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Plagues & Diseases by: Forged Chaos
 

Introduction

by Forged Chaos

First off, let me say that the introduction of diseases into TOA was an easy decision. As dynamic and organic as the systems of the game are, the inclusion of diseases felt like a natural thing. What I will touch upon in this article are a few of the effects of diseases upon not only the players, but upon the world of TerVarus.

Most of the MMOs of today do not have diseases or plagues that directly impact players. The effects that could be considered a disease are often called dots, or damage over time spells. These effects seldom if ever have any conditions, variability or incubation periods of any significance. At worst, they temporarily deal damage or some other minor debilitating effect that comes with very short durations.

While these types of diseases are a viable option when it comes to implementing a diseases and plagues system, they should, for the most part, be considered minor or weak diseases. Plagues, on the other hand, are virtually unknown in MMOs today. Something as serious as a full blown plague isn’t something the conventional MMO development teams are willing to subject their fans to, out of fear such negative effects within the game might cause players to become frustrated with the effects, and possibly unsubscribe.

Let’s look closer at the reasons why diseases and plagues become another obstacle or objective to be overcome by the players.

The Benefits

While it might seem a bit odd to try and see the benefits of diseases and plagues, but there are some. The most obvious benefit of the presence of disease are healers. Healers typically are treated as walking medics in MMOs as hit point regenerators, but they’re not usually thought of as disease curers because the diseases that exist in MMOs aren’t worth having spells to cure diseases.

A Few Examples

In TOA, Hell Hounds aren’t going to be the flame-shrouded monsters of ash and fire you think of when you think Hell Hound. Hell Hounds are going to be disease and plague carriers, and what a better reason to have healers in TOA than if you’re unfortunate enough to survive a Hell Hound attack. The sources of diseases are many and wide ranging. Certain plants might spread disease, dead carcasses could, and there might even be area-affecting plagues where the contagion is airborne.

The possibilities of diseases in TOA are great as are the myriad of effects each might have. Certain diseases might not be curable at first, and require an incubation period before they can be cured. A disease might have contagious effects that spread by touch, taste or proximity. A disease might go dormant in TOA for months or years of real time, and then suddenly re-emerge upon the unsuspecting masses. A disease might have subtle exposure triggers that you might not think could spread a disease. You might be required to have an innovation in order to cure a disease! Healers eventually might be able to cleanse an entire area of a plague. Some diseases might even cure themselves by having a fixed incubation period and then fizzling out by itself.

It’s not just about the positives of removing diseases, either. Some diseases could be used strategically against enemies, forcing the defenders healers to focus entirely upon curing the diseases the enemy inflicts. Imagine the puzzles that healers will have to solve!

Negatives into Positives

How does one turn a negative like a disease or plague into a positive? Well, from the player’s perspective, it is to find cures for the diseases, if there is a cure to be found. For the staff of TOA, it’s our ability to create and run in-game events centered around the idea of a disease outbreak or plague event spreading across TerVarus. To my knowledge, no other MMO has ever attempted diseases and plagues on the scale we’re thinking, but we at Forged Chaos think it’s high time there be other threats to the characters in TerVarus more than just monsters and other players, and we’re confident that our players will be able to handle anything we try and throw at them.

Conclusion

Remember, diseases can and will come from a myriad of causes. Some will be minor irritating things that can be easily cured while others might be contagions that spread like wildfire throughout TerVarus unchecked (or at least until a healer innovates or discovers a cure for it!). This article merely inflicts a minor rash upon the unsuspecting character; the real danger has yet to be identified.

FAQ

Will death of your character remove any diseases you may have had?

Death will remove any disease you have. Of course that doesn't mean you can't be reinfected, but maybe your immunity to that disease has increased making it harder to become infected? Oh the possibilities!!

Source: Forums (Brax), 26-04-2013

Will we get diseases randomly or are they triggered somehow?

If you mean diseases will be everywhere on the planet and you might just randomly get one if you fail your check, no, that's not how it will work.

There will be certain triggers to cause such a check. Maybe looting a diseased corpse, being bitten by a hell hound, going into a certain area that is diseased (think AoE), harvesting a diseased plant, etc.

Source: Forums (Brax), 26-04-2013

Can we somehow prevent being afflicted by a disease?

I don't want to give away the mechanics of the system but suffice to say the higher your vitality is, the less certain diseases will afflict you. That won't be the case with all diseases or plagues though.

Source: Forums (Brax), 26-04-2013

Will there be diseases of varying seriousness? Can they all be healed?

Some [diseases] will be debilitating while others will be outright deadly. None will kill you straight away. You'll most likely have time to find a healer and hope they have the proper methods for curing it or can at least keep you alive while it runs its course.

To those that may quit because they fall victim to a plague or disease, I say this:
TerVarus is a hard cruel world by design and we will not fall into the trap of padding all the walls out of fear of losing subscriptions. That would be doing a huge disservice to ourselves and those that believe in what ToA is and represents.

Source: Forums (Brax), 26-04-2013

Will there be abilities/skills/items that make players more resilient against diseases or let them spot diseased things more easily?

To this I have but one thing to say..."Innovations".

Source: Forums (Loestri), 26-04-2013

Your best natural defense against diseases will be your vitality stat though not all diseases can be combated by this stat.

(Yet another reason to make you all sweat as to which stats to pump at character creation, muahahaha!)

As of now, no there is no way to see if something is diseased other than a PC and NPC. Identifying diseased PCs and NPCs was covered in the healing article.

Source: Forums (Brax), 26-04-2013

Will the Monolith be a safe zone from plagues and diseases?

At this time there are no known diseases or plagues scheduled to reside at the Monolith.....at launch. (subject to change of course)

Source: Forums (Loestri), 26-04-2013

Will mutations as a result of a disease be possible?

Mutations are certainly within the realm of possibility, but I'd consider those a more advanced diseases, so more than likely long after the game has been up and running and everyone has become "accustomed" to the known diseases.

Source: Forums (Varl), 26-04-2013

Can you potentially lose multiple life counters due to a disease?

There will be a certain amount of responsibility on the player not to go running back to an infected corpse to get loot, back or otherwise, and be re-infected. You will need to exercise a certain amount of caution. Just for the record.....it wont be us taking away your life counters, just providing you with opportunities to give them away.

Source: Forums (Loestri), 26-04-2013

Play smart and you shouldn't have too much to worry about. I am sure there will be healers in every major settlement so you should be able to find one when you need one.

Source: Forums (Loestri), 26-04-2013

The End