The Armies March
Last week we told you that there were more big, exciting things coming this week. Well, we’re here to deliver!
For most of the development of Sons of Ra, units have functioned on a system of three “normal” unit types – the Spearman, Archer, and Shieldbearer, who were all fairly similar, and one special unit – the Catapult, which existed only as a means to counter towers. The first three took advantage of a built-in rock-paper-scissors system to lend strategy to fights. While Shieldbearers were a bit bulkier than their fellows, and Archers attacked from range, all three types felt somewhat similar to use, and the only real decision that faced players was to send units that held a natural advantage against those sent by their opponent. This too frequently led to unexciting stalemates. So, we decided we needed to spice things up a little bit, and we went back to the drawing board on how to do that. Our decision was to lean into the idea of special function and apply it to more than just the Catapult.
Standing Apart from the Pack
While we liked the idea of having rank-and-file units, it was definitely wrong for them to make up three of our four different core unit types. So, we chose to take the Shieldbearer and the Archer and make them stand out – in more ways than one.
When we came to the decision that we were going to greatly differentiate the Shieldbearer and Archer in terms of functionality, we knew that they would also have to look different to the player. To achieve that, we changed up how the units were scaled. Now, the more significant Archer and Shieldbearer take up much more space on the map than their spear-wielding counterpart, and so stand out more to the player. This also goes to represent that Spearmen are being geared towards being designed to be sent en masse, while the Shieldbearer and Archer are specialty units to be deployed strategically to complement one’s plan of attack. To match their changes in size, Spearmen also had their gold cost slightly decreased, while Archers and Shieldbearers are now much more expensive to purchase.
A Shield for Another
When we were thinking about how to set the Shieldbearer apart, we went back to what the essence of his original design was – a tanky unit meant to take hits and provide his weaker allies a chance to get to the enemy keep. Naturally, we took this idea and ran with it to the extreme. We increased the Shieldbearer’s health to almost ludicrous levels, and gave him the ability to draw aggro from other units who can see him. If one of his allies is engaged in a fight with the other team’s units and he approaches, his friend’s attackers will turn their ire onto the Shieldbearer instead, giving his ally a fighting chance to make it through.
Similarly with how we chose to magnify the core idea of the Shieldbearer, we did the same with the Archer. From the idea of a ranged attacker meant to bring down his enemies from a distance, we arrived at a fearsome soldier capable of inflicting massive damage on groups of foes in slow, measured bursts. The archer now fires powerful arrows capable of overpenetrating targets, dealing damage to up to 3 enemies each. The Archer’s attacks deal very heavy damage, though this damage is greatly reduced for each target hit beyond the first, and his fire rate is lowered to compensate for the raw power of each attack he makes. The Archer is a true glass cannon however, as he is quickly felled if any enemies manage to make it in range of attacking him, or he draws too close to an opponent’s tower.
As promised, we had some interesting stuff to talk about this week. If you didn’t catch it in the gifs, there are some other changes coming to the game that we haven’t mentioned yet, as they are still in the works, but stay tuned because we will be formally introducing those soon when they are fully baked and out of the oven. Until then, if you’re in the area, we will be at IGDA Philadelphia’s Play Philly night this coming Tuesday, so come by and say hi! We’re excited to meet more people and show what we’ve been working on!