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I thought it would really be helpful to have a thread in this forum gathering people's observations on turn-based combat -- not on whether they like it or not, but on the strategies, tactics, and character builds that operate differently in the turn-based mode.

 

 

 

I'll start with some preliminary observations and speculations.

 

- Am I right to think that, on the whole, attack speed is less valuable? As far as I can tell, everyone goes once every turn. (I'm not certain of that, though; if anyone has observed something else, please speak up!) The attack speed/recovery etc. associated with the ability you use in a turn only moves you up or down the order for the next turn. So you won't lap the other characters in terms of the number of your attacks if you have good attack speed as you would in the base game, which makes attack speed quite a bit less valuable. I can see dumping Dex on certain builds, especially for Per.

 

That would seem to make all the abilities that slow you down actually correspondingly more valuable -- like the medium shield Block modal, the rod's Blast modal, the sabre's penetration-boosting modal, and so on. Similarly, the pistol's increased attack speed modal is less valuable, as is the two-weapon fighting passive.

 

- You might actually want really low action speed on a caster, because it might make you much harder to interrupt. Spells that have a "cast" action speed always resolve by the end of the round; the number associated with the "cast" action speed seems to be the number of initiative points you have to move through in the round before the cast resolves. (So if you had 6 initiative that round, and you cast a spell with a 3 number in the casting time, everybody that had lower than 9 initiative will go and then your spell will resolve at initiative 9. It is like the spell is a character itself that has the caster's initiative + the casting speed.) But if you are the last person going in the round anyway, your cast will immediately resolve. (Again, not tested, but I think this should be how it works. Interested if people test.) This isn't quite right. Sometimes it resolves at the beginning of the next round, I've noticed, though usually I get to go in that next round. That affects things like summoning spells, though, since it affects when the summons get to start going. Not sure how the game determined whether a spell goes in the round it is cast or in the next round.

 

- That is not to say dual-wielding is less good. Now you attack with both weapons automatically with your action point for the round. It does mean that the calculus about dual-wielding fast weapons (like daggers) vs. dual-wielding heavier-hitting weapons (like sabers) shifts toward the higher-damage weapons.

 

- One thing initiative matters for is establishing engagement. Engagement turns out to feel somewhat different than it does in the base game. That's because you actually have to do something on your turn to establish engagement. It doesn't automatically establish when an enemy runs by you. So you can't just plant your tank in a bottleneck and count on him to "catch" any enemy running by. You have to get next to the enemy and do something to establish engagement. I'm not sure what that "something" always has to be. Attacking does the trick. I also established engagement when I cast a standard-action Watcher ability and then just clicked on the enemy I was standing next to (when the red symbol that signified I couldn't do any action was showing). I haven't tried starting to cast a spell and then clicking on a nearby enemy while I'm still not done casting, to see if that establishes engagement.

 

I haven't thought through what this fact means for tactics. I think maybe it means that the first round for tanks is pretty crucial -- tanks might really benefit from having mobility and pull skills to establish engagement with as many enemies as possible in the first round, and they might want to go early in the round. I'm not sure how important that will be. Pull of Eora might be importantly useful for keeping enemies off the backline, and in fact ought to be even more valuable simply because positioning ends up being more important for turn-based.

 

- Some actions you might not expect are "free" actions, where you can still do another action in the round. The Rogue's Escape ability (and all its upgrades), unlike the Fighter's Charge, is a free action, so you can warp and then attack. So too is the Fighter's Into the Fray, which makes it very interesting. You can pull an enemy with Into the Fray and then do another attack on that enemy. Makes the upgrade that lowers deflection more interesting. Or you can Charge one enemy in the first round and pull another (the most threatening) with Into the Fray.

 

- Duration and linger for chants is really interesting. Chants last 1 round and linger for 1 round. So everyone has by default the previously Troubadour-only ability to have 2 chants up all the time. Also, the Troubadour linger bonus would need to combine with Intelligence to get to +100% for it to have any effect at all, since the breakpoint would need take the chant from a 1 round linger to a 2 round linger. I'm not sure it is possible to achieve that -- my guy with Berath's Blessings and maxed Int and an Int-boosting pet isn't close -- which means that the Troubadour linger bonus would be useless. (Which is ok; that class is plenty strong enough as it is.) On the other hand, if you could somehow stack enough intelligence to get a +100% linger bonus, you could have 3 chants up simultaneously all the time.

