Feature Spotlight #3 – The Knowledge SystemOctober 4th, 2017 at 3:03 pm
The Fractured way of character progression has been revealed. Goodbye grinding and power disparities!
Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast! Just over a month since Universe & Travels, it’s time for us to drop a new Feature Spotlight – this time focused on one of the most unique features of Fractured: the Knowledge System!
While originally it was our plan to release an article on player-made villages, our community has been relentless in making us notice how much they wanted to know more about character progression on Fractured. So here it comes!
Before we begin, let’s clear something up. As you may know already from our homepage, progression on Fractured is neither level-based nor skill-based, and strongly rejects grinding in any form. Quite often, this has gotten our community members worried: how can there be a sense of progression and long-term achievements to look for? Well, it can! The core ideas of the Knowledge System are simple yet revolutionary:
- The core strengths and weaknesses of your character are set when you create it by choosing its attributes, and don’t change during the course of gameplay: you’re effective and can join complex PvE and PvP scenarios from Day 1.
- Your character rarely becomes stronger over time. Instead, it gets more knowledgeable. This happens is many ways, but one above all: the array of abilities at its disposal becomes larger and larger. This, coupled with the Resting system, allows you to design a ton of situational builds to engage in different scenarios more effectively.
- Whenever there’s something that makes your character stronger, that’s just for fine-tuning purposes, so that there is never a huge power gap between newcomers and experienced players.
Now that we’ve made this important preamble, let’s turn this Knowledge System inside-out together!
In Fractured, Knowledge Points can be seen as your personal progression currency: you acquire them over time while playing the game, and you can spend them to obtain Talent Points and start learning new abilities.
Unlike the usual “experience points” you can find in most MMORPGs, on Fractured grinding (repeating the same action over and over) is not the way you earn Knowledge Points. On the opposite, their acquisition takes place naturally during the course of your gaming sessions – and the more varied are the things you do, the better!
Let’s have a look at the four main situations that lead to earning Knowledge Points.
- Exploration. Unlike most MMOs you’ve likely played, a new character on Fractured is not only unaware of combat and magical arts, but also oblivious of the geography of the world it lives in. This ignorance is reflected in the world map, which presents itself as an empty canvas. If you want to become a knowledgeable explorer, you need to travel through every region of the world with some parchment and a pen at hand, taking a little time to write down what you’re seeing. Whenever you document a new location, it becomes permanently visible (in detail) on your world map, and you’re awarded with Knowledge Points according to the importance of what you’ve recorded.
- Bestiary. The bestiary is a personal diary where you store all the information on the types of creatures you’ve interacted with and/or defeated. New entries in the bestiary only report the most basic information on a creature, such as its name and species. Multiple interactions / kills gradually reveal more detailed data on the creature, including its attributes and abilities. Every time you unlock a new piece of bestiary knowledge, you are rewarded with Knowledge Points, and your characters becomes more proficient when interacting with the creature.
- Item Identification. Most equipment items on Fractured are crafted by players. Occasionally, however, you might be able to recover one from the corpse of a creature you’ve defeated or a hidden treasure. Each item obtained this way is Unidentified – it might be magically enchanted, but you won’t be able to grasp its powers (if any) unless you identify it first. When you do so, you not only may find yourself with a highly valuable prize in your hands, but you gain some Knowledge Points as well.
- Relics. Relics are rare pieces of the lost knowledge of Elysium that have survived the Fracture and can be recovered from the most remote locations and dangerous circumstances. When consumed, they can trigger the discovery of a new spell or raise the strength of one you know above its maximum theoretical level – a power we’re sure the most competitive of you will crave to master. And oh, they give Knowledge Points too, of course.
OK, now you know how Knowledge Points are earned. Let’s get into the core of the Knowledge System and find out how they can be spent.
The Talent Tree
Unless you’re entirely new to the world of RPGs, you’ve likely had to deal with Talents already in one way or the other. This is what your Talent Tree page looks like in Fractured:
At a superficial look, this is not much different from a canonical MMORPG talent system. Whereas in classic MMORPGs you gain a new Talent Point once in a while when leveling up, in Fractured you’re free to choose when to obtain one by spending a fixed amount of your Knowledge Points. The Talent Points you have – up to 50 – can then be assigned to the nodes of your Talent Tree. The latter is divided in six branches, each focused on one of the main character attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, Charisma.
In classic MMORPGs, moreover, I’m sure you’re used to thinking very carefully before allocating a Talent Point, knowing there is no way back – at least not without having to open your (real-life) purse. That’s not the Fractured way. Here, you can re-assign your Talent Points as many times as you want during a Resting phase. Yes, that’s it: just sit down in front of a fire change all your Talents to match the stats and abilities of your Hero, just like you do before a match of your favorite MOBA! You can also handily save pre-defined configurations.
