Strategy in the MMORPG genre seems to be lacking. Most of the time, it's all about your skill build and your gears. The one who has better gears will most likely win. That's how it is with point-and-click games. We are seeing some transition into Action MMOs, however, which involve more skill in terms of moving and dodging. But this blog entry is not about that kind of skill. This entry will talk about another skill, which is strategizing.
Atlantica Online is the only 3D turn-based strategy MMORPG that I know of. Allowing you to take control of a main character plus 8 other mercenaries (3x3), the battle system is simply unlike any other in the industry. If you are familiar with console RPGs like Breath of Fire and Suikoden where battles are turn-based, then Atlantica Online is probably the closest thing that you could get in the MMORPG genre.
I've already made a commentary for this game so I won't give the basics. Since this is about strategy, I'll delve more into the common strategies in Player vs Player (PVP) mode. Here's a sample video showcasing the game's PVP.
Here are some basic strategies involved in PVP. There are a lot more, but it is up to you to discover them. The good thing about the game is that there is no one build that overpowers everything. Each build has its strengths and weaknesses. It is up to your strategy and decision-making skills to enhance that strength and cover the weakness.
Spiking is one of the most common builds in the game. It involves dealing massive amounts of damage to one mercenary at a time. Using this strategy, you will pick off your opponent's mercenaries one at a time, and do it faster than your opponent. This usually involves bringing down one front liner, then killing the two weaker mercenaries at the back afterwards. Then, you will knock down another front liner, and do the same. Again, this is not always the case, but the general thing about spiking is dealing large damage one mercenary at a time.
Sniping, by the term itself, utilizes ranged characters to kill weak mercenaries at the second and back row. Mercenaries with strong defenses are usually in the front line, while weaker mercenaries are at the back. Using mercenaries with bows or instruments allows you to ignore your opponent's front line, and kill the weaker enemies at the back.
Stunning is one of the more complex builds in the game. In Atlantica Online, there is what we call stun counters. A character gets one stun counter when he/she is hit by a normal attack (or a select few skills) for that turn. Once the character is hit for three consecutive turns, which totals to three stun counters, that character will be stunned. Stunned characters cannot move for two turns, and will receive more damage from physical attacks than usual. As such, this build utilizes gun or cannon mercenaries since these mercenaries hit lots of mercenaries at a time, causing lots of mercenaries to have stun counters.
Again, there are a lot more builds in the game, but these three are the most common. Furthermore, these builds often stem to what I call sub-builds, where variety happens. A spiking build, for example, varies from player to player. Some players have spike builds which are leaning towards offense, while some players have spike builds that lean more on defense.
The fun of the game is about making the build where you are most good at, and getting the mercenaries to get the job done. With more than 25 (if I remember correctly) mercenaries to choose from, doing it is very fun and exciting.