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Combat and essence

01-15-2018, 11:09 PM,
#1
Combat and essence
After having spent countless hours of playing DE2 (and DE1 before that) the combat system is still giving me some headaches. Maybe there is someone who can clear some things up for me...

I understand that the spells are based on various elements, including water, ice, fire, thunder, nature, shadow, holy and probably a few more I am forgetting right now.
From basic trial and write it becomes apparent that for most monster types there are elements whose skills are more effective than others and some that the monster is immune to or even drains life from.
My problem here is that it is difficult to know which type of spell will be effective and which won't. Sometimes it is even hard to tell the element for a particular spell.
Is there something in the game UI that I have been missing so far that could help with that? Or is it all about trial and error and memorizing what works for a particular monster type?

Another thing that leaves me confused: when mastering an essence skill, you get the note that the essence strike has gained power. Per essence there is the declaration of such a strike with a name given for it.
However, I have been unable to find any such attack for use in combat. What am I missing here?

Regarding spells I also do wonder about the many buff type spells, that increase certain attributes for a limited time or cause the character to gain a certain status. These effects are really hard to grasp so it seems difficult to know if it is worthwhile to use them at all.

Finally, in more recent DE2 versions the cooldown after spells has been increased significantly compared to the normal attack. The increase is to a degree that seems to make it hardly worthwhile to use all the many spells the characters accumulate throughout their journey, unless you know you are going to finish the fight with that spell.
Is that intentional or does the balance of normal attack vsb spells change in later stages of the game?

Looking forward to hearing some answers or thoughts on the matters
REPLY
01-16-2018, 12:39 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-16-2018, 12:44 AM by Hakuzen.)
#2
RE: Combat and essence
Hello,

See my answers below:

Quote:I understand that the spells are based on various elements, including water, ice, fire, thunder, nature, shadow, holy and probably a few more I am forgetting right now.

From basic trial and write it becomes apparent that for most monster types there are elements whose skills are more effective than others and some that the monster is immune to or even drains life from.
My problem here is that it is difficult to know which type of spell will be effective and which won't. Sometimes it is even hard to tell the element for a particular spell.
Is there something in the game UI that I have been missing so far that could help with that? Or is it all about trial and error and memorizing what works for a particular monster type?

This is mostly trial and error, although some enemies will often give their weakness away via appearance. (If you see a monster with fire hair, good chance he's strong against fire and weak against water.. etc..)

The idea is for determining a monster's weakness, you need to experiment a bit (usually).

The second part of what you said should be a fair bit more straight-forward. All essence magik *should* list what element of damage it inflicts via the in-game tooltip, and if it doesn't that would be a bug I need to fix. If you find any that don't specify element, please forward them to me so I can fix.


Quote:Another thing that leaves me confused: when mastering an essence skill, you get the note that the essence strike has gained power. Per essence there is the declaration of such a strike with a name given for it.

However, I have been unable to find any such attack for use in combat. What am I missing here?

Originally there was an essence tutorial that went over this in-game, but I eventually removed it due to user feedback. Most of the information provided can be pretty easily gleaned from just playing the game, but essence strikes are one of the few things I think may be a bit too hidden.

To answer your question, when highlighting "Blade Arts" (AKA: Basic Attack), press the right arrow key and it will open a submenu for essence strike. This can only be used with at least half limit bar full, and does consume your partial guage. Essence Strikes vary widely, and each essence has a unique version.

I'll be looking at how to better explain essence strikes without a bloated tutorial.


Quote:Regarding spells I also do wonder about the many buff type spells, that increase certain attributes for a limited time or cause the character to gain a certain status. These effects are really hard to grasp so it seems difficult to know if it is worthwhile to use them at all.

I agree completely and have been struggling with this for awhile. The tooltips are simply not large enough to cover everything when it comes to gear with status effects/buffs. 

Right now, my idea is to release a small compendium that would come with v1.0 that details every status effect in the game, and exactly what they do.

I'm also considered adding a new in-game system specifically to hold this type of information, although this route would take much more time/work and could have some unforeseen issues.

I'm not sure where I'll land on this one, but rest assured it weighs heavily on my mind and I will come up with something one way or another.

Quote:Finally, in more recent DE2 versions the cooldown after spells has been increased significantly compared to the normal attack. The increase is to a degree that seems to make it hardly worthwhile to use all the many spells the characters accumulate throughout their journey, unless you know you are going to finish the fight with that spell.

Is that intentional or does the balance of normal attack vsb spells change in later stages of the game?

In v0.8 (Chapter IV) I upgraded the battle engine significantly and one of the things that changed is how spell casting works. Originally, all spells were instant cast for both the player and for enemies. There are a few reasons I changed this:

First, weapon techniques and basic attacks sorta became "meh" in this system. There was no real reason to do anything but spam powerful instant-cast spells. Changing this, but leaving basic attacks, weapon techniques, items and limit breaks as instantcast, forces the player to make a more strategic decision on what to do given how close the enemy is to being dead, how close the enemy is to having a turn, etc.

Second, there was a rare bug that would sometimes crash the game when enemy and player both cast a spell at the exact same time that was essentially un-fixable without adding cast times.

Third, combat flow. Cast times simply provide more rich and complex combat, and is an extra layer I can utilize for designing complex boss fights. For Example, in the old system you knew FOR SURE that an enemy would attack when his ACB gauge reached the top. Now, in the current system, you don't know if the enemy will instant-cast a basic attack, or if he will charge a spell and give you a little extra time to heal up/counter before his attack goes off.

