I was around before the current combat system, when you couldn't swap and couldn't speed it up and the elements were all unbalanced. It was almost deterministic before, once you'd started a fight there was little to no strategy to it.
Even though the current system is a vast improvement there's one thing that's always bothered me, and it's that each dragon has 1-4 elements, but only the first one is used to defend. That means, as an attacker, you always know that a dragon that has flame/terra/sea will always take double damage from your sea attack and that's that.
But what if it didn't work that way? What if the dragon defended with all its elements? Each of them took one equal share of the attack and calculated bonus or penalized damage accordingly.
For example: Attacking dragon has Sea/Ice. Defending dragon has Pure/Flame/Nature. Attacker makes an Ice attack. The attack does 3000 base damage. This is divided into thirds because the defender has three elements.
The first 1000 hits Pure, and does 1000 damage with no bonus/penalty
The second 1000 hits Flame and does 500 damage because of the penalty of Ice vs. Flame
The third 1000 hits Nature and does 1500 damage because of the bonus of Ice vs. Nature (I realize that seems wrong, but bear with me)
Total damage 3000. This was a net neutral attack. The strong and weak hits offset each other.
The reason the critical hit did 1500 instead of 1000 is that I think if this were implemented the damage for a critical should be 1.5x instead of 2x as a balancer to protect dragons from getting obliterated in one shot. That keeps the Strong hit and the Weak hit on equal footing and offsetting.
So why? Well picture this fight.
Attacker has Dark/Light/War/Fire. Defender has Ice/Dark/Sea/Pure
In the current system this is a no-brainer, attack with Fire.
In this suggested system the attacker could attack with
Dark: base/no damage/base/base
Light: base/strong/base/base <<Best move
The obvious answer is no longer obvious, you have to think about what to put up against it. But also consider the defender will hit back, and when it does it will do one of these:
Sea: base/base/strong/strong <<It will do this one
Now the attacker is facing a double critical threat from the opponent's counterattacks, so this may change his mind as to what dragon to use.
I see this doing four things.
- Make the player think about the matchups and attacks making the combat system more interesting.
- Fix the over-use of Pure/Legend/Primal dragons in the arenas and leagues by making them spread damage to their more vulnerable second-third and fourth elements.
- Reduce reliance on a single dragon or a single team of them in the arenas who can blow through all the fights without taking any strong hits because of elements that are blocked.
- Create a reason to level up and use a 2 or 3 element dragon in combat, to reduce your opponent's ability to get critical hits on counterattacks.