September 7, 2012

Areas, Threshold, and Maiming

The Area subsystem helps give the game a sizable part of its Mecha feel, you get to build your robot however you like it, and you get to hack those of your opponents apart. Everyone has a large(ish) pool of HP, but taking Damage weakens them and hampers their performance as they lose access to their best offensive and defensive abilities. In addition, this mirrors (mostly) how Plot Armor works with its increasing damage and lasting Consequences.

That said there's a couple of issues with it. A lot of the time the first Maim is the most defining one, taking away the things that are most important to the enemy and making the rest of the battle snowball from there. Because of this abilities that repair Areas back to normal are crucial against an opponent who knows where to hit.

Which is a bit of a problem because there aren't that many of them, and it basically boils down to having to eat up one of your Genre Power slots with Determinator just to be safe. You can fix it by making the Area to be Maimed a sacrifice on the part of the receiver, thus drastically doing away with the snowball factor, but that creates a problem of its own in that you want to stack up all your stuff in one or two areas and always leave those for last. So until I do my extensive rewrite of all these little things, here's a pair of workarounds that can be implemented without much trouble.

One Step Away

-When an Area would be Maimed, the defender chooses which one. Genre Powers such as Called Shot can ignore this.
-The First Upgrade or Weapon to any non-Core Area can go anywhere, but further ones must go to Areas that don't have anything yet.
-No Area can hold more than two Upgrades or Weapons in excess of the one that holds the least.
-Remember that Gears are still bound by the limits of Area Capacity.

Gears Upgrades and Weapons during construction in a way that keeps all non-Core Areas balanced in the number of things they hold. You can still game the system a little by slapping cheap stuff to the Areas that you don't mind that much, or give them one-use stuff. Still an improvement if Maiming has been a thorn in your side.

Two Steps Away

-When an Area would be Maimed, the defender chooses which one. Genre Powers such as Called Shot can ignore this.
-No Area can hold more than one Upgrade or Weapon in excess of the one that holds the least.
-Area Capacities are gone and all have effectively limitless space.
-Upgrades and Weapons that can normally go only in specific Areas can ignore this for an additional cost of 1 UP and go to any non-Core Area. Core-exclusive Upgrades do not benefit from this potential reallocation.

This one is more strict on the balancing, but you also have more freedom of where anything can go, and no longer have to worry about running out of space anywhere. It is less gameable, though it is much easier to stack Core stuff now, and encourages having different sets of abilities in different Area for different needs.

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