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In essence i'd agree with you, I prefer clear role demarcation, but as a last resort at a high cost I wouldn't mind such a wizard ability.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Created an account to comment on this. While I think you guys are moving in the right direction, I think the system you use could be a bit more powerful while also being a bit more realistic.

 

When two people are fighting each other, they are both attacking conservatively. Neither is going to wildly swing their weapon because they will probably get stabbed. So actual melee combat is a careful balance between offense and defense.

 

In a situation where one combatant is unthreatened they are able to attack much more effectively, because they do not have to worry about being counterattacked. They don't need to worry about feinting or leaving themselves open. They just swing/thrust to kill.

 

I would translate that same phenomenon to the game. If a combatant is not being threatened by their target, then they would get a large bonus to their attack. This means that simply trying to walk around a fighter will get you your **** slapped, since you are not threatening them.

 

This mechanic would also allow for things like rogue backstabs (coming out of the shadows, they are not being threatened, so they get to do a powerful attack). Or flanking attacks -  since most units could only threaten one enemy at a time, ganging up becomes very effective.

 

Just a thought.

Nice first post, totally concur a lot of good suggestions there that all make sense and can add some more tactical depth to the gameplay.

 

 

Also, I am going to have to make a combat mage who specializes in debuffs, and name him Barkley.

 

Because he jams and slams.  8)

But Barkley must also shut up AND jam which makes it tough to be a caster!  Also we would know who the villain is which is sort of a spoiler alert... it is that traitor Michael Jordan!

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It sounds like a nice mechanic; somewhat like the old wargaming "zone of control" mechanism. It will make combat much more tactically interesting. However, a few questions occurred to me:

  • If a defender is engaged, shouldn't they be able to perform a slow fighting withdrawal, at a defensive bonus, simply by gradually pulling back while keeping their weapon and shield at the ready? I think D&D solved this by allowing a single square of movement without incurring an opportunity attack.

That sounds reasonable.  The attacker could, of course, just step forward, keeping pace with the withdrawing defender and keeping them in the "engaged zone".  This could then be used by the defender to draw the attacker into a position that is more advantageous to him and his party (e.g. into a spot where a mage has clear line of sight of the attacker).

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I'm not so thrilled about this. Kiting should be a very viable strategy. This is why the Mongols destroyed all their enemies. It's why the French lost at Agincourt. And it's why swords went out of style when guns came about. To oversimplify.

 

In IE games, I always thought that is was somewhat realistic how you had to clog or surround doors or send your attack in with specific waves in order to keep your weak-but-powerful characters from getting clobbered or targeted, and how ranged weapons were often more practical than melee.

 

It makes perfect sense that a thief with no armor to speak of can pretty much run circles around some guy with a heavy weapons and a hundred pounds of plate and baggage, especially in a wide open area, but that he loses that advantage as it becomes more enclosed. 

 

Yes, there should be an area around someone with a melee weapon that you can't speed through without risking a hit, but for the average sword you're talking maybe 6 to 10 ft. radius, and if the the person who wants to make a run of can get their opponent  to take a swing or make a parry is probably home free. Likewise, the mechanics change once you've closed inside of a weapon's effective range. This is why many sword styles teach techniques like pommeling for emergencies when you've failed to keep your measure.

 

In general, lightly armored people have a pretty good chance of not being troubled by heavily armored people if there's enough space or if they can use the speed/maneuverability advantage to keep their enemy out of proper measure. For most weapons there's a distance where the weapon becomes too awkward to use, while still being too far away to easily grapple.

 

The viable strategies for protecting your non-melee characters who aren't able to run ought to amount to blocking entrances and constraining access, or stacking up near them (body-guarding) so that anybody can't make a  melee attack on them without being stuck in clobbering range of your heavies, not leaving loads of open approaches that game mechanics prevent attackers from taking advantage of.

 

You seem to forget one thing: realistic or not is NOT the main aspect taken into thought here, gameplay mechanics are! Josh said it a while ago that combat design in PE strives to be fun and interesting to play, not especially realistic.

Not to mention you won't see anyone in real life running for his life, stop for a split second to shoot an arrow, then continues running.


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And, at the end of the day, this is a game where you can bash someone up with a *book*

Speak softly and carry a big book!

 

That will certainly be a novel tactic; perhaps turning your character into a serial killer.

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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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 The attacker could, of course, just step forward, keeping pace with

the withdrawing defender and keeping them in the "engaged zone".  This

could then be used by the defender to draw the attacker into a position

that is more advantageous to him and his party (e.g. into a spot where a

mage has clear line of sight of the attacker).

