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Fighters

fighters combat animation mechanics

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#1
Sabotin

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I feel that fighters are very often mishandled - classically the most monotonous and boring class, specially in d&d games, where they're very often just part of some dual or multiclass character or dipped into for some bonus or other. Conversely other games try to fix this by giving them abilities that are practically magic - various agro and pulling mechanics, random invulnerabilities, special super attacks etc. Now PE seems to be taking a more grounded approach (or that's the feeling I've gotten up until now), so I guess that won't be happening here.

I think one problem with fighters is that they are covering a very wide selection of archetypes, compared to other classes. A wizard is usually the old bookworm guy with the beard and pointy hat, a paladin the goody two-shoes religious zealot, the rogue the shady thief/assassin. But fighters, they can be mercenaries, weapon masters, samurai, knights, duelists, gladiators, generals and peons, pirates, archers,... So a fighter needs to be able to evolve into any of these which I think can result in either a lack of options or lack of direction for the class.

This would be some of the traits I would attribute to fighters, also in the interest of keeping the flavor different from other warrior classes: discipline, learning, fulfilled potential, constancy, reliability, focus. A fighter is supposed to be good at fighting. The best in fact. Not the strongest or most resilient/determined/flexible, just simply best at what it does. When I say reliable I don't mean mediocre or boring, I mean that its risks are measured and mostly successful. Its strength would lie in the mastery of a weapon.

Now considering the class abilities tidbits we've got before the holidays the thought might have occurred already, but I think having various modes/fighting styles would be a good idea. Something akin to lightsaber forms from KOTOR2 - bonuses and penalties to various stats.
At the lowest levels the way a player starts building the character would be determined by gear more than abilities, with them gradually becoming available through the lower levels. Certain modes could exclude others or provide small synergy bonuses, as an incentive for a player to specialize - providing a clearer focus for the class and reducing the power potential (i.e. you can't be the best in every situation).
As fluff, this could provide other benefits. It would represent something you learn through drill or a rigid technique that is passed down as a certain way of fighting. It could also offer some visual candy in the form of changed animations, gradually, completely or perhaps just for a specific weapon.

The standard +1 to attack passive ability type has gotten a bit boring in my opinion. While you can't really change the function much, I'd like to see a bit more flavor injected. For example learning weapon specialization would instead of adding a static +2 to damage with the chosen weapon make the fighter use the upper half of its damage spectrum more often. The fighter is not hitting any stronger with the selected weapon, just utilizing it better. When using a shield he/she could use it in such a way as to deflect the attackers' weapons to the side, leaving them more open to counterattack. Using armor so that it gets hit more often - less damaging attacks, more glancing blows. So on in this vein.

Some active abilities are definitely needed, we want to enjoy the gameplay, not just character building. I would really like these to stay somewhere in the realm of possibility. I think some kind of combat maneuvers would fit. Sort of what like the rogue got, but less movement and more combat oriented. There was something written about a charge ability, that sounds good. There could be some abilities that focus on attacking certain body parts, unbalancing or disarming the opponent, or even using them for cover.

Thoughts?
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#2
rjshae

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For the purpose of realism, I'd like to see fighters have some type of incremental learning process when facing an opponent. Skilled fighters should be able to recognize styles and methods of an opponent, thereby gaining an incremental advantage after several rounds. In effect, they are circling, probing and looking for weaknesses to exploit. Against roughly equal opponents, no advantage should be gained. But against a lesser opponent, the advantage should gradually swing in favor of the more experienced fighter.

To model this, a combatant could gain a mastery advantage when they continue fighting the same foe, such as a +3% attack/+3% parry/+3% critical benefit. The rate at which this is acquired is a function of the skill of both fighters, adjusted by the appropriate stat.
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#3
TRX850

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The Expert Tactician feat in NWN2 gave me the idea that "Combat Synergy" could be something developed further for the Fighter class.

http://nwn2.wikia.com/wiki/Expert_Tactician

The idea that IF [ combat condition = true ] THEN you and all your allies gain [ combat bonus ] for one round.

I like this idea because of what it represents mechanically and for roleplaying, i.e. when your fighter character does something awesome in battle, it inspires the entire party in a meaningful way that scales with level advancement.

