Time for some more game mechanics about Nekro! If you missed the first article, check it out here.
This article will be about crafting and upgrades. I’ll also try to answer everyone who posted a question.
As always, our game is in a very early stage of development. Any and all of these concepts are subject to change, removal or additions. Hopefully, with your help, we’ll be able to make these ideas even better.
What’s the story behind Nekro? Why am I fighting the king?
Here is a snippet of Nekro’s storyline:
“A tyrannical lord known only as “The King” commissions the land’s most revered dark alchemist to create for him a potion that could render his life eternal. Fed up by the King’s greed and corruption, The Alchemist creates for The King a potion that would imbue him with eternal life, but with one humbling admonition: its consumer must earn their gift through death. The King, taking the Alchemist’s arrogant gesture as a terse mockery orders him put to death. Following the Alchemist’s vehement execution, his lifeless corpse is cast out into the rain-soaked landscape, the potion he presented to his ex-lord grasped tightly in his lifeless hand. The potion cracks, leaking the elixir out onto the Alchemist’s body, infusing itself with his draining blood. Having accepted the The Alchemist’s unintentional payment of death, the potion inoculates his physical essence with a condemning life-force. This life-force curses The Alchemist to walk the earth as a perpetual unholy horror, and takes his soul as a morbid retribution. The Alchemist places the vial where his cursed soul now resides deep within his keep, knowing if he lost the vial his own putrid physical shell would be destined to exist forever, stuck between a state of life and death.
The Alchemist sets to work creating a spell to rid himself of his damnation; collecting the rarest of reagents for the spell’s vastly complicated requirements. The most treasured of all its ingredients being “the sin of one who has destroyed a dynasty”. He knows that the only way he can release his condemned soul to the next ethereal plane is through the blood and slaughter of The King, and all of his followers. Wielding the darkest of black magics, The Alchemist sets off into the night…”
How will the crafting system work inside Nekro?
Crafting in our game is handled a bit differently than other games. In Nekro, you brew your spells. You are an alchemist, after all. So how does brewing work? First you need to purchase a cauldron. Cauldrons are where all brewing takes place. (Think minecraft’s workbench.) You purchase a cauldron using blood – the currency in Nekro. You obtain blood by killing enemies or power nodes out in the world. Once you have purchased a cauldron you have to add agents. These objects are things you find throughout your travels, such as plants, bones, ichor, etc; things that are native to the land. Once you have these elements you combine them with a sin. Sins are the catalyst which binds the agents to the cauldrons used to brew them. They determine the potency of a spell. In addition to blood, a sin is generated every time you kill a creature or human in Nekro. Mostly, creatures and humans drop sin fragments. If you combine 2 sin fragments it creates a lesser sin. Two lesser sins make a greater sin, and two of those make a mortal sin. While sins determine the ‘tier’ of the spell from which they are fused, agents determine their stats. Doomweed (one of the agents found in the world), for example, increases the damage of a unit. Hellthorn decreases the unit’s mana cost. And Nightshade decreases brewing upkeep (more on that in a second.)
Let me give an example. Let’s say I want to make a Horror spell. First, I purchase a cauldron in my Nekro’s tower using blood I gained from killing enemies. I then select the cauldron I just purchased and choose the Horror spell. I add to it a greater sin, which is a tier 2 sin. What that means is I now am given two slots in which to add agents (tier 3 sins give 3 slots, tier 1 sins give one slot etc). Let’s say I decide to add Hellthorn, and Doomweed as my two agents. I then click on the “brew” button and the spell is available to use. Now, when I go to use my Horror spell the horror takes less mana, and causes more damage. In this way, you can customize your unit loadout, making your units stronger, more agile or overall determining their specializations. Since there is a limited number of agent slots, you can only add some stats bonuses to each unit, but you can’t add them all.
Unlike minecraft, once you brew your spell the cauldron doesn’t ‘kick out’ the spell and open itself up to crafting a new spell. In Nekro, that cauldron is now bound to that spell until you decide to change it or remove it. That means you can only have as many spells as you have cauldrons. Since cauldrons are purchased with diminishing returns (each cauldron costs more than the last) you have to pick very carefully which units you want to brew. If you combine multiple of the same agent, you can stack the effects for a very specialized unit, but open it up to severe weakness in other areas.
