Sacrament's combat & casting system will be quite unique, with a focus on realism and depth. It will be unlike anything you've ever seen in a computer-based RPG, especially in the MMO market. At its core it boils down to one very relevant principle: we want every piece of gear and every spell school to matter. Situational awareness and adaptability will be key elements in your quest to become a superior player. One piece of gear will never rule them all. There will be no such thing as a pure, 100% "best in slot" item. The system will have several key elements laid out below.
First off, let’s talk about the class system for all MMOs in general. The most common term used in the corporate MMO world is “trinity system." Well, whoever created that term should consider themselves failed gamers... though I guess successful business people because a lot of new MMOers bought into it.
The truth is that the class system consists of roughly five different elements: tank, damage (DPS), healer, support, and crowd control (CC). We know about three of these but no one ever talks about the other two. In fact, most games are created with smaller group sizes, three to four, in order to completely avoid the necessity for the last two. Why? Since when was it okay to force players into one of three roles? Why haven’t players spoken up and expressed their disdain for the fact that they cannot play within the role at which they excel?
Well here in Sacrament™ you’ll have access to all five roles, and mixtures thereof! While the class style listed with each class is where they excel, players can find unique ways to perform a bit outside of their role in order to spice their game-play up a little more. We’re not saying they will necessarily be successful at their every endeavor… we’re just saying they can do it. Raiders beware… you may find it more difficult to find a home if you choose to put your own twist on your class, rather than focusing on your primary role.
Note that if a class is a “hybrid” type then it is assumed that classes with a focus in that area will be better at it, but will not be able to adapt the way a hybrid class can; this does not mean they are only “mediocre” at their hybrid types, as some hybrids only lightly delve into one of their hybrid roles, focusing on the other.
Almost every game approaches the resources a player uses to perform abilities differently. We are no different. We’ve actually expanding it a little bit and provided players with a little bit more in the combat depth than most games.
We’re going to talk about the different resources a player has to their advantage, and will have to deal with when taking on enemy players or NPCs. Those resources are:
- 1. Health
- 2. Endurance
- 3. Primary Resource
- 4. Momentum
- 5. Agility
Health is a resource that is common in almost every game; we can’t think of a single game that did not use health though we’re sure there is at least one. A player’s health will determine whether or not that is still active in a fight. This is the most basic necessity for all players and once a player has run out of health they will no longer be a part of the active combat and will require to adhere to the death penalty rules (later defined).
Endurance is a concept we’ve added in that goes alongside health but focuses more on a player’s or NPC’s ability to withstand damage and stay active in a fight. While some players and NPCs will have incredibly low Endurance, making a direct assault on their Health the most viable way to go, others will have a much higher Endurance which will limit the amount of Health damage you can do to them.
Endurance is what turns health into a more effective tool. Having high amounts of health won’t matter if your endurance is too small as those attacking you will be able to avoid endurance and damage your health directly. This strategy is what is going to allow tanks to perform in solo situations without having to do high amounts of damage. Unlike how armor functions, however, endurance can be depleted if you so wish to take on that endurance first. This strategy is something that will be useful in raids as some players will build for spike health damage, others will build for duration endurance damage, and others will build as a mix of endurance and health damage.
For instance, as you look at a raid boss fight you typically see health and outgoing damage. In most cases you would simply increase sustained damage as much as possible and endure the rest of the fight. In our system, your spike damage DPS will typically deal with any adds that can/need to be killed right away while endurance damage DPS will stay on the boss and whittle down the endurance bar. Once that bar is at an acceptable level for the raid you will likely put your spike damage DPS on the boss to do as much damage as possible during their spike phase before the endurance bar eventually begins to refill. During this entire process, the DPS that does a mixture of health and endurance DPS would simply switch over to damaging health when viable and assist with bringing down the endurance bar when not. These are raid mechanics that each fight will differentiate on and each raid leader will determine per fight for their raid setup.
