Previously, our combat system only involved resolving an attacking unit’s damage versus a defending unit’s passive defense stat. This led to flat combat encounters without a lot of variance. We’ve made a couple of minor changes that helped to make combat more dynamic and interesting.
First, defense is no longer a passive stat value that subtracts damage from an attack. Instead, damage and effect mitigation is handled by passively activated defense Skills. What makes defense via Skills more interesting is the fact that we can easily add lots of variance to the way that defense is used versus incoming attacks. We can alter the rules of the defense evaluation based on things like the type of incoming attack, the defender or attacker’s current status, or the current state of the dungeon map. We can even add supplementary effects like repositioning or status changes to the execution of defense Skills.
The second thing that was added is the ability for units to be assigned a counterattack Skill. When a unit that has a counterattack Skill survives an offensive action from an enemy unit, they will retaliate. Adding this simple reactive step to combat instantly made combat engagements more interesting since there is now action being taken by both the attacker and defender. It also adds an element of risk to offense that gives the player more to consider when making an attack.
The basic flow of combat now is Attack -> Defense -> Counterattack.
Another added feature is the ability to boost the effectiveness of Defense Skills using the new Defend action. Taking the Defend action will immediately end the acting unit’s turn, but will boost the effectiveness of its Defense Skills until the next turn. The defense boost received is relative to the number of Action Points the unit had when it defended.
When an Offense Skill is used against a target that has one or more passive Defense Skills, one of the target’s available Defense Skills will be randomly selected and used to determine whether or not the damage and / or effects from the incoming attack will be mitigated. Some Defense Skill types are naturally more or less effective against specific Offense Skill types. The option to forego movement or offense in favor of improved defense is another simple choice that adds a bit more depth to the tactical options available to the player during their turn.