Tonight I’m going to try to puzzle out how combat works in The Chronicles of Spellborn. Again, there’s a healthy amount of speculation on my part in this post. The game is growing on me now that I said to hell with frantically jumping around and instead am focusing on using skills and moving a little bit. I think there’s a happy medium where I won’t take too much damage, and also won’t feel too frazzled. Oddly someone in chat said “I’ve been wanting an MMO that played like Oblivion.” and I realized that’s kind of what this combat system is like. (Oooo, I just thought of something…I wonder if there’s a way to play with a gamepad!!?) Somehow, that got me to approach it differently!
Anyway, more on combat.
This is the top left corner of the screen. The mouse cursor isn’t picked up in screenshots but I’m hovering over those 3 small bars, and the bluish window is the pop-up help window for it.
The red behind the character name is health. The yellowish green circle is my Fame Level (5) and the smaller circle is my current PeP level (1). The orange, purple and green bars are Physique, Morale and Concentration, all of which are at +1. I’m pretty sure that +1 is from having PeP level 1. You can read the pop-up text to see what these do for you. All three of these stats are pretty fluid in combat, as we’ll see.
Here we have a sample skill from my skill book. The cursor is hovering over the skill name (Swift Kick) resulting in the pop-up. We see it’s a short range “Maneuver” skill that deals “calculated” damage.
I’m skipping the “Legal Sigils” because I still have no clue about Sigils!!
At the bottom of the pop-up we learn what a “Maneuver” skill does: every time we connect with a Swift Kick, our Concentration goes up one (which means, from looking at the image above, that our attack speed increases by 5%, assuming a smooth increase per point of Concentration. If we try to plant a Swift Kick and miss, our Concentration, and attack speed, drops by 5%.
We also learn that Calculated damage means that if my Concentration is higher than the mob’s, I’m going to do increased damage. Not sure how much increased, or if that’s a sliding scale or a flat bonus.
Here’s another skill, Break Defense. This one is a Burst skill. Burst works the same as Maneuver, except here it’s Physique that goes up and down, rather than Concentration. Physique increases movement speed. Having a nice high Physique is great for speeding away from battles going poorly!
Break Defense does Piercing damage, which has nothing to do with our 3 Status Attributes but instead bypasses resistance and affinity values of the target. What’s an affinity value? No clue yet!
This series of shots just shows what the icons on the right of the skill listing indicate. The first indicates that Break Defense uses the Body attribute. As player gain levels, they get points they can put into 3 attributes: Body, Focus and … um, Will maybe? Persumably, this skill being tagged Body means it gets stronger as you put points into the Body attribute.
The second icon indicates that this is a melee skill.
The third icon indicates the magic type for this skill. Honestly, I don’t understand this one at all. I don’t *think* my character has a magic rating? This one has me really puzzled.
The 4th icon, with the number, is the cooldown time.
This, by the way, is what the skill deck setup window looks like. Corrections to yesterday’s post, clearly you have have 5 skills per row (or Tier as they’re more properly called) and eventually 6 Tiers in total.
As of now, my character has 3 Tiers of 3 Skills. I don’t yet have 9 skills (I’m adding them very slowly as I try to understand what I’m doing) so I put Shoot in twice, once in slot 1,3 and once in slot 3,3. In theory I could Shoot, Battle Cry, the Shoot again, but in practice I rarely have that much time before I enter melee, so that second “Shoot” is something of a wasted slot.
One of the challenges is going to be distinguishing the icons. At a glance, a lot of them look pretty similar in the heat of combat. At least to my tired old eyes. Younger folk will probably have an easier time of it, but this gets me wondering if the UI is “modable” and if so if someone might make some cleaner skill icons.
Well, that’s as far as I’ve gotten so far. The game has grown on me a lot in my past 2 play sessions as I started playing it *my* way instead of the way that the drones shouting on Chat were telling everyone to play. Rapid circling might be more efficient, but it isn’t as much fun for me.
I’m already thinking about how I need to re-arrange my Skill Deck as I write all this and stare at that image.
When it launches, my understanding is that the Spellborn client will be free to download and some initial segment of the game will be free to play. I hope everyone interested in MMOs will at least give it a chance, because it *is* something at least a bit different from the standard DIKU MUD system everyone is getting tired of.