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Skyforge - Developer Diary V: Pantheon Wars

In the fifth Skyforge Developer Diary, Daniel Radchenko and Eric DeMilt are revealing more details surrounding Pantheon Wars - global battles for Celestial Temples! These battles consist of several stages, with those brave enough to fight earning unique awards and the honor of their fellow Immortals.

Pantheon Wars are large-scale, high-end competitive activities, where Pantheon's face off against one another in a fight for glory, riches and control over unique complexes know as Celestial Temples.

The Celestial Temples which Pantheons fight over, are complex structures, filled with enormous reserves of magical energy. Immortals have learned to collect this energy and use it to increase their own celestial powers, improving their stats and gaining additional bonuses to their might. However, these temples are sparse on Aelion and over the ages controlling the temples and thus, its magical energy, has turned into a competition between Pantheons, with all of Aelion’s young gods thirsting for knowledge and power fighting in these battles.

Which Celestial Temple you fight for, the rewards you will receive and your opponents are all determined by an auction, which takes place each Saturday evening. The auction lasts only two hours, during which Pantheons will need to bid over a specific Celestial Temple with special credits the Pantheon earns in order to find a worthy opponent to battle. Assuming your Pantheon managed to secure a spot in the auction, in the coming days the battle of the Pantheons itself will take place!

Over time, each of the Celestial Temples will have an owner, the victor from the previous competition, who will receive special bonuses from it for a period of one week.

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The temple gates, both its central and side ones, can only be approached over large bridges.

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The Celestial Temple’s surrounding structure is divided into individual maps intended for PvP and PvE battles. For PvE, 50 players from each Pantheon are divided into teams of 10 immortals and tasked with participating in unique raids, where they’ll either defend or attack the Celestial Temple. During the raid, players have the option to either capture the other Pantheon’s temple (replacing your current one) or simply plunder it, thus gaining rewards for your current temple. Likewise, if your Pantheon manages to capture a temple, it will remain vulnerable to attack, meaning you’ll need to be ready to defend it at all times.

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The topology and gameplay objectives of the battlefield depend on your role (Temple defender or attacker). 50 PvP players from each Pantheon will be divided between three PvP maps, grouped by type of gameplay: Capture and Hold (15v15); Capture the Flag (10v10); and "King of the Hill" (25v25). Both the PvP and PvE components of the fight determine the overall outcome of the war. The gods that join forces in these battles will have access to infinite power. But keep in mind that proving your strength only in one activity (for example, in the battles against other players) will not be enough to gain all the resources required to achieve victory. A Pantheon must be truly strong in both PvE and PvP to be victorious.

Inner-Celestial-Temple

Victory and subsequently control over a Celestial Temple brings with it exclusive rewards. These rewards vary greatly and include new vehicles, upgrades to the Ascension Atlas, as well as costumes that provide stat bonuses, but which only last during the current season. Upgrades to the Atlas will enable you to improve certain nodes you’ve already unlocked, further increasing the stat benefits they provide. These bonuses, as well as the reward for participating in the main battle are provided to every victorious Pantheon War participant, regardless of their role in the battle. This gives every immortal and Pantheon an incentive to fight for control over Celestial Temples as a means to improve their divine powers.

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The design of the Celestial Temple and its grounds have been updated and reworked over time.

Over the course of development, the temples themselves have undergone many changes. Initially, we had them situated on the ground in a small forest – something you can see in some of our early screenshots featured above and below. Over time, we continued to flesh out the history of these temples, which eventually lead to them rising high into the sky. Through our ongoing story development, we realized these ancient temples should belong as part of the floating islands which are sometimes visible above Aelion. But even after we made changes to the map’s topology, we weren’t through yet:

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The gameplay found in Pantheon Wars has evolved quite a bit as well. Originally, we only allowed the strongest player from each Pantheon to enter the battlefield in their Divine Form. This meant that the most crucial moments of the battle would boil down to a fight between these two Immortals in their Divine Forms. One of the first design iterations suggested that they’d fight some distance away from the main battlefield; where they’d leap into the air, grow in size, gain unique abilities and continue to swing at each other for the duration of the battle. But since the main battles are designed to last for up to two hours, we found this one-on-one style of fighting would not have been very exciting.

We then looked at a system which still involved only two players in their Divine Forms, but they’d be less powerful and would not fight each other in the sky, but move from battle to battle, helping their allies group by group. However, we quickly found this meant the gods would be jumping all over the map, resulting in unnecessary confusion and disturbance in each battle, both among enemies and even allies. Therefore, we abandoned this idea as well.

What we finally ended up with was a system which did not limit the number of players who could access their Divine Form. Moreover, the gameplay of the final battle is actually centered on clashes between many gods. To help accomplish this goal, we added in opportunities for players to activate their Divine Form in the final battle without even needing the Faith resource! Throughout the battle, many immortals will gain access to their Divine Form without having to spend Faith, helping push their Pantheon to victory. If you wish, you can also access your Divine Form by spending Faith in the other PvP and PvE battles.

The Divine Form is a very important strategic asset that can easily decide the outcome of a battle, however timing is crucial; if a Pantheon’s immortals spend all of their Faith in one fight, they may have nothing left to oppose their enemies during subsequent battles.

Pantheon Wars are some of the greatest and the most exciting competitive events for young gods! We’d like to note that the first battles players engage in will be significant for the project, as they will help us determine what course of action to take for improving this battle system. We’re looking forward to witnessing how players navigate the battlefield, and we can’t wait to see the results!

05/27/2015