Battles are the instrument available to the player to force his opponents into submission.
Depending on the type of combatants and their state, there can be several types of battles.
- 1 Concepts
- 2 Battles against non player entities
- 3 Battles against players
- 4 Battles against castles
- 5 Battles that involve AFK players
- 6 Battles that involve logged out players
The battles are turn based. That means, that only one unit at a time gets to act. The order in which that happens depends on the units on the battlefield
The terrain on which the battles happen is partitioned into hexagonal areas, forming a hex grid. Only one unit may occupy a hex at a single time. The size of the grid depends on how fast the units from the two sides are and how many units each side has. The faster the units, the bigger deeper the field. The more units, the wider the field.
There are only two sides, the attacker and the defender. In the current version, only two entities can be involved in battle, but that will soon be changed, allowing multiple entities fight. However, there will always be two sides, and each additional entity might join one side or the other.
Every time a player gets an opportunity to act, there is a timer. This timer depends on the type of battle that is started.
Initial unit deployment phase
Both the attacker and the defender deploy units. Both parties deploy units at the same time, and may choose to deploy depending on what the opponent deploys. That is why it is useful to have more troops available then can be deployed, a feature added by the vast armies skill.
Failing to deploy at least some troops before the timer runs out will be equivalent to immediate surrender, and all penalties that come with that.
Deployment can be done by clicking on one of the available units listed on the left side of the screen, and then clicking on one of the highlighted hexes. These are usually on a side of the map, with the exception of the siege. To make things easier, the game client will automatically select the lord first and then the next unit to deploy, starting with the one on the first slot, then the second and so on.
Unit action phase
After the deployment phase happens, the fastest unit on the field gets to act. If both the attacker and the defender have units of that speed, then an attacker unit will be chosen. If the battle participant has multiple units of that speed, then the one on the lowest slot will be chosen.
At the beginning of its turn, each unit gets a number of action points equal to its speed.
During this phase, the unit can cast a spell. Depending on spell, this may end the unit turn immediately, but most spells allow the unit to act again, even cast another spell. Castingdoes not use any of the unit action points.
A unit can choose to move. A unit can move from one hex to any neighboring hex that is not occupied. This can be done hex by hex, manually, or the game client will highlight a recommended (shortest) path. Each time a unit moves from one hex to another, an action point is used. If a unit runs out of action points by moving, its turn ends.
A unit can choose to attack. If the unit is melee, it can only attack units in hexes next to its own hex. Ranged units can attack any other unit from any hex. Attacking needs one action point, but will consume all the remaining action points and end the unit turn immediately. Some units will retaliate when attacked. The rules for retaliation are these:
- Each unit only retaliates once
- Archers do not retaliate
- units attacked from a range (not from an adjacent hex) will not retaliate
- units never retaliate when attacked by siege weapons, even if they are in an adjacent hex
Retaliation count is reset during a reinforcement deployment phase (even if it is skipped)
A unit can end its turn prematurely, without exhausting its action points, when:
- The time expires
- The owner presses the "end turn" button on the lower right side of the screen. This is not to be mistaken with the "end season" button, on the upper left side of the screen!
Next unit to act
After a unit acts, the unit with the next best speed gets to act. If such a unit exists on both sides, then one from the other side then who just acted is chosen, having players act in turns. If multiple units on a participant have equal speed then the one with the lowest slot is chosen. Please note: that does not mean the deployment order!
After all units from both sides have had a chance to act, a reinforcement round will happen. This is similar to the initial troop deployment round in all aspects, with one exception: All units deployed during this round will not get a chance to act until after the next reinforcement phase. They can still be attacked and will retaliated, and have to be killed in order for the enemy to win.
This round will be skipped for the participants that have no units to deploy, or their commander skills do not allow extra units. If none of the participants can deploy units (for reasons mentioned above), then the round will not happen. The following effects will still be applied however:
- All unit buffs/debuffs will have their duration reduced by 1
- All units will have their available retaliations reset
- The available spell power will be reset
- Units deployed in the previous reinforcement phase will get their movement restriction lifted
Ending a battle
A battle will end when all the units of all the participants on one of the sides will be killed, or their commanders retreat.
