So we've been talking about this for quite a while, and we've had many people emailing us asking questions on how it's going to work, and so we're finally ready to show it off!
As you probably know by now, Malevolence is infinite, and since the game is infinite, it needs a pretty unique stat system. Normally in RPGs, stats are based on numbers, but in an infinite game, you could theoretically get to level one million and have 500,000 skill points to use. That isn't good for a game as it just gets ridiculous.
What we have in Malevolence is a simplified front-end to a very complex back-end. On the front end, the player has six core stats. Everything in the game, every ability or skill, makes use of one or more of those stats. If you're swinging a sword at an ork, you're using Strength and Dexterity. If you're casting a spell, you're using Wisdom. If you're disarming a trap, you're using Intellect and Dexterity. If you're haggling with a merchant you're using Charisma and Intellect. The list goes on, but you get the idea. Some skills use one stat, others use 2, 3 or even 4.
Here's where Malevolence differs. These six core stats are represented as percentages, rather than numbers. Instead of having a strength of 50, you'll have a strength of, say, 30%. As you keep performing feats of strength, that percentage will (very) slowly rise up and up. But the higher your Strength rises, the more other skills will fall. First things like Wisdom and Intelligence will start to suffer, then Dexterity and Charisma and so on. The reason that this happens is that all six stats, when added together, must always equal 100%.
Instead of individual statistic numbers, what the player has is what is called a 'stat pool'. This number is based on what level you are. When you first start a new game, each of your stats is sitting at 16.67% (adding up to a total of 100%) and your stat pool is 100. That means, rounding up, that each statistic is worth 17. However, if you buff your strength up to 30% by using your muscles a lot in the game, your Strength value will be closer to 30, but your Wisdom and Intelligence will now be sitting at 10 each. You spent too much time practicing with a sword and your magic studies suffered for it.
When you go up a level, your stat pool number increases, but your individual stat percentages stay exactly the same. This way, your stats DO go up, but the actual balance across them all stays put.
So what does this mean for you as a player? Well, it means that everything you do in the game has consequences, however, the game is actually monitoring everything you do, and letting you be better at the things you do most, while atrophying the areas that you use least. For a player who wants to be a straight fighter, or a straight mage, this is no problem, as they just have to play the way they play and things will just work out. But for someone who wants to multi-class, then they will have to actually train - just as in real life - to maintain the balance of their statistics.
To speed up the process, however, or to correct deviations, you will be able to pay money at various guilds to train certain statistics up and get the most out of your character.
An example is the Fighter's Guild. A warrior can pay to train his Strength and Constitution, or a ranger can pay to train their Dexterity, but other stats will suffer from it. It'll just mean you don't have to grind it out to get your stats where you want them ;-)
But now you know! That's how the game works! You'll never see your stats' exact numbers, just their effect on the game itself!
I hope this confirms a few things!