 

On the other hand, the Brisk Recitation modal strengthens some chants. Chants like the Weakening chant, Soft Winds, Ancient Memory that make an attack or do damage or heal seem to apply twice in the same round with Brisk Recitation, which doubles their value. (I tested Soft Winds and am inferring about the others.) That's not true in the base game. (Don't assume that means Ancient Memory is actually twice as valuable in turn-based. Since the "amount healed" changed, the math to figure that out would have be a lot more complicated, and take into account the "amount healed" proportionally for all the other healing abilities in the game.)

Edited by TheMetaphysician
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How the builds work will be really important when deciding if I'll try turn-based.

 

 

- You might actually want really low action speed on a caster, because it might make you much harder to interrupt. Spells that have a "cast" action speed always resolve by the end of the round; the number associated with the "cast" action speed seems to be the number of initiative points you have to move through in the round before the cast resolves. (So if you had 6 initiative that round, and you cast a spell with a 3 number in the casting time, everybody that had lower than 9 initiative will go and then your spell will resolve at initiative 9. It is like the spell is a character itself that has the caster's initiative + the casting speed.) But if you are the last person going in the round anyway, your cast will immediately resolve. (Again, not tested, but I think this should be how it works. Interested if people test.)

 

I imagined that this would send the spell to the next round, after some characters act. My next pt will be with a Sorcerer, so this could mean that dumping dexterity is a good idea.

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How the builds work will be really important when deciding if I'll try turn-based.

 

 

- You might actually want really low action speed on a caster, because it might make you much harder to interrupt. Spells that have a "cast" action speed always resolve by the end of the round; the number associated with the "cast" action speed seems to be the number of initiative points you have to move through in the round before the cast resolves. (So if you had 6 initiative that round, and you cast a spell with a 3 number in the casting time, everybody that had lower than 9 initiative will go and then your spell will resolve at initiative 9. It is like the spell is a character itself that has the caster's initiative + the casting speed.) But if you are the last person going in the round anyway, your cast will immediately resolve. (Again, not tested, but I think this should be how it works. Interested if people test.)

 

I imagined that this would send the spell to the next round, after some characters act. My next pt will be with a Sorcerer, so this could mean that dumping dexterity is a good idea.

 

Yeah, I'm not sure, but I think that the spell always resolves in the same round it is cast. Let me know if you notice otherwise.

 

Edit: now I'm thinking differently. I heard that you can delay your action to later in the round -- but I haven't tried it myself. If that's true, then you can do the anti-interrupting strategy no matter what your initiative is, since you can just delay the start of your casting. Still if you are doing that regularly, dex isn't doing you much good.

 

I wonder if you can move and then delay your action, and then start casting later in the round. I'll try that out when I get a chance.

Edited by TheMetaphysician
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One thing I find myself really feeling unsure about is my Howler (Mage/Troub). It was a lot of auto attacking building phrases and sending out a paralyze to constantly badger the enemy. 

 

But now, since Incantations take up actions, and the paralyze/debuffs usually only last 1 round combined with the fact Troubs seem to be gaining phrases at like 2-3 per turn. I feel like I have almost no time to attack, lol.

 

The combination felt more fluid in real time, as the 9-11 seconds the debuffs landed usually let me do at least 2 attacks in between on average. I could be wrong, or the whole different feeling of seeing it happen turn by turn could be throwing me off.

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- You might actually want really low action speed on a caster, because it might make you much harder to interrupt. Spells that have a "cast" action speed always resolve by the end of the round; the number associated with the "cast" action speed seems to be the number of initiative points you have to move through in the round before the cast resolves. (So if you had 6 initiative that round, and you cast a spell with a 3 number in the casting time, everybody that had lower than 9 initiative will go and then your spell will resolve at initiative 9. It is like the spell is a character itself that has the caster's initiative + the casting speed.) But if you are the last person going in the round anyway, your cast will immediately resolve. (Again, not tested, but I think this should be how it works. Interested if people test.)

