Combat changes

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Combat is an intrinsic part of Ultima Online. Whether between monsters or fellow Britannians, battles ensue on a daily basis — the strongest claim victory, while the weak must wallow in defeat. And yet, this balance often shifts, so that those once defeated can rise up victorious on the battlefield. It takes skill, and sometimes a little luck, to outwit your foes.But imagine if your success was dependent on special abilities that allowed you to execute deadly attack moves, such as mortally wound your adversary so that they couldn’t heal themselves for several moments, or an ability that would allow archers to shoot arrows while on the move. And imagine if you could wield or craft a weapon of ice or fire that could deal double the damage to those that lacked the resistance to such elements. In Age of Shadows, you’ll be able to do exactly that… and much, much more. Get ready for the future of combat!

Damage Types
Currently, Ultima Online supports four basic damage types: Physical, Poison, Fire, and Energy. Age of Shadows expands on these damage types, creating hundreds of new strategies for character design and combat tactics. In addition to fully supporting all damage types and resistances, a new damage class will debut in Age of Shadows: Cold.

All creatures, players included, will gain four new resistance attributes: Poison, Energy, Fire, and Cold. Non-human creatures will have intrinsic resistances. For example, a Giant Ice Serpent may be practically immune to cold damage, but be very vulnerable to fire-based attacks. Humans (NPCs and players alike) will have some natural resistances, but their armor will provide additional resistance based on its type, the materials it is made from, and its magical properties. The classic Armor Rating (AR) value is transformed into Physical Resistance, and provides benefit against Physical attacks.

Here is a breakdown of the damage classes in Age of Shadows:


  • Physical – This is the standard damage type done by melee and ranged weapons.
  • Energy – The Energy Bolt and lightning-based spells deliver this jolt of electrical damage.
  • Fire – Burning damage delivered classically by the Fire Ball and Fire Field spells.
  • Cold – This is freezing damage, deliverable by magical effects like the Snow Elemental’s deadly radiating cold.
  • Poison – Toxins delivered by the assassin’s blade, or by magic spell are the classic ways to deal this insidious form of damage.

New for Craftsmen
By making weapons from different materials, craftsmen will gain the ability to create weapons that deliver part of their damage as elemental effects. Armor will become more diverse as well; for example, insulating leather armor will provide superior protection versus energy and cold damage, but a heavy metal suit of platemail will still be the best defense against physical damage.Special Moves
For the first time in years, Age of Shadows will bring completely new combat tactics to Ultima Online in the form of weapon special moves. Warriors will gain the ability to tap their Mana to perform devastating maneuvers with their weapons that can have a variety of unusual side-effects. (In a future spotlight here on the Age of Shadows site, you’ll read about new item properties that can increase a warrior’s mana, making these special attacks even more effective!) Each weapon type in the game (i.e.: long sword, spear, etc) will have a unique combination of a primary and a secondary special move. Warriors who have reached Expert skill level will be able to execute a weapon’s primary special move. Once he or she has reached Master status in a weapon skill, the fighter may execute the secondary special move while wielding weapons of that skill — making them twice as deadly!

A new icon on the paperdoll will open a book that details each special move available to the warrior, based on his or her skill level and equipped weapon. Much like the icons in a spellbook, these can be dragged from the book into the game window and double-clicked to activate the special move, as well as configured in macros for one-key activation. When activated, the special move icon highlights red, indicating the character is ready to perform the move. At the next opportunity, the special move is performed, and the icon returns to its un-highlighted state.

There are 13 special combat moves in total. Each different type of weapon in the game has a different combination of primary and secondary special moves, making each weapon truly unique! For all the details, have a look at the Special Moves page.

Spell Changes
There’s a lot for Warriors, but don’t think Wizards are being left out! Several changes to magic spells in Age of Shadows will assist Wizards on the battlefield by increasing the effectiveness of many of their low-level spells, such as Weakness and Clumsy. Wizards will also have more control over their powers in combat, since the damage dealt with each of their magical attacks will be, in general, less random. And to accommodate the new physical/elemental damage system, some spells will undergo larger changes. These, and various other spell changes, are listed below:

    Reactive ArmorReactive Armor – The reactive armor spell no longer reflects damage back on an attacker. Instead, this spell increases the caster’s Physical Resistance and lowers his or her Elemental Resistances. Also, this spell now has indefinite duration. Once cast, this spell’s effect continues until the mage casts it again. The second casting of the spell cancels the effect. 

    Magic ReflectionMagic Reflection – Magic Reflection no longer has the ability to reflect spells back on their caster. Instead, it becomes a complement to Reactive Armor. Magic Reflection grants the caster increased elemental resistances at the cost of some of his physical resistance. Just like Reactive Armor, this spell has indefinite duration and casting it toggles the effect off and on for the caster.

    Arch ProtectionProtection and Arch Protection – These spells afford the battle wizard complete security in casting other spells. While this protective shield is toggled on, the mage cannot be disrupted while casting spells. This freedom comes at a cost, however. While under its effect, a character’s physical resistance stat and magic resistance skill are slightly reduced. Arch Protection only affects members of the caster’s party who are within a small radius at the time of casting.

    ProtectionReactive Armor/Magic Reflection/Protection – These spells will also be able to be used simultaneously. You’ll no longer have to wait for one to wear off before casting another protection spell.

    LightningLightning – In addition to dealing its damage in energy form, this spell now affects the target instantly when cast. Previously, there was always a short delay between the time the mage cast the spell and the time the damage was done to the victim.

