In the second half of my Masters of the Broken World interview, Snowball Studios' Vladimir Tortsov takes us even further into the turn-based strategy/RPG's mechanics. If you haven't yet checked out the first half, hit that up here, then continue below:
GB: How many heroes will we be able to build during a typical play-through and how will they ascend in power throughout the game?
Vladimir: The number of heroes on the single shard depends on the size of the map and on the individual playing style. On the tiny shard sometimes hiring a single hero could be enough, on the large one player probably will need to hire all 4 different classes of heroes. The maximum number of heroes on the single shard is 8 and this number could be reached only in rare cases, when the war is going into the trenches.
While progressing in levels, heroes learn new abilities, available for their class. On the level 10 player could choose a second specialization for the hero. For instance, a Warrior could become a Dark Knight if player chooses to add mage specialization as a second class, or he can stay on the same path, becoming Berserk. Each class have it’s own unique name and a set of perks. Another set of even more powerful class-depending perks is available for heroes of 20 lvl.
GB: Do heroes take an active role on the battlefield during combat or do they simply affect the power of the armies under their command?
Vladimir: The Heroes always participate in the tactical battles, but their exact role is depending on the class. Warrior can fight in the battle single-handedly; Ranger arranges the fire support for his troops from the rear; Mage casts spells, trying to keep himself from harm and Warlord buffs his troops, occasionally using the magic or the sword.
GB: How does the player's power grow as they conquer land in the game? Are there resources that we'll be trying to gain control of, and if so, what is each resource used for?
Vladimir: Provinces are the main sources of income in the game. The more territories a player controls – the more gold he can spend on his army or population needs.
There are 9 rare resources in the game such as mithril or horses. Each rare resource has its unique utilization: for instance, mithril could be used for creation the most powerful artifacts with magical effects and horses are required for constructing some advanced buildings in the city.
GB: In addition to conquering land, our heroes will be able to acquire artifacts while exploring the world. Are these typically stat-boosting items, or will some of them open up additional options during combat or while exploring the overland map? Are the items randomly placed throughout the world on each play-through?
Vladimir: The items (not every item is an artifact!) in the game could be the ‘typically stats-boosting’ ones as well as they could provide the owner with some new abilities. Each item have its own ‘rarity’ – the most simple items could be produced in the citadel, the most powerful is so rare, that the player needs to explore the dungeons or the dragon lairs to find them. Additional, there are limited number of item sets, which grant additional bonuses to the owner.
In most cases the location of these items is random, but some items appearance is tied to the specific quests or events.
GB: There are six schools of magic in the game: Sorcery, Witchcraft, Necromancy, Chaos, Elements, and Sacred Magic. How do these schools differ from one another, and will we be able to learn spells from all of them during a typical play-through? Are there advantages to specializing in just one school?
There are six schools of magic in Eador. Each school focuses on the particular type of spells and differs in its approach to the understanding of magic, and the source of its powers.
School of Sorcery is the best known school in Eador, especially popular among the humans. With spells from this school, a magician uses his strength and energy to impact the surrounding physical world.
School of Witchcraft in fact is a close neighbor of the School of Sorcery, but it has one major difference. Spells of this school affect not the physical world, but the astral and mental planes of existence. As these planes are much closer to the thought-forms created by mages, spells from this school requires much less energy than the spells of the other schools.
School of Necromancy dates back to the World of Death. Spells of this school affect the flesh of living creatures, bringing weakness, sickness and death. In addition, some necromancy spells can be used to seek out souls of the dead and raise their dead bodies to fight.
School of Chaos has its origins in the primordial chaos. Its spells are aimed at the destruction and distortion of reality, as well as on summoning the creatures of the underworld.
School of Elements teaches its mages to dominate the four primary elements - air, earth, water and fire. Spells of this school are as varied as are the elements and their combinations.
School of Sacred Magic is the most peaceful one, most of its spells are aimed at healing wounds and providing protection. Its spells often referred to as the prayers, they derive their energy in the so-called "higher realms" - the world of spirits and deities. The priests claim that the source of these spells is nothing less than "Mercy of the Lord of Light".
Player is unable to learn all spells by constructing the magical buildings in his citadel – there is simply not enough space! Nevertheless, in theory it’s possible to learn every single spell in the game by finding the magical scrolls, but this way requires a lot of time, really.
GB: How many spells will be available in the game and how are they learned? Can you give us a few examples of some of the more powerful spells we'll be able to cast?
Vladimir: There are 80 spells in the game and all of them could be learned by finding a scroll containing this particular spell somewhere on the map. Alternative ways to learn the spell is to create or upgrade specific magical building in your city.
Example: Time Stop – all allied warriors get an additional turn during the battle.
Aside from the spells, that could be casted only on the battlefield, there are so called ‘rituals’, which are affecting the whole shard. These rituals are performed on a strategy level.
Example: Demon Invasion – a powerful demon army attacks target province. If they will defeat the guards, 50-80% of population dies and the province becomes a neutral wasteland.
GB: While there will only be one city for us to build and fortify in the game, we understand that there are over 200 buildings to construct within it. How many of the buildings are devoted to troop recruitment and army upgrades? What other types of buildings will we have to choose from?
Vladimir: Approximately 90 out of 211 buildings somehow are connected with the warfare. There are barracks, weaponry, archery, assassins’ guild, battlemages’ school, etc.
Of course, the war isn’t the only occupation for the Master, so there are a lot of other buildings to construct.
First of all, the mighty empire needs a steady income of money and other valuable resources – that’s why there a whole lot of different types of buildings to erect: warehouses, merchants’ guild, marketplace, etc.
Another important issue is population happiness. In order to keep his people from revolts, The Master needs to construct some entertainment buildings like circuses, theatres or arenas. The evil Master, of course, will prefer prisons, places of execution and tortures.
Important role in the city development plays The Foreign Quarter – the place of inhabitant of the allied races. Player should choose which race he wants to invite to his city carefully, because other races will automatically become unavailable on that particular shard until the end of the invasion.
GB: Is there a particular release date you're targeting at the moment? And once the game is released, do you have any plans to continue development on DLC or even a full-on expansion pack?
Vladimir: We’re thinking about the end of 2012, but the exact date is something to be confirmed later.
Speaking of the post-release plans - yes, we have a huge list of ideas about how to expand the game, but we can’t promise anything specific at the moment. Until the moment, when the game will be finished, a quality of the release version is our only focus, so we’ll get back to this matter in the end of 2012.