Location-Fixed Abilities

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Abilities only available at certain locations in game worlds.

Game worlds can be important to gameplay in many ways, e.g. how the offer different ways of moving or what game items they contain. Another important aspect they can provide for gameplay is Location-Fixed Abilities, making certain abilities more powerful or simply possible at specific areas within them. This can make otherwise uninteresting parts of game worlds vital for gameplay and lead to races and conflicts about who can use the abilities provided there.


The snakes and the ladders in Snakes and Ladders are early examples of Location-Fixed Abilities that players automatically trigger when they reach them. The last row in Chess provides Location-Fixed Abilities for pawns since reach it allows the pawn to be transformed into any other type of chess piece. Every space in Monopoly except those that one owns oneself triggers gameplay effects or activities.

Chargers that give players extra speed boosts exists in both the Mario Kart and F-Zero series. Pit stops in Formula D show that Board Games dealing with racing also can have Location-Fixed Abilities. The cannons placed at various places in Super Mario 64 allow players to shoot themselves to other places of the game world.

Several First-Person Shooters include stationary weapons. The 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun and FIM-92 Stinger are examples from the Battlefield series that provide Location-Fixed Abilities while the Left 4 Dead series has mounted mini-guns and heavy machine guns that the players can find.

Computer-based Roleplaying Games often have Location-Fixed Abilities in the form of immobile non-player characters. Torchlight, the Dragon Age series, and the Fable series are examples of this, and to a lesser extent this is also true for NetHack and the Fallout series since the NPCs providing services there do move about somewhat. The Legend of Zelda series and Assassin's Creed series are examples of other computer-based games also having stationary NPCs providing services to the players.

The monoliths in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri provide Location-Fixed Abilities.

Both the gyms and Pokémons themselves in Pokémon Go provide Location-Fixed Abilities, although Pokémons vary somewhat in position and aren't always available.

Using the pattern

Location-Fixed Abilities can be created through either creating Environmental Effects in Game Worlds or placing immobile Game Items which affect Abilities within them. Chargers and Safe Havens are common examples of Environmental Effects while Game Items that can be used for this purpose include Bases, Controllers, Installations, and Self-Service Kiosks. Tiles can either represent Location-Fixed Abilities in themselves or be modulated by other elements that provide these Abilities.

One design option regarding Location-Fixed Abilities is who controls the Abilities and this also determines who will be seen as having the Abilities. Those that activate automatically when players enter their spaces or "activation zones" will probably be viewed as belonging to that area and only require Area Control to activate, while Abilities that need to be activated by player actions will probably be viewed as their Temporary Abilities. The Abilities are more likely to be seen as permanent Abilities if players are required to gain control over Territories to gain access to the Abilities. Although not part of the pattern proper, how Movement is design in a game heavily affects Location-Fixed Abilities; entering or missing a space with a Location-Fixed Ability is a question of Luck rather than player skill when Movement is based on Randomness. Snakes and Ladders and Monopoly are examples of games with this design.

Although Location-Fixed Abilities typically include providing New Abilities to players which have their Focus Loci within the locations or have control over the areas, another use of the pattern is to consider having Abilities available everywhere but the locations and thereby creating a type of Ability Loss. The primary use of this is create Safe Havens (in this case one could optionally see "being safe" as an Location-Fixed Ability instead).

Diegetic Aspects

Unless their use or appearance naturally draws attention to them, it may be advisable to consider making Location-Fixed Abilities have Diegetically Outstanding Features. This since being aware of them can be important given their potential affect on gameplay.

Interface Aspects

See above.


Location-Fixed Abilities modify the Abilities of Avatars or Units by providing New or Improved Abilities at specific locations in Game Worlds. They can be Strategic Locations if the New Abilities are vital for gameplay or if the improvements can be used to gain significant advantages, and are Privileged Abilities if they are limited in numbers.

Players can get an increase Freedom of Choice when they can control if they should go to Location-Fixed Abilities or not, and also choose if they want to use the Abilities or not. Those that activate automatically in contrast provide Ultra-Powerful Events.


Can Instantiate

Freedom of Choice, Privileged Abilities, Strategic Locations, Temporary Abilities, Ultra-Powerful Events

with Ability Losses

Safe Havens

with Movement and Randomness


Can Modulate

Avatars, Abilities, Improved Abilities, New Abilities, Tiles, Units

Can Be Instantiated By

Bases, Controllers, Chargers, Installations, Environmental Effects, Safe Havens, Self-Service Kiosks

Can Be Modulated By

Area Control, Diegetically Outstanding Features, Movement, Territories

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.