Mechanic #199 - Ability Tactics|
|Posted: Feb 19, 2014|
Talents, abilities, buffs, and effects are items that can be picked up, equipped, and stolen.
This is a tactical game in which abilities, talents, buffs, and ongoing effects are sort of like items in that they have a presence on the game characters and in the game world, and can be manipulated like items - picked up, equipped, and even stolen.
Fig 199.1 - A tactics board, as you probably figured out.
The first part of the equation is that the distinction between buff, talent, ability, and effect is no longer applicable. They are all abilities, and they have their own sort of physical presence in the game. There's three different ways an ability can affect a unit, based on where they are placed. If placed on the unit, they affect only that unit. If placed on a square, they affect any unit that is on that square. And finally, there are area crystals on the map, where any ability you place on that crystal will affect all the squares that it controls (not unlike the Geo Crystals in Disgaea).
Fig 199.2 - Abilities aren't applied. They are dropped.
For this idea to work, one needs to forget how buffs and effects are traditionally used. In a typical tactics game, a unit may have a talent which increases the stats of all the nearby ally units in adjacent squares. In Ability Tactics, a unit has a talent which places "ally stat+" abilities in each of the neighboring squares when the units enters a new square, and removes them when the unit leaves.
Similarly, placing an ability on a area crystal will drop copies of that ability on every square of its area. If you remove the ability from the crystal, it will remove all copies of that ability.
Fig 199.3 - Abilities are everywhere.
The end result is that the battlefield is largely made up of ability stacks, built from the area crystal abilities and square-placed abilities. Each one of those abilities in a square will affect whatever unit is in the square.
Every unit has an ability inventory and ability equipment, in addition to his item inventory and equipment. The unit can pick up abilities off the map into his ability inventory and even equip it on his person. For instance, the unit can pick up the "Ally Stat+" ability from a map square and equip it into his passive ability slot. Since he is an ally, his stats will go up, but now he can carry that ability with him instead of having to be next to an enemy. Similarly, if an enemy dropped negative abilities, the unit could pick them up and NOT equip it, basically nullifying the ability.
The rules are as follows:
- Abilities are either owned or unowned. The "Ally Stat+" abilities in the example above are owned by the talent that increasing ally stats of adjacent units. When the unit moves out of a square, that talent picks up all the abilities in the adjacent squares that it owns. Similarly, abilities on area crystals own all the clones dropped around the map.
- Abilities that are picked up become unowned. If a unit picks up "Ally Stat+", it becomes unowned. If he were to drop it again, the talent that spawned it would no longer pick it up. Unowned abilities have a time limit, and disappear after a while.
- Lost owned abilities are not replaced while unowned. If the northeast "Ally Stat+" ability is taken, then when the unit that spawned it moves to a new square, the northeast ability is not placed. Once the unowned version disappears after its time limit runs out, then the talent can now spawn the northeast stat+ ability.
- Abilities that stack are temporarily turned into stronger single abilities. For instance, if two "Ally Stat+" abilities reside in the same square, they will turn into a single "Ally Stat++" abilities. When one of those owned abilities is removed, they return to their two separate states. However, a unit can pick up the combined "stacked" ability as if it were a single entity.
- Abilities may be stolen from other units. A barbarian unit may have an innate ability (Spin Attack) that allows it to attack all adjacent enemies simultaneously. A wizard unit could steal that ability from the barbarian, and thus use the Spin Attack as if it were its own.
- Applying action abilities (like Spin Attack) to a area crystal will apply it to every square in the area, thus allowing all units to use Spin Attack. These can then be picked up and equipped, allowing units to use Spin Attack outside that area for a time.