Combat & Warfare by: Forged Chaos


by Forged Chaos

Combat in ToA will be non-consentual, meaning you will be able to attack anyone without them needing to be flagged for PvP.

Use this freedom wisely as there will be no 'conning' system to determine combat prowess of others and if your character dies too many times its soul becomes too weak and the icy cold hand of perma-death will take him forever.

Fortunately we will have unconsciousness that will serve as a buffer between life and death so actually killing someone will almost always be a deliberate act.

Settlements: Warfare

by Forged Chaos

In this next to last article in our settlement series, we're going to sharpen our swords, load the catapults and cover warfare!

First thing you should know is war will be taxing on both a settlement's treasury and its citizen's willpower and morale, possibly to the point of complete collapse. Furthermore, NPCs do not like the idea of war and any settlement that continues to war-monger will find it near impossible to attract any NPCs. The take-away is simple - any lord looking to declare war on another should do so only after very careful consideration.

Declaring war is simple and straight forward. You simply select who you'd like to war via a ruler's menu. Just like ToA's non-consensual PvP, you won't need permission to declare war.

During times of war all citizens are able to attack the opposing citizenry (PC and NPC) without damaging their reputation with either settlement. They will also be attacked on site by NPC guards. When peace is re-established, all citizens will revert to the reputations they had prior to the war.

War can only be ended by one of two ways:

1) Peace is declared. Peace is declared when one side extends a peace treaty and the other side accepts. Extending a peace treaty is done via the ruler's menu. The opposing ruler has 24 hours to accept the treaty. If he doesn't, the offer of peace is revoked. Once a peace treaty has been accepted, a certain amount of honor is expected by the NPC populations in that war should not be re-declared by either side for a set period of time. If war is declared by either settlement while under a peace treaty, the declaring settlement's NPCs will be drastically impacted. A wise lord will never underestimate the impact of going back on his word.

2) One settlement is conquered. Conquering a settlement is done by occupying its flag. When in a state of war, an enemy within X meters of the settlement flag will cause an occupation bar to appear. The bar will gain occupation points so long as an enemy is within the flag's radius. It will lose occupation points when no enemies are present. Anytime the occupation bar is equal to or greater than a set percentage, say 80% (subject to loads of testing), the settlement's flag will graphically drop to half-mast and a timer will begin. If the timer reaches zero, the occupied settlement is lost and rule is transferred to the occupying lord. Anytime the occupation bar falls below the set percentage, the flag raises to full-mast, the timer is removed and any subsequent activated timers will start anew.

In closing, warfare in ToA, while simple in design, will have a huge impact on the game's global stage. Settlements will rise and fall and the political landscape will be ever-changing. It's yet another tool we hope to implement that will allow the players to decide their own fates.

Be on the lookout for the last article in our settlement series where we will detail some miscellaneous tidbits such as citizenship, taxes, heirs and even what happens when a settlement lord perma-dies or he wishes to dissolve his settlement.


Can I block someone's movement?

Yes. You will not be able to 'pass through' other characters and NPCs.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Can structures be damaged or destroyed?

Yes, but only by siege weapons.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Can one settlement war against another?

Absolutely and they can do it for whatever reason they wish. Be cautious when declaring war against other settlements. Over use of this option will make your NPC population very uneasy, especially in cases where you declare war and end up losing.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

What is perma-death?

When your character dies, it must make its way back to the land of the living. The journey back to life greatly taxes your character's soul. Sooner or later your character's soul is too weak to make the journey, instead deciding to leave the world of TerVarus forever.

Perma-death is a core feature of ToA that has rippling effects into just about every other feature of the game. It impacts how one will approach combat. It heightens the sense of danger when adventuring. It makes combat, or even just the threat of combat, more visceral knowing you could be the one one step closer to the end of your character's life.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

What happens when my character dies a normal death?

Your character's corpse is free for others to loot. Granted, looting is against the law in settlements so those doing so within its borders will be committing a crime.
When your character dies, its life counters will be reduced by one and a one minute timer will begin. Your character cannot resurrect until this timer ends. You can however move around in a spirit form as far and as much as you want. You will be limited as to what you can see while in spirit form. When the one minute timer ends, a resurrect button will appear and you can resurrect your character anytime after that by clicking said button.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

How will combat work?

There will be no clicking on a person to make them your target in ToA. Instead, we will use coordinates, facing and weapon range to determine what you hit, if anything.

