This goes far beyond the damage over time evaluation you were talking about, and starts evaluating the player's health and armor, as well as the attack potential of nearby enemies. This is way too much AI.
I mean the player setting those up and AI only caring about what it can predict. For example, putting on a heavy armor would slow down all attacks by a flat amount, so fast attacks would suffer more than slow ones. This in turn would make the AI pick "huge axe slam" more often than "elbow strike".
What I ws reacting to was
heavier for more reckless weapon attacks
, which seems to indicate that more armor means "it's ok to make reckless attacks", which is fundamentally not something a system like this should be making. I guess you mean something like, "slower attacks will be impacted less by encumbrance, so as you add more armor they become more optimal". If that's the case I was just reading too much into your statement and there's no problem.
Taking a step back, I want to reiterate that I think the overall plan is a good one for increasing variability of combat from both an effectiveness and narrative point of view, as well as adding strategic depth around equipment selection. My only concern is it leaves tactical depth behind if the primary goal of attacks is always damage.
That kind of thing is attractive when your goal is to build an immersive fighting system, but it's just another form of micro-management, you still have to do specific things to trigger your special attacks.
Then scrap (or just "move back") those that make it more tedious and just keep those which offer tactical advantages. For example, moving past a critter and executing a totally bland, regular, unbuffed attack for free (but full move price for moving) would not be any more micromanagement than regular combat with kiting - in fact less.
Still, I'd rather at least try to make it work than instantly going for manual selections on everything. Maybe it's easier than it sounds?
It also ends up driving the combat system, because options like delay, cripple, evade don't necessarily map well to a movement-based system like that.
It would synergy with those pretty well: if you had free attacks on disengage, the evade option would push stuff back, while attack option would hurt things.
Right, if you have both a goal set and movement-based modifiers, they will work just fine, I was pointing out that just a movement-based attack system doesn't have a good way to specify flavors of attacks, so it needs something else to do that. Both would be ust fine.
I want there to be options for when you are dealing with too many opponents, or need to retreat from an encounter, and when to switch from offense to defense, or when to use tactical options like delay or crippling attacks.
This should be treated as necessary evil and avoided where not necessary. For example, by limiting the number of modes and keeping them in the same menu as martial arts (as in, "offensive" would be a martial art).
Crippling, avoiding and delaying could easily be one mode (defensive).
I don' think the goals as martial arts thing works, because that implies that martial arts are also goals, which is WAY too many of them. I'd prefer them to remain orthoganal, with styles augmenting the list of attacks one can make, and goals changing the evaluation function for attacks that are available.
While delaying and evading could be merged (minimal effort to neutralize enemies for short durations and forcing enemies to waste moves have the same outcomes), crippling would be different. IMO the minimal set of goals would be damage, cripple, delay. Aother fundamental attack type is move, but I'm not sure that can be handled the same way.
Fundamentally, if there is a really interesting difference between attack types, the decision to use one or the other MUST be explicit.
To some degree yes, but a lot could be done by stretching the implicitness of them.
Combining with movement, involving pauses, depending on surroundings - in the end pure DPS should be reserved for endgame characters who can afford to stand around and mash tab.
So to clarify a few things, I'm only looking for ~3 goal settings, and this set of features or the goal setting thing could go in first, both IMO advance melee significantly.