Or in a trap rogue placed. That would be awesome.

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 The attacker could, of course, just step forward, keeping pace with

the withdrawing defender and keeping them in the "engaged zone".  This

could then be used by the defender to draw the attacker into a position

that is more advantageous to him and his party (e.g. into a spot where a

mage has clear line of sight of the attacker).

Or in a trap rogue placed. That would be awesome.

Absolutely, as long as he was careful not to get caught in the trap himself.

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It should be VERY clear what's happening, with some icons or symbolism to see when a character is engaged. 

 

Speaking of which, instead of totally blocking movement, how about making the character move extremely slow instead? Sort of simulating those 5ft steps from d&d. You could then still turn the character (flanking/backstabs/whatnot) by moving slowly around him or lead it to someone better suited for killing him/keeping him in check. Or a fighter "gathering" more opponents, hehe.

 

The disengagement should also be very clear I think, perhaps requiring a press of a button, or if right-clock means movement, then disengage+move could be shift+righ-click or something? Doing it by mistake could be really frustrating. I also have a concern about this - By how it was described, if a melee character catches you and is actively attacking you, short of a special disengagement skill or outside help you have no way to get away from him (because of the hit reaction)?

 

What happens when you have multiple people in a melee fight though, I could see that complicating things a bit animation wise. In NWN the AoO and Cleave attacks could prevent regular attacks from happening on time, could change the attack target etc. NWN2 solved the problem in favor of the mechanics side, but it could still look rather silly (though I preferred it)...

 

Our plan is to use the selection circles (which all characters have) to indicate when they are engaging, engaged, and the targets involved.  The most typical example would be two melee combatants moving toward each other and starting to fight.  Their selection circles would increase in thickness when they are engaged and a short, overlapping line would run from the circle of the enemy engaging them toward their circle.  I.e., characters who are engaged/engaging are visually linked through their selection circles.

 

We do not want to slow movement because that is not as clear as stopping movement and requiring you to give new input to move the character.  We also very much intend for this to require you to be more careful with moving your characters.  Yes, moving away from an engaging character can be difficult because of the risk involved, but that's the intention of the mechanic.  We don't want it to be overly punitive, but we do want people to be wary about moving around melee enemies.

 

Disengagement Attacks will likely not be animated on the character's mesh.  They will probably be abstracted in a fashion similar to NWN2 (though if we can find a higher fidelity solution, such as a duplicate "ghost" mesh to animate those attacks, we would use that).

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And, at the end of the day, this is a game where you can bash someone up with a *book*

I demand that the best one is called Phone Book.

Who wouldn't want to be able to talk about how their level 2 Mage defeated the Almighty Dragon of Doom by slapping him with a Phone Book? Win.

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That will certainly be a novel tactic

 

"Novel" tactic, I see what you did there! Very funny, indeed!  :dancing:

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Would the on-screen indicator for the radius of the engagement area be... the Engagement Ring? 8)

 

 

I really hope they won't include any artificial convenience indicators for area effects - neither in this case, nor in the case of AoE spell placement etc.

This is an RPG, not an RTS game or a CAD program.

 

For example, in the IE games I always found it a lot of fun to try to place Fireballs in such a way that they would hit all visible melee enemies at once, but not hit my own front-line melee fighters. It wouldn't always work out, so there was a risk involved - but when it did work as intended, it felt really satisfying. A circle indicating the exact area that would be affected on release of the spell, would have negated much of the risk and fun and immersion (and sense of achievement for becoming better over time at placing the spells).

 

I think the same would be true if a circle would show where exactly your characters can move without being engaged or disengaged.

 

Combat isn't something sterile and precise comparable to placing objects in a CAD program, it is messy and bloody and often unpredictable.

An RPG should reflect that.

 

 

Movement is fundamentally different from spells.

 

In the IE games you don't control your characters' movement, you only control their destination.  All I can do is click on enemies to attack them or click on tiles to move to them.

 

Now if there are suddenly "danger zones" right in the middle of combat, like the engagement zone of an enemy, I'm not usually going to find myself in that zone because I clicked on it.  I'm going to find myself in it because the AI decided to pathfind its way into a really inconvenient place.  Moving a full party in combat with a dozen enemies is pretty painful already.

 

You can only have so much realism in a game before it becomes X-Com and has to be turn based.

 

 

And that's when the enemy uses it.  For players, is it really any better than a tank mechanic?  I mean, I probably have a couple of characters who can "engage" any significant number of enemies.  If I can choose targets to engage (with an ability or by attacking them), and they reliably stay engaged with me, that just sounds like tanking.

 

If engaging automatically targets the first enemies to pass by me, and they have to be right next to me, that sounds worse than tanking.  I'll have to micromanage my movement to be able to engage enemies.  And what if I engage someone I don't want, putting me over my limit to engage someone I do want?

 

And if tough enemies will just say "the heck with the damage, I'm going past anyway" that also sounds worse than tanking.  Generally, if I'm trying to lock down an enemy then it's much better to lock them down than to simply do more damage.

 

 

 

I believe I'd be perfectly happy for fighters to have a limited tank mechanic based on selecting specific targets.  Just have the ability to pull some nearby enemies into melee range and keep them there, at the cost of doing less damage.  I want to target specific enemies to lock down, using point and click, with the weakness being that they're still perfectly able to attack.

 

Tank mechanics aren't popular because they're realistic, they're popular because they're easy to use in chaotic real time battles.

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im loving this. As someone whos just got into pnp, I totally get and understand this mechanic.

 

I would like to make a suggestion. How bout the area is the 5 nodes around said melee where he is facing and have the 3 at his back a non combative area to stop. That way aoo would happen when someone gets to close to a players front side and fov whereas the areas outside the fov would be free or safe areas.

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n0mDePlume, it sounds like you prefer a different type of micromanagement, not that you don't want to micromanage.  Users on this forum have consistently (though obviously not universally) expressed a general dislike of standard aggro/tanking mechanics.  Engagement is not conceptually much different from threatened area/AoOs, which we already had experience with in NWN2.  It's also a mechanic that many tabletop D&D players are familiar with if they've played 3E, 3.5, and 4E.

 

In IE games, you typically don't move full parties through melee.  You typically move a few characters to ranged positions and a select number of characters into melee with specific targets.  It's true that if you click past melee enemies who are not engaged and run past them, they will engage you.  That's entirely the point of the mechanic.  I certainly understand if not everyone likes it, but it feels more in the spirit of D&D mechanics as well as mechanics that were in NWN and NWN2.

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project%20eternity%20melee%20engagement.

 

I made "beautiful" diagram to visualize how I see melee engagement system from this update, except that I added couple features (which you can find in with text circles) that in my opinion could be something to think to be added in system.

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Our plan is to use the selection circles (which all characters have) to indicate when they are engaging, engaged, and the targets involved.  The most typical example would be two melee combatants moving toward each other and starting to fight.  Their selection circles would increase in thickness when they are engaged and a short, overlapping line would run from the circle of the enemy engaging them toward their circle.  I.e., characters who are engaged/engaging are visually linked through their selection circles.

 

We do not want to slow movement because that is not as clear as stopping movement and requiring you to give new input to move the character.  We also very much intend for this to require you to be more careful with moving your characters.  Yes, moving away from an engaging character can be difficult because of the risk involved, but that's the intention of the mechanic.  We don't want it to be overly punitive, but we do want people to be wary about moving around melee enemies.

 

Disengagement Attacks will likely not be animated on the character's mesh.  They will probably be abstracted in a fashion similar to NWN2 (though if we can find a higher fidelity solution, such as a duplicate "ghost" mesh to animate those attacks, we would use that).

 

So, um... is this game using a movement system other than "click where you want to go and the characters pathfinds to it"?

 

Because one of the big achilles heels of the IE games was pathfinding, especially pathfinding in combat.  People, including myself, complained a LOT than moving was way more of a chore than it should have been.  More recent CRPGs (Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age) have had consistent complaints about pathfinding problems and how moving in combat seemed like it took too much effort.

 

What I took away from that, especially from my own personal experience, is that point-and-click movement of a full party can be painful in the best of circumstances, and lots of people really dislike being forced to do it frequently to prevent bad things happening.

 

Now you're saying you deliberately want to make moving around in combat harder so that people will have to pay more attention to it?

 

It sounds like you're deliberately adding player overhead (pay more attention to how you move) and enforcing that through punishment (move wrong and we'll stop your character in their tracks and put them at risk of a nasty attack).  I mean, if I need to get past someone who can engage me, does that mean I have to manually click click click to circle around them?  Is there a corresponding reward to compensate for that?  Is the ability of my fighters to lock down a couple of nearby enemies so incredibly cool and so constantly useful that it makes up for the constant overhead and punishment?

 

 

I've been told by game designers (and my own experience) that the thing players hate most above all is being locked down, and that they also hate putting in constant effort to avoid punishment rather than to gain reward.  This is one reason most MMOs are set up to require players to lock down enemies all the time, but far more rarely involve enemies locking down players.

 

I know that when I played IE games, I was often frustrated by my inability to lock down enemies, but I was never once frustrated by their inability to lock me down.

 

I'd rather you guys think really carefully about whether a tank mechanic can do basically the same thing a lot more cleanly - no pathfinding problems, no need to micromanage movement, not limited to targeting people who are right next to you.  And it's a lot easier to justify enemies being unable to tank than being unable to engage.

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Also while thinking about it maybe this could be expanded to work like the "overwatch" mechanic of X-Com and maybe convert it a bit.  Such as a mechanic where a ranged character can "engage" or "pin down" a target and then when that target attempts to take an action (movement, a spell, an attack) the ranged character attacks and if the attack or "effect" of the attack succeeds then the action is prevented.  This being a bit more flexible would have to have more limitations though, such as only being able to "pin" one target, and not continuing to have additional actions where as a person in melee engagement still keeps their normal options as well.

 

Anyway random thoughts for range loving sissies I will stab my way through the game regardless.

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I gotta say, the book slam thing sounds like it was lifted wholesale from a comedy fantasy game. Totally doesn't fit in with any of the other stuff that I have heard about this game. Just sounds... silly. Ridiculous. "Oh, well, I'm in combat, I'll just close my spell book, thus losing my place, and then bash someone in the face with it, thus destroying the spine. And of course I have to get close enough to do so, which means getting inside that sword-wielder's reach, which is something you ordinarily would want to avoid trying because it's, you know, suicidal. And anyway, it's a huge book weighing five pounds and is made mostly of paper, which makes it an AWFUL weapon (awkwardly shaped, unbalanced, hard to swing, well-padded, etc), so awful that you would be an order of magnitude better off charging someone's fist with magical energy and hitting them with that."

 

Here's a vote for two different ways to get a magic-using character out of engagement: one, a magically charged *fist* (or wand or staff or whatever, if you're having those... but if s/he's using a grimoire, then a fist), or two, a very short-range teleport.

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If it's so punishing to move characters around the map won't this actually hinder mid combat tactical positioning, and just have each of your characters to try to fend for themselves? It kind of creates a static combat with the fighters where they would prefer to just mash each other in the face than actually running to the aid of your party members.

 

Also it kind of makes it an advantage to go die in a battle to see how it will play out so that you can preposition the characters better before the actual combat starts, which is something you are trying to avoid.

 

While in IE games it was hard to block the opponent's movement with 1 character, it wasn't with 2 or even 3 because you could create a wall with them at the right time, and this real time positioning is what made combat a LOT more interesting for me than in NW games.

 

For punishing running way i'm guessing this means that player characters will have bigger health bars than in IE games and more like in NW (unless you want very frustrated players watching the impending doom coming at them as they know they are more likely to eat a killing blow if they try to get away.)

I'm kind of disappointed in that because i remember NW games to have very static combat where you would mostly just watch 2 characters mash at each other and nearly completely ignoring any tactical movement. Of course this was replaced with special ability mashing but hardly anything tactical or intelligent.

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I'd rather you guys think really carefully about whether a tank mechanic can do basically the same thing a lot more cleanly - no pathfinding problems, no need to micromanage movement, not limited to targeting people who are right next to you.  And it's a lot easier to justify enemies being unable to tank than being unable to engage.

Uhmmmm no.  Tanking mechanics are dumb and gamey, this is coming from a guy who has exclusively played tanks in MMO's for almost 10 years.  They are not using point and click movement ala Infinity Engine games, this type of set up only works when characters have physical size and take up space while occupying some form of "grid" that exists even if you can't see it.  Also tanking is the backbone of the trinity and the trinity only exists to make an easy mechanic to balance that requires multiple players.  This is a single player game, there is no reason to include mechanics that are designed for multiplayer environments.  Even games that are not MMO's and do it well (like Xenoblade Chronicles) probably would have been better off without it to begin with. 

 

So gonna have to respectfully disagree.  I want tactics, not gamey mechanics.

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We're not making a single-character MMO.  We're making a party-based RPG.  We're making it to appeal to the general tastes of audiences that have played D&D-based tactical party RPGs in the past.  Yes, when you play a single character, having that single character be locked down is annoying because your only character is prevented from moving.  You have a whole party to use.

 

We're also making this game for an audience that we believe wants increased challenge and will not react negatively to mechanics that require increased attention and player input.  There are clearly limits to this, but we are willing to try this mechanic because we believe it is more appropriate for our audience.

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I am not going to do any judgements, it looks certain way and it will work certain way, that's for sure. I think it's well thought idea and it certainly look like original and fresh concept for close combat, it will be interesting to try something new. 

  As always pleasant update and as always nice Josh. 