In its most basic form combat is simply left-click to attack and right-click to defend. While that may sound too simple to be fun, we firmly believe you'll think differently once you've experienced it. It allows for a certain finesse and rhythm that gets lost when you're being overloaded with buttons to monitor/mash.

Spells and missiles will travel in the path that you launched them.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Is PvP allowed?

Player versus player combat is fully permitted, meaning you can attack (and be attacked) anywhere at anytime, with a single exception that is explained below.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

With open PvP, how do you intend to keep it from getting out of hand?

First, we're removing 'conning', the ability to see someone's prowess. That unassuming shopkeeper might also be a powerful warrior or mage that is far beyond your combat abilities.

Second, you have reputation with every settlement and doing a citizen harm, be it PC or NPC, will lead to severe consequences within that settlement, including losing your citizenship with the settlement (if you were one to begin with), being placed on their Kill On Sight list and even having bounties placed on your perma-dead head.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

How does unconsiousness work?

ToA will include unconsciousness, the state between life and death. Your character will fall unconscious when its hit points drop to 0 or below.
Each character will have an attribute called fortitude. One of many roles this attribute plays is to determine how deep into unconsciousness your character can go before it dies. For example, your character has a fortitude of 50, meaning he could go to -50 hit points before he dies.

While unconscious, you have no control over your character and others may loot and interrogate him as well as kill him. Your character will wake up when he reaches 1 hit point.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will there be critical hits?

Yes. Critical hits will result in the target receiving a wound. Wounds are medical conditions that natural healing can't cure. Each wound has a specific debilitating impact on the character. An example would be a broken leg would cause a 40% penalty to movement speeds. Wounds are permanent until the character's next death or it is healed by someone with the proper healing skill.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Are there any safe places where I cannot be attacked?

The monolith is the only place where attacking another character will result in your instant death. The reasons behind this anomaly have never been fully understood or uncovered but many believe it to be divine intervention.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Will there be siege combat?

Yes. The game will launch with the catapult as the only siege weapon. Innovations are sure to follow that will allow other siege weaponry available.

Source: Official FAQ, 15-09-2012

Can we push people out of the way?

You'll be able to push someone (no physics involved at this point) if you move 'against them' long enough.

Source: Forums (Brax), 18-09-2012

Can we block people from entering our homes/shops?

You'll be able to set people as 'unwelcome' to your properties. While we haven't finalized the details, it will basically mean they will get a warning when they step onto your property to get off said property or they'll be flagged as trespassing.

Source: Forums (Brax), 18-09-2012

How will you prevent griefing from players blocking other players in for example shop entrances?

I'm sure Brax will be along to answer this question fully, but what I can tell you is our shops and structures are going to have atypical entrances, so the idea of someone blocking a doorway will be moot if there are no doorways to block. At best, I imagine a griefer could guesstimate where to stand at the exit location of the structure and cause a potential collision between two entities upon exiting a structure, but I'd be all for moving one party or the other slightly to one side upon exiting so that collision doesn't occur or setting up an algorithm that randomly deposits an exiting character to several locations just outside the structure. The griefer would have to be extremely talented to try and anticipate which drop location for each exiting character. Heh.

And if a group of griefers tries something like this just because they can, let us know. Our Interactive Team will be right along shortly to deal with the people that obviously have far too much time on their hands.

Source: Forums (Varl), 18-09-2012

About defending settlements and griefing

You're talking mob mentality? That the so-called griefers would be griefed by the defending settlement throwing everything (and everyone) they can at the attackers, including starting characters with little to no combat skill? I don't see that as a problem. They're defending their settlement. If a rogue or unknown element decides to step in and help defend a settlement, that's entirely their choice.

Also, there's a lot more variables to consider. The size of the attacking forces vs. the size of the defending forces, the respawn/reroll rates for both, the combat skills of each force, tactics employed by both forces, unforeseen contingencies employed by both forces, the possible use of magic, the possible use of siege weaponry, life counter totals on both sides, the availability of healing for both sides, the possibility of 'third party involvement' showing up (players or our GMs) and probably dozens of other variables I can't think of at this moment.

It's our desire to have the defenders of any settlement have the distinct advantage over any attackers, PC or NPC. It should and will be hard to take over rule of a settlement.

Source: Forums (Varl), 29-09-2012

How will you deal with griefers?

We will NOT swoop in and kill griefers just because someone is calling them a griefer. It has to be proven that a person is griefing and griefing according to OUR definition of griefing which will be a case by case basis. Players will need to learn that just because someone is able to take your milk and cookies doesn't mean they're griefing you.

