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The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, February 22 2014 7:40 PM UTC +00:00
Visionary Realms, Inc.By Visionary Realms, Inc.
First created
Visionary Realms, Inc.By Visionary Realms, Inc.
First created
pledged of $800,000pledged of $800,000 goal
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, February 22 2014 7:40 PM UTC +00:00

All About Combat in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

Posted by Visionary Realms, Inc. (Creator)

Slowing things down

Combat in Pantheon will be built around a desire to change things up in the MMO space. Contemporary MMOs have become very fast paced and, for lack of a better term, spammy. While the combat is still reactionary in nature it tends to break down to focusing on your rotation while moving left or right. With Pantheon the desire is to shift things back to a slower paced combat where the frequency of ability execution is slower and your rotation is dictated more by your response to the encounter than just a sequence of abilities.

How will we accomplish this? By reaching into the past, and looking at games like EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, and Final Fantasy XI, and focusing on fewer abilities, and a slower pace of combat. In these games combat involved longer ability activation times, and refresh. They focused on the player or group reacting to cues from NPCs and environment and reacting through the use of ability or position. Current MMOs retain this mechanic but if you stop to watch and react you are not focused on your rotation that fills the in-between time. This results in a potential loss of DPS which ends up taking precedence over utilizing your utility abilities. The values of these abilities is then reduced because they end up just becoming a part of a rotation unless a particular encounter is designed around using them.

Abilities like stun, slow, snare, and root have lost their usefulness. In games like those mentioned previously these abilities were important to manage or execute at the right time. With Pantheon we want to bring some of that back while mixing in some current mechanics that exist in today’s MMOs.


One of the key things related to combat is preparation. Similar to the spell slots system from EQ the player is limited in how many abilities they can have available to them in combat. Abilities are stored in ability sets which carry with them certain parameters and limitations. For instance, abilities all have a color influence based on their magical school and adding an ability to a set may require an ability of a certain color before it can be slotted. When out of combat the player can swap abilities if they so desire. The strategic selection of abilities and creation of ability sets will be important when taking on bigger encounters as you explore Terminus.


Abilities in Pantheon are very special. Each ability was used by a powerful hero. These heroes are no longer around but their essence imbues the world of Terminus. When harnessed, these abilities can be used in many combinations with other abilities.There are two types of abilities regular and enhanced. Regular abilities are the common abilities that will be executed more frequently. Enhanced abilities must be powered up through the use of regular abilities.

Regular abilities are all defined with a color and power level, on top of what they do. The color represents the magical influence of the hero. Power level represents how powerful that ability is relative to other abilities.

Enhanced abilities are special abilities that require the activation of other abilities in their ability group. Each enhanced ability is linked to a group of abilities themed after a hero. Like regular abilities these abilities have a color influence and must follow the same slot rules as regular abilities. Enhanced abilities can only be activated when their growth bar has reached 100% or higher. At 100% the ability does normal damage, every 100% after that increases the damage of the ability by 100%. Super ability growth happens when an ability in the same ability group is used.

Skill Chains and Sympathetics

Skill chains are a series of super abilities executed in a particular order. These abilities are executed by multiple players. When a skill chain is completed an additional effect fires, this effect is called a sympathetic ability. There is only a certain window of time between each ability activation that the next qualifying one can be. If the player has discovered the chain their ability will light up if they have a qualifying ability letting them know they need to fire that ability next in order to take the chain to the next level.

Chain discovery occurs through experimentation. In order to discover they must try different combinations until they successfully complete the chain. When a chain is initially discovered it is entered into the tome of war. Only through practice can the player unlock the chain, fully gaining its biggest benefit.

Harnessing a Hero

While the player can combine abilities into various sets, true power comes from combining a number of abilities from the same heroes creating a special ability set called a Hero’s Essence.

A form of advanced ability set, hero essences can grow through use like other ability sets, but they have higher tiers and when advanced fully some of these essences will allow the player to take on the look of that hero granting them access to more paths of power.


