Let's Talk About Shields (Version 0.2 Preview)
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
When Mobile Engagement Chassis: Steel Hearts went into Beta this June it was a tremendous milestone. It meant that nearly every factor of the core gameplay loop was complete and didn't need further revision... Key word: Nearly. Currently Steel Hearts is going through a 0.2 revision as the rest of the starter classes begin filling up the MEC Catalog. Aside from some minor phrasing changes for the sake of clarity there is one mechanic that has changed in a minor, yet deeply impactful way: Shields. Namely, in 0.2 Shields will now be affected by DMG after Soak.
Before 0.1 Soak was named Shields and what is now Shields were known as Temporary Shields. The purpose of Temporary Shields were to give support classes a means of "healing" party members, while still making most DMG feel permanent and making fights still feel like a war of attrition. In a way they were temporary Hit-Points, to be spent in case of emergency. In a pre-0.1 build the two stats were renamed to Soak and Shields respectively for additional clarity, which of course raised the question: Which takes Damage first?
My initial instinct was to have Shields come first, that way Soak was not the immediate first choice to focus on between the two (this was before Soak had a hard-cap of 3). This, as I've come to learn, was a mistake. It robbed both Soak and Shields of their utility, as well as causing unnecessary confusion. In game about building a MEC the way you want to, I'd inadvertently created a mechanic that forced you to pick between investing in Soak or letting your buddies help you with Shields. So in 0.2 there are some big changes coming to Shields, here's the run down:
Soak negates DMG before Shields. This makes both Soak and Shields feel more powerful as well as useful in conjunction with one another.
Shields are still optional to use and can be turned off.
Several Support Classes have had Stratagems adjusted to account for this change and to further buff Shields.
Improved wording to describe that a singular Shield will not prevent a Part Break if you have already hit your Armor threshold.
Removed the ability for certain Classes to remove DMG (they can only negate it now or add shields).
With 0.2 there'll hopefully be a few other goodies including (possibly) the Pilot's Field Guide, which serves as a short player-facing lore book for the New Century. Look forward to it in the (hopefully) near future!