[[A better Fallout ?]]
Arcanum is the first game to come from the development house Troika Games, LLC, started by former Fallout team members Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, and Jason Anderson. This team takes the depth of gameplay and world-building in role-playing games to entirely new levels of realism and excitement.
Arcanum creates a compelling new world where magic and technology coexist in an uneasy balance. As Arcanum opens, the mechanical age has only recently arrived in this ancient land where Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and other races have learned to survive in the new sprawling industrialized cities. But this radical shift from magic to technology has created a potentially explosive situation. As the townspeople and other thinkers begin mass production of light bulbs, batteries, eyeglasses and guns, the Mages grow leery. This tightly wound setting is the starting point from which the character must set out on his quest.
Imagine a place of wonder, where magic and technology hold equal sway, and an adventurer might just as easily wield a flintlock pistol as a flaming sword. A place where great industrial cities house castle keeps and factories, home to Dwarves, Humans, Orcs and Elves alike. A place of ancient runes and steamworks, of magic and machines, of sorcery and science.
Arcanum is designed as a long story arc with one central conflict that drives the game. There are a variety of major plot points that frame the game, and these are major events that take some time and thought to solve. However, exactly how you solve these conflicts is up to you and your character, and there will be many solutions for the player to choose (and I am sure creative players will find solutions we never thought of.)
Meanwhile, there are hundreds of side quests that you can play. The difference between these quests and the story plot points are that you do not have to complete any particular side quest to complete the game. However, some of the major plot points may be difficult or impossible unless your character has reached a certain level, so you will have to do side quests to gain experience and items. You just don't have to do any particular one.
The game-play in the multiplayer component of Arcanum is very similar to the single player mode. Dialogue with characters, quests, and the ability to create and role-play any kind of character you wish are identical. Some of the additions to the multiplayer game include:
The ability to form parties with other players.
The ability to broadcast messages in order to communicate with players.
Real-time combat only (no turn-based will be available.)
There is no acceleration of time, so no world map will be available to speed travel.
Maps are smaller and built especially with multi-player use in mind.
A rather unique aspect of multi-player gaming in Arcanum is the ability to set up different types of sessions by changing a few parameters. The person hosting the Server will be able to set the game up as either a Free For All, a Cooperative, or Team. The type of game specified effects how combat between players is handled.
In a Free For All game, any player can damage any other person playing online.
During a Cooperative game, players will be unable to target or attack other characters.
In a Team game, you will only be able to attack players who are on the opposing team or teams.
In addition to the pre-existing multiplayer maps that will come with Arcanum, the World Editor will be released too, so you can make your own dungeons and campaigns within the land of Arcanum.
Classless, point-based attribute system allows for limitless creativity in guiding your character's development.
Complex stat system underlies every event taking place within Arcanum.
Customize your character, including 8 basic stats (Strength and Charisma), more than a dozen derived stats (Poison Resistance and Character Speed), 16 primary skills (Gambling and Healing), 80 spells within 16 colleges, and 56 technological degrees within 8 disciplines.
Automatic character management features let you delve into the quest at hand for action-oriented players.
Explore a huge game environment, with dozens of cities, dungeons, and towns to find.
Meet more than 300 unique characters and 280 different monster types across the land of Arcanum.
Multiple paths to victory abound in the scores of quests surrounding the main storyline.
Accurate day/night cycles affect the gameplay, from combat to thieving skills.
Take on a band of ogres in real-time, or plan your strategy through a turn-based system of combat - you choose.
Take the adventure online cooperatively or competitively over the Internet or LAN.
[[Skills and Stats]]
Apart from the many types of stats in Arcanum, there are also a series of skills that can impact your character's development. The three categories of basic skills - combat, thieving, and social - each contain 4 skills, and they are available to every character. Additionally, there are also four skills under a technological category.
Combat Skills include Bow, Dodge, Melee, and Throwing. Firearms also affects combat, even though it is considered a technological skill. More information on combat skills can be found in the Combat section.
Thieving Skills include Concealment, Pick Pocket, Silent Move, and Spot Trap.
Social Skills involve Gambling, Haggling, Heal, and Persuasion.
Technological Skills include Firearms, Pick Lock, Arm/Disarm Traps, Repair.
A character has 4 physical and 4 mental stats, each covering the areas of power, skill, resistance and appearance. In terms of both physical and mental realms, Power represents raw strength, Skill represents default ability, Resistance represents the amount of invulnerability to damage, and Appearance represents how you appear both physically and mentally to others.
