When developing Sentinels of Freedom, we started by taking a long look at the physical games that have made the property so successful. The goal was to find some themes that we could incorporate into the digital game without simply copying a mechanic.
One of these themes that feels very prevalent in Sentinels is the "restricted" access to a hero's powers. This creates a great deal of strategy in when to use an ability and also what other abilities are needed for support. In Sentinels of Freedom, we use Stances to represent this theme. Stances are a kind of mental and physical state of the character as they focus on a set of skills. Beyond just abilities, core stats such as movement and defenses can be modified in each stance.
Stances could be a character actually changing form, like Bunker, going from Operation Mode to Turret Mode - where he physically becomes a massive gun turret. In Operations mode, Bunker is able to move about the battle field and perform low to mid level attacks and support actions. However, when Bunker switches to Turret Mode, he gains very powerful attack actions and passive defence abilities - though this comes at the cost of his movement.
Wraith, for example, has Combat and Stealth Stances. When in Combat Stance, Wraith is able to deal out justice in both close and ranged combat along with passive counter attacks. She is all in on bringing some pain. However, sometimes a little finesse is needed so Wraith can switch to Stealth Mode. While in this mode, the play style of Wraith greatly changes. First off, she is able to reduce the chance of enemies' passive abilities, known as our Vigilance System, from triggering allowing her to move throughout the battle with ease. In addition, instead of making many attacks with varying amounts of damage, Wraith is able to inflict smaller surgical strikes that have a very high hit chance making sure to get the job done. Finally, she has a strong passive ability to defend against anyone remaining.
A hero's Stance is chosen at the end of a their activation, signifying the character mentally preparing for the upcoming challenges. This is a free action and the character immediately gains any bonuses and passive actions that are associated with that Stance.
Each hero has a set number of Action Points, and can consume those points on abilities during each round. When in a Stance, you have access to any of that Stance's abilities with no penalty in Action Points. This means that using the actions in the current stance allows you to use your character to their full potential. However, situations can call for a change of plans, so you can switch your hero to another stance but with a penalty to your action points.
Early in the game, characters will have a limited amount of stances and actions but will continue to expand as the game progresses. Stances are just one of the many exciting new features in Sentinels of Freedom. We will be explaining many more and going into more depth on some of these concepts as we develop the game - so stay tuned!