For players who wish to take full advantage of the more esoteric Sins of a Dark Age mechanics, a discussion of advanced strategies appears below.
How to Play - Advanced
While abilities and roles go a long way towards explaining what a Hero is and how he or she should function in the game, they don’t always tell the whole story. Heroes are also unique collection of stats.
There are sixteen stats in Sins of a Dark Age and each Hero has a unique base value for the stat, as well as an increment the stat will increase upon each level. Note that certain stats like Movement Speed, Spell Vamp, and Life Steal do not increase when a level is gained, and can only be improved through the metagame (explained below) or items.
The six most important stats to know are:
Attack Power: Determines the damage dealt by basic attacks and abilities that deal Physical Damage
Special Power: Determines the damage dealt by abilities that deal Magic Damage
Attack Speed: Determines the speed of basic attacks
Movement Speed: Determines the speed by which a character moves through the world
Armor: Reduces the Physical Damage taken from basic attacks or abilities
Magic Resistance: Reduces the Magic Damage taken from abilities
These stats can be seen when mousing over the icons next to the character portrait at the lower left corner of the screen. The rest of the stats can be observed by bringing up the Character Overview screen (pressing C by default).
Some stats have hard caps. Attack Speed, for example, cannot exceed 2.50 units. Other stats have soft caps, and provide diminishing returns once a certain threshold is passed. An example here is Movement Speed, which has a soft cap of 3.72 units.
A handful of stats may directly oppose one another, and in doing so become vastly more complicated. As an example: Armor and Armor Penetration are compared when determining the damage a Hero ignores from basic attacks or abilities dealing Physical Damage. But there are two ways that players may can to increase their Armor Penetration: with flat Armor Penetration, i.e. a cardinal number of Armor ignored, or scalar Armor Penetration, i.e. a percentage of armor ignored.
In cases where both flat and scalar versions of a stat exist, the flat number is subtracted from the target number before the scalar. So, an Armor Penetration of 10 flat and 15 scalar would reduce target 100 armor by 10 then by 15% of the new total, or 100 – 10 = 90, 90 – (90 * 0.15) = 76.5
Some stats like Life Steal do not oppose other stats, but still have both flat and scalar versions to give players more control over how the stat functions—in this case, a guaranteed amount of Health gained per basic attack, vs. an amount of Health that keys off of the total damage dealt by the basic attack, which can vary wildly based on whether the attack critically strikes, the armor of the target, etc.
Being aware of your stats can better help you understand the subtle strengths and weaknesses of your Hero, and build towards either emphasizing what they do well or eliminating their flaws.
One way to do the above is to use the metagame system provided by Hero Kits. Hero Kits are a suite of stats that you can improve as your user account gains experience and levels after each match, similar to the way Heroes gain levels within the matches themselves. Each level gained provides you with one point to spend on:
Attack Power: See above
Flat Armor Penetration: The amount of Armor you ignore when determining the damage of your basic attacks and abilities that deal Physical Damage
Attack Speed: See above
Special Power: See above
Flat Magic Penetration: The amount of Magic Resistance you ignore when determining the damage of your abilities that deal Magic Damage
Cooldown Reduction: The percentage of time reduced from your ability cooldowns
Max Health: The amount of Health you have when at full capacity
Armor: See above
Magic Resistance: See above
These points will improve your Heroes independent of their own stats, and can provide you with an edge when properly combined with items, abilities, and glyphs.
Players can also equip Hero Gear, or weapons and armor created using Sins of a Dark Age’s crafting system. There are four Hero Gear slots open at all times, but you may only equip Hero Gear items that do not exceed your current Gear Point value. Gear Points are earned every three levels. These weapons and armor complement the items purchased during a game, and often feature a unique passive effect, providing players with subtle utility.