 

This actually appears to be exactly how it works, at least going off of personal experience. I've had turns where I had Xoti casting something, and sometimes the cast resolves mid-round, or resolves at the very beginning of the next round instead (also sometimes resulting in her being able to act again immediately afterwards). I am unsure of the tactical applications between the differences, but I imagine you may want to have the cast resolve mid-round in most situations because you may have buffs falling off when the next round begins.

 

I've also had situations where I had spells resolving at the end of a round rather than at the start of the next round, so I really don't know what causes the game to determine which of the two happens.

 

---

 

There is one fundamental tactical difference I've noted between TB and RTwP that I haven't seen mentioned thus far, and it's that enemies don't cluster up immediately during a fight due to the nature of how TB works. This by default has shifted my playing style from immediately setting up a wall in RTwP to singling out and picking off some enemies before they are able to get a turn.

 

This whole thing is proving to be such an interesting experiment from a design standpoint. Two entirely different design philosophies in the same game, resulting in tactics that would be considered strong on one combat style being greatly diminished in the other...

Edited by Saito Hikari
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Although I only just dabbled in turn based today, I have a feeling that people are probably underestimating the value of initiative.

 

I think it's interesting to compare Darkest Dungeon and Divinity: Original Sin here. I played through most of DOS, and there initiative didn't feel like it mattered that much. I think this is because, from what I remember, the same strategy tended to work in every fight, and you could just kind of bulldoze every fight without much thought. On the other hand, initiative in Darkest Dungeon was crucial, because so much was determined by what happened in the first couple rounds of a fight.

 

When done right, initiative is ultimately about the ability to control combat. People are already figuring this out for avoiding interrupts and grabbing engagement, but there's more to it still. In general, for any debuffs which hamper the combat ability of your enemies, you want those hitting before they get a chance to act. Although a high initiative may translate to just one more round, that first round can have a ripple effect through the rest of combat. Done right, and your opponents never build momentum. Conversely, by acting before enemy debuffers, you're avoiding one extra round of debuffing, and just as importantly, you're avoiding it now as opposed to later.

 

I think it's going to be hard to say where Deadfire lies on the DD to DOS axis (that's a lot of Ds), but I'm hoping (and suspecting) that it's closer to the former than the later (and fwiw, I loved DD and more or less hated DOS by the end of it).

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But fast weapons have significantly lower damage. What benefit? Taking pistols and sabres seems like a no-brainer (but I've not had time to experiment), how's this balancing? I'm sure someone will crunch numbers.
Beckoner summons were there and gone, lol. They got one move and one or 2 attacks only. Keeping up the minions would appear to eat up the actions, making beckoner multi less appealing.

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Although I only just dabbled in turn based today, I have a feeling that people are probably underestimating the value of initiative.

 

I think it's interesting to compare Darkest Dungeon and Divinity: Original Sin here. I played through most of DOS, and there initiative didn't feel like it mattered that much. I think this is because, from what I remember, the same strategy tended to work in every fight, and you could just kind of bulldoze every fight without much thought. On the other hand, initiative in Darkest Dungeon was crucial, because so much was determined by what happened in the first couple rounds of a fight.

 

When done right, initiative is ultimately about the ability to control combat. People are already figuring this out for avoiding interrupts and grabbing engagement, but there's more to it still. In general, for any debuffs which hamper the combat ability of your enemies, you want those hitting before they get a chance to act. Although a high initiative may translate to just one more round, that first round can have a ripple effect through the rest of combat. Done right, and your opponents never build momentum. Conversely, by acting before enemy debuffers, you're avoiding one extra round of debuffing, and just as importantly, you're avoiding it now as opposed to later.

 

I think it's going to be hard to say where Deadfire lies on the DD to DOS axis (that's a lot of Ds), but I'm hoping (and suspecting) that it's closer to the former than the later (and fwiw, I loved DD and more or less hated DOS by the end of it).

