The more I read about Ragnarok, the more interesting I think it will be.
A new post just came out about it, so let's dive right in.
4164 words and 21 minutes later...
Obviously this is not light reading, and it will take me much longer than 21 minutes to actually analyze the information, but I think this is time well spent and will pay off in the long run.
Opening quote highlights:
1v1 turn-based strategic combat system
Ragnarok wants to be the most advanced skill-based game in existence.
People with lesser stats but greater skill can prevail.
This game will stretch the limits of your creativity and mental capacity.
That is a terrific goal.
However, this is much easier said than done, so I'm curious as to the specific implementations that make it possible. A game like this may need quite a bit of balancing to avoid an unbeatable meta from developing that forces players to all employ the same strategy. The Ragnarok of today might not look anything like the Ragnarok that exists a few years down the road. We'll basically have to see how the implied theory meshes with the reality of gameplay given a system of thousands of highly motivated players all competing for the prize pool.
Ragnarok itself is sectioned into mini battles inside one big war.
Every battle is unique, every battle matters, every battle is written in history, forever.
Chess is considered one of the oldest, most strategic games in existence. It is time-tested, and mental warriors battle it out in highly competitive environments until this day. So it is only appropriate Ragnarok starts out as a game of Chess, in this game of Chess, however, your pieces represent various gods, titans, or legendary beings. When your pieces meet, they engage in a deep and complex 1v1 battle to the death.
So there's a genre of gaming called "auto-chess". I think auto-chess is pretty fun, but I actually don't have a ton of experience playing and have never really been any good at any particular auto-chess game.
So this is a good description of auto-chess. Auto-chess is very interesting because every game creates a bit of a deck-building experience where you level up and buy new characters to fight for you in each battle.
Clearly, Ragnarok is not auto-chess, but it seems a bit similar. Rather than the game playing automatically for you, it seems like Ragnarok will force players to actually play the game, which obviously adds a lot more strategy (although it might take a while to play a game).
Also, in auto-chess you don't have to pre-own any of the characters being used to fight on your behalf. You acquire these characters during individual games, level them up, and at the end of the game you lose everything. Ragnarok is different in that you own the chess pieces and you can level them up and use them repeatedly across multiple battles. Ragnarok is going to be one hell of a grind. Sounds like my kinda game.
You may be a chess pro, licking at the chops. But alas, Ragnarok does not make anything easy for anyone. You will need to relearn what you think you know and throw all prior preset moves out of the window, as that stuff does not work in Ragnarok. Ragnarok is alive, growing, evolving, incapable of being mapped with preset moves. Randomness is life, what will you do when thrown into the fire?
This is something I talked about in my last post about Ragnarok that makes it extremely unique. There isn't going to be a meta because resources are deflationary in nature. No one will be able to create a cookie-cutter strategy guide and be like "just get ABC card and employ XYZ strategy". Not only are the cards limited, but they also have levels and unique spells. It will be very difficult for meta-gameplay to emerge, which is something previous strategy games have largely failed to achieve.
When looking at a game like Splinterlands, the gameplay is once again automated and works a lot like auto-chess. Ragnarok will be pretty unique in this regard.
- Develop and improve your own NFT gods as you play, the history of the cards is permanent, see the great wars fought
That is interesting. If your card dies it's just... dead forever? Probably not, but I'm very intrigued, as I've also been brainstorming a "hardcore mode" game that would be very unforgiving and create insane deflationary economics within the ecosystem. However, my game would be PvE and not PvP so hardcore mode makes more sense.
It also sounds like each card almost has it's own 'blockchain', recording the history of itself as gameplay progresses. Also, if the name of the game lives up to itself, that means EVERYTHING is going to 'die' at the end of every year and the game will start over anew the next year (maybe just a level reset?). Ragnarok is, after all, the apocalypse. Again, I'm extremely interested of the details hinted at here.
- Chess with a novel 1v1 battle system
1v1 is interesting... because what happens when one piece is surrounded by multiple pieces, or if you have a ranged piece that is kiting a melee piece. Again, very confused about how this is actually going to play out.
- Hundreds of gods featuring their own unique passive abilities
- Hundreds of spells and pets to help you in combat
- Tons of strategy due to the in-depth duel system
- Collect weapons, equipment, items, and spells & as drops and sway new legendary beings to make your deck the best you can.
- Capped supply of NFTs
Anything that can stop cookie-cutter strategies from emerging is a huge plus, and while I detest deflationary economics for fungible cryptocurrencies, it makes perfect sense for a game like this to be highly deflationary just from the perspective of network bandwidth, honing the strategy, and mitigating bots from Sybil attacking the economy.