With Pantheon we want to bring back class roles that involve more than just tank, healer and DPS. In EverQuest crowd control, utility, and debuffing were a major part of combat and so will it be in our world. This means that each class falls into a particular role but it does not mean that they do not have some basic attributes from other roles. Using EverQuest as an example, damage shields were the domain of druids and mages, enchanters owned the domain of mana regen and haste but a shaman could give you a less powerful haste if an enchanter was not available. Then there were bards who could do almost everything but nowhere near as well as the classes they were mimicking.

In general the classes of EverQuest kept their identities which made for varied memorable experiences as players took on challenges in different ways. It is these moments that have driven our class and combat designs. Here is a list of the roles that will exist in Pantheon.

Tank: Tanks are the defenders of their groups. When it comes to taking damage they do it like no other. If a group mate is in trouble, tanks are there to attract the attention of their foes with a timely shield bash or a quick snap of their blade. They care not for the glory of highest damage only that the members of their group survives long enough to tell the tale.

Healer: Feeling ill and need a pick me up? That is what a healer does. From buffing your health and curing a deadly disease to stitching up those 'flesh wounds' this role is the cog that keeps the group machine rolling through its enemies like a steam train.

DPS: Adept at dealing death, those classes that fit in the DPS role are revered for their ability to execute both burst and sustained damage. Not big fans of taking damage, DPS classes leave the job of tanking to the tanks so they can focus on what they do best...crush their enemies and you know the rest.

Utility: While tanks can take damage and healers can help recover that damage sometimes the situation can get out of control. When this happens you may need some crowd control, or maybe a haste buff or two, maybe someone can sing a merry tune. The utility role includes the classes that don’t care about doing big damage or making a mob angry at them, these classes enjoy managing the chaos that comes with a fight. They enjoy manipulating all of the variables that can affect the outcome of things, as if they were playing a grand piano. In this sense I guess you could say the utility class is the maestro of their group.


To sum it all up, Pantheon’s combat will be a slower paced strategic combat that incorporates some modern day ideals. Allowing the player to survey the battle will give them the ability to make tactical decisions bringing back the utility of ability effects like stun, snare, and root. It will focus on pre-combat preparation and ability, allowing the player to adjust the way they play depending on their mood or the challenge ahead. With depth through all aspects including the ability to slot growth, group leveling, and chain skills, players will have many ways to grow in power and exploit their targets.

Eldaran_SoL, Allaert (Irithim), and 48 more people like this update.


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    1. Luke A Smith(Niien/Wym) on

      I agree with slowing down combat and bringing back the need for real support roles not just healers. Give us lots of skills and make us pick the right or wrong skills for the job. Force some downtime in the game so people can interact and create social bonds; that is after all why most of us want to play MMOs. Most games today are all about how fast can we get to the last level, though hopefully the leveling pace will slow down drastically as well. I know everyone won't care for a game like that, though you can't appeal to everyone. You can play almost any of the new current MMOs out and get what we have now, though this is going to be something different and unique. If you are tired of the same thing, then head to Pantheon's website and help us support the game. The only way it will happen is if we want it bad enough and are willing to support them both with words and with money. It's time for a change...

    2. Missing avatar

      MARK PINTO on

      Sweet I only have one Hope Bring back the harsh open world.. Like EQ had for example in EQ you could start in Qeynos then run all the way to Freeport . yah it was hard you had to time it right wait for a higher level player to clear out a choke point in Highhold pass.. Or sow run pasted a lion or two but if you was cleaver enough you could push out as far as you can. that don't seem to be in todays games for example look at Neverwinter you start then u your force-fed in this small area getting pellets till you are now able to move to the next level grid and start again. A non stick and carrot questing system where u can quest here or move to an entire new location and get quests or events to do. not just force fed this only one option for your current level. thx Mark pinto

    3. Nydan on

      Focus on the combat. Squash the bugs. Have good pathing and AI. Once those are down worry about making interesting areas, lore and etc. Interesting and fun over huge. More content can always be added later.

    4. Missing avatar

      Aeiouy on

      The interesting thing is if the are able to recapture old school combat that will set the game streets ahead of the wow copy market place that exists today. I think bringing this kind of combat back should be goals A, B, C and D. Everything else comes later.