This is generally known as “Magic” in most games. For right now we are just going to refer to it as your Primary Resource as this will be its main function. Resource management will be important but we will not starve you during most fights. You will have the ability to rebuild this resource through your own actions, buffs by others, or mechanics presented in some fights. This resource will most commonly be built by throwing in a few of your weapon abilities. You will use Primary Resource abilities in order to build Momentum for your Momentum class abilities.
The Rune Slot will focus on increasing this resource and the regeneration of this resource as well as increasing health and endurance.
Momentum is a unique resource for us. The concept here was that we wanted the classes to stand out among any other in their roles. We didn’t want any DPS to look the same, we wanted one DPS to absolutely perform differently than others. To do this we had to create class abilities that were powerful… and I mean freaking powerful! We’ll talk about how we did this later.
So once we created powerful (think OP type abilities) class abilities we had to ensure these weren’t the only abilities being used. For starters, that gets boring for players. The other issue is if players are only using class abilities then we have to scale NPCs off of this assumption, which is fine, but it wasn’t something that created much opportunity for difficulty. Trust me, these class abilities are definitely strong!
So we created Momentum which is essentially a resource generated by performing your role in combat and using non Momentum abilities. Each ability generates a different amount based on how effective it is towards its target which means if a player is thinking about what they are doing then they will generate a much higher amount of Momentum vs a player who is mindlessly going from one target to the next.
Momentum cannot be gained outside of combat and it deteriorates quickly once a player is no longer in combat. This is to inspire players who would otherwise store Momentum up and worry about using it at the wrong place and wrong time to feel free to let their class abilities fly! Due to this, however, and the fact that classes have to remain unique outside of combat as well, we created non Momentum class abilities, two per class, that allow the player to use those two class abilities without the need of a resource.
Agility is a resource we are implementing to allow each player, regardless of class, to use special avoidance, or Agility Abilities (defined later). Allow me to say now that you will take a lot of damage. A lot of damage is intended and will be unavoidable and simply the task of the healers to keep the group alive. HOWEVER, this does not mean that every class simply eats all damage without attempting to negate some. This is where skill comes in.
We have provided every class with the same three avoidance abilities that have a cooldown timer on them as well as a resource pool to draw energy from. Instead of attaching this to the same resource pool as any of the classes (see Elder Scrolls Online™) we have chosen to separate this from all resource pools and give it its own function since all classes will use it; making one class pay for using it and not others seemed highly unbalanced and irrational.
You will have the ability to dodge damage via a roll but it will draw from the same resource pool as the Agility Abilities. Each player will be responsible for ensuring they have enough Agility to utilize these abilities as several raid fights and some of the more predominant boss fights will stress the use of these abilities and their specific design. You will have no one to blame but yourself and as the old adage goes: “You can’t heal stupid…”
These are our resource pools. Some are more easily managed than others, and some will be easier to manage yet as you get in the flow of playing your class. Our goal is to challenge you as often as possible in hopes that one day you will be able to take on the gods, themselves!
While the fine details are still being worked out we thought this concept was way too cool not to share early. We are working very hard to make this a very robust, meaningful, and balanced system. This will take time, a lot of planning, and extensive play-testing but it is very important to us. Weapons will be adjusted into several categories, and each category will have its own advantages and disadvantages versus certain types of armor and/or resistances. Piercing, Bludgeoning, Slashing - Damage Categories - These categories tell us the type of damage and thus the type of materials that would be more or less resistant to it. Heavy, Medium, Light - Weight Categories (melee) - These tell us the relative speed and impact of the weapon itself. Slow, Medium, Rapid - Speed Categories (ranged) - These tell us the relative speed of the firing weapon. Hard, Medium, Weak - Impact Categories (ranged) - These tell us the relative impact of the projectile. Unwieldy, Average, Deft - Precision Categories - These tell us how precise the weapon can be wielded. NOTE: Precision being the likelihood that an attack lands (while innately this is a high effect, there will be a minor degree of innate dodge/avoidance for every character in the game) The above categories get combined into a bonus/penalty rating versus every armor/resistance type. Those ratings are boosted/lowered based upon your skill at wielding the weapon/projectile in question, offset by your target's skill at defending/avoiding against that weapon/projectile. A stiletto knife would, for example, be rated as Piercing, Light, & Deft predominantly, with a much lower Slashing rating (due to very small surface area). Provided a high enough skill rating, and an agile wielder wearing armor that is light enough to leave them very mobile, this weapon could be very useful versus someone in full plate armor. However, lower skill or lower mobility renders this weapon relatively useless versus such an armored foe. A claymore, being predominantly Bludgeoning, Heavy, and Unwieldy, is going to rip an unarmored opponent to shreds… if it connects. Its minor Slashing damage could gain a further edge versus certain foes, however, it loses usefulness versus foes that are very heavily armored, or foes who are far more maneuverable than the wielder. The same kind of categorical bonus/penalty system is going to be applied to armor, casting, and even specific spell schools.
