- May 24, 2005
in this thread, I want to introduce my current Warcraft III project The Shadow over Blackwood.
The Shadow over Blackwood is my vision for an atmospheric and thrilling stealth RPG gameplay set within a dark vampire theme. The game is settled in a small town whose peace is threatened by a vampire scourge. Consequently, guards are patrolling the city at night and bounty hunters have come to the city to make some quick money. Imagine the game like a multiplayer RTS variant of the game Thief. Imagine the vampires as thieves, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to strike incautious town residents from behind, while the guards and hunters are trying to protect the civilians and strive to kill the vampires.
Currently, I am specially searching for feedback and good ideas for the end game. I will upload a map prototype here soon
- Playable with 1 – 9 players (up to 6 vampires vs. 3 hunters)
- Original and novel game design featuring stealth multiplayer action-RPG gameplay
- Line of sight system similar to games like THIEF (you can approach enemies undetected from behind)
- Detailed medieval village and forest scenario with careful art design
- Complex AI behavior with more than 100 NPCs being simultaneously active on the map
- Crafting system (collect ingredients to craft potions)
- Vampires can transform into different animal forms, including rat, wolf and bat
Vampires need to bite and suck the blood of as much victims as possible to increase their power. At the same time, vampires need to avoid the guards and hunters as they won’t stand a chance in an open fight (at least not on lower levels). Therefore, playing as a vampire requires tactical lurking in the shadows, careful study of the environment and seeking out for a proper opportunity to strike an unprotected victim. The more blood the vampires suck, the stronger they get so that they will eventually become strong enough to defeat even the hunters.
Vampires can learn different magical spells and thus can specialize in certain directions. Important vampire core abilities are transformations into different animal forms, including bat, wolf and rat. Each form has it’s purpose, strength and weakness. For example, the bat is effective for fast escaping, invading and overcoming obstacles. However, the transformation is quite expensive and the bat is very vulnerable against archers on towers. The wolf form is well suited for travelling longer distances at higher speed and the wolf also makes a decent fighter. Though he can’t compete with a guard or hunter in 1on1, a wolf still may be effective in a group or for delivering a killing blow to a hunter that is already hurt. Then, there is the rat form which is usable for hiding and stealth tactics. In this form, the vampire can easily hide in bushes and dark corners as long as he wants and wait for the proper opportunity to strike at his target. In addition, rats won’t be automatically attacked by guards as long as they keep a certain distance. Finally, when reaching the highest levels, a vampire can learn the Overlord form which will be powerful enough to face and crush all enemies in an open battle.
Vampires also have access to a complex alchemistic crafting system that is powered by a vast array of ingredients. Some of these ingredients can be found in the forests, some are only found in the city or in crates, and some are exclusively sold by a mysterious and hard-to-find ghost merchant (sometimes he also sells some rare recipes if you are lucky). If a vampire has collected enough ingredients, he should search for a magical witch's cauldron (these are on different random locations each game) and mix up magical potions there. Potions have powerful effects, like increase of hero power, extending nighttime duration or temporary transformation into a human so guards do not spot the vampire and even open the gates for him. There is even a love potion, so a vampire can force another vampire to become a permanent ally of him (note that all vampires are rivals by default).
The hunters are reckless soldiers of fortune who travelled to the city to make some fast money. Choosable vampire hunter classes include the Gunslinger, the Assassin and the Mage, while the mage can specialize in different magical disciplines like fire, frost, lightning and arcane. All the classes will feel and play quite differently.
While hunters can learn different abilities and skills, their power mostly relies on proper equipment. In order to have enough gold to buy powerful gear from the local merchants, the Hunters need to acquire gold by killing undead threats and maybe by doing other small jobs, like escorting, delivery, etc. The primary goal of the hunters is to kill all the vampires and to protect the civil residents at any cost since their deaths increase the strength of the vampires. If there are too many victims, the vampires may eventually become unstoppable for the hunters. However, if the hunters act wise and vigilant, the may be able to hold back the vampires and survive until daybreak.
Life in town - the AI system:
The core of the game is a complex AI simulation of the NPC behavior. For example, the AI system features guards holding certain positions, guards patrolling the roads, villagers running around, random events, villagers talking with each other, villagers running around in panic and alerting the guards, etc.
Moreover, there is a visibility system that checks if a vampire can be seen by an NPC. Nearly all NPCs can be unnoticeably approached from behind (with some exceptions like guards that are stationed on towers). Such backstab attacks will enable vampires to suck the blood of their victims.
I also want to include a lot of random mechanics so the game experience will be different each game. For example, guard positions can be different each game, routes are not necessarily predictable, etc. I'm also thinking about adding some dynamics as it concerns the city layout so, for example, a gate won't be open every time you play the map.
My goal is to create different and thus interesting situations from game to game, so both vampires and hunters need to stay attentive and actively react on the current situation in town.
The Voice from the Shadows:
There is a mysterious dark voice that regularly talks to the vampires. For example, the voice gives hints or comments on the vampire's last actions. Rumors are that it even plays off the vampires against each other sometimes. Maybe, this is because only one vampire can finally become the prophesied dark champion who fullfills the mission of the shadows.
End Game - Your ideas are welcome!
The first vampire who reaches a specific (high) level gains a powerful overlord form. Other vampires may try to kill him and then get the overlord form themselves. However, only one single vampire can have the overlord form at a time. The overlord form makes a vampire powerful enough to kill the baron of the lands. This is not an easy task, but it makes it possible for this vampire to win the game.
However, currently I am not fully pleased with this type of end game. So maybe you have some suggestions.
Basic requirements shall be as follows:
- If one vampire reaches the overlord level, he should have best chances to win the game
- However, it should still be possible for other vampires and maybe also the hunters to win the game
- Endgame gameplay shall be different to the normal gameplay before
- Hunters win as a team, on the vampire side, however, only one vampire is the winner
I have also some other concepts for the endgame like vampires are striving for eternal night, while hunters want to push sun rise. Anyway, I would like to have an epic battle at the end.
I’m curious what you think about this idea and I'm happy about any suggestions, ideas and other feedback.