The final brewing mechanic is upkeep. Upkeep is generated by brewing spells. The more complex the spell (aka the higher the sin tier) the more upkeep that spell costs to brew. This mechanic works much like supply in Starcraft. You need to expand your tower to allow for a higher upkeep, in turn granting the ability to create more complicated spells. To offset this expensive investment, Nightshade can be added in one of brew’s agent slots to lower the spell’s upkeep significantly. Of course, the downside to this is the unit you’re brewing doesn’t receive a bonus from any of the other agents.
You talked about tower upgrades, what are those?
Tower upgrades are direct bonuses you give to your Nekro tower. They come in three flavors: defensive, offensive, and utility and are purchased with blood. Defensive upgrades to your tower help you defend it. For example, one of the tower upgrades is called the Corpse Pump. It’s literally a tube on the side of the tower that spits out corpses which can then be used to quickly make a bunch of Punges in the event of an attack. Offensive upgrades are abilities that affect the Nekro directly. The tower has an area of influence. If the Nekro is inside that area of influence, he receives a bonus. What this bonus does is determined by brewing tower upgrades. So, instead of brewing a unit spell, you can choose to brew a tower upgrade. The same rules apply – if you brew a tier 1 sin with a Doomweed agent, the Nekro will get a bonus to all damage spells if he is within the tower’s area of influence. Which leads us to utility upgrades. These upgrades add additional cauldrons to your tower, and increase the tower’s area of influence. (The tower physically gets taller the larger its area of influence.)
You mentioned the campaign can be hours of gameplay or 20 minute skirmishes, can you give more information about that?
Simply, the size of the map will determine the length of the game. As mentioned in the first game mechanics article, the world is broken up into cells. The more cells, the longer it takes to move across the map. A quick game will randomly generate about 4-5 cells, which can be conquered in about 30 minutes. A large map can be upward of 50 cells and take much longer. At the time of this writing, we plan to give you the ability to save the game’s state within the overworld, but not within the underworld. So if you exit a fight prematurely, the game will categorize the battle as a loss and allow you to revert back to the state of the game before you entered the cell.
Will there be persistence in Nekro? Will I be able to carry my progress over from one game to another?
We plan to give your Nekro persistence, but not your Nekro’s tower. What does that mean? Well, your Nekro will be given different armor sets. Armor sets determine bonuses for your Nekro that make playing the game easier. They are Nekro’s version of achievements — but they are functional (unlike those pointless Xbox ones.) For example, if you collect 1,000 brewing agents in the course of your game, you will granted the collector’s armor set. If you equip this armor set you can now see the location of agents on the map (where as before you had to stumble upon them.) This makes the game more streamlined without removing challenge. You can stack armor sets and get multiple bonuses at the same time, and yes, they have an affect on you aesthetically. These armor sets carry over from game to game. However, your tower, the place where all your Nekro’s spells come from, do not. So when you start a new game, if your Nekro has unlocked many armor sets, you will have an easier time getting up to speed. However, even with these bonuses you’re not handed everything right from the outset which would make the game completely boring.
Can you talk more about world events? What are they?
I’m not sure if you can tell by now but we LOVE randomized worlds! They add so much re-playability and dynamics to a game. So what are world events? World events in Nekro are randomly occurring situations. They happen on the overworld and can completely change your strategy. Each faction gets a world event. The Nekro gets Eternal Darkness. The Nekro’s abilities are all boosted at night time, so this gives the Nekro a constant bonus by casting the game world in darkness for an extended period of time. The neutrals get the Blood Moon event, which calls upon werewolves of the land. The werewolves spawn in random locations throughout the map, and are aggressive towards anybody they come in contact with. Entering the underworld while the Blood Moon is in effect causes the game to have a 5% chance of spawning the alpha wolf. If you come across the alpha wolf in the game world and manage to kill him to you take his paw. The paw then allows you to rally the werewolves as your own! So now, whenever a Blood Moon occurs, it can vastly benefit you. The final world event is the King’s Crusades. The crusades spawn Templars, the strongest unit in the King’s army. These guys make a b-line from the King’s castle where they spawn to your Nekro tower. This forces you to play a defensive role as you prepare for the oncoming attack.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this look into the Nekro universe! Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting Nekro! For more information about the Nekro Kickstarter campaign, or to make a pledge please visit: Nekro Kickstarter Page
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