So that about covers it, but the important part to remember is that cast times affect both sides of combat, and that all spells have their own unique cast time and it's not just a static penalty. 

That being said, essence magik does get extremely powerful toward the end of the game and in most circumstances essence magik will be the best damage output option at any point in the game, given the enemy is weak toward that element.

Hopefully that covers everything you asked, if you want me to elaborate on anything further feel free to respond.
REPLY
01-16-2018, 03:24 AM,
#3
RE: Combat and essence
Thread hijack, with a whole lotta questions. And a comment. It's probably better than a thread necro though!
Having played up to (probably) mid-ch.3, I find that caster types are kind of lackluster, but perhaps I'm not using them right. Sure, I could have Desala drop a spell on a holy-weak monster for ~4k, but Zenogias can attack 4 times for ~2000 each (with at least 1 crit usually) before Desala can get her next turn in. Sakura can easily match that as well. Because of that, I find that I just have Desala attack unless I need heals.

The game manual says that if I press X during battle, I can toggle between selected characters. Yet when I press X, I get an option between attack and escape (with escape being perpetually greyed out). Am I missing something?


I can't say I know how many of the status effects function...
I know a few, such as powerless, mindless, blood drinker and rage, but I have no idea what ninja trance or mystic blessing does, for example.

Also, what does dexterity affect?
And is attack power or strength better for melee attacks?

As for valorous encounters, are they meant to be challenged right away, or after you've progressed in the story some? I ask because the first one felt impossible until I progressed the story quite a bit.

If I max out the sanity meter, is there really no going back, even if I make choices that shift it towards the other side?
REPLY
01-16-2018, 06:21 AM,
#4
RE: Combat and essence
Quote:Thread hijack, with a whole lotta questions. And a comment. It's probably better than a thread necro though!

Having played up to (probably) mid-ch.3, I find that caster types are kind of lackluster, but perhaps I'm not using them right. Sure, I could have Desala drop a spell on a holy-weak monster for ~4k, but Zenogias can attack 4 times for ~2000 each (with at least 1 crit usually) before Desala can get her next turn in. Sakura can easily match that as well. Because of that, I find that I just have Desala attack unless I need heals.

There was a change that didn't make it into v0.9 that slowed basic attacks down, as they were outmatching limit breaks in certain scenarios. This was fixed in v0.9.1, but keep in mind that an old magik will usually be outperformed by a new weapon, and same goes the opposite. If you get a new higher level essence magik, it will outperform an older weapon. 


Quote:The game manual says that if I press X during battle, I can toggle between selected characters. Yet when I press X, I get an option between attack and escape (with escape being perpetually greyed out). Am I missing something?

This is an error. It should list "A" for switching characters during battle. I'll make sure this gets fixed for v1.0.


Quote:I can't say I know how many of the status effects function...

I know a few, such as powerless, mindless, blood drinker and rage, but I have no idea what ninja trance or mystic blessing does, for example.

I addressed this one in my first respond to summon.


Quote:Also, what does dexterity affect?

And is attack power or strength better for melee attacks?

Dexterity increases weapon tech damage on light melees (Sakura and Melodia, for example). It also increses hit rate for all characters. (AKA: prevents enemy evasion)


Quote:As for valorous encounters, are they meant to be challenged right away, or after you've progressed in the story some? I ask because the first one felt impossible until I progressed the story quite a bit.

They are tuned to be punishingly difficult, but possible, right away. Beta tests have around 33% clear rate, which is a little high but in range of what I was expecting.


Quote:If I max out the sanity meter, is there really no going back, even if I make choices that shift it towards the other side?

You can go back, but it's difficult. You can no longer save the game at max sanity of either direction, so for you to be able to save again you will have to encounter a sanity event and push yourself the other direction.
REPLY
01-26-2018, 07:03 PM,
#5
RE: Combat and essence
Another somewhat relevant question...

I've noticed that some party members (like those that join during chapter 5) take a lot more exp to level than others. Not only that, but they start with no essences learned. Will there be enough time for the "late joiners" to be fully fleshed out essence and level wise by the end of the game?
REPLY
01-26-2018, 09:32 PM,
#6
RE: Combat and essence
Well the new characters gain xp at the same rate as the original two parties, so if they started lower than your party it likely means you just grinded really hard and have a buffed up party.

As for the essences, Chapter VI will have a higher EP gain rate than any of the other chapters and will allow you to get any of the new characters a comfortable essence magik supply. This includes the final main character and two secret characters that will be found in Chapter VI itself.
REPLY
01-27-2018, 02:02 AM,
#7
RE: Combat and essence
Interesting. For me, Ehrix trails Zenogias by 20k exp, yet is over 10 levels behind.
REPLY
01-27-2018, 07:33 AM,
#8
RE: Combat and essence
That sounds about right. there is a curve to the xp rate, just not a very sharp one.
REPLY
02-01-2018, 07:12 AM,
#9
RE: Combat and essence
Oh, I think the best way to detail status effects is to add a "log" of sorts to the menu that details what they do as you come into contact with them, as well as what can dispel the detrimental effects.
...I say best, yet it's probably a nightmare code-wise, and there are so many that it might be a little hard to keep track of them all...
Though one thing I'd like to see is detrimental status effects taking priority in being listed over detrimental ones. It is kind of strange to see someone with the "Carrier Immunity" buff, yet has had their max hp reduced by 99%...

As for essence strikes, perhaps put the option under "limit break" instead?
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