The game’s turn-based combat system encourages players to make strategic, tactical decisions. With the aid of your party and friendly NPCs, you will engage in battle with evil enemies; with just the right amount of luck and planning, you will emerge victorious. Combat begins as soon as you get close enough to enemies to be noticed or when you actively engage an enemy.
When your party is split up and one character picks a fight, the game will only be in turn-based mode for that character. The other party members can still walk around freely, start their own fights, or even join that character while combat is in progress.
When a battle begins, on the very top of the screen you will see all the portraits of the battle's participants. Your currently-selected character's portrait will have a gold border, your party allies will have blue borders, your NPC allies will have green borders, and the enemies will have red borders . Each character's vitality is located under his or her portrait.
The order of combat turns is determined by each participant’s Initiative, among other factors.
Each participant is allocated a certain number of Action Points based on their Stats. Action Points determine how many actions a participant can take during that turn. Every action takes up a certain number of Action Points, from movement, to attacking, to using skills and items. You do not have to use all Action Points in a single turn, and it is often strategic to save them for future turns. Certain skills require greater or fewer points than other skills, so spread out your Action Point usage wisely.
In order to move, simply hover over the part of the map to which you wish to move; you will see a preview of the distance, the path your character will take, and how many Action Points the movement will cost.
To execute an attack with your character’s currently equipped weapon, simply hover over the participant you wish to attack, and you will see how many Action Points the attack will cost (this includes moving towards the target). Then decide whether you wish to execute the attack.
Hovering over the target will also show your chance of a successful hit on that enemy. Your chance depends on the primary statistic related to your specific type of attack and weapon, your offence rating, as well as the enemy’s defence rating. Enemies with lower defence ratings tend to be easy to attack, while those with higher defence ratings can be very difficult to hit.
If your equipped weapon is a bow or crossbow, you can attack anything in sight, even if it is beyond the ideal range of the weapon; however, exceeding the ideal range will lower your chance of landing an actual hit.
Skills or items
To execute a skill, simply select its icon in your character's Hot Bar and then hover with your mouse over the target; this will show you how many Action Points the attack will cost. Certain skills will also show their area of effect. Other skills will be immediately executed as soon as you click the skill button. Read the description of each skill for more detailed information. The skills you can use in combat are not limited to those in your Hot Bar; you can also open your skill window and choose skills there.
You can also use items while in combat. This includes drinking potions, eating food, using a scroll, or even changing gear. Of course, all these actions also cost Action Points.
A "saving throw" is like a behind-the-scenes roll ("throw") of the dice whose outcome can determine an in-game event. If an enemy tries to set you on fire (i.e. the 'Burning' status), the game will roll the dice to decide whether you are successfully set ablaze. This dice roll can be stacked for or against you, depending on the caster's and your own stats. Statuses that have a duration of several turns will check the success chance at every turn, allowing the inflicted characters to savethrow out of the status prematurely.
Dagger-wielding players with the Back-Stabber Talent can stab their enemies from the rear for guaranteed critical damage. To perform a backstab, a player has to position themselves in a 30-degree sector behind an enemy. This zone is highlighted on the ground when the player mouses over an enemy.
A bar showing each combat participant’s Vitality is available on the top of the screen while in battle. If a party-member or companion dies, there are powerful spells scattered throughout the world capable of resurrecting them both inside and outside of battle.
A participant’s use of skills will determine how they fare in battle. It is important to use skills strategically, always considering which will work in conjunction with your battle tactics.
For example, if you or a friendly character is next to attack, it may be worth using a skill that will buff your or their Damage or Offence Rating. On the other hand, if someone is about to take damage, it may be worth using a skill that will buff their Defence or Armour Rating, or debuff the enemy's Damage or Offence rating.
Many skills work well when combined with other skills.
For instance, you can use Teleportation on a dangerous enemy swordsman that is too close for comfort. He will have to spend some Action Points to move towards you once you've zapped him away, and you have postponed the threat. Even better: Slow him after you have teleported him. This gives you even more time to attack him from a safe distance, or to manage other attackers first.
