Much is made of attacking in Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, but sometimes you want to catch your breath or sometimes you’re surrounded by raging Picts. Sometimes, it’s time for a little defense. There are two kinds of defense in Age of Conan: passive defense and active defense.
Armor and Protection Mitigation
The Armor and Protection Mitigation system is for both physical and magical attacks. Your items (and some spells) will sometimes give you armor, which will mitigate damage from all physical damage types (i.e.: slashing, piercing, crushing, and poison damage). You can also get items and buffs that give you protection, which will mitigate damage from all spiritual and elemental damage types (i.e.: holy, unholy, fire, cold, electrical).
The Rating System is a core set of statistics that scale with your level and can be found on various items or inherited from classes or feats. The system offers even more passive defense versus melee and magical attacks in the form of ratings that scale. The ratings are also branched based on play styles such as Player-versus-Environment (PvE) and Player-versus-Player (PvE) ratings.
(Note: PvP stats are only available on PvP specific gear. Read more about Age of Conan's PvP features here!)
Pet Scaling Armor
Attack pets will scale with your gear as you progress in Age of Conan. This means not only does the pets damage scale with your items but also the pets armor as you upgrade your equipment.
The Shield System
Part of the combat system in Age of Conan is the directional attacks, controlling every swing and strike, and working hand in hand with that is what we call the shield system. The shield system is simply a way of representing a lot of small things, like the guy who always tries to cover his right side or the monster that’s weak to frontal assaults.
Your enemy will focus their defense in certain areas, represented by a set of icons that surrounds them. The more of these icons that are on one side, the heavier his or her defense is on that side, and the less damage you will do when attacking that side.
Your opponent will constantly shift their defensive focus around depending on where you’re hitting, so mashing the same attack over and over again (or using the same combo over and over again) will quickly decrease its effectiveness. While not all enemies will use this defense system (and some may use it less than others), studying each foe carefully and noting its tendencies and mixing up your attacks will make for the most effective and most enjoyable gameplay.
Most importantly, players will also have access to the shield system and be able to tune their defenses according to their own tastes (and according to what they see you doing!), so mixing up your attacks and timing your combos to match defensive shifts will add yet another layer of strategy to player-versus-player encounters.