Another thing getting revamped in the next Demon build is character creation.
First, the “bad” news: as I have long promised (threatened? ) I am finally somewhat reducing the overall power level of starting abilities. Too many starting abilities were of a caliber that you really didn’t need anything else for quite some time (hello, Frost Ring, among others), or often gave such early access to powerful mechanics that the Tower finally getting around to revealing them 10 floors in wasn’t all that impressive (hello, Alluring Gaze, among others.) These factors combined to make the early game relatively dull for experienced players.
So… now you get one starting ability, not three, and the selection, while still hopefully interesting, is definitely less powerful overall:
I’ve tried to choose each ability to be somewhat representative of its element and distinct in at least one way from the other options. Obviously with only one element trying to stand in for elements that have dozens of abilities, the representation part won’t be perfect. I also tried to make sure none of them are “traps”: combined with your new starting ally (more on that in just a moment), all of these should be capable of helping you recruit a minimal party on the first two floors and get you rolling properly.
At this point, someone is probably about to ask “Which Relic is that list for?”: actually, it’s for all of them. Relic no longer determines anything but appearance and initial Relic Upgrades. Your ability choice determines your resistances (which are always one resistance and one weakness, now.)
What about stats? Well… nothing determines your starting stats: these always begin at 10/10/10/10/10 regardless of your choice: having to earn large bonus modifiers from stats is probably more meaningful than being given them upfront and just maintaining them. It also gives you the flexibility to choose your own stat build without being stuck with my assumptions about what someone would want to prioritize based on their Relic/ability choices. (Note: In the Upgrade revamp, coming later, I will probably add a relatively cheap Upgrade that lets you swap your stats around, for those folks who are grumpy about having to have 10 in stats that they feel are completely unnecessary for their plans… or for those who want to change their build later, for that matter.)
Now, about that new friend…
Meet the Homunculus. You only get one, so treat him well! You always get him though: you can no longer choose a starting ally, this is the one everyone gets. However, he has been designed to be of use to pretty much any build: Heavy Blow gives him a decent combat ability that is effective against the vast majority of early enemies. Draw Wounds lets him support melees, or anyone else who needs healing, without distracting him from attacking. Refresh lets him support heavy SP users, aided by the fact neither Heavy Blow or Draw Wounds uses up his SP. Finally, Low Profile lets him helpfully tank for anyone using projectiles without interfering with their attacks. His completely neutral stats make it possible to grow him anyway you want and get at least decent results.
Homunculus has other odd properties: He’s a bit of a semi-Unique. He is not technically Unique, but he has two of the strongest benefits of Uniques: the extra MaxHP and… a unique modifier.
The unique modifier in question, Artificial, adds Body and Mind resistance, “evens out” stats, and offers one ability of each element for its ability pool. The abilities offered tend to be generally useful things. Even if they end up not being appropriate for the demon you give the modifier to, it is almost certain someone in your group will appreciate learning them via Copy Ability.
So.. yeah. I won’t deny it: this is a pretty big change to character creation and the early game. It’s definitely less power. Could also say less choices, but I’d argue that one: There’s less up front choices, but I think the high powered starts were removing the need to make many real choices in the early game, so it may be a wash on that front. Another way of putting it: “character creation” now occurs more in what you decide to recruit/learn in the first few floors, rather than before you start playing. My hope is that this is more interesting and fun, both for new players and experienced ones.
That said, I don’t expect this to be universally popular. The only other thing I’ll add is a reminder that if this proves to not work out like I’m hoping, I *have* been convinced to undo unpopular things before. Granted, it’s been awhile since the last one (does anyone remember when incompatible demons couldn’t be in the same party? ), but I do pay attention and respond if something just plain doesn’t work out.
Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before you can try all of this stuff out yourselves. Cheers, and thank you!