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Game News Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #29: Combat Mechanics Overview

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, May 2, 2016.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Bard's Tale IV; David Rogers; InXile Entertainment

    Today's Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter update introduces a new name to the Codex pantheon - David Rogers, Systems Designer. It's our first comprehensive look at the game's combat mechanics, the first in a multi-part series. The update is extremely crunchy, and even uses the term 'blobber' for extra Kodex Kredits. Here's an excerpt, which includes a mockup (not a screenshot!) of the described combat scenario:

    At the core of our design for The Bard's Tale IV is the idea that all attacks and abilities should be interesting to use. We are trying to move away from giving every character the same basicattack ability that just does damage. While doing single target damage is effective, there isn't a lot of strategy revolving around the choice of whether or not to attack your enemy. The answer is generally yes. That's an example of a missed strategic opportunity we wanted to capitalize on. Your weapons, spells, and abilities will offer their own unique attack types that often have different built-in properties to set them apart. You're saving the world, gosh darn it, so you'd better do something heroic! These differences can be minor or major, but the point is that each attack is designed to shine in different scenarios. Throughout your adventure you'll encounter enemies using new abilities and tactics. You'll need to keep evolving your strategy to be victorious.

    When examining the anatomy of an attack and making it interesting to use, we have a number of qualities at our disposal. These include Attack Pattern, Damage, Damage Type, Special Effect, and Cost (Just to name a few). In this update, we'll cover Attack pattern, Damage, and Special Effects. We'll cover the other elements in a later update. Let's start by breaking these down one at a time.

    First is attack pattern. Keeping in mind the influence the battlefield plays on our gameplay, each attack has a pattern associated with it that dictates who the attack will affect. An attack pattern may look something like this.

    This attack pattern is something you'd find on a sword thrust attack, and indicates it will attack forward, striking the closest enemy directly in front of it, up to two grid squares away. Other abilities may be able to pierce multiple targets, may strike from different directions, or be able to directly target an opponent regardless of their position (this is especially true of magical attacks). In game, you'd see a helpful targeting indicator show you the range of your attack, along with who'll ultimately be affected.

    [​IMG]

    Our attack shown in the image above has a range of 2. Since our Warrior is in the front row, he can reach all the way to the enemies' back row. That enemy ogre is in for some poking the likes of which he's never seen! Had the Warrior been sitting in his back row, he wouldn't have been able to reach the ogre. The Hunter, positioned behind the Warrior, has long ranged bow attacks that can strike up to three grid squares away and is more than capable of sniping the ogre from relative safety.

    Like we've said in previous updates, we want to allow player to experiment with multiple party compositions, including ones that might not conform to the tank + DPS format. One way this grid system supports that goal is evasion based defense and enemy disruption. Evasion based defense is the idea that I can attack with a character and then move that character in such a way that it makes it difficult for my enemy to effectively re-position themselves to mount a concentrated counterattack. Rogues are particularly good at this sort of hit and run tactic. Enemy disruption is similar, in that some classes are capable of throwing their enemies around the battlefield, disrupting their formation and making it difficult for them to effectively strike back in their following turn.

    Now that we know who we're attacking, let's talk about the bloody part: Damage. Damage is a pretty simple calculation. Damage comes from the character's stats, which are sourced from a variety of places including gear, skills, level, etc. Most of the time, damage is a fixed amount instead of a random range. This really allows you to plan out the perfect combo, that will for sure take that ogre down before he crushes your skull in. There are some abilities that do random damage, but that random element is something special about the ability that makes it unique.

    Once damage is dealt, then we apply any additional effects. This is where attacks start to get more interesting. An effect might knock an enemy to the side, exposing that frail caster he was protecting. Another effect might be a poison that damages an enemy over time. Yet another might be a debuff that reduces a target's armor, softening it up for your allies. You get the idea - effects open up a world of possibilities for us to play with.

