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Author Topic: A Basic Guide to Combat  (Read 87903 times)
Dragatus
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« on: March 23, 2012, 06:05:33 am »

I've been reading through the first impressions thread and it looks like plenty of people are having trouble with combat. That was to be expected, but several people seem to be getting rather frustrated so I decided to write up this guide that should get you started on your warrior career path.

I'm going to intentionally avoid going into too much detail because figuring stuff out on your own is one of the main points of playing a game. My intention is not to give you a recipe for victory, I just want to point you in the right general direction. And the first thing required for that is a proper attitude.


1. ATTITUDE

In a typical modern RPG you start as an unskilled wuss, but somehow you're still slaughtering enemies from day one. Age of Decadence is not like that. Combat was intentionally designed as the hardest path through the game. And if you think of it, that's realistic. There's a reason why in real life people usually try to avoid mortal combat - it can quickly get you killed!

A freshly made character is not going to be a good warrior. Let's repeat that a couple of times, so it will really sink in. A freshly made character is not going to be a good warrior. A freshly made character is not going to be a good warrior. A FRESHLY MADE CHARACTER IS NOT GOING TO BE A GOOD WARRIOR.

Sorry, you are simply not someone who has trained for battle their entire life (or if you are, something happened to make you lose most of your skill). At best you'll be a talented amateur. A one-on-one fight is going to be a challenge, going up against superior numbers is suicidal. But you can become a great warrior if you take the time and effort to acquire the necessary skills and equipment. The equipment part is pretty crucial, but more on that later.

The assassin and mercenary you get to fight in the inn are both intentionally difficult opponents. But it's also possible to avoid fighting them. You'll find easier prey later on, so if you can't defeat them it's best to just let it go. Avoiding the fight is easier when you're a Mercenary (just agree not to fight), but even as an Assassin you can avoid it if you don't use Charisma as a dump stat or if you have enough Dexterity and Critical Strike.

A final piece of advice in regard to attitude is to be flexible. If you are doing something and it doesn't work, try something else. Normal attacks aren't doing enough damage? Try power attacks. Can't hit your opponent? Try fast attacks. Opponent always blocks? Try using an axe, even if that isn't your main skill. And so on.


2. FOCUS

They say that graveyards are full of average warriors and that is very true for Age of Decadence. If you wanted to make a character that is equal parts warrior and diplomat, I have bad news for you: this game requires at least a moderate amount of specialization. It's perfetly viable to play a diplomat with a shield or a warrior with a bit of non-combat skills thrown in for good measure. But if you try to be equally goood at combat and diplomacy, you'll more liekly than not just end up being bad at everything. Which is to say you'll be dead.


3. OFFESNE VS DEFENSE

In the first release of the public beta defense was king. With the new THC formula it's still important, but much less than before. You will now generally be better off by having a balanced or offensive build.

1) Attack skill = Defense skill: The balanced build is viable in all situations and generally the best aproach.

2) Attack skill > Defense skill: The offensive build is the most effective combination against opponents that have higher combat skills than you. Useful if you invested a significant amount of skill points into Crafting, Critical Strike, or non-combat skills.

3) Attack skill < Defense skill: The defensive build is highly effective against large numbers of less skilled opponents, but you can get crushed when fighting opponents of higher skill. Should be avoided at the beginning of a playthrough, but becomes viable once you've gathered enough skill points. Don't use this aproach if you put a lot of points into Crafting, Critical Strike, or non-combat skills.


4. DEFENSE SKILLS

Block and Dodge are your first line of defense. There's not much to tell here, other than explain the differences. Just pick one and put skill points into it, it's as simple as that.

Advantages of Block:
1. It's not limited by armor. You can wear the heaviest armors in the game without any penalty to your defense skill.
2. Shields give you a bonus when defending from ranged attacks.
3. You can bash enemies with your shield to push them away or even knock them down.

Advantages of Dodge:
1. Bigger chance of counter-attacking. This makes it especially useful against melee opponents.
2. You can use two-handed weapons without reducing your defense. Alternatively you can also combine one-handed weapons with nets or bolas.
3. You don't have to worry about axemen destroying your shield.
4. All shields provide an attack penalty, so if you're not wearing a helmet, you can have a higher THC.
5. Bonus to avoid attacks of opportunity when moving away from adjacent enemies.

I used to prefer Block, but there is something poetic about counter-attacking for 20 damage with a two-handed axe.


5. ARMOR

Good armor is crucial. I would go as far as saying that it's is the most important of the three lines of defense. In a world where a basic Bronze sword does 3-12 damage, a set of Bronze Imperial armor that reduces all incoming damage by 8 points is going to make a huge difference. Without any armor that sword would hurt you for 7.5 damage on average. With that armor the average damage you suffer drops down to 1 point. That's more than 85% less! Even a  basic Bronze Auxilary armor would reduce damage from that sword by 52%.

