Utility Cards and Weapon Crafting

I’ve noticed that the more The Regret of Vitrerran grows as a game, the more ideas it borrows from other games. There are already a lot of little influences scattered about, such as the Megaman-inspired “Pick a character and play the game in almost any order you want” aspect to the story or the Baten Kaitos-inspired “Cards are actually attacks and spells” aesthetic. But I never thought we’d take ideas from more traditional RPGs.

Do you guys like weapon crafting?

I don’t play very many RPGs, but there are aspects to them I quite enjoy. World of Warcraft treated me to the pleasure of finding and upgrading gear, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning showed me the joy of building new gear. There’s a strange little high you get when a raid boss drops a much-needed upgrade or a tough monster yields a very rare piece of crafting material. Shiny loot comes with the intrinsic thought of, “I can more easily save the world with this!” and I love it.

We’re bringing that feeling into The Regret of Vitrerran, though in a more straightforward way than the above mentioned games.

Finding new gear in World of Warcraft was always fun, be it shoulder pads, pants, capes, or trinkets. However, not all upgrades were treated equally. A new helmet was always welcome (especially if it had a solid amount of gem slots), but what every player truly wanted to upgrade was his weapon.

Weapons were big and flashy and took the best enchants. They looked cool. They were also the biggest upgrades a character could find in terms of raw stats and damage. A new cape was fun, but a new weapon was a game-changer.

In Kingdom’s of Amalur: Reckoning, you could craft all types of gear, but it was more fun to save your best materials for your next weapon. Once again, the weapons just looked cooler and offered the best character upgrades. A new pair of gloves was a nice find, but a new weapon was a game-changer.

When making a video game, the primary focus needs to be delivering a fun experience for the player. If it’s more fun finding and building new weapons, then why bother with shoulder armor or helmets? What’s a pair of boots when you can get another sword?

Utility Cards are Viterran’s answer to armor and weapon upgrades, though now they have changed: Utility Cards are now exclusively weapon upgrades.

But, we’ve taken that a step further. With six slots (three per character), weapons aren’t just found, they are now built.

Please note that this inventory screen is a work in progress. When it is finished, we will do a separate post on it.

We’ve divided weapons into three segments: the head, the handle, and an enchantment. The head is the damage-dealer, the blade of a sword or the orb on a staff. The handle is the groundwork to any weapon, so the hilt of a sword or shaft of a spear. Enchantments are fun little surprises, because what’s a game without fun little surprises?

Certain stats will be regulated to certain weapon parts, though not too rigidly as we want finding a new spear shaft to be just as rewarding as finding a new spear blade.

Unlike Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, building a weapon won’t create something forever set in stone. We want you to mix and match items, to experiment with the parts you find, not hold onto them stressing about wasting a brand new staff orb on an older staff shaft. If you find something new and can equip it, do so.

We’re both excited about this change. We originally had empty slots saved for armor upgrades, but we never planned on drawing extra armor. Like older RPGs, the upgrades would have been in stats and name alone without visuals attached to them. With weapons though, we can more easily create anything and everything we want, so each upgrade will also mark a visual upgrade.

The building aspect also allows us a wider variety of Utility Cards than originally planned, and this means more options for the player.

Now every Utility Card found has the potential of feeling like a game-changer instead of just a fraction of them. We think that’s cool, and we hope you do as well.