"Have you ever spoken with the dead? Called to them from this side? Called them from their silent rest? Do you know what it is that they feel?

Pain. Pain, when torn into this wakefulness, this reminder of the chaos from which they had escaped. Pain of having to live! There will be no more pain. There will be... no more chaos."

 

 

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I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea! It seems as though this mechanic will add a nice touch of realism, make one think about positioning much more carefully, and require more thought and situational awareness in each encounter. Its nice to see fresh ideas being added that are not just gimmicks but seem to have a nice level of complexity to them. This is exactly the kind of idea I was looking forward to seeing! Awwwweeeesome!

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Their selection circles would increase in thickness when they are

engaged and a short, overlapping line would run from the circle of the

enemy engaging them toward their circle.  I.e., characters who are

engaged/engaging are visually linked through their selection circles.

I think players will want to see the ranges of engagement (visually represented during combat, I mean). Will ranges change depending on a weapon? Will giant's or hydra's engagement range be larger than half-- amauma's? Cause that's kinda important to know when you move your characters around.

Edited by Shadenuat

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Our plan is to use the selection circles (which all characters have) to indicate when they are engaging, engaged, and the targets involved.  The most typical example would be two melee combatants moving toward each other and starting to fight.  Their selection circles would increase in thickness when they are engaged and a short, overlapping line would run from the circle of the enemy engaging them toward their circle.  I.e., characters who are engaged/engaging are visually linked through their selection circles.

 

We do not want to slow movement because that is not as clear as stopping movement and requiring you to give new input to move the character.  We also very much intend for this to require you to be more careful with moving your characters.  Yes, moving away from an engaging character can be difficult because of the risk involved, but that's the intention of the mechanic.  We don't want it to be overly punitive, but we do want people to be wary about moving around melee enemies.

 

Disengagement Attacks will likely not be animated on the character's mesh.  They will probably be abstracted in a fashion similar to NWN2 (though if we can find a higher fidelity solution, such as a duplicate "ghost" mesh to animate those attacks, we would use that).

So, um... is this game using a movement system other than "click where you want to go and the characters pathfinds to it"?

 

Because one of the big achilles heels of the IE games was pathfinding, especially pathfinding in combat.  People, including myself, complained a LOT than moving was way more of a chore than it should have been.  More recent CRPGs (Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age) have had consistent complaints about pathfinding problems and how moving in combat seemed like it took too much effort.

 

What I took away from that, especially from my own personal experience, is that point-and-click movement of a full party can be painful in the best of circumstances, and lots of people really dislike being forced to do it frequently to prevent bad things happening.

 

Now you're saying you deliberately want to make moving around in combat harder so that people will have to pay more attention to it?

 

It sounds like you're deliberately adding player overhead (pay more attention to how you move) and enforcing that through punishment (move wrong and we'll stop your character in their tracks and put them at risk of a nasty attack).  I mean, if I need to get past someone who can engage me, does that mean I have to manually click click click to circle around them?  Is there a corresponding reward to compensate for that?  Is the ability of my fighters to lock down a couple of nearby enemies so incredibly cool and so constantly useful that it makes up for the constant overhead and punishment?

 

 

I've been told by game designers (and my own experience) that the thing players hate most above all is being locked down, and that they also hate putting in constant effort to avoid punishment rather than to gain reward.  This is one reason most MMOs are set up to require players to lock down enemies all the time, but far more rarely involve enemies locking down players.

 

I know that when I played IE games, I was often frustrated by my inability to lock down enemies, but I was never once frustrated by their inability to lock me down.

 

I'd rather you guys think really carefully about whether a tank mechanic can do basically the same thing a lot more cleanly - no pathfinding problems, no need to micromanage movement, not limited to targeting people who are right next to you.  And it's a lot easier to justify enemies being unable to tank than being unable to engage.

While I agree that pathfinding was horrendous in Infinity Engine games, and not really much better in Aurora Engine games, I'd personally much rather deal with the increased overhead a mechanic like this provides than having tanks be completely ineffective at controlling the field of battle.  Of course, I'm already the type of player that micromanages the bejesus out of my party anyway, partly because I can't trust my casters to not fry my own party members with AoEs, so I'll be controlling all my characters' movements on the battlefield anyway.  This should also increase the value of skills, and items that increase the movement speed of characters so they are able to get past melee characters that are in the process of setting up a "defensive wall" before they get into position.  Also, this adds value to invisibility/etherealness  spells/skills that would allow you to get past the engagement zones unhindered.  I think this mechanic adds a good bit of tactical gameplay to the game, and I'm all for adding tactical gameplay, even if it means more micromanagement overhead.

Edited by Keyrock

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