I suppose it’s my turn to give a peek into Nesslifia, and all it entails. My name is Adam Karlan, and I’m a technical and creative designer for XIV Digital Arts. For this installment I’ll be reviewing some of the in-game mechanics, and development of characters from concept to creation. Now this may seem like quite a big topic to cover. Well that’s because it is, but we’ll go through it together.
First thing we’ll start with is the basic concept of our character archetypes. Founder and creator, Darryl Castone first dreamed up a bare bones cast some 17 years ago, and has always had a reference for the units, or people if you will, that inhabit this game world. I say “people” because when you spend hundreds of hours tinkering with the attributes, growth, and behaviors of a fictional character, they become rather real. I’m sure that Darryl would agree that the headlining cast of Legends of Nesslifia are as real as any person that we interact with on a daily basis, again because we DO interact with them on a daily basis, but I digress. Coming on board I was presented with a handful of unit classifications: fighters, rogues, etc. and each of them had a general guideline of moves and abilities. This was where my specialty really took hold.
I’ve been fascinated by the ins & outs of video game creation since I was a kid, however my childhood, while on the cusp of the technological super boom that we currently live in, still had the wonderful element of non-digital interaction. It was in these days that I would dream up all kinds of games like turn based war games with plastic army men or a fortress building game using Legos. I was also fortunate enough to be introduced to tabletop role-playing games such as D&D, Pathfinder, and many more. In hindsight all of these experiences cultivated a creative engine in my mind for personifying imaginary things, which brings us to back to the project at hand.
We had to determine how each unit archetype would naturally develop. If you are deploying armor clad knights, they would have to be strong and durable. This form of archetypal unit definition can be seen across generations of RPG games. As you may have read before, older games like Final Fantasy, and Legend of Zelda have had a big impact on the lives of our team, and it is only fitting that our character development pays tribute to some of these genre defining titles as we build upon them in unique, and creative ways. I began by first drawing up a set of statistics that determine a given unit’s growth values for all relevant stats i.e. strength, willpower, health etc. These were labeled “progression scores” and together with some simple RNGs (Random Number Generators) became the basis for all units that you will encounter within the Nesslifian universe. We coupled these hand in hand with a point system rewarded to the player as he/she levels each unit. The points accrued can then be doled out into any category of growth that the player would like. This helps differentiate and diversify units within each class, so no two units will ever be exactly the same. In Legends of Nesslifia, you can build, and fortify an army of your own liking, and we want each and every unit to feel personal to the player, by giving them unique roles and purpose.
To better exemplify this, we can showcase two Knights, a self-explanatory bruiser class adept in offense and defense that will be fully revealed in time. Now when these two knights are first generated, one may come out naturally stronger than the other, while the latter has a higher defense. The player can, as each unit levels, choose to balance these two units into similarity, further specialize the unit toward their natural strengths, or even diversify the units into other statistical strengths like making a knight fast but sturdy, an oddly rare combination in games in general. That particular unit could come in handy if, for instance, your troops are spread thin and you need a tank that can dart back and forth between squads. The ability to customize each and every unit hopes to give a reason to invest, study, and strategize with your units more, and develop a relationship of sorts with them as well as offer the ability to diversify and create your own style of gameplay.
The last thing I will cover is how we strive to give each and every class clear use and balance. Legends of Nesslifia is about building a team and using them strategically, but we as designers don’t want to limit anyone from playing how they wish to play. It became clear then that all units and classes needed to have support, damage and defense capabilities. I can’t divulge too much about any given class right now. For that you’ll have to follow our blog and stay tuned for updates on each of the 12 initial battle classes! The idea is that you as the player can use any combination of those classes to achieve victory if you strategize, and build correctly. Suppose you really identify with ranged units, there is nothing stopping you from deploying 15 archers, and while this may not be the greatest path to success, it remains a valid option. That freedom is something we are striving to give the player. Many games, indie and AAA alike, force the player into assumed roles, but we want your experience within Legends of Nesslifia to be one that offers you multiple roles, and lets you build them all as you see fit.
I do apologize if anyone is left with more questions than when we started. If I could sit down and share every little detail about this game right now, I would, but I hope the system peaked your interest, and I encourage everyone to follow us as we continue to reveal more of Legends of Nesslifia.