The Making Of: Blasted Ones

June 10, 2015 at 11:45 am

Hello Aethersteel fans,

I have gotten a decent amount of questions pertaining to the process that the team here at O2 Games goes through in designing a unit and model for Aethersteel. So I wanted to lift the veil and walk you through the process a little bit. We happen to be doing a little bit of work with one of my all-time favorite models so I figured it would be a great example to give to everyone. So let’s look into just how the Blasted One was created!

Finding a Need

The first thing that we always do when making a new unit for Aethersteel is to determine a few key things. Namely,

  • What is the unit’s purpose? Condemned Commander
  • Is this purpose interesting?
  • How will this affect the balance of the game?
  • How will it affect the story of Aethersteel?

In the case of the Blasted One the design team identified a hole in the Legion roster that in our play testing was causing the Legion to suffer against Magi players. The Legion just needed a better unit that could stand up to the beating that the Magi ranged weapons could deliver. So the decision was made to create a unit that was the antithesis of the Magi. A strong melee unit with a high defense against magic.

Knowing that these things were a bane to spellcasters, the next step was to make sure that this unit would fit into the world of Aethersteel. Surprisingly the Lore comes into play before the units stats, full list of abilities, and value are decided. Both have to fit together in Aethersteel and so as soon as the need is determined the Lore team gets to work.

Building a World

With our goal in mind, we set out to craft the lore of this unit so it would integrate seamlessly into the Aethersteel world. Our commitment to the lore required us to design a unit that would fit perfectly with legion culture. In the case of the Blasted Ones, we started at the culture. How would a society without magic and limited technology create a unit that would resist magical attacks?  And so the story of the Blasted Ones began to take shape.

Long ago, a banished group of Legion sought revenge on their former tribe and brought with them a terrifying weapon. Instead of bringing them victory, the explosion cursed their lands with terrible radiation. Their descendants, warped by the aetheric radiation, would lose their eyes and much of their skin.  In place of their eyes, the blasted ones gained a new vision; the ability to see into the nexus and glimpse the aethers.

Blasted Ones are scavengers of a sort, a lowly position for the honor bound Legion they once were. Seeking to retain the little honor they have left, they refuse handouts and instead earn their income through trade. Being outcasts, they have no connection to any one tribe and have the freedom to move about as they wish. This allows them to act as middlemen in many trade agreements.

Condemned Commander12011Their history was filled out with leaders, special characters, and enemies. People we are excited for you to meet in the future. Then we began to work on their look. Knowing their exposure to radiation, they have lost much of their hair and have terrible sores on their skin. Due to their repulsive appearance, they cover their wounds with wrappings and wear heavy cloaks. They also wrap their lost eyes, which now glow with aetheric energy. But we also knew that these warriors were still Legion at heart, so they would retain some of their strength and skill. However, because the Blasted Ones see themselves as unworthy they do not wear the same red cape as the rest of the Legion.

Finally, we had an idea who these people were, and just what they would do on the battlefield.

Testing, Testing, Testing

Once the full lore had been fleshed out the design team had a better idea of how to set the stats of the unit. As well as what to name their abilities and how to tweak them to fit the new additions to the game lore. Variants began to take shape as we attempted to form the different aspects of the lore into various units for the battlefield. In the end a large handful of variants made it to the testing table.

In the case of the Blasted Ones they went through almost 5 years of testing and retesting. Their stats have been modified over a dozen times and fine-tuned with each revision of the rules. Most of the variants never see the light of day as they are either not as much fun or in a few cases are simply over powered or too complicated to use properly. In the end we are left with a small handful of variants that we want to bring to life.

                Check back next time for the continuation of this blog post to learn more about how we take an excel table, word document, and hours of testing and turn it into a physical model!