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Join the RPG renaissance! From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy.
From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy. Thank you for making this game a reality. The bard is back!
From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy. Thank you for making this game a reality. The bard is back!
33,741 backers pledged $1,519,680 to help bring this project to life.

Glorious Combat

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Hello Citizens of Caith. My name is David Rogers, and I'm the Systems Designer on The Bard's Tale IV. I know I don't have to tell any of you that combat is a core pillar of The Bard's Tale. It's where all of our choices about race, class, gear, and party composition combine with our own sense of strategy, leading to either glorious victory or humiliating defeat. Combat design is what I've been primarily focused on, and what I'm here to chat with you about. Before we dive into the real meaty bits, I need to give the obligatory disclaimer that what you're about to see is all a work in progress, and changes may occur between now and the final release of the game.

Combat Basics

One of the great things about designing for a dungeon crawler is your ability to quickly build the game on paper before you build it out digitally. We've put a big emphasis on proving out our designs by playing them out on the tabletop. Similar to playing a game of D&D, we're able to play out the bard's tale on the tabletop and make sure what we're doing is fun, strategic, and ticks all the boxes we're looking for in The Bard's Tale IV. We started from a foundation of classic blobber combat, distilling down the parts that truly compel us. But we also make note of missed opportunities for rich strategic decision-making, and brainstorm how to capitalize on them.

One area we really want to improve on is the kind of decisions the player has to make during combat. It was a common trend in older blobbers that most of your decisions were made out of combat and once you entered combat you did the same actions over and over again. That old chestnut of "attack, attack, attack, defend, defend, fireball" is something we want to disrupt. Gaming has come a long way since the heyday of old school dungeon crawlers and we're dead set on bringing the genre back into the spotlight.

We discussed our 4x4 battlefield grid in a previous Kickstarter update. Accentuating the role that the battlefield plays in combat is one element we're focusing on. To briefly recap, during combat our battlefield is a 4x4 grid where the players' party occupies one half of the grid and the enemies' party occupies the other half. Because we want to show your enemies (and the bloody pulp you beat them into) in all of their glory, their half of the grid exists in 3D space. Your party, in classic blobber fashion, lives on your HUD. It looks a little something like this:

This is what our board looks like while we're playtesting our paper prototype. After our art director gave it a little love it started to look a little something like this:

This is an example mockup, not an in-game screenshot, but should give a sense for our intended combat presentation.
This is an example mockup, not an in-game screenshot, but should give a sense for our intended combat presentation.

There's a lot to talk about, so let's start with the grid. As you can see, the grid does a great job of blending the 3D space and the HUD together into a single battlefield. Where your character sits on this grid in relation to the enemy is of vital import. For instance, by positioning a resilient warrior in front of your frail conjurer, you can protect him from direct physical attacks, allowing him to spell-sling with relative impunity. Even beyond the classic front row/back row dynamic, characters can generally only attack enemies that are in front of them. Of course, there are exceptions to this, particularly when we start talking about magic. This heavy emphasis on your party's position has a lot of really cool implications that makes each combat a real strategic puzzle to be solved.

Which characters should I use to tank damage from each enemy? If an enemy is charging up a powerful attack, should I try to move someone into position to interrupt him or should I move everyone out of the way? Should I move my character into position to attack a critical target next turn, or should I just stay put and attack whoever is in front of me this turn? Should I cluster my team together to share short range buffs, or should I spread them out to avoid AOE damage?

These are choices we've not been able to present in past Bard's Tale games and we're finding them to be really fun and rewarding.

Designing Attacks

Positioning is one component of combat, but where things really start to get interesting is how attacks can tie into things like battlefield positioning. To give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, let's talk about the anatomy of an attack.

At the core of our design for The Bard's Tale IV is the idea that all attacks and abilities should be interesting to use. We are trying to move away from giving every character the same basic attack ability that just does damage. While doing single target damage is effective, there isn't a lot of strategy revolving around the choice of whether or not to attack your enemy. The answer is generally yes. That's an example of a missed strategic opportunity we wanted to capitalize on. Your weapons, spells, and abilities will offer their own unique attack types that often have different built-in properties to set them apart. You're saving the world, gosh darn it, so you'd better do something heroic! These differences can be minor or major, but the point is that each attack is designed to shine in different scenarios. Throughout your adventure you'll encounter enemies using new abilities and tactics. You'll need to keep evolving your strategy to be victorious.

