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Subject: A look at the combat system through three fights vs. Ultron rss

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Jorge Arroyo
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I just thought I'd show some of the possibilities of the combat system by example. Here are three fights between some of the heroes and one of the most powerful villains: Ultron. I chose not to use Ultron's special power as that would make him maybe too hard to kill, but heroes have only 3 attempts for using their special power. Neither heroes nor Ultron can boost their dice.

What follows are three fights where I've tried to choose as logically as possible (and with as little bias as possible), trying to showcase the kind of decisions this combat system allows. A real fight usually has more surprises as players try to outguess each other, but I've tried to emulate that as well as I could.

Edit: I thought I'd quickly explain how the combat works because else this won't be much use to those that haven't played the game... Each character has 3 sets of stats (although weaker villains only have 2): Red, Orange and Yellow. Each set of stats has ratings for Attack, Defense and Outwit, and usually each set focuses on one of these aspects. Each round of combat, both players choose a color secretly and reveal it simultaneously. Each character then uses the stats from the chosen color to resolve all the attacks for the round. This adds an outguessing element to the combat system, kind of like Rock Paper Scissors but without absolute results, as you've got to still roll for each attack. After both characters have attacked, there's the outwit phase where another KO can be inflicted but also the winner will be able to attack first next round. That's basically it, with the special powers modifying results or giving extra abilities to the character.

Here are the fights:

Hulk vs. Ultron

Hulk decides to start by trying to crush Ultron (red power) and Ultron, having enough energy too decides to fire some stun charges (red). Hulk jumps on top of Ultron (Attack 5) which can't do much with his low defense (1). Ultron is crushed by the blow (5 Hits vs. 1 Hit for 1 KO). But Ultron attacks back although his attack (5) is not strong enough to overcome Hulk's defense (4). Hulk is unharmed (2 Hits vs. 4 Hits). Now both of them look for ways to outwit each other and Hulk uses his jump powers to try to gain the advantage (2) against Ultron (3) but Ultron is not fooled and manages to take the initiative, striking a blow from behind (3 hits vs 4 hits for 1 KO)

Now Ultron decides to concentrate in outwitting his opponent and chooses his Superhuman Intelligence power (Yellow), but Hulk keeps on trying to crush Ultron (red). First Ultron attacks weakly (2) and doesn't even scratch Hulk (0 Hits). Hulk (5) smashes Ultron (3) and scores a hit (5 hits vs. 2 hits for 1 KO). Now both opponents eye each other looking for a break and Hulk tries jumping again (2) vs Ultron's intelligence (4). Ultron wins again (4 Hits vs. 3 Hits for 1KO) scoring a hit.

This is the definitive round. Ultron has the initiative and has to attack quickly before Hulk punches him. Still, the Stun Charges leave him defenseless, and he decides not to take the risk, choosing his Admantium Armor (orange). Hulk also plays it safe, choosing his healing factor, hoping either his punches or his jumps do the trick. Ultron attacks (2 vs 5) but predictably he fails to damage Hulk (2 Hits vs. 3 Hits). Now Hulk punches (2 vs 5) and fails too (1 Hit vs 5). Now both try their best at outwitting each other while Hulk tries his last jump (3 vs 2) but none manage to find a way to damage their opponent (2 Hits vs. 2 Hits).

Unexpectedly, the combat goes on. Utron decides to risk everything (red), hoping Hulk doesn't dare to do the same, and Hulk as expected conentrates on defense this turn too (orange). Ultron attacks (5) while Hulk does his best to avoid damange (5). This time though, Hulk fails to avoid Ultron's charges and falls (2 Hits vs. 1 Hit).

Spiderman vs. Ultron

Spiderman knows he can't stand less abuse than Ultron, so he has to be careful. He chooses his wall climbing powers (orange) hoping to score a lucky hit either by force or wits. Ultron knowing he's got a lot of strength left, chooses his Stun Charge power (red) hoping for an easy hit. Spiderman tries a weak attack (2) but Ultron left his defenses open (1). Spiderman scores a hit (2 hits vs 1 hit for 1KO). Now Ultron attacks (5) but Spiderman is ready (4). Ultron's attack is strong (6 hits) but Spiderman's spider sense helps him avoid part of it, although it's enough to damage him (4 Hits vs. 2 Hits). Now both fighters try to find the best way to trick the other (3 vs 3) but Ultron's robotic intelligence proves to much for our friendly spider (3 Hits vs. 5 Hits) and he goes down.

Wolverine vs. Ultron

Wolverine is weaker than Ultron, but he's got his healing factor so his first attack goes all out, using his admantium claws (red). Ultron knowing his strength also goes all out, choosing his stun discharges (red). First Wolverine attacks (5) versus Ultron's open defence (1) managing to score a perfect hit, damaging the robot (6 Hits vs 1 Hit for 1 KO). Now is Ultron's turn to attack (5) versus Logan's weaker defense (3). This time Ultron is unlucky and misses his shot (2 Hits vs. 3 Hits). Ultron now, using his higher intelligence (3 vs 1) manages to trick Wolverine and scores a hit (2 Hits vs 1 Hit for 1 KO).

