Stay on Target

The Dune Strider revamp completes the hero overhaul for Update 1 of Invade the Ruins.  She’s an archer meant to pump out damage but also heal allies occasionally.  Her low health means she must use her healing, invulnerability, and teleportation spells to evade danger.  Her design has always been one of the weaker ones, which is a shame given how popular archer characters are.  Here are her spells:

  • Sand Slash: Hits two nearby enemies for good damage.  Maybe the best way to turn excess mana into killing.  Great for emergencies.
  • Glass Barrier: Invulnerability bubble.  Extra ranks decrease the cooldown.  Sorta lame.
  • Sand Surgeon: Summons a spirit that pulses heals to nearby allies.  Can dismiss the spirit early to reclaim some mana.  For a variety of reasons, she’s the worst group healer.
  • Tearing Winds: Teleport to an allied unit, including special “Shop Wisps”.  Unique and well-loved by players.  A perfect 2-rank spell.
  • Searing Sun: Adds big fire damage to each arrow attack.  Not an impressive ultimate, though it has fun synergy with her mid-dungeon bouncing shots upgrade.

General spell tuneup: Faster heals from Sand Surgeon, no more “Dismiss” option, lower base mana cost.  Sand Slash grants a temporary attack speed buff, providing Searing Sun synergy.  Glass Barrier moved from 6-rank to the “boss reward” slot, replacing her old lame ability there.

Searing Sun is too boring to be an ultimate OR a 6-rank spell, but fire shots fits her too well to trash it.  I’m unable to do a pure “exploding shot” for technical reasons, though my compromise might be just as good.  When enemies are killed by Searing Sun, they create a spirit which explodes and hurts other nearby enemies.

These explosive “Sunsparks” proved fun in early playtests, so I added a chain explosion effect.  Anything killed by a Sunspark also forms a Sunspark.  Her Sand Surgeon will also turn into a Sunspark when it’s done, giving her more ways to set up a big combination explosion.  Her Ultimate will take the concept even further, giving her an on-demand way to deal area damage.

Bathe in Heat, her new Ultimate, creates a spread of Sunsparks which explode in succession.  When cast on a pack of enemies, it generally kills a few enemies outright, who form Sunsparks, which explode for more damage.  It can be really satisfying when it chains out several times.

This represents a huge improvement to her options and interactivity, so I also want to improve her spell names.  Sand Slash becomes Sandstorm.  Sand Surgeon becomes Desert Oasis.  Glass Barrier becomes Mirage.  It’s a little thing, but making the names more distinct should help players learn the different spells more easily.

Thanks for reading!  The next article up will cover some general game changes.  After that, a post about the Beta release of the map!  Stay tuned.