    ProtectionPoison and Poison Field – These spells’ power in the hands of a Grandmaster Mage/Grandmaster Poisoner is increased. In the hands of such a skilled user, they will always inflict Level 4 (or “deadly”) poison on their victims.

    ParalyzeParalyze and Paralyze Field – The duration of these spells’ freeze effect will be slightly tweaked, to make them more effective when cast by mages mastering the art of Evaluating Intelligence.

    Mana DrainMana Drain – For a short time, the target of this spell loses a potentially significant amount of mana. However, once the effect is terminated the lost mana will be restored.

    Mana VampireMana Vampire – This spell receives a significant change in power.

Wizards will also notice a change with their magic resistance skill, as it will now play a significant factor in the defense against spells like weaken, clumsy, feeblemind, curse, mana drain, paralyze, paralyze field, mana vampire, and various necromancy spells. However, rather than completely preventing these effects, the magic resistance skill will scale the effects down.Archery
Along with the special combat moves that will be introduced in Age of Shadows, a new ability will be available that is sure to ease the minds of Archers around Britannia: bows and crossbows will become repairable. You’ll no longer have to worry about replacing your worn-out bows – a bowyer will be able to repair them in the same manner as blacksmiths repair other weapons! Archers will also be pleased to know that, just like other weapons, their bows will be able to be imbued with special item properties. More information on that will be released in a future spotlight on New Items and Item Properties.
10 New Weapons
LanceBladed Staff
Bone Harvester
Composite Bow
Crescent Blade
Double Bladed Staff
Repeating Crossbow

Combat Skill Changes
In addition to new damage types, new special abilities, new weapons and weapon abilities, and new spells, we’ve made some significant improvements to a basic combat skill, Parrying, as well as adding a completely new skill, Battle Focus!

  • Parrying with weapons – You will be able to parry hits using a weapon. However, only half of your total Parry skill will be considered when determining the percentage chance of blocking the hit. For instance, if you have 100 in Parry and you’re using a weapon (but no shield), you can still block hits, but the chance of that happening is based on your Parry skill at 50. So, the chance to block a hit with a weapon is half of what it would be with a shield.
  • Parry attack change – When a blow is parried, the action will no longer absorb a flat amount of damage from the hit-it will now completely block the hit. In other words, if you parry a blow, it will be as if you were never hit at all. At 100 Parry, any equipped shield will have a 30% chance to block the hit.
  • Parrying and special moves – Parry can prevent a special move from being successful on a hit. If you successfully parry a special move, you will not receive any damage, but the move will still consume mana from the attacker.
  • Battle Focus will regenerate both Stamina and Mana, albeit more slowly than Meditation. This skill will not be affected by armor.

Item Insurance
With new properties for weapons and armor and new opportunities for epic battles, we feel it’s important for players to use their prized possessions without fear of losing them on the first day out. In Age of Shadows, you will have the ability to choose to keep certain items safe from being looted or stolen. Details on this will be released in a future spotlight on New Items and Item Properties!Stat-loss Removal
Stat-loss was added into Ultima Online years ago as one way to protect homeowners in Felucca from falling prey to frequent non-consensual PvP. But with the introduction of a vast new land for housing – Malas – that follows the same ruleset as the Trammel facet, homeowners will now have another choice as to where they wish to live, eliminating the need for stat loss. Whether you choose to adventure in the harsh and challenging environment of Felucca, where murderers and criminals roam free, or the relative safety of Trammel, Ilshenar or Malas, you’ll be able to pick the location that is right for you. Age of Shadows will let life in Felucca return to its wild roots, and those that participate in the struggle between good and evil, or the weak and the strong, will be free and clear to follow their challenging lifestyle.

Felucca Dungeons and Lost Lands
With the sweeping changes to combat coming in Age of Shadows, we decided to take another look at the rules in the Felucca dungeons and Lost Lands servers. After Age of Shadows, the rules of combat in these areas will be as follows:

  • Players that die in the Felucca dungeons/Lost Lands servers will lose any items that are not blessed or protected from loss in some fashion (see item insurance above).
  • Players who die in these areas will no longer be kicked out of the dungeon, and will have no time limit imposed before they can return.
  • Ghosts will be able to enter these areas.
  • Thieves will be able to steal any item they are eligible to steal that are not blessed or protected from loss in some fashion (see item insurance above).

New Status Window
status gumpThe status window in Age of Shadows has an entirely new look! With a new design, complemented by colorful graphics, the status gump will also introduce three new sections. Along with the familiar statistics (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Health, Stamina, Mana, Max Stats, Weight, Gold, and Followers), the new status gump will also show your Luck, Resistances, and Damage value for your character, taking into account the weapon you currently have equipped.

  • Luck – The higher this stat, the higher the quality of the magic items you’ll find as loot (we’ll discuss this more when we delve into the new magic item system).
  • Resistances – Along with Physical Resistance (AR), you’ll also be able to have Fire Resistance, Cold Resistance, Poison Resistance, and Energy Resistance.
  • Damage – This tells you what your damage range is (against zero physical resistance) while using whatever weapon you currently have equipped.

There’s a lot of information here to absorb, and it’s important to note that there will be tons of other features introduced with Age of Shadows that will have an effect on combat — features that we have yet to discuss, such as new item properties. There’s still a lot more to discover, so stay tuned!

Last modified: November 3, 2011

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