Dev Diary #7 – Verse

In our last update, we introduced you to Barik of the Stone Shields, one of your potential Companions. This week, we wanted to show you the other side of the coin, so to speak. Meet Verse, a fierce warrior with ties to the Scarlet Chorus.

tyranny_dev_diary_07__verse_portraitVerse represents the bravado of the Scarlet Chorus. She’s constantly proving herself, challenging others, prodding for weaknesses, and delighting in the social power play within Kyros’ more volatile army. Her free spirit and playful sarcasm make her a fitting counterpoint to Barik and his iron walls of emotional repression.

Verse is a Scarlet Fury – one of the elite fighters in the Chorus, possessing training in all manner of exotic weapons and fighting styles. Combat for Furies is an art form, a coordinated dance ruled by passion over reason or tactics.

Like all members of the Chorus, Verse started out as a civilian in the southern continent of the Tiers – an ordinary girl on an ordinary farm. When the sun went down, she liked to sneak out to the barn and take a knife to the farm animals, and always sensed that she was destined for something more.

When the armies of Kyros arrived and started conscripting from the local populace, Verse recognized her calling. She was one of the few mad enough to volunteer and begin her new life in the howling mob, where she made a point of rising in the ranks with bloodthirsty ambition. She led multiple gangs at different times in the war, so she’s no stranger to pushing others around.

Everyone who joins the Chorus gets a new name. The name “Verse” was a compliment from the Voices of Nerat, who – in one of his crazier, artistic moments – heard music in the shrieking and howling of battle. He said that hers stood out louder than anyone else’s, and contained too many parts to be easily defined.

Verse has a special knack for learning the combat styles of others. She could spend five minutes watching a grizzled veteran wield a spear and know the form as if she had used it across a hundred battles. During the war, this talent manifested in an unexpected fashion. During a battle with the defenders of Apex, Verse suddenly froze in panic – a totally unheard-of reflex, coming from seemingly out of nowhere. The Scarlet Furies fighting alongside her died in battle because of this spasm of hesitation.

What happened next was stranger still: Verse felt the deaths of her sister Furies like a part of her mind getting ripped apart, and she stumbled from battle possessing knowledge of the battle stances and weapon acuity of her sister Furies – an unintended, almost parasitic reflex that fascinated and disgusted her.

Verse hates herself for the hesitation that stayed at her hand, and feels revulsion for everything that came after, which casts her instinctive need to challenge others and prove herself in perhaps a sadder light.

~Paul Kirsch, Narrative Designer

Combat Role

Verse was designed to blend between melee and ranged combat with ease, acting as a highly mobile single target damage dealer. Verse’s talent trees support this synergy between short and long ranged combat and allow her to perform the roles of melee assassin or ranged archer on the fly. Verse also possesses unique combat stances that allow her to further match the party’s needs in the heat of the moment.

When designing Verse’s talent trees, we started by splitting them by Melee or Ranged combat specialization. Deep in each of Verse’s trees lie talents that place strong emphasis on one style or another. Talents at earlier tiers are focused on value for both melee and ranged combat, maintaining synergy for users interested in a hybrid approach or those that enjoy switching styles frequently. Verse’s Duelist tree features a twin blade strategy geared around rushing through the fray and unleashing flurries of deadly melee strikes on weaker targets. Her Skirmisher tree is built around escape tactics and long range devastation via bow and burning arrow.

A few of Verse’s notable abilities:

Know Your Enemy: A talent which allows Verse to study her enemies in combat. This allows Verse to become increasingly more deadly the longer that a combat spans, increasing her Dodge and Parry each time she is struck by an enemy. As a quick thinking fighter, Know Your Enemy helps sell the idea that Verse won’t fall for the same combat trick twice.

Rush: As a Scarlet Fury, Verse is no stranger to sprinting into danger with a wave of Chorus allies at her back. The Rush ability gives players the chance to send Verse like a streak of lightning through the enemy ranks, drastically increasing Verse’s movement speed for a short time and making her immune to engagement.

Killing Spree: After felling a foe, Verse will enter a Killing Spree where she attacks multiple times with each of her basic attacks.

Burning Iron: Verse launches a single arrow doused in oil and flame. When it strikes, it ignites her enemy, burning them for Fire damage over time.

Unbound: Verse performs a spinning attack and vaults through the air to a safe location. A remnant of one of Verse’s fallen sisters appears in her place to face her foes.

Verse is a first and foremost a deadly assassin, her ability to dispatch high priority targets and remain mobile on the battlefield makes her well suited for the task. Abilities like Killing Spree and Know Your Enemy give Verse the momentum to tear down nearly any foe. While Verse is capable of dishing copious amounts of damage, she is notably more vulnerable than iron-clad counterparts such as Barik. Those with Verse in their party should expect to keep a keen watch to prevent her from getting in over her head. Abilities like Unbound and Rush are great offensive and escape abilities, though if on cooldown, Verse loses her mobility advantage and is left vulnerable.

With her highly active kit and powerful single target abilities, Verse feels like a storm on the battlefield, aggressive, relentless, and apt for dispatching key foes.

~Nick Carver, Systems Designer

I hope you enjoyed this look at another of your potential companions in Tyranny. In our next dev update, I’ll talk about setting the game at the end of the Bronze Age, and how we reinforced that in our items and lore.