The Speed Attribute
There are currently 20(!) different speeds in TGGW (i.e., the
speed attribute can range between 1-20 for you and monsters).
speed determines how many turns you have to wait before acting. Turns are divided into 20-turn segments, and within a 20-turn segment a character may act
speed times evenly distributed over the interval. A character with
speed 1 may act only once during this interval whereas a character at
speed 20 may act all 20 turns.
Having 20 different speeds is really not necessary. Having one character act 20 times more often then another is a ridiculous extreme case that could theoretically happen (you could have been repeatedly slowed and meet a wasp which you hit with a speed-coated sword). I originally envisioned having all attributes ranging between 1-20 for clarity but this is something that I’m moving away from now.
What really matters is if you are faster or slower than a monster (can you run from it/chase it or not?). How much faster or slower rarely makes much of a difference unless the difference is really huge or really small. In addition, items that alter speed are very rare and your speed attribute is rarely changing more than by 1-2 points during a game anyway. In other words: having 20 different speeds does really not contribute to the game.
I have reduced the number of possible speeds from 20 to 5. A segment is now instead 5-turns. In all other respects, speed works just like before. Five speeds is much more reasonable and still allows for great variety. A speed 5 character may act 5 times as often as a speed 1 character which is an amazing advantage without being too crazy.
Normal speed was previously 5 (1/4 of max 20). Normal speed will now instead be 3 (3/5 of max 5). You and most monsters start with a speed of 3.
Speed as a Status Effect
With only five speeds, speed is no longer justified as an attribute. Instead it is now a status effect, and the five speeds can be categorized as follows:
- Very slow (speed 1)
- slow (speed 2)
- normal (speed 3)
- fast (speed 4)
- very fast (speed 5)
You will start with normal speed (3) and so will most monsters. Normal speed does not count as a status effect but part of your normal baseline character. A character’s or monster’s speed is only announced if it differs from baseline speed of 3.
The rationale for removing the speed attribute and replacing it with a status effect is the following:
- It makes room for other attributes.
- Speed rarely changes and rarely by much.
- Having only 5 values makes it less important as an attribute.
- Status effects alerts you more, and highlights its importance instead of showing it as a number that you just glance over.
- The speed mechanic is somewhat hard to understand and explain (turn segments etc). However, the exact mechanic is not important to understand, which means that the number benefits of being abstracted into a descriptive name.
- It reduces information overflow a bit since it is not displayed under normal circumstances.
Monsters and items had to be rebalanced for this change. One consequence is that speed items are now even rarer. This is because an increase in speed is now even more valuable than before. Being two categories faster than the original means being at least as fast as any monster in the game. You can no longer train speed and several items got their bonus speed removed. I hope this makes speed more fun to find.
Another interesting consequence is that you will have fewer inactive turns. Walking on water/lava will not trigger it four times at normal speed, but only once or twice. Poison and disease effects as well as confusion stumbling will also trigger more rarely (because you spend less turns in general). .
There is one negative consequence that I’m not fond of for this change that is the result of removing speed as a number. This results in kind of a “speed algebra”. For example if a monster is “fast” and is temporary slowed, it will have “prm fast” och “tmp slow”. It is then implied that fast + slow = normal speed. If you have equipped a speed item and quaff a speed potion you will be “eqp fast” and “tmp fast” and it is then understood that fast + fast = very fast. However, it is not a huge problem and I think most will understand this intuitively.
With the simplification in combat and abstraction and reduction of speed some may think that I’m going in a reductionist kind of direction in development where I am simplifying or dumbing down. It is quite the opposite: I aim to make TGGW a more complex, rich and deep game in every way by adding more features and interaction between mechanics. Simplifying and clarifying the core mechanics makes room for this. My goal is to make the game complex and deep while still being very easy to understand and get into, and I actually don’t think those two necessarily are in direct conflict.