This week we primarily worked on re-doing the Ranger class based on feedback from the Stress Test we held last weekend. Here's a quick video showing what it looks like now:
In particular you might note:
- A new bow and arrow model that looks much better
- Aiming the bow now works like other games such as The Lab and Quivr -- you notch the arrow, then use your non-bow-hand to adjust the aim, and the arrow direction is the "line" between your two hands.
- Arrows now fire in an arc rather than a straight line. We'll still be tweaking until it feels how we want, but it's a bit more realistic now.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference, though, is the way that you use the Ranger abilities.
From Buttons to Physical Interactions
After playing during the Stress Test, it became very obvious that just using the trackpad to trigger abilities the way you might in a keyboard-based MMO is, quite frankly, not nearly as fun in VR as other methods could be. The Runemage is currently what I think of as a great example for a VR game -- you actually have to interact with the world by drawing runes to cast spells. Not just press a button and "boom" there's a fireball.
So we're going back and reworking the other classes to match that interaction style. Rather than pressing a button on the controller, we want you to interact with the world to use your abilities.
For the Ranger, you now have a few different things you can do. On your left and right hips you'll find two different types of arrows, one poisoned and one that causes the "rain of fire" AoE attack. You just grab the arrow to select it and then fire it. Rather than making you grab a "normal" arrow each time, though, we decided to just always have one in your hand right away.
The arcane power shot ability has been moved to the act of drawing the bow back, and then keeping it drawn for 2 seconds. This empowers your attack and allows you to do much more damage.
You'll notice that we've currently left the ability icons in place. Even though you don't just press a button anymore to use them, we thought it was nice to be able to know how long the remaining cooldown was on each ability, rather than having to (for example) guess if holding back your shot for 2 seconds was actually going to do anything or not.
The Ranger also now has a "super" ability. You build up this ability by hitting things with your arrows. But in addition to the base amount of charge that each hit gives you, you get additional charge based on how many enemies you have struck in a row without missing, and also based on from how far away you are hitting them. So the quickest way to build up your super is to become a really good shot who can hit things consistently from a long distance, which is the type of gameplay we want to encourage.
Once your super bar fills up, you press both the triggers at the same time on the controller to engage it, and then it lasts until the bar is depleted. While it's active, you do increased damage and your abilities recharge more quickly.
Breadth of Choice
One of the constraints of physical interaction to use abilities is that there are only so many interactions you can reasonably include while keeping each one distinct enough so that it can be reliably used. We don't want it to be hard to use your ability at the key moment of a fight! Instead, we're going to have each class be customizable, in the sense that you will have several options to choose from but you can only have so many active at once.
For the Ranger, this means you will have different types of arrows (poison, slowing, binding, silencing, etc.) but you will only be able to equip two at a time. Our goal is to make it quick and easy to swap out what you're using, though, so you can even change it up before each fight in a dungeon if you need to.
Of course each ability gets stronger as you get better gear and level up as well, so even if you stick with the same few abilities because it works for your play style, they'll continue to get better. Unlocking new options will happen while you level up, based on your gear, and even based on achievements in the game such as defeating a boss or discovering a new runestone.
Day and Night
We also added a better skybox including a day and night cycle. You can sort of see it happening in the video above (it's greatly sped up right now for testing purposes). The fog changes colors and the shadows move as time passes. The cycle will be synchronized with the server, and there will be some monsters, fishing, crafting, etc. that can only happen at certain times of the day. The cycle will be much faster than real life, though, so that if you can only play at night or in the afternoon in the "real world", you won't miss out on the content that only shows up at night in the game.
Other random stuff going on with OrbusVR:
- We fixed some issues with teleportation involving slopes
- Arrows and mage missiles now collide with the ground, so you can't just shoot a Fireball down under the ground and back up again anymore!
- We're experimenting with getting voice chat into the game.
Thanks for checking out the latest, and if you want to discuss this we'd love to have your feedback on the forums: https://community.orbusvr.com/t/dev-blog-10-14-re-worked-ranger-abilities-day-night-cycle/152
You can also discuss it on Reddit here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/57itvc/orbusvrreworkedrangerclasswith_physical/