I already mentioned item usage – press and hold a mouse button to use an item, be it a sword or a shield. So that’s how weapons are used. But the other most important part of playing is ability usage. I’ll outline the different types.
Every character has a pool of Ability Points, which are used to cast abilities. Ability Points (AP) are derived from the characters stat pool, and the statistics that contribute are dependent on class.
Each class likewise has its own bespoke resource or trait. This makes playing each class something unique and can change the way abilities are cast. I will be doing future blog posts specific to classes so I won’t go into great detail here, but later will use the Knight, perhaps the most simple class, to demonstrate.
With these resources in mind, there are 5 universal “types” of ability, and some examples of them:
1. Instant Cast
This is the most immediately obvious sort of ability. You press a button, and the action happens. Some AP and resource is spent, and then the ability goes onto cooldown.
An example is the Knight’s Hew ability:
The Knight Hews the target. One target in melee range is hit for max weapon damage and a debuff is applied for 3 seconds, which reduces the targets Speed by one and deals 5 points of bleed damage per second.2 Action Points
2. Standard Cast
This is the most common type of ability in the game. It has a cast time, a cost, and a cooldown. When the bound button is pressed and held down, the timer begins, and when it complete, the ability is cast. If the button is released prior to the timer ending, then the ability is cancelled. Sometimes cancelling prematurely can have consequences, but most of the time it just results in the ability not costing AP and not going on cooldown.
3. Timed Cast
This sort of ability is a little more novel. The player is given the opportunity to “fine tune” a cast to get better results from the ability based on their reaction time. As with a standard cast (2), Timed Cast abilities are initiated with a press and hold of the ability key – however, they are cast upon release of the key rather than after a set period, and the potency of the ability is greater depending on how close to the “sweet spot” a player releases the key.
Here is a basic example with the Wizard’s Translocate ability:
Drawing on latent energies, you carefully transport yourself through the unknown winds of magic to a new location.
Translocate will become more precise the more well timed it is. If timed poorly, the caster will take damage as the strange and wicked magical energies contort their bodies en route to their new location.2 Action Points
Here are some gif examples.
Once again, the art is very unfinished – please ignore the UI and the character animation for demonstration purposes:
As can be seen, the accuracy of the spell increases the closer the player is to releasing at the correct moment. Failure to properly cast the spell may result in unintended consequences!
There are various timed-cast abilities in the game with different boundaries of success and consequences of failure, which will be revealed in time.
Channeled abilites are cast repeatedly for as long as the player holds down the associated key. They will drain AP at a set rate and eventually cancel when the player either releases the key, or runs out of AP.
An example is the Knight’s Parry:
The Knight parries incoming assault, avoiding damage. Whilst Parry is being channeled, the Knight will be immune to any oncoming damage, which will be intercepted and cancelled.3 Action points per second of channel
Some abilities work on a toggle. They are used, and cause something to happen until otherwise turned off. Some of these will be a constant AP drain, and others simply cost AP to turn on or off.
An example is the Knight’s Defensive Stance:
The Knight may switch stances in and out of a more defensive position – when this stance is enabled, the Knight’s Speed attribute is halved, but his Avoidance is doubled.1 Action Point
At the start I mentioned each class has a unique resource. This gives the player something to track other than Action Points, and adds a little flavour and nuance to the various abilities in the game.
These resources are not necessarily alike. Some are generated and spent like AP, others are passive, others react to certain scenarios.
The example I will use for now is the Knight, who has the Combo Points resource.
Whenever a knight makes a melee attack, a Combo Point is added. Combo Points stack up to 4 times. If an ability is used when the Knight is at maximum Combo Points, then the cooldown of that ability will be halved, and the Combo Points reset.
If a Knight has 4 Combo Points, and does not use an ability, then the proceeding attack will reset the count to 1.
Master Knights, that is, those who have not multiclassed, will gain the “Combat Mastery” trait, which instead reduces the number of required points to 2.
When multiclassing, there are obviously a range of abilities and resources to manage beyond just combo points.