- HBD Sink, all HBD for in-game items is put into a SIP v1 where interest is paid out to players perpetually
This is where things get really interesting.
The recently beefed up savings account yields are already coming into play. Just imagine what it would be like if the internal market was an AMM farm that generated between 50%-100% APR, and dapps like this would suck liquidity into that blackhole forever. But I digress, that's not what we are here to talk about.
What I can talk about, is gamer rage.
If you're a gamer, you already know just how bad players rage at games, especially competitive ones. Now add to that the fact that losing will cost you money, and you really have a recipe for maximum rage. At least one person has to die for this game to be any good. There, I said it.
@edicted upon hearing the news that someone was murdered, kidnapped, Doxed, or SWATTED because of Ragnarok:
Hm, yep. With this many rewards on the table it's 100% guaranteed that people are going to rage. There's no avoiding this fact. The better the game is, ironically the more rage there will be. Gotta lean into it; it's the end of the world, after all.
- 1V1 - Spells - Hero Direct Attack
- When one opponent dies, the game reverts back to Chess to repeat until the King on either side has been defeated.
Now this I find intriguing.
So, like chess, if you have the opportunity to sacrifice pieces to capture the king, you take the risk and win the game outright. Again, this adds a level of strategy that could never be found in auto-chess.
The game starts as a typical game of Chess, except there are only 10 pieces, 5 pawns, and one of each type of back piece, King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, and Rook. Each player has their own side of the board with their respective pieces, which have their own movement patterns. Each piece is a class and has its own set of core abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. For instance, the Rook is more of a tank with more defensive abilities, whereas the Bishop is more of a DPS, aka a "glass cannon."
Again, pretty interesting
This is a good way of doing it, because in actual chess I never liked how the bishop and knight were both worth 3 points and would constantly be sacrificed for one another. By only having one bishop, and that bishop being a glass cannon, the strategy changes. You never want your glass cannon to die, you simply want them to deliver the killing blow to multiple units without taking damage. Very cool.
Pawns represent legendary demi-gods or legendary humans. Pawns get 22 spells. Pawns are overall weaker in nature than Gods or Titans.
It's still unclear what "22 spells" means.
22 different kinds of spells? They can cast 22 times before they run out of mana? Unclear. We'll figure it out eventually. In any case, it sounds like there will be a lot of options available.
King: Kings are legendary Gods or Titans that were leaders or highly influential beings. Kings have the strongest survival abilities and stats and can be hybrids of all classes (All Kings are very different from one another, a unique class),
Again, just super interesting stuff here.
- The board has various colored fields which portray various elements; Fire, Water, Electricity, and Earth.
This is extremely noteworthy.
I've always said that turn based strategies such as this require an active environment. This environment might be a chess grid, but not every square is created equal. This is a great idea.
I take this concept even one step further in my own brainstorming regarding turn based strategy (Block-Based Gaming). When Drugwars came out I wrote a very important post on this that uses Pattern Blocks instead of just squares. The environment can even become virtually three dimensional by stacking layers on top of the blocks. So if you wanted to create high ground one could create steps by stacking 1 block then 2 then three.
In my opinion, using pattern blocks instead of just squares for the environment adds a lot more strategy to the game, because then the skills and abilities can be affected by the environment. For example, perhaps a certain AOE ability has a wider arc if cast on a wider angle, or perhaps tanking skills are more effective if the character is standing on a tile with more area. I may need to revisit these concepts soon, but then again they probably don't apply as much to this particular game because of the 1v1 combat (aka no AOE spells).
Each player chooses one piece they wish to move at the start of their turn. Each chess piece has its own movement pattern, which is the same as normal Chess. When chess pieces meet, players initiate a player versus player fight, in which each player makes various choices to affect the outcome of the battle.
Again, super cool that the basic rules of chess would be used.
I really enjoy this concept.
First, you cast your spells, and then you go into a 1v1 duel God vs. God where you choose which abilities to use.
Again... very interesting.
This reminds me of magic the gathering, where spells are cast first on a stack. After spells resolve, combat begins. I'm intrigued.
Spell cards are cards that can be played to trigger a one-time effect or ability defined in the card's text. Casting a spell consumes the card, producing an instantaneous effect, although spells with a particular ability are delayed until activated by specific events. Spell cards do not have Attack, Health, or Speed attributes, only a mana cost and a level number, the highest being 9, the higher the spell, the greater the effect.
