new item slot, right below costume, for Superteam items. These items will be able to be used by heroes who have been members of a superteam in Marvel lore. So, an X-Men item could be used by anyone who was ever a member of the X-Men, a Marvel Knights item could be used by the appropriate heroes, etc. We will even have a Guardians of the Galaxy item just for Rocket Raccoon (for now). We’ll also be shipping a few SHIELD items that can be used by any of the heroes to give even more variety to choices.

The powers on these items will include some individual buffs and always at least one group buff (if not more). These won’t be the most powerful items ever created, but we expect they will add some fun and flavor. We expect to release them in the big August patch or shortly after.

Relics

I’m excited about these items. Relics will also add a new item slot to a character sheet.

Relics work like Badass-ranks from Borderlands. You can stack relics together and have them increase infinitely, with slightly less bonus added each time you add to the stack. This is something that “single-hero” players will definitely enjoy. There will be a wide range of relics that buff damage, survivability and utility of all types. We’ll start previewing these babies in the coming weeks.

Item Affixes

In the coming weeks, we’ll also be iterating on item affixes to remove and adjust the lame ones and add more cool affixes. This requires some programming, but it’s something we want to do continually as the game grows.

Future Items

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Many future items are planned, from living items to ultimate items. We are following the philosophy that not every item needs to just be more powerful, but be powerful in certain situations with certain builds. The cosmic item you get today may still be your favorite item in a month or you may find something more appropriate for you. We are not strictly going for power creep, but more flexibility and giving you the ability to min/max your character as you choose.

Having said that, some uniques will be pretty awesome...

Have a great weekend.

Doomsaw