Atlantica Online - On the Combat System
The developers of Atlantica Online have provided us with this exclusive developer journal discussing the unique combat system in their upcoming MMORPG. Atlantica breaks with MMORPG tradition to bring players a turn-based combat system that the developers hope will set their game apart from other MMOs.
Unravelling the ancient legend of Atlantis is at the heart of Atlantica Online, a new massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by NDOORS. Atlantica, which will launch its closed beta this July, followed by its commercial launch, takes players on a globe-hopping adventure to save the human race, while providing them a rich, strategic RPG environment combined with classic turn-based gameplay.
Life on Earth is threatened when remnants of the fabled lost civilization begins to poison the world’s population. Humanity needs a hero to find and destroy these artifacts. Players must traverse the globe to uncover the clues that will ultimately lead them to Atlantis. During their journey, which will take them to landmarks such as the Taj Mahal in India and Germany’s Marksburg Castle, players will encounter all manner of monsters taken from the myths and legends of cultures throughout human history. Dragons in China and vampires in Romania are just a few of the enemies players must defeat to reach Atlantis.
Players do not need to proceed in their journey and go into battle alone. A player can, of course, partner with other players online. But one distinct Atlantica feature is its mercenary system: a player can assemble and control a clan of mercenaries with different skills and magic to accompany his or her main character into combat. This allows players to form a team with members who can complement each other. The number of mercenaries a player can have depends on his or her resources, but players can take a maximum of eight mercenaries into a battle, giving them a force of nine, including a player’s main character. And when joined with two other players, a total of 27 combatants can take on an enemy.
Having the right combination of mercenaries can determine a player’s success in battle. Players must strategize to decide which mercenaries to take into each fight.
The need to think strategically is at play with another of Atlantica’s key features: its turn-based combat system. With turn-based action a rarity in MMORPGs, Atlantica offers players a distinct gaming experience — especially when you combine turn-based gameplay with a multitude of mercenaries to make moves with.
TURN-BASED COMBAT SYSTEM
During a player’s journey, he might find himself at a pyramid in Egypt. To continue the journey to Atlantis, he must strategize how to defeat the mummies that dwell within.
The player enters the pyramid with his main character and eight mercenaries, positioning the nine into a three-by-three array. If there are less than nine, players can place his characters in any of the spaces of that three-by-three grid. Ideally, his Swordsman, Spearman and Axeman, will be placed in the front row because they can better withstand the mummies’ melee attacks with their greater Defense ability, more so than the Shaman with the healing powers, or the mercenaries armed with a Bow, Gun, and Cannon. Those weapons’ Attack strength, on the other hand, have a longer reach, so being in the second and third rows won’t inhibit those weapons’ effectiveness.
When it comes time to engage in battle, the player and his enemy faces off by taking turns making moves. The player has 30 seconds to assign a move to whichever characters is selected. In a single turn, players could have all nine characters make a move. For one turn, one mercenary may attack, but another may guard himself from the enemy’s next move, or another two mercenaries may switch positions in anticipation of a future turn, while another could use an item like a magic scroll. And while the player might be tempted to have his Axeman hack away, the best strategy might be to have him stand by in order to let his Action Power build up so he can unleash his magic Freezing Axe on the next turn. The same could go for the Shaman, to keep his magic healing powers at the ready in case the main character’s Health nears zero.
Each of the player’s characters begins a battle with its own Action Power gauge, with approximately 100 for each character. Each move a character makes consumes Action Power. There are seven primary moves at a player’s disposal: 1) Attack, consumes 100 Action Power ; 2) Search, consumes 50 Action Power; 3) Move, consumes 50 Action Power; 4) Guard, consumes 50 Action Power; 5) Magic, consumes minimum of 50 Action Power, depending on the Magic skill; 6) Use Item, consumes minimum of 50 Action Power, depending on the item; 7) Stand By, consumes 0 Action Power. There are two other choices the player can make for his turn, but this will be done rarely: 1) Turn Over, giving your turn to your enemy; and 2) Retreat, which will cause a decrease in your experience and cost you a gold penalty.
When it’s the enemy’s turn, the player must watch as the mummies’ wield their Attack and Magic skills on his characters’ Health score. But during this time, his characters’ Action Power will regenerate (the rate at which the Action Power regenerates varies depending upon on the character’s traits).
When a player is joined by other players in combat, there could be a fighting force of 27 taking on a single enemy. If there are three players, each with a crew of nine, each player’s three-by-three array of characters are lined up against the enemy, and all three take their 30-second turn together. So that could be 27 moves targeted at the enemy in one fell swoop. Then they all wait the 30 seconds for the enemy’s turn. If they are well coordinated, each player could be responsible for taking on one row of the enemy’s array. But it could be a free-for-all if there is no coordination, with each player going for the same dead opponent to collect an item, rather than agreeing to split the booty beforehand.
Most of the combat in Atlantica takes place against enemies players encounter as they advance in their quest to discover Atlantis. In the dungeon of Angkor Wat, for example, they must face evil Buddhist priests or Dracula in Bran Castle in Romania.
But for those times players just want to take out their aggression on other players, they can approach another player in most areas and challenge them right there to a fight. It’s an opportunity for players to try out mercenaries, and work on their combat techniques. for more organized PvP, there will be tournaments for players to duke out against each other. And what better place for that than Rome’s Colosseum?
To progress in Atlantica, players must be strategic. Effectively planning which mercenaries to send into a battle and choosing which combat tactic to deploy will lead you to the lost land of Atlantis. You think, therefore you win.
To some that might be too limiting, but Atlantica’s gameplay is not a test of how fast someone can click a button on a mouse; it’s all about how to outmaneuver an opponent. Players must decide which tactic at any point in a battle will ultimately lead to victory.