Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen uses a more traditional MMORPG combat system over an action based system. It will still be action-packed and require close attention, using tactics, as well as reacting to what mobs and other players may be doing. In fact, so much will be going on that you will not want to have to worry about whether you are swinging your sword or not -- you will be casting spells, assuming stances, countering or deflecting your opponent’s moves and spells, and more. Additionally, while you can either click directly on a mob or simply use the tab key to change targets, there will also be a subset of spells where you can target the ground (for example, some area-of-effect spells).
There will be a traditional auto-attack system. Passive abilities will trigger automatically during combat (dodge, parry, etc.). This gives the player the time to focus on selecting abilities and spells (magic missile, fireball, counterspells, deflections, etc.) based on what’s going on tactically in combat.
There will be both offensive and defensive targets. Beneficial spells and abilities will be directed toward your defensive target, while harmful spells and abilities will be directed at your offensive target. Some spells and abilities, primarily area-of-effect spells, will involve targeting the ground or area around your foes.
Pantheon’s combat system places a focus on preparation and awareness of your enemy. You’ll want to choose different spells and abilities before an important encounter, selecting from a mix of offensive and defensive abilities. You’ll also see where the NPC’s spells and abilities are going to land and have an opportunity to avoid the attack.
The material your weapon is made of and the body type of your target will have an impact on combat. For example, scale, bone, and slime body types mitigate slashing damage, while crystalline body types take extra damage from piercing attacks.
Lower level items will have their limits. Many will not be ‘magical’, limiting the types of mobs you can engage. That said, the first few levels should go fairly quickly and then advancement will slow as the player gets into the meat of the game. Roleplaying-wise it’s traditional to start with more basic equipment, then gain access to more powerful non-magical gear, and then eventually magical gear and even planar gear. High level items will include procs (the ability to cast spells themselves), bane bonuses, regeneration & spell focus bonuses, and more.
There may be a few rare, extremely powerful area of effect spells that could affect others in your group. You’ll want to use them judicially and make very sure your group is positioned correctly. That being said, this would be the exception, not the rule.