When examining the anatomy of an attack and making it interesting to use, we have a number of qualities at our disposal. These include Attack Pattern, Damage, Damage Type, Special Effect, and Cost (Just to name a few). In this update, we'll cover Attack pattern, Damage, and Special Effects. We'll cover the other elements in a later update. Let's start by breaking these down one at a time.

First is attack pattern. Keeping in mind the influence the battlefield plays on our gameplay, each attack has a pattern associated with it that dictates who the attack will affect. An attack pattern may look something like this:

This attack pattern is something you'd find on a sword thrust attack, and indicates it will attack forward, striking the closest enemy directly in front of it, up to two grid squares away. Other abilities may be able to pierce multiple targets, may strike from different directions, or be able to directly target an opponent regardless of their position (this is especially true of magical attacks). In game, you'd see a helpful targeting indicator show you the range of your attack, along with who'll ultimately be affected.

Once again, example mockup, not an in-game shot.
Once again, example mockup, not an in-game shot.

Our attack shown in the image above has a range of 2. Since our Warrior is in the front row, he can reach all the way to the enemies' back row. That enemy ogre is in for some poking the likes of which he's never seen! Had the Warrior been sitting in his back row, he wouldn't have been able to reach the ogre. The Hunter, positioned behind the Warrior, has long ranged bow attacks that can strike up to three grid squares away and is more than capable of sniping the ogre from relative safety.

Like we've said in previous updates, we want to allow player to experiment with multiple party compositions, including ones that might not conform to the tank + DPS format. One way this grid system supports that goal is evasion based defense and enemy disruption. Evasion based defense is the idea that I can attack with a character and then move that character in such a way that it makes it difficult for my enemy to effectively re-position themselves to mount a concentrated counterattack. Rogues are particularly good at this sort of hit and run tactic. Enemy disruption is similar, in that some classes are capable of throwing their enemies around the battlefield, disrupting their formation and making it difficult for them to effectively strike back in their following turn.

Now that we know who we're attacking, let's talk about the bloody part: Damage. Damage is a pretty simple calculation. Damage comes from the character's stats, which are sourced from a variety of places including gear, skills, level, etc. Most of the time, damage is a fixed amount instead of a random range. This really allows you to plan out the perfect combo, that will for sure take that ogre down before he crushes your skull in. There are some abilities that do random damage, but that random element is something special about the ability that makes it unique.

Once damage is dealt, then we apply any additional effects. This is where attacks start to get more interesting. An effect might knock an enemy to the side, exposing that frail caster he was protecting. Another effect might be a poison that damages an enemy over time. Yet another might be a debuff that reduces a target's armor, softening it up for your allies. You get the idea - effects open up a world of possibilities for us to play with.

To give you a more real-world example of how attacks can synergize in interesting ways, during our playtesting, one of the synergies that the warriors have been using is a bleed and bash combo. Axe-wielding warriors can cause their target to bleed, which causes them to take damage whenever they move around the battlefield. You can imagine them exerting themselves and gushing blood, leaving a red trail behind them as they bleed out. Once that effect has been applied, shield and club wielding warriors get to work. These blunt armaments can often knock an enemy from one grid square to the next, throwing them out of their ideal position and opening up attacks to the more vulnerable glass cannons they've been protecting. The nice thing is, when you forcibly move an enemy, it also triggers the bleeding effect. If done right, you can get a nice ping-pong combo by bashing a bleeding enemy back and forth between warriors, each time causing them to take bonus bleed damage.

Now, hopefully, you can see how all these elements come together into a really fun and thought-provoking combat system rife with opportunities for combos and counter play. We're continuing to tune and iterate on it, of course, making adjustments constantly based on playtesting.