We want to see an ever-changing landscape in regards to weapons, armor, spell schools, fighting styles, techniques, and tactics. We want to see people specialize in specific styles but also make efforts to diversify enough to adapt when situations don't favor their preference. We want every item/drop that we or our players spend time and effort to create to be relevant, to a specific fight if not full time. We want players to be forced to play intelligently; with thought and planning. The days of mindless hack and slash are over. Sure, throwing on a suit of plate armor and picking up a sword and shield is going to serve you fairly well, fairly often. But it is not going to solve every situation. It is not going to be the best answer to all challenges, and sticking to your guns rather than adapting is going to make the game very hard for you to play at times... just as it would in "real life." We also want mix-match armor sets to mean something. We want the person who chooses a plate chest piece, chain boots, chain gloves, and plate pants to feel like he's getting the end result he was after. We want the guy who dual wields daggers but keeps a footman's mace slung on his hip to feel rewarded when those scenarios arise that force him to swap weapons. And we want the mindless drone that refuses to adapt to feel punished, or challenged, for sticking to his "guns" despite what he's facing.
...people carrying alternate suits of gear and weapons to cover every possible circumstance. There will be limitations. There will be inventory limits. There will be consequences for trying to change armor in combat, or digging through your bags to find weapons, or through books to find spells. Most importantly, this should force players to further diversify, create unique play-styles, coordinate and cooperate. Facing a boss and his minions won't be a single-solution affair. You will have to find people who specialize in other styles, weapons and armor to compliment your chosen path, in order to succeed... just as you would in the real world. You will find it exceedingly painful, challenging, and time-consuming if you insist on ignoring the "Multi-player" part of "Massively Multi-player." This is just another way we'll be enforcing that motif.
For us to believe we can be rid of the “Build of the Month” mentality is futile. Instead, we want to create a world where it is just as important to understand your class and the fights you are heading into vs memorizing a set of builds and key strokes. For the past decade games have boasted the need to prepare for each individual fight but have failed to fulfill the promise once you have jumped in game. This is one step we are making in an attempt to provide this thought provoking challenge – to push gamers PAST the point of mindless button mashing to obtain server/world first kills. Having a single specific tank type will no longer be viable for major raids, as has been promised, and we look forward to seeing how players interact with this and force us to adapt in order to continue to provide a challenge we know they crave! This is all just a brief overview, however, and far more detail in how to go about obtaining, leveling up items and abilities, and the different types of each will come over the next few months. So stick around, make sure to add our website to your favorites, and spread this information out to all of your friends! Prepare yourself… a challenge is finally coming!
Sacrament™ will host a twitch target combat system: you aim your cursor at your target and interact. We will have elements such as natural avoidance and natural critical hits calculated within the system, but the majority of your ability to hit a target will depend on whether or not you are facing the target and can see the target. There will be ground AoEs that can be strategically placed where you need them, PBAoEs (AoEs that go off FROM the caster’s current location; these include, but are not limited to, frontal cone attacks and radius effects), lock targeting (explained in the healing concepts release), focus targeting, and ways to alter certain abilities to swap between one form to another (a ground targeted AoE can be turned into a PBAoE by holding down control, for example). Collision detection will only function in such a way that NPCs will not be capable of a hard stack (or stacking within each other as you see in many games).
