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Dredmor: What is a Warrior to do?

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dbaumgart

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Combat RPGs don't traditionally offer much active choice to a warrior character: Do you attack? Do you not attack?

Maybe you get to quaff (but never "drink") a potion every so often. A player's agency comes more from the set-up to combat through having a much more equipment-driven character than, say, a wizard. It is compelling to collect and use equipment, but a warrior really ought to have something to do in combat aside from clicking "attack".



But this is a known problem, and it has been dealt before, and cleverly.

I must mention Blizzard's evolving solutions to the problem: The Diablo 1 warrior had barely anything to do but hit 'attack', quaff potions, and collect loot. Diablo 2 gave the Barbarian class piles of both passive and spell-like skills which used mana as a limiting resource (though perhaps mana is thematically inconsistent for the class). Titan Quest did similarly, and with mana. Now take World of Warcraft as an example - it's been quite some time since I've played, but from what I recall, Warriors build up and use "rage" to execute special attacks along with using skills that use timed cool-down periods per-skill as a limiting factor. Or maybe it was Rogues that build up skill to do neat attacks. Regardless, there were also talent trees which gave specialized skills, attacks, etc - The latest D&D even seems to have taken up MMO-influenced abilities for warrior-type classes with gusto.

The necessity of giving pure-combat classes more gameplay/agency has generally been recognized so, in all, games give warrior characters many more choices to make than they once did. One hopes that these are always interesting and meaningful choices, of course.

Dredmor takes up a few approaches to giving warriors the love they deserve: Naturally, we have piles upon piles of ridiculous items to wield, consume, quaff, and wear upon one's head and/or other extremities. Said items shall have sundry absurd powers and unique odours. We are also giving the warrior a number of pre-combat passive specialization skills and silly special abilities along with in-combat spell-like combat powers.



Between the item collecting, booze drinking, weapon swinging, carrot hunting, area attacking, face mashing, health stealing, and hat wearing, if you really can't find enough to do as a warrior, you can always effectively multiclass because Dredmor is an entirely skill based game (read: no classes) and is made to be friendly toward combinations of skills across class archetypes.

[written for the Gaslamp Games blog]
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I would guess that "Quaff" comes from the old (very old) first character menu system. What is better than a word that perfectly describes consuming a potion, and is almost 100% certain never to be used for another action, such as Defend?

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The warrior class in WoW also has the very important role of 'tanking,' ie- being a meat shield. The most important thing they have to do is build up 'threat' on the monsters, keeping their attention so that the ranged attackers, healers and mages don't get killed.

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Merlin:
Huh, I didn't even think of that; And then I had to go look up the etymology (which is somewhat unclear), but I love the connotations of vigor and forcefulness -- seems like an entirely apt verb for heroic fantasy.

Metalmidget:
The MMO/WoW role slipped my mind too, though that's not really my angle as I'm making a single-player CRPG/Roguelike.

I wonder how applicable the WoW warrior metagame is to anything outside the WoW model of combat, even. I'm not particularly fond of playing WoW combat, though I quite understand why they can't do an step-based time model and square grid map in an MMORPG.

I read a piece written by Bruce Geryk for Flash of Steel which makes the observation that from one perspective, WoW's approach to monster pulling and aggression is completely ridiculous from a standpoint of simulation and immersion. But that's not what Blizzard is doing - they've made a monster's aggression an almost transparently simple (depending on your UI mod) and gameable mechanic.
But then, did not older CRPGs like Baldur's Gate do this with monster's morale checks and fear/confusion/berserk effects?
Heck, even Diablo 1 had those damn goats that'd always run away and try to plink arrows at you from afar.

Hmm. Maybe there's something here in handling aggression/morale effects.

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