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Getting into combat initially

DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,276 @@ - Legendary Achaean
How do you do it? The only combat engagement across all of my characters that I've ever managed to stick with for any length of time is with Daeir in Mhaldor, partly due to the atmosphere and reliance on participation. I've got a slew of other characters (TwoArts transed Blademaster, quin-trans Sylvan (Riding + Survival), duo-trans Runewarden (Runelore + Chivalry), half-trans Priest) that I've been really itching to get into combat, but I really have no idea where to start or where to even begin learning.

What usually happens is I read threads on here about combat, get all excited wanting to try it, log on, realize I have no real way of getting into combat on most of these characters and then summarily realizing I have no idea how to even generally approach each class' strategy, getting put off and then QQing.

Where should I start? What's the best way of getting involved in combat and actually properly learning it? Moreover, which one of these characters has the "smoothest" (take that as you will) learning curve or in your opinion, would be a good class to start with?


  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,895 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    That man called it. That was straight from the heart. 
    PM me if you want to playtest a MUD.
  • DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,276 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Pros and cons seems like a good place to start, then. I know that Blademaster has a very viable and straightforward combat goal - prep for brokenstar. I know that Runewardens can soak up unbelievable quantities of damage and provide pretty good raid support as well as being pretty good 1v1 as well. I know that Sylvans are similarly tanky and also have a fairly straightforward combat goal in prepping things for heartseed. I probably like the flavour of the Blademaster class the most out of all of them (closely followed by Runewarden), so maybe that's the best place to start.
  • XerXer LangleyMember Posts: 804
    edited December 2012
    You might also want to stick with people who are likewise interested in learning combat/already competent(ish). Someone who will tell you off if you get the class change bug, or be there when you want to spar, or do something else that is combat related, but still outside of one on one combat. If something is too hard to get into on your own... get a friend to do it with you haha. I know that if it weren't for a number of people consistently teaching me and helping me out, both in theory and practice, I would be nowhere near where I am today combat-wise (which still isn't very far D: But it's boatloads of fun XD)
    e^(iπ) + 1 = 0
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,895 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Gonna say right now that I'm there for you 100% if you decide to learn serpent combat with the Naga. It definitely won't be easy, but the support is there.
    PM me if you want to playtest a MUD.
  • DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,276 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Probably just going to do that, to be honest. I like being sneaky and having supercharged archery too much to give it up.
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,895 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Hell yes! So like, assuming this thread is resolved and I can go to sleep gnight
    PM me if you want to playtest a MUD.
  • AerekAerek East Tennessee, USAMember Posts: 1,818 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Teaching newbies how to enter combat has always been a passion of mine, and from my experience, it feels like there's always one big (often OOC) conversation you have with someone who "gets" combat and explains how/why something works, and it shatters the mental barriers that kept you from thinking in the right ways, before. It's usually something pretty simple (By versed combatants' standards) that blows someone's mind and makes Achaean combat suddenly make sense, like how "counting limbs" works, realizing that "burst damage" is better than just high damage over time, or that every tactic in Achaea can be planned and tested on a timeline, but I've found whatever that wakes that seed of enlightenment is different for everyone.

    I started playing back in 2006, and I loved how complex combat was, immediately. I sparred, built rudimentary triggers and scripts, talked IC and OOC with talented combatants and ACC members, and amassed a huge working knowledge of facts and info about combat, but I never really "got" combat until about June of this last year, talking with Ellodin. I'd just switched to Paladin and was trying 4-limb disembowel preps with longswords/scimitars and failing until he said, "It's because you're breaking everything as fast as you can. You have to wait until they apply to the second arm before you break a leg, or they'll get salve balance back from the first arm and go straight for the first leg, costing you the setup." Realizing that there's two halves to an Achaean combat timeline: what I'm doing and what they're doing, and you have to account for both of them broke the wall for me, and I went from button-mashing like a Mortal Kombat newb to almost-Mark material in about 3-4 months. (The 6 years' worth of combat trivia and some curing help from Svo helped, but I had those before my "Oh!" moment.)

    Sparring often and getting some experience helps, but you won't really get anywhere unless you understand why you're losing and how they're winning. Some folks can just sit down with a log and pick those things up, but I usually needed some help knowing what to look for, what went wrong, why did I just get double-BBT-AXK'ed? If you're one of the former, then just sparring a lot and looking over them might be all you really need, but if you're like me, sparring a lot can just be frustrating and discouraging, because you don't feel like you're really learning anything. If you're the latter, then finding someone who can put Achaean combat lingo into plain English is really the most important step.

    With the classes you listed, I'd rate them something to the tune of Sylvan, Runewarden, Blademaster, Priest. That's mostly because the Sylvan's setups will be simpler than the Runewarden's, you have the tankiness to survive while you learn, and the Survival to escape most of the specific setups you'll face. The Runewarden will be tough to kill and has everything you need to kill like a pro, though you don't have the Survival that's nice to avoid certain things. (Like other Runewarden's disembowels) Runewarden can have a steep curve for some folks, (counting limbs, bypassing parry, managing venoms, watching rebounding, etc) but if you can get a handle on it, it becomes very methodical and second-nature pretty quick. Blademaster is a strong class with hard-to-avoid setups, once you're good, but I understand the limb counting to be tricky, you have some Trans'ing to do, and staying alive as you're trying to learn has been a complaint for a lot of the BMs I've sparred with. Priest is easy to stay alive with and easy to learn "kill strategies," so it can be good for a true newbie to dip their feet with, but those strategies are mostly boring, repetitive, and unreliable, so it can be frustrating for someone who really wants to get into the combat side of the game.

