The Let's Play Archive

Knights in the Nightmare

by HaroldofTheRock

Part 11: Forum post on how Height/elevation works on your attacks

Forum post on how Height/elevation works on your attacks

This update is going to be a forum post covering how elevation plays a role in your attacks.

Alright, after getting about 40% through making a video for this, it dawned on me that the video was going to be almost all still images. So let’s simplify this and make it a forum post.

So, height in this game is a little complicated. Really, a little more complicated than it needs to be. I want to stress that this is my interpretation of how height works…the instruction manual and tutorial for the game are both pretty vague, and I was unable to find a good explanation online.

So, I went ahead and did what anyone else does when they are trying to figure out something: observe the game, make note of what happens, develop a theory, then apply the theory and see if it fits. Try to make predictions based on the theory and see if they come true.

To that end, I have a working theory, but I’m not going to claim this is fact.

Everything I’m going to present in this post will be things I have observed in the game.

Alright, our model for this post will be the lower screen that displays during gameplay. In most cases I zoom in on the top screen to show the action, but the bottom screen always has a wire frame-type display. Here’s the one for Scene 5:

I went ahead and recorded the elevations for the terrain:

You can see these elevations in-game when you hold the stylus to any square. The Height is displayed in the lower right of the screen.

Now, let’s say we have a warrior…here:

And we want to attack in Law Phase. During Battle Preparations, we can hold a stylus to the character and the game will fill in the appropriate squares to tell you where the attack will land:

So you think “Ok, this makes sense. Warriors have a reach of 5 squares in Law Phase, we’ve seen that in the past. And first it hits right in front of the Warrior, but as the charge bar fills, his range increases, and before long he’s at the max range of his attack.” Yep, that is correct. However, at this time, the game is displaying the max range of the attack without regard for the Height. That’s an interesting choice.

Well, for starters, Regular attack seem to have no Height restriction. (I know I sound like a broken record by now, but Regular attacks are when you don’t equip the Knight with a weapon before you start charging. They are extremely weak attacks, but they have their uses…especially for farming Gems, which you need to gain Magic Points).

So the game is showing us the absolute max range of attack here, and that would certainly be achievable with a Regular attack. However, each weapon has a Height indicator that the game is not taking into account when it shows us the attack range. Let’s take a look at a Law Phase weapon for Warriors: The Slasher:

This is the screen we’ve seen every time I’ve gone to the inventory, sorted by table, then by warrior, then Darkness affinity, and finally held the stylus to the Slasher. The top screen displays the stats of the weapon, like the damage it does, or the number of hits it lands during one attack. Most of this stuff was covered in the Inventory Management update, but I want to focus on the right half of the top screen:

Ok, we have a little Warrior performing an attack, and we know that’s Law Phase. Underneath the warrior is a couple icons followed by “Height: -2 ~ +1”

The tilde seems a little out of place, but this is fairly self explanatory. The weapon can operate at Heights of, in relation to the point of reference, two Height units below through one unit above. So the weapon has a range of 3 Height units. Ok, that makes sense, but there’s an unanswered question. What is the point of reference?

For the longest time I assumed it was where the Knight was standing. However, upon testing that theory, I found it was not the case. Attacks would not adhere to the Height range suggested by the weapon stats when I used the Knight’s location was the point of reference. So, some testing was in order. The following is what I’ve found, and is subject to interpretation.

Long story short, the point of reference seems to be where the first blow lands. Refer to the image of the attack range animation:

Here, we see a Warrior standing on a block of 0 Height begins charging, and the first block that is hit is the 2-Height block just northeast of the Warrior. From what I’ve observed, that block appears to be the point of reference for the weapon’s Height attack range.

If that holds true, then the expected attack range for Slasher at this position would be as follows:

The Slasher axe cannot reach the block at 12 Height, even though the game indicated it in the attack animation. That’s because, once again, the game was not taking into account the axe’s stats—the game was only showing me the absolute max range. So, the 12-Height block is out—it’s well beyond the +1 Height the axe can handle (and remember that is relative to the 2.0 Height from the initial blow.)

However, the neighboring 2-Height block, and the lower 0-Height blocks to the right are within range of the axe attack. The game confirms this if you, during gameplay, equip the Slasher and charge to max.

So there’s exhibit A. There are more examples. Note that, if the point of reference for the Height range was the Knight’s location, the axe should not have been able to hit the 2-Height blocks…that would exceed the +1 Height that the axe can handle.

Here’s another example. Let’s say I have a Warrior here:

If I touch the stylus to him on the Battle Preparation screen, with Law Phase activated, the game shows me this:

So, even with a jump of 0.5 Height to 6.0 Height (5.5 units), the game is still telling me no problem, here’s your attack range. When we try in game and get a full charge…

…we see that we don’t quite get the full range. The 6-Height blocks are ok, and the one directly in front of the Warrior is the point of reference for the rest of the attack. So, we can go 2 Height units below 6 and still hit, or we could go as high as a Height of 7, if there were any blocks in range of the attack. However, the block at a Height of 2 gets excluded; indeed, the 4-Height blocks are at the maximum tolerance of Height disparity for this axe when using that 6-Height block as the point of reference.

As noted, the Warrior was a good 5.5 blocks below where his attack would hit; however the first blow still landed one space in front of him. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how much Height that first blow can overcome; however once the first blow lands, all other blows are confined to the limitations of the weapon relative to the Height of that first blow.

