Friday, May 29, 2015

Kingdom Under Fire II (Part Four)

Gameplay (Continued)
Questing And PVP
Just like all other games, "Questing" also forms the bulk of KUF2's gameplay.
KUF2 - Quest GiversKUF2 - Quest Content
You will primarily be following along with the main storyline quests (in yellow) but there's also the regular fillers or side quests (in blue) that you can do as well.

And the way these all work is that...by following along with the main storyline quest, it will gradually bring you into the various mission zones as well as field zones that are found in the game world.
Which is all fine to be honest...that is until I've reached level 20+.
While being okay initially (when I first started playing the game), I can't help but found that the questing became more and more repetitive as I progressed.

At the start, all the quests (main and side) were taken in such a way that you only needed to do the mission zone once. However, towards the end, they became "split" in such a way that you needed to clear the same mission zone multiple times.
Perhaps it doesn't seem like much to you, but it does tick me a little having to keep redoing the same zone with the same scenario (and landscape) over and over again though (to clear all its related side quests). Especially those very hard and "draggy" ones.
Apart from that, the gameplay's pretty bland to me and does not offer much replay value in my opinion (unless your into grinding for the best equips and troops for your character).
Mostly its just to clear the main and side quests for a particular mission zone. And once that's done, your practically just repeating whichever one that gives you the most EXP and gold (for your effort) in order to level up and unlock the next couple of missions.
In other words, as it is, the game probably won't make it too far beyond the storyline plot (in terms of longevity).
KUF2 - PVP Zone In World MapKUF2 - PVP Battlefield
The make or break factor, in my opinion, might possibly boil down to how its PVP gameplay is handled. But that, my friend, is still a question mark.

For as far as I know, the only "PVP Zone" found in the world map requires two teams of four (4 vs 4) to play. And as I played alone and couldn't find anyone else interested in trying it out with me, I'm not quite sure how that goes. But I'm guessing it could just simply be a fight to the death (of the heroes and the troops on both teams).
As for the huge PVP button found on top of the mini-map, that one seems to be "still in the making?" as its "Start" button is greyed out and the "ranking list" appears to be empty as well.

Character Stats And Hero Skills
KUF2 - My Stat Vs Pro
Character stats-wise, KUF2's made in such a way that its pretty much "idiot-proof". All of a player's core stats are found on what you wear and use. Your weapons, armors and accessories.
And naturally, the better (rarer) your equips, the more stats and stat options that they possess.
The only form of variance that you'll be able to find here is perhaps a statistical one at best. It will largely depend on your luck and ability to loot equips with the "right" kind of stats that you might want your character to have.
Some players prefer more defensive stats while others might want more offensive ones.
The rest of your character's individuality (which separates you from another one of your kind) lies squarely upon what kind of hero skills you decide to pick up for him or her.
Its implemented in a pretty "peculiar" way too...so as to speak.
KUF2 - Hero Skills
Though different, depending on whether your a Gunslinger, a Spellsword or a Berserker, hero skills are subdivided into two categories, those that use gold to learn (gold-based) and those that require skill points (skill point-based).
KUF2 - Gold-based ExampleKUF2 - Skill Point-based Example
Gold-based ones are default and compulsory. To learn them, all you need is to get to the required character level and pay its necessary cost (in gold).
In other words, everyone has access to them (and can max them all)...so long as they are of the same class.
Skill point-based ones, on the other hand, requires skill points (which you are only given a couple, 1 or 2 points, per level). As such, they are rather "limited" and depending on which branch or branches you decide to pursue/max, your character's fighting style will become different (as will the troops that you decide to bring with you into a battle).
For instance, most of my skill points are allocated under "Swordsmanship" instead of "Shooting". Therefore, my fighting style is more or less up close and personal rather than ranged.

But that's just talking about my Gunslinger, of course. Another Gunslinger can opt to learn more "Shooting" hero skills and his fighting style will become more "range-ish" than melee.

