Skills and Blessings
we've been talking a lot about Skills and Blessings here in the dev team. What did we learn from the skill systems of former M&M episodes? Which skills and blessings are useful for game mechanics?
To cut a long story short: In MMX, Skills are combat-related, they apply to single characters and you can spend points on them to improve them. Blessings, on the other hand, are non-combat abilities that apply to the whole party. Let’s go further into detail:
In MMX, all skills are combat related. Here’s a list:
- Magical Focus
- Arcane Discipline
- Medium Armor
- Heavy Armor
- Magic (Air/Earth/Water/Fire/Light/Darkness/Primordial)
As mentioned in this post about trainers and character development, each of the skills in MMX has four tiers: Novice, Expert, Master and Grandmaster. Each tier grants special features, and these features are cumulative.
For example, Warfare Novices start out with extra maximum Mana points that rise with each new skill level. Also they start with a Warfare ability. Two more Warfare abilities are added with each new tier the character unlocks.
Some more examples:
- The Endurance skill increases the maximum Health of a character by some points per level while adding an extra percentage for every skill rank.
- Arcane Discipline Novices have increased resistance to all Magic Schools that increases further with each skill level. Experts have their incoming crit magic damage reduced by a certain percentage, and it will be further reduced when the character unlocks the Master tier. Grandmasters of Arcane Discipline restore a certain amount of their mana points whenever they resist a magic spell.
- Sword Novices start out with an increased damage and attack value. With each new skill level, these values increase by a certain number. When unlocking the Expert tier, the character also gains an increased critical hit chance. Unlocking the Master tier adds an additional strike with the main hand against the target monster whenever the character crits successfully for the first time (if the attack has been made with a sword). Grandmaster tier again increases the damage done with swords – but by a higher percentage for each skill level than the Novice tier does.
Blessings are permanent, positive, non-combat effects that apply to the whole party. They come as rewards for certain actions, and their gameplay impact is general, which means they don't depend on an action of a single character. There is one blessing for each of the six dragon gods of Ashan.
The six dragons represent the six Blessings
Spot Secrets and Swimming for example occur in the game as Blessings. Each blessing also grants general benefits to all party members: additional resistance to the School of Magic that corresponds with the respective Blessing, and access to certain places on the map.
So why do we have blessings at all? Because we wanted to differentiate between Skills (where you can spend points to improve effect/efficiency) and what we now call Blessings, which are either on or off. Or to say it with Julien’s words: “If it’s a skill you can spend points in it, if it’s a blessing you get it once and for all.”
Not all non-combat skills that you might know from former M&M episodes have been transformed to Blessings though. Your characters can also learn things from spells (like for example Identify), and also there are hirelings that grant your party members certain abilities (for example the Negotiator). Some features that were skills in former M&M episodes are considered to be standard functions of a game today. Therefore, we decided to do without the Direction Sense and the Cartography skill, since automapping and the indication of direction on the mini-map have made them obsolete.
Some abilities come in different shapes. Spot Traps for example does exist as Spell, as Hireling and as Blessing.
MMX differentiates between Skills (combat-related, applying to single characters, you can spend points to improve their effect or efficiency) and Blessings (abilities that apply to the whole party and that are binary; either you have them or you don’t). Also, you can gain certain abilities via Spells or Hirelings.