There are a lot of things we didn't go into here that will also play a huge role in combat; things such as Mana management, combat stances, charge up attacks, and more. However, this should give you some insight into the depth we are building into The Bard's Tale IV. Stay tuned for Glorious Combat Part 2, where we'll cover the even more advanced and unique features of the Bard's Tale IV's combat system.

For now, let us know what you think! We've touched on combat before, but this is the first time we've shown anything in this much detail, so we want to hear your ideas. Also, thanks for supporting The Bard's Tale IV. All hail the Sword Father.

David Rogers
Lead Systems Designer

PerfectVirus, Artem Ivanisov, and 192 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. ljbo on July 24, 2016

      Very late on this but it seems to me than a 4x4 grid severally restrict tactical possibilities. Or am I missing something?

    2. Pete King on July 23, 2016

      "Reminds me of old school RPG's too much" This backer is a bit of an idiot. The Bards Tale *is* an old school RPG and this is precisely what we, the fans, want to see - an old school RPG with a modern look.

    3. Missing avatar

      Robert J. Hansen on June 28, 2016

      When are we going to see an update?

    4. Missing avatar

      Mark Holler on June 3, 2016

      @Blain Roman: I know we all have different expectation of what this game should be, but your statement of "Reminds me of old school RPG's too much" threw me for a loop. I backed this game precisely because I remember the original games fondly and while I fully realize this game will be much more modern, I certainly hope they include blobber elements in the final product.

    5. J.R. Riedel on May 10, 2016

      This sounds promising, I'll be curious to see it in action.

    6. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on May 10, 2016

      @William Buxton: I read it this way: Since the enemy will have the same skills, he too can mix up your party and for example drag a vulnerable mage to the front. So memorizing a pattern helps only up to that point. Naturally if the combat is more involving, the number of combats has to go down so that it doesn't become tedious. Fewer battles, but more interesting battles, a good trade in my opinion

      If I were inXile I would include passive abilities the player can select that either boost damage/special attacks or give resistance to "move"/special attacks. If you want a more relaxed attack,attack,attack pattern, just select the resistances on level-up

    7. William Buxton on May 9, 2016

      Correct me if I missed something. Your concern is that combat will become rote, and want to make it more than simply "mashing attack over and over again". Though with variety, no doubt there will come a time, the certain 2-3 battles or like facing you've memorized the patterns each character must take to get through the encounter ASAP. So if "memorized commands' or like on the table, really could just mash through the combat at that point, having been figured out.

      Even if have to go through menus the same way every time to make it happen, Dragon Quest has had this problem as well as you just go through a similar routine after figured out how to clear the battles you're powerleveling at. So I guess I'm saying is, to a degree this will likely still be in the game, as otherwise if each battle was always different, it could be tedious after going through so many?

    8. Missing avatar

      Scott Gilliland on May 5, 2016

      Looks very interesting. Will there be large enemy groups like in the original games? And will rogue type characters possess the ability to hide in shadows? Large enemy groups gave the original trilogy of games a very epic feel (it was also fun to see them swallowed up by earth maw spells!) and there were a number of times that bosses were taken out by my thief who slowly made her way into the shadows (sometimes 90') to take out a Tarjan with a critical backstab. Good times.

    9. Missing avatar

      Fitheach on May 4, 2016

      The issue with full 3d party members is, I imagine, that you then get into the whole exponential number of outfits weapons etc or would you be fine if the models were static as in always looked the same and used the same animations for whatever they were doing. Like a you give a warrior a mace and the model still shows a sword or wielded it as one. Or you give the drunk bum a fancy set of armour and they still look like they did before. The additional issue is these are people you will be looking at a lot with animations you will be seeing ad nauseam so any skimping is going to get a lot of eyes on it. So would you accept less enemies as a compromise or fewer locations?

    10. Kahuna Kevin on May 4, 2016

      @inXile Please add attacks targeting specific limbs and body parts! Especially for Rogues!!!

    11. John E. Smoker on May 4, 2016

      Oh no.. not really a fan of combat where you can't see everything..