    5. Missing avatar

      Mari Bonomi on

      Where is Burned Woods today? :)

      Wow :) (No, not World of Warcraft-- just a good old-fashioned "wow" like we said when we first logged into EQ for the first time in 199!)

      I used to love that as a druid I might be responsible for keeping a mob DoT'd but at the same time doing so in a way that did not draw agro. I used to love that I could save a tank w/ a timely heal. (I always hated that I had no DPS, but then that wasn't my job, after all-- until the min-maxers on raids started making fun of druids b/c our heal numbers were not as high and we had no DPS. One of the things that made me stop logging on... )

      I loved when a weird group make-up could still function by using skills/spells/abilities that were usually forgotten.

      I loved when Leachreas the enchanter saved our group's butts repeatedly by well-timed charms and mez's so the rest of us could recover from an almost-wipe.

      I never much enjoyed WoW raids, though as a hunter I did enjoy solo'ing (nothing like a ranger with a mage pet!). Okay. Hunters. Your only job in this encounter is to use ice traps/keep those balls up in the air/etc. YAWN.

      I love the thought of vanilla EQ with 2017-level graphics, internet speeds, etc. (Yeah. Played 1999 EQ with Win 3.1 laptop and a 2400 baud dial-up modem. Not well, but it played, until Kunark's upgraded graphics that wouldn't work on the lappy.)

      Not sure I grasp those chains, but then I gave both EQII and Vanguard misses (hated Vanguard in beta).

    6. P99ShemakBLUE on

      Anthony Dixon.
      You mention the beastlord in your comment, i dont know what is in Patheon team head but i think when they make references of EQ they mostly talks about early EQ.

    7. Gazz on

      I no other MMO could I be saluted for a long fight where I didn't do a *single* point of damage or healing. =)

      Memming a damage spell meant that I was bored.

    8. Tanya Stinson on

      Feeling warm and fuzzy... One of the HUGE things I've missed in mmo's today is the true support class. Everything appears to be solely focused on dps at the expense of everything else. The min-maxers have sucked much, if not all of the joy out of the games for me. Don't get me wrong, I still play, but I'm not invested. I miss my enchanter- she had a job to do. Sure she delt damage (charmed frogs anyone?) but it wasn't her purpose in life and that was okay. Hell, it was more than okay. So bring back the support roles, the special skills- everyone doesn't need to be able to do everything but everyone does need to feel important.

    9. Missing avatar

      Avvy on

      I'm so happy :,)

    10. William Brett Morgan on

      I'm just ready to get my hands on the action!

    11. Nelson Nunez Jr on

      Great update. I am very fond of FFXI's combat as it was very fine tuned where skills mattered and positioning was important for thief and any job with the thief sub job.

      I hope some alternative stats such as HASTE and TP GAIN (for those skills) are enhanced by passive traits and equipment as well.

      This is all looking very in-depth and I hope the FFXI crowd is able to get this news.

    12. Starblight on

      "There will still be plenty of abilities and spells, but yes, the limitation is on how many can be accessed at any given time. (read: limited hotbar)"

      I do hope that you consider alpha and beta a good time to find the exact amount of ability that can be used at one and not set it in stone now. Too much like WoW was a huge mistake if you ask me but at the same time 12 (not sure if this is the number you are thinking about or not) is close to being too little if you ask me.

    13. Gazz on

      Using chains to dance the Hokey Pokey kinda goes against the whole "tactical" combat because tactical implies doing what is *situationally* best instead of being forced to use a stupid skill next because it happens to be the right colour of magic.

    14. Starblight on

      The rest of the combat description looks good. I love that you see distinct roles as being something that has been lost and needs to come back. I also love that CC, buffs and debuffs are getting more of the spot light.

    15. Starblight on

      chains involving group members is this like what EQ2 had at launch? I am sure that people will agree and disagree with this comment but I hope it is not Like EQ2. I found that all chains did in EQ2 at least in the beginning was force a groups to repeatedly hit the same attacks over and over as the chain was far more powerful then mixing other ability's in. I found it a neat idea until I used it. Then I felt like combat was on rails forcing me to play one way over and over and over.... well you get the idea.

