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Aether Story's Unique Combat System

Categories: Aether Story Battle System Game Dev
Written by thephantom on Dec 27 2020

For the past year I have been working hard to bring combat to Aether Story! The planning and design that went into battle has been in the works for years. And with all this work its finally here. Combat is finally playable for you to prototype.  In this blog post we will go over the details about combat.

Combat Basics

Let's first go over the basics of combat. This section may mention some things that are obvious or a given, but not everyone who plays Aether Story is familar with both the JRPG and the MMORPG genres.  After all, Aether Story is unique in its way it mixes these two genres together, creatively.

  • Entering Combat: Encounters
    • Encounters are the enemies you see running around the map.
    • They will chase you on sight, the vision radius is omi-directional, meaning it has nothing to do with what direction they face.
    • You can sneak around them by judging their vision radius and using rocks and bushes as cover.
    • Enemies will not see you through cliff or hill edges.
    • Once an enemy spots you it will chase you until it either collides with you, or until you go past its tether radius.
    • An enemy will only be able to follow you so far which is their tether radius.
    • Once you get far enough away from an enemy it will forget about you.
    • Colliding with an enemy starts combat with it and any other enemies that you (and your party) have aggro'd near by the site of collision.
    • You may create battles with multiple enemies by gathering up multiple encounters.
  • Battle: Your Moves
    • You are able to use your weapon to attack the enemy directly across from you, using Energy.
    • Energy replenishes at a steady rate in and out of battle.
    • You may also use energy to move in battle.
    • Moving in battle is important because it is used to target your enemies. In the future it will also be used to avoid and dodge special moves.
    • Once you run out of Energy you will not be able to use your weapon or move in battle until you regain more Energy.
    • In the future you will be able to focus some talents, stats and buffs to increase your energy regeneration rate and/or reduce the cost of spending energy.
    • There are no other moves available in battle int his first prototype pass of battle.
  • Battle: The Enemies
    • Battle can hold up to 20 enemies in a single fight.
    • Enemies will line up in each cell, then will start stacking backward after the first 5 enemies.
    • Enemies do not move in battle, only if they are a special encounter.
    • So, enemies do not use the same targeting system as players. Enemies can target any player in any cell, not just those directly across from them.
    • Standard enemies will always target the nearest player to them. Positioning could prevent you from taking damage when playing in a party.
  • Victory or Defeat
    • A battle is over when one side dies.
    • If all the enemies are defeated then its Victory! Victory means you and your allies will get experience points towards your level, and possibly gold and other item drops.
    • The items dropped from battle are private to just you. You do not share it with your party.
    • Its important to note for the future: quest progress is only rewarded to the players when they are victorious. You do not get credit for killing one enemy in battle if you do not clear all the enemies. Its all or nothing.
    • If all players are defeated then its Defeat! Defeat means that you must follow the death condition ruleset.
  • The Death Condition
    • When a player dies they remain in battle until either the Victory or Defeat states are reached.
    • All dead players after battle will appear on the map as a gravestone.
    • A gravestone prevents the player from moving, opening the menu, and joining battle.
    • The only action permitted while dead is to use the chat feature.
    • The only way to come back to life is for the player who is dead, is to try to move or hit the space bar. Which brings up the interaction with Death.
    • Death will present the dead player with two options:
      • Pay the price (10 gold x level)
      • Say you don't have the gold
    • Paying the price is always available as long as you have the balance of gold.  If you don't then you have no choice but to say you don't have the gold.
    • If you do have the gold and say you don't, basically if you are actually lieing: then Death will be angry with you and penalize you more severely.
    • If you don't have the gold, and say you don't, then Death will let you off the hook with a partial payment or no payment at all.
    • Once you pay Death's fine, then you will spawn back at the nearest discovered telepad.  So be sure to always discover telepads before you decide to die!
    • In the future we will grant other players the ability to bring you back to life at your gravestone, allowing for other players to save unforunate, fallen comrads.

