Combat in Chronicles of Spellborn

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.

combat2Here 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.

combat3Here’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!

combat4 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.

combat5The second icon indicates that this is a melee skill.

combat6The 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.

skilldeck 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.

12 thoughts on “Combat in Chronicles of Spellborn

  1. As a help for distinguishing the icons, the reticle in Spellborn changes shape according to the skill selected. It distinguishes between Melee, Ranged and Magic through style, and the amount of prongs tell the shape and directipon of your attack. IE pointing outward for an Area Of Effect skill, Forward for a ranged attack, and inward for a self buff.

    Just a heads up 🙂
    Enjoy Spellborn!
    Herman van Boeijen

  2. Does that help if you’re trying to hotkey them? …*can* you hotkey skills?

    Thanks for the writeup, Pete. I’ll probably check it out at some point. I like new ideas. 😉

  3. Thanks Herman! I did see an article on the spellborn site about the reticle but I haven’t really been paying as much attention as I should.

    @Tesh No, there’s no hotkeying skills. Instead you “hotkey” rings/columns of the Skill Deck. (1-5). But even that isn’t really a hotkey, since you have to hit it twice (or hit it once, then click the mouse button).

    What’s interesting is you can also use the mouse wheel to choose the ring/column, then the mouse button to fire off the skill. So one hand on the mouse handling selecting and firing skills, one hand on the keyboard taking care of character movement.

    Which is why I think the game would work really well with a gamepad.

    Basically choosing a skill to use is very similar to choosing a weapon in a FPS.

  4. Once you choose a column, you only have to click once to keep firing skills from it.

    Mapping the column change to the mouse wheel made changing skills while strafing a lot easier for me.

  5. Sigils are like Gems in WoW or Diablo II: you can embed sigils to your gear at the Blacksmith, giving your attributes a boost. You get them as random drops at least in the beginning area, but the drop rate is extremely low… got mine by trading it to some crafting materials…

    Great post, Pete! I wish I had the time to do similar detective work on TCOS!

  6. Just FYI, the “JustMMO” comment is comment spam. I got the exact same comment, we are all just being spammed.

  7. Well… not a good start in TCoS for me, I have to say. It’s beautiful, but the whole right-button hold / right button click / left button click, R for reticle, F for weapon, scroll wheel does one thing in one mode but a whole nother thing in another mode (and no, that can’t be changed, the functions are linked)….. Yeah. Not my thing. I don’t play shoot-em-ups for just this reason.

    It didn’t help that the whole shardship tutorial made me want to hurl my dinner every time I looked away from the ship at the great swirly gut-clenching (if you have vertigo) emptiness. Knowing I’m poncing about on stuff that’s vaguely floating around in space isn’t conducive to comfortable playing for me (which is also why I utterly hate WoW’s Outlands, unless I’m well inside the middle of a zone).

    This is probably all I’m going to say about it since I’m pretty sure any kind of negative comment at this point is going to draw nothing but vitriol and “L2P” type comments. I have my UI/interface preferences, and Spellborn happens to use *every* single type of interaction mode I don’t get on with. Nobody’s fault, etc etc.

  8. It’s definitely a different enough experience that it’s going to turn off some people. Definitely is a lot more “actiony” then most MMOs. I’d really like to play it with a gamepad, personally.

    It’s a perfect example of an MMO that I wish I could get an alternate payment system for. I’m not sure I want to subscribe for a month at a time because I think its something I’d want to play every once in a while. We’ll see, I might splurge one I can just give them X dollars for a month, rather than having to buy X coins and pay for a month with X-20% coins, leaving me with coins left over. Ugh!

  9. Basically, I’ve never been able to get used to reticle-based games. I never *ever* used it in SWG, because you could do quite well without it — if that’s possible with TCOS (I may take another look) then I won’t have any trouble playing it. But I’m not coordinated enough to have to move the mouse + click both mouse buttons for different functions + strafe + number keys (if I’m not using the scroll wheel, which I found pretty clunky) *and* still have any kind of idea what I’m doing.

    Actually, it’s simpler than that. I just can’t handle a fixed reticle-type viewpoint, heh. There’s a reason I don’t shoot much up 😀

  10. Sorry to clog up your comments with mostly-irrelevant stuff, but it’s the only place I can think of to vent without making a post of my own on this game, and I’m resisting that.

    I gave it a second try just now. Tutorial, fine. Get into the real world, on the *slim to none* off-chance that I find something to attack, either it’s so much better than me that I can’t freaking figure out what to do or why I’m not hitting it or why my spells aren’t working (a little tutorial on THAT would have helped), OR, as is more common, some #)(&*@)(*@)(*)(* [heavy censorship] comes along and starts killing it for themselves.

    I haven’t been this irate about a new-game experience in years. >:| Yes, I know I’m being unfair, but right now I’m feeling anything but reasonable. With less than 15Gb left on my hard drive, I don’t think I’m going to keep Spellborn around just so I can try it out when the newbie crowds thin out. Shame, it’s a pretty game, but I can’t play a combat-MMO where I can’t do the combat.

    Bah humbug. I’m off to sacrifice some bunnies or kittens or something.

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