Coming Soon to Shattered: Too Many Consumables!

4 minute read

0.7.0 is taking longer than expected due to some other commitments, so apologies for the delay, but things are still progressing!

Last time, I explained how runestones would work and how they provide more variety to scrolls in a similar way seeds do to potions. Naturally, the alchemy system is all about this sort of variety, but it can easily be hamstringed by a big problem: There are too many consumables! Currently there are about 50 different types of consumable items, and a player can expect to run into most of them in any given run. All of these items make it very hard to decide where to use them appropriately in most cases, and it’s a very common situation for players to win the game or to die with loads of consumables that they’ve basically forgotten about. More variety on it’s own only exacerbates this problem.

The whole reason this is an issue comes down to player choice. Clear item categories can help with this, but when all the specific effects vary using a consumable really is a decision between 20+ individual choices in any given situation. Having such a huge assortment of items in their inventory makes a player more likely to simply ignore them, or gravitate to a few options they are used to. This is especially true for scrolls, as potions have a lot of specific special rooms which encourage their use. Enhancing variety and circumstantial use can help with this, but really players needs a way to take all of those different items, and distill them down into fewer individual choices during gameplay.

…and that is what alchemy is going to be all about…

Alchemy isn’t just turning seeds into potions or scrolls into runestones, alchemy is going to be a full-fledged consumable crafting system which focuses on giving players the ability to turn all of the consumables the game gives them into a smaller number of more powerful items. Rather than having dedicated ‘ingredient items’ like most crafting systems, here the existing consumables are the ingredients! This way, players who want to leverage the alchemy system will have to make choices involving many items when they are at an alchemy pot, but in exchange will then have fewer, more powerful choices for the rest of the dungeon.

To start with some of these brand new items…

I give you exotic potions and scrolls!

These items are created by taking a particular potion and combining it with any two seeds, or a particular scroll with any two runestones. Every single potion and scroll has their own exotic variant, making for 24 new items! Exotic items are generally more powerful than their regular variant, but also provide an effect that’s useful in a different way. It’s another source of variety, but this time you create it by recycling seeds and stones you don’t want! Because seeds can be made into potions, and scrolls can be turned into stones, this very often means that you are effectively recycling potions and scrolls here as well.

Here are a few examples:

  • Potions of Shielding are the exotic variant of potions of healing. Rather than restoring missing HP over time, potions of shielding provide an instant barrier against damage. While this doesn’t provide the lasting durability of healing, the boost is much more up-front, and synergizes with specific effects that scale based on missing player HP.
  • Potions of Storm Clouds are the exotic variant of potions of levitation. Storm clouds will rain down on surrounding terrain, converting most tile types to water, including traps! This potion still provides a way for players to evade terrain hazards, just like levitation, but accomplishes it by destroying the hazards instead of letting the player float above them.
  • Scrolls of Enchantment are the exotic variant of scrolls of upgrade. These potent scrolls will allow you to enchant a weapon or inscribe an armor, with a bit of added choice. Rather than getting a random effect, you can choose between 3 different options, or not apply the scroll at all. The cost of an upgrade is steep, but players who are looking for only a couple of effects now have some way to choose them. Note that the scrolls are balanced to not make rare enchants/glyphs more common though.
  • Scrolls of Mystical Energy are the exotic variant of scrolls of Recharging. Rather than working on wands, scroll of mystical energy will grant a boost to equipped artifacts! Similarly to recharging, this gives players more control over the charge rate of their artifacts, although just like recharging the boost is temporary. Artifacts have a wide variety of uses though, which makes mystical energy very flexible.

Of course, alchemy wouldn’t be a full-on crafting system if all it did was remix existing effects. There is still potential here for more, check out part 3 for details on that, coming soon! …and by soon I hopefully mean less than a month and a half, sorry again for the delays!

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