    I don't claim to be a master, and the above is just from my experiences. If you decide to go with the Runewarden, since you mentioned elsewhere he was a Warden, look me up. We'll jump into a party chat and I'll see if I can find you an "Oh!" moment.
    -- Grounded in but one perspective, what we perceive is an exaggeration of the truth.
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited December 2012
    Blademaster wouldn't be a bad class to start out with, if it just didn't make limb counting so difficult. It's far easier to learn to count limbs when you start with a knight class, since then the only two factors that matter are your opponent's max health and the damage stat of your weapons. Gets a bit more complicated for monks, and even more for blademasters. (And gets stupidly easy with dragon :P)

    So if you start with blademaster, either give yourself plenty of time to gather enough data to make yourself a neat limbcounter, or get one from someone.

    Sylvan isn't a bad class to start out with either. It makes limb counting easy as well, and you deal a good amount of base damage as a bonus to everything else, without needing expensive weaponry.
  • KadenKaden Member Posts: 445 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I'm spoiled with magi/dragon limbcounting. :|

    And really just stick to it. I remember starting out by running around in the arena without curing and just trying my damned hard to frustrate/survive my opponent. Though I did get the talk that started making combat click for me. In my case it was @Azzad explaining about how to break limbs in retardation. I whored retardation ever since and never looked back. :P
  • HaliosHalios Member Posts: 471 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Spar Log Analyze Code

    Spar Log Analyze Code

    Spar Log Analyze Code

    Spar Log Analyze Code
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Tanris said:

    1. Fight. When you lose, figure out why and then do it again. Don't fall into the trap of fighting, losing, going back in without reviewing or having the person explain why you lost and just repeating the same mistakes over and over. That's not conducive to progress, and will just make you frustrated.

    So much truth in this. There are so many people who lose a spar and immediately ask for a rematch without even taking the slightest moment to consider what they might have done wrong and what they could improve. Do ask for that rematch, but not before you have identified at least, say, five things you need to improve, be it offensively or defensively, be it in knowledge, reactions, code, or general strategy. Practice may be said to make perfect, but only smart, conscious practice. Mindless repetition is a waste of time.

    As Halios said: log everything. Then take your time to go through your combat logs carefully and try to find every detail you could improve on. Don't ignore small things because "that wouldn't have made much of a difference anyways". Sure, stabbing once with curare while he was already paralysed or eating moss two seconds too early might not have made the difference between a win and a loss on its own, but details like this add up, and if you just skip over such things because you think they don't matter "because the other guy has more arties and a better ping and his class is OP anyways", you will quickly get stuck at a certain point and get frustrated.

    If there's just a single tiny thing you can learn from a fight that you can improve on for the future, it was time well spent and the fight was already a "success" of sorts.
  • BlujixapugBlujixapug Member Posts: 1,833 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Figure out some kind of defensive setup, whether that's getting a system from someone, shelling out for Vadibot, or making some macros or triggers. This can be a real boner-killer due to how hard, complicated, and endless it can be, so while you'll eventually have to figure it out, you can do as little as possible before moving on to offense.

    Look at your skills. Read all the AB files. Make aliases for all your attacks. Try and get an idea of what attacks you want to use and how you might maybe want to kill someone (eg. press the DSL button repeatedly, or press the sap button several times and then the absolve one, or try to venom-lock and then relapse camus).

    Ask people for spars. Join arena events. Spar more. Keep sparring. SPARWHO may or may not help you. Bugging your House and city, and trying to find a way to spar people from other cities and of enemy classes may help you. (I don't know if spamming market with spar requests is a great idea.)

    Expect to lose a lot. You will. Setting your expectations low will keep you from being disappointed when you inevitably do lose - and it'll make a nice surprise when you start to win!

    Learn something from every fight you lose. Don't just go "welp, I lost :((" and go bashing. Scroll up and read over the fight. Try and remedy each mistake. At first the amount you can learn this way will be overwhelming. Fix triggers. Configure settings. Highlight important lines. Learn what enemy abilities do and how to deal with them. Create echoes if it will help you (an echo is a line your client will display in response to a trigger, for example you could echo the first message of cleave to display three bright red lines of "hey you're getting cleaved").

    Keep logs of your fights. Go over them. This can be very helpful - looking at your own strategy. I remember looking at one log of mine and realising I was just cycling through my attacks almost randomly, with no focus or end goal.

    You can l2fite in any org, whether you're in the CIJ, the Sylvans, or the Maldaathi, Cyrene, Ashtan, or rogue, as long as you want to fight and keep getting better. It might be harder to find people who can help you in certain orgs, is all. Mentor-type figures will help you. Sparring partners moving up the ranks at the same time as you are will help you. But you can do it without them.

