Playable Characters in Wheel of Fate
Beyond the main story (or critical path) of an RPG, I think it’s safe to say a
game’s playable characters are at least as important, if not more so to the
overall experience. I say this because of course, you’re going to view the
entire journey through these characters, bonding with them along the way,
growing them and typically, gleaning their background as you go. If you do
not like them, it’s highly unlikely you can appreciate the greater narrative.
So, when I’m talking playable characters, exactly what this means of
course varies from one RPG to the next. We may be talking about a
completely predefined character or group of characters. Perhaps the avatar
is customizable, perhaps there are optional companion characters to collect
and find. In the case of Wheel of Fate, the player begins with a custom
Avatar. Over the course of their travels, they meet a variety of potential
companion characters that may be added or removed from the party at any
If this sounds like the same model as seen in Mass Effect, it is. As with
Mass Effect, I believe there is huge strength in this model. First of all, the
Avatar acts as more or less a blank canvas for the player to express
themselves however they like. Meanwhile, the companion characters provide
a growing pool of archetypes and classes to draw from, allowing the party to
fight and act to whatever style the player might prefer. From a narrative
standpoint, this rogues gallery presents a variety of predefined personalities
that a player can choose that either support or perhaps contrast with the
Avatar. This allows for interesting group dynamics to emerge, all at the
One of the greatest strengths of the Mass Effect franchise was the
bond formed with the companion characters. The player would be presented
with the option to complete a companion quest for each companion. Such
quests would not only uncover the companion’s past, deepening your bond
with that character, but also offer a game benefit for each completed
Likewise, Wheel of Fate presents a deeper take for each companion
through their quest, and also much like Mass Effect, completing a companion
quest will grant the player a definite game benefit. In the case of our game,
each companion with a completed quest will be permanently and
significantly improved with some new and exclusive item or skill. Where our
game differs from Mass Effect is the availability of such quests.
As with most things in our game, the Wheel of Fate has a say in the
matter. Companion quests are a certain rare type of content that may only
occur infrequently. When a companion quest does become available, it is
definitely worth the player’s time to complete it, as when the next wheel spin
occurs, it will be wiped, replaced with something new, and there is no telling
when it may come up again.
Wheel of Fate companions come one to each class, with new
companion groups coming available at certain intervals, like, say a new chapter. The player will have complete control to develop them how they
like, choosing gear and skills. The value of this is that when the player has
access to a new group of companions, they may choose to develop them in
different directions, equipping new skills or passive abilities than the
counterparts of the last group. Of course, characters from each new wave
may be selected in isolation, combined with companions from the last group,
etc, all at the player’s discretion.
Considering the player avatar may also be assigned any class and
gear, this basically allows for a wide variety of party composition. You may
focus on a certain class, balance the team with one of each class, and so on.
Ultimately, the player’s journey is their own to fulfill in any RPG.
Hopefully, the available characters in Wheel of Fate provide more than just
team dynamics and combat options; hopefully they become something like
friends along the way.