    12. Missing avatar

      Blain Roman on May 3, 2016

      Hello:

      Thanks David for the in depth info and pictures regarding combat.

      There are aspects of the design and like and other things not so much.

      First, I like the combat grid idea. It improves on the static blobbers and at the other extreme
      party members running willy-nilly through a combat scene a la MMO's which watching this
      makes me dizzy. The thing that I disagree on is that our characters shouldn't appear as blobbers too. It would seem if both sides stood on a grid and movement is sort of like a board game wherein my thief could walk or run up to a monster on another grid square to try to backstab. Having one side pseudo 3d and the other not seems inconsistent.

      I'm somewhat on the fence regarding combat decision making. Specifically when it should happen. The old Bards Tale game I think was strategic in that you could decide what each party member does in a combat round. Actually I liked that way of doing it. But I agree attack, attack, defend, cast fireball got a bit old. Expanding on choices will be a welcome addition. Maybe the choices you have could evolve or devolve depending on the combat dynamic up to the point choices are to be made. What I mean is you may choose a fighter to attack a goblin but a ogre steps up so now you can attack the ogre without the game seeing this as a miss against the goblin.

      Get rid of blobbers, no characters on the HUD please. Reminds me of old school RPG's too much.

      The idea of being able to position your characters in combat is a good idea and I think can be facilitated more realistically by having your characters appear on the grid like the monsters.

      The variety of attack types is also a welcome addition. So I understand the base damage is not random. So what determines it? Attributes?, level? skills?

      Am I correct in saying that weapon type will determine some amount of damage above the base damage?

      The idea of an attack pattern is useful to have and has been done in some games before. To add some variety or spice to this perhaps things like experience with a weapon, health of monster or character, effects, monster or character abilities e.g. speed, etc. can increase or diminish the pattern you see rather than a 3 sq. ahead for every sword, unless the sword is magic so then it gets AOE.

      If I remember correctly David I think you said something about monsters being able to reposition themselves because of damage, etc. This should be the case with the characters where they can move back. If I may suggest perhaps they or another character can move entirely off the combat grid due to fear, severity of wounds, etc. They would be out of the combat. But join the party or perhaps die afterwards.

      Evasion based defense and enemy disruption should occur for both sides.

      No blobbers, 3d characters on grid, not on the HUD!

      Thanks for the work being done by all of you on this game, It is shaping up to be a game I am looking forward to and you guys can proudly say that the Bard's Tale is back.

    13. Derek Rushing on May 3, 2016

      So, there will be no " monster is 80 feet away " what do you do. This is a totally different style from that of the trilogy. I know a lot of the strategy of the earlier games was to plan out the movement system. At times it was overkill waiting 6 rounds for them to get to you, but if it was mulltiple mobs, it gave a strategy on who to focus on.

    14. Sir Chaox on May 3, 2016

      @Mihir
      I'm sorry, I think you may have backed the game under false assumption :( This game is meant to be first person; most people who backed hopefully realized this and are expecting a first-person, party-based dungeon crawler. However, I will tell you that I think they plan to have freer movement (you may not be moving around one tile at a time, like in Legend of Grimrock) as an option, though the game will still be tile based behind the scenes.

      @Ricks
      Great point on Wiz8... I forgot how many times I cornered up in that game, Lol... But maybe they can figure out a way around this (I still like the idea of getting attacked from different sides).

      As for the fixed damage, I think damage can and should still be based largely on stats but having a range might signify a certain level of effectiveness in each individual attack; if each attack is fixed, then that assumes you always attack an enemy the same way and hit them the same way, resulting in the same damage. I think having a damage range adds some realism (I know some people hate that word, but I like it) and a small amount of deviation between attacks/encounters with similar enemies.

    15. Trevor Martin on May 3, 2016

      I'd also like to add my voice to those who are unsure about fixed damage. Is that fixed in the sense that there are no damage modifiers (e.g. hitting a cloth wearing wizard does the same damage as hitting a plate armored knight?) or fixed base damage before modifiers? If the former then doesn't chance to miss become the primary armor stat? Are crits going to be instadeath or damage modifiers? Will glancing blows exist?

