[Gamedesign Journal] Sigils

Feature article: Sigils
by El "Selachii" Drijver
A well known fact about Spellborn is the non-stat armor and weapons. To make sure players can still customize, tweak and tune their fighting characteristics whichever way they like, we have a wide variety of Sigils. These can be collected from different sources in game like quests and loot.
Sigils are items with ‘magical effects’ which can be used when they are equipped one way or another. There are three types of sigils: Skill-, Jewelry- and Weapon sigils. I will handle the Jewelry- and Weapon sigils first as ‘item sigils’ and conclude with the Skill sigils

Item Sigils
Like mentioned above there are two types of item sigils, one for jewelry and one for weapons. First up, jewelry isn’t visible, you won’t be able to see the rings or necklaces on your character in game, only in your ‘paper doll’ screen.

Both weapon and jewelry act as containers for sigils, but the amount of sigils that can be fitted is determined in a different manner. The jewelry has an amount of slots dependant on the item level and rarity. Whereas the weapons have an amount of sigil slots dependant on your player level, adding 1 every 10 levels. The reason we do it differently for jewelry is to reward players that put in that extra effort to find that rare item. The reason we actually can do it like this, is because jewelry is not affected by the ‘dress to impress’ motto. If the slots on the weapons would work the same and be dependant on the item level and rarity, we’d be back to square one when it comes to player customization. Players would be forced to upgrade their weapon because of the amount of sigil slots, even though they don’t like the look of it.

This also means that players that run around in the simplest looking armor can actually have better statistics then someone of the same level who has shiny armor and looks like he’s the captain of a great army. Players that go that extra length to find and earn the best jewelry will have an advantage.

So, what kind of an advantage? I won’t give away all the types, but some increase resistances to certain magical schools or attack types, while others affect the maximum amount of hit points the player has. Weapon sigils offer different bonuses, remember, jewelry sigils don’t fit in weapons and vice versa! Enhancing your attributes or damage output is among the effects the weapon sigils will offer to the players.

The item Sigils can be fitted, as well as removed, only at the forge, for a reasonable fee Smile

Skill Sigils
Skill Sigils on the other hand can be added and removed on the spot, as long as the player is not in combat. Skill Sigils go in to Skill Sigil Slots, which are earned when you level up.
The player can assign the Skill Sigil Slots to skills of his own choice. It will be possible to re-assign Skill Sigil Slots to different skills, so your decision won’t be permanent, but we’re still making some final design decisions for this mechanic.
Back on topic, Skill Sigils can be fitted in Skill Sigil Slots of skills to enhance the effect of that particular skill. Some examples are increasing the range, increasing the buff/debuff duration, increase the effect or add an extra target to maximum amount of targets the skill can hit. Truly, the possibilities are limitless!

On average, each sigil has ten ranks, each rank being slightly better then the one before it. Of course, the higher ranks also require a higher level, so to prevent players from using only the highest rank sigils they can get for every Sigil Slot, it’s impossible to use the same Sigil of a particular rank twice on one item or one skill. However, it is possible to use multiple ranks of the same Sigil in the same item or skill. So if you’re dedicated in increasing the Rune Damage from a particular skill at level 40, you could add the Arcane Brand Rank 3, 2 and 1 to the same skill, not Arcane Brand Rank 3 three times.

Rarity of the Sigils is not linked to level, at each level there are more common and rarer Sigils which have different quality, so it will be rewarding to collect them from early on.

As an extra coolness, some weapon Sigils also have a visual effect. The forge will preview the effect when you want to put a Sigil in your weapon. When multiple effect Sigils are added to a weapon, the one closest to the hilt will determine the visual effect. The effect is a tracer behind the weapon when executing skills and I can tell you that the effects look absolutely stunning. We have over 20 effects currently in and they look absolutely amazing from a streaking flame to runic symbols. Check the screenshot for a little sample of me jumping around and swinging my weapon at Hawk’s Landing with a Sigil in my weapon which has a tracer.
Balancing these Sigils is quite a big job as well, I might discuss that next time

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