Welcome to the first in our Dev Insights blog series where we share with you some of the behind-the-scenes thinking and planning that goes into the making of Scavengers.
Our latest Dev Insights blog delves into the thinking and workings behind player progression - a crucial element in our game. We take a look at how strategic choices in working together as a team, plus how leveraging your resources and research are all valuable to your progression as an Explorer.
Read on and learn more from Ben B, Game Designer at Midwinter.
Hi! Ben here, and I’m a Games Designer at Midwinter. Today I want to talk about Progression in Scavengers.
In Scavengers, you’re sent down to a dying planet by an Artificial Intelligence with unclear motives, ostensibly to gather data on the disease that killed most of humanity. You will compete against others who are there for the same data and the opportunity to escape with the few remaining resources; you are scavengers after all.
Remember though, you’ll have to use those resources wisely; Mother is going to send you down into the storm once more and you need to be ready.
Bearing all of this in mind, we want Scavengers to be a game that is fun and interesting to play for a long time. Scavengers draws inspiration from the MOBA and Battle Royale genres where the map and rules are fairly static, but deep systems, team dynamics, and a high skill cap result in a lot of replayability.
We want to build on that by letting you make strategic choices to improve your characters and their loadouts, building on the narrative of a scrappy band of Explorers leveraging what they have learned and gathered.
This is a challenge! I’ll try and breakdown some of these challenges and explain how Progression ties into them, and how we’re working with them.
Character progression is common in games with RPG elements. As you level up and your stats grow, you’ll do more damage and be able to face tougher opponents. Anyone who has played a multiplayer game with these systems knows how this can make it difficult to play with friends who are brand new, or those who have out-leveled you. The power difference throws any balance out the window. When put into a PVP context, that balance is critical. It doesn’t matter how good you are if the level 100 opponent can one-shot you with an auto-attack.
Scavengers is a team game, and we want you to be able to play with friends. We also want there to be multiple paths to victory, and we’ve decided to take the design patterns that we use in the core game and use them to guide us in informing progression.
Instead of increasing the power of your characters and weapons, our progression expands the toolset you have access to, and with it the array of strategies and tactics available to you as an individual, and more importantly, as a team.
Echoing the design of the core game, you have to use the resources you gather wisely, but you’ll have room to explore.
Explorers will find valuable Salvage items as they brave Scourge infestations and Outlander camps. If you extract with the Salvage (be careful, you drop it if executed!) you can recover resources from it. These resources can then be used in the Research system to develop new loadout recipes and Explorer talents that, when equipped, change the way you play.
Your loadout can include weapon variants that apply special effects, consumables that can stave off death, and a number of devastating throwables (grenades, bait bombs, etc). Talents are passive traits that can give better survivability in storms, quicker ability recovery, and much more.
You can decide which Explorer and gear to invest your resources into, to make builds that support your playstyle and optimize your team’s effectiveness. Don’t worry though, you’ll also be able to invest in a wide range of cosmetic customizations, so you’ll look your best while waving farewell to those who didn’t make it onto the dropship!
As you play, you’ll also earn more resources and expand your Research capabilities by leveling up characters. Playing a broad roster of characters will accelerate your progress, and there will be regular opportunities to boost EXP through events and consumables.
In addition to all the above, we’re currently investigating exciting things to help boost that player progression along nicely. For example, we’re looking to implement a Season Pass chock full of rewards you can earn by participating in Daily and Weekly challenges (more on the season pass later!).
This is just the start. As you help Mother gather data, we’ll be looking to add more equipment, weapons, Explorers, and expanding the core game.
As a result, the breadth of strategies available to Scavengers players will continue to grow…. So watch this space!
Got some thoughts you like to share about Player Progression? Join in the discussion on our Discord and let us know what you think.
Stay tuned for more Dev Insights blogs to come and learn more about the making of Scavengers!