    To give you a more real-world example of how attacks can synergize in interesting ways, during our playtesting, one of the synergies that the warriors have been using is a bleed and bash combo. Axe-wielding warriors can cause their target to bleed, which causes them to take damage whenever they move around the battlefield. You can imagine them exerting themselves and gushing blood, leaving a red trail behind them as they bleed out. Once that effect has been applied, shield and club wielding warriors get to work. These blunt armaments can often knock an enemy from one grid square to the next, throwing them out of their ideal position and opening up attacks to the more vulnerable glass cannons they've been protecting. The nice thing is, when you forcibly move an enemy, it also triggers the bleeding effect. If done right, you can get a nice ping-pong combo by bashing a bleeding enemy back and forth between warriors, each time causing them to take bonus bleed damage.
    Read the full update, it's good stuff. Between this and BattleTech, it's like a new age of systems-centric Kickstarters these days.
     
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  2. Zeriel Arcane

    Zeriel
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    Goddamnit, I don't even know what to believe anymore. It's an InXile game, so it should be a disaster, but damn, that looks yummy.
     
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  3. covr Cipher Patron

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    UI will suck.
     
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  4. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Make Blobbers Great Again.
     
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  5. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Looks strangely competent for InXile. Different people I guess.
     
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  6. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

    oldmanpaco
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    I regret backing this. Not even sure why since I just did it at the minimum.

    Anyway doing a BT game without a 6 person party is lame.
     
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  7. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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  8. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

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  9. hilfazer Learned

    hilfazer
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    So... if i push the button, something awesome will happen, right?
     
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  10. Bubbles I'm forever blowing

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    Already looks better than MMX, though that means very little.
     
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  11. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    So inXile has embraced a determinism in combat? Good thing, played Telepath Tactics and this approach is worth studding further, it has a great potential. Like the fact that the blobber term is used:)
    Would be fun if those attack patterns could be crafted the same way Morrowind spells can be crafted.
     
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  12. Ogg Prophet Patron

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    Interesting idea. But I'm sure it would be a hell to balance properly. Balance wasn't necessary in a game like Morrowind for it was more of a hitch-hiking simulator (a great one, I admit). But in a blobber, balance is a bitch. Just ask Cleve.
     
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  13. LeStryfe79 Fake Newsman Patron

    LeStryfe79
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    Am I crazy or did I see Crooked Bee brofist Bard's Tale 4? :P
     
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  14. you know what time it is Arcane

    you know what time it is
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    Doesn't look that bad indeed. Hated M&MX, but got an itch for a passable game in the genre (going through wizardry's for the 5th time is a bit too much at this point).
     
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  15. Zed Codex Staff Patron

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    sometimes staff members brofist each other for a job well done. kind of like how you see bus drivers wave to each other when they meet in traffic.
     
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  16. Andhaira Arcane

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    Why this sudden hating on MMX? It was/is a fine, fine game. The only real issue with it was the intensive system issues/GPU heating issues, aside from that the game is sweet. Not much more you can ask for in a turn based blobber to be honest.
     
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  17. LeStryfe79 Fake Newsman Patron

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    I guess that makes sense. Sometimes I get a thumbs up at work when I talk an ex smoker into buying a pack of cigarettes.
     
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  18. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    It's too slow, small and straightforward. Babby's first blobber.
     
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  19. Zed Codex Staff Patron

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    MMX was good and will certainly be better than this game
     
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  20. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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  21. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I appreciate the fact they seem to be putting some effort into this. I'm still in the wait and see mode, but it does look better than I expected.
     
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  22. you know what time it is Arcane

    you know what time it is
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    It's a tablet game, much like shadowrun. (which admittedly, got a little better with expansions)
     
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  23. mutonizer Arcane Patron

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    Need to see it in action somehow, see how it flows battle after battle, but for now, as described, it seems very forced and artificial, much like the combat in something like D:OS (with the gamey fire > acid > rain > shit > more shit mechanic).
    Why the fuck the warrior with dual blades has reach 2? Why the fuck some dude with a longbow needs to be able to hit something "4 squares away"...it's a fucking longbow. Ping pong bleed battles? Perfect combo? Why can't we have simple things that make some damn sense. Why does everything need to be become "the new and amazing funfair ride of the year!".

    Anyway, not hyped but keeping an open mind...somewhat...
     
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  24. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Lack of creativity.
     
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  25. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Wait, what. He's complaining about BT4's innovation - which side are you on again?

    (yeah, yeah, I know, you probably think this isn't REAL innovation because they're not breaking out of the gamist shackles of the blobber formula or something)
     
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