Combat is an ever-evolving art. As combatants learn each-others’ movements and tactics, they alter their own in order to come out on top. Such is the case with the fight between the Darkness and the Lightbringers. Each are employing new tactics in their efforts to be victorious. So, too, is the case with Massive Darkness’ own rules. The designers have stripped the rules back to their foundations and built them back up again, making improvements every step of the way. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the changes to both the heroes and the enemies of Massive Darkness 2, and reveal how combat is now better than ever.
First up, players will immediately notice there is an equal mix of male and female Lightbringers, with 3 of each in the core box. Furthermore, each of those heroes is now tied to a specific class. While the option to mix and match heroes and classes in the original was nice, it meant that the rules had to be written very broadly so as to not create unforeseen broken combinations. Now, with each class being tied to a specific hero, that hero can be more customized to work within their class, melding together abilities in ways that could never happen in the original game.
This design decision allows for another major change: each class now plays entirely different from the others. Much more than just a different set of skills and bonuses, the classes have entirely different play styles, rules of combat, and even customized toolkits of components.
For example, Rogues will have a cloth bag that they will pull action tokens from. As they progress in the game, they’re able to manipulate what tokens go into their bag, making this token-building mechanism important and directly built into their play.
Meanwhile in the Wizard class, their spells are tied to a rondel that they must use to maintain the balance between the mana they are getting in versus the spells they want to cast. This creates a cooldown dynamic preventing them from using the same spell over and over again, so they’ll need to take extra care when deciding which spell to use.
Or there’s the Berserker who is able to utilize the damage they receive during the game and turn it into useful energy to power their different “stances”, a mechanic unique to them. So, taking damage can actually be good for the Berseker, as it fuels some of their most powerful attacks – but there is a balance in that as well: some damage will make them extremely powerful, but too much damage will get them killed. With these newly designed dramatic differences between classes, each playthrough of the game will be very different, depending on which class a player chooses at the start.
The enemies in the game have also gotten a revamp. Enemies still fall into the categories of Mobs, Roaming Monsters, and Bosses. Mobs are now the enemies that can be found carrying specific items, and like in the original game, the Mobs know how to use the gear that they carry. So, to get that awesome bow, you’ll have to first take out the enemy carrying it (and using against you!). Bosses are also a major new enemy category in the game, and the designers really went all-out to make encounters with them seem epic in scope. They are the largest and fiercest enemies in the dungeons. Bosses feature their own tiles where they lurk, and each Boss has its own dashboard, tokens, and rules for combat.
Adding new and different enemies to a game is very plug-and-play, making altering an existing scenario or designing your own scenarios and campaigns a breeze. Each Mob and Roaming Monster comes with its own cards that are simply shuffled into the basic decks from the game, making sure players will never know what creature might pop up when they open the dungeon door or peek down that dark hallway.
The final change we’ll cover in this article are the updated Shadow Rules. Now, Shadow Zones grant access to the special Shadow Die that boasts large amounts of hits and mana. Another face of the die is the Shadow Ability result, which is how heroes now trigger that special power on their profile, making Shadow Combat more exciting and dramatic than ever.
Massive Darkness 2 brings you the dark, dungeon-delving action players want but with an overhauled system from the ground up to make it more replayable, modular, and streamlined. Stay tuned for more previews as we draw closer to the game’s launch on Kickstarter!