    One of the biggest challenges you'll face is finding an even matchup. What I mean by this is that if you have 1 Fabled skill, 2 at Expert, level 50, and no arties, you aren't going to be finding a lot of fights against people of identical might and aptitude. Not in FFAs, not the people raiding your city, probably not people on sparwho. So you're going to be fighting a lot of people with much higher investments than you. Don't be discouraged. This is where you need to go elsewhere, and bug people from your House, city, and strangers to spar you.

    Bear in mind that, once you're past the entry level, it's much easier to learn from a fight against someone better than you, than from someone worse than you.

    Good luck and keep trying!
  • XithXith Member Posts: 2,602 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I want to point out since you mentioned several alt-classes. Pick one and focus on it. With that class, try to fight the same classes as your other alts.
    Example: Take your Sylvan and fight a decent blademaster. Take note of how they kick your ass. Then ask exactly how they did it.

    If they do the "trade secrets. a magician never reveals his tricks" crap, find a different person of that class.
    Once you understand the theory, head to your alt and code. Set up the systems you think you'll need to make the strategies workable.
    Make sure you have a versatile enough setup that you don't get tangled up on the coding side. Balance your aliases/keys/triggers to handle the workload efficiently.

    Huge part of it is sitting down and figuring out how you'll get someone and beat their system.
    If you're a serpent/afflicter, you have your normal lock strategy and then you have one for classes with fitness.
    If you're a not-serpent, you have to factor in a leg break or something when fighting serpents to keep them from disappearing.

    I like my steak like I like my Magic cards: mythic rare.
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited December 2012
    One more thing: not every practice fight needs to be an all-out "both fighters try to kill the other person as quickly as possible" kind of fight. Many people will be willing to fight you in a more "reduced" fashion if you ask them, which you should particularly in the case that Blujixapug mentioned: if you can't find people of your own might and experience to fight with.

    It's very worthwhile, when starting to learn combat as a new class, to have some practice "fights" where, for instance, you only defend while your opponent attacks, just to learn curing and general defence. Or to only attack while the other stands still, possibly even without some defences like rebounding, just so you can practice your general prepping and combat strategy. That way, you can focus on practicing certain aspects of combat in-depth before mixing it all together, which can help a lot initially not to get overwhelmed. Don't be afraid to ask people to do just that, or to remove their artefacts, or similar things. Maybe not all will agree to it, but many will, and it may provide you with a fight that will last longer and give you more learning opportunities.

    I still sometimes ask a magi to, say, fully prep me, drop retardation and attack me, while I only defend, just so I can practice that particular aspect of combat, without losing time with other things.
  • HaliosHalios Member Posts: 471 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    What Iocun said above is spot on.

    I'm still re-learning achaean combat and trying to map out in my head my strategies. One of the best things I've done is just practice my kill combo on people, and I still haven't even mixed in envenomed dagger jabs yet.

    If it isn't second nature to you to perform your class's prime strategy or offensive pattern then how will you do it when you're getting afflicted or limb broken etc.
  • AradorArador Member Posts: 1,696 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I split it up into a few parts when starting as a new class.

    1. Learn what your skills do. Read the AB files, ask around, check how fast things are etc.

    2. Basic Defence. Let other people attack you, see what escapes you have, fitness, evade etc. Get your system set up to match your abilities.

    3. Offence. Here is where you need to find out how you can kill. Speak to people, fight people of your same class (very defensively and see what they do to kill you. Steal ideas, try to figure out why you could not escape. Get someone to stand still while you whack away trying to apply the tricks, setups and combos you have picked up.

    4. Coding to make your life easier. With your defence handled by the system now you need to set up your offence so you do not have to type out every attack. This will be mostly aliases and macros to do things for you along with a healthy helping of Highlights and Gags so you can see what the bloody hell is going on as that wall of text fly past you. Highlight your attacks landing, highlight what is happening to your opponent like when he is prone and when he gets up, highlight important cures like salve applications on breaks or herbs critical to you locking him, Highlight rebounding and shielding etc. Gag stuff you do not care about like spammy flavour text, breathing (if not Monk) and so on. The hardest part for me has always been trying to see what is going on when things get fast and this step is critical.

    5. And finally the most important part. Spar. Over and over. Save the logs to check later, do not worry if you die within seconds 500 times. Fight people who can kill you, then once you can kill them reliably, find someone better. Talk to people, do not feel shy to ask questions about their class, about what you did right, if they have any tips etc. The strange thing about Achaean combat is how even knowing every skill and every cure, it may still feel like you can not get your head wrapped around it. Then one day someone tells you something or gives you an idea and it all just clicks.

    For me it happened when I got my head wrapped around vivisect setups and salve balances. Before that it was all untargeted slashing, copious amounts of aconite, hoping to stick something and out-damage them. Then After dying to @Aetous 5 million times, he gave me an example of a simple vivisect setup and explained how the timings all figured in. Then it just clicked and from that basic idea, I was able to branch out and try all kinds of tricks.

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