In this development blog, we’ll be focusing on the latest updates from our Design and World Building leads. For world building, we’ve been hard at work shaping the treacherous and rocky terrain of the Outlands, and will be diving the depths of the Necrothium mines. For design, we’ll be exploring more details about Heirlooms, and how these rare items will enable players to achieve heroic levels of skill.
World Building: Necrothium in the Hills
Long ago, miners of Celador were attracted to the Outlands with the promise of rich Cobalt veins that could be mined, and smithed into powerful armor and weapons. As they dug deeper and deeper, they stumbled onto a strange, new material. A massive network of glowing blue, iridescent, crystalline material that could potentially be malleable enough to craft into powerful gear. The miners quickly saw the potential of this new material, and there was a new rush to push deeper into the Outlands. With fervor they tore into caves to uncover more of the material. Once the terrifying potential of the material made itself known, the new mineral was given the name “Necrothium”.
One of our goals for the Outlands is to offer vibrant environmental storytelling as you adventure through this new landmass. From the outset, we’ve made sure every location in the Outlands is significant to the history of it. Last post, we looked at the general biome of the Outlands. A vast, arid, wasteland full of long forgotten evils. From here on out, we’ll be diving into some of the specific points of interest.
Shown here is a quick glance at one the long abandoned Necrothium mines. As the miners would dig deeper and deeper, the Necrothium would often seem to burst from the rock when they dug close enough. Some suspected it had to do with the strange air emanating from it and building pressure over time. The more superstitious miners felt as if the Necrothium was calling to them. Begging to be mined.
We’ll have much more to show in the weeks leading up to PR11. This is just the beginning of what awaits for players in the Outlands.
Game Design: Heirloom Items Overview
With the release of the Outlands, players will have access to unique quest lines and encounters which will allow them to acquire Heirlooms. These items will allow players to increase their power in specific skills. Each Heirloom will have a designated skill that can be gained, and depending on the skill, players will have access to new abilities, spells, craftables, or increased combat effectiveness.
Below you can find a list of skills which we plan to have Heirloom items for. Please note: This list is not finalized, and may change as development progresses.
- Martial Prowess
Each player will only be able to have one Heirloom equipped at a given time, so choosing which skill you wish to boost will allow you to tune your character to suit your playstyle.
Heirloom Properties and Durability
Heirloom items will require the player to invest a good deal of time and effort into leveling them up to their maximum skill, and these items will be cursed. Cursed items still take durability loss when used but will not drop as loot when/if a player is killed.
Each Heirloom will also have properties that increase their potency as they are leveled. Heirlooms will only provide skill bonuses to players at 5 skill level increments. For example, bonuses will be awarded when an Heirloom skill level reaches 5, 10, 15, and 20.
As the Heirloom reaches each of these skill point tiers, it will also have its properties adjusted and its durability reset. Once an heirloom reaches level 20, no further bonuses will be applied and all durability loss will be permanent. This progression system will allow players to utilize Heirlooms as they level them without fear of losing the item due to durability.
Heirloom Leveling and Restrictions
Heirloom skill bonuses can be utilized by a player at any level skill. For example, if a player has 60 Martial Prowess and equips an Heirloom that provides a 15 point bonus to Martial Prowess, then they will have an effective skill level of 75. However, Heirloom items can only gain skill if the wielder is a Grandmaster in the skill that the Heirloom is made for.
Additionally, Heirlooms utilize our existing skill gain system and will have their gains governed by our anti-macro and difficulty based formulas. In a nutshell, you will have to fight progressively stronger enemies or craft higher quality items to get your Heirlooms to level 20.
Looking Toward the Future
We are looking forward to the possibilities that Heirlooms will open up for players. The ability to specialize in a specific skill should not only allow players to customize their playstyle to their needs but also allow for greater flexibility in both PVE and PVP builds. Additionally, Heirlooms provide us with a means to incorporate new craftables, abilities, and enemies that challenge players beyond the Grandmaster level.
What’s Next for Outlands
The Outlands is shaping up to be one of the most immersive environments that our team has made. Not just in its visual appeal, but also how players will discover and engage with its history and secrets. Moving ahead, we’ll continue to refine the points of interest and lore that we’re developing for Outlands. Additionally, our game design team will soon be diving into the lost arts of necromancy and unveil the dark power that has been lurking in Outlands all along.
The Outlands is currently scheduled for release in November 2020. Stay tuned for future development updates in the weeks ahead, and keep an eye on the Legends of Aria Development Board to stay connected with our progress.
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