Hey all, Jay here to give you a more in-depth look at Nekro, and how the game actually plays on a minute-to-minute basis. Let me start off by saying these are pre-alpha gameplay mechanics and ideas. None of these are set in stone, and we’d love to hear feedback for ways to improve the concepts. That said, let’s get started.
Q: How does the game move from encounter to encounter? Is it a big open world? Is there a map?
The game takes place on an overworld (think a game board). Your Nekro’s tower (the source of all your power) lies on one side of the map, while the King’s castle is on the other. In between your tower and the castle are a cluster of connected world locations (cells). Think of how Mario plays when you’re selecting a stage – you move Mario from one stage to the next in a linear path. Sometimes the level you’re on branches out to multiple directions and you can pick which one you move to. In Nekro, the world consists of levels much like Mario.
You move the Nekro from each level, or cell, to the next. Each spot on the board is controlled by one of three factions – You (Nekro faction), the neutrals (hill troll, wolves, vampires), or the King’s army (Townie, Houses, Templars). Each cell has a power node inside of it. Whomever controls that power node controls the cell. The difference between Nekro and Mario however, is anyone can take over any cell. The towns folk can move forward and build a fort on a cell. A vampire can attack that same town and put a vampire’s tower on that cell. The world is always evolving. The really dynamic part comes in when you want to go ‘inside’ a cell. The map uses dynamic objects to create the game world.
For example, let’s say you’re advancing your Nekro forward to the King’s castle cell by cell, taking over each one you reach. You come upon a cell blocked by a town, you cannot move over this cell until you control it and raze the town. Let’s say this cell happens to land on a volcanic section of the map. On an adjacent cell lies a Hill Troll den. You decide to attack the town. From the overworld map, you click on the cell you wish to attack, in this case, the cell with the town on it. You then are taken out of the overworld map, and put into the actual game mode (the one you saw in the video with gameplay). The game then generates the level using those outside elements. So the level you’re now walking around in will have a town, the Nekro (and whatever monsters he brought with him), and a hill troll den. All taking place within a volcanic tileset. That’s how Nekro generates its worlds dynamically – using the elements around you in the overworld to propagate a randomly generated underworld environment.
Q: What is the goal of Nekro? Can you “win” the game?
The objective of Nekro is to take over regions of the game world and advance to the King’s castle, where you will fight an epic battle with the King. If you kill the King, you win the round. If the King destroys your Nekro Tower, you lose. The game can be played in an advancing campaign spanning hours, or in quick 15 minute skirmishes.
Q: How does summoning creatures work in nekro?
This is the question we’ve been getting the most. Summoning in Nekro is based on things you do within the game world, which is used to fill up a power meter. Every summon you can create has their own separate power meter. The monsters you summon will be created using a different mechanic, and each mechanic piggybacks off of every other monster’s creation mechanic.
For example, the Punge is created from death. Every time you kill an enemy the Punge’s power meter increases. When it reaches full, you can create a Punge (which still requires a corpse). The Horror’s power meter is increased by blood being spilled. Every time a unit damages another unit, blood is spilled and is then collected by the Nekro. When this occurs the Horror’s power meter increases. When it reaches full you can create a Horror. As you can see, this enables the punge to piggyback off of the Horror. First you make a horror to cause damage, which enables the creation of more Horrors. Eventually, the Horrors will land a kill, which will enable the creation of a Punge.
All the summons in Nekro follow this mechanic of monster interplay, allowing you to choose which path you want to take when you summon a monster. However, some units break summoning mechanics in order to provide additional bonuses. The Scourge (the little snake like guys in the video) have a main attack and an alternate attack. Their main attack spills blood and enables Horrors to be created. However, this does very low damage. Their alternate attack is a massive AoE spike which “gibs” all the units in their area. When a unit is gibbed (chopped up into little bits) they no longer provide a corpse and disable the Punge from being created. This creates a situation where you have to choose how you want to attack your enemy. Should you kill all the weak townies quickly to lower the enemy’s DPS, or do you kill them slowly and enable the creation of more monsters?
This is just a basic description of how these mechanics work. The game has a lot more interplay between monsters such as the Punge’s poison explode, which ‘marks’ enemy units with poison enabling a higher damage output from monsters that attack the affected enemies.
Q: How does monster behavior work? Can I control units directly RTS style, or do they do their own thing?
Summons in Nekro work in different ways. For the most part you do not have control over your units, though you can influence their decisions. The Punge favors attacking melee units, which forces you to use the Punge for an up front tank. The Horror attacks only things around where he’s summoned. So you have to send him to a particular spot – if he has no targets he’ll despawn. Luckily, the Horror has wings, and can be deployed wherever you want within range of the Nekro. The Scourge follows around your mouse cursor, and can be influenced to slither under the enemy and pop up behind them for a sneak attack.
Nekro does offer a more direct method of control, if you wish. You can possess any of your troops and directly control them with the mouse and keyboard. When you are in possession mode, the Nekro is held in stasis and has his armor vastly increased, but is unable to move without breaking the possession link.
And of course, if your minions aren’t doing what you want you can slap them to make them move and attack faster. There is also a spell in Nekro called “dark influence” which for an increased mana cost allows you to put a bounty on an enemy unit of your choice. This will cause all your summons to ignore their default behavior and attempt to move to or kill the object the mark has been applied to.
That’s all for now. In the next update will go over Nekro’s crafting system. A small preview: Crafting in Nekro is accomplished by ‘brewing’ creature spells inside cauldrons. The cauldrons allow you to alter creature behaviors, stats, and powers giving you direct control over your experience. The longer you brew the more powerful the monster is, but the more time you have to wait.
I hope you enjoyed this update! Please leave comments and let us know what you think. We love to hear all ideas for the game! And please remember to tell all your friends about Nekro. Our kickstarter has a long way to go, and we can’t do it without you. Thanks again!
Link to Nekro’s Kickstarter: