So, we are heading closer to 1.1 and the shiny new magic system. With that, we can start looking towards the shiny new combat mechanics of the first expansion.
A concern for me, with the upcoming magic, and subsequent combat updates, is with the handling of damage types and resistances. I think that it will be key (especially with magic) to implement correctly, but used properly in tactical combat, would really improve the types of pre-combat tactical decisions that the player would have to make.
What I don’t want to see, however, is the Gal Civ 2 method of damage and defense, as it makes no sense in the context of the game. In space, you certainly could put up gravitic or magnetic deflectors to keep mass drivers from hitting you, or project some form of particle screen to diffuse lasers, and of course, point defense for incoming missiles. Those all make sense in the context of the game (if they are perhaps a bit cumbersome in practice).
We know that we are already getting a separate “To Hit” and “Damage” roll for attackers, and I hope that we get separate “Defense” (Don’t get hit) and “Resist” (Take Less Damage) traits for armors.
So, if they separate damage by type, we are probably looking at Slash, Blunt, Pierce for the basic attack types. I would very much like to see armors react differently to different types of attacks. Leather armor is meant to provide a small amount of universal protection. Chain, on the other hand, is tremendous against cutting weapons, and basically worthless against blunt ones. Plate is great against slashing, decent against bludgeoning, and less effective against a good piercing attack.
For the sake of creating a robust, moddable, but relatively simple system, I would like to see resists handled as a “Tag”. For each tag, there is an attack type and an effectiveness rating.
<Attack Type> Weak; +50% Damage from attack (Probably only for magical attacks)
<Attack Type> Minor Resist; -10% Damage
<Attack Type> Moderate Resist; -25% Damage
<Attack Type> Major Resist; -50% Damage
<Attack Type> Immune; -100% Damage (Also probably only for magic)
These tags would be applied strictly to the chest piece of armor, with the limbs and head conferring more “Defense” (or the ability not to be hit by any attack).
So, a Chest Piece made of Plate would carry; <Major Slash Resist>, <Moderate Blunt Resist>, <Pierce Minor Resist>. Leather would carry the minor resist for all three types.
Because the new magic system will be more robust, there are going to have to be some more tags used here. For Example; <Elemental; Type>, <Physical; Type>, <Mental>, <Illusion>. Each spell or ability would carry one or more of these. A fireball would be <Elemental; Fire> of course, while Hurl Boulder would carry <Elemental; Earth> as well as <Physical; Blunt> because it makes sense that your plate mail might possibly provide some defense against a thrown rock (unlike from the fireball).
For magic resist, it is probably better just to use a unit’s willpower as the “magic defense” of the unit (except in places where the spell is physical), modified by experience level, protective spells, enchanted items, and so on.
I think that implementing a robust resist system into the damage mechanics would provide a great deal of tactical depth, and setting it up in the above fashion (using predefined tags) will allow for a great deal of flexibility in equipment design, creature design, in modding capacity, and in tactical planning.