      The idea of selecting an action knowing that it would definitely kill an enemy is interesting from a tactical viewpoint but a bit 'gamey' and mechanical.

    16. Missing avatar

      Ferdinand von Schenk
      Superbacker
      on May 3, 2016

      Those ideas look a bit like the stuff "Darkest Dungeon" is doing with its combat maneuvers.

    17. Trevor Martin on May 3, 2016

      Great update. I wouldn't go as far as saying that this design will shake up the (sub)genre as a lot of these innovations are new to the series but have been seen elsewhere in recent years, particularly the Japanese blobber scene and games like Darkest Dungeon. However there are some new ideas I love (the bleed triggering ping pong!) and I'd rather see the game deliver a great 'new' Bards Tale experience rather than try to innovate too much.

      @Mihir-Pirate King of the Obsidian Order - unfortunately the original Bards Tale followers would probably not have backed a project that deviated too far from the original games. It would be like taking all of the RPG out of Fallout and turning it into a first person shooter. Who would want that? Oh... err... anyway - I'm glad it's sticking to it's roots.

    18. Missing avatar

      vitirr on May 3, 2016

      @Ricks: that may be true, but I think it was probably related to other causes like the big amount of enemies in Wiz8, and the high difficulty of that game. I mean, I think the system is good and can be successfully executed even if it might had its limitations in that particular game.

    19. Missing avatar

      Ricks on May 3, 2016

      Btw. I like the idea of fixed damage. I experienced the randomness of damage annoying, such as: "Why is the damage so much different to previous attack? Is it because of a bonus? Is it because of a weakness? Which stats are responsible for that? Luck? Dexterity? Strength? And how much does it take from each stat to influence a major part? What is actually the default damage?
      In the end it was a dirty mixture of it all, including the randomness of the random attack damage. Basically all you got was a random damage number coming up, but nothing you could plan and estimate in advance.

    20. Missing avatar

      Ricks on May 3, 2016

      @vitirr: while the positioning system of Wiz8 was theoretically superior, it was also an annoyance. Successful party setups in Wiz8 always fell back to a strong frontrow/backrow setup. This setup then always forced you to retreat back into the corners of a map to fight battles (which was kinda ridiculous). If you were surrounded by enemies, then even weak enemy armies killed off your exposed party members one by one, which made the 360° combat feature unusable.

    21. Missing avatar

      Rui Mendes: Herald of the Ever Tormented on May 3, 2016

      Looks quite good!

      I just have to second the comments already made about side & back attack grids. *This* would make things more interesting (having consequences to the way you position yourself in the game world and how you engage your enemies) and would be more fitting to a "4*99 Berserkers" situation :-).

      However, I always trusted the game designers I backed on such decisions and was never let down!

    22. krayzkrok on May 3, 2016

      I'm reassured that you're putting a lot of thought into the combat system. A couple of comments mentioned Lords of Xulima, but while that sounded like a good idea on paper, in reality I found it was just a drag. I think Starcrawlers is probably a better comparison, combat in that game is great fun, and has a little of the dynamism you're talking about.

      I would like to see some randomness in damage or hit chances though; predictability is boring, having to think fast to rescue a dire situation is where the fun lies. There's a fine line between frustrating "WHAT? NO WAY!" randomness and "Damn, not quite good enough" though.

    23. Jeremie Lariviere
      Superbacker
      on May 3, 2016

      cool update, thanks!

    24. John McMillen
      Superbacker
      on May 3, 2016

      Why do people keep talking about 99 Berserkers?
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      It was 4 groups of 99 Berserkers (396 total).

    25. Loswaith on May 3, 2016

      Looks good, reminds me a lot of the way Disciples (each side only had 3 'fronts' though) did combat, but sounds like Bard's Tale 4 will have many more tactical options.
      This style tends to keep the blobber feel to it as well.

    26. Missing avatar

      Mihir-Pirate King of the Obsidian Order on May 2, 2016

      So, I'd like to share some critical thoughts on this. Please understand that I am simply being clear to help you understand my point and not just complaining.