 

The one thing I'd say to this is on POTD at least going early is nice for sure but it's not like you can always immediately capitalize on it since usually you need to debuff enemies first before you can apply effects and that will take rounds to do whether you go early or no. It's not like Original Sin (part one at least) where if you had high initiative you could immediately CC an important enemy.

 

Here that's inherently hard to do unless you luck into an enemy that has a really weak defense. But on POTD most don't.

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Some observations based on personal experience last night:

 

The system makes a lot of sense if you think of initiative as time units. Each round seems to be considered 6 seconds (Arcane Cleansing went from 999s to 167 rounds). Each point of initiative seems to be one second, roughly (Chill Fog has a cast of 4.5 in turn based and 4.5s cast time in real time afaik).

 

Fractional initiative seems to count for determining acting order, but is otherwise rounded up.

 

A round ends when all actors have taken their action. You can delay your actions as long as you haven't done anything, and it will put your character at the very end of the round (first in, first out). Delaying basically sets your initiative to LAST_ACTOR_INITIATIVE + 1

 

How casting works: the spell will take effect at CASTER_INITIATIVE + CAST_TIME. Rounds are not delayed by casting. Example: Watcher with initiative of 6 casts Chill Fog (Cast time of 4.5) with no action speed bonuses. Spell should go off at initiative value 11 (6 + 4.5 = 10.5, rounded up). If someone would act at an initiative value higher than that, it means the spell will fire the same round. Otherwise it gets pushed to the next round. If the last actor acted at an initiative value of, say, 10, the Watcher's Chill Fog will go off at initiative value 1 in the next round.

 

Base initiative is 6, modified by armor initiative penalty, dex and action speed. Stealth provides -85% initiative. Starting a fight from stealth pretty much assures you to act first in the first round of the fight. Subsequent initiative depends on what actions you take. Using a weapon/spell will put you at whatever initiative that weapon/spell has. Not taking any action puts you at initiative 0. I still haven't figured how to dash (trade action for extra movement).

 

Effect duration: they seem to have taken real time ability duration and divided by 6. For instance, a Monk's Swift Strikes will last 2 rounds once you get about +20% duration from Int and PL (from 10s real time duration to 12). This seems to round down.

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But fast weapons have significantly lower damage. What benefit? Taking pistols and sabres seems like a no-brainer (but I've not had time to experiment), how's this balancing? I'm sure someone will crunch numbers.

Beckoner summons were there and gone, lol. They got one move and one or 2 attacks only. Keeping up the minions would appear to eat up the actions, making beckoner multi less appealing.

 

Yeah, fast weapons are pretty awful now, I can't find any justification for using them. I'm guessing they should either have some multi-attack functionality (which has a very high chance of breaking something down the road, or throwing everything back into 'stack multiple attacks/action speed' meta that RTwP emphasizes), or they should be given higher accuracy/penetration in turn-based mode. But I'm not sure if it's really possible to program different stats for equipment between both modes (even if there are different values for abilities, that's another thing entirely in terms of programming I'd think).

 

Also, I find the comparison to D:OS2 in all those pre-release articles rather poor. This feels far more like a Temple of Elemental Evil-type system, which was actually pretty good too.

Edited by Saito Hikari
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You'll still get a lot of mileage out of certain fast weapons, like hatchets, clubs, and flails. Daggers and stilettos are a tougher sell. Guess it depends on how much you love Pukestabber or Azure Blade, which have some utility on characters with abysmal Perception thanks to the accuracy buffs.

But can we talk about firearms? I feel like the initiative penalty is so tiny compared to, for example, the reliable damage of dual pistols w/o modal. What a wallop. Every round is a good round for gunners.


EDIT: Also, I'm still on my Barbarian bull**** for turn based mode and I noticed that Carnage is hitting the primary target every time, despite them being stationary. So crack open those monk fists or dual whatever because it's good times ahead. Remember, the full attack damage multiplier does not affect Carnage since it only looks at the base damage of the weapon. Haha.

