Hi everyone, it took me a bit of observation and time to figure out exactly how the combat works on a attack-by-attack basis, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. Many people (including myself) seem to have a hard time understanding how exactly clash calculations and ability effects are made.
Combat System Explanatory Guide
Every attack has a set number of “coins” that can either add to, subtract from, or multiply the initial attack’s value (I have only seen addition coins on sinners’ moves so far though). In addition to the initial value given to the move, during a clash, any coins that land on heads will apply their effect to the moves final calculation. What is not made very clear at first is that during any clash, all coin slots are checked for heads/tails at the point of calculation. Some moves will result in more than one clash. This is because all coins that are present in a move have to be “exhausted” before the winner of a clash is determined.
A clash between two moves will continually occur until either side has no coins left on their move. Draws in clashes result in a reroll, but no coins are lost on either side. This may be easier to understand with an example.
Let’s say we have a move with initial value 4, 2 coin slots, and each coin gives +2 to the final value of the move (let’s call this “strike”). Clashing against it, we have a move with initial value 5, 1 coin slot, and the coin gives +4 to the final value of the move (let’s call this “whack”).
Both moves have all of their coins in tact. Let’s just say that “strike” rolls 1 head of its two coins and “whack” rolls a head. “strike” with initial value of 4 has +2 added to its final value for a total of 6. “whack” with a heads has initial value of 5 +4 from the heads. In this case (strike) 6 < 9 (whack) so whack wins the clash. In this case, one of strike’s coins is “exhausted” and a second clash occurs (since both moves still have a coin), in which strike will only have 1 coin.
Strike has 1 coin and whack has 1 coin. Let’s say that strike hits heads (on its now only coin) and whack hits tails. strike with an initial value of 4 and an additional 2 from the coin has a total value of 6. whack with an initial value of 5 and no heads will have a final value of 5. (strike) 6 > 5 (whack), so strike will win this clash. Because whack only has one coin left, it is burned after losing the clash, and the character using strike proceeds to damage calculation.
This part is pretty straightforward, save for a few things that gave me some confusion due to how obscure the tutorials are. On moves with a coin symbol and a number in the middle, this means that the effect next to it will only trigger on the nth coin slot of the move. However, one thing of note is that moves are not restored to their full versions after winning a clash–moves will only have as many coins as they had kept after a clash during damage calculation. So in our above example, strike would only have 1 coin to attack with on damage calculation.
Once damage calculation is reached, if an attack has multiple coins, they are NOT all rolled at the same time as they are in clashes. Coins are rolled 1-by-1 and will change the attack value based on the coin modifier (add/subtract/multiply). Let’s say we have a move called “whirlwind”. It has an initial value of 4, 4 coins slots, and each coin adds 1 to the final value of the move. whirlwind wins a clash, keeping all of its coins (Note that unopposed attacks always keep all of their coins). We start at the first coin slot. Attack damage is calculated by multiplying the move’s value by the attack damage multiplier against the enemy it is being used on (e.g. by sin weakness/res or slash/pierce/strike damage weakness/res). Let’s list how the attack’s value would change flip-by-flip:
- Flip 1: H (+1) or T (+0).
- Flip 2: 2 H (+2), 1 H and 1 T (+1), or 2 T (+0) (these are all the possible permutations of 2 coin flips, disregarding order).
- Flip 3: 3 H (+3), 2 H and 1 T (+2), 1 H and 2 T (+1), or 3 T (+0).
- Flip 4: 4 H (+4), 3 H and 1 T (+3), 2 H and 2 T (+2), 1 H and 3 T (+1), or 4 T (+0).
After each coin flip is made, the character will attack with the moves value based on its initial value + the coin modifier. Let’s say we were attacking with whirlwind with all 4 coins available and got H T T H.
- Flip 1: 1 H + I (initial value) = 5 atk.
- Flip 2: (1 T +) 1 H + I = 5 atk.
- Flip 3: (2 T +) 1 H + I = 5 atk.
- Flip 4: (2 T +) 2 H + I = 6 atk.
Total of 21 atk, multiplied by damage multiplier gives final damage.
That being said, now that you should fully understand how exactly the combat system works, I think it will be much easier to come up with ways to make the regular encounters more interesting. As many have pointed out, regular encounters leave a lot to be desired in terms of player autonomy. Oftentimes it feels like “Big number better, me take bigger number” due to the fact that there is no way to redirect attacks at will.
One of the things that made LoR (Library of Ruina) such a tactically deep and satisfying game is that all of the systems were made such that the player could use them to their advantage, if they knew how to. The problem with normal encounters is that possibly the most quintessential part of the game, combat manipulation based on speed, has been practically gutted entirely, aside from abnormality battles. Not only can you not direct where your units attack, the worst part is that your fastest character will ALWAYS attack the slowest enemy, which usually turns your biggest offensive/defensive asset into an unavoidable misuse of the game’s mechanics.
I’ve seen many players talk about the defensive option and how to use it, but I feel that once you have all of your identities’ uptie levels to III, there is almost never a scenario where defensive moves make sense. The defensive tokens don’t change or get stronger based on identity (as far as I can tell), and usually you can just win clashes with fully upgraded moves anyways. In the very niche case that you have to use a defensive move, it will probably have little impact on the way the battle turns out.
Defensive moves were an integral part of LoR that added even more depth to the combat through the stagger system, but in this game, it feels pointless. I think one interesting way to fix this would be by giving every identity an uptie-scaling, identity-specific defensive move. Not only would this make defensive moves more viable, it would make each identity more unique, possibly giving players more incentive to get an identity they want.
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