Lastly, if any of my staff is found unjustly griefing someone that was called a griefer, they will be griefed by yours truly.

Source: Forums (Brax), 29-09-2012

Will toxins be available, perhaps as a trade skill?

If not at launch, there will always be innovations you can unlock.

Source: Forums (Varl), 02-10-2012

I was wondering (hoping) if we could expect something like the feel of Mount & Blade combat?

Ask Loestri or Varl and they'll tell you what kind of M&B nerd I am. You'll find no better combat system on the planet.  We're hoping to integrate different swings/blocks based on reticle position and movement but only testing will tell us if it'll "make the cut" or not.

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-10-2012

How do you envisage the lives of Player Killers?

The hunter often becomes the hunted. I anticipate the lives of the would-be PK will be so much harder and shorter than the town or group player due to the ravages of the wild slowly taking its toll on the character, much less the losses doled out by other players. If you choose for your character to be an outlaw or a murderer, it's not going to be an easy life by any means, but that's why I think it'd be so much fun. Those characters you do raise to a fearsome status by the number of player kills you've inflicted will definitely have earned that fear and loathing (on the boards and in the game) that comes with hearing or seeing the character's name.

Source: Forums (Varl), 13-10-2012

Could fear be implemented in the game?

Character fear is easy to code. It's conditional. If the fearful condition is met, the character doesn't perform as well as it otherwise would. It could also be possible to show an icon of a fearful face or whatever whenever your character is afraid, letting you the player know when those penalties are in effect. An Arrwic encountering canines, for example, could show the emoticon for as long as the Arrwic character is engaging the dogs, showing that he's deathly afraid of these things, yet can still act, fight back and defend himself. I highly doubt it'll ever be paralyzing fear. That's too restrictive.

Source: Forums (Varl), 22-10-2012

What NPC's will there be?

There will not be random NPCs just roaming about. The only NPCs slated for launch are guards (to help keep you alive) and shopkeepers (to help run your shop).

Source: Forums (Brax), 24-10-2012

Is there some sort of notification for intent to capture a city? Like a timer for sieging? I would hate to lose a settlement to a bunch of players that live in a different time zone when all my player

The notification for intent to capture the settlement is when character of the attacking force gets within range of the settlement's flag. A war may happen for reasons other than conquest and the attacking force may never even bother trying to take the flag. They may only destroy a few buildings they perceive as invasive or whatever.

The time an attacking force must dominate a flag is considerable and almost eliminates the 3am ninja raid take-over of settlements. I don't think I've mentioned it before but when it comes to warfare, we are giving all advantages to the defender. We want settlements to be taken over, but only after exhaustive and sometime extreme measures have been taken.

Source: Forums (Brax), 19-11-2012

It's going to be a bloody first few hours/days after launch!

I can only hope!

Source: Forums (Brax), 21-11-2012

For people not keen on PvP, will there be mechanics to avoid fights?

You know those other games where that damnable name and guild (et al) title is above your head makes you stand out like a lighthouse? That'll be gone. You know how in other games the foliage and billboards really doesn't matter for camouflage because of those damnable titles giving you away? Not in TOA. If you go out into the wilderness prepared and not looking for a fight (with anything), you'll be more likely to survive the trip than if you venture out in your neon orange jumpsuits and bright yellow guild tabards.

Source: Forums (Varl), 07-12-2012

Do you expect to see a lot of random player killing happening in ToA?

With the systems we'll have in place, I could easily see people hesitant about attacking strangers they can't con, no levels to be seen, and no evaluate monster tool to bleed all the challenge, unknown and danger out it. Of course, the creatures won't be as accommodating, as the carnivores will see you as food only, but will still flee if seriously pressed, which is how it should be, right?

I can also see the reckless player that doesn't care attacking whatever they feel like, i.e. murderers and barbarians, but such a play style comes with an automatic grief throttle called permadeath.

Source: Forums (Varl), 28-12-2012

Can I interrogate someone even though I didn't knock them unconscious?

You can extract info from the unconscious without having to thump them on the head yourself. So long as you can come across or get someone to an unconscious state, you've got the opportunity to apply your trade. The poison example is a perfectly legit way to try it.

Source: Forums (Brax), 29-12-2012

Is interrogation a criminal act?

Yes, interrogating someone is 100% illegal.

