Design Discussion: Raknar

August 8th, 2016

Design Discussion: Raknar

If I had to pick a favorite of our three starter species for ToA: Exile, I would have to pick the raknar. I think they are our most interesting creatures, and hands-down our most original. Don’t get me wrong; I intend to play all the different characters. But the mystery and the thrill of the giant arachnids give them a special place in my heart.

Gamers don’t often get the opportunity to play as the “monster” in video games, but raknar in ToA: Exile really provide that experience. With their larger size, powerful attacks, and their freedom of movement when it comes to surfaces of all angles, certainly fall within the “monster” category. They are designed to be our “PvP” focused race, in so far that they start out fairly strong and with all their abilities available to them for the purpose of allowing players to jump right into the fray. But there is so much more to these creatures than plug-and-play PvP.

The arsenal available to raknar is fairly impressive and includes both your standard melee abilities that you would expect from a giant bug along with several web-based abilities. They can attack using their strikers, in the same manner that humans can swing with their left and right arms, along with a secondary attack associated with their strikers. They also have a venomous bite that can be used in melee range. Raknar do not have a ranged attack; they must rely on ambush techniques to conceal themselves from their prey until escape is impossible.

The web-based abilities of the raknar are comprised of a web trap to slow and hinder their prey, a silk wrap to heal their wounds, and a nest creation ability which allows them to build a respawn location similar to a human’s bedroll. Each of these abilities consume the raknar’s web resource.

In addition to their melee and web abilities, raknar possess a type of night-vision and the capability of traversing over nearly all terrain at all angles, including vertical and inverted surfaces. No other place exemplifies this versatility as much as the cave environment. While the underground environment provides hiding places for young dragons and their depths hold valuable resources for humans, the caves are also the ideal hunting ground for our giant arachnid.

Raknar progression has gone through a few design changes since we first announced Exile. The old system capped players at 20 stacks of an evolution and basically prevented a raknar from progressing without first dying, which we figured would be detrimental on single life-counter servers. It also held back skillful players who played their survival cards right and kept their character’s alive.

The new system is more streamlined; raknar will continue to eat their spiderlings to gain evolutions, and as they reach predetermined thresholds of those evolutions, their character will gain bonuses and the character model will physically change to reflect those bonuses. Then upon death, they revert to their last threshold, losing whatever evolution stacks they gained since that point.

This new system also allows the raknar the same growth freedoms as humans, though be warned that even the strongest raknar will not be able to go one-on-one with an adult dragon.

Raknar have relatively few weaknesses, but they are fatal without exception. The first is water; raknar are incapable of swimming or holding their breath. If a raknar was to enter water more than a few feet deep, they will sink to the bottom and immediately begin to drown. Their second weakness is fire. Their tough, chitin armor that protects them so well from damage is highly flammable, and any direct contact with an open flame will result in ignition and severe damage.

Unlike humans, who are strongly encouraged by mechanics to cooperate, and dragons, whose mechanics encourage the opposite, raknar can function equally well in solo play as well as cooperatively. While we won’t likely have it ready in time for early access, we hope to include the option for cooperative raknar to form hives and provide unique play features for those that choose to join them. We’ll share more on raknar hives as we get closer to implementing them.

I hope this insight into ToA: Exile’s raknar has inspired you all to take a closer look at our monstrous bug. Share your thoughts with us over at