The Age of Decadence September Update

30 Sep 2012

The latest monthly update for long-in-development indie RPG The Age of Decadence offers new info on alchemy, shields, and the tweaks to the Mandoraan quests, although arguably the most discussed piece of information in it is Vince's decision to quit his job and focus solely on the title for the next six months or so.

Here's a snip:
Normally, we leave these things alone as we don't have time to revisit everything, but every now and then the feedback we get pushes an item to the very top of the list, where it gets immediate attention. The item of the month was shields.

Originally, the basic combat design was "hard to hit, easy to kill dodgers vs easy to hit, hard to kill heavy armor guys". It was a decent idea on paper, but it required a skill to balance Dodge. I don't recall now why we didn't go with Armor (maybe because it doesn't make much sense), but we went with Block instead. Sort of worked, but not quite. Heavy armor guys would block many attacks and the armor would absorb a chunk of what gets through, which made them much harder to kill than was envisioned originally.

Shields gave you a bonus to Block, which made sense, as it's easier to hide behind a tower shield than to block with a buckler. It made shields too powerful though and so we added the splitting mechanic and, eventually, replaced the Block bonus, with a vsSplitting stat. Of course, the problem is that splitting is only a factor when you run into an axeman, and since we can't have axemen everywhere, we added a chance to split to two-handed weapons. Of course, without the bonus to Block, large shields have become sort of useless, adding insult to injury.

Now, kids, this is a good example of how a small mistake gets patched and patched, until it grows into a half-assed feature, like a snowball of bad design rolling down the hill. You can ask "How did you fuck it up? Didn't you guys see it a mile away?" The answer is, it's very easy to miss things when you're working on ten things at once. It's much easier to patch things up quickly than trace the problem all the way back and consider all possibilities.

Anyway, as long as we're willing and eager to fix our mistakes, it's all good. Right?

So, the main problem was that shields were absorbing all damage. You could be hit with a big-ass two-handed hammer, but as long as you managed to get your buckler under that hammer, you were fine. But not anymore. Now, shields get their very own DR stat, which will be added to your armor or helmet DR on a successful block. The bonus to Block stat is back, because *now* it works. Heavy armor blockers will no longer be too powerful. They will still enjoy superior protection but they won't be nearly invincible at high levels.

This change will too be rolled out in R3.