Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wishlist for Lords of Xulima 2, Part 4

Have you already played Lords of Xulima? Even if you only played for a tiny little hour, the following chapter will cover a very familiar sting of anger that you have felt during combat.

Melee attack in Lords of Xulima with 51% hit rate.
Low chances to hit like this one are a pretty common sight.

5. Hits, misses and critical fails

In Lords of Xulima you have to get used to hit rates around 70% and a slim chance of around 2% to hit yourself with your attack due to a critical fail. Much has been said about this, and it has rarely been positive. The bottom line: these things take control away from the player (especially critical fails) and lead to spikes of frustration. It is especially hilarious if you critically fail with an Envenomed Strike, poison yourself with it and then the character dies to the poison.

On top of that, hit and evasion statistics are also very convoluted mechanics. “+2 damage” is a pretty obvious benefit and it´s easy to calculate how useful it is. In the case of “+5 Accuracy rating” you would need formulas and a calculator and compute it individually for every kind of enemy to even get a basic idea about whether it is actually useful.

Attack rating in Lords of Xulima.
Can you tell me if 123 attack rating is enough to hit an enemy with 70 evasion with a higher chance than 70%?
Modern approaches to this issue try to replace the misses with something more rewarding and fun. Full misses were replaced with glancing blows/ fumbles in Torchlight 2. Instead of doing 0% damage with a miss, a glancing blow would still deal a small fraction of damage. There was also a skill to reduce this damage penalty on glancing blows.

Explanation of Fumbles in Torchlight 2.
The Fumble mechanic found in Torchlight 2.
Critical fails could be replaced with the chance to perform an additional attack. That´s something I could imagine for a Lords of Xulima sequel. Now you may wonder whether this would make characters too powerful. And the answer is: no. Through the power of math you can adjust all these events and calculations to get to the same DPS as with the archaic “hit and miss” mechanic. And I think we can all agree that an additional attack feels so much more satisfying in comparison to a critical fail.
Just a quick example: if a character deals 100 damage per hit and has a 50% hit chance, you can change it to 50 damage per hit and a 100% hit chance. Both iterations would deal an average of 50 damage per hit but the second one would do it much more reliably and feel less like a gamble. This was a pretty basic example but it can also be applied to the chance to perform an additional attack and what other exotic mechanics that you can come up with. 

Were you annoyed by the frequent misses or should they return in Lords of Xulima 2? Or was your party so expertly crafted that you never experienced any issues?

Browse the complete wishlist

Part 1: The food system and non-combat skills
Part 2: Getting loot, item enchantments
Part 3: Side-quests
Part 4: Hits, misses and critical fails
Part 5: This one is found in the subscriber-only area. Subscribe to the blog
Part 6: Gaulen the Explorer, the main character
Part 7: Difficulty settings  
Part 8: Game balance
Part 9: Wishes from a veteran Might and Magic player

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