Okay, we just got our answer.
When it says a 'pawn' has 22 spells or a King has 35 spells... those spell NFTs are consumed and can not be used again in the same battle. Again, super interesting stuff, because we'll have to use the best spells we have in the situations that warrant them, and we'll have to pre-load the right spells so that we have a good spread for multiple kinds of combat.
All spells cost MANA. Each God has a max limit of 9 mana. Each round starts at 1 mana, and you get 1 mana per turn until 9 is hit. Each round, the mana refills itself to the max. You must pick a combo of cards that fit inside the mana you have. IE, I have 5 mana, I can play a card that cost 3 mana and one that cost 2.
Here we can see Hearthstone mechanics in play.
Dan has played Hearthstone, and this is a good way to manage mana resources in a game like this. It will be very interesting to see how players stack spells inside of their heroes. For example, one might try to stack 4 and 5 cost spells on the bishop, making him fairly weak early game and incredibly strong once 9 turns have passed, being able to cast a 4 cost and 5 card every round until he runs out. However, if the opponent sees this strategy coming they might focus fire the bishop and kill it before it can dish out any real damage. Again, these mechanics are fascinating.
- Your God has three random spells out of their spell pool given to them at the start of the 1v1 fight, which is now available to play. Spells can be everything from direct damage to buffs to summoning powerful pets.
Again, this feels like Hearthstone.
When you play in the arena in Hearthstone, you build your deck by choosing one of three random cards. You do this 30 times until your deck is full with 30 cards. This mechanic is somewhat the foil of this concept. We'll choose the spells in advance and be provided 3 random ones from that pool. Again, this is a brilliant way to play it because adding some RNG to a game like this is important to eliminate cookie cutter strats and make it so spells can't be stacked in overpowered ways in advance.
You are dealt 3 cards, and you can mulligan these cards. You now have three options, cast spells or send pets to attack, or just perform a hero attack.
After I hit Pet Attack, both sides still have surviving pets; I can now choose cast spells (if I did not do that first) or attack any remaining pets on the field with my hero directly.
Looks like pets are pretty strong because they tank for the hero on top of being able to cast a spell or do a direct attack with the hero on the same turn.
- Once a spell is cast, it can no longer be cast throughout the rest of the game, including future matches, and if a god runs out of spells, it can no longer cast spells.
As predicted... Nice clarification though.
Unless by "matches" it means after the current game has ended...
Somehow I doubt that though.
No-Limit Hold 'em Poker is the framework of the game.
Haha... what? Awesome. Chess and Poker? Keeps getting better.
Poker terminology to fighting words:
Bet = Attack
Reraise = Counter Attack
Call = Engauge
Fold = Brace + 5% stamina / - 2 HP or if you have Pets up, 1hp off slowest pet, 1 hp from hero.
Check = Defend = + 5% stamina
Chips = Hit Points
Faith = Flop
Forsight = Turn
Destiny = River
Faith Cards = Hole cards
Resulting Faith = 1 Poker Hand from start to finish where a winner is declared.
That... is... epic.
So if you know you're going to lose the battle you can just "fold" which will brace for impact. You might not win that round but your hero will take a little bit of damage. Hm.
- Each player receives two faith cards. The attacker acts first.
- You have only two options after your faith cards are dealt; you can attack or brace. Once your Faith is laid before you, you can perform more moves which we go into more below.
I am suddenly very curious as to how random numbers are being generated here. I assume witness signatures, but then that gives the opportunity for witnesses to cheat. I guess we'll find out.
Combat is determined by HP. You attack, risking your health. If you have 100 health, you can attack for 100 health; if you lose, you lose 100 health. If you win, your opponent loses 100 health.
If you pick attack, choose the amount to attack for, then choose which body part to attack, now it goes to your opponent. Combos are divided into % of health attacked.
Every fighter has 10 stamina, equal.
The amount of the attack determines stamina. For every attack that damages your opponent for a total of 10% of your total HP cost 1 stamina.
The amount of the attack determines speed. For every attack that damages your opponent for a total of 10% of your total HP creates a 1-speed point.
you need to attack in the same range 3 times in a row to unlock "rage." Rage only depletes if you use it for a finishing move or die. With enough rage, you can unlock the finishing move to be used at any time.
Hahaha noobs are gonna get wrecked at this game.
- Select your target location for your attack, these all have different effects:
-- High - Deals 5% additional damage to the opponent
-- Middle - Opponent recovers stamina 5% slower
-- Low - Opponents attack speed is lowered by 5%
-- Left - Opponent becomes weaker and deals 5% less damage
-- Right - Opponent becomes weaker and deals 5% less damage
Can you say: awesomesauce?
Being able to choose exactly how you want to weaken your opponent is pretty cool.
After choosing your abilities, you then choose your defense location, these also have different effects based on your opponent's choice of attack location.
-- High = Head
-- Middle = Torso
-- Low = Legs
-- Left = Left Arm
-- Right = Right Arm
Again, I'm very curious as to how each player's choice is hidden from the other. There are ways to accomplish this in a decentralized way but it's a lot more complicated than just running a centralized client-server relationship. Guess we'll find out. I know Dan isn't he biggest fan of centralization, so I'm curious.
If a defending player chooses the defense location the attacking player selected, the defender negates the effect of the attack and reduces the incoming damage by 100%. Some passives will add negative effects for your opponent upon your successful block.
Let the RNG mind-games begin!
Will be fun to watch the epic upsets that occur when someone randomly gets lucky like 5 times in a row at the end of a battle they clearly should have lost. Without the river there would be no fish!
IE: I have 100 health; you have 100 health. I attack for 20 preflop, you counter for 40 (my bet 20 + the min bet you can make 20 = 40) - now I must engage for 20 more, brace or counter again myself.
This combination of chess and poker is blowing my mind right now, lol.
I'm dealt AA preflop. I attack for 5HP.
You engage the 5HP attack.
The flop comes Ah Kd 7d
I attack for 10HP
You lose 5hp.
We both have 100 HP.
I attack preflop for 30 HP.
You brace, you lose 1-2 HP (pet dependant.)
Example: We both have 30 HP
I attack for 30 HP
You brace, you lose 1-2 HP (pet dependant.)
I bet 1 HP
Faith is laid out, and I defend
Forsite I defend
Destiny I defend
Whoever has the best faith cards win, and the loser loses 2 hp.
But as someone who is pretty good at at chess (relatively) and really good at poker and turn-based strategy, I can already tell I'm going to murder this game... especially considering there are going to be a bunch of crypto users playing it that aren't necessarily good at any of those things.
The battle then goes back through the loop until one player's God is defeated. The battle cycle goes, Spells/Pet first, then the hero attacks. The poker hand in its entirety acts as one round, think of each street as jostling for control with two weapons pinned against each other, the back and forth dance of the round of attack.
Ah I was curious about this.
So once combat begins one of the two pieces is going to 'die' no matter what.
After your match finishes you:
- Gain EXP coins used to upgrade your gods (Crypto)
- Gain rating for your online rank
Now this is where the threat of Sybil attack comes into play. We've already seen how bad it gets on Splinterlands, with bots just spamming games to get free DEC and whatnot. Won't that be a problem with EXP coins?
Clearly, Dan has thought about this A LOT, because I think, especially during the early stages of this game, botting is going to be very very difficult. Not only is this game obviously super complicated, but also it costs HBD to heal up after matches and stuff like that. In fact, it costs HBD to do a lot of things in the game. That means that bots will not be financially viable unless they are better than the human players, which is highly unlikely, especially during the first year of the game.
With all this in mind, we might even dare cheaters to try their lucky within such a dog eat dog system where it's possible they could lose a significant amount of money even attempting such shenanigans. From what I can tell, this is a very solid setup to incentivize real human players to play the game. Even if XP coin value skyrockets and makes botting profitable, those bots will still be forced to permanently add HBD into the pot, whose yield gets distributed to actual winners.
- Customize your gods
- Equip them with various spells you want for your matches (Up to 30 per God)
- Equip them with various weapons or equipment to boost their stats
- Level up your gods by staking your EXP coins gained by winning matches
- Leveling up your God will allow for more spells to be attached, grant your God higher stats, etc.
These EXP coins sound like they are going to be pretty damn valuable (at least in the beginning). Only way to get them is to play, and bots won't be farming them via Sybil attack. Everyone is going to want to level up their characters so everyone's gonna want more EXP tokens. Bots that farm XP tokens just to dump them on the market are going to lose like every game and pump the HBD pool.
I've very curious as to how high in value these XP tokens need to spike in order for players to be willing to sell them. I imagine there will be hardcore buyers at the top end that are buying from the more casual players. For the most part I'm guessing that a lot of people will neither buy or sell them, and simply use them to progress organically, but the market created by this mechanic is going to be intense. Again, I'm quite intrigued about how this is all going to turn out. Very Exciting!
Let the chaos begin!
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