Design Ruts Vrs Existentialism

I’ve been in a rut. I’ve accomplished only a few things over the past couple days:

1. Played the Immortal Defense demo. It’s quite compelling, insofar as pretty geometry meets tower defense, sprinkled with a story about being forced into eternal disembodied servitude, can be.

2. Wrote up the Spellborn Character Selection Guide, perhaps the best summary of the classes you’ll find on the net for a game only a certain niche plays.

3. Did my laundry.  This was probably the most productive thing of the three.

Hardly compelling steps on the path of ultimate game design. Wednesday was perhaps a complete waste, bouncing about those eternal black holes of angst, Internet forums.

However, here on the cusp on my Thursday, I think I’ve at least partially figured out the cause of my lost flow.

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Chronicles Of Spellborn Character Selection Guide

It turns out it would be sooner, rather than later, that I approached the delicate matter of just how these weird but cool classes work in Chronicles of Spellborn.  After all, I have some altaholicism to settle, and so close after release this is an ideal time to figure out this little enigma.

Quick Summary

Warriors: Blood Warriors, Adepts, and Wrathguards Warriors’ resistance-enhancing capacity coupled with their ability to slow an enemy to a crawl while boosting their own speed gives them everything they need to assure they will be able to shield their allies from opponents. Their largely brawn over brains approach allows them to power through defenses if resistances and affinities are so heavily stacked against them as to require it.
Blood Warrior By linking their health together, the Blood Warrior has an incredible propensity to shift life between themselves, allies, and enemies. This makes them an interesting machine of potential area effect damage and healing in addition to their damage resistance warriorly roles.
Adept The Adept straddles the line between Warrior and Rogue well, with potential access to the skills to max physique and concentration. Such an adept would be the most maneuverable Warrior on the battlefield, running when physique is high or teleporting when physique is low, thus landing crushing or calculated damage to whoever they see fit.
Wrathguard A core leader, the Wrathguard not only possesses great physique and morale on their own, but they spread courage to allies while instilling dread in their enemies.  They are also quite formidable when confronting multiple targets, thinking little of slicing and dicing up to five at once.
Rogues: Skinshifters, Death Hand, and Tricksters. The Rogue class is unusually heavy on the maneuvers which shift concentration and exploit it, possibly even more so than the warrior shifts physique or the spellcaster shifts morale, making them deadly high-speed combatants who can apply either damage or a number of negative affects very quickly.
Skinshifter The Skinshifter’s capacity to lurk amongst a batch of NPCs, coupled with their single target damage backstab-centric focus, makes them highly specialized assassins for sudden surprise attacks.  They’re the only discipline capable of boosting all of their own states to maximum and, failing that, they can always just copy yours.
Death Hand With their wide selection of poisons and debuffs coupled with avenues of delivery across the broad spectrum of melee, ranged, or magic, the Death Hand is the number one discipline for rendering enemies into quivering stateless, affinityless, resistanceless jellies.
Trickster A gambler by trade, the Trickster may sacrifice their own physique in pulling off the incredible stunts needed to deliver their diverse gadgets to unsuspecting recipients. However, even walking at a crawl, the Trickster’s array of teleports and ranged attacks assure they’ll always have a way to stay in the fight.
Spellcasters: Ancestral Mages, Rune Mages, and Void Seers The spellcaster affinity to boost the damage per attack, combined with their area of effect damage skills, give them all a “big punch” effect ideal for clearing out clumps of enemies. Spellcasters have a greater than usual selection of party support spells.
Rune Mage Though closest to the traditional offensive spellcaster, the Rune Mage’s runes can briefly divide a battlefield into places where combatants can be healed or protected versus places where they will burn or be frozen. They operate not only with a Spellcaster’s state of morale but also a Warrior’s state of physique.
Void Seer The Void Seer is an expert in manipulating the odds, making sure only friendly combatants get much needed healing and buffs while making it difficult for the enemies to damage anyone but themselves.
Ancestral Mage An Ancestral Mage’s diverse pet-handling skills allow them to cleverly slingshot their many-talented pets in such way that the Mage or their party can get exactly what they need.

Those are the quick and easy summaries based off of some rather painstaking evaluation of off the Wikia that wasn’t quite covered to my satisfaction in the understanding classes page.  Overall, just looking at those descriptions and knowing what I went through to get them, I should be able to make an easy decision on which class I want to invest 50 levels in.

How did I derive this?  Detailed information follows after the break.

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Standard Procedure: April 2009

The weekend has come and gone, and I’m getting back to work.   Both trying to find somebody willing to pay me now, while hedging my bets for the future.

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Chronicles of Spellborn Impressions

I took much of Friday and Saturday off to give Chronicles of Spellborn a spin.  Though released November 27th in the United Kingdoms, in the United States this is quite a new game, released April 23rd, just a few days ago.

It might look like just another MMORPG, but after a thorough investigation of a dozen hours or so, I can firmly state that it’s a meaningfully different MMORPG.  What’s more, it’s actually reasonably good.  In a genre largely saturated with EverQuest clones, this is major.

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Peggle: The Non-Gamer Identifier

Whether it’s in PC Gamer or on today’s GU Comics, it seems Peggle has picked up a lot of attention.  It scores very highly – I figured that must mean it’s a good game.  So, when it went on sale on Steam a couple weeks back, I picked up Peggle and Peggle Nights for $10 and gave them both a shot…

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Game Designers Block

Into the pit of private-flagged messages goes my weekend insanity.  I should probably keep my political beliefs to myself, lest it run off potential blog readers of differing opinion.  [Revised to be less caustic:] This single comic caused me to write it off the whole artistic endeavor, even as I respected the quality of the work, and this lead me to wonder: to what level does my own political rants damage potential readership?

Yesterday and the day before were quite a coding frenzy, as I shelved my old project and begun anew.  I’m butting heads directly against the one thing that’s stopping a game from coming to be.  That one thing: Game Designer’s Block.

The nature of the beast is becoming clearer.

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Seeking Harmony In Virtual Interplanetary Conflict

The later half of Wednesday was consumed by winning the upper hand in a game of Space Empires V that, surprisingly, took the entirety of Thursday to finish.

For time to fly so quickly indicates that there was definitely some gaming bliss here. However, I picked up many reminders of things I should avoid in developing my own game, too.

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