Source: Forums (Brax), 29-12-2012

Could we keep knocking each other unconscious to train the interrogation skill?

No, there will be no grinding of the interrogation skill. We've thought of that a long time ago and have methods to stop it dead in its tracks. All told, interrogation will be a skill that takes a very long time to build and only the masters will be able to extract sensitive info such as innovations from others. Even so, it's not a given that your mark will give up his/her info. Lots of things at play such as their fortitude, the interrogation method used, etc.

Source: Forums (Brax), 29-12-2012

How will you prevent griefing and too much player killing?

I think Psi Kahn said it best:

"Interestingly, even though the game is open PvP, I would say most of the game's mechanics incentivize cooperation over ruthless player killing."

We also have a very clear understanding of the difference in playing a bad guy and being a bad guy and have many countermeasures in place to combat the latter. Basically, the life of a criminal will be tough, the life of a griefer will be short.

Source: Forums (Brax), 01-01-2013

On archery and accuracy

Psi Kahn: "Yes, let's not forget that since this is a game, we're one level removed from actual perception of space. We're going on what the game gives us, and I think the game needs to give us a little extra to make up for that disconnect. That said, a reticule need not be particularly precise. In fact it could be quite large for an inexperienced bowman, perhaps growing smaller with skill. In addition to some of the suggestions Logikless gave above, I think it's perfectly reasonable that firing accuracy should not be guarenteed for lower-level archers either. You might have someone perfectly lined up in your target, but there's going to be some variance in exactly how the shot goes off and where it lands. Skill will decrease that variance."

That's pretty much how it'll work. A character new to archery will have a very large aiming area and with each shot the arrow could be headed towards any portion of that area. As you get more skilled, that area gets smaller and smaller, allowing you the player to be more precise with your shots.

Oh and arrows can't separate friend from foe so I'd advise against firing into melee.

Source: Forums (Brax), 08-01-2013

About a tactics & military command interface

We don't currently have a mechanical method on the feature list for launch but I always thought it could be as simple as someone having the ability to click somewhere and those that have chosen to follow this person would see a ring on the ground. You could have one indicator for all following the person, an indicator per person, group, whatever.

Um, I don't think that explains it too well. Let me try an example...

Captain Cork is in charge of 9 other PCs. He tells them (no mechanics here) that 1/3 will be the blue team (B), 1/3 will be the red team (R), 1/3 will be the green team (G). The captain wants them to position in a spear formation, like so:


All he needs to do is, using the interface, click where he wants the blue indicator to be, and the same with the red and green. His soldiers just look for their color indicator on the ground and get to it. If he wants to reposition, he just clicks the new spot for the given indicator. The soldiers have to pay attention to the indicator and of course the Captain should be shouting orders as such anyway and/or to "red defend, blue attack!".

Those not under Captain Cork's command wouldn't see any indicators.

This could even scale up, where Cork, along with 4 other captains, is under General Guy's command, allowing the general to command his captains who are in turn commanding their soldiers, without MAKING them do anything they don't want (like staying and fighting when a soldier would rather run away trying to save a life counter).

Anyway, that's the idea....

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-01-2013

What mechanics do you have planned for bows and crossbows?

Pretty simply - point and shoot. You have a radical, the radical is going to be very simple in design. It won't be this big flamboyant thing, because we don't want the interface to get in the way of the world, so to speak. But you do need to know where you're aiming. With that said, your accuracy is not going to be perfect. In fact, it's going to suck at low levels. We're going to have a cone of accuracy, that's invisible to you guys, but when you shoot an arrow it's basically going to land within that cone. And that cone of accuracy is going to get smaller as you advance in skill, therefore making your arrows much more precise at where you're trying to aim them.

Even when you're an extreme master with the bow, there's always going to be some margin of error.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

As you fire bolts or arrows, will they be retrievable?

No, we can't track that number of objects in the game. Those just go away, at this point.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Are there any plans to implement throwing weaponry?

Absolutely we're going to have throwing weapons. They're their own skill.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

How will siege weaponry be crafted?

In parts. You'll have to individually build each part and then assemble those parts, on station. As it stands right now, our catapults don't have wheels.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

What type of weaponry do you have planned for launch?

All your typical weaponry of medieval times; swords, axes, maces, pole arms, daggers, throwing weapons, crossbows, bows.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Will we have crouch and prone positions?

Yes, you will be able to crouch.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

Tell us a bit more about unconsciousness?

