Basic Combat

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Basic Combat

Postby Sidestepper on Sun May 26, 2013 5:17 pm

With an eye toward updating the wiki, I'm trying to identify the most fundamental combat techniques. The wiki is a little uh, overspecific. What I'd like is something basic and universal without being so generic as to be useless. This is what I have so far.

Standard Attack (The Unload)
This is the most basic type of attack. You hit a monster using as much of your health and mana as possible. You use no resources other your innate health and mana.
Examples:
-A Wizard with 11 mana fireballs a monster twice and then finishes with melee attacks. He will usually want to fireball first and then attack second to maximize burning damage. The 11th point of mana wasn't able to contribute to the fight.
-A Sorcerer attacks a monster until at the death threshold, then fireballs until out of mana, and then attacks again. The Sorcerer will usually want to attack first to take advantage of his Channeling power.

Mid-fight Level Up (The String of Ding)
If you are near a level up threshold and have harmless 'popcorn' monsters available, you can pick a monster that you can't beat in one pass but could beat in two. Unload on the monster, harvest your popcorn to gain a level, and then unload again.
-A 4th level elf character with three fireball's worth of mana is eyeballing a 9th level Wraith. The elf is 1 xp short of hitting 5th level. She fireballs the Wraith three times, murders a hapless 1st level goblin to level up, and then uses her fresh mana pool to fireball the Wraith 3 more time, killing it (and probably leveling up again). She did not use melee because the Wraith's damage was too high for her to soak even one hit. A smart elf would have also taken a melee swipe at some other monster before leveling up, and then finished that monster after nuking the Wraith.
-A Fighter has gotten just a few points shy of level 8, and did it without killing any of the 1st or 2nd level monsters. He also found WONAFYT and used it to slow all of those monsters. He now has a pool of 45 xp that can be harvested at no cost, which will be worth 2 or three levels ups, allowing him to steamroller the boss.

Regen Fighting (Skirmishing)
If your damage is much higher than a monster's, or your healing rate is better, or both, you can sometimes unload on a monster and then explore, refilling your resources faster than the monster can. Each attack pass puts the monster a little closer to death. The rule of thumb is to multiply the monster's damage by its level, and then do the same for yourself. I like to call this number the Power. If your Power is higher than the monster's, you will be able to eventually win through regen fighting. Players also recover mana as they explore, so if you have access to glyphs, you can sometimes beat things that have a better Power than you. Things like enhanced/decreased healing, resistances, and other effects complicate the Power formula and have to be taken into account on a case-bu-case basis.
-Monks have high resistance and double healing. They were designed with regen fighting in mind. For a clear example of how it works, play the Monk Bronze challenge.
-A 5th level Berserker with a base damage of 25 is checking out a 7th level Warlock with 48 damage. The Berserker has 50% magic resistance, and gets a +40% damage bonus for fighting a higher level monster that is also a magic user. The Berserker's true damage will be 25*1.4 = 35, and the Warlocks true damage will be 48*.5=24.
Berserker Power: 35*5 = 175
Warlock Power: 24*7 = 168

The Berserker can just barely win by regen fighting. If he has any glyphs, he can greatly reduce the number of tiles that will be needed.

Threshold Recovery (The Victorious Loss)
If a monster has more Power than you, you can still sometimes explore during the fight to reach a critical threshold, even though the long term effects of exploration would be negative.
-3rd level Fighter: Damage 15 Health 30 Mana 11 has a Fireball glyph
-4th level monster: Damage 20 Health 35
The Fighter can win by unloading (1 attack + 1 fireball). That leaves the monster at 8 health. If the Fighter explores one tile, the monster will be at 12 health, but the Fighter will just barely be able to squeeze out another fireball and win the fight.

-A Priest gets clocked by a monster for 60% of his health. Rather than chugging a health potion and wasting his Good Drink ability, he can explore a few tiles until he is at 61% health. He then attacks again, getting knocked down to 1%, and THEN drinks the potion for a full heal. In most cases this extra attack will be worth more than the healing that the monster got from the exploration.

Softening
Here, your actions aren't part of a serious attack on the monster, but are instead designed to create some sort of long term advantage to be exploited later.
-Using WONAFYT or WEYTWUT to capture low level monsters for later harvesting (aka "The Popcorn Bowl")
-Fireballing a monster and then exploring to build up burning stacks in preparation for the real attack
-A Rogue that can't quite beat a certain monster can poke the monster and then explore, hoping for a lucky dodge. If it fails, he can try again, and keep trying until it works or a better target turns up.
-Using WEYTWUT to pull a monster out of a darkened corner, so that a future casting of WEYTWUT won't also create accidental exploration.
-Using BYCEPS to chip away at the resistances of a superior monster, with an eye toward attacking it 'for real' at some later time.
-Using the Martyr Wraps to build up corrosion on a tough monster.