Another thing about armor is that the more DR you have, the more each additional point is worth up to the point where enemies can only hurt you if they score a critical hit. This is because if an enemy can do a lot of damage, 1 point doesn't make much of a difference, but if they can only do a little damage, 1 point can be a significant percentage.

You'll be able to buy some decent armor or get it as a quest reward, but if you want the best protection you'll have to make it yourself. You actually don't have to invest any points into Crafting at all in order to create the strongest possible Bronze armors, it's only a matter of finding enough Bronze equipment to decompose. Of course the strongest possible crafted Bronze armor is only a little stronger than what you can buy, but every bit helps. Check the bonus section at the end of the guide for more detailed information on Crafting.


6. CONSTITUTION

Your Constitution determines your health, which is the final line of defense. You basic amount of health is fairly generous so a high Consitution isn't crucial from that perspective. However, there is one reason why a decent Consitution is important: critical hits.

Critical hits always do at least 5 points of damage and they can damage your physical attributes (Strength, Dexterity, constitution, Perception). If any of these attributes drops to 2 you automatically die. But if you have a high Constitution, critical hits have a lower chance to damage your attributes.

Don't confuse this with vsCrit, that's a different effect. vsCrit makes it less likely that you will get hit by a critical in the first place. Constitution reduces the chance that critical hits that do hit you, will also damage your stats.


7. SUMMARY

And that's it on the basics of playing a successful warrior. A short summary:
- sometimes it's best to avoid fights
- if whatever you are doing isn't working, try something else
- in order to survive as a warrior you'll need to actually focus mostly on combat
- get good armor, but don't neglect defense against critial hits either


8. BONUS: DETAILED INFORMATION  ON CRAFTING IN THE DEMO


(click to show/hide)


9. BONUS: ORIGINAL GUIDE

For those who may be interested, I preserved the original version of the guide. It's an ego thing.  smug

(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 02:01:58 pm by Dragatus » Logged

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A Basic Guide to Combat in age of Decadence
Vince
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2012, 06:14:39 am »

I've been reading through the first impressions thread and it looks like plenty of people are having trouble with combat. That was to be expected, but several people seem to be getting rather frustrated so I decided to write up this guide that shoud get you started on your warrior career path.
Thanks!
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Vahha
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 06:15:45 am »

 Approve Approve Approve  Salute

BTW, another useful tip: make sure that you use different weapons in different situations, when they are most effective.
E.g.
(click to show/hide)

PS: you can only get the steel Imperial Armor if you're teamed with the thieves Wink
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 07:57:48 am by Vahhabyte » Logged

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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 06:44:23 am »

I was thinking myself of writing something like this up, but you did a way better job than I ever could have.  Approve

A few suggestions for the guide:
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« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 07:53:34 am by GhanBuriGhan » Logged

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Dragatus
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2012, 07:49:55 am »

I'm glad you guys like it. At first I couldn't find the topic and for a second I even wondered if it got deleted because Vince wants people to suck it up and suffer through it on their own, then I noticed it got stickied. Grin

I intentionally didn't go too far into tactics for two reasons:
1) I don't feel like I'm that much of an authority on the topic
2) I want to let people figure things out on their own.

Lately I've been thinking about how much of the magic of gaming is lost when the internet serves you the solutions on a silver plate. I felt that it would be enough to tell people they should get good armor (possibly make it themselves), pump up the defensive skill of their choice, and above all ditch the expectation that they're entiteled to kill everything the game throws at them just because they're the player character. (Yes people, it's not your fault that those modern games spoiled you. I understand, I was spoiled myself. It's okay. We can get through this together.) Building from that foundation they can then experiment with things like tactics and positioning and figure them out on their own.

Same for Intelligence. I don't want to make people feel like they had to make an intelligent character in order to be successful. INT is crucial for Vahabyte style champion builds, but if you just want to play through the IG questline you should be able to manage without it.

As for the Critical Strike skill, I didn't feel like I had any more to tell about it. I've covered that criticals do a fixed minimum amount of damage, decrease your stats, and can autokill you if they repeatedly damage the same attribute.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 08:03:50 am by Dragatus » Logged

"A little while ago, a good friend's wife asked me what playing Dungeons & Dragons involved. Long story short, it turns out that it's basically improv without an audience or time pressure, and a lot of rules. Every time anyone wants to attempt something, it's basically subject to a referee. Who is incidentally trying to kill you. In a fair and impartial manner." - Priapist

A Basic Guide to Combat in age of Decadence
GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2012, 07:52:40 am »

All good points. I'll spoilertag my post.
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Starwars
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2012, 08:04:33 am »

Also, keep your mind open to choices related to skills you may not have leveled directly. Even if you may not have leveled up Throwing, chances are you still have a chance of hitting dudes with a throwing net or what have you. And a successful throw in the right situation can mean a lot in the heat of battle. Same goes for other weapons... Crossbows can be immensely useful in some situations for example even if you're not the world champion in using them.