    16. P99ShemakBLUE on

      All repetitive actions ends up being annoying if you do them to often, No matter how fun they are at first. What is fun in the long term on any MMORPG is character developement and social interactions. Guilds competitions alone can get you serverly addicted longer than any awesome gameplay. Not to mention, repetitives and spammy ones

    17. Anthony Dixon on

      This sounds fantastic, really, really good, but I have one question:

      Above you wrote: "In general the classes of EverQuest kept their identities which made for varied memorable experiences as players took on challenges in different ways."

      Which is true, but at the same time, a Cleric with their summonable hammers could tank, so could a beastlord with high enough stamina and agility (I know this because I was often offtank for my guild, using DoTs for aggro). So what I'm wondering is: are the roles so rigidly in place to not allow for some creativity, which is an issue that plagues new MMOs, or is there some leeway to get creative?

      Also, will there be a beer summoning necklace?

    18. Missing avatar

      Eric Robertson on

      Action chains are fine as long as they are not too often, if they are, its just something we will be forced to focus on that is 'not' the creature's position and activity.

      Vanguard was way too often and annoying.

    19. Susan Platter on

      I too really like the sound of this. It all sounds a lot more thoughtful and a good bit less of simple reaction. By the way, will there be a Tutorial? ;D

    20. P99ShemakBLUE on

      Furami Dash. If you played Everquest, do you remember the mob that gated or healed themselves ? One miss stun or silence at the right time and it was an entire group wipe with recovery time up to hours. That was engaging and was demanding good reaction time. Do not mix up spamming a wow rogue dps rotation with fun and skill. 28 keyboard binds with a multi buttons gaming mice to boot and non stop spamming keys is not fun and skill. Playing chess you have like 8 directionnal choice and minutes between moves :D

    21. Visionary Realms, Inc. Creator on

      There will still be plenty of abilities and spells, but yes, the limitation is on how many can be accessed at any given time. (read: limited hotbar)

    22. Gazz on

      Skill chains can be interesting but I hope this doesn't turn into the Final Fantasy madness of
      "Looking for a monk skilled for water using a triffid club level 17+ augmented with air and water. No one else may apply!".
      If you didn't spend your career to fit in a specific group with a specific skill chain... you were soloing. (only slightly exaggerated =)

    23. Missing avatar

      Mavric on

      Very please with where this is heading. Totally agree most combat in modern mmo is key spamming. Looking forward to a spell book again.

    24. Scott Beavers on

      I love this! Great stuff and keep the details coming in.

    25. Devincean on

      I am hoping by less abilities/spells you mean limited hotbars or spell gems like EQ and ffxi? None of those old games by any means had less abilities/spells eq and ffxiv each class had 100s of abilities. Thoses abilites where limited by how many you could use a time which made the game more fun to play since you needed to use the right spells/abilities for the right situation. Same as I hope elemental dmg / weakness will come into play a lot of game flake on this like FFXIV and you loose something. I like it when water vs fire = more dmg. I hate it when fire vs fire does dmg you shouldn't be able to hurt fire with fire. So please specify this. Will the game have less spells and abilities per class or just have limitations on how many you can use at a time?

    26. Missing avatar

      Rollen on

      Looks very similar to Vanguard combat. Which is a good thing.

    27. Missing avatar

      Joey on

      The best update yet! Really excited to see this in action.

    28. Darkodin on

      I like the idea of players combining attacks and abilities. I however wouldn't mind seeing the scope expanded a bit to include fused attacks between players / NPCs. So instead of just chaining attacks you can combine attacks for varying effects. Quick (generic) example: 2 mages are fighting a gnoll one casts fireball while the other casts ice orb. If both spells strike at the same time their energies get released together altering the effect of both spells.

    29. ThreeBeastSmile on

      I hope the combat is not too slow to be almost turn-based. I'm not sure why fast combat is relegated to the realm of fire and forget; I plan ahead accordingly to fit the increase in pace. I actually find that with slower combat things become too predictable because there's too much of a leeway time to observe. Maybe I'm being too harsh in appraising the speed's context and it's just what I regard as 'normal' speed really.

      I do like the sound of the ability use though; and hope to learn more soon.

    30. Troy_Costisick on

      Awesome! This is great to read. What are some example abilities a character might have?