Welcome to Atlas Reactor 101. This multi-part series aims to alleviate some of the confusion new players experience when getting into Atlas Reactor for the first time. I’ll introduce some of the game’s most basic mechanics, starting with simple topics such as movement and stats. In subsequent articles I’ll discuss topics such as cover and concealment, status effects, power orbs, phases and the simulation of simultaneity.
In this first part, let’s get a general understanding of moving around the game map and your freelancer’s stats.
Movement around the game map is essential for a favorable outcome. Knowing where to move your freelancer during the game can put you in either a beneficial position to get maximum value from you skills, or can leave you out of position and unable to contribute to the win.
Imagine the game map as a large grid with each location represented by a square. For the sake of our grid analogy we’ll use squares for reference throughout these articles.
In general, if you have activated a skill, your chosen freelancer can move four squares, indicated by the dotted line movement limit indicator. If you choose full movement, also known as sprinting, you can move eight squares, which is indicated by a solid line movement limit indicator.
Diagonal moves count as one and a half squares when figuring the number of squares your freelancer can move. After activating a skill, a freelancer can only move 3 squares if all of them are diagonal moves, or 6 squares when sprinting.
Certain skills, such as “free actions” and other skills unique to specific freelancers can also allow for full movement during a turn. Be sure to read each skill description and skill mod carefully in order to understand whether the skill can provide a free action or full movement. A free action allows your freelancer to take another action during the turn, whether that be full movement or activating some other skill and making a standard move. If moving is your choice, your freelancer can sprint while activating a free action alone. Skills that allow full movement are similar, but cannot be activated with other skills. They simply allow the freelancer to sprint after activating the skill. We’ll go over skill types later, when discussing phases.
Status effects, also described in more detail later this series, can also modify your freelancer’s movement. Slow will reduce movement and rooting will simply deny your freelancer the ability to move at all during the turn. Haste, on the other hand, will provide your freelancer with the ability to move extra squares, and unstoppable makes your freelancer immune to all movement impairing effects.
When two freelancers attempt to occupy the same square a collision occurs. When this happens, a collision sound will play, and neither freelancer will end up in the selected square. Standard movement rules apply when trying to figure collision. If two freelancers only wish to move one square, but one of those freelancers has to make a diagonal movement and the other does not, no collision will occur since the diagonal move costs 1.5 movement. This is important to remember when vying for objects in the game world.
You have two essential stats in the game, health and energy. Your stats can be found in two locations on the game screen. One set of stats is indicated by the colored bars above your freelancer’s head. The other, more detailed, stats can be found in the lower left corner of the screen beneath the large portrait of your freelancer. Additions to your freelancer’s stats that occur during a turn will briefly appear as a numerical value above the freelancer’s head; green for health, purple for shields, and yellow for energy.
The green bar floating above your freelancer’s head on the game map represents their health. In the lower left corner of the screen, under the freelancer’s portrait, the health is indicated by the blue bar with the HP indicator.
Your freelancer’s health will fluctuate up and down during a match as damage or healing affect them. Sometimes your freelancer will have a skill that provides some amount of self-healing, other times they’ll receive health from a support freelancer or power-up.
Some healing is provided immediately, and your freelancer’s health bar will fill right away. Other health gains are provided incrementally, as the game progresses. If your freelancer is due to receive health over time, you’ll see a dark green addition to the overhead health bar, indicating the amount of health the freelancer will receive during the next turn or turns. If you move the mouse cursor to the overhead health bar, it will show the numerical values for the current health and health to be gained. On the health bar in the lower left corner of your screen, a numerical value will appear behind a + sign, showing you how much healing your freelancer is due to receive.
It is also possible to receive bonus health, beyond your freelancer’s maximum health. With over-healing, your freelancer can have more health than what the health bar indicates if it is already showing the freelancer’s maximum health. This bonus health is only temporary, providing its benefit for the turn in which it is applied. For example, if your freelancer has their maximum of 120 health and receives 30 healing, the freelancer’s health bar will still only indicate 120 health even though they effectively have 150 health for that turn. Should the freelancer take damage during the turn the bonus health will be consumed first, before the freelancer’s standard health pool.
Shields are another form of temporary health that your freelancer can receive during a turn. Although they do not provide any damage reduction, shields always absorb damage prior to any hit points from your freelancer’s health pool. The amount of shielding your freelancer has for the turn appears as a purple or pink section on the health bars. Shields, like over-healing, provide temporary bonus health and will disappear as your freelancer takes damage, or typically at the end of the turn if any shielding remains. Some freelancers have the ability to provide shields that can last multiple turns, however, so watch carefully to see if your shields have been depleted before trying something daring.
In both status bars your freelancer’s energy is indicated by the yellow bar beneath the health bar. In the lower left corner, the numerical value is preceded by the EN indicator. If your freelancer has accumulated the maximum amount of energy, the word MAX will appear in the overhead bar.
At the start of every turn your freelancer will accumulate 5 energy by default. In addition, whenever activating a skill during the turn, a freelancer will gain some amount of energy indicated in the skill’s description. This can vary for different skills and skill mods. Among the myriad of possibilities, some energy gains depend on the number of hits an attack scores, attacks your freelancer sustains, if a trap is triggered, and so on. When your freelancer acquires 100 energy, their ultimate ability will become available for use. Upon use of their ultimate skill the energy will usually go back to zero. Some freelancers have skill mods that allow them to recover energy depending on the outcome of their ultimate ability, while other freelancers have the ability to activate their ultimate before reaching maximum energy and only spend a portion of their energy while activating their ultimate skill.
During death, your freelancer will still earn energy. If traps that your freelancer set before dying are triggered after death, and those skills provide energy, you will resurrect with the energy gained from those skills. Your freelancer will also gain the five, turn based, incremental energy during the two turns it takes to re-spawn into the game. In most cases if your freelancer dies with maximum energy they will resurrect with full energy, thus able to activate their ultimate skill right away. This is not the case with every freelancer, though, so practice with each freelancer to learn how their skills and various skill mods affect energy gains and losses.
Next Up: Cover & Concealment
Now that we’ve got a general grasp on the basics of movement and your freelancer’s stats, in the next article we’ll take a look at the cover and concealment mechanics in Atlas Reactor.