For any survivors, penalties are applied, depending on the entity commanding the other side. For details, see below
Battles against non player entities
NPC's deploy their troops in the same order as they are slotted. That means, having units of equal speed, facing the enemy, the unit to the left will move first, then the one one to its left and so on. NPC's will deploy all of their units in the first round, if enough hexes are available. If not, they will deploy reinforcements as soon as they can.
The NPC's will be controlled by an AI. The AI is a lot weaker then the average player, and can be exploited by an experienced player. It does not cast any spells, at this time. The AI will appear to make its decisions instantly.
During a battle with a NPC, there is no timer. The player can take as long as it likes to decide on what to do.
When a battle is lost the following penalties will apply:
- Any surviving troop that is deployed will lose half of its remaining soldiers. (This can happen if the player retreats)
- Any undeployed troop will lose 1/4 of its soldiers.
- The lord will lose 1/4 of its maximum health points if it was deployed on the field or 1/8 if it was not. If this brings the to 0 or less health points, then the entire army will be moved to the lord's castle.
After the battle, the player will get a battle report. This report will show the experience gained.
Sometimes, after the battle the player will receive more then plunder. If the items received cannot be moved directly to the army inventory or it a quest item is received, then the battle report will also contain a loot transfer section containing all the received items, including the items. The player may choose to take anything from it. All the loot is lost when the army moves however.
Battles against players
Players are unpredictible and may choose to wait a long time until they deploy their troops. Deploying as late as possible will provide the advantage of seeing what the enemy puts on the field (and where).
Players will control their units, and may take a long time to decide on what to do.
During a PVP battle, each player has 45 seconds to decide on his move. This time includes the animation of the previous unit move! even if this usually means less then 2 seconds.
If a player is engaged in multiple PVP battles, each of the battle icons in the top bar will have a counter on them showing the remaining time and a red flashing blip. These elements will not be shown if it is not the player's turn to act!
When a PVP battle is lost the following penalties will apply:
- Any surviving troop that is deployed will lose 3/4 of its remaining soldiers (rounded up). (This can happen if the player retreats)
- Any undeployed troop will lose half of its soldiers (rounded up)
- The lord will lose half of its maximum health points if it was deployed on the field or 1/4 if it was not. If this brings the lord to 0 health points or less, it will not be able to move until the next season.
- The army is immediately moved to the home castle of the commander
- All the spells in the army inventory are lost
- All the raw materials(including plunder) and all the weapons and armor in the army inventory will be lost. This does not include items that are equipped on the lord.
- For each item that the lord equipped, there is a 60% chance that it will also be lost.
Besides the due plunder, the winner will also be able take all the items the loser has lost, with the exception of spell scrolls. All these items will appear in the loot transfer section of the battle report and be subject to the same rules as with the NPC dropped items.
Battles against castles
These follow the same rules as the regular battles, except that the defender can only deploy troops inside the castle, around the center tower, and the attacker will deploy and the edge of the map that is closest to the castle gate.
The attacker will not be able to cast any spells that affect the defending units until the castle walls are breached by catapult fire. This is a very important thing to consider when attacking a castle!
Battles that involve AFK players
If a player is away from keyboard (AFK) but logged in, then that player is in a particularly dangerous situations. Other players may attack, and if the defender does not come back to deploy any troops on the field then the attacker will win directly, and the loser will suffer all the penalties.
So, take note: Do not leave your armies and go AFK
For players owning a castle on a PVP map, there is no way for the castle to be safe, for the time being (in future versions there will be). So, such a player should log out even if it plans to be AFK for a little while.
Battles that involve logged out players
There are three situations when this can happen.
- The defender is a castle on a PVP map
- The defender is an army on a PVP map, and the owning player logged out in the past two minutes. After two minutes, the army will be removed from the game and will be safe.
- A player logs out during a battle
In all cases, an AI will deploy and control the troops of the defender.
If it happens that the defender will login during the battle, then control will imediatlly go to the player.
If both participants will log out, then the battle will still happen with both sides being controlled by the AI. Since the AI moves virtually instantaneous and does not need to wait for the unit animations, the battle will end almost immediately. Both players quitting is not an option for a "draw".