Though they can get really close together and can pass through one another, they cannot occupy the same location once multiple NPCs stop moving. Players will not work this way and will experience no collision detection among other players or NPCs. Players will be able to load abilities prior to combat and can even swap them out during combat, though they will have an innate 20 second cooldown and will be unable to perform any other action while memorizing the new spell loadout to their combat bar to avoid this system being abused. While it is important to plan accordingly, players should have the opportunity to adapt during the fight if allies fall or situations change. Major fights will be mechanic driven and each mechanic will need to be dealt with in order to prevent a group or raid wipe. While some groups or raids may attempt to DPS burn bosses down, they will find that our system is designed to specifically negate the DPS burn style that has become the typical MMO standard.
Every player will also be given a set of three abilities to help avoid/mitigate otherwise unavoidable damage that will be required to be used only when necessary. Determining when to use each ability will either save the group or raid from an instant wipe or simply prevent a majority of the players from dying from an otherwise powerful blow. Learning how to use these avoidance abilities will be half of the challenge, while avoiding the damage in between these phases will be the rest of it… Use an Avoidance Ability too soon and you’ll find yourself on the ground dealing with our Death Penalty mechanic which is absolutely unique to the MMO world!
There are five types of abilities in Sacrament™ though we are only going to cover four here
- 1. Weapon Abilities
- 2. Role Abilities
- 3. Class Abilities
- 4. Combat Agility Abilities
We will discuss Epic Abilities at a later date.
Weapon Abilities will use no resource but will increase your regeneration of your Primary Resource. These abilities will assign to the left and right mouse keys. Each weapon will have two abilities that do basic damage attacks that can be normal or elemental (random per weapon drop) and have no additional traits. The third weapon ability will be empty until a player using the melding system to create it.
This third melded ability will allow each player to take a class ability and meld a unique attribute to that skill. The results of each skill will vary greatly based on the weapon type, elemental damage (if any), and the class ability you use. This melded ability will have a small cooldown, generate a small amount of Momentum, and regenerate a part of your primary resource.
These are the bread and butter of the entire game. These abilities will have a general function and be usable by specific classes. As each class learns the ability the specific function will vary and is defined.
Role Type Abilities will be abilities that players can either loot off of enemies, buy from a merchant, craft, OR any combination of two of the three (but not all three). [There will be unique ability rewards (non tradeable) that will come at the end of a quest line; these abilities will level up in Rank as they level, you will not need to “find” the next rank for these abilities.] These abilities generate a moderate amount of Momentum if successful after casting. These abilities will all start out as Rank 1 (one) and have the ability to level up to Rank 4 (four) by leveling up the first rank, obtaining and learning the Rank 2 (two) version, leveling up the second rank, then obtaining and learning the Rank 3 (three) version, leveling up the third rank, and finally obtaining and learning the Rank 4 (four) version. Each subsequent rank will be obtained in a similar manner as the ranks before it.
- - Looted abilities will drop off of Open World trash type mobs (easiest in the game) for the first rank, then Open World boss type mobs and dungeon trash type mobs (medium difficulty) for the second rank, then dungeon boss mobs and all non-boss raid encounters (second hardest difficulty) for the third rank, and finally raid boss encounters (hardest difficulty) for the fourth and final rank.
- - Crafted abilities will require crafters to obtain items from harvesting for the first rank, crafting special items from those harvested items for the second rank, combining multiple special items to create a master item for the third rank, and combining master items to create a legendary item for the fourth rank.
- - Merchant purchased abilities can be purchased from that tiers faction merchant with no faction requirements for the first rank, obtaining “Amiable” (first faction above the middle most faction) faction standing for the second rank, obtaining “Kindly” (second faction above the middle most faction) faction for the third rank, and “Ally” (third faction above the middle most faction) faction for the fourth rank.
Currently, the first four tiers will hold all new abilities which each group of four tiers holding stronger versions of the first set of abilities. For example: tiers 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17 will hold the same types of abilities that get stronger as the tiers increase. The only exception to this is within tier 20 all abilities will drop at the tier 20 scale, though those would not naturally fall within tier 20 take longer to level up than those that would naturally fall within tier 20.