Grouping Up and Parties

Grouping up and joining other players in combat in a party is a great idea! This is an MMORPG after all. 

You can form a party of up to 3 players, including yourself. Of course, finding people to play with is another story, but feel free to invite your friends! The more the merrier!

Currently all Party management is done through Chat Commands. Let's go over the useful ones:

  • /invite name - Invites the player with the given name to a party where you are the leader.
    • Example:  /invite Joe
  • /kick name - Kicks the player with the given name from your party, only works if you are the leader.
    • Example: /kick Joe
  • /leave - Leave the party, useful even if you aren't the leader.
    • Example: /leave
  • /promote name - Promotes the player with the given name to the new leader, only works if you are the leader.
    • Example: /promote Joe

The benefits of being in a party are great. You are able to take on large battles of many enemies effortlessly, as three players are able to burst down 6 enemies without breaking a sweat.

In order to create battles with so many enemies, you will also need to take advantage of another party feature, which is group aggroing. If each player in a party splits up, but stays close together, you are each able to round up enemies and then bring them together to create mega battles! Its tricky to master, but once you do, you will be able to create mega battles easily.  The trick is to avoid colliding any any enemies until everyone is round up in a centeral location.

Since positioning in battle helps decide which player is targeted, you can also take turns tanking, if one player is low on health, have them stand behind someone with more health.

 

Tips and Tricks

  • General tips:
    • Do be mindful of your surroundings.
    • Don't open your menu for too long in an area with enemies. Its not a pause screen.
    • Don't leave the Victory screen open for too long. Its also not a pause screen.
    • Do realize you have a full energy bar (usually) at the start of battle, so burst your enemies down as fast as you can.
    • Don't give up even if you only have one health. There is RNG involved and you may just make it out alive!
    • Do eat food between fights to quickly heal between battles.
    • Don't use your Healing Potions yet! They will be useful in combat in a future update.
    • Do head back to the Inn and rest if you are running low on supplies.
    • Do keep your inventory light, being over encumbered makes running from enemies much harder.  There is a bank outside the Inn if you didn't know!
  • When playing by yourself:
    • Do pull only one or two enemies at a time.
    • Do stock up on plenty of bread. I recommend learning level 1 cooking, as baking bread is cheaper than buying it already made.
    • Do consider leveling up to at least level 4 before trying to take on elf goblins on the Isles of Mischief.  Head back to the main land and do some quests.
  • When playing in a party:
    • Do stick together. Splitting up will cause you to enter seperate battles.
    • Do take advantage of positioning to protect players with the lowest health.
    • Don't take too long on the victory screen, your ally may not be patient and wait for you.
    • Do retreat back to the docks if an ally dies, so you can easily regroup.
    • Do use the "/trade name" command to trade food with your allies if they run out.

 

Learn more about the Winter Fest Event

The Winter Fest event was released along side the combat prototype, you may learn more about it here in its own blog post:  Holiday Event: Winter Fest 2020.

 

 

What are you waiting for? Check out combat for yourself today!

You may download the early Alpha access easily through itch.io:

We are really enthusiastic to have you play our game! Being a small indie game
dev company, we depend on your support to keep us going.
Please consider making a small donation to help us fund the continuous
development of Aether Story! It will really help us out.

If you already have Alpha Access, head on over to the Game Downloads page and download the new Launcher Setup Installer!

 

Please join us on the live Twitch dev stream (almost nightly) to share your feedback, and experience the game with several other players. During dev streams are when most people play.  Be sure to follow us to be notified of the next stream:

See you there and thanks for reading!

 

 

Like 21

Comments

Dec 28 2020 at 12:20 AM

Weemee says

poRead it, very deep and explanatory! I think it covers most aspects of battle and what it brings! :3

Dec 27 2020 at 07:46 PM

ElectricAxel says

The long awaited combat * _ * So happy it's finally here!

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