      Okay so while I understand and appreciate how the combat system will work, this look was absolutely NOT what I was expecting or even looking forward to.

      I really, really hate First Person dungeon crawlers :(. The primary reason being the the fact that when I have a party of characters, I dislike the fact that I do not see my own party characters and their animations play out. The other thing is the absolutely abnormal movement systems where you move one 'block' at a time and take 90 degree turns. Completely destroys the immersion and atmosphere for me.

      I was honestly expecting this to be a third person view behind the backs of your party. Because compared to simply seeing my party members' Faces (only art that too, not even their 3d models), I'd prefer an isometric look similar to Wasteland 2 or Torment any day. I understand it's something I should've expected seeing how the previous Bard's Tales were made, but I was under the impression that this would be what was changed when you were making the game in 3d in Unreal 4.

      Thanks.

    27. Bryy Miller on May 2, 2016

      Brian Fargo, stop stealing my thoughts and dreams. This is exactly what I was working on. Get the bugs and trackers out of my car and house. I mean come on now, dude.

    28. Anthony on May 2, 2016

      Wow this system looks amazing - new and innovative :) very impressed

    29. Bobby Allen
      Superbacker
      on May 2, 2016

      What is wrong with the Wasteland II style of combat? I am so pumped for the table top game. When will that happen? same time? before? later?

    30. frederic tarabout on May 2, 2016

      I love ping pong!

    31. Sir Chaox on May 2, 2016

      I second what @vitirr said!

      I really hope we can face threats on every side (though maybe we need more than two rows for positioning if we want to protect a party member from ahead and behind?).

      Would love @inXile to comment on this possibility.

      I agree with @Marcio (I made a similar comment below). Can anyone argue in favor of a fixed damage scheme?

    32. Missing avatar

      Mike on May 2, 2016

      Everything described in this update was already implemented by indie developer Numantian Games in their old-school Might and Magic-ish title Lords of Xulima, where it added a lot of strategic depth to the combat system. (Although I do like the slight twist here where you're focusing more on fixed rather than random-range damage values.) Maybe inXile had LOX in mind when deciding on this system? Either way, I'm not saying this is a rip-off - just that the same system was proven to work well in LOX, so it should be just as good in The Bard's Tale IV. Great stuff!

    33. Joel Fox on May 2, 2016

      Sounds great.

      I just hope the attack animations and afx are better than the usual Wizardry-like fare.

      Ido like the warped grid design, but I wonder if 4x4 is really the right size. Please consider making some large enemies (or even allies) occupy multiple tiles, and/or small enemies that are multiples on one tile.

      Not actual separate enemies on a single tile, but rather single enemies rendered visually as a group. Like the Dragon Quest monsters that are composed of 2-4 smaller monsters joining up.

    34. Marcio Araujo on May 2, 2016

      I don't know if I like the fixed damage approach. The random creates something unique about every combat

    35. Missing avatar

      vitirr on May 2, 2016

      Seems like you're trying to make things a bit more tactical and interesting but I have my concerns.

      Can you move your party or turn at all during combat? Because from the way the hud is going to represent the party and what seems to be a static 4x4 grid it seems like you can't (if you turn, then the layout should change, as well as the grid layout, which doesn't seem to be what you are aiming for). I even have my doubts about being able to have enemies on the sides or at the back of your party as well. If this confirms would be a great letdown for me.

      I'm not so sold on the "reach only the enemies in from of you" thing, but I could live with that better.

      I still think that Wizardry 8 had a yet simple but unbeatable positioning system to date.

      I love the look of the mockup by the way

    36. Corpselocker on May 2, 2016

      I think I like it. Sometimes, though, I just want to get through a encounter. Attack, attack, attack, block, block. Maybe that is lazy game programming I have adapted to. I have faith, though, that you are really looking at the best solutions and giving them to us. Kudos.

    37. marc pixler on May 2, 2016

      wonderful set up.clear,fast,efficient.i dig this.

    38. Brian McCabe on May 2, 2016

      Awesome to hear that there will still be a way to have huge fights!