Precasting (The Boy Scout)
Many glyphs and powers can be used outside of combat, and their effects can be carreid with you into future battles.
-IMAWAL should always be cast before engaging the target.
-CYDSTEP is designed so that it can only be pre-cast (except for Warlords, who always pre-cast it anyway).
-ENDISWAL is best used as a precast
-BYSEPS and GETINDERE can and should be kept active while exploring.
-Someone under the effects of a Quicksilver potion can prod random weak monsters until they get a confirmed dodge, which can then be used on the real threat.

Spiking
Sometimes you have to dip into your consumable resources. It's okay, that's what they're there for. They let you operate way above your effective level.
-Potions, piety, consumable shop items, etc.

Many of these techniques can be combined, or might transform into another during a fight. Mid-fight levels ups can be combined with anything, softening might suddenly turn into regen fighting when a certain threshold is crossed, etc. Some things are too odd to really fit into any of these categories. BLUDTOPOWA feels like a standard unload, but uses up tiles as well as innate health and mana. There are probably other exceptions.
Last edited by Sidestepper on Sun May 26, 2013 10:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby The Avatar on Sun May 26, 2013 5:32 pm

This is a very good list. The one thing you forgot (which is minor) is precasting ENDISWAL for the precast strategy. Other than this, I don't see any strategy omissions.
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I speak chaos.
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Sidestepper on Sun May 26, 2013 5:38 pm

Thanks! The examples are supposed to be representative rather than comprehensive, but I totally meant to include ENDISWAL. I just edited it in.
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Lujo on Sun May 26, 2013 6:09 pm

Were would you put konckback setups?

Also, the various piety spikes?
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Sidestepper on Sun May 26, 2013 6:21 pm

Knockback setups are part of softening. It's an effect that stays on the monster, not on you, so it isn't a pre-cast. Using piety for one time effects is part of the Kitchen Sink.
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Darvin on Sun May 26, 2013 6:37 pm

GETINDERE can and should be kept active while exploring.

Notable exception for the Warlord, who can actually end up dealing less damage with first strike.
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Lujo on Sun May 26, 2013 6:41 pm

Hmmm. Ok, knockback I can see, but you can't really chalk off one time piety effects as Kitchen Sink seeing how you can beat most runs with many of them and they take a whole run of setup.

I mean, unless you're going faithless, setting up a string of those pretty much IS the run more often than not. Sure, if you pick a set of TT potions as a "throw anything" option, than yes, it's kitchen sink. If you use a million clearances for a million cydsteps it's not kitchen sink. Same with a string of taurog's DPs, same with a string of bloodswells, same with a string of stoneskins, etc.

And if you can set them up, while you keep them running, they beat most other approaches in terms of power handily. The only reason people don't use them exclusively and all the time (or rather use everything else only when they can't set one up or run out of fuel) is because of the way gods are introduced in the game. Once you've unlocked them and manage to find out what they do - everything else takes a back seat, and that's only because they're obscure. Mechanicaly they're more basic and user friendly than some of the "basic" stuff...
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Sidestepper on Sun May 26, 2013 6:49 pm

Lujo wrote:
Hmmm. Ok, knockback I can see, but you can't really chalk off one time piety effects as Kitchen Sink seeing how you can beat most runs with many of them and they take a whole run of setup.

I mean, unless you're going faithless, setting up a string of those pretty much IS the run more often than not. Sure, if you pick a set of TT potions as a "throw anything" option, than yes, it's kitchen sink. If you use a million clearances for a million cydsteps it's not kitchen sink. Same with a string of taurog's DPs, same with a string of bloodswells, same with a string of stoneskins, etc.


I don't see the distinction. I'm using the Kitchen Sink to hold any combat pass that consumes external resources. If you built up a pile of external resources specifically to Kitchen Sink the boss, that's fine. Remember, this is a list of combat techniques, not strategies. If we're going to talk about complete strategies, we'll get get lost in minutia as we try to cover everything from resistance stacking to conversion antics to that time I got 12 layers of lifesteal on a 120 damage vampire with Platemail.

I got the idea for the thread from seeing the new guys coming in and not being familiar with the basic tactics that veteran beta testers take for granted.
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Lujo on Sun May 26, 2013 9:11 pm

Oh, cool, something must've got me confused.

Maybe it's just the name - dipping into piety isn't a desperation manouvre, it's a strategy. "Kitchen Sink" has sort of a "I had to do X because there was just no other way", and piety's actually pretty reliable. And takes buildup, you don't just walk into it as you would into potions, or a DP badge or something... Linguistics I guess... Sorry.
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Re: Basic Combat

Postby Sidestepper on Sun May 26, 2013 9:40 pm

Nah it's fine. Kitchen sink is kind of an extreme phrasing, especially since I'm using that category to include mild things like using a single potion to get a very high level kill. I probably need another phrase that isn't synonymous with "all in."
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