For sake of argument, let’s say that we were in Chaos Phase:

Putting the stylus to the Warrior on the Battle Preparation gives us this animation:

Standard Warrior attack, but there are missing blocks, so we don’t see the full reach of the attack. Attacks can’t land on spaces with no blocks, of course. Now let’s check out a Chaos axe, the Cross axe:

So, basically the inverse of Slasher. While Slasher had -2~+1, Cross axe is sporting -1~+2. So up to two blocks higher than the point of reference, but only one block lower. Ok. Let’s test it. When charged in game:

And this makes sense. The point of reference is the 6-Height block directly in front of the Warrior. Other attack squares are bound to the limitations of the weapon, so the other 6-Height blocks are ok, but the 4-Height block is out of the -1 range, and the 12-Height block is way out of the +2 range.

Now, to be completely honest, the game actually shows us this:

The 4 and 12 Height blocks are out of the weapon’s range, but the game is pretty generous with splash damage, and enemies on those squares may receive a little damage. I think there are degrees of how much splash damage a weapon may grant, and I haven’t done any testing on it. The point, however, is that the true attack won’t reach those blocks.

Alright, I think I made my point clear with Warriors, but what about other classes?

Let’s try a Lance Knight here:

…using this weapon:

So a Law Phase weapon that attacks in a straight line. Touching the stylus to the Lance Knight while in Battle Preparations gives us this:

But charging him in game gives us this:

So yeah, the weapon’s first blow lands right in front of the Lance Knight, but then it can’t overcome the Height disparity. Alas! If we move the Lance Knight up one spot, we see this on Battle Preparation:

…but get this when in game:

Once again, the attack is truncated due to Height limitations.

I think I’ve driven this home enough, but what about the other classes? Let’s briefly look at Moira, our Hermit, in Chaos Phase. If you recall, Hermits actually have two lanes of attack in Chaos mode:

Dang, that’s good coverage! Thanks for telling me that, game. Wait, you’re a fucking liar. Let’s check out Moira’s weapon:

Well, that’s a pretty damn big spread. Starting at the point of reference, these daggers can hit blocks 2 Height units below, and up to 12 Height units above! So the daggers are really encouraging us to hit enemies above us, that’s for sure.


…above the point of reference. Not the Knight. Ok. Well let’s see what actually happens when we charge these things in battle:

Huh. Lot of things to take in there. First off, it appears that each attack lane is treated independently. Moira is standing on a block at 6 Height units, and the left attack lane hits on a block at 4 Height units. From that point of reference, the attack is able to continue on to the 2-Height block, as it is within the -2 limitation. However, the attack stops there and cannot proceed to the 0.5-Height block; there is a disparity of 3.5 Height units (Point of reference is 4.0, minus 0.5 Height of target block). The weapon cannot overcome this and the attack fails to reach that final square.

However, the attack lane on the right experiences no hindrance. It’s interesting to note that, while Moira is standing on a 6-Height block, the attack lands on a 0.5-Height block. Once again, the first part of the attack is able to land anywhere, regardless of where the Knight stood. And once it lands, it becomes the point of reference for the rest of the attack. The remaining blocks in that right attack lane are well within the weapon’s Height restrictions, and the attack is able to reach its full range.

Ok guys, I think that’s enough. I have more examples I did in game to test this theory, but I don’t want to drag this out longer than it needs to be. I want to once again stress: this is my interpretation of how Height works. If you have this game, I do invite you to test this theory and try to find holes. A working theory only gains merit through repeatability. I’m especially worried about this theory because the way the point of reference is determined seems so damn weird to me. It just seems like the freakin Knight would be an easier and more logical point of reference, but what do I know.

One thing I want to mention: during gameplay, while you charge your Knight, the attack range slowly grows. We’ve seen that in past videos and the animated gifs in this update actually are showing the ranges associated with different charge levels . There is a quirk about charging that can lead to confusion (it did for me, that’s for sure). Let’s refer to the Warrior Chaos charge we looked at:

So the game indicates that the Warrior can reach all these squares, but with the Cross axe we could only reach these:

The 12-Height and 4-Height blocks were left out. Here’s the thing: when at the half-point of your charge, you will see those blocks light up for a split second. WHY??? Is there some stipulation where, for a brief moment, you can achieve a full range attack?? Why the FUCK are they throwing in another ridiculous variable?? I was about to slam my DS against the fucking wall when I saw this, but there’s actually an explanation.

During a Skill attack, you equip your Knight with a weapon and begin charging. There are two charge phases: the first phase of the charge is the range, and the second phase is the power.

What happens, is that the first phase, charging for range, is actually a Regular attack. Remember, Regular attacks appear to have no limitation on the Height they can reach. So, for a half a second, the Regular attack is fully charged and the 12-Height and 4-Height blocks flash, indicating that yes, an attack can land here. Then, the power phase of the charge begins, and you move to a Skill attack, with the limitations of the weapon to consider. The squares are no longer lit up; you only see these squares:

You are bound by the weapon’s limitations and can no longer hit the 12-Height or 4-Height blocks.

Alright, I think that’s all the minutiae I can talk about for now. Thanks for reading, I hope to have another video update within the next few days. There is an upcoming gameplay mechanic that I am very excited to talk about; hopefully it will come up in the next video. See you then!