Edited by UltimaLuminaire
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Has anyone tried an Assassin build in TB yet? Stealth Archer was my favorite combo in D:OS1 and I'm hoping TB adds some more flair to the playstyle.

Assassin is the exact class i am playing in my turn based run! I love the character concept but never had the desire to micro to that level in RTWP with so many characters and summons. Now, turn based basically forces you to micro. I’m still on the first island but it’s a blast so far ...

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Has anyone tried an Assassin build in TB yet? Stealth Archer was my favorite combo in D:OS1 and I'm hoping TB adds some more flair to the playstyle.

 

Yep, I'm running a Priest of Wael/Assassin right now. It's quite fun. I stealth in, shoot with two blunderbusses (or back stab with two weapons), and then I use escape to get out of there. If I can't easily get out, I also have arcane veil and eventually other Wael buffs to make sure I don't immediately die after the opening move.

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Tried out a Steel Garrote paladin, the paralyze ability they start with does all the raw damage upfront. Which I thought was absurd. The downside being that it costs 2 zeal, but that doesn't seem so bad in turn based, granted what you get. The ability doesn't say what it's basing its damage off of (full, primary, or just base damage) , so not sure if it'll scale later on.

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I've also had situations where I had spells resolving at the end of a round rather than at the start of the next round, so I really don't know what causes the game to determine which of the two happens.

 

This implies that rounds are resolved with a set time. (IE, a round could be ... initiative 10. Number pulled out of my behind as I haven't been able to play yet)

 

Edit: Beat to the punch by Xauripmaster

Edited by Frak

Nerf Troubadour!

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Thinking about initiative (and bearing in mind that I don't actually know completely how it works since I've only seen low level combat) I was asking myself why they had the initiative "reset" in each round (or better said set on the weapon/ability initiative stat) instead of having initiative add up round after round, this way a fast character in the long run would get more actions.

 

Is it something wrong with that system that I can't see? Am I bad at math? (not that I need someone to answer "yes" to this :D)

 

Edit: If rounds are actually resolved within a predetermined amount of initiative points aren't our worries about having only one action for both fast and slow characters unnecessary? I mean, a very slow character would "skip" a round.

Edited by Daled
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Edit: If rounds are actually resolved within a predetermined amount of initiative points aren't our worries about having only one action for both fast and slow characters unnecessary? I mean, a very slow character would "skip" a round.

 

This is what I haven't figured out. I tried loading my characters down with lots of speed penalties: dumped dex all the way, armor, medium shield and saber modals active. Then I was really trying to notice if they ever skipped a round. I don't think they ever skipped a round, but the enemies go fast enough (and the re-ordering for the next round is chaotic enough) that I'm not 100% positive about that.

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So with engagement, it seems like the way that works is you have to click on the enemies you want to engage. So as example, let's say we're facing three Xaurips in melee range.

 

Eder can do his normal combat action to swing his sabre. Then, after that, he has no actions left but if you keep left clicking on enemies you'll see this little green stream next to them and if you view the combat log it will say Eder has engaged them.

 

So that's how engagement works. Left click the enemies you want to engage after you do your combat action, and it should engage as many as you have slots/space for.

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I think maybe interrupting abilities break engagement. In the base game, the engagement would just get reestablished right away, but in turn-based, that can be really useful -- break engagement with an attack and then move away.

 

The reason I think this is that the iron construct in the opening cave kept breaking my Eder's engagement on him with his attacks (so Flanked would go away until Eder's next turn).

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I think maybe interrupting abilities break engagement. In the base game, the engagement would just get reestablished right away, but in turn-based, that can be really useful -- break engagement with an attack and then move away.

 

The entire duration you're interrupted or proned (2s or 3s) you cannot establish engagement. If you have squishies who are under pressure, a last-ditch thing you can do is do something to cause interruption to let them escape for free (explosives are good aoe interrupt-on-hits).

 

Some stuff on the topic I wrote up:

https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/engagement

https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/interrupts-vs-concentration

 

Interesting to see how all the RtwP mechanics end up playing out in TB mode though.

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