New Combat System

We’ve been talking about a new combat system for a few weeks now. We’ve tested it, and we’re excited to show it off – we feel it’s a big improvement on what was already a fun system.

We had two goals when we started designing the system, both with the ultimate goal of making a more fun game. The first was to make the combat system more intuitive. The second was to make combat less of a puzzle, and more of an interactive experience. In addition to meeting those two goals, we gained some additional benefits – the game play is smoother, quicker, and more responsive now.

Combat Mechanics

During the combat phase, you have time to declare attacks and blocks. Both players do this simultaneously, without seeing what their opponent will choose. Once both people are done, all attacks and blocks are revealed, and resolve simultaneously.

When units fight, they deal damage to each other. That damage is cumulative (just like the old system) – eventually, a horde of tiny units can take down even the biggest opponent.

To declare an attack, you click the “attack” icon (currently a red fist). To declare a block, you click the “block” icon (currently a blue shield), and then click the unit that you want to block. Each unit can be blocked by exactly one opposing unit each turn.

Of course, you don’t know what your opponent is going to do, so you might end up declaring a block against a unit that’s not attacking. In this case, your block won’t happen, and your unit will do nothing.

Mind Games

The new system really opens up the opportunity to out-think and out-bluff your opponent. Even if an attack might look like a bad idea (maybe you have a 2/2 and they have a 4/4), it might still be worthwhile. After all, for your unit to die, your opponent has to choose to block, and that means also choosing not to attack. So, to pick the best strategy, you need to figure out what your opponent’s planning to do.

We’ve found the bluffing and reading your opponent to be a really interesting play pattern, and one that reminds us a lot of competitive Street Fighter and other fighting games.

More Improvements

We didn’t stop at combat improvements. We’ve made some more improvements to other areas of game play as well. The biggest one is the way Powers resolve. We really liked taking units off the stack. So, we decided to try out taking Powers off the stack too. It’s made the game feel much more responsive, and our internal testers like the change a lot. So, we’ve included it in our demo build.

Because the change makes cards like “Cancel” obsolete, we will need to add in a mechanic that allows you to stop or modify powers that your opponent plays. We’ve designed a few options that we’re trying out now, and as soon as we have one we really like, we’ll include it in a demo. Speaking of demos…

A new demo build!

We’ve added a new demo build, with a few differences this time. First off, this build has the new combat system, and all the other game play improvements. Secondly, the only thing in this zip file is the client, because we’ve got a test server up and running.

To connect to our test server, follow these instructions:

  1. Download the build, unzip it, and run the client (NovaBlitzDemo.exe).
  2. Click the gear icon in the bottom right corner, and enter “52.11.254.64” as the IP address.
  3. Select a deck.
  4. You can now play vs the AI or vs a real human (if someone else is online). I’d recommend setting up matches with your friends, or with other players on our forums.

One big thing to note: The build’s running on a very simple server – there’s no load balancing, fault tolerance, or redundancy. That means it can, and will, break. When it does, we’ll put it back on its feet. Also, this build won’t be up forever. If you can’t connect, that probably means we ended this demo for some reason – you can check the forums to find out why.

Speaking of the forums, we’d love to hear your feedback on the build, how it plays, and what you’d like to see next. Let us know what you think so we can make Nova Blitz even better!

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