Hypostases are life forms that reached the highest level of elemental purity.
Hypostases are invulnerable when their cube-like shells are surrounding them; they are only exposed when their diamond-shaped cores are exposed, typically during or after they perform an attack. Their attacks deal elemental damage of their type and they are immune to said type.
After losing about 95% of their health, the Hypostasis will enter a "revival" phase in which it spawns several elemental objects of its type that must be destroyed or absorbed within 15 seconds. If this is not met, the Hypostasis will revive with a percentage of health based on how much of these objects remained at the time. With the exception of the Cryo Hypostasis, the revival objects are a one-time occurrence and will not reappear if dealt with before. The Pyro Hypostasis is a unique exception, having no revival mechanic; in its place is a fire shield that makes it immune to damage until removed.
The Electro and Geo Hypostases will die after their elemental objects are destroyed. The Anemo and Cryo Hypostasis will revive even if all of its objects are destroyed, but the former returns with little health, while the latter needs to be destroyed before it stabilizes itself. The Pyro Hypostasis will die once extinguished and its HP is fully drained, but it can regenerate HP while in its ignited state.
- In Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, the term hypostasis refers to an underlying substance that supports fundamental reality. Gnostic Christians typically used the word "hypostases" to refer to the Holy Trinity.
- Instead of the Gnostic term "hypostasis", the Chinese version uses the Buddhist term 无相 Wúxiàng, a translation of the Sanskrit word animitta (अनिमित्त), which means "signless" (traditional English translation) or "aspectless". The Japanese and Korean versions also follow this term. It is considered to be one of the Three Gates of Liberation, along with emptiness and wishlessness.
- The first three Hypostases (Electro, Anemo and Geo) that were released alongside the Global release all have broken pieces on their shells. It is unknown why the Pyro, Cryo and Hydro Hypotases don't have such details.
During our June 2019 beta test, we found that our designs around the idea of 'elements' were not ideal. Most Traveler's understanding of the elemental system simply stopped simply at "bonus damage," without using the system to further advance their tactics. In the past six months, we have tried a variety of methods to convey the greater complexities of the elemental system to Travelers, including designing the Hypostasis. We hope that when Travelers first see it, their natural reaction will be "Oh, I think I need to have X character on my team to deal with this."
So the question then became; "How do we get Travelers to experience the different elements through the same enemy. The matter was much the same as the Abyss Mage seen in our first beta, yet more complex. We needed the elemental experience to be stronger, strong enough to get Travelers to change up their tactics, party members, weapons, etc.
When it comes to designing a monster, there are two core elements; artistic appearance and gameplay mechanics. As far as artistic appearance is concerned, we wanted the Hypostasis to embody the idea of "natural order." In contrast to the unregulated and curved appearance of Slimes and Hilichurls, Hypostases are cubic and orthogonal, to give it an appearance of being a greater life form.
For this, we drew a lot of inspiration from Ramiel from Evangelion and Galvatron from Transformers. Ramiel is simple in form but can change into many different shapes. Galvatron comes together from many smaller pieces, which helped us to better display the right effects when the Hypostasis transforms. As such, we referenced these elements as we proceeded to make our own new content.
After discussions with the design team, we finalized our plan. Hypostases were to be elemental beings, with a design that featured all-new modeling and movements, so it was made of cubic formations clustered together, which would allow it to alter its form and use a range of Elemental Skills.
In the beginning, we believed that designing a creature that could change its form and move so violently would be very complex. But as early as July we were already able to see the early design in motion in animation software, as we discovered that it wasn't so hard to create after all.
Now that we had the visual design down, our next challenge would be the gameplay mechanics. This was to be our first series of bosses, so we needed to make a sample. That sample, was Hypostasis Aleph. In our first design, we had the following ideas:
- We wanted it's attack pattern to switch back and forth between attacking and fortifying itself.
- We also wanted it's combat mechanics to cycle between combat and rebirth, with the rebirth making for challenging gameplay that requires Travelers to strategize in order to beat it.
- As an elemental structure, we wanted an "exposed core" form to contrast the fortified forms it took on. We also wanted the core to remain more or less protected during attacks, making it temporarily immune to damage.
- We wanted its skills to force Travelers to have to switch between ranged and melee attacks.
We set a detailed skills plan for the Hypostasis. The most detailed of these have the working names of "Paper, Scissors, Rock," "Rotating Lazer," and "Rebirth."
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