    39. Bobby Allen
      Superbacker
      on May 2, 2016

      WOW, A table top version of Bards Tale IV, I did not see that stretch goal... Is it included or an add on?

    40. Firesnakearies on May 2, 2016

      This sounds REALLY good. Better than I was expecting.

    41. Sir Chaox on May 2, 2016

      Sounds good so far!

      One item that stuck out: "Most of the time, damage is a fixed amount instead of a random range"

      Hm, not sure how to feel about that. Some level of randomness is good, as it forces restrategizing at times; otherwise, fights may become more straightforward, no? I think a random damage range makes things a bit less mathy also or else I'll be calculating perfect combos every fight and that doesn't feel like the right approach for combat in an immersive fantasy game like this one.

      Will there be critical hits in the game? Will they be random (based on a % chance)?

    42. Missing avatar

      Ricks on May 2, 2016

      Combat system sounds gooooood. Clean 2d party HUD is also fiiiiine :)

      @Rivethead: hmmm, that "refilling enemy grid" makes sense. Actually it's the only 99 Berserkers can happen with this combat view. I had still hoped for seeing more than 2x4 enemies at once. There is something really nice about mass effect spells...

      Now I wonder if combat is presented in abstract space or real space. And if enemies in explorer mode are represented as blobb enemies or visible in their exact numbers?

    43. Robert Gulledge on May 2, 2016

      Tiny suggestion: If a melee fighter uses a weapon that hits multiple targets at reduced damage each, have the attack debuff or chance to stun some opponents. Otherwise, it makes more sense to just pound on one enemy at a time.

    44. Rivethead on May 2, 2016

      I like the idea of the 4x4 grid continuing to refill itself with enemies. In real life, if you were attacked by 99 baddies, you probably wouldn't know it was 99 badies. Your field of vision would be blocked by the baddies in the front row(s). So in BTIV, if we get attacked by 99 baddies, all we'll see is what's in the 4x4 grid. We keep clearing the grid. The grid keeps refilling as healthy baddies step over their decimated brethren. We don't know we've battled 99 baddies until we count their bloody corpses. And if we fail....well then we'll never know how many actually attacked us. I like that concept.

    45. Rivethead on May 2, 2016

      I really like @faust_33's UI idea: have our party characters backs turned to us. When you move the mouse over them, they spin around and you issue your command.

      I also hope tactical positioning isn't without penalty. So if my warrior is on the front row and critically wounded, I can choose to move him to the back row so he's less in harm's way....but that choice will have a cost (exposure to more damage, forfeiture of attack turn, both....whatever).

    46. Missing avatar

      seth on May 2, 2016

      Really interesting to hear how things like this are designed. Thanks for the informative update!

    47. RoyT on May 2, 2016

      So, no pull back to view entire battle from above showing animation of everything, including party?

    48. Michael J. Pennachio on May 2, 2016

      I know that this iteration of Bard's Tale will be more modern, but I was kind of hoping for a battle system reminiscent of the original games. Please tell me that it's at least going to be turn-based and not a twitch style. I have no desire to navigate through menus picking what each party member is going to do while the monsters are stomping on me.

      One of the draws of the original game was that it almost mirrored a tabletop RPG - roll for initiative, whoever wins goes first, then go in order of "agility" or whatever applicable stat. It made for interesting strategies when your mage was mauled before he could fire off that spell.

    49. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on May 2, 2016

      @George Campbell: When I was talking about bloody pulp, I was just being cheeky. I wasn't trying to make a statement about the game being particularly gory.

      @Keith Beckwith: Absolutely. There are a wide variety of attack patterns that complement our battlefield grid. Just imagine a shape that fits on the grid, and chances are at least one attack will have that attack pattern.

      @Epsilon Rose: We allow allied characters to cooperatively move, meaning that if you ask an adventurer to move into an occupied space those adventurers will happily swap places with each other.

      @Inny, @Robert Silesius: We will have ways to let you fight more than 8 enemies in a fight. And Brian would have my head if we didn't find a way to fit 99 Berserkers in...

      - David