AFK Journey combat guide - what’s new and what’s not
AFK Journey is the stylish spiritual sequel to the original AFK Arena, set in the same world of Esperia and featuring some returning AFK Arena characters. The game not only introduces a new 2.5D environment and art style, but a revamped combat system to boot! We’ve had the chance to get hands-on with AFK Journey ahead of release and experience a preview, and here’s what we’ve learnt.
The basics of combatSo, for those new to the series, or auto-battlers as a whole, you don’t directly control units in an RPG like this. Instead, you set up their position, see which of your heroes enemies are likely to target first, and then watch them go. In a game like this, you can trigger heroes’ abilities by yourself, or set them to do so automatically. So it’s a very hands-off style of combat.
You do get a level of control of your heroes, of course. And here, the basics you’d see in any strategy or RTS game apply: place your squishier heroes, healers, casters and ranged heroes in the backline while your warriors and tanks take the frontline.
However, AFK Journey introduces a number of new elements that, if not new to the genre certainly, are new to the series. This includes terrain, hazards, traps and more! But before we get into those, let’s get started with…
A new element of combat, 'bullet timing' is relatively simple. When you manually trigger hero abilities, instead of having the battle continue to take place at normal speed, time will slow to allow you some more precise positioning and timing for when to activate these abilities. This can be helpful with AOE attacks, for example, when you might want to wait for an enemy to step into a certain area. Although not necessarily game-changing, this does add an element of helpful real-time strategy to the game, and allows for more precise control.
Terrain is important, for the first time
While other auto-battlers, and indeed AFK Arena (as far as we’re aware), only contained blank and open fields of battle with the occasional impassable tile, AFK Journey fleshes out the idea of terrain in battle much more. There are many types of terrain, mainly the high and low walls. Both are impassable by heroes and units, meaning that they can only move in certain directions - very helpful for bottle-necks - whereas low walls can be fired over by ranged units. While it’s no Total War, we were definitely surprised at the level of depth this added for positioning and use of abilities, especially those that summon powerful units that can effectively block off any enemy heroes from attacking.
Use Traps to your advantage
This is more of a catch-all term. There are a variety of obstacles and traps that can be used to the player’s advantage. For example, red barrels - yes, just like in an FPS game - can be blown apart by tapping on them to do damage to nearby enemies (and heroes, so be careful). The advantage here is that you don’t need to use a hero’s ability or rely on them being near or striking many of these traps. Being able to set them off manually means you can quickly do some cheap damage to enemy units without risking your own heroes. You’ll find more throughout the game including rolling spikes, flamethrowers and even ice throwers.
Try to focus your Factions
Not only does AFK Journey boast a vast roster of heroes, but each of these heroes also has a unique faction tied to them. When a certain number or majority of heroes placed on the field fall into this faction, then they all receive a bonus to their damage and other stats. So, it can be beneficial to collect heroes from factions like Lightbearer - which you’ll start off having a few of - or Graveborn, which we’ve found to be more powerful. Of course, it’s always useful to keep a few others on standby so that you have variety…
AFK Journey also has one of the most useful equipment options we’ve found in an RPF: an auto-equip button. This removes the tedium of browsing through the various equipment types on offer, instead allowing you to directly upgrade currently equipped items for a given class to their most powerful incarnation currently available. It also auto-equips gear to empty slots, meaning you can quickly improve hero stats with minimal fuss.