Class Type Abilities will consist of four Momentum using abilities and two Non-Momentum abilities. The Non-Momentum abilities can be used both in and out of combat. Each ability will use a different amount of Momentum but will have no cooldown timer. These abilities will level up, while their power will not increase per level their chance to be resisted will decrease slightly. At levels 40 and 80 each of these abilities will have the opportunity to obtain a new property that will add to the effectiveness of the ability, called evolution. Resetting these evolutions in order to learn new additions will cost a small amount of currency. Players will be required to level each evolution individually.
Examples of how evolution will work will be explained later in more depth.
ALL PLAYERS will have access to three specific Damage Avoidance abilities that will use a tertiary resource called Combat Agility. Combat Agility will only be used when a player activates one of the following three abilities:
Protective Bubble: This ability will mitigate 50% of incoming damage; 60 second cooldown (this is meant to take room wide AoEs that deal enough damage to 1 shot you without it and reduce the AoE’s damage in half, this ability will not work with room wide AoEs that deal 10x the amount of damage as the highest health pool potential in game).
Evasive Maneuvers: This ability will cause the character to dodge roll and provide a 1.5 second immunity window; 60 second cooldown (this ability is meant for room wide AoEs or focused attacks that would otherwise kill you, this is for when other abilities cannot mitigate enough damage to save your characters life).
Retreating Leap: This ability causes the character to jump backwards, avoiding unnecessary damage; 60 second cooldown (this is a basic quick step backwards ability, it does not provide immunity so it is not useful for focused attacks or room wide AoEs).
Invisibility will work slightly different in Sacrament™ from what players are used to; the same will be so from PvE to PvP though the PvP adjustments for invisibility will be noted in the PvP releases.
There will be four essential forms of Invisibility in Sacrament™:
- 1. Invisibility to Living Sight
- 2. Invisibility to Sound
- 3. Invisibility to Smell
- 4. Invisibility to Undead
Invisibility to Living Sight will allow players to hide from NPCs visual agro responses. So long as the player has not yet obtained agro they will continue to avoid agro from any NPC that can be affected by this ability’s effect. Does not provide benefits versus non-living NPCs. In PvP this ability will retain its value on all players and can be negated with See Through Invis buffs provided by items and clickies.
Invisibility to Sound will allow players to hide from NPCs audio agro responses. So long as the player has not yet obtained agro they will continue to avoid agro from any NPC that can be affected by this ability’s effect. Does not provide benefits versus non-living NPCs. In PvP this ability will allow players to blend into environment elements such as rocks, trees, walls, etc… but will not render them completely invisible to another player and can be negated with See Through Invis buffs provided by items and clickies.
Invisibility to Smell will allow players to hide from NPCs scent agro responses. So long as the player has not yet obtained agro they will continue to avoid agro from any NPC that can be affected by this ability’s effect. Does not provide benefits versus non-living NPCs. In PvP this ability does not work.
Invisibility to Undead will allow players to hide from all non-living NPCs senses; does not have separate focuses because undead creatures have their overall senses diminished naturally compared to living creatures. So long as the player has not yet obtained agro they will continue to avoid agro from any NPC that can be affected by this ability’s effect. Does not provide benefits versus living NPCs. In PvP this ability does not work.
NOTE: There is only one class in Sacrament™ that has an ability that converges all of these aspects if evolved correctly; Assassin.
Effects like DoTs will stack up to a set amount of times – for instance a DoT can stack 10 times total – (timers will not refresh with new DoTs; timers on the DoT debuff within the targets debuff window will show the timer that will wear off next as well as how many stacks of the DoT are on the mob). Players will all contribute to the DoT stack per DoT (this will allow multiple players to provide the same DoTs to the mob with Ability CD timers keeping one player from taking up all DoT stack counters). This rule applies for HoTs as well.