Now Wolverine is desperate as he needs to survive and possibly recover his health so he chooses his healing factor (orange). Ultron predicting this uses his superhuman intelligence to both have a decent defense but also a good chance at scoring another hit at the end of the round. Ultron attacks (2) against Logan's great defense (5) which also stands this attack (2 hits vs 5 hits). Wolverine also recovers his health thanks to his powers. Now Logan attacks (2) although Ultron's defense is stronger (3). This time though, Wolverine's claws still manage to penetrate Ultron's armor (1 hit vs. 1 hit). But Ultron has the advantage now, thanks to his super human intelligence (4 vs 2) and scores another hit (4 hits vs 1 hit).

This is what seems to be the last round of combat. Both opponents are down to their last health point, and Ultron has the iniciative. He takes the risk and goes all out with his stun charges (red). Wolverine needs to recover his health, so he chooses his healing factor again (orange). Ultron fires (5) while Logan tries to avoid the shot (5). He easily does that, even managing to recover another health point (3 Hits vs. 5 Hits). Now Wolverine attacks (2) with a good chance vs. Ultron's weak defense (1) but this time the attack fails (0 Hits). Ultron again has a slight advantage when he tries to outwit his enemy (3 vs 2) but this time that is not enough. In a surprise move that leaves him totally baffled, Wolverine jumps, comes from behind and hits him by surprise (3 hits vs. 2 hits). Logan wins the fight. Ultron has been defeated.

Thoughts

Ultron is a mighty opponent. Hulk was very close to defeating him while Spiderman had a very hard time. He also was a bit unlucky. Wolverine did manage to win in the end, thanks to his healing powers and amazing strength, but also some luck in the end with that last outwit roll, although he was unlucky with his attack before too...

For a level 2 character, Wolverine is pretty strong (Hulk is level 3).

Now, Ultron's last choice may have not be the wisest although he does have an edge as ties go to the attacker. He could have chosen to hold out, trying to outwit Logan while he was forced to use his defensive power to recover from the constant damage. But as Logan's healing power is limited he'd have to change tactics or eventually lose. He may have been forced to risk choosing his red power hoping his defense of 3 would hold out...

Anyway, hopefully this has shown the extent of the choices available with this combat system, which makes each fight (unless it's very uneven) an exciting contest, where it's not only about rolling well, but choosing wisely and outsmarting your opponent.
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Michael Denman
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I'm a little confused. Twice when you've had everyone down to one KO left, you've chosen to have Ultron go for the red attack and said you hoped that the opponent didn't do the same. Why? I don't have the character stats right in front of me, but you very often DO want to go all out when it's down to one KO and if your opponent does the same, he's likely dropping his defenses and only helping you.
 
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Jorge Arroyo
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Ultron's red attack leaves him very vulnerable, with a defense rating of 1. Choosing red usually means he'll lose 1 KO unless he's very lucky (like in the last round of the fight vs. Wolverine, where he didn't manage to get a hit.

Anyway, the "hope the opponent doesn't do the same" bit was only in Hulk's fight. His red power is 5 attack 4 defense, so in that case he had a good chance of deflecting Ultron's attack and then with 5 vs 1 Ultron was doomed...
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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maka wrote:
Anyway, the "hope the opponent doesn't do the same" bit was only in Hulk's fight. His red power is 5 attack 4 defense, so in that case he had a good chance of deflecting Ultron's attack and then with 5 vs 1 Ultron was doomed...


You said neither had boost. In that case, I'd take 5 attack vs 4 defense any day, especially given attacker wins ties.
 
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Jorge Arroyo
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Dam the Man wrote:
maka wrote:
Anyway, the "hope the opponent doesn't do the same" bit was only in Hulk's fight. His red power is 5 attack 4 defense, so in that case he had a good chance of deflecting Ultron's attack and then with 5 vs 1 Ultron was doomed...


You said neither had boost. In that case, I'd take 5 attack vs 4 defense any day, especially given attacker wins ties.


Yeah, me too. That's what I did, and Ultron did win the fight, but it's still a bit of a gamble because failure means certain defeat... BTW on the first round, Hulk did manage to avoid a hit with those same odds...
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Rich Moore
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I think you did a nice job of illustrating how strategic the battles in MH can be. Of course there are those battles with the scrubs in which I think there is a lot less strategy, and then there are the main villains themselves, which are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Maybe you'll even inspire some to pull the game off the shelf, dust it off, and give it another go.
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Michael Denman
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Yeah, I was never real happy with the scrub fights since the heroes always start with initiative. It seems nearly impossible to win a fight with a 1 KO villain. If they have some extra cards, they might have a chance, but then you'd probably put out a bigger villain in the first place.
 
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Troy Hoffpauir
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Actually, I had never seen exactly how the combat worked in this game. It's actually kind of cool and you inspired me to go out and pick the game up.
 
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