It’s Time we talk Targeting
In these sorts of games where the construction of one’s team is the strategic element and the combat simulation is the graphical outcome of that strategy, it is the way units target each other that defines a large portion of the game’s strategic element. Indeed, one could be so bold to say that what differentiates games within the genre is unit targeting.
- Units always target random enemy units.
- Units never target friendly units.
In this scenario unit placement doesn’t really matter, neither in relation to the enemy nor in relation to friendly units. Moving along …
- Units always attack opposite units.
- Units buff friendly units above and below.
Here unit placement matters greatly. Not only do you need to make line buffs up but you also have to match friendly units with particular enemy units and that presents two problems.
Firstly, the interests between buff placement and enemy targeting conflict; one might have to ruin the perfect buffing pattern to appropriately target enemies or vice versa.
Secondly, you have to see the enemy team beforehand to meaningfully place your units against them. That is fine when playing against an AI, but it doesn’t really work in the player versus player environment because fairness demands both players get to preview the other’s team and if changes to the teams occur after that, then the preview serves no purpose.
While we do not want meaningful targeting to rely on preexisting knowledge of the enemy team, we do want players to have agency over targeting. Because targeting is fun.
ESTABLISHING THE NORM
What we do is we give all players a ‘normal’ targeting scenario that forms the basis of every team build. We call this rule the ‘Frontmost Rule’. Most skills that target an enemy unit will read something like this: “Target random frontmost enemy.”
The Frontmost Rule
That means that you can assume that the enemy you’re about to face will attack your frontmost units and with that in mind you can plan your team’s layout, a big part of which is deciding how many units you want upfront. When building a team, one of the choices that decide team make-up is how many frontline units one intends to use. With 6 units one a 4x4 grid, the choices are 2, 3 or 4 frontline units.
Two Teams — Two Formations — Two Team Make-ups
Affinities: 4 Wind (2x bonus), 2 Nature (1x bonus).
Formation: 2–2–2 (two units in three rows).
Make-up: Frontmost units are tanks. Backmost units are DPS.
Tactic: Stall and Nuke. Buy time for 3 nukers by soaking damage across 3 tanks, sacrificing tanks if necessary.
Affinites: 6 Metal (3x bonus).
Formation: 3–3 (three units in two rows).
Make-up: 2 tanks, 2 DPS, 2 support.
Tactic: Slow-and-Steady. 2 tanks soak damage supported by 2 healers. Meanwhile, DPS builds up its damage output.
Each basic formation has endless variations that depend on how you Dragoneers mix and match your units. Then, there are more formations to explore. 4–2, 4–1–1, 2–1–2–1 … the possibilities are endless and we can’t wait to see what the community comes up with!
All units serve a purpose. Naturally some purposes are more niche than others but all an important part of the meta-game. As strategies rise in popularity, their counter-strategies rise in demand. All abilities are part of an intricate rock-paper-scissors system and somewhere out there the exact unit you are looking for. A diamond in the rough. And if you can identify the upcoming trends? Well then you best get to breeding Dragoneer!
RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN
But if all units only target frontmost enemies all the time then that would be a little stale. Let’s shake things up a bit! Have a seat, fasten your seatbelt and set your mind to ‘strategic’ because here are some rules that alter or manipulate targeting. Keep all theorycrafting inside the craft at all times and have a safe trip!
Frontmost Rule — all classes and all skill sets
Target random frontmost enemy.
- This is the ‘normal’ targeting method. Most units target this way.
- See picture and explanation above.
Provoke — Ferocity skill set
Provoked units are forced to use their default skill during their turn.
If they target an enemy, target the provoking unit.
Provoked units Ignore Focus Target.
Target Backmost — Cunning skill set
Target random backmost enemy unit.
Focus Target — Sorcery skill set
Attacking enemy units ignore Taunt and target this unit instead.
- With this debuff placed on enemy units, your team’s attacks focus on a single target.
- With multiple Focus Target targets in play, they target one of those at random.
Superiority — Discipline skill set
Attacking enemy units ignore Provoke and target a random friendly minion with Superiority instead.
And that’s it for Targeting! While all of these methods are subject to change, this is enough to give a good idea of how targeting will work in our upcoming game. Also, there are more targeting methods out there that will be discussed later. Most of these have specific use cases for more … targeted results. Ha. Ha.
And that’s all for our targeting article!
Stay safe Dragoneers!
Since you’re down here you might as well copy the following line:
*\*bellows\** I am **Dragoneer** and you will submit!
… into our Discord’s #general_chat channel. You’re welcome!
… Oh! And the first ten to post the above line and #EternalDragonsTargeting on Twitter will receive a Whitelist Token
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