Strength - The raw, physical muscle power of the character, Strength determines how much damage the character can inflict and how much he can take. Some weapons have a minimum strength requirement to operate them effectively.
Dexterity - The overall body coordination of the character, Dexterity affects the character's default ability in more skills than any other stat.
Constitution - The endurance limit of the character's body, this stat determines the character's fatigue and resistance to poison.
Beauty - The physical appearance of the character, this stat affects the initial reaction of people to the character and also affects the character's ability to seduce them.
Intelligence - The mental power of the character, Intelligence affects several skills as well as being the limiting factor in the character's learning of spells and technological skills.
Perception - The ability for the character to notice his surroundings, Perception also affects the character's ability to use ranged weapons effectively.
Willpower - The ability to resist mental influences, this stat affect the character's ability to haggle and his resistance to certain spells and skills. Willpower also contributes to the character's hit points and fatigue, by allowing him to ignore some of the damage taken.
Charisma - the sum of the personality and charm of the character, Charisma affects the character's ability to persuade others and change their initial reaction to him.
[[Technology and Magic]]
Technology in Arcanum plays the antagonist to the ways of magic. Because technology utilizes the laws of nature, and does not bend them, it lends itself to common use and widespread popularity. There is no mystery in the spark between two pieces of flint, and even advanced technology is just an extension of these basic principles, from a simple Skeleton Key to the complex Tesla Rod or the Mechanized Arachnid. Consequently, technology has become quite popular to the shorter-lived species of Arcanum, such as humans and orcs, who lack the longevity and patience to practice the magickal arts for decades on end. The level of technology in Arcanum is what you would find at the turn of the 19th century. Steam engines, revolvers and muskets are common in the world of Arcanum. But the player will be able to find and create extraordinary pieces of technology such as fully automatic mechanized guns, mechanical creatures, and stat boosting therapeutics. There are literally dozens of technological items to be discovered in this world. There are eight disciplines of technology, and each discipline will have seven degrees within it. These 56 technological degress can be obtained by spending character points. The eight technological disciplines are:
Anatomical - Concerns itself with study of the body and how natural substances can affect it.
Chemistry - Studies man-made substances and their deleterious effects.
Electric - Explores the effects of charge and magnetism.
Explosives - Covers the research of new and unstable substances.
Gun Smithy - Controls the design and implementation of new weaponry.
Mechanical - Studies the physical properties of materials.
Smithy - Covers the construction of armors of all types.
Therapeutics - Explores the beneficial effects of man-made substances.
Magic is broken down into 16 colleges, with each college defining the type of subject matter that its spells can effect. So the Mental college contains spells that affect the mind, the Divination spells bring information to the caster, and Meta spells affect other spells. Within each college, there are five spells of varying difficulty to master, for a total of 80 spells within the game. The full list of colleges described as follows:
Conveyance - Deals with motion and transportation.
Divination - Concerns itself with the gathering of knowledge through magical means.
Air - Holds the spells that manipulate the first elemental material, that of air and wind.
Earth - Holds the spells that manipulate the second elemental material, that of earth and stone.
Fire - Holds the spells that manipulate the third elemental material, that of fire and heat.
Water - Holds the spells that manipulate the fourth elemental material, that of water and ice.
Force - Contains spells that manipulate and direct pure energy.
Mental - Contains spells that influence and control the minds of their targets.
Meta - Contains spells that affect other spells.
Morph - Contains spells that change the substance of the target.
Nature - Contains spells that control plants, animals, and natural forces.
Black Necromantic - Contains spells that negatively affect the life force of a creature.
White Necromantic - Contains spells that positively affect the life force of a creature.
Phantasm - Contains spells that concern the control of light and illusion.
Summoning - Contains spells that concern the summoning of creatures of progressive power.
Temporal - Concerns spells that control the flow of time.
The world of Arcanum is huge - it would take 20 game days to walk from one end of the continent to the other, which translates to 48 hours of continuous real-time play. Of course, that's assuming you can make it across the continent without running into one of more than 70 different types of monsters or animals that populate the world. Each of these creatures, in turn, has four variations for a total of 280 types of beast on the prowl. Beyond these creatures of darkness, there are hundreds of unique characters throughout Arcanum that players will come into contact and interact with during their journey. This huge cast of characters resides in the dozens of major towns and dungeons spread across the land in environments ranging from tropical islands to vast forests to icy mountain strongholds.