It could represent other party members observing the fighter's technique and briefly copying him/her for that round, or the fighter shouting out combat tips "Swing from the hip more! That's it lad!" That kind of thing.

So now, just being near an allied fighter has clear combat advantages. The question now is, what sort of group combat bonuses would be appropriate as the fighter become more powerful?

#4
rjshae

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Besides the normal skill progression, I like to think that at higher levels a fighter becomes increasingly proficient at fighting while surrounded. To push that further, perhaps a "Guard your back" ability that helps protects adjacent allies from backstabbing? Kind of like extending your shield in Star Trek.

#5
TRX850

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Besides the normal skill progression, I like to think that at higher levels a fighter becomes increasingly proficient at fighting while surrounded. To push that further, perhaps a "Guard your back" ability that helps protects adjacent allies from backstabbing? Kind of like extending your shield in Star Trek.


Fighting while surrounded is a good point. In the early SSI game "Pool of Radiance" and its successors, a fighter learned to "Sweep" while surrounded. It was a bit like the current Cleave ability but it basically attacked all adjacent enemies regardless of whether you felled the previous one or not. So a tactic was to allow yourself to become surrounded for that very reason.

I think it may have only triggered if the level difference between the fighter and the enemy in question was above a certain value though, so a 4th level fighter could Sweep a 360° circle of say, goblins, or skeletons. And it really sped up battles when there were 6 party members and 60 enemies all trying to surround you.

#6
ShadowTiger

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I think that the key to making a deep and interesting fighter class is to have a combination of mechanics. I have seen "spell-like" abilities such as cleave and whirlwind as well as "stances" that give you a passive bonus. There are also "shouts" and "auras" to boost your party or inhibit your foes. The problem is most games don't give you enough choices or variety, so it gets stale pretty quickly.

I think that it would be more fun to have a realistic fighter class where you go to actual experts in the world and train under them to gain new stances and techniques that can be used during those stances. So you have to find NPCs, convince them to train you, and then potentially do quests for them in order to unlock new abilities. You can either dedicate yourself to one instructor (or one style with multiple instructors) or you can be a mash up fighter who mixes different styles together.

Then combat should revolve around switching your stances in order to adapt to your situation.

For a very generic example, lets say you have four stances and 5 techniques.

Balanced Stance: No bonuses or penalties, but you gain access to a large number of techniques
Offensive Stance: You move at normal speed but your attacks have a higher chance to hit.
Defensive Stance: You move 25% slower and your chance to block is increased.
Charging Stance: You move 25% faster and your attacks do bonus damage if they hit.

Techniques:
Shield Bash: Defensive or Balanced Stance only. Stun an enemy with your shield, interrupting or delaying his next action.
Cleave Attack: Offensive or Balanced Stance only. Hit all enemies in a 160 degree arc.
Crippling Strike: Offensive or Charging Stance only. Slow an enemy by 50% for 1 second per damage dealt by the attack.
Distraction: Offensive, Balanced, or Defensive Stance. The enemy makes an intelligence check. If it fails, its defense is lowered for a few seconds.
Knockdown Strike: Charging Stance only. The enemy makes a strength check or is knocked down by the attack. The more damage dealt by this attack, the higher chance of success.

You could also do cool things like have it so there is a cooldown for switching stances and you have to go in a certain order. For example, you can't go from balanced directly to charging, you might have to go balanced -> offensive -> charging

And if you wanted to go back to defensive stance you might need to go charging-> offensive -> balanced -> defensive, or else suffer a penalty from the sudden shift in momentum. This would allow offshoot stances, so there might be a special charging stance (say, charging elk stance vs charging bull stance) that lets you go directly to balanced stance, but maybe has less access to techniques as a trade off.

This is something I came up with but never had a chance to get feedback on. Any thoughts?

Edited by ShadowTiger, 09 January 2013 - 04:10 PM.

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#7
rjshae

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For individual combat options, I like distinctive maneuvers that either buy the party some time against a powerful foe or else provide a unique attack that works against special defenses. For the former, it could be something that locks blades or shields for a round, does a knockdown, pushes the defender back a square, or just puts them on the defensive for a round with a flurry of blows. A disarm attack against a weak foe would be useful if the aim is non-lethal combat.
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#8
Somna

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Besides the normal skill progression, I like to think that at higher levels a fighter becomes increasingly proficient at fighting while surrounded. To push that further, perhaps a "Guard your back" ability that helps protects adjacent allies from backstabbing? Kind of like extending your shield in Star Trek.


Fighting while surrounded is a good point. In the early SSI game "Pool of Radiance" and its successors, a fighter learned to "Sweep" while surrounded. It was a bit like the current Cleave ability but it basically attacked all adjacent enemies regardless of whether you felled the previous one or not. So a tactic was to allow yourself to become surrounded for that very reason.

I think it may have only triggered if the level difference between the fighter and the enemy in question was above a certain value though, so a 4th level fighter could Sweep a 360° circle of say, goblins, or skeletons. And it really sped up battles when there were 6 party members and 60 enemies all trying to surround you.


I remember that. It never showed up at high levels in Pools of Darkness though. :/ I'd hazard a guess that iit only really happened if you could potentially one shot the target, which just does not happen in the later versions.

#9
TRX850

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I remember that. It never showed up at high levels in Pools of Darkness though. :/ I'd hazard a guess that iit only really happened if you could potentially one shot the target, which just does not happen in the later versions.


If they merged Cleave with Sweep in P:E, it could add value to the Fighter class. The question is how it's triggered. Currently if you kill one opponent with the Cleave feat, you gain a free attack at one enemy within melee range, which seems to imply two separate "sword arm actions" rather than a single clean "Sweep". I wonder if the sweep radius is something that could increase with level? Start out at say, 60-90° to give it some visual impact, then add 10° per level up to a radius cap. I think 360° is way too much for a "surefooted" attack like this. Whereas the Whirlwind Attack is another step up again. Maybe "Sweep" should be a prerequisite (or one of them) to Whirlwind Attack?

#10
Iucounu

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For the purpose of realism, I'd like to see fighters have some type of incremental learning process when facing an opponent. Skilled fighters should be able to recognize styles and methods of an opponent, thereby gaining an incremental advantage after several rounds.

Sounds awesome, but the advantage should be limited. Like when the level difference is 5, after 15 rounds the advantage should be at maximum.
It's generally an interesting idea to let the fighting prowess fluctuate against a certain opponent depending on certain stats, skills etc. Although it can become unnecessarily complicated that way.


...

Sounds awesome, but it's hard to tell how it would play. Maybe the stances should have greater advantages and drawbacks, to make them tactically more significant.
Another idea would be to introduce somekind of paper-scissor-stone mechanics. For example the charging stance could be effective against the defensive stance, while being suicide against the offensive stance. A high level fighter should be able to switch from one stance to another without great risk, and punish his low-level opponent for switching stances with deadly attacks. But this might become too complicated, and require too much attention from the player.

#11
Gavinfoxx

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If you look at real world martial arts, especially sword arts, there is actually a lot of stuff that you can get inspiration from! Fighters should be fantastic at interrupts and counters; large amounts of fighting is basically 'learning what to do when an opponent does x'. Also, maneuvers that can hook a shield aside, or bash with the pommel of a sword to make it bashing damage, or thrusting with a normally slashing sword, or grabbing the blade of a sword (half-swording) to make it a close-in armor-piercing weapon... basically, a good fighter should be master of interrupts, counters, and exotic ways of using weapons. I made a 'track' (sort of like a mini-class) for a D20 game, based on German Longsword Fencing, which had abilities like:

-parry, make an attack roll to negate a hit
-different and not-normal ways of holding your weapon, that actually look different, lowering your amount of reach, but enabling you to pierce armor, and be better at grappling
-ripostes / counterattacks, where if you or an ally are attacked by an enemy in your melee range, you can make an attack against them, with bonuses if they missed you
-attacks which slowly increase penalties to hit, applied to the enemy
-ripostes and counterattacks which are attacks and defenses in one, where you use your weapon to defend yourself against an enemy AND attack them in an interrupt, where other people can't even attack in that situation, and where you become more competent at defending yourself when holding a weapon in general, even without a shield
-the ability to, if you miss, pivot your weapon and 'press through', to try and turn a miss into a hit, attacking again
-the ability to step aside / displace an attack, moving out of the way as a reaction to a hit, and be less likely to be hit because of it
-various forms of advanced disarming techniques, often which cause the enemy to end up disarmed and prone on the ground, and you might be holding their weapon!
-make a series of advancing attacks
-lunges to make non-reach weapons act like reach weapons, or to improve the amount of space you threaten or otherwise control around you
-increases the amount of counters or interrupts you can have in any given period of time

#12
okey231

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will it be possible to create a fighter dat has very deflection.... a fighter that doesnt need to have heavy armor and heavy sheild to hold off enemys..... just through great melee defence skills?


