DIVA: The Curator's Spotlight #4

deucexm deucexm at gmail.com
Sun Dec 26 06:46:53 PST 2021

I finished this a while ago and never posted it.  Well, here it is, sneaking in 
before the year turns once more; a further peek into Devworld, and I daresay a 
rather important one as well.  Not lore-wise, but for immersion's sake.


The Curator's Spotlight: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
by Felix

04: Battle Rhythm for Beginners



(Nothing registered here)
- SamX MaxS



[0000 intro]

If you're new to Devworld, or if you're simply new to combat, this guide is for 

If you've played other games that you think might be similar to Devworld, don't 
be fooled.  The battlefield is intelligent and adapts to your actions - and 
everyone else's - in a way that's likely more complex and subtle than you've 
seen before.

Combine that with the very visceral sensations of fighting and getting hurt, and 
combat can seem like a very frightening thing indeed (which is why many players 
stay in the safe zones).  But not to worry!  Battle Rhythm for Beginners is here 
to show you the way.  It's not a set of formulae that work in every situation, 
but rather a way of thinking and analyzing the battlefield that will almost 
always have you coming out on top.

Almost always, I say.  Don't get too comfortable, because that leads to 

Just remember: it's not about ALGORITHMS.  It's about THE RHYTHM.

[0001 rhythm]

Battle has a rhythm to it, much like music.  Find and attune to it, and in time, 
you'll be able to:
- Predict your foes' attacks (and dodge them)
- Time your own ability use for maximum effect
- Manipulate your foes (and even the battlefield!) to your advantage
- Feel when the rhythm is shifting and act, instead of reacting

The last line there is very important - it's not a question of if the rhythm 
will change, but when.  You might have already finished your battle by that 
point, but if you haven't, the tables can turn very quickly.  (You can use that 
moment as a pivot point, intentionally, but risky techniques like that are not 
recommended for beginners!)

So how do you feel the rhythm of battle?  Let's start with that.

[0002 perception]

The first step to using battle rhythm is being able to perceive it at all.

There are a few key skills that help with this: Sensory Perception, Sensory 
Extensis, and Sharpened Senses.  All of these are core skills, so even if you've 
chosen a specialization you can still train them without issue.  At a minimum, 
you want Perception 3 and Extensis/Sharp 2, but there's no downside to going on 
to higher levels (and you will want to at some point).

The most helpful method is using Meditation in a cleared combat area.  This can 
be risky if you're solo, since basic Meditation doesn't provide any defenses, so 
consider inviting a friend to keep watch and reclear any hostile constructs if 

Why?  Although you can sense (and exploit) rhythm even in non-combat zones, it's 
far more subtle than the rhythm of battle.  Trying to grasp rhythm there can be 
frustrating if it's your first attempt, as it will elude you more often than 
not; start where the basics are easier to pick up, and you will enjoy success - 
and progress - without undue frustration.

[0003 heartbeat]

After you have the requisite skills and you've chosen a location, and when it is 
safe to do so, use Meditation and wait.  It sounds simple, but that's the basic 

Meditation is a multipurpose ability.  It can be used to discern hidden secrets, 
pathways or traps; to regenerate defenses; to prepare for and enhance the use of 
follow-on abilities; and other things as well.  But the point here is not to 
focus on any of that - to focus on nothing at all, to let your mind be empty and 
free of static.  The less you have distracting you, whether stray thought or 
intentional purpose, the easier it is to pick up on the rhythm.

In some text you may see references to 'the Heartbeat of the World' - this is a 
description of world-rhythm, of which battle rhythm is a facet.  Since you don't 
have a heartbeat of your own in Devworld, if you are in Meditation and you hear 
something that sounds or feels like one - you've found the rhythm you're looking 
for.  It's often just that subtle, which is why it takes training and practice 
to attune to it.

The most important thing in the beginning is to feel the beats.  Count them, tap 
them out, sway to them, or any other method; whatever helps you feel and 
recognize the rhythm, each beat, is fine.  Mark the passing of each beat somehow, 
and note how long it is between them; learn to recognize a fast rhythm or a slow 
one, and whether one is speeding up or slowing down.  If you can attune to the 
rhythm for at least three minutes without missing a beat, you should be ready to 
move on.

[0004 up and down]

If you were a musician or other performer before coming to Devworld, you may not 
need this brief explanation (skip to paragraph 3 of this section in that case).  
Otherwise: rhythm can loosely be divided into downbeats and upbeats, or 
offbeats, or other terms.  Although not purely technically correct, for this 
guide we'll stick to down- and up- for clarity.

Downbeats are the main pulse of the rhythm.  This is what you've been tapping or 
counting: the constant, steady beat that's easy to follow.  Upbeats aren't as 
obvious; they're the parts of a more complex rhythm that exist in the space 
between downbeats (again this is not strictly correct, but a suitable 
simplification in Devworld terms).

For the purpose of using the rhythm with abilities, downbeats enhance primary 
attributes - raw attack and defense - while upbeats enhance secondary attributes 
and mutators like range, targeting style, elemental effects, and many other 
things.  Put another way, downbeats are Light-aligned (force) and upbeats are 
Dark-aligned (subtlety).

Although timing your abilities is entirely optional and victory is often 
achieved without it, it can have a significant effect on the outcome of a battle 
in even its most basic form.  We'll look at how to implement that next.

[0005 timing]

Timing abilities comes in three forms:
- Instants, which are timed on their activation;
- Charged abilities, which are timed on their activation and their release; and
- Channeled abilities, which are timed on activation, release, and at certain 
intervals during the ability's duration.

Again, while none of the timing is strictly necessary, aligning any of these 
moments with the beat will boost the resulting ability.

The more properly timed an ability is, the more it is boosted.  An instant has 
less potential to be boosted above its base performance (with only one boost 
point) than a charged ability (with two).  Channeled abilities generally have at 
least three or four boost points, and the more complex abilities may have 
upwards of 20, giving them the greatest potential to perform above their 
baseline specifications.

Timing boost potential can be further increased by training the Enhanced Boost 
skill, which provides an additional 15% raw potency at maximum level.  Although 
it takes a long time to train, those who master timing their abilities will find 
it pays off immensely in the long run.

[0006 beyond]

At this point you should have a basic understanding of the following:
- What battle rhythm is
- How to perceive it
- What downbeats/upbeats are and what they do
- How to time different ability types

So what's next?  First, practice.  Be able to find the rhythm in moments, no 
matter where you are - get used to attuning to it, and make it part of your 
routine to do so whenever you change zones.  The less you have to think about it, 
the better.

Next, watch for constructs making use of the rhythm and be ready for it.  The 
stronger your enemy, the more likely they are to use advanced tactics.

After that, check out Advanced Battle Rhythm, in which I explain how to 
manipulate rhythm to your own liking.  It requires more experience and a 
specialized skill set, but the ability to reshape the flow of battle to favor 
yourself and disadvantage your enemies is undeniably powerful.


(Akasha, Head Librarian)

Possibly the best entry-level reading available on the subject.  "Maxis" or 
"Maxess", as players often refer to them in place of their regrettable name, can 
graduate whenever they choose to do so.  They seem to enjoy it here, though, and 
the Administrators are not wont to force the issue.

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