The four attributes are now Force, Finesse, Fortitude, and Focus, and they begin at 0.
- Force represents Avenie's ability to impart force with her magic, whether for swinging a weapon or casting an attack spell. Each point of Force increases the damage Avenie deals with physical and magical attacks by 5%.
- Finesse represents Avenie's ability to precisely direct her magic. Finesse allows her to move her body quickly and precisely. Each point of Finesse increases Avenie's evasion by 1 and her critical chance by 1%.
- Fortitude represents Avenie's ability to weather attacks. Each point of Fortitude increases Avenie's protection by 1 and her maximum health by 5. (This one is likely to change slightly)
- Focus represents Avenie's ability to control her reserves of magical energy. Each point of Willpower increases Avenie's maximum energy by 5, and her damage multiplier for critical attacks by 10%.
The motivation is not only to make all four attributes useful, but to make it an interesting decision to choose between them - because every time you gain a level, you get to pick one attribute to increase by 1. Games with such a system often suffer from a problem where the obviously optimal choice is to put all your attribute points into one stat. The inherent synergy between Force, Finesse, and Focus is an intentional attempt at fighting that.
(Note: the screenshot shows the wrong spell critical chance, it should be at 4% because of the 4 Finesse. Yes, spells crit now.)
Protection and Evasion have also changed. Avenie's Protection number is simply subtracted from all incoming damage, and I mean all - melee attacks, arrows, spells, everything. For comparison, the default behavior in Grimrock 2 is that a random number between 50% and 150% of your Protection is subtracted from melee attack damage only, and it doesn't affect ranged attacks at all.
So don't panic when you see that a plate cuirass only gives 6 protection - it's much more valuable than 12 protection is in Isle of Nex.
Evasion is even more different. Like Protection, it now works on all incoming damage. (Maybe you can't dodge an explosion, but Avenie can.) Each point of Evasion reduces the remaining chance of being hit by 2%. In other words, the chance of Avenie dodging an attack is 1-0.98^Evasion.
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Evasion Dodge rate 0 0% 1 2% 10 18% 20 33% 30 45% 40 55% 50 64% 75 78% 100 87% 150 95%
The fundamentals of the skill system are still in place. However, there are fewer skills, skills don't have breakpoints anymore, and they aren't capped at 5 levels.
The skill bar does this instead:
The skills screen is still unfinished, and has some placeholder graphics, but I think it's worth looking at:
Every skill has a rebalanced effect, but the most interesting changes are to weapons and spells. Avenie can cast spells no matter what she's wielding; using spells while wielding two daggers, or an axe and a shield, or even two shields, is possible. Spellcasting still shares a cooldown with weapon attacks, however.
Weapons have changed quite a bit, too:
- Heavy weapons are the simplest. They're big and do big damage, much more than light weapons and ranged weapons. Two-handed heavy weapons are even more powerful.
- Light weapons don't have nearly as much DPS as heavy weapons. However, light weapons have independent cooldowns - attacking with a light weapon won't place Avenie's other hand, or her spellcasting, on cooldown. A two-handed light weapon places both her hands on cooldown, but not her spellcasting. This is what allows dual-wielding, and there is no penalty for dual-wielding. If you're looking for high melee damage, an alternative to two-handed heavy weapons is dual-wielding a one-handed light weapon and a one-handed heavy weapon - though you'll need investment in both skills for this to be effective. Another option is two light weapons + spellcasting.
- Ranged weapons are all consolidated into the Missile Weapons skill. Throwing weapons are one-handed. Bows, crossbows, and the like are two-handed and more powerful. Firearms can be one-handed or two-handed. All ranged weapons have infinite ammunition. Ranged weapons do less damage than melee weapons.
All attack spells use only a single skill. Firebeam only uses fire magic, Ball Lightning only uses air magic, etc. So if you're looking to maximize your damage per spell, sure, put all your points in one skill.
But all buff spells work best with skills spread around. The new Shield spell uses both your Earth and Water Magic skills to determine how much Protection it grants you, and 5 levels of both is better than 10 levels of one.
Furthermore, Fire Magic isn't useful against fire immune monsters, so spreading your magic skills around will give you better coverage.
- Fire Magic attack spells deal fire damage. Fire attack spells are powerful, practical, and plentiful, but fire magic offers no defensive powers.
- Air Magic attack spells deal shock damage. Air attack spells are powerful, but cannot be precisely controlled. Lightning Bolt can't be aimed, it just zaps the nearest monster; Ball Lightning bounces around like crazy.
- Earth Magic attack spells deal poison or physical damage. Earth attack spells have poor range, but physical damage is rarely resisted and the spells may have useful secondary effects, such as Leeching Grasp's life stealing.
- Water Magic attack spells deal cold or dispelling damage. Water attack spells aren't finished yet.
Earth+Water offers Shield, which covers Avenie's skin with ice and rock, increasing her Protection.
Air+Water offers Repulsion, which deflects incoming attacks, increasing Avenie's Evasion.
Air+Earth offers Elemental Barrier, which increases Avenie's resistances.
Air+Earth+Water offers Augmentation, which increases Avenie's core attributes proportional to her skill with the aligned element (Fire: Force, Air: Finesse, Earth: Fortitude, Water: Focus).
Expect these to change.
Note that you don't actually get 70 skill points at level 11 - that's just for demonstrative purposes. You get 2 skill points per level, and one attribute point per level. Every 5th level, you get a trait point, allowing Avenie to learn a powerful unique ability. I showed this in the original post, but the trait shown in that post was more of a placeholder. The real traits give more unique bonuses:
- Aura of Might - Avenie's magical strength is so great that she can wield two-handed weapons in one hand. Use a powerful two-handed heavy weapon with a shield? Dual-wield two-handed light weapons? Dual-wield a two-handed heavy weapon and a two-handed light weapon? All possible.
- Unbound Magic - When Avenie casts a spell, pure energy zaps all her foes within a radius of 2 squares, with base attack power equal to the spell's energy cost. If there are no foes in range, Avenie is refunded half the energy cost instead. Remember, this damage is increased by Force and can crit.
- Absorption - When Avenie deals damage to a foe, her health and energy are restored by 10% of the damage dealt. Combine this with Force of Will to stay fighting for a long, long time.