Age of Decadence is very much a numbers name, and there are times where unlucky rolls will screw you over bad. However, if you are willing to change up your play-style and tactics when you've bashed your head against a fight for the tenth time, you can seriously tip the battle in different directions. Keep an open mind.
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2012, 08:27:40 am »

Same for Intelligence. I don't want to make people feel like they had to make an intelligent character in order to be successful.

You can make a good fighting character even with low Inteligence. I made one that had Int 4 and no investment in crafting. Still managed, somehow. I think the only kind of fighting build that is non-viable is high Con. You can win some fights, but it's really, really tougher because your other stats suffer and the benefits are not that great.

INT is crucial for Vahabyte style champion builds, but if you just want to play through the IG questline you should be able to manage without it.

Actually...
(click to show/hide)

The only thing I would add to this, and this is actually a good general advice regardless of whether you're combat oriented or not, is to save often, and with your SP rewards unspent. That way you can try to solve the quest or fight with many different builds. Maybe with a bit more focus on dodge, maybe with some extra points in CS instead... That's what I like to do at any rate.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 08:35:26 am by MaximillionMiles » Logged
Anonxeuix
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2012, 08:52:23 am »

Great way to make this lecture go faster. Thanks Dragatus!
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erbgor
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2012, 10:21:41 am »

I think the only kind of fighting build that is non-viable is high Con.

I also noticed that many of you don't pump up strength. So in conclusion the key to being a successful combat char is having at most average constitution and strength and pumping defensive skills over offensive skills? I foresee a lot (a lot)) of new players who don't really know anything about the game will be pissed/mystified Smile All the same, I can't wait to get my teeth kicked in myself. Should have a new PC in a few weeks.
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2012, 10:49:00 am »

Lightened Leather armor with 100 crafting is +2 AP and Masterwork is -50% penalty.   Not sure what the breakdown of when it gets to that point.

Considering that the slowest leather armor I've been able to find is Max 11 AP that extra +1  doesn't help much.   No Hardening leather though.

I still haven't found a way to get any wood since I can't break down bows or crossbows.  Is there a way to get wood in the demo?

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Vahha
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2012, 11:14:27 am »

Indeed, that sucks you cannot craft leather armors significantly.

As for wood, you can kill the squatters at the abandoned tower north from Assassins guild (they're rather tough, and to fight them you need to pass a 47 Crafting check), and loot a big stick wielded by one of the squatters, then decompose it.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 11:17:40 am by Vahhabyte » Logged

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evilhyde
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2012, 12:00:00 pm »

I didn't realize crafting could have some use with little to no skill investment. Thanks for the tips!
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Dragatus
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2012, 12:13:11 pm »

I think the only kind of fighting build that is non-viable is high Con.

I also noticed that many of you don't pump up strength. So in conclusion the key to being a successful combat char is having at most average constitution and strength and pumping defensive skills over offensive skills? I foresee a lot (a lot)) of new players who don't really know anything about the game will be pissed/mystified Smile All the same, I can't wait to get my teeth kicked in myself. Should have a new PC in a few weeks.

The usefulness of Strength depends on the weapon used. The weaker the wepon, the more you profit from the damage bonus. On the other hand, the stronger the weapon, the less significant it is.

Looking at extreme examples a regular Bronze Jambia (light dagger) does 1-6 damage so having 8 STR for a +2 bonus will increase your damage against unarmored targets by 57%, which is huge. And against people in Bronze Auxilary armor you'll actually do 233% more damage than a guy with an average Strength.

On the other hand a Hardened Masterwork Steel Labrys (heavy two-handed axe) does 8-24 damage and has 4 vsDR (so the guy in the Bronze Auxilary armor is effectively naked). In this case the improvement will be only 12,5%.

In the end, it's a matter of priorities. I feel that I can get enough damage from my self-crafted superweapons so I prefer to focus on Perception (for accuracy) and Intelligence (for more skill points). I still always avoid having below average STR and often make it 7 or 8.

As for Vahabyte's 5 STR champion build, I suspect the trick is that he has a huge Critical Strike skill and critical strikes always do a minimum of 5 damage.

Quote
Actually...
(click to show/hide)

Right, I didn't think of that detail when I made the example. Grin
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 12:31:09 pm by Dragatus » Logged

"A little while ago, a good friend's wife asked me what playing Dungeons & Dragons involved. Long story short, it turns out that it's basically improv without an audience or time pressure, and a lot of rules. Every time anyone wants to attempt something, it's basically subject to a referee. Who is incidentally trying to kill you. In a fair and impartial manner." - Priapist

A Basic Guide to Combat in age of Decadence
Vahha
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2012, 12:55:17 pm »


As for Vahabyte's 5 STR champion build, I suspect the trick is that he has a huge Critical Strike skill and critical strikes always do a minimum of 5 damage.

That, and CS 55 is just enough half-way through the demo, when the hardest fights start.
And also Crafting - some 30 points invested in Crafting compensate very well for what you lose by having below-average Str. I have 5 Str and not 4 solely because I need this extra carrying capacity to carry my heavy armors, shields and metal ingots.
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