For the longest time I’ve always wondered why a powerful mage could not simply cast a fireball… why it had to have a cast timer of two seconds. This has not only kept me from playing most caster type classes, it has also caused me to truly despise any class that could not function while moving. What we’ve done is removed cast timers. I know many of you will like this, and coupled with the fact that we can weigh the damage output in house and ensure it doesn’t get out of hand, why not? So why have we done this? Simply put we have such a robust combat system, including keeping your feet in ideal locations, that we didn’t feel it was necessary to force a player to stand still while casting something they had supposedly been studying and training to do for years now! I mean we can be honest for a second right? You didn’t start your character as a baby! This character, the point at which you are taking control, has been studying their classes capabilities for YEARS now… so why are they so incapable and lacking in focus that they must stand still at nearly every cast? We cannot justify this, therefore it was thrown out with the trash. One thing you will definitely see is a world where certain enemies are resistant to certain spell types and others are more vulnerable to them. With the way the armor system works (the combo slots specifically) you will find a highly versatile system in place to ensure that even casters must consider their magical elements wisely before going into a major boss fight… especially in raids!
ALL COMBAT DATA will be sent to the player. This includes damage received from all sources for all sources, damage dealt by all sources to all sources, and everything in between. We will work with creating an in game Combat Log system that will support combat meters. Combat meters will read and provide ALL relevant data to include damage per second, heals per second, damage received per second, damage mitigated per second, and ALL data that compiles to generate the per second total. Combat Logs will persist for the entirety of the fight and will NOT end for a player when they die. ALL players will begin on the parse the moment their group/raid starts an encounter and will end immediately following the death of the final enemy in the encounter. ALL dungeons and raids will track PER encounter and for the entirety of encounters for the dungeon/raid.
Buffs and Debuffs will only be applicable ONCE PER TARGET unless otherwise specified. This goes for NPCs and Players in both PvE and PvP. If a debuff is on the back end of a DoT then it does not apply to this rule. If a buff is on the back end of a HoT then it does not apply to this rule.
You will be able to swap ability loadouts during combat but they will not be able to move or perform any action while memorizing the abilities to your bar and once they are there your entire combat bar will have a 15 second cooldown before you can activate any ability other than Agility Abilities and Weapon Abilities.
This system is to ensure that the cooldowns that take place on abilities is not negated by swapping abilities and having them readily available and swapping again resulting in macroing commands to an external keyboard and performing massive amounts of DPS without utilizing any skill or thought. Why anyone would “play” a game this way is beyond us, but that doesn’t keep them from paying to let a keyboard play for them. (And yes, this is considered cheating and when found you will be banned).
The Ability Loadout is just the name of your current ability set that you’ve got equipped. You will be able to save 10 loadouts within the game design.
Each ability slot will be a preformed macro. This macro will have a spot for you to attach the ability as well as lines below that will allow you to assign group, raid, say, tell, and other message commands to the ability in the event that you wish to let others know of certain buffs that are on them, defenses that are up, heals that are being used, et cetera.
As for general macros we are still considering whether or not we want these to be functional within a combat scenario. What we do not want is the Rift™ style combat where you inserted a list of abilities in priority of what you wanted cast and then just spam a single button. So long as we can safely prevent this from happening then we will likely allow the additions of macros within combat. Outside of combat, we will have plenty of access to macros, especially for role players and those who wish to delve into our Instrumentation System - details of which will be outlined at a later date.
Weapons don't pose the same threat versus every type of armor. Armor doesn't offer the same protection versus every kind of attack, or damage. What you're wearing and carrying changes the potency of the kinds of spells, and actions, you're trying to perform. A mace, club, or quarterstaff is far more effective versus chain armor than a sword is. A small dagger is useless versus full plate armor, in general use. Plate armor makes it harder to move, dodge, and perform any kind of acrobatic maneuvers. Cloth armor makes you the fastest on the battlefield and very hard to actually "connect" with on an attack, but each blow can be devastating. The nuances of realistic combat are going to finally make their way into a video game. You are going to have to choose your gear, your training, and your chosen expertise very, very carefully.