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At the heart, the second-to-second gameplay mechanics are the same as a fighting game, where the player’s objective is to chain attacks together consecutively as quickly as possible for as long as possible without being interrupted or taking damage themselves. This breaks down into a few key concepts:
- Timing weapon attacks and learning the timing and patterns of monster attacks
- Learning all weapon attack options and how they chain together in combinations
- Efficiency of movement options including dodging, sprinting, and weapon-specific movements
- Gauging range of weapon attacks and learning ranges of monster attacks
Progressive feelings of mastery of micro mechanics are important to a player’s long-term progression and retention. The diagrams below are examples of ways to enable early players at wildly different skill levels to attain a feeling of mastery + success. For some players, this will be more complete than others, but what is important is to build confidence in the player that they have reached a level of proficiency to meet bigger challenges.
Players who come from Dark Souls-like games may be naturally inclined to strong control on timing and movement, likely to be able to have success early without leveraging much of macro systems.
Some players may be unfamiliar with 3D action games in general, and rely solely on a single aspect of micro mechanics, like learning the timings of a monster.
Playing with fighting games background (Street Fighter, Tekken, etc.) are likely to quickly grasp micro mechanics concepts and have an easy ramp-up during early game progression.
Each weapon type (bow, sword, shield, spear, etc.) can be looked at as a different character in a fighting game. Each has its own set of moves and attributes for movement. In this way mastery is not a singular path, a player may master one weapon quickly, but be a relative beginner in other weapon types.
Monsters will also come in a wide variety to be naturally resistant to certain types of weapons. This will encourage players to craft new weapon types and challenge them to master new skills.
Movement is not the same across weapon types. In fact, even basic movement is dictated by the weapon type a player is wielding. A bow-wielding player will strafe and dodge faster than a greatsword-wielding player.
In addition to basic movement, a universal special movement-ability is key to raising the skill ceiling and allowing for player creativity to explore a seemingly infinite realm of “what is possible?” in mastering the game. A movement mechanic that has seen popularity and success in a number of game genres is the grapple-swing. This is a good reference point because it provides a few key aspects - both for game-feel and for spectatorship (streaming/clips):
- 1.Freeform Verticality - full 360 freedom of player to decide where to launch themselves
- 2.Timing - grappling is not instant and requires a visually obvious level of prediction/skill-based intuition to do it perfectly in a battle
- 3.Randomness - nearly infinite ways for the movement to create surprising & entertaining results: epic successes & hilarious fails
Every weapon type’s moveset will be designed with accessible basic combos that are intuitive to a player who is keen to jump straight into the action and start mashing buttons. These basic combos will never output optimal damage, but they will still be generally effective.
Optimal damage combos will require more knowledge of specific attack combinations, weapon mechanics, item preparation, and monster data. These combos will have longer sequences of sustained damage than basic combos, but also require more complex input sequences from the player with longer periods of commitments.
🔵 = Normal Attack
🟡 = Heavy Attack
🔷 = Special Attack
🔶 = Heavy Special Attack
🟪 = Consumable Item
🏃♂️ = Dodge