Another example: Use Midnight Oil in combination with any targeted fire skill (or even a Fire Arrow or Explosive Arrow). Draw up oil underneath the enemy's feet (the more enemies, the better). Not only will this slow them down, but you can also set the oil surface on fire!
Now that you have created a fire surface, why not send a huge ball of dirt through it? When you cast Boulder Dash and the boulder travels through fire, it turns into a flaming comet that'll deal extra damage.
Why not try Rain as a preparatory action? Sure, it extinguishes fires, but it also creates puddles of water. If you can catch several enemies standing in water, not only are they more susceptible to ice and electrifying attacks, but you can also electrify the entire puddle and stun all of them in one go.
Some skills also work well against other skills. Have you been cursed by an evil priest? Cast Bless! Been slowed by a skeletal mage? Cast Haste!
Certain attacks imbue the victim with status effects that affect them for several turns. Freezing stops a participant from acting, poison slowly drains their Vitality, and fire continuously causes damage. The character's statistics determine how individual status effects will affect them.
Status effects are caused by spells cast on characters or on the surfaces on which characters walk. Characters get a saving throw against these statuses.
Surfaces and clouds
Surfaces and clouds are elements on the floor or in the atmosphere. Everything from simple puddles of water to pools of blood are special elements which can be used in special ways with just the right skill or arrow type.
Surfaces and clouds tend to be status-affecting, therefore walking through a surface can be very dangerous. A fiery surface will set you ablaze, incurring a burning status that will deal damage each turn until removed. Walking upon a surface of ice has a chance to knock your character down, and your character will have to skip turns until your saving throw allows them to stand up, until the effect wears off, or until an ally helps them up. Beware! Some enemies will leave strange surfaces or clouds after they perish, adding extra elements to navigate during and after combat.
Surfaces and clouds can be changed, removed, and interacted with. For instance, throwing a fireball on an ice surface will cause the ice to melt, reforming it into a water surface which is susceptible to electric attacks.
If there is an oil barrel between your character and an enemy, striking the barrel with a fire skill will cause it to explode; on the other hand, shooting it with a regular arrow will cause the oil to spill out. This will allow you to slow enemies that attempt to wade through the oil and also let you light them on fire.
In combat, it's better to plan a solid strategy than to try to deal maximum damage as soon as possible. Your party will often find itself outnumbered, and enemies may have advantages the player may not (yet) have.
Try to identify the main threat in the opposition. For instance, if there is one mage that keeps on healing his allies, or even insists on resurrecting all his fallen friends, direct as many attacks as possible towards him.
Try not to hit too many different targets at once. Focus on getting one enemy down instead of hurting many. Two trolls with 1 hit-point each still deal full troll damage. The damage dealt to these two trolls would have better been directed toward one troll.
Use the environment. For instance, you can position yourself so that archers may not hit you, or have to move before being able to hit you. Or you can create choke points so that not all of the enemy's forces can target you.
Be on the lookout for items that can help you in battle. Throw things at your enemies, destroy items around them so they must take a longer path, explode oil, water, or ooze barrels, etc.
Delaying and Fleeing
Sometimes you may wish to act at the end of a turn (that is, after the rest of your party and enemies have acted), rather than at the beginning. This is called delaying and can be executed by hitting the Delay Turn button. For instance, if you want to wait until a wizard has buffed you before hitting an enemy, delay your turn. Or say you're a healer, and your comrades haven't taken damage, but you foresee a devastating blow in the very near future. Delay your turn so you'll be able to cast your spells when they'll really count. If you are a wizard and you are finally ready to shout "Fireball!", delay your turn so you can cast it after your friends have moved safely out of the way. That's the nice thing to do.
If you're sure you can't win a battle, you should press the Flee button.
Delaying and Fleeing are not always possible and may be disabled based on the present state of the battle or your party's configuration. Each character can only delay once per combat round.