You've seen us mention time and time again our commitment to building a tight-knit relationship with our community, working hand-in-hand to create the best games possible. In addition to your own invaluable ideas and suggestions, we'll be asking you for feedback on specific topics many times over the course of IA!'s development, feedback which will help us ensure we're on the right track.
It's worth noting that with IA! being a spiritual successor to Overwatch (OW), we'll be making many references to the mod in these posts.
To kick things off, we'd like to discuss one of OW's most liked (and underdeveloped) features, and what our plans are for it in IA!.
→ GP Roles
Roles are very similar to classes found in other games but with two major distinctions:
- Unlike classes, players don't select roles before joining the game; instead, roles are granted to players after picking up special role items found in the level.
- Unlike classes, roles don't define every weapon and ability a player has available; instead, roles give players additional tools.
One of the most interesting aspects of point #1 is that it allows players to drop those special items at any time during a round (either intentionally using a bind or when their in-game characters die), giving other players a chance to pick them up and take over their responsibilities. As you'll see shortly, this can be particularly useful in levels where roles could help the GP team progress faster.
Point #2 allows characters to retain their custom look and any weapons and equipment players have selected as part of their loadout, which is a perfect fit for IA! as GP character personalization is an important aspect we have planned for the game. What we're currently considering is for each role to grant one active and one passive ability, and a role-specific secondary function to the character's primary weapon (alternate fire).
We currently have five distinct roles planned for IA!, described below.
The first two are roles that help the team survive longer:
The Defender role was the first to be implemented in OW; it offered players a portable Riot Shield with limited visibility. It proved difficult to use, especially when trying to protect others on the team.
The third-person view used in IA! will help solve that problem, as it makes it easier for Defenders to protect those around/behind them when using a projected shield as an active ability. A passive ability we've been considering is an AoE force field covering a certain radius around the Defender and protecting anyone within, activated automatically by incoming fire/danger. The alt-fire hasn't been discussed in detail.
We obviously don't want to make Defenders completely invulnerable, so we've been considering giving their abilities a limited HP count which, once depleted, would disable them for a certain amount of time.
The Medic role in OW replaced (wall-mounted) Health Chargers found in many Half-Life² levels; it offered players a portable MedPack with limited healing power and a timed recharge. It proved difficult to use, particularly when trying to heal other players that won't stand still. Like the Riot Shield, holding the MedPack also prevented players from being able to contribute to the fight (they had to constantly switch between their weapon and the MedPack).
Automatically (but slowly) healing players that are in range of the Medic is a passive ability we've been discussing for this role. For the alt-fire, adrenaline-filled syringes fired at teammates (boosting their resistance and speed) is also an option we've been considering. We haven't discussed the active ability for this role too much, but one idea we've been tossing around is to allow the Medic to provide an instant HP boost to all players (with a long cooldown period to encourage the Medic to use that ability strategically).
The next two are roles that help the team progress faster in the level:
The Technician is a new role introduced in IA!. Our goal with this role is to give players a way to bypass stationary obstacles within the level (doors, traps) by disabling them, and to complete "console/hacking"-type objectives (as seen in OW) much faster.
In addition to speedy objective capturing, Technicians can (for example) disable the locking mechanism of a door much faster (and with a smaller failure rate) than any other player, giving the team quicker access to a new section. Technicians could also be able to (temporarily) disable traps and sensors placed throughout the level by the OP.
The Engineer is also a new role introduced in IA!. Our goal with this role is to give players a way to bypass stationary obstacles within the level (walls, traps) by destroying them, and to complete "generator"-type objectives (as seen in OW) much faster.
In addition to speedy objective capturing, Engineers can (for example) breach through a wall and give the team access to a parallel section (bypassing any obstacles the OP has waiting ahead). Engineers will also be able to (permanently) destroy traps and sensors placed throughout the level by the OP (but are limited by the amount of explosives available to them).
This last role has a special purpose:
The Infiltrator is a new role planned for IA!. As you can see in the concept above, Infiltrators can automatically assume the shape/size of the nearest prop or unit, allowing them to blend in with the environment. They can also use this passive ability to trick sensors, preventing traps and alarms from being triggered. Since they can still move even while being disguised (which gives the OP a chance to spot them), they could also temporarily render themselves completely invisible using their active ability (which has a cooldown period).
We'll be revealing our specific goals for this role (and how it'd be used in a level) at a later date.
While we've described how specific roles first introduced in OW are being improved in IA!, it's worth pointing out that we also have plans to overhaul or redesign some of the more general aspects of the feature. For example, we'll be making characters equipped with a role much easier to find by fellow GPs (both in-world or on the Minimap), and will be giving players valuable role-specific information on their HUD (like the ability for Medics to see their teammates' Health level very easily).
Last but not least, with the addition of more roles than are available in OW, it becomes possible to limit the amount of different roles usable per round so that each round can offer even more variety (adding to IA!'s replay value). The plan is to allow GPs to vote for a certain number of roles during the pre-round warmup period.
We're now counting on you to share as much feedback (comments, suggestions, questions, etc..) as possible on what we've described above, and we'll be looking forward to showing you the end result of our collaboration in a Spotlight video blog as soon as we're done implementing the feature in the game!
Please note that the features and details described above are subject to change.