Friday, 1 February 2013

Combat Mechanics ... Uhhh Simplified?

In last month's main post, an attempt to explain the trickle down effect of base stat benefits was covered.  However, clearly loot on White Sands, in Tortage Underhalls, and all other Hyborian locations provide explicit bonuses beyond boosting strength or wisdom etc..

A Barb alone in Khitai: unconscious of all the complexity
 that underlies his shenanigans

Most AoC items offer benefits, and sometimes penalties, to stats such as hit rating, protection, fatality chance and so on.  This post will present a table that compares these stats, as they pertain to the two main types of combat attacks, defenses, and damages: melee and magic.

Combat: What's going on under the hood?

Simply put, the systems run in near tandem, with a few exceptions.  Combat can be divided in to approximately five phases:

  1. Hit rating stats  & Countering the hit
  2. Crowd Control (optional) & Countering CC
  3. Damage stats, Mitigation & Penetration (optional)
  4. Critical & Critigation (optional)
  5. Fatalities (optional)

In each phase a stat is checked (i.e. the game rolls/generates a random number, within an appropriate range, on your behalf; adds your benefits or penalties and so on in order to determine whether you are successful or not).

The initial phase determines whether your attack is successful.  It tries to answer questions such as:  Can this character, at this level, actually do harm to an enemy?  If the enemy is of much higher level; statistically, you shouldn't be able to damage it easily, and if it's of much lower level, you should statistically.  In addition to level, the game asks, what other effects might give an advantage?  The countering aspect of this phase simply asks: what statistically does the enemy have in place to help Evade the melee attack or to render Immunity to the magic?

The Crowd Control (CC) phase is the first possible point for actual damage to be calculated, if your hit was successful.  You may have opted for an attack that would stun, knock back etc. the opponent. Some CC's do small amounts of damage.  And not unexpectedly, some opponents may have items and buff effects that help them against a CC statistically.  These are called Resistances.  The phase is 'optional' in that, if there's no CC in the attack, these Resistance stats are generally irrelevant.

In the next phase, the main damage is calculated.  For melee, it's generated from the DPS stat (the blog covered that one in the 'Hyborian Pick-up Lines' post last month).  For magic, damage is calculated via the Base Spell Damage and Bonus Spell Damage.  As with the previous phases, the opponent might have mitigating circumstances, which stem from items, base stats and or buffs.  Melee damage is mitigated by Armor Rating, whereas spell damage plays out against the various Protection stats.  This is one area where the two are not quite the same, as protections are specific to the magic type (e.g. unholy), but armor mitigates all physical damage. 

Some buffs and items may give you spell or armor penetration.  Essentially these rarer effects lower stats on your enemies' Armor and Protection, giving your character a small but meaningful advantage.   Penetration is, indeed, optional. (And yes, I'm really trying not to give into the urge drop a more cynical the double entendre here.)

The next phases are also sort of optional (that is, they are checked, but may not go into effect in some or most circumstances).

After the main DPS is calculated, a chance exists for further Critical damage.  If the check is successful, you will indeed deliver considerable additional damage (The exact amount is harder to pin down: it's supposedly a 50% additional DPS minimum with that 50% further modified by percentage stemming from Critical Bonus Damage).

Countering critical damage is also quasi-optional, as it depends on your Critigation Rating (some items and buffs, particularly ones associated with Khitai content) will allow you quite effectively to reduce the critical damage. 

Finally a Fatality Chance is checked, if your damage is high enough to kill the opponent.  You might trigger an animation that depicts your opponent dying a more gruesome death.  The chances are small and are independent from the critical chance.  Largely, its a nice touch that adds variety to a combat bout.  A Fatality, may also give you a bonus to the XP recieved from the win and allow you to receive heals and regenerate stamina etc, while somewhat invulnerable for the duration of the animation.

This is indeed a lot to digest and internalize.  Figure 1 presents a more detailed comparison of the steps in combat.

Figure 1. Melee and Magic Combat Stats in approximate order of application.
 (NOTE: Available in sharp format - click here).

Consider this a first run at, ahem ... simplifying an explanation as to how combat works and how the various stats affect the bout.  There's much more to be said with regards to pets, traps, and healing.   Most of this information has been gleaned from the tool tips and various explanations from players and developers in forums.  I cannot vouch that it's exact and other players have made more detailed and revealing investigations and have more exact understandings than are presented here. Nonetheless, for new and casual players, it's a start that can help make some broad sense of the combat stats: at least, faster than combing the forums would.

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