Situation has Changed! Let's Play Yggdra Union!

Shield Of Doom

Mechanics Update 1, or: What the Heck's Going On?

So, you might be wondering about the mechanics of this game, seeing as I just jumped in without really explaining anything. As such, I'm going to explain the basic gameplay mechanics now.

To start your turn, you need to select a card from the ones you brought to the battlefield. In the event that you have no cards to choose from, you lose the battle no matter what. Therefore, it's in your best interest to not screw around any more than you have to.

After you choose your card, you can begin moving your characters. Movement is shared between every member of your force, though, so you can't just have everyone rush across the map in a single turn. If, for example, you choose Steal, you have 12 movement to work with across your army. Since you can have up to seven units in the largest fights, this is important to consider.

Once you've moved next to an enemy, you can attack. Attacking is accomplished by pressing Square (or Start on the GBA version), then highlighting the enemy you want to attack and confirming. After that, you fight.

The fight, as stated, is between two units that normally contain eight characters each (some classes are listed as "large" and instead have four stronger members, though). In the GBA version, normal units instead have six members while large units have three.

Each clash begins with a charge that knocks out some of the defending unit's members, the power of which is based on a comparison between the attacking unit's Tec and the defending unit's Gen. This is normally followed by a counterattack, where the defending unit does the same to the attacking unit, again comparing Tec to Gen.

The charge has a chance of inflicting a critical hit, which is incredibly broken because it brings down the unit leader in addition to the damage it would normally do (this can even result in one-hit kills in extreme cases). The unit leader is more durable than a normal member, and controls the unit's ability to counter, rage, and use skills (all of which will be discussed in due time). After a critical hit, the defending unit will panic for a short time, during which they do nothing while the attacking unit crushes them.

After the charge and counter, the two units fight until only one is left. There are two things that determine how effectively a unit can damage another unit: Atk and unit affinity. While your Atk is naturally changed only under very specific conditions, unit affinity is quite variable. There are nine levels of unit affinity in total. Arranged from worst to best, they are:
  • Gray X
  • Gray Triangle
  • Blue Triangle
  • Blue Line
  • Green Line
  • Green Circle
  • Yellow Circle
  • Yellow Star
  • Red Star

The default unit affinity is Green Line, but there are quite a few factors that affect it:
  • If your weapon has an advantage against the weapon your opponent uses, your affinity goes up to Yellow Circle.
  • If your weapon had a disadvantage against your opponent's, you go down to Blue Triangle.
  • If you are in terrain that you have an advantage in (or fighting at a time when you gain an advantage), your affinity is set to Yellow Circle.
  • If you are in terrain where you have a disadvantage, you go down to Blue Triangle (I think. I've never actually fought on terrain that gave me a disadvantage because there's like two and they only appear on a couple maps each).
  • If you have an advantage against the unit type you're fighting, you go up to Red Star.
  • Lastly, if you have a disadvantage against the unit type you're fighting, you go down to Gray X.

Now, since it's kind of important, here's how the various weapon types interact with each other:
  • Swords beat axes, axes beat spears, and spears beat swords. Anyone who's ever played a Fire Emblem game can probably guess that.
  • Rods beat all three of those basic melee weapons, but rod users tend to have low Gen and Atk so it evens out.
  • Bows beat rods (which sounds incredibly dirty, but whatever).
  • Bows are weak to melee weapons, but melee weapons are not strong against bows. This allows bow users to defeat melee weapon users reasonably well if they attack first.
  • Books and rods beat lump. Lump is a weapon type only used by two incredibly weak units you're unlikely to ever field, though, so it rarely matters.
  • Scythes beat all the normal melee weapons and have no weaknesses. There is only one way to get a scythe user in the GBA version, and it's incredibly obscure. One of the PSP version optional characters uses them, though.
  • Books beat rods, but they're weak to bows. There's only one book user in the game, though, and he isn't on your side.

Every so often in combat, your unit leader will do what's called a flash attack. These are stronger than normal and have no elemental affinity, and their appearance is based on the unit's Luk.

When one side has fallen completely, damage is calculated. The factors that affect damage calculation are as follows:
  • Surviving Units: You do 8% damage for each surviving member of your unit. In the GBA version, with its smaller units, you instead to 10% for each. Large units, whose members are twice as strong, instead do 16% per survivor in the PSP version and 20% in the GBA version.
  • Ability Difference: For each point by which your Atk exceeds your opponent's Gen, you do an extra 10% damage. This can be negative if your opponent has more Gen than your Atk.
  • GEO Defense: This is only applied here in the GBA version. Every type of terrain lists a defense percentage (which can be negative for some terrain, which is made of PURE EVIL). In the GBA version, this percentage is directly subtracted from your damage.
  • Bonuses: This is where everything else goes. You do 40% just for having the unit leader alive at the end of the clash, and an extra 10% if you get a critical hit. You also do 10% for inflicting a status effect, and you get other bonus for using certain skills once skills are available.

