The Waylanders Preview
The Waylanders is a universe that has been realized as both a video game and a board game. The developers were inspired by games such as Dragon's Age and Baldur's Gate and Mike Laidlaw is working with them on the story as a consultant. The game is inspired by the myths of the Spanish region of Galicia. The main story is about time travel and takes place in the Celtic era in Brigantia and the middle ages, where Christianity has replaced a lot of the Celtic history. Note for those who try to look Brigantia up, this is not the English Celtic area, but the Spanish one, which has a mythological origin.
Only the main character will be able to travel through time, but some of your party members might have an incarnation in the other time era. You will need to travel back and forth in order to stop the seed of evil that has been planted in the past. You stop it by using the right combination of choices in both time eras and eventually kill the one who is responsible. However as none of that was implemented, it could not be shown.
At Gamescom a pre-alpha version of The Waylanders was shown. They have been developing the game for 7 months now and have at least 2 more years of further development, before the game can be released.
There are 6 basic classes in The Waylanders: warrior, guardian, ranger, rogue, sorcerer and healer. Each class also has 5 advanced classes, which are specializations of the base classes, totaling to 30 different classes. From these you create yor own character at the start of the game. Although they could not show it now, in the final game there will be a lot of customization options available for your character.
You can have a total of five characters in your party at any time. For the demo the characters in my party were fixed, but they are planning to have 20-30 pre-build characters, made from different classes. You will encounter these throughout the game. From the characters that have joined you, 5 can be selected at any given time to play with. They are planning to make the story such that you will have to make use of all of your party members at one point or the other as each has special abilities that are needed in the game.
Combat is real-time with pause and works as you expect it to work. There is however one difference with other games, which is that your characters can be placed in a formation during combat. Each of the 30 classes has two unique formations, so there will be a large variety of formations available. The formations of the first character that has been selected will be used. By selecting the additional characters you would like to have in the formation and selecting the formation, the selected characters will enter a formation and act as one unit, causing the stats of the unit to be increased beyond the stats of a single character. You do more damage and your defense abilities are improved as well. There are different types of formations, like one where the characters create a dome of shields where they hide behind to give a high defense. Another, is a formation where the selected characters all use spears, so they are next to each other and all move at the same time and attack at the same time. One of the examples that were shown was where 4 characters in my party formed a shield dome and the sorcerer stood behind it throwing magic at some wolves that were obstructed by the shields.
When a member of the party dies, they automatically rise again at the end of the battle, at which point the health of the party members will be replenished. Basically this means the only impact of someone dying is that you have one character less to do the fighting in the current combat situation. They felt it was a bad idea to have your healer continuously heal someone or that you continuously have to use potions after a fight, in order to heal the party members.
The demo ended with a boss fight, where during the fight the sorcerer in the party had to interact with four pillars, one after the other, in order to reduce the defense of the boss enough, so it could be killed. However the boss creature did not like that much, so it focuses on the sorcerer to interrupt the spell casting on the pillar. It is the job of the rest of the party to occupy the creature long enough and distract him, so he will not attack your sorcerer until the four pillars are down.
The combat in the game is real-time, as they simply like it more than turn-based and they feel it is less predictable and makes it harder. And to make combat even more challenging, they are planning to add friendly fire to the game and make it an option that can be turned on or off.
The camera can be freely rotated and can be zoomed in and out, where you can go from an isometric view to quite close to the characters.
The game is supposed to be at least 40 hours in length.
Next to the The Waylanders video game there is also a table top board game of The Waylanders and it has many of the features of the video game, except that it is turn-based. I forgot to take any pictures, but you can find some here. On September the 15th the board game is going to Kickstarter and is scheduled to be released in 2019.
After writing the article I had a few pressing questions I wanted to have answered, which they did, so here they are:
1) I gain experience during my encounters. Do only the characters in my party gain that experience, or also the other characters that are not in my party, but are waiting somewhere?
The characters in the base will rise their level at the same time as your party. We want to do a game with plenty of tactical possibilities, so you'll have all your possible characters ready to try new strategies when you need or want to.
2) When I level up, what do I get to select? Can I increase my attributes? Skills? Abilities?...
For the basic classes you will have two talents (like Constitution and Agility) to spend points on, The more points you have in that talent the more abilities you'll have to select in your ability tree. When you upgrade to an advanced class you receive a third talent, that gives you the opportunity to take new abilities.
Our intention is to have companions of all the basic classes. All the progresion and the advance classes that your companions will have are a choice of the player.
3) I actually only saw combat, what about quests? Do you have a full fledged quest system, with side quests? Is it a branching quest system (so it depends on previous choices)?
Right now we focus on creating a lot of "loyalty quests". We want to have side quests that have an impact on the team and on the story. The quests you receive from your companions will be especially important. All your companions will have a few quests and you wil only receive those quests when you have a good relationship with that companion. The decisions you take during the game will have an effect your companions and your relantionship with them, so you will not be able to access to all the quests of all companions on a single play through.
4) Do my choices influence the story? If so, do they also influence the ending?
Yes, we'll have different endings and I totally confirm that the choices will have a very deep impact on the story and your team.