We posted an article last year about some ideas we had for making ailments more useful in combat. We thought we’d share an update there on what we’re working with now since there have been some changes.
For starters, we’re going to be aiming for Cosmic Star Heroine to have fewer, but more meaningful battles than many RPGs. In an RPG where combat is always over quickly, direct damage is always the correct choice (defeat the enemy as quickly as possible) but when you have battles that may last longer, then more interesting strategies become viable.
With the exception of ailments that are specific to a certain type of enemy (like Rust on a robotic enemy), enemies are not immune to ailments.
Ailment success is not random. Essentially each enemy has a separate hidden ailment HP for each ailment type. For example, an enemy might have 40 “Stun HP.” If you used a Stun ability that dealt 40 Stun damage, then the enemy would be successfully stunned. Alternatively, if you used a Stun ability that only dealt 20 Stun damage, then the enemy would only be stunned after you used that ability twice on them (or combined it with another stun ability that dealt 20 or more stun damage).
Trying to Stack or repeat the same ailment on the same enemy becomes more and more difficult with each stack.
Some abilities will not just inflict ailments. For example, Alyssa’s basic “Bash” attack will deal damage and also has a small stun effect as well.
Some characters will have powerful ailment abilities that are more effective against certain enemy types. For example, Dave’s “Hack” ability is more effective at charming robotic enemies than organic or astral enemies.
Here are the ailments we’re currently planning to use. As usual, the specifics are subject to change between now and the game’s release.
- Stun – Skip a turn. Does not stack.
This takes the place of the Interrupt function that we had in our previous 2 games (Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 & 4) in that it lets you prevent the enemy from taking action.
- Charm – Will hurt allies or help enemies. Can stack additional turns.
Note, it’s highly unlikely that any enemies will have access to inflicting this ability, just because we know how annoying this can be (from experience in other RPGs).
- Confuse – Has a chance to act regularly (34%), do nothing (33%), or act charmed (33%). Can stack for additional turns.
Our one ailment with a random element to it. Can be very useful… or do absolutely nothing.
- Disarm – 30% damage penalty to next attack. Cancels 1 buff. Does not stack.
Very useful if you know the enemy is charging up for a powerful move.
- Vulnerable – Takes double damage on the next hit. Does not stack.
Very useful for setting up combos (use right before you know you’re going to unleash a powerful move) for massive damage.
- Enraged – Will target the most recent enemy that targeted it. Reduces damage of multi-target abilities by 20% but increases the damage of single-target abilities by 30%. Can stack for additional turns.
Useful for controlling enemy movement and for weakening enemies with powerful multi-target abilities.
Enemy Type Specific:
These are ailments that only work on specific classes of enemies. All of these ailments last for the entire battle once they’re inflicted.
- Poison – Takes damage at the end of each turn. Organic enemies only. Can stack for additional damage.
This is the only ailment where stacking the ailment increases the effect (more damage each turn) rather than adding additional turns (since it already lasts the entire battle).
- Rust – Takes damage at the end of each turn. Lowers speed by 20%. Robotic enemies only. Does not stack.
Can’t deal as much damage as poison can (due to the multiple stacks) but deals a good amount of damage & slows down the enemy.
- Curse – Lowers attack, defense, and speed by 20%. Astral enemies only. Does not stack.
Doesn’t deal damage like the other two ailments, but significantly weakens the enemy.
- Fatigue - Reduces Max HP by 10% for the rest of the battle. Stacks up to 5 times.
Most of the time, fatigue is self-inflicted by using certain powerful abilities. Also most heal effects inflict fatigue on the target (the stress of rapid healing takes its toll on a body).
- Desperate - Automatically inflicted if HP goes below 0. Dies at the end of the next turn if HP is not positive.
Under certain circumstances, player characters can survive a hit that would otherwise defeat them. When this happens, they enter desperate status and are defeated at the end of their next turn if they do not win the battle or bring their HP back to a positive amount. Certain passives & equipment may bestow additional bonuses for characters while they’re in desperate status.
- Hypochondria – Lowers resistance to damage & ailments for the rest of the battle. Does not stack.
Hypochondria is an interesting ailment in that it cannot be directly inflicted on an enemy. Instead, enemies will automatically contract hypochondria if they are hit with enough ailments over the course of the battle. Hypochondria is inflicted faster if you hit an enemy with different ailment types rather than just stacking the same ailment multiple times.
We’re hopeful that by increasing the length of the average battle, removing the random aspect of inflicting ailments, designing useful ailments & abilities that inflict them, ailments will become an important and interesting part of combat in Cosmic Star Heroine and not the afterthought that they are in many RPGs.
Finally, on another note, here’s an update on the video preview that we mentioned earlier. The two areas that we’re planning on showing off have all of their maps finished (9 maps total) so right now, we’re adding story events, and working on the battles for those areas. Not sure how long it’ll be until we’re ready to show it off, but it shouldn’t be much longer.