Naturally, the skills of a Spellsword and a Berserker will be different and so will their fighting styles (so its best to go back and read more about the classes first).
Even though it sounds simple enough, there are still some points to note:
  • Before you can decide which "paths" to branch out on, the four starting hero skills of each "branch" MUST be learnt and maxed.
    Apparently, the system greys out all the other skills before then.
  • Hero skills can either be "active" or "passive". Active ones are represented by square icons while passive ones are shown with round icons.
  • As a further subset of the previous (active or passive), hero skills are also differentiated by whether it affects stuff at a "troop" level or at a "hero" level.
    The difference?
    One, troop level skills affects troops (but can also be used on the hero if its a buff or a heal) while hero level skills affects the hero only. Two, troop level skills activates (or can only be used) when you have troops present (in mission zones) while hero level skills can be used regardless (in both mission and field zones).
    Don't get it?
    Take for instance, these two active skills shown below.
    KUF2 - Hero Level SkillKUF2 - Troop Level Skill
    "Dual Shot" is a hero level active. It is a skill that you activate to make your hero perform an attack. This skill can be used in both the mission zones (when your with your troops) and the field zones (when your alone).

    "Reinforcement", on the other hand, is a troop level active. It is a skill that you can cast to heal your troops or your hero. However, as it is a troop level active, you may only use it when your in the mission zones. While out in the field zones, the skill is greyed out (disabled).
  • Not only that, regardless of whether they are active or passive, some of the skills (especially hero level ones) also come with their "conditional/situational triggers".
    KUF2 - Storm Blade
    Take for instance, "Storm Blade".
    KUF2 - Storm Blade Left ClickKUF2 - Storm Blade Right Click
    By choosing to only just activate the skill, left click or right click during activation, the resultant effect on the skill's attack will come out differently.
    Now usually, I would have suggested that you read a skill's info for more details, but however this time round, I will not. Cause even for me, it still draws up a question mark after I read the skill info several times (due to its improper or poorly translated descriptions).

    Instead, what I would suggest is for you to go with your gut feelings (after reading the info) and choose which skills to learn. Once you've gotten them, try them out in the open field zones to get a hang of them.

    Most often, the "triggers" are typically left or right click on your mouse. But sometimes, depending on the skill, it might also be "E" or "Spacebar" if they are state-dependent (knocked down or stunned).


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kingdom Under Fire II (Part Three)

Gameplay
As previously mentioned, this game (KUF2) is generally all about its Hack-N-Slash and RTS. And so the better question to ask is, how does it all fit together in the grand scheme of things for Kingdom Under Fire II's gameplay?
Hint: Think about what you've already know. Mission Zones, Field Zones and Leadership Points.
KUF2 - Leadership Points Quota
Basically, at the start of each day, you will be given a daily quota of 1000 leadership points ("Ordinary Leadership").

As and when you participate in mission zones, whether you win or lose, you will gradually start to consume your leadership points.
Depending on the "scale" of the mission, some may take as little as 20+ points to as much as 100 over. But generally speaking, I've found that doing about upwards of 10 "regular" missions would tend to deplete your daily quota of 1000 (with each regular mission taking about 30 to 40 minutes of your time or more).
Anyway, if you do manage to not spend away all of your quota, 20% of whatever that's left over would be put away into a reserve pool ("Accumulated Leadership").
Leadership points are deducted in such a way that you will spend your daily quota first before touching upon your reserves.
As such, as long as you don't play hardcore, the chances of you depleting all of your daily quota AND your reserve pool is pretty slim.
KUF2 - Field EXP And GoldKUF2 - Leadership Recovery Potion
But in the case that you do, then your pretty much stuck with just idling yourself away in the field zones (with its very little EXP and gold per kill gains) for the rest of the day.