Well, when you hit zero hit points you go unconscious. We have a stat that will determine when you cross from unconsciousness to death. The more damage you took before you went unconscious just means your closer to death. Which also means it will take you longer to wake up from unconsciousness. So basically, if you had 1 hit point and somebody came up to you and just poked you a little bit, you're going to be unconscious for a couple of seconds. If somebody came up and they hit you with a mace up side your head, then chances are you're going to be unconscious for quite a bit longer.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

How do you plan to handle different time zones with respect to settlement warfare?

What we used to call the 3AM ninja raids. Pretty brave statement, but I think we've pretty much eliminated that, in the way of being able to go in one fell swoop and take over a settlement at 3AM. The way you conquer a settlement, it's going to take a minimum of days, if not weeks, of back and forths. So the idea of running in there and wreaking havoc, you could try, but we're giving defenders just about every advantage. Even something as simple as a wall, that you can't go over. And NPC guards, which will be pretty powerful. They'll be able to hold their own, and they don't sleep ;)

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

What happens to your reputation standing in case of friendly fire?

The reputation system is going to allow for error. Things are going to happen. That's why the reputation system is going to allow for a couple of hiccups, essentially. It's one thing to accidentally hurt a friendly, versus hurting 4 or 5 friendlies in a very short amount of time.

Source: Podcast (Brax), 14-01-2013

What are your ideas regarding the effects of poison in the game?

Regarding the effects of poison -- I lean more towards non-traditional methods that other games don't seem to use. I don't like how poisons are treated as instant DOTs on the targets hit points. *yawn*

How about when inflicted it slowly drains your movement rate over time (and not two seconds) down to a minimum based on the strength of the poison? Or being poisoned causes your character to get tunnel vision, which can be done with a simple shader?

Source: Forums (Brax), 16-01-2013

If I have it my way (and I will) poisons will never simply sap hit points over time. *yawn* You can expect poisons to be far more creative than that.

Source: Forums (Brax), 20-02-2013

Will cannibalism be possible?

Am I twisted to think I like the fact that our systems have caused all of you to think of cannibalism as a survival instinct in TOA? How many games can say THAT? No official decision has been made yet regarding cannibalism, but when it is, we'll let you know. Cmere Clarisse....closer...closer....

Source: Forums (Varl), 19-01-2013

Will there be much difference in hitpoints between new characters and veterans?

Your character will rarely gain hitpoints as it progresses (we've never mentioned this have we?) so, no, there will not be such a large difference in HP between a new and veteran character.

Source: Forums (Brax), 22-01-2013

Will there be combat innovations as well?

Yes, we will be implementing combat innovations.

Source: Forums (Brax), 24-01-2013

About grieving near the Monolith

Did we ever mention how it will cost you to be aggressive to other players while in the shadow of the monolith?

Give it a whirl sometime. It's a hoot!

Source: Forums (Brax), 09-02-2013

Will there be other ways to take over settlement leadership besides warfare?

We'll have a way to attempt a coup and whatnot. We just haven't nailed down the details.

Source: Forums (Brax), 14-02-2013

What exactly happens regarding reputation when you start a fight?

As soon another character damages you, intentional or not, their rep will take a hit and they will be flagged as attack-able for a short period of time where you and others can retaliate against the attacker - even to the death - with no impact to your rep.

BowenTheKotoc: So if someone is swinging at you but misses, if you retaliate and hit first you would take the rep hit?

As it stands now, yes.

Source: Forums (Brax), 19-02-2013

Will NPC's suffer from prolonged warfare?

So long as you're doing better than the other settlement, NPCs will tolerate a lot. When your losses surpass that of your enemies by significant amounts or the war stagnates for the declaring side, your NPCs will start to suffer.

Source: Forums (Brax), 16-03-2013

What will arena's be used for?

Arenas will not be used for sparring. Our permission system will address sparring between consenting parties. Arenas will be used for combat tournaments and games, both lethal and non-lethal.

Source: Forums (Brax), 19-03-2013

About combat and techniques

Most techniques, especially combat oriented ones, will be behind the scenes abilities and bonuses. Combat is fast paced enough and your focus will need to be on your positioning, orientation, timing, and the aiming of your swings and blocks. Having you mash keys on top of all that would be over-the-top for the design I'm aiming for.

Source: Forums (Brax), 10-04-2013

Will there be very fast archery in the game?

For the record, we won't be allowing gatling gun archery. :)

Source: Forums (Brax), 08-05-2013

The End