Abilities are special moves or spells that characters can have.  Abilities tend to be more powerful than normal attacks with weapons, or can affect a target with one or more positive or negative effects.  Many abilities can target multiple characters or monsters at once.  The drawback is that abilities tend to use more stamina than regular attacks. 

Typically during a turn you can either attack, defend, or use an ability, but not more than one of those (there are rare exceptions).  Abilities can be used before or after you move, and you may also move, use an ability, then move some more. 

Most abilities are class-specific, although some abilities are common to all classes (like Power Attack and First Aid) and some are shared by only a few classes (like War Horn which can be used by either Fighters or Paladins).  

Abilities are classified in three groups:   OFFENSIVE, DEFENSIVE and SUPPORT.  Offensive abilities generally do harm to others (think a fireball).  Defensive abilities protect you or others from damage (think a magikal shield).  Support abilities typically buff you or others or boost stats (think healing or making you resistant to poisons). 

As characters gain in experience and level up, they gain more abilities.  Mages and Druids gain an additional ability every level, whereas all the other classes gain one at every odd level (e.g., 1, 3, 5, …).  However, all abilities have varying MINIMUM LEVEL requirements, so when selecting abilities you will only be able to select those that are at or below your current level.  For example, a level 3 Mage can select only level 1, 2, and 3 abilities.  Also keep in mind that, generally, the higher the level ability the higher the stamina that must be expended to use it.  While leveling up, remember this when you see a new powerful one become available.  You may end up expending half of your stamina to use it.  Being able to use a different lower level ability several times for the same amount of stamina may be more advantageous.

Abilities can have very different targeting mechanisms. Some are melee-type and effectively can be used only when you’re in the next square to your target.  Some are RANGED and can be fired at one or more targets from a distance.  Some are AREA-OF-EFFECT and spread out from the caster in a circle.  Some are TARGETED AREA-OF-EFFECT (you’ll see stats for both RANGED and AREA-OF-EFFECT) where you can choose a different spot for the center of the area that it spreads out from. 

Some abilities will affect anyone within range regardless of whether they are your ally or not (), but some are limited to only affecting either allies () or enemies (), depending on whether it is offensive or supportive.  It is important to know how given abilities interact with enemies and/or allies so you don’t accidentally harm your ally or benefit your enemy.

Some abilities rely on having a particular weapon equipped and you can’t use them otherwise.  Some of these may be very specific such as requiring a bow or a crossbow, but others can be general such as requiring any melee weapon.  But most abilities require no weapon at all. 

The majority of abilities have LINE-OF-SIGHT requirements to use them against a given opponent or to position them in a given spot.  If something is blocking the way, you won’t be able to target it.  This is the default action, so it is usually not indicated.  But some abilities, especially those that tend to be “mental” in nature do not have line-of-sight limits and can go “over” enemies in the way.  This is sometimes referred to as VOLLEY.

Most abilities have a COOLDOWN period, which is a number of rounds that must pass before you can use that same ability again (you can use other abilities in the meantime).  The typical cooldown period is 4 rounds, but this can vary.  More powerful abilities, or abilities whose effects last longer, typically have longer cooldown periods between 6 and 12 rounds.  Some abilities have no cooldown period whatsoever and can essentially be used every turn (the Alchemist’s various elemental shots are like this).

Unless stated otherwise, most abilities’ effects last between 2-3 rounds, referred to as DURATION, although the user may possess certain attributes and/or skills that can boost this.  For example, if a Druid casts Bane (a spell that weakens enemies), anyone that is successfully hit will have the WEAK effect applied to them for between 2-3 rounds, assuming no boost from personal traits or skills.  But if this same Druid has the Weak in the Knees skill (which adds +1 duration to any WEAK effects), the duration will be 3-4 rounds.  Until the effect wears off, the victim will only do 50% of their normal melee damage.

Some abilities require an initial roll to see if there is a successful hit, just like with a melee or ranged attack as discussed in the section on Accuracy (although the numbers used may be different).  If the hit is successful, then the ability’s effects are dealt to the victim, whatever they may be.  However, this is typically only the case with abilities that do physical damage or elemental damage. 