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#13
rjshae

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will it be possible to create a fighter dat has very deflection.... a fighter that doesnt need to have heavy armor and heavy sheild to hold off enemys..... just through great melee defence skills?

 

I'm sure we will be able to have finesse fighters that can melee in light (or no) armor and be skilled at block and parry.



#14
J.E. Sawyer

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Besides the normal skill progression, I like to think that at higher levels a fighter becomes increasingly proficient at fighting while surrounded. To push that further, perhaps a "Guard your back" ability that helps protects adjacent allies from backstabbing? Kind of like extending your shield in Star Trek.

 

Defender mode and Vigorous Defense (an active-use ability) helps fighters with bunches of enemies.  They eventually get Guardian mode that lowers the fighter's Accuracy but increases Deflection for allies within a short range (modified by Intellect).


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#15
J.E. Sawyer

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will it be possible to create a fighter dat has very deflection.... a fighter that doesnt need to have heavy armor and heavy sheild to hold off enemys..... just through great melee defence skills?

 

First, I want to distinguish between Deflection and Damage Threshold.  Deflection is what enemies attack, it's like AC in D&D.  Deflection is derived from the character's class, level, and other bonuses from gear, spells, etc.  Damage Threshold is what's used to reduce damage once you get hit and it comes mostly from the armor you wear, though heavier armor slows the character's actions (attacks, spells, etc.) down.

 

The advantage to wearing lighter armor in PoE is a faster attack speed, which can lead to great offensive potential.  If you wield a single-handed weapon with no shield, you will gain an Accuracy bonus, but not a Deflection bonus.  A dude with padded armor and a rapier will attack frequently and with higher accuracy, but he'll be relatively easy to hit and take more damage.  If you want a great Deflection, wear a shield and accept standard Accuracy (or even reduced Accuracy for heavier shields).  If you want to soak a lot of damage, wear heavier armor.


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#16
okey231

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will it be possible to create a fighter dat has very deflection.... a fighter that doesnt need to have heavy armor and heavy sheild to hold off enemys..... just through great melee defence skills?

 

First, I want to distinguish between Deflection and Damage Threshold.  Deflection is what enemies attack, it's like AC in D&D.  Deflection is derived from the character's class, level, and other bonuses from gear, spells, etc.  Damage Threshold is what's used to reduce damage once you get hit and it comes mostly from the armor you wear, though heavier armor slows the character's actions (attacks, spells, etc.) down.

 

The advantage to wearing lighter armor in PoE is a faster attack speed, which can lead to great offensive potential.  If you wield a single-handed weapon with no shield, you will gain an Accuracy bonus, but not a Deflection bonus.  A dude with padded armor and a rapier will attack frequently and with higher accuracy, but he'll be relatively easy to hit and take more damage.  If you want a great Deflection, wear a shield and accept standard Accuracy (or even reduced Accuracy for heavier shields).  If you want to soak a lot of damage, wear heavier armor.

 

ok i see.... was hoping i could create a dual wielding character.... dat could fend off multi foes without having to hold a shield.... may be with a talent to help back dat up or sumtin lol..... u know kind of like drizzt do'urden in r.a salvatore books.... thanks for the info though



#17
rjshae

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The use of a main-gauche would be realistic: a small weapon that gives a slight deflection bonus and an opportunistic attack.


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#18
Lephys

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It would obviously be prudent to carry a secondary, backup-gauche, just in case. 8)

#19
Sabotin

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How about making these off-hand defensive weapons function as just reskinned shields?



#20
rjshae

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How about making these off-hand defensive weapons function as just reskinned shields?

 

The difference is the off-hand defensive weapon would give a deflection bonus against melee attacks but not against missile fire. Not sure how well that would play out in terms of implementation coding.







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