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Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #6: Stealth, Character Progression, Stats

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Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #6: Stealth, Character Progression, Stats

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 1 June 2016, 16:29:37

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

In the week that's passed since its last major Kickstarter update, Whalenought Copper Dreams has been Greenlit for release on Steam and reached $30,000 of funding. For today, Joe & Hannah have written a particularly large update detailing the game's stealth systems, stats, and most interestingly, the philosophy behind its character progression mechanics. Copper Dreams is joining the growing roster of RPGs where you don't get experience points for combat, and other progression metrics such as loot are also tuned not to lock players into a particular playstyle. I'll quote that part of the update:

For the Burning Candle ruleset we’ve removed the traditional use of XP as a means of character progression — instead there are both short and long term progressions that happen in different ways. The traditional CRPG way of gaining XP (the D&D method) is meant to reward a character for overcoming obstacles. Often in RPGs an obstacle is defined very simply: if it moves, kill it, and if you do a quest, you win. House-rules aside, that’s the basic guideline, and that’s what is usually done. For an open-ended game that has a fairly big flaw, it dictates what's actually meaningful for your character, which we think stifles a player's exploration. We needed to remove that from the Burning Candle ruleset and wanted to give you an idea on our thought process.

The “Oregon Trail” method

The Burning Candle ruleset focuses on survival and adventure RPG systems, and isn't intended to selectively award XP with one hand and encourage the player to have total freedom with the other.

A player's character growth instead is determined by thematic gameplay intervals when completing open ended missions that your employer has given you (not dissimilar to finding pentagrams in Wizardy IV). We internally called this method the Oregon Trail method of leveling up. It gives you stat progression when you reach a milestone (like resupplying at landmarks in the DOS game) so you don't have to worry about selectively gaming XP during gameplay, rather just surviving, outfitting your crew effectively and solving puzzles (having fun any way you want). It’s very simple, but rewards any type of play style equally. Someone who completes a mission bloodlessly receives the same benefit as one who takes down every enemy in sight.

How this all works

Long Term:

Completing one of the large missions from Wolffz Bay is essentially hitting a level up milestone. This nets your characters stat points to distribute amongst your Virtues, Aptitudes, and Proficiencies. Missions can vary either subtly or drastically depending on how that narrative has branched, but there’s a set amount of primary ones that span the game. The stat points you receive can be distributed at any time.

Short Term:

To improve your party in the short term between these level up milestones, your exploration and various jobs around town will be rewarded as you collect chits (currency) to trade for new items, find or buy better hardware for your characters, and purchase cybernetics. You'll also be able to train for new abilities for your items (like new weapon uses) during rests, which require anything from favors and chits, to the rare (untraceable) US dollar.

Loot is a whole new topic, but besides some specifically requested trainer/artist items, most gear you pick up isn't able to be sold for chits or used as currency. It can be bartered for other equipment though, so a combat-focused character will be losing money firing ammunition and degrading weapons, but the loot picked up can potentially reimburse that with trade for replacement weapons and medical supplies to fill up holes in their body on-the-go. A sneaky character isn’t losing blood or bullets, and then wouldn’t have the need for constant loot recycling. Characters focusing on certain items or skill will fall somewhere in the middle, though generally your crew will fill different roles and a balance will need to be found. The way you play is then compartmentalized in how it’s rewarded — none of which net you XP, so as long as it’s working for you it’s a valid way of playing depending on how you outfit your crew. You can spend your time hacking for chits, solving puzzles, chatting up the town, finding rare items, getting new equipment and reporting back to Wolffz Bay how you’d advise expansion in Calitana without worrying what is getting you XP and what isn’t.
It's a great update, but the part about stats is a bit brief and doesn't really explain what exactly Virtues, Aptitudes and Proficiencies are. Hopefully there'll be more about this during the campaign.

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