This week’s update will introduce a new loot system, player character armor and gear, and the newest improvements to the character inventory, stats, and UI systems.
The original loot system from the Alpha 1.0.0 build was too cumbersome on the player and required too much fidgeting with the UI for a game this fast-paced. Originally, loot would be bound to a killed NPC, and looting required the player to get within 5 meters to open the NPC’s loot table and grab the gear. This also meant that if I wanted to allow the normal lane enemies to have loot, the player would have to run around to each lane checking corpses instead of preparing defenses, assisting allies, or soloing.
The new loot system allows the player to get notified of new loot, check out the stats, drop it into their backpack, or ignore and stash it from anywhere on the map. When an NPC carrying loot is killed, whether by the player or one of their allies, a loot panel will open. The loot panel will show a listing of all items in the queue to be looted, and each item will have buttons to either bag or “Stash” the loot. Once an item notification appears, it will stay listed for 20 seconds. If the player chooses not to bag the item within 20 seconds, the item will be added to the player’s “Stash”. The Stash is a physical chest located right next to the player’s Keep, and it can be right-clicked and looted at any time, during or after the match. Items left the in the Stash after the player exits the instance will be destroyed.
In practice, this loot system feels somewhat like a spin on the World of Warcraft need/greed instanced loot system, but it’s applied to all items and single-player situations. This allows the player to quickly browse, grab, equip, or ignore loot as enemies are dropped, without interfering with the actual game at hand.
Inventory, Stats, and UI Upgrades
The player inventory and stats systems have now been completely integrated with the new UI. This includes:
- Upgraded Tooltips
- Right-click autoequip/autoloot functionality
- New sound effects for inventory actions
- Tracking of all key player stats within the character panel
- Tracking of secondary stats, such as Melee DPS, Weapon Power, Melee Damage Range, Talent Points, Gear Score, Player and Weapon Speed, and Mobility percentage
- Action Bar buttons for Inventory, Spell, and Talent menus
- Support for stackable items up to 20 per stack
- Level Up notification and sound effects
In addition to the stats and inventory upgrades, I’ve updated the remainder of the UI panels, such as the tower and games settings menus, to use the new UI sprites, images, icons, and color scheme. I’ve also replaced some of the placeholder sprites, such as the character class icons, with a new set of hand-drawn icons. These new icons will also be rolled out to player gear, spells, and talents over the next few updates.
Players will now enter the game with actual equipped items respective to their chosen class, and additional starting items have been rigged to both the male and female character models. Equipping new gear and gear swapping will also now turn on/off the respective item slots on the model, with varying combinations of weapons, shields, cloth, leather, chain, and plate gear. The new autoequip functionality also makes this process more smooth, as a simple right click on a item will equip it in its respective slot while moving the currently equipped item to the player’s backpack. Some additional updates have been made to improve the look of gear, such as turning on or off player hair for helmets, turning off undergarments/overlapping sections, and creating new item combinations for each gear type (cloth, leather, chain, and plate).
I’m very pleased with the progress on the UI and player gear, and over the next several updates I’ll be diving back into gameplay. This includes new character models, new spells, linking of spells to their respective classes, talent trees, a player stance system, and improved AI. I’m hoping to start with the stance system and friendly unit AI, which will allow the combat system to really start to get that classic MMORPG feeling. A player will essentially choose a passive “stance”, either tank, dps, or support, and this will tell their allies how to play around them, really engaging the elements of the trinity system and bringing some depth to the combat experience.
You may have also noticed a few changes to the site, which now has a legit homepage and new concept art. The characters shown in the new concept art are looking great and will also be introduced to Defend the Night over the next several updates.
All in all, I’m continuing to make good progress and still hoping to launch a playable demo by the end of the year. Sign up for the mailling list/closed beta and check out @DefendTheNight on Twitter to stay up to date with all the new developments on the game. As always, thanks for reading!