The percentage you get after adding everything up is then applied to your card's power, and that's the damage you do. In the PSP version, though, the damage is first fed through the GEO Defense percentage.

Here's an example, which will show how the formula differs between versions. Say Yggdra is fighting an opponent whose Gen is exactly the same as her Atk, and she wins with the rest of her unit defeated. Let's also say, for the purposes of this demonstration, that the card she's using has a power of 1000. Let's further say that the target is in a fort (40% GEO Defense). In the GBA version, the damage calculation is as follows:
  • The Surviving Units bonus is 10%.
  • There is no difference between Yggdra's Atk and her target's Gen, so Ability Difference is 0%.
  • GEO Defense is 40%, which reduces the damage Yggdra does to -30%.
  • Since Yggdra survived the fight, she gets a 40% bonus.
  • As such, the damage she does is 10% of 1000, or 100.

Now, let's examine the same fight in the PSP version:
  • The Surviving Units bonus is now 8%.
  • The Ability Difference is still 0%.
  • Yggdra still gets a 40% bonus for surviving.
  • The damage is calculated as 48% of 1000, or 480.
  • GEO Defense is applied now, reducing the 480 damage by 40%. Yggdra then deals 288 damage.

As you can see, the new formula makes it easier to deal damage, which was a bit of an issue with the old one. In the GBA version, you'll often deal no damage whatsoever in close fights because the enemy happened to be standing on a fort tile. Not so in the PSP version.

Also of note are the skill and rage gauges. The skill gauge is used by the player to slightly influence a clash. It'll be used for card skills once they come into play, but when it's introduced on the next map it'll only be good for improving damage output.

The skill gauge starts out filled to a percentage determined by your Tec and the movement of the card you're using. It can be used to go Aggressive (which increases your affinity by two levels and gives your attacks an element if you have one, but drains the skill gauge) or Passive (which fills the skill gauge, but lowers your affinity by two levels). Worth noting is that enemies can be immune to your element, which will cause you to do no damage if you go Aggressive (outside of flash attacks, which are non-elemental). So now you know why Malachi kept losing with huge numbers advantages; he hacked himself infinite skill gauge and thus would never leave Aggressive mode against enemies he didn't realize were immune to his attacks.

The enemy has a different but equivalent system in the form of the Rage gauge. As a clash continues, this will fill up. After it fills up, the enemy enters Rage mode, where they gain a level of affinity and do elemental damage (and yes, you can be immune to their elemental damage). The meter then starts filling up again, and once it fills up a second time, the enemy enters Max mode, where they gain another level of affinity and lose their element. This is also when they'll be able to use card skills once they're available.

How Stats Work

As with most RPGs, Yggdra Union has several numbers that it uses to determine how effective your guys are. Naturally, you want these numbers to be as high as you can get them, because that means you can win more fights and that (usually) means you're having more fun.

The stats in this game are as follows:
  • Gen is a unit's defensive ability. It's used to resist charges and counters, helps defend against card skills that won't appear for a while, and determines the Ability Difference modifier at the end of a clash. It also has a slight effect on your maximum Morale (nothing too important, but it does exist).
  • Atk is your ability to deal damage. It determines how quickly you damage your opponents in a clash and is used in the Ability Difference calculation.
  • Tec is useful for a few things. It determines how many pixel-men you can shave off of a unit with your charges and counterattacks, and it's used to determine how effective your card skills are. It also affects how full the skill gauge is at the start of a clash.
  • Luk is used to determine your critical hit chance and how likely you are to do flash attacks. Furthermore, if your Luk is greater than or equal to your opponent's when you deplete their Morale, your opponent will drop the item he or she was carrying. This means that the vast majority of enemies have monstrously high Luk to make it harder to force item drops from them, which also means they get lots of critical hits.

Each stat maxes out at 6, and is displayed as some big stars and a bunch of little stars. The big stars are the stat itself, and the little stars are how close it is to increasing. Every time you level up, you gain one little star in a few stats. You also gain one or two little stars in a random stat for being the MVP of a battlefield. When you gain enough little stars, they're converted into a big star.

The requirements to raise a stat depend on what the stat is currently. It takes ten little stars to go from 1 big star to 2, 8 to go from 2 to 3, 6 to go from 3 to for, and so on. This is why Milanor getting +2 Luk was a good thing; he naturally gains enough Luk to end up with 5, so that extra 2 little stars will allow him to gain 6 Luk naturally.

There's one more stat, and it's a bit strange. This last stat is Reputation, and it's basically your killstreak. Every time you win a clash, it goes up by one (to a maximum of six like any normal stat), and it goes back to zero when you lose. Your army's total Reputation is listed on the menu from which you end your turn, and there are plenty of items (and one bonus area) locked behind Reputation checks. Some things actually require low Reputation to get, but for the most part you want high Reputation because it means you're winning a lot.

I hope that clarified a few things for anyone who was confused. I'll do another mechanics update later to explain Unions and items once they show up, and a third to explain skills.