Welcome back, everyone! This is Justin once again here to talk to you about some design decisions we made during the development of Shadow Heroes: Vengeance In Flames and how we ended up with a game focused mostly around strategy. The long and short of it is that we always had an idea of the type of game we wanted to make but didn't really know how to go about doing it.
Customized Play Style
One thing that was a must was to have a competitive environment within Shadow Heroes. To start we have a typical PvP model where players are pitted against each other. Battle, outwit and defeat your opponent. Fairly standard stuff. Just... we didn't want standard! Having things typical like this causes a lot of boredom. So, we introduced the idea of equipment. Here you could build a strategy even before entering a battle by collecting and upgrading items that would modify your units abilities in different situations. Long-term building and goals brings a new level of forward thinking to the competition. Do you want to put together an alpha striking army that hits hard and fast but dies out quickly or do you want an army of unbreakable units that take forever and a year to kill? That choice is yours to make.
We also wanted people to play the way they wanted to in terms of level of engagement. We augmented the equipment system to allow people to choose between powerful equipment that have to be activated in order to take effect or less powerful passive buffs that are always on. The ending effect: People who want to be super competitive and control a lot of the micromanagement of their units can focus on active abilities while people who are into more of a casual match or want to overwhelm with numbers can focus on a passive equipment play style. Put that together with all the pieces of equipment we have and you will quickly find that the number of ways you can customize your army is humongous.
Equipment is such a huge part of the game that I can hardly go into it all here. We will be dedicating another post to it later on. You can also read more about it in the Equipment section of the Shadow Heroes Website.
Giving The Player A Purpose
A second thing we wanted to tie together was story and multiplayer. You can play a lot of games where the multiplayer is a completely separate element to the rest of the game and, while that could very well work for some games, we thought there could be a better way. Hendrika is a continent with a lot of history packed into a very short amount of time. This leads to a lot of conflict between the numerous nations and renegade groups that inhabit this land. We decided to play upon this concept so that the multiplayer campaigns would picture skirmishes between nations. Each player can join one of these nations or play as a mercenary for hire. Any items and loot you collect while playing multiplayer will be accessible in your single-player campaign and vice-versa.
Victory in battle means growth to the victor's nation. Fighting for the glory and pride of your nation can result in great benefits as you rank up and prove your worth. Be on the lookout though, because other nations champions will be greatly rewarded for taking down a rival nation's top performers.
Being A Commander, Not A Soldier
The final point that I would like to make is that we wanted the player to feel like a commander not a soldier. You are the boss. You are in charge. You give commands and the soldiers follow. What equipment to wear, when to use certain abilities and what the long-term goals are: that's all up to you. While a soldier may be know as a great fighter, a leader goes down in History for their cunning, strategy and forward thinking. We are providing you the tools of lead. It's up to you to determine what you will be know for.