One last remark before closing this paragraph: if you’re afraid Talents create a power wide gap between new and experienced players, you can stop worrying already! Talents are certainly an important complement to a character build, and we’re sure different setups will be widely debated in the competitive crowd. However, they’re just that: complements. The main strengths and weaknesses of your character are established when you create it!
On Fractured, magical and combat abilities are discovered and learned through a unique process involving exploration, combat, gathering, crafting, and a little bit of waiting time (including offline time).
Our aim when we designed this piece of the Knowledge System was once again to avoid grinding and to make you feel like any ability you learn is a small adventure in itself – always familiar yet never repetitive, always worth following but never creating power gaps.
Have we managed to do so? Read on and let us know!
Step #1: Discover & Quest Around
When you open your Character Abilities window for the first time, almost all the spells listed in each School are in an Unknown state.
When an ability is Unknown, you character doesn’t know anything about it (surprising, eh), including its effect and what are the tasks required to unlock it – you’re only able to catch a glimpse of its icon. How to discover an ability? Just play the game! Travel, fight, gather, craft – whatever you fancy. As soon as you accidentally perform one of the tasks required to unlock an ability, it will switch to Discovered state.
Once an ability is Discovered, you get to know everything about it: what it does, what’s the cost to use it, and – mostly importantly – what are the tasks that have to be performed to be able to start studying it. Some examples of such tasks are:
- Find, interact with, or kill specific creatures.
- Kill some specific creatures in a unique way.
- Find, collect or refine some amount of a specific resource.
- Consume X units of a specific item.
- Be hit X times by a specific spell.
- Perform a specific combat action X times.
- Explore one or more world locations.
- Rest in a specific location.
- Craft X units of a specific item.
- Die in a specific way.
Ability learning tasks never require you to repeat the same action for hours. Instead, they’re designed encourage you to explore and travel – rewarding cleverness and bravery, not time spent grinding.
All abilities have a total of 6 tasks associated to them, but it’s enough you complete 2 to turn the ability to Ready To Study – and that’s when the second part of the learning process begins.
Step #2: Study The Ability
So you finally have your ability Ready To Study. To start the learning process, all you need are:
- A sufficient amount of Knowledge Points.
- A blank tome of the appropriate School of Magic or Fighting.
Tomes are regular items that can be crafted by players. Tomes of different schools feature different procedures to be created, as some are made of parchment, others of paper, and several require unique resources on top of their basic material. They can be freely traded between players.
When you have your tome and enough Knowledge Points, you can start the learning process: the points are consumed and the book is inscribed, removed from your inventory and added to one of the Learning Slots of your character – if you have at least one not in use. Once launched, a learning process cannot be interrupted and continues even when your character is offline. The inscribed tome disappears when the learning has been completed.
That’s it! Now you just have to wait for the learning process to end to be able to use the ability. The total time required depends on several factors (such as the type of ability and your character attributes), and can be made shorter by actively playing the game (e.g. by consuming special kinds of edible resources).
Below you can see how a spell already learnt to level 1 looks like – the fearsome Axii’s Sun Strike, from the School of Invocation!
There’s More Than One Level!
In the paragraphs above, we’ve covered the process that turns an Unknown ability to Discovered, Ready To Learn, and finally usable. Abilities, however, are not only meant to be learnt once, since they feature up to 3 levels of power! Completing only 2 tasks of a Discovered ability allows you to study an ability to level 1. After that, you need to have at least 4 tasks completed to study it to level 2 and 6 tasks completed to study it to level 3.
Different learning tasks of the same ability are usually balanced so that completing a couple can be usually done in your home planet, while completing all 6 almost always requires you to travel to other planets. Studying higher levels also needs more complex blank tomes crafted with exotic resources and sophisticated tools – so we expect them to be a common item in player commerce.
Similarly to what we said about talents, you don’t have to worry about ability leveling creating a too wide power gap between new players and veterans. Sure, leveling up an ability increases its power – be it a stronger effect, increased duration, reduced cooldown, and more. However, they’re always minor differences, mostly interesting on a competitive level. Level 1-2 abilities are more than enough to create effective builds for casual PvE and PvP.
The Next Episode
This article explained it all on how character progression works in Fractured – we hope you enjoyed it! However, we’re aware we’ve mentioned so many other things that might have tickled your curiosity, and we surely don’t want to leave you with too many questions hanging.
Therefore, in the next Feature Spotlight we’ll reveal:
- The Resting phase: rebuild your Hero anew and discover how Fractured mixes the progression of a real MMO with the replayability and immediacy of a MOBA.
- Character attributes: what they do, and why character creation is so important in Fractured.
- The Schools of Magic & Fighting: how are the 400+ Fractured abilities classified?
See you soon and, as always, don’t forget to let us know hear your voice on our community boards and socials!
(thanks to game-icons.net for the placeholder icons used in this post)