It took almost 2 weeks to complete the remaining troop and leader abilities. I think I have a good base to build upon. The general idea is that the troops form the foundation of a battle. Then it’s up to the player to find opportunities to effectively use the leader abilities. They are very powerful when used in combination with various battle states. The skill factor focuses on identifying those opportunities, which involve certain troop types, rage levels, debuffs, etc.
Each player has an ability that is used to help control the battle. Shadow Knights can put a debuff on enemies that reflects half that damage back to them. Shadow Stalkers can root enemies and debuff their damage. Shadow Mages can pacify enemies so they no longer gain rage unless immobilized. These 3 abilities are useful when enemies have accumulated a significant amount of rage. Otherwise, those enemies will deal a great amount of damage due to their high rage levels. Only one of those ability states can exist at a time. The active debuff will have a visual effect associated with it.
Currently, player abilities have a 25 second cooldown for each ability. The global cooldown is 5 seconds, which means one ability can be used every 5 seconds if enough power exists. The previously mentioned debuffs last for 20 seconds, so there is a gap between uses. Most of the individual troop abilities last about 8 seconds. I’m sure I will tweak those values before the final release. But, they are a good starting point.
Each leader class has a unique way to generate rage for its troops. For instance, the Lizardman Executioner of the Shadow Stalker class has a rage debuff that it places on enemies. Any damage done to that debuffed troop will generate rage for the attacker. It is a really powerful ability that can quickly build rage for troops in the area. Shadow Mages have a player ability called Meteor Shower that damages troops with a bonus when debuffed by Wave of Vengeance. In addition, if it hits friendly Swirling Vortex troops, it generates AoE rage for each one. Shadow Knights can cast Blessing of Hate on friendly units, and generate 1 level of rage for each debuff cured. These are just a few examples of how each leader class can generate rage, besides simply taking damage from enemies.
Another aspect of combat involves the immobilization states of fear, stun, and mez. They all function the same way as far as the immobilization effect is concerned. However, there are unique procs for each effect when broken by an enemy. Fear will give the attacker a buff called Vampric Embrace, which is a lifetap bonus for each hit on an enemy with decay debuff. Stun will generate rage for the attacker when broken. Likewise, Mez will proc a heal for the attacker, which means a group of mezzed enemies will essentially give an AoE heal to the attacker if hit by AoE damage.
I changed the buffs to make them unique too. The siege unit for Shadow Knights casts Wrath, which is a buff that gives bonus damage versus structures. The siege unit for Shadow Stalkers casts a Damage Shield that causes damage for each hit by an enemy, which adds up over time. The tank unit of Shadow Mages use Harm Shield to mitigate 25% of damage to troops protected by it. There are other buffs too. I tried to make sure all of the combat abilities are varied while remaining balanced. I will have a better idea if I accomplished that goal in a few months when I start multiplayer testing.
In the meantime, I will be switching to zealot abilities next. I am planning to have 3 buffs that each banner zealot can have active at once. They will be unique for each leader class. For example, one buff could be massive damage to a structure that kills the banner zealot. Another could be an AoE heal that is cast when killed. Furthermore, each leader class will share 1 ability that sacrifices a zealot. This allows players to essentially kill their own zealot to unleash the buffs at a chosen location. This could be useful when zealot lines are running through a battle. Each zealot buff will have a recast that is tied to the fortress timer. Players will probably need to summon a Guardian after the portal reaches tier 3, before gaining access to those zealot buffs.
When I get close to the Alpha release in June, I will begin adding new information to the web site. I have been slacking big time with updating the info, which has not been changed in over a year. I hope to revamp my site so I can display the gameplay information in a way that is easy to navigate. I want to list every troop and ability to clarify the gameplay concepts. My priority is to get the Alpha release done. I can’t wait to update my prototype video too. Pursuit of Power 2 has come a long way over these past 21 months