Essentially the combat system is set up so that with a little bit of cleverness you can defeat the AI that is a higher level than you'd expect, and I'd imagine against other players have quite few nasty different tricks that can all be countered or messed with.
When you successfully attack an enemy, you will deal damage on them in the form of a red number and a yellow number. The red number is SHP and the yellow number is HHP.
To start with there are quite a few types of "energy" for you to play with. Each with their own advantages, and disadvantages if you decide to focus on something else.
The first one is "the scale". Symbol: a scale
Essentially the purpose it serves is to determine how much attack/defense you get. If the scale is down on the left side it's in your favor and you get more energy than the opponent .
The next one is Battle Intensity. Symbol: a circle of fire
Basically you earn this as the battle goes on. The purpose is to essentially be an "ace" card and is tied to some very powerful abilities that reset this form of energy or require it to be above a certain level. Battle Intensity also has a secondary effect which makes your attacks/manuevers activate faster.
The third one underneath is Attack. Symbol: crossed swords
This basically represents how accurate your next Move will be, and maybe how much damage it does. Slowly regenerates
Followed by Defense. Symbol: a shield
This is what takes damage before your "real" health takes damage, if you can keep your Defense to an adequate level you will NEVER EVER take HP damage from your enemy. Slowly regenerates
The last form of energy is Initiative. Symbol: a coin or several coints
This is basically a type of energy some abilities generate and other use as a cost.
There is still your normal Health. It has 3 levels How much damage it can take before you're knocked out/How much damage you can take before you die/Max health. When you actually take damage you'll lose damage from the first level and a tiny bit from the second level. The first level heals somewhat quickly, the second level heals only with treatment.
There are various types of abilities.
Attacks: These actually do damage to the target, actually use up the Attack bar.
Maneuvers: this is how you respond to a move
Moves: this does NOT do damage, but does affect energy levels. A move will contiguously repeat itself and when it "hits" the effect takes place. You should always have a move up and running. If you no longer fulfill the requirements for a move it cancels itself.
Special Attacks: These are attacks that do various things, in some cases to the enemy in other cases to yourself. they do NOT use up the Attack bar.
Inside the combat menu there are all the abilities you currently have unlocked separated into each category . To read the effects are initially confusing, but there is logic to the insanity.
Name (always here)
Other Requirements(sometimes there)
Weight: Symbol (always here, tells you if your body matters(fist) or the item related to it does(sword) )
Description: what the skill does typically using the symbols for each type of energy. Sometimes with a bit more for some abilities.
To read the description It's a matter of looking at the symbol and then seeing if it's + or -. If it's a + sign it'll increase that form of energy, if it's a - sign it'll decrease it. Moves are slightly different in that their cost is listed above the weight.
Cross Swords: +3 Shield: -8 Coin +1
means that each time this Move actually hits your Attack energy will increase by 3, your defense will decrease by 8, and your initiative will increase by 1.
There is also another notation which tells you that it affects the enemy rather than yourself, which uses the '/' sign.
means that your opponent would lose 20 defense.
The last "strange" notation is in the additional requirments area.
Basically means that it will cost you 0 initiative to use but that you must have 6 or more. It's worth noting that there are '>' and '<' signs for additional requirements as well.
Start by using "Jump" as your move. then use punch when the attack bar is mostly full.
Start with dash as your move. and just wait for the your initiative to come in, use it as often as with side step. then you can focus on using attacks as well after you placed yourself at the advantage. This obviously won't work very well against a human.
It's also worth noting that you can change your move at anytime, for instance using jump or flex.
Opportunity Knocks is a special move that lowers defense(as a special move it doesn't use up the attack bar) so you could potentially choose to just wait for initiative to pile in in a large way, then use the special attack 3 to 5 times in a row to completely remove your targets defense. Which means you get nice open hits at the "real" health bar.
Using sting like a bee with 10 battle intensity also essentially lets you get 2 attacks one after the other. I've been using it on animals that run to a really nice effect.
Combining these two with dash essentially means that you have a slow way to take out most things that you would have taken out previously, and safer as your real health will probably never be touched.
The best way to fight an animal without taking damage and not using ranged weapons is the following:
- call down the thunder
- opportunity knocks
- if unarmed: knock his teeth out or punch
- when carrying a sword: sting and
- when carrying an axe: chop.
First find an animal you wish to kill near water, (A lake is preferable) then initiate combat with the creature, and run as deep into the water as you can (do not swim, as it will probably kill you). When you are inside the lake the creature will hopefully be unable to hit you. At this point use the move, "call down the thunder" to get initiative points without getting close to the target.
Your next action depends on how much armor you have. If your defence bar is completely depleted by the creature in a single hit, you will want to walk towards the enemy and use sidestep very quickly, at which point you will want to run back into the water. (this must be done so fast that the enemy doesn't have a chance to hit you) Do this a few times until your advantage is maximum, and now the enemy shouldn't be able to hit entirely through your defence bar. Obviously, if you can withstand a few hits before you start to take damage, the previous step is not needed.
At this point, if you have gained around 30-40 initiative you should walk towards the enemy and use "opportunity knocks" until the enemy's defence bar is depleted completely. Now, use the attack listed above that corresponds with the weapon you are carrying. If you didn't kill the enemy with a single blow it is useful to use the special move "sting like a bee" which, if the combat intensity is at 10, will fill your attack gauge completely allowing you to attack again. If the enemy is still not dead after your second attack, run back to the water and begin the process again.
This tactic takes a lot of time, but it allows you to kill any animal with very low combat skills. I killed a bear with only 35 unarmed combat and 50 strength using this tactic.