Posted Mon, Apr 22, 2013 by Martuk
Mixed: giving players 8 starting skills per class
This is a mix because many players love the variety of skills they have to work with, but 8 is a large number to get acquainted with properly. The tutorial greatly helps with this, but new players will have a bit of a learning curve to wield all 8 skills effectively.
We will be giving players even more options with the addition of “Focus Skills,” which are alternative takes on existing skills. Players will still only have access to 8 skills, but they will be able to customize those skill sets with similar versions. We can’t say what exactly those Focus Skills will be but imagine having 2 types of Molten Bola to choose from and 2 types of Smoke Cloud, and so on and so forth. This adds more depth to the gameplay and offers more experienced players the ability to master new skills. We are banking on new players, and existing players who haven’t quite mastered their skills to spend some time in the tutorial. If anything, it doesn’t hurt to get reacquainted with the different classes.
Mixed: We didn’t focus on lore and story
Many of us on the dev team wish we spent more time expanding on the game’s story and providing a little more emotional connection to the game’s world and its characters. This is mixed because we didn’t muddy up the core game with any fluff, just pure PvP combat, but Forge has a lot of unsaid story that can be deciphered from the clothing, weapons, and architecture if you look hard enough. There is not a single piece of the Forge universe that doesn’t have a backstory. That backstory just isn’t told. It sits in the glyphs of the motifs, the metal that was used, the stone that was cut, and the animals that were harmed in the making of the clothing. We like that the story is hidden and leaves so much up to the interpretation of the player, but we would have loved to produce cut scenes and cinematic elements for each character. This is something we will be putting some focus on in the future, but for now we leave it up to the player to read their own story into the game.
We did add a few brief cinematic moments to the tutorial which emphasize mood more than story, but just those little pieces add so much to the overall experience. You can look forward to those in April and many more in the following months.
Wrong: We didn’t put enough work into the UI and the shell
In all honesty, this was low priority when resources demand that we choose gameplay over the shell but we wished we had more time to spend on the overall presentation of Forge. We have so much art in Forge and so much of it hasn’t been seen by the players. We used much of it to inform the design and the in-game assets but it hasn’t seen the light of day. In retrospect, we should have incorporated all those pieces into the shell so players could be surrounded by art from the beginning. We have made some new additions to the April re launch and it definitely gussies up the whole experience but we have a lot of plans for future releases. Shell is on the schedule and you will see a major front-end facelift in the coming months.
Right: We scrapped the companions before we spent too much time on them
Each class has its own companion animal/creature. We have these built and animated and had them in the game for a while. They were originally intended as companions and at one point the players transformed into them for a whole new set of skills. We just couldn’t get it right and we caught that in time before we spent any more resources on them. We have them in our back pocket and intend to put them to use when we have the time to devote to them properly. They are such a cool part of the game that we didn’t want to release them half-baked and risk not doing them justice. We think this was a smart decision. We know from experience that a lot of time and resources can be spent on an aspect of the game that isn’t crucial, because the team gets emotionally attached to them. We had enough sense to avoid this and we think it will pay off in future releases when we can introduce the animals properly, in a way that strengthens the experience and adds depth to the combat.