Deep dive into the combat system of Timbertales
at the moment I try to release a patch every week for Timbertales. I realised that most of my changes in the last three weeks are only kind of cosmetic changes and fixing issues I had to address years ago. This week I want to try to dig a little bit deeper and focus more on the core gameplay. One big change which will hit on Friday: You are now able to move your units through friendly units. It sounds like a small change, but there was a lot of code involved and I can tell you it changes the feel of the game quite a lot.
This brings me to the next topic. I always had the feeling that most of the players are not able to completely get all combat features, because they are very hidden and if you are not involved into the development process of the game you most likely don’t even know how most the systems work. This results in two major problems. First most people think Timbertales is a casual game for kids. Second the core gameplay feels very flat and unrewarding.
Surroundings: If you surround enemies with your units you get a higher critical strike chance. With a simple surround you gain 25% more critical strike, with a full surround you will receive a bonus of 50%!
Unit / Attack Types: Every unit in Timbertales has a different attack type and unit type. The combination of both types determine the damage a unit will take or deal. For example a concussive weapon type deals “0.25 * damage” vs large unit types, while vs small unit types it deals the full damage. This makes it very important to choose the right units to attack specific unit types of the enemy. I think this system is pretty unknown to everyone and this is one reason why it feels so flat.
Combo System: And last but not least we have the combo system. Every unit in Timbertales represents a special element. There are earth, poison, shadow and nature. While shadow is an opener, earth is a finisher and poison / nature can be used to expand the combo. In an ideal scenario you what like to attack first with a shadow unit than a nature and finish off with earth. This would increase your damage in addition to the system I have written before. A two combo chain deals 1.2 * damage while a complete three hit combo deals 1.5 * damage.
Actually you can find all this informations I have written about in the help dialog, but I think most of you haven’t checked it out yet. This is why I want to make changes here in future.
What are the plans to make the combat more engaging?
As you can see the combat systems of Timbertales are quite complex, but horrible visible for the players. This is why I would like to change some things in the future.
Surroundings: I think this one is quite easy. I need to make it better visible for the player. I plan to give surrounded units a small symbol which states that it receives more critical strikes because of the disadvantage of being surrounded. This offers the possibility that a player will take use of surrounding when he accidentally see it for the first time.
Unit / Attack types: This one is quite hard to make it better visible for the players, but I think I could add short sentences to the combat texts to state their effectiveness. For example if you attack a large unit with concussive weapon the combat text could look like “- 5 (uneffective)”. This would be my first thought on this topic.
Combo system: I am not very happy with the combo system at all. I think it is too hard to understand and don’t provide a rewarding feeling right now. Instead I think about removing the combo system and give a fraction a unique system. My ideas at the moment: The Sylvan units injure enemies and the wounds would stack up to three stages. Something like: small wound, gaping wound, devastating wound. Based on the wound type the unit would receive extra damage and special abilities provide bonus effects. The Vermin on the other hand would injure enemies with poison.
In the end I think there is the need of changes to the core gameplay to make the game more interesting. Unfortunately I always realise that the cool / big changes take a lot of time. I will do my best to make the best changes possible!
I am looking forward to your comments 🙂