Hi again! I've gotten a few emails on the combat portion of the game so I thought I'd put a few things here for discussion.
While combat is important in CR4, we never want it to be the only thing people want to focus on. Remember, as a player, you will play a citizen of one of the cities in this world. The focus is on your citizen. Your prestige and virtue are very important to your success in the game. You have servants (also, gladiators) that compete in the games. They win, lose and die according to their skills and your strategies with them.
There are 21 weapons to choose from (in three classes); some may be used together and some are large and heavy enough to be used by themselves. Gladiators can gain proficiencies in each weapon or focus on just a few... master levels decide overall skill with the weapon.
There are a number of armor options that cover various body part areas (a major shift from CR2 and CR3). We've tried to align armor to historical information so there are some interesting combinations.
Gladiators can have a fighting style but it's not required. There are pros and cons for having a style of course. You'll have to decide what works for you.
There will be four divisions of gladiators: Plebian, Veterans, Elite and Freedmen. Each gladiator will have to meet certain criteria before making the move to the next level.
Matchups come in different forms. You can challenge another owner's gladiator to a matchup some time in to the future (challenges have rules and must be approved), your gladiator may fall in to the 'random' category (i.e. you've indicated that your gladiator will fight on a particular turn with any available opponent), or he may randomly matchup with a soldier or beast!
Tournaments will occur somewhat frequently with varying prize levels (depends on the tournament). These could be anything from simple one turn mini-tournaments to all-out, full-day, empire-wide matches that have massive prizes. Tournaments will be open (any weapon, armor or level) or restricted to certain armors, weapons and/or levels. Some may be in certain cities only. Special events like 'to the death' or 'single-man standing' matches will not be frequent but will deliver excellent prizes.
If you throw all the variables in to the mix: race, attributes, weapon and armor proficiencies, style, combat strategy, weather, location and of course, our favorite, luck... it makes for interesting outcomes.
Strategy plays a huge part. What to train and when. Which arenas to fight in. Who to challenge. Who to avoid. How often to fight. Alternating combat percentages. All these things make a big difference if planned correctly.
Well, there's a little bit of insight to the combat part of CR4. We'll start some threads on other game elements in the next few weeks.