Many people here have already covered all the great and finer details of balancing the economy. I want to suggest a few things to make this game more strategic. Because as it stands, I think many can agree now that while you need some skill, you need only be adequate if you are decked out in the best gear gold can get. Consequently, in this early form of the game, equipment is rewarded more than strategy.
There needs to be ways average players on a team in PvP can try to off a dominating, top tier character, and not feel the outcome of the game was determined at the team roster stage.
Let’s acknowledge now that this game is influenced in a large part by the Worms series of the 90’s and early 2000’s. Played the hell out of those as a kid. :) There are many different things Crazy Fairies is doing (esp RPG elements), but I think there are still a few strategic details where we can look to the Worms series for inspiration (with maybe a Crazy Fairies twist). Here is a lengthy series of interconnected strategy thoughts:
All Things Are Destructible
I know the terrain already is, but I think there could be a lot more use of the landscape, and that a little more is removed in an explosion.
First off, I’d like to see ALL magical weapons make craters—it’s magic, and another attribute you can lump in differentiating between physical and magical weapons. Logically, no physical weapons should harm the ground—except the Dwarf’s Cannon. The skull bomb is a grey area…is it cursed? Does it actually detonate to spread its ghostly flames? I dunno.
But Ice Maiden’s Delight shoulda also be destructible. Right now, people just use it to play chicken and to delay the game. It is delayed indefinitely if all Cross Fires are used. If all magical weapons can dig into the ground, you can soon dig under them. That’s not bad. In Worms, you could build girders. They offered a few turns’ shelter to recover or prevent damage, it won’t last forever. That’s all Ice Maiden’s Delight should do—offer temporary safety. If it is destructible, perhaps up the area it covers slightly to widen it, or dictate that craters can only ever get so large against its surface.
This doesn’t cheapen Cross Fire at all. If you need to snipe someone immediately, it is still invaluable, rather than spending turns getting rid of the terrain between you and your target.
If all magical weapons made craters on the land, another attribute to differentiate them would be blast radius (how big a hole is left), and blast power. Maybe the weapon of the week considered OP leaves a tiny crater and doesn’t have much of a blast, but a ‘weaker’ magical weapon leaves bigger holes, and launches players further…
Wait? Launching people? That brings me to my next point…
Make People Fear the Edge / Launch Effects
A big part of Worms gameplay is also looking for opportunities to knock opponents off the edge of the map into water, or just off the screen. Instant death. Harsh? Perhaps, but also the greatest equalizer. No godly gear or stats can prevent a watery end!
This really makes players aware of their positioning. I can take a great shot from here…but I’ll also end my turn here, and I’m near the edge. Hmmm…. Yes, people can already die falling off the edge…but I’ve only ever seen it as a newbie mistake, or as suicide.
When I first started this game, I kept looking for players to be launched a little from attacks. Now, unless you’re on the edge of something, you’re almost glued to where you stand. In Worms, it could get a little out of hand…the Holy Hand Grenade, for example, sent victims skyward and left and right, and very fast. I don’t think that’s appropriate here. Players should still, however, be launched a small distance (according to the physics of where they or the ground they were on is hit). They may be knocked to their death…but more commonly and importantly, maybe they’ll be knocked off their advantageous perch where they were busy sniping everyone.
And if all magical weapons made a crater and launched people a small distance, as per my previous points, strategic options unfold. Imagine this: 3 vs. 3. Godly geared player is laying the hurt down, but the other team’s still all alive. Their measly basic weapons have barely hurt him. He’s finished his turn. He’s not on a cliff edge, one hit from death. He’s smarter than that, but the edge is close-ish.
What he doesn’t expect is the other team rallying and deciding to ignore his comrades for one round; perhaps despite their better physical weapons and damage, they concentrate fire on this guy with their magical weapons of varying crater sizes and blast strengths. No one can miss. They need all 3 hits…and they do it! On their third hit, they drop him into the sea. Success!! But it’s not without its consequences. They took a gamble concentrating on this one target that paid off, but for one round, ignored their other 2 opponents and are left vulnerable. The game continues, a lot tighter than it began…
The bombs that sometimes appear on the land are negligible. They are neither scary, or effect gameplay in the least—people walk through them like nothing if it’s in their way, and people don’t mind standing next to them. These details betray the fact this is kind of a lost opportunity.