A good example is the Fighter’s Brute Force ability, as shown above.  This ability lets the user ram into an adjacent opponent causing damage and potentially knocking them down.  The ability itself has an underlying ACC of 50 for this specific character, as shown by stat (this is taking all of their skills and bonuses into consideration).  Because you see the ACC stat at all, this tells you that a hit or miss roll must be made first.  When this happens, the target’s DEF or MGK DEF is taken into account (in this case DEF because this is a melee-type attack and the indicator shows that the defender uses DEF).  If the roll is successful and lands a hit, the victim takes roughly 6-14 points of physical damage, plus 15% (indicated by the DAMAGE stat).  Another roll is then made to see if the subsequent KNOCKDOWN effect happens (a 50% chance).  However, if the original roll is a miss, no damage is taken and no subsequent effects happen either.  This makes sense because how could you knock them over if you never hit in the first place? 

Some abilities only cause status effects and do no physical damage.  These abilities typically only have one roll for the effect itself — not a roll to determine an initial “hit” or “miss”.  A good example of this is the Rogue’s Cheap Shot ability, as seen in this figure, which throws sand in the face of his or her victim potentially causing BLIND.  The absence of the symbol shows that no initial “to hit” roll is required.  The ability has a 60% chance to blind its victim (individual bonuses such as skills and gear are included in this percentage).  When used, there is just the single roll to see if the 60% threshold is met.  If so, the target afflicted with BLIND for several turns.  If not, they are not.  But also keep in mind that victims may have factors that boost their defense against particular effects.  So, for example, if the target has a BLIND RESISTANCE rate of 25%, the 60% rate is reduced by that when the roll is made.

Some abilities can include multiple effects.  You can see Brute Force also has a 1 square PUSHBACK effect.  Because there is no percentage displayed, it is automatic on a hit.  The Druid’s Triple Whammy has a 40% chance to cause SLOW, WEAK, and/or BLIND.  In this case, there is a separate roll for each effect.  The victim could be hit with SLOW but not the other two, or WEAK and BLIND but not SLOW, or all three or none.      

There is one last thing to consider regarding abilities.  Many abilities cause ELEMENTAL damage (FIRE, ICE, SHOCK, POISON, and even in some cases WATER).  As you learned in the Health section of this guide, and will read more on in the Armor section, elemental damage bypasses armor so can be fairly powerful.  But in addition to that, fire, ice and shock have potential follow-on effects for a successful hit, depending on how much damage is done.  The more damage that is done, the more of a chance for the effect.  Fire can cause PANIC, ice can cause SLOW, and shock can cause STUN.  Each of these has a separate roll after the elemental damage is applied and the chance is roughly 5% per damage point done.  So if someone takes 3 points of fire damage, there is a 15% chance they will be afflicted with PANIC (barring any natural resistances to it). 

Ice damage has an additional benefit in that it also reduces stamina by 2 times the amount of elemental damage, so someone that takes 5 points of ice damage also loses 10 points of stamina.  This is automatic with no roll required. 

Shock damage can also travel through water to anyone in an adjacent square to the victim, provided they are both standing (or swimming) in water.  This does not include the original caster of the ability that caused the shock damage.  This “secondary shock” effect has its own “to hit” roll and the potential damage is half that of the original amount.

Poison is considered an elemental attack, but it is different from the others in that it never drains health.  Instead, poisons affect stamina, typically for a few rounds.  This is important to keep in mind so you don’t choose to go it alone in a dungeon armed only with a Wand of Poison.  You may wind up scratching your head as to why you can’t seem to kill any monsters!  Poison is still useful, but not as your sole weapon.  If poisoned, you can mitigate the effects by using DEFEND.  That is detailed more in the Battle Tactics section.

It is important to look at the stats for any given ability to understand how to interact with it.  There really is a lot of variety and each is fairly unique, but once you are familiar with the ins and outs of a given ability, you will find them to be one of the best parts of the game and certainly useful in battle. 


Upgrading Abilities:

NOTE: Ability upgrades are available starting with Version 1.1 (build 75) which is currently in beta testing and will be released soon.