However, perhaps as some consolation, if you do find yourself having looted some of these stuff called "Element of Vitality" (from the monsters out in the field zones), you can also choose to mix it up with some "Star Powder" (obtained from monster drops and disassembling of stuff like "Magic Stones", "Armors" and "Weapons") and make a "Leadership Recovery Potion" to replenish some leadership points to further your fun in the mission zones.
Sadly though, I believe that you are only allowed to consume one such potion a day (so its still not possible to sustain your gameplay through them).

Hack-N-Slash Mode And RTS Mode
KUF2 - Hack-N-Slash ModeKUF2 - RTS Mode
As part of the allure of the game is its Hack-N-Slash and RTS gameplay capabilities (and the ability to switch in between them), it is only right that you learn how to play the game in both of the modes.
KUF2 - Controls
Taken from the in-game loading screen, the above shows you all the vital controls that you will need to know of. But out of them all, the most important ones to remember are (in my opinion) "Tab", "~", "F1 - F4", "Z, X, C", "V" and "Alt".
  • The "Tab" key allows you to switch between the two modes, Hack-N-Slash and RTS.
  • "~" and "F1 - F3" allows you to select your Hero and troops individually, while "F4" makes you select them all at once. (Mostly useful when your in RTS Mode.)
  • "Z, X, C" commands your troops to enter "Offensive", "Defensive" and "Hero Support" modes. (Mostly useful when your in Hack-N-Slash Mode.)

    In Offensive Mode, your troops will engage and attack all enemies aggressively while on the other hand, in Defensive Mode, they will only attack when under attack. In Hero Support Mode, your troops will engage whatever enemy troops that your hero is currently attacking and (as far as I know) all supportive skills that they have will also be based around you as their target.
  • The "V" key toggles your friend or foe identification. It basically just puts a huge red dot on all enemy targets in your view. Turn it on to allow you to spot where the enemy masses are or turn it off for more realism. Its your choice.
  • Lastly, the "Alt" key allows you to interact with elements found on your HUD (like your chat window for instance) while your in Hack-N-Slash Mode. Pressing the key will bring out your mouse cursor so that you can select stuff on your HUD. Else, any movement of your mouse will only turn your character about (change where its facing).
Mission zones are just about the only place where you'll get access to the RTS Mode. In all the other zones (city and field), since there are no troops for you to control, you will solely be moving about in the Hack-N-Slash Mode.

Hack-N-Slash Mode VS RTS Mode
Relatively speaking, I've found that both of the modes tend to be "flawed" in some sense.
Though they each have their own pros and cons.
KUF2 - Fighting In RTS Mode
For instance, although I've found that it is much easier to issue different movement orders to your troops individually when in RTS mode, it is however, too simplified in such a way that you have only your "move" and "attack" commands.
Right click on empty space to move there and on enemy troop flags to attack them.
Furthermore, depending on which unit (hero or troop) that your currently selecting at the moment, your hotkeys to skills also changes...so much so that it becomes hard to cast the active skills that you want (especially at critical moments).

And to make things worse, the Hero (your best offensive asset) is left motionless in "blocking stance" without contributing much to the battle at hand.

But the pros is that whilst in RTS mode, you can have a good grasp of the battlefield and its easy for you to direct your troops and even rush past an enemy defense line to attack their supportive assets (like healers and long range units).
KUF2 - Stranded TroopsKUF2 - Downed Basilisk Boss
Conversely, in Hack-N-Slash Mode, I've found that its pretty hard (if not impossible) to direct your troops to attack different enemy troops or to position them in different locations.

Additionally, they will also be easily "trapped" or "stranded" by the slightest of enemy forces. Even a single enemy in their way will stop them from following your hero past a blockade.

However, the best advantage to using this mode is that its much much easier to focus yourself and bring down a specific target with all of your "firepower" (since your best asset, the hero, is under your full total control).
Whilst controlling my hero, I can take down the basilisk boss from almost full hp to zero in just a mere 30 seconds (when I had a hell of a time doing so in RTS mode).
As such, the best way to go about playing this game is still to combine both modes (use Hack-N-Slash during most of the time fighting and only go into RTS to rescue stranded troops or when using AOE skills).


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