The last few months our FLGS has been running a lot of high powered Ace combat battles. We’ve gotten some great experiences and feedback from this which led to the current update to the Pilot System.
Previously Pilot Level would lower the cost of Pilot Skills so a Level 2 Ace Pilot would lower the cost of a 5 Momentum skill down to 3. While a useful ability, it did add a mental math component to the game that wasn’t very fun and often meant gameplay had to stop for a moment or two when people figured out how much a skill would cost then decide if it would be worthwhile to use it. So we wanted to remove that and have skills be a flat cost that you can select.
In exchange we needed a new advantage for Pilot. One that would make being a Skilled or Ace pilot very worthwhile, after all they are a very expensive upgrade for your unit. For Ace Pilots we wanted to give them an exclusive skill that improved their longevity. Our idea was an ability that would help protect them when facing off against hordes of enemies, to allow you to safely push your Ace into the fray without worrying about losing them early on.
To enact this we came up with a skill that would negate all shots on your Ace, and to counterbalance such a powerful ability the Momentum cost would increase over time, we decided to have the Momentum cost be equal to the current round. This way early on the Ace spends very little to dodge attacks, but as time wears on even an Ace Pilot can’t hold out forever. We thought this would be a great way to recreate moments in say Gundam Wing or 00 where the Ace Pilots eventually get overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
For Skilled pilots we wanted a skill that would make it easier for them to fight; either an improvement in accuracy, shots or melee. So we gave them a versatile skill that would do just that and only for 1 Momentum. Quite a boon and makes the first upgrade to Skilled Pilot worth it to have a powerful skill. After all the games seeing 500-1000pt Ace units duke it out the last few months we also realized we wanted to add an extra bite when these exceptional pilots fight each other. So we increased the bonus when targeting a Skilled or Ace pilot, this incentivizes having your Aces fight one another instead of exclusively focusing on removing the chaff; we thought this would be great for players who prefer a more narrative feel in their games.
The next post discusses updated Pilot Skills and Traits.