Battle Cry Factor II

Most (not all) abilities can be upgraded at some point.  This process is called FACTORING (e.g., Factor II, Factor III, and Factor IV).  Abilities that are upgraded display the roman numeral over their icon as seen here.  Upgraded abilities are more powerful but use more stamina.  Abilities that factor can be upgraded every 10 levels beyond their MINIMUM LEVEL.  For example, the Ranger and Rogue’s Flaming Arrow ability is level 1.  It can be upgraded to Factor II at level 11, Factor III at level 21, and Factor IV at level 31. 

Upgrading abilities costs progressively more ABILITY POINTS (which are awarded when you level up).  Upgrading an ability from its original form to Factor II costs 2 ability points.  To Factor III costs 4 ability points.  And to Factor IV costs 6 ability points.

Generally, when you upgrade an ability’s factor, the stamina cost rises by 50% and the DURATION and COOLDOWN each increase by 1.  However, the effects of each ability generally increase too.  PHYSICAL and ELEMENTAL DAMAGE usually doubles.  The chance for any given STATUS EFFECT increases by 15% (so a 40% STUN rate becomes 46%).  RESISTANCES rise by 15% (e.g., 40% FIRE RESISTANCE becomes 46%).  Summoned creatures’ levels increase by 10.  Those are generalities, and different abilities can vary, so you’ll need to refer to the specific ability when upgrading to see specifics.

There are still quite a few abilities that cannot be upgraded (you’ll see this icon ).  Typically, these are weapon-based abilities where the damage or the effect is dependent on the weapon itself (e.g., Power Attack, Precision Strike, Sweep Attack, Counter Attack).  These don’t upgrade because the assumption is that as you level up and get better weapons they are naturally upgrading along the way.     

Some abilities don’t factor, but have explicit upgrades.  An example of this is the Mage and Druid’s Open Simple Lock, Open Moderate Lock, and Open Hard Lock abilities.  Each of these requires the one below before you can add it when leveling up, but the older one still exists in your abilities list and either version can be used.  And these only cost one ability point to acquire each new ability.

When you look at the description for any given ability, information on whether it can be upgraded or not will be given including at what level it can be upgraded.

By the way … monsters get ability upgrades as well.  You won’t know who has what, but you should feel it when they attack.  Fair is fair.  You really won’t see this prior to level 20 or so, but at level 30 you should expect most monsters to have about one or two of their abilities upgraded to at least Factor II.  At level 40, likely three or four at Factor II or even one at Factor III.  You probably won’t see a Factor IV until level 75+.  The GAME DIFFICULTY will affect this.  A higher setting will translate to more ability upgrades on monsters, which will mean tougher monsters.

Important note regarding ability upgrading: Just because you CAN upgrade an ability doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  You have to take into consideration the stamina cost of using the new ability as well as the ability points cost.  For example, it doesn’t make much sense to upgrade an ability as soon as you possibly can at level 11 if its stamina cost is a quarter or more of your total stamina.  You couldn’t use it very often (something like a summon may be an exception to this).  Unless you really like that ability and use it a lot and the upgrade effects are significant.  The reality is that most players shouldn’t even think about upgrading anything until maybe level 20.  And even at that, maybe only a select few abilities.  You don’t need to upgrade everything.  And it’s possible that acquiring two new abilities would be better than upgrading one.

Area-of-Effect Sizing:

Many abilities are AREA-OF-EFFECT or RANGED AREA-OF-EFFECT.  These spread their effects over a circular-sized area, either surrounding the caster or surrounding a point within range that the caster chooses.  However, as characters level up, slotting ATTRIBUTE POINTS to various attributes can increase the area-of-effect.  Sometimes this can actually become cumbersome as the target circles get too large to manage and avoid collateral damage on allies.  This is where AREA-OF-EFFECT SIZING comes into play.

First of all, to use this requires the character has invested in the AREA-OF-EFFECT CONTROL skill during upgrading.  This is a SUPPORT skill available to all classes.  If a character has this skill, when they go to target the ability and it is painted on the ground (either in yellow or red), using the mouse wheel will change the size of the target area, shrinking it or growing it.  On a touchscreen, you can also pinch or stretch to adjust this.  You are still limited by the maximum size specified in the ability’s specs, and the smallest is a 5-square “cross”.  Once you have sized appropriately, merely click on one of the yellow/red squares to activate the ability.

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