We know many of you have been waiting for more information about the combat system in Runemaster and this week we'll share some of that information with you.
To start off, let's talk about how armies are structured.
As you already know, combat in Runemaster is turn based tactical combat. You move your character freely in the world until a combat is initiated, for example from a guard blocking your path. You're then taken to a hex based battlefield where your individual units each occupy a single hex. Hexes can have different height and terrain and your units benefit from having high ground when fighting the enemy. Your hero takes active part in the combat fighting side by side with your other units (and in some cases alone).
Now onto something new!
The units in an army are divided into squads and squads are used, among other things, to decide what units can be activated at any given time. If two armies fighting each other have the same number of squads, the armies will take turns activating one squad at a time (in an order decided when the battle starts). Should one army have more squads than the other, those extra squads will activate at the end of an activation cycle. When a squad is activated, its units can be act in any order. It's also possible to start moving one unit, then switching to a squad mate, move that unit and then continue with the first unit. This allows for more flexibility and cooperation between units from the same squad and also opens up for more complex maneuvers. Units from the same squad will also set up next to each other at the start of a combat.
Banner items are a certain category of items that can be equipped by a squad. Banner items give similar benefits that items used by the player character gives, but to all units of that squad. To maximize the effects of a banner you might need to restructure your army.
Some units have abilities that benefit all members of a squad which further impacts what units to place in the same squad. Non-player armies are free to organize their squads in whatever fashion they (usually a scripter or an AI) choose but the player has some restrictions:
- A maximum of five squads.
- No more than three ordinary units in a squad
- Either the main character or a banner item
The main character is not considered a standard unit and can attach itself to any squad prior to the battle, extending the maximum size of that squad to four. Not only will this make that squad 33% larger than the others, but each class also have one or more abilities that will boost all members of the own squad. Not having the main character in a squad allows that squad to equip a banner which can be better at enhancing stats used by certain units or make up for weaknesses of certain units.
The screenshot for today shows your army management screen where banners are equipped and units placed in squads. The formations shown are the formations that units will be placed in when entering the battlefield. Remember that this is still pre alpha and all numbers graphics are subject to change.