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The latest developer update for SpellForce: Conquest of Eo talks about the combat system in this upcoming turn-based spin-off of the long-running RTS/RPG series. So, if you'd like to know more about Conquest of Eo's combat and what makes it interesting, you should check this out:
Greetings esteemed wizards,
Today we are going to talk a bit about combat and some of the things we do to make it more interesting. Turn-based combat is at the heart of our battles and especially for a brand that has so far had real-time strategy at its core, it was important for us to make them turn-based but fast-paced, while at the same time providing a certain tactical depth.
One of the things we did to achieve that is, that while we limit the number of units in battle (you start out with stacks of up to 5 different units, but during the game expand to up to 8), we provide over 60 different hand-crafted battlefields allowing us to make terrain and cover an integral part of many of them. Thinking about where to engage enemies, how to minimize your frontline exposure (to prevent you suffering flanking attacks) or which unit to use to tank means every battlefield is different for you from the outset, setting us apart from more traditional instanced battles where you simply have rows of units being pitted against each other. Add to that the special skills for many of our units (which gain new key skills every 5 Levels as they progress) which can add new tactical options, such as ignoring zones of control, blinding enemies, volley shots and armor piercing or increasing certain damage types from elemental to white or death damage to damage against certain types of enemies, you have quite a mix.
Getting the AI to understand and use a wide range of possible option was one of our challenges – especially with regards to how it uses terrain to its advantage but allows us to make even battles with relatively few units require some thinking from our players. In the below case, the AI defended a village but moved out and up on the elevated position to shoot missile on the player forces. And since the map has an added feature effect called “snipers” damaging attackers every turn, the Ai decided to wait our troops out.
Now the player needs to find solutions beyond simply waltzing up to the enemy and letting loose with the apprentice’s spells. (We got the AI to split forces by smashing the village gate and feinting an attack from the left while baiting the defenders with a weak unit to the right in case you were wondering. Then goblin shaman gave berserker ‘shrooms to everyone so they heal a bit and do some extra damage, meaning they could soak up the defender’s initial volley and then go into melee.)
Another thing that we do slightly differently is our action system that offers more than just a way to tell you how many attacks your units can do and which we are going to take a closer look into next time. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the game, feel free to hop on the SpellForce discord where we have a sub-channel or let us know here on Steam!