You know, playing Borderlands has had me thinking about combat attributes again. Because Borderlands is a game that adepts a lot of “hack and slash” game mechanics to “run and gun,” there was a whole new set of statistics to look at and compare, which I hadn’t taken into consideration before. Rate of fire, reload time, magazine size, stability, recoil, and projectile spread, speed, and arc.

Now, the concept of “flinch” is one that I was vaguely aware of, but didn’t really enter my consciousness until I played Borderlands. Flinch is a slight interruption that occurs when an enemy is hit by an attack, that either slows their current attack or prevents them from initiating a new attack. I know it’s really prevalent in shooting games, but I know it also showed up in Diablo 2. It’s a type of interruption.

I mean, all this is great, but the whole thing got me thinking it was time for a change because I realized the offense/defense split between attributes didn’t work for what I was trying to accomplish. Armor and defense are supposed to be covered by a different field. I have tactics covered by character roles, combat attributes need to just be about offense. It works out that they’re basically a dozen “elemental” types.

Stamina (“stream”) used to represent hit points, but I think is better suited to a character’s rate of fire, or their ability to deliver a continuous series of attacks. So, rather than referring to this as “soaking” power, it’s streaming power.

Vitality (“swing”) replaces fortitude for the second Constitution-based attribute. Vitality represents the concept of freshness, or vigor, that is contained in each attack. While stamina brings the quantity of attacks, vitality delivers quality in each.

Cunning (yomi, or “mind-reading”) was easy enough to change over from defensive to offensive. Instead of being about “not being where the attack is going to land,” it’s about leading your for, or “putting the attack where they’re about to be.”

Reflexes (“twitch”) was the descriptive term for evasion, so I just swapped them. The attribute referred to a character’s ability to respond to something as soon as it was perceived, and it still means that. It’s a character’s hair-trigger.

Fortitude (“shrug”), formerly a Constitution-based attribute, now Wisdom-based, represents the character’s ability to respond to a changing environment. Can be compared to the Charisma-based Willpower. Works well with stamina and cunning.

Bearing (“grip,” “recoil”) is the first of the modified Charisma-based attributes, and represents the character’s capacity to bounce back from things that have shaken them up. We’re all affected by something — this is about getting back on the horse.

Willpower (“focus”) represents the character’s ability to ignore internal factors or conflicts (fear, pain, ongoing damage, etc.). It works well when combined with the Dexterity-based attribute, precision. Compare to the externally-based fortitude.