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The Chronicles of Spellborn – Beginners Guide to Combat

Posted Wed, Mar 25, 2009 by Sardu

Skill Deck construction in Spellborn can help determine the flow of combat.

With a distinct lack of auto-attack options, combat in The Chronicles of Spellborn can be a bit tricky to learn at first for players more accustomed to industry standards such as the ability to open up a multitude of hotbars. But by removing all of the unnecessary UI clutter and adding in elements of FPS gameplay, players are able to fully immerse themselves in the action of combat to a degree rarely seen in MMOs. To help ease players into the experience, we’ve put together a handy guide to the basic elements to be aware of in Spellborn’s unique spin on MMO combat.

Movement

The tutorial in The Chronicles of Spellborn places a strong emphasis on movement right from the start, and with good reason. Enemy AI behaves quite differently than what you might be accustomed to, using group tactics and social behaviors that give combat the same immersive depth typically reserved for PvP arenas. While a familiar WASD control scheme is still employed, getting used to dodging enemy attacks while keeping them in your crosshairs is something you will want to master early on.

The same mapping for movement keys will be used regardless of being in or out of combat, but upon entering combat you’ll typically be holding down the right mouse button (RMB) which essentially ‘arms’ attacks for use which you then execute with the left mouse button (LMB). The key is getting used to aiming with your mouse while shifting your position with the keyboard, which will be covered a bit more in depth later in the guide. The important thing to remember here is simply that the old school method of tanking mobs or firing off spells from a stationary position has gone the way of the dinosaur in Spellborn.

Targeting

Targeting is another element to combat that deserves some attention, as this is where Spellborn’s link to the realm of FPS is most obvious. Using the TAB key will allow you to cycle through nearby enemies, but what ultimately matters is keeping them in the targeting reticule that appears when hitting the F key to enter combat. Holding down the RMB will allow you to quickly aim directly at your target whether you’re using ranged or melee attacks, with a red indicator appearing in your crosshair showing that your attacks will land.

Combat Basics

As mentioned above, targets can be selected via a quick press of the TAB key, but what ultimately matters is where your attacks land. For example, thanks to the social behaviors of wolves who like to dash off to round up a few friends before returning to nip at your shins you’ll often find yourself in combat situations against multiple enemies. While the target indicator at the top left of the screen will show the health bar of the new pack’s leader, with proper positioning it’s possible for a single attack to strike multiple enemies at once.

This is particularly useful against humanoid NPCs who will react to combat much like their human counterparts; fighters will attempt to ‘tank’ players so that casters can fire off damaging spells from a safe distance. Remaining stationary in this type of situation will see your hitpoints diminish rather quickly, so to avoid a quick trip to the resurrection shrine you’ll want to stay on the move, taking out softer targets first before getting caught up in a toe-to-toe smack down with that fighter who’s intent on putting a sizable dent in your skull. Enemy NPCs also conform to the same rules of manual FPS style targeting, which means that it’s entirely possible to avoid some or even all of their attacks by constantly positioning yourself out of harm’s way.

Hovering the mouse over the skill book reveals important details.

The Skill Deck

Replacing the static hotbars of previous MMOs, the rotating skill deck in Spellborn is a unique feature that allows you to decide the flow of combat before ever stepping into battle, keeping the focus on action rather than flooding you with options while in the thick of it. Upon entering combat mode via a quick tap of the F key, the skill deck will appear at the bottom of your screen, presenting you with a short horizontal row of up to 5 skill options. Executing your initial attack will then rotate the deck vertically, presenting you with a second row of skills.

Initially, players start out with 2 rows of 3 skill slots each but as you advance through Fame ranks, new rows and columns open up to help round out which tactics you want to employ.  You’ll eventually be able to chain together different types of attacks which grant increased benefits so long as you successfully land each attack in the chain.

Navigating the skill deck can be done in a couple of different ways, allowing you to find a method that works best for your particular playstyle. Each horizontal row will have 1 to 5 skills which are mapped to the number keys on your keyboard. Pressing the number key for that particular row will ‘arm’ that row of attacks, or alternately you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse to navigate horizontally across the row in either direction. I’ve found that using the scroll wheel works best for me, as it allows me to constantly move during battle rather than momentarily stopping to switch which row of skills is active. Thankfully some of the earlier NPCs you’ll square off against will be easy to dispatch, so it’s a good idea to get comfortable with whichever method works best for you early on.

To use the skills themselves, hold down your RMB – think of this as ‘arming’ your skills for attack. Once the red indicator on your crosshair is lit up, a LMB click will then fire off whichever skill is currently active, indicated by a glowing boarder around its icon. The skill deck then rotates, presenting you with your next set of options.

The Skill Book

By selectively placing where different skills reside in the skill deck, you can minimize the time it takes between attacks, setting up each vertical column for different attack types or situations. So for example, the first column (mapped to the ‘1’ key) could be all melee attacks, column 2 (mapped to the ‘2’ key) could be all ranged attacks while column 3 (mapped to the ‘3’ key) could be buffs and debuffs.

To set up your skill deck to your liking, open up both the Skill Book and Skill Deck UI windows, and from there it’s a simple matter of dragging and dropping skills in whichever slots you prefer. The skill book itself will provide some useful “at a glance” information making deck construction a breeze. Small icons to the right of the window will inform you of the attack type, linked attributes and even what the cooldown for a particular ability is. Cooldowns are something you’ll definitely want to take into account when constructing your deck, as a good set-up will allow you to avoid waiting on timers between attacks, keeping a nice flow to combat.
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