OUTLANDS is a campaign driven game. The outcome of the last mission will affect the next mission. That's the basic idea. When the whole OUTLANDS project starter many years ago the original aim was for every game to be different. Not massively different, but a more progressive matter. Once the you finish a battle the next step is what is the 'End Phase'. During the 'End Phase' you can 'Level-Up' Heroic Actions, purchase new equipment, Infuse your weapons to (hopefully) make them better....and train new Special Actions and Abilities. Your next game should be different. Your characters will be able to perform certain Heroic Actions with a better chance of success, new equipment will offer greater protection and fire-power, a good weapon infusion works wonders with screwing over the opposition. But the single most important improvement will be via 'Special Actions And Abilities'.....and that's the main subject of today's blog post.
Special Actions And Abilities. It no secret I just didn't like the way Outlands 1st Edition presented its 'Special Actions/Abilities'. The whole section needed a lot more work than the team was allow to spend. Yes in most cases the abilities worked....but they were very open ended and up for misinterpretation. The Outland Chronicles Patch 1.03 started to address these concerns. A new 'Info Box' was employed to relay the 'Abilities' description in a clear and easy way. The 'Abilities' from Patch 1.01 and 1.02 were also included. Its a system that has worked well and now used in OUTLANDS 2nd Edition.
All the Special Actions and Abilities in OUTLANDS 2nd Edition have been brought upto the current standard 'Info Box', reworded and costs adjusted (more on this later). Also most now have the tag 'Basic or Base'. What is 'Basic'? Well its a futureproofing exercise. In future if we wish to make a certain Ability better or easier to use we can 'upgrade' the 'Basic' ability to an 'Advanced' ability.....and then go again to 'Epic' ability. Its room for expansion without having to rewrite whole chunks of rules. The Outland Chronicles introduced 30 new abilities over 5 issues. This trend will continue when the Patch updates return. So that's 80 abilities so far and I can guarantee at least another 50-75 Special Actions and Abilities are waiting to see the light of day.
Two Abilities/Special Actions have been removed from OUTLANDS 2nd Edition. The 1st is 'Extra Heroic Rank'. This was an ability that allowed the player to 'Level-up' Heroic Actions twice during the 'End Phase'. This also made it very difficult to track a characters development. When you think of the Levelling Up process, its pretty easy to see a character's level by how many Heroic Action Ranks they have. With the 'Extra Heroic Rank' that quick look went straight out the window. Now, I'm not saying some players were 'loose' when levelling up, but now they can't use the excuse of 'Extra Heroic Rank'.
Un'BadWord'Stoppable has been removed. It's a great ability, but was massively over-powered for the cost. I did try to increase the cost to almost double the 1200 credit asking price ....and players still wanted to save enough to purchase the upgrade. If the ability is that good that players will just play to save enough credits to purchase the ability and fore sake any other special actions....then it must be good.......and game breaking. Sadly, I couldn't find a way around this problem and for the game system it has been removed. It may turn-up again later in a Patch or another update (I really hope so)...but for the moment it has been removed from the game. :(
So with two abilities gone that means only one thing. Two new abilities have been added.
Special Action 'Plug It Up!!!!!' and Ability 'Keep Going' are 2 new 'Special Actions/Abilities'. As you can see both relate to a model 'suffering' from the 'Bleed' affect. This is for a very good reason. If you think 'Fire' was the worst effect a model can suffer from...then think again.
Pretty much all the 'Special Actions/Abilities' in OUTLANDS 2nd Edition have been reworded or changed slightly.....far too much to explain each and every one.
The other BIG difference is the COST of Special Actions/Abilities. Nearly every core
Ability/Special Action have had the cost to purchase 'Slashed'.....in some cases by 50% or more. Let me explain why?
EVERY GAME TO BE DIFFERENT!!!! Its a core ethos of the whole OUTLANDS project. I've mentioned it once already in this post..and you can be sure I'll be mentioning it again in the future. So heres the thing. No matter how good something is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd time of doing it...it will soon become the norm. If you could go to Disneyland everyday for the rest of your life you're trip over yourself with excitement running down Main Street. But if you did it every day, I better in less than 10 days that shine would've worn a little...and then after day 15 it becomes a bore...by the end of the 1st month you have massacred Micky, Set fire to Donald's House ( not the White House) and knocked Goofy's last remaining teeth out. MMmmm...maybe that just me.
Anyways, my point is things become boring if it the same thing over and over again. OUTLANDS lets you change your whole character make-up by allowing you to 'Level-Up', buy new equipment, weapon infusion and of course Special Actions and Abilities. These are little changes that make every game different. However, the current cost of purchasing new 'Special Actions/Abilites' is too high. The amount of credits you earn during your previous battle can be anywhere from 0 to 1800 ( this is pretty extreme...but possible). But in reality your average is around the 600 credit make. When 'must have' abilities such as 'Revive' is 400 credits for 1 model/character that doesn't leave a lot of credits to spend on the other 4 members of your Spice Hunter team. This made character development/progression very slow. With the reduction in 'credits' you should be able to purchase more Special Actions/Abilities after each game. You can still only purchase 1 Special Action/Ability per character per 'End Phase'...but you stand a better chance of 3-4 models getting new abilities rather than 2-3 under the old price structure.
Play a game, become better for the next game, KICK ASS...it all sounds good to me.
In the next 'preview' blog post will be about 'Range Weapons' and futureproofing.
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