Simplifying the reaction system

by Victor Gijsbers

The reaction and flow system of Kerkerkruip 9, while certainly better than the old one, wasn’t working exactly as we had hopen. Dodging was almost always better than parrying, because defensive flow was generally better than offensive flow; rolling was rarely used; and blocking, while useful, was also somewhat hard to conceptualise.

For Kerkerkruip 10, we have simplified the reaction and flow system, and so far I like what I see. In the new system, rolling is gone. Dodging and parrying both add one flow, but dodging now transforms all your flow into defensive flow, while parrying transforms it all into offensive flow. Furthermore, any attack you make, whether successful or not, removes all your flow. Blocking gives no flow at all, but gives you a better defense than either of the other two reactions.

As a result of these changes, dodging is now generally better than parrying if you will be attacked again before your next attack; and parrying is generally better than dodging if you will attack before being attacked again. This means that choosing the right reaction is a matter of predicting your own strategy and the behaviour of your enemies. And of course, the exact circumstances also play a role, since your weapon, the opponent’s weapon, and features like the bridge of doom can make either of the two options more or less attractive.

Blocking now is the action you should use when you really don’t want to be hit — you sacrifice additional flow for having a better defense right now. That could be worth it if you are concentrated or low on health.

The new system is simpler and more elegant, and it also seems to deliver more satisfying tactical choices. We need to do more testing, but I suspect we’ll be tweaking this version rather than going back to the old one.