As stated above, a basic Attack is defined as as physical attack inflicted by a user. The basic Attack does not consume PP, but instead involves direct force, either from the body or from a weapon. A standard Attack inflicts damage to the target's HP meter based on how the party member's Attack rating compares against the target's Defense rating. This comparison can be represented by the following equation:
Essentially, the damage of a basic Attack is determined by subtracting the enemy's Defense rating from the User's Attack rating. This number is then divided by 2 to give the damage total. Thus, the power of a standard Attack varies greatly depending on the statistics of the User and the Enemy.
In each game, the main method of increasing the power of a basic Attack is to use one of multiple strategies that increase the Attack statistic (and thus the power of an Attack), for example: Attack-raising equipment, such as weapons and some Armor, the use of Apples to permanently raise Attack, and Psynergy such as Impact. Vice versa, the power of an Attack can be decreased by raising Defense, through methods such as Armor, Defense-increasing Psynergy like Guard, and the item Hard Nut.
Variations on the basic Attack
The basic damage a user can do with their Attack is utilized to some degree by many other methods of offense. Weapon Unleashes, Djinn, and some Psynergies use the damage done by a base Attack as a factor in determining the damage. All three methods, manipulate the basic Attack damage depending on the Elemental alignments of the involved battlers. In addition, these methods often increase the basic Attack damage by a set amount or by a multiplicative factor.
An example of this is the Elemental Physical Psynergy. Like most Psynergies, Elemental Physical Psynergy, uses Elemental Power and Resistance to modify damage. However, this type of Psynergy uses the strength of the basic Attack to determine the base damage. Many such Psynergies also add a set amount of bonus damage. One prominent example of this type of Psynergy is the Ragnarok Psynergy. Ragnarok's damage calculation adds 35 points to the basic Attack of an Adept, then multiplies this number by the ratio of the battler's Venus Power and Venus Resistance, as seen in the following equation:
- final damage = (base damage + bonus damage) * (1 + (User's Venus Power - Enemy's Venus Resistance) / 400)
Some offenses, like the Quick Strike Psynergy, take the damage of a basic attack, and after applying elemental Power and Resistance, multiply the entire total by a predetermined multiplicative factor. In either case, the outcome of this is to give the Adept a much stronger physical move than they would ordinarily be capable of. Such offensive methods serve as the main forms of damage throughout the series, and become some of the most powerful. Weapon Unleashes and Djinn work along similar lines, either adding damage to the base damage, or multiplying the entire attack by a specific factor.
One variation that must be mentioned involves the use of pure-element weapons. These are weapons that are aligned with one of the four Elements. The use of pure-element weapons essentially allows the basic attack, normally unaligned with an element, to function as an Elemental Physical Attack.
Once the standard damage calculation is obtained, the attack will be modified by the corresponding Elemental Power of the user and the Elemental Resistance of the targets. For example, the Elven Rapier is Jupiter-aligned. Thus, a basic Attack done by the wielder of the Elven Rapier would take into account the wielder's Jupiter Power and the target's Jupiter Resistance. Unlike Unleashes and Attack-based Psynergies, however, there is no additional damage added to the attack.
Basic Attacks in Golden Sun and The Lost Age can be modified by an additional factor known as a Critical. In these games, Criticals are random events that allow the player to do slightly more damage with a basic attack than would normally be possible. Unlike Unleashes, which can only be used with an Artifact, Criticals can be triggered by any weapon, common, artifact, or usable, since it takes place during a standard Attack. Criticals are not aligned with an element, and have no additional effects besides the extra damage. The formula used by a standard critical hit is as follows:
- final damage = ((base damage * 1.25) + (target's level / 5) + 6)
In battle, Criticals are represented by the camera zooming in on the target, followed by a slightly delayed attack from the user. The animation is similar to a standard Attack. Following Dark Dawn's revamp of the Unleash system, Criticals no longer exist. Instead, most common weapons and many Artifact and Usable weapons generally have non-elemental unleashes that multiply damage by a specific factor, which effectively replicate the effect of Criticals.
In Dark Dawn, there is a special instance in which the basic Attack command is unavailable. When the Jupiter Adept Sveta has used Beastform to access the Wild Animal class series, she loses access to the Attack command. Instead, she gains two replacement commands: Maul and Rampage. Maul works similarly to the basic Attack command, except that weapon Unleashes cannot be triggered. Rampage is similar in nature to Maul, but has the distinction of affecting multiple targets at once. The damage of Rampage goes down proportionally to the increase in distance from the main target.
- Although no real explanation for criticals/unleashes occurs in-game, a small bit of easily forgotten text on the subject appears when Isaac's party first arrives in Kolima, prior to having defeated (and healed) Tret. The enraged tree curses the residents of Kolima for taking their axes to him, turning them into trees, so that they would die alongside him. Isaac's party happens to get involved, needing to pass through the Kolima region as part of their quest. Immediately they are set upon by Tret, who immobilizes the Adepts, pinning them to the ground. However, as the wave of Psynergy that would turn them into trees approaches, the Adepts are enveloped in a shimmering barrier that wards off Tret's curse. This barrier was a purely reactive and subconscious display of Psynergy, as none of the Adepts intentionally used their powers to create the field. They assume this type of subconscious defense is similar to a weapon's unleash, which holds vast, though uncontrollable, power. Apart from a concluding remark about how it would be nice to control this ability, it is never mentioned again. As such, this only serves to confirm that the Adepts do know that unleashes and criticals exist and that they are uncontrollable and nothing more.
- In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, the attack symbol changes depending on what type of weapon the player has equipped (for instance, it can either have a picture of a sword or an axe, etc.). If for some reason, the attacking Adept has no weapon, the symbol instead shows a generic energy burst-style symbol.