The Worms equivalent here are the land mines, that detonate in 1-5 seconds. If it catches a player, they end their turn, and take significant damage (up to 50 out of 100).
Again, that’s not appropriate for Crazy Fairies, I don’t think. But it still needs to be made scarier. First thing: damage. Regardless of equipment, being hurt by those bombs should take a certain % of that player’s maximum life. 10-15% maybe. Not tons, but that already is enough to dissuade someone from casually wandering through. Secondly, I propose that these are time bombs.
I quite like the delay timer in CF. It’s elegant, easy to pick up on, and plays into the strategy some. But as it stands, there is little to affect other players’ delay. These bombs could help—getting hurt by one could maybe give you an extra 30-50 delay at the end of the turn. Suddenly, they could play a lot more into people’s strategy, especially if players can be launched towards them from hits.
Lastly, when they detonate by themselves after a time—you guessed it, there should be some crater left behind, and some small blast power, so you can’t just park yourself next to one and not expect to get hurt! But on the topic of delay…
These would be another fun way to help strategy, especially against better equipped characters. I wouldn’t want to see these more expensive than 500 silver, so that it’s accessible to all players.
Maybe the card doesn’t do anything to your attack (it still causes its damage, blast radius if applicable, etc), but if hit, the target is slapped with 50+ delay or something. Now, players will have another way to keep godly opponents in check. If they have a mind to, they can push back a deadly opponent’s turn to the very end of the round. Obviously, their turn is never lost so it’s not OP, but this again ups the strategic element in proper positioning (to protect yourself from such assaults) and use of your time to have little personal delay.
On the flipside, if there’s a mass healing card, there could be a mass haste card—everyone on your team gets -30 delay or something. This is something that would be more valuable, as it moves an entire team up, rather than pushing one target back.
In Worms, there were just a few homing weapons, and they did minor damage. CF could benefit from something similar, like a homing card. This facilitates situations where you may need a hit more than the damage (say for its launching effect from the blast! Everything here is pretty intertwined…), so maybe it modifies your next attack to 50% damage, but homing.
Now, when I say homing, I don’t mean it’s perfect. It should always ideally get from A to B as you would expect—if there are no obstacles in the way. So if you launch your projectile or weapon clear of anything it can run into when it begins to beeline to its target, it’ll hit. This would mean it needs a second or two before homing kicks in.
This could help people when they’re hiding away temporarily. Before their shelter is destroyed, they can still do something from afar to help themselves or their team.
Just a Second
…or two. How about immediately after you fire something, you have a 1 or 2 second grace period to try and scramble somewhere? Just under a roof, or just a hair removed from guaranteed retaliation. This detail would also improve positioning strategy of players, especially when currently, players just trade shots back and forth, glued to the spot because their arc and amount of power is figured out. Even a slight shift in this forces players to slightly readjust their angle or power, and every so often, they’ll miss. Strategy is about opening doors of possibility, and this does just that.
Cave terrain would really mix it up some—maps with a roof, with either the very top edge indestructible, or if people cared to, they could clear it up to the ‘sky.’
I think most people are throwing these impressive high arcs where their weapons leave the screen and descend onto their targets’ heads. It’s a common sight. In cave maps, suddenly people are forced to throw wide arcs, and I often find the difference is a lot of fun (as an aside, I throw far better high arcs than wide arcs, and wonder if most prefer the same).
Skull Bomb Physics
And this is just an aside and final detail (that I can think of currently, anyway). The skull bomb has weird physics. Or at least, I find it does. It doesn’t bounce when I think it should, and it skids along the ground like it’s ice when I think it should stay still. It feels ‘heavy’ when thrown—it doesn’t seem to want to go very high or far. I’m not sure this is by design, or that it needs detailing, but if anything, I think it needs to bounce some and maybe observe some friction so it’s not skidding about.
That I think is where the strangeness lies to me—it feels heavy, but there it is, just skittering left and right on small inclines…
Thanks